Thursday, 12 April 2012

For the avoidance of doubt

WitteringsfromWitney has moved and is now hosted on Wordpress. My new home is:

It would appear some readers did not realise that they had to click on the link (the word "Wordpress") in my previous post.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Saturday 7th April 2012

In view of the recent shenanigans with Blogger, this blog has now migrated to Wordpress (with thanks to Ian Parker-Joseph who dealt with all the 'techie' details for me) which is now hosted abroad.

Readers and those bloggers who kindly link to me in their blogrolls may wish to amend the link on their website.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Thursday 5th April 2012

Blogging is suspended until Saturday morning due to an impending night out followed by some 'blog housekeeping' - apologies to all readers.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

In Europe, but not run by Europe

The phrase coined, I believe, by William Hague during his short sojourn as Leader of what was then also not the Conservative Party.

Earlier this evening William Hague tweeted:
"Two weeks left to apply for a career in #EU civil service this year. We encourage more Brits to join EU institutions"
From that website we learn that the EU civil service needs to employ highly motivated, talented and ambitious individuals - and, unsaid, people who will be required to work for the good of the EU, as do EU Commissioners have to agree so to do.

And Hague believes we should be 'In Europe, but not run by Europe'?

Hague is a bastard Europhile!

Ultimate Control

Some items of news today cause me concern where our democracy is concerned and, as an introduction to this post, I quote from a post of yesterday:
"One of the tasks that we clearly have is to rebuild trust in our political system. Yes, that's about cleaning up expenses, yes, that's about reforming parliament, and yes, it's about making sure people are in control and that the politicians are always their servants and never their masters."
David Cameron, first speech as Prime Minister, May 11, 2010.
When considering the following news items:
it becomes increasingly obvious that the people are most definitely not in charge - we have Davey stating that we must leave the door open for adoption of the euro, that the present government will be seen eventually as more euro-friendly than that of Blair's; we have Clegg deciding how political parties are to be funded from public money; and we have Clarke attempting to turn our system of justice on its head.

I trust readers will forgive the repetition that follows but it cannot be repeated enough. Presently, under our system of representative democracy what in effect we do is hand the car keys to a collection of learner drivers who have no idea of the rules of the road and subsequently turn them loose. In other words, between general elections, we allow a group of politicians to act as dictators who then impose laws on us, laws we may or may not agree with, whilst accepting we have no recourse to stop those laws.

Readers will be in no doubt that I favour a system of government known as Direct Democracy - it is the only system of which I know that does, firmly, put the people in control of their own destiny - both national and local. It has been suggested, in comments on my blog, that people can't be bothered with the 'minutae' of democracy - to which I counter that if they can't, then they may as well immediately submit themselves to slavery and bondage, because that is the aim of politicians - coupled with the fact that it would save us a shed load of money funding the political elite in achieving their ultimate aim. Consider, democracy can only work when people claim it as their own because the present system only works as it involves choosing your next set of dictators, after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear.

If it is the will of the people that the status quo should remain, ie representative democracy, then should we not press for a change to 'delegatory democracy' which would at least force politicians to vote according to their constituents majority view, rather than their view (Burke's law). If the people are to retain a status of being the master, with politicians being no more than servants, then it becomes necessary that the people must have the ultimate option of saying 'No' - and in that regard I can but refer readers to my post of yesterday and the views expressed therein.

That democracy is important to us all and that it is therefore important we all take an interest in our system of democracy is underlined by a quote from Robert Hutchins:
"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment."

Where is the Maggietollah and her handkerchief?

Details here.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

David Cameron - in his own words

"One of the tasks that we clearly have is to rebuild trust in our political system. Yes, that's about cleaning up expenses, yes, that's about reforming parliament, and yes, it's about making sure people are in control and that the politicians are always their servants and never their masters."
First speech as Prime Minister, May 11, 2010.
So if politicians are always the people's servants and never their masters, by what right does he deny the people their say on EU membership? By what right does he act as a dictator, imposing policies on the people - policies for which they never voted? (The Coalition - our programme for government)
"I joined this party because I believe in freedom. We are the only party believing that if you give people freedom and responsibility, they will grow stronger and society will grow stronger."
Speech to Conservative Party Conference on 4 October 2005.
Some freedom when considering Cameron is intending to monitor people's private emails and telephone conversations. Some freedom when he chains us to membership of a political union which dictates what freedoms we may be allowed.
"I want you to come with me. We'll be tested, and challenged, but we'll never give up. We'll never turn back. So let the message go out from this conference, a modern compassionate Conservatism is right for our times, right for our party - and right for our country. If we go for it, if we seize it, if we fight for it with every ounce of passion, vigour and energy from now until the next election, nothing and no one can stop us."
Speech to Conservative Party Conference on 4 October 2005.
For someone who will never turn back Cameron has performed a great number of 'U' turns - in fact he could adapt Thatchers phrase, amending it to: 'U'turn if you want to, I've already turned and turned and turned and....... If modern, compassionate Conservatism was right for our times and right for our country, the country obviously didn't think so - and that nothing and no one could stop him was confirmed as yet more political spin.
"My favourite political quote is by Disraeli: he said the Conservative Party should be the party of change but change that goes along with the customs and manners and traditions and sentiments of the people rather than change according to some grand plan."
As Cameron's Conservative Party is not that of Disraeli it follows that it does not believe in the customs, manners, traditions and sentiments of the people - as we can see - but does continue with adherence to some grand plan (EU/NWO/Agenda21) - also as we can see.
"I think the prospect of bringing back grammar schools has always been wrong and I've never supported it. And I don't think any Conservative government would have done it."
BBC Sunday AM, 15 January 2006.
So if politicians are always the people's servants and never their masters, by what right does he deny the people their say on the type of education they want for their children?

Cameron is an example of everything that is wrong with politics today and the sooner we rid ourselves of such effective ineptitude the better. Whether he and his ilk go voluntarily, or go forcibly, I care not - but go they must!

Chartism (2)

It had not been my intention to post under this heading so soon after that of the first, however a news item today voided my original intention. Apparently today Boris Johnson had a slight difference of opinion with Ken Livingstone, in the process calling him a 'procreating' liar. Andrew Gilligan, Daily Telegraph, posts on the lies it is alleged Livingstone told, including 'evidence' to show that they were indeed lies - who is right matters not in this case.

For so long have politicians lied to us or, in the words of Alan Clark, been 'economical with the actualité', we have become inured to that which they tell us - especially when they are campaigning and/or presenting us with manifestos. This is illustrated by Cranmer in his post today on the subject of the surveillance of emails and telephone calls; a post in which he recalls the manifesto promises made by both the Tory and LibDem parties in the 2010 General Election, coupled with that subsequently issued by the Coalition. If we go back to 2005 further examples of broken promises were illustrated in this post from January 2009.

Some hold that it should be possible to legally challenge political manifestos, yet where this has been attempted courts have held that an elected member ‘ought’ to give considerable weight, when deciding whether to implement policies put forward in a pre-election manifesto. However elected representatives must not treat themselves as irrevocably bound to carry out pre-announced policies contained in election manifestos. Moreover The Court of Appeal held that to hold that the pre-election promises bound a newly elected Government could well be inimical to good government. It was one thing to say that an administration properly and morally ought to have regard to its pre-election promises. It was another to say that it must have regard to them and a yet further thing to say that it must ordinarily act on them. The law went nowhere near that. The Court of Appeal emphasised that it did not wish any encouragement to politicians to be extravagant in their pre-election promises, but when a party elected into office fails to keep its election promises, the consequences should be political and not legal. (source So we see that pre-election promises are not legally enforceable, which begs the question why do politicians make pre-election promises that they cannot keep? This may be because it is easy to promise dramatic changes to the law when not in Government, but more difficult to make them work in practice. Also, when elected, the party may have more information available to them and realise that the pre-election promises are not very practical. On that last point I would contend that if the required research had been carried out properly then politicians would be aware of the point about practicality. This is especially so where this country's membership of the European Union is concerned and when politicians promise action in an area that is a competence of the EU. 

However - bearing in mind the foregoing - the question has to be repeated, namely why cannot a political manifesto be legally challenged - it is, after all, a contract twixt a political party and those they are asking to elect them. In all 'unions' involving people and their relationship with one another two words must be included in those relationships: 'honesty' and 'truth'. Without those two 'basics' any relationship is bound to be fraught with suspicion - which is probably why politics has reached the nadir it has.

Obviously I know not what the 'Old Swan Manifesto' will produce and whilst I am a firm advocate of direct democracy I am only too aware that that system is not everyone's cup of tea. However, if we are to have 'Referism' in respect of the need for taxation, then should we not have that same ideal where the introduction of policies is concerned? Should not there be a statutory period between a Parliamentary Bill passing its final reading and receiving Royal Assent - one that allowed the people to challenge said Act, through the use of referenda, prior to it becoming law?

Monday, 2 April 2012


From Wikipedia we learn that the Chartists - or to be correct, one faction - called for six basic reforms to make the political system more democratic. Those six reforms were: 
  • universal male suffrage;
  • a secret ballot;
  • no property qualification for members of Parliament;
  • pay members of Parliament (so poor men could serve);
  • constituencies of equal size;
  • annual elections for Parliament.
They accomplished the first four with the fifth planned for implementation in the near future, assuming of course our home grown version of Hitler doesn't get overthrown. Were the Chartists to be reborn today, one imagines them looking round and observing that (paraphrasing a line from Star Trek) it's life, but not as they envisioned it.

That the first four points have been emasculated beyond recognition by the political class for their own ends - especially points three and four, but I digress - it seems to me that further 'basic reforms' are called for if democracy in this country is to survive.

In that respect - and apropo point six - one of the reasons for the American Revolution was the principle of "no taxation without representation". Nowadays, under representative democracy, we have taxation but do not have representation in that those that represent us, do not; they take what is not their money, but ours, without our permission nor with any constraints on what it can be spent.

Point six of the Chartist's demands was for annual elections to Parliament, something which, had we a form of Direct Democracy in this country, would not be necessary. However, every year our political elite present what they laughingly term 'their budget' in which they inform us on what our money - that they intend extracting from us - will be spent and subsequently, amongst themselves, decide whether 'their budget' is 'acceptable' or not. As it is our money should they not, in the first place, ask us? Should it not be us that decide the question of acceptability? Should it not be us that decide, 'Nope' go back and do your sums again?

To a certain extent one can argue that 'no taxation without public approval' should be one of any new reforms that is required for a new democracy. This question does, to a certain extent, form part of what should be discussed on and it could also be argued that it should form part of any new constitution that website will be proposing, hopefully in the very near future. 

Is not the idea of servant asking master on what the master's money can be spent not 'Referism' put into practice?

Whats good for the goose etc, etc.

In common with the public perception of politicians as devious, untruthful, hypocritical people of questionable parentage, William Hague does not disappoint with his comment piece in today's Daily Telegraph. By maintaining that the Falkland Islanders have the right to determine their own political and economic future, Hague denies to us in Britain that which, if push comes to shove, he would ask us to fight for.

It will not have escaped the attention of readers that when it comes to defending our nation, politicians are most noticeable by their absence from the front line of battle. Politicians continually inform us that they want our respect yet seem to forget that it cannot be learned, purchased or acquired - it can only be earned; and so far they have earned squat-diddly.

Just saying...............

Ed Miliband - a la Cameron - a bloody liar!

All our politicians speak of governing us and governing for the many not the few, the latest example being Ed Miliband while launching his party's local manifesto for the forthcoming elections in May. According to Politics Home he stated that he will govern for the whole country, not just the wealthy few. As with all statements issued by the political elite, Ed Miliband has blatantly lied to the British public.

Ed Miliband can no more govern this country - as cannot any other party leader - than can you or I, as he and they have been party to ceding that governance to Brussels through our membership of the EU. Even if we were to accept that Miliband could govern this country as a sovereign nation, through our membership of the EU he would be governing not just for the whole country, but also for the wealthy few - in Brussels.

EU Commissioner's pay scales are specified in this document and their basic monthly salaries are fixed at 112.5% of the top European civil service grade. This works out at 19,909.89. The President is paid at 138% (€24,422.80), Vice Presidents at 125% (€22,122.10) and the High Representative at 130% €23,006.98. Viewed in 'real' money those figures convert to £16,529.29 (£198,351.48 per annum); £20,275.14 (£243,301.68 per annum); £18,368.90 (£220,426.80 per annum); and £19,103.68 (£229,244.16 Per annum). There are further allowances on top of this figure including a residency allowance and an entertainment allowance. Now, there are 18 Commissioners, 7 Vice Presidents, Ashton and Barroso - you go do the maths.

Just saying - not that Miliband's lies will be mentioned in the MSM of course..........

In all the chatter, where is mention of truth or honesty?

The front page of today's Daily Telegraph is plastered with the news that Tory MPs have 'rounded' on Cameron and Osborne, being angry over the budget and the fuel fiasco. According to the article MPs are demanding (i) overhaul of the 'Downing Street Machine; (ii) the ending of Osborne's dual role as Chancellor and head of Tory political strategy; (iii) the appointment of a senior MP as full time party chairman; and (iv) that the ministerial reshuffle should be used to promote more MPs from working class and northern backgrounds. All this and more is called for in order that the Tory party can reconnect with voters and thus retain their confidence. In the editorial the newspaper warns that voters have no time for political manoeuvring citing the 'granny tax', extension of VAT on pasties and the fuel fiasco.

Nowhere in the article, nor the editorial, do the words 'truth' or 'honesty' appear;  nowhere in the article, nor the editorial, is it made plain that our politicians lie to us on a daily basis; nowhere in the article, nor the editorial, is it made plain that politicians of all hues act and behave as an elected dictatorship - all that those quoted are concerned with is how to save their party and (unspoken) their careers.

And politicians strive to reconnect with the electorate? The only way that politicians will reconnect with the electorate is for the entire present edifice of politics to be torn down and rebuilt - and to that end a movement will hopefully begin.

Democracy Excrement, whether portrayed as a rose, a tree or a bird, remains just that - excrement!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sunday 1st April 2012

For some inexplicable reason I find myself not in the 'write' frame of mind to post today - so apologies all round.

Normal service resumes tomorrow.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Playing politics, Cameron style.

We all know about 'Compassionate Conservatism' but it seems we now have confirmation of what has long been suspected with the release of this video and news report, namely 'Cynical Conservatism'.

I can't wait to see Cameron escape from this - as no doubt he will.

More importantly, is this but an extension of Cameron's view where membership of the EU is concerned?

Move over Heath, you've just been supplanted as our most hated figure!

Joke of the day?

Courtesy of An Englishman's Castle comes a comment on the German effect vis-a-viz Greece:
"Angela Merkel arrives at Passport Control in Athens.
"Nationality?" asks the immigration officer.
"German" she replies.
"No, just here for a few days".........
As AEC says, the old ones are always the best ones.............. 

The blind leading the blind

Charles Moore, in his usual Saturday op-ed piece in the Daily Telegraph heads his article: "Even I’m starting to wonder: what do this lot know about anything?". That a journalist is now starting to pose a question that many of us have been asking for yonks can but illustrate how out of touch journalism per-se has become. That the public believe that which they read - and are therefore guided in their opinion forming - also illustrates that for some time now the heading to this post has been only too evident. That Moore can, presumably straight-faced, write that anyone who thinks Cameron should not be Prime Minister is therefore a bigot, beggars belief. Where to begin? I shall not however, great though the temptation is, digress.

To any thinking man or woman it is becoming obvious that our system of democracy must be changed as that under which we presently live, namely representative democracy, is no better than democratised dictatorship or elective dictatorship - and can be likened to feudalism. The problem arises when one considers how change can be effected, because it sure ain't going to be effected through the ballot box - not today, or in the immediate future. One may initially question my use of the word 'feudalism', however bear in mind that our country has always, generally, been governed by what one may call the well-educated who have led the less well-educated. By control of the education system the political elite ensure the population per se are 'contained' whilst their control ensures a separate system of better education from which they can emerge. That is how the political elite ensure we remain feudal vassals.

When considering how change may be effected and knowing that it cannot be accomplished through the ballot box, most begin looking at some form of revolution, one involving a mass uprising - and yes, I am as guilty as the next man in that respect. But, with hindsight, consider: is the common man any better off now than he was prior to 1642? Are we not still governed by an elite over whom we have no control? And do not tell me that having a choice of dictator every five years is a form of control - please?

Almost two centuries later a further, initially peaceful, attempt to change our society began with the Chartist movement. This, we learn from Wikipedia, resulted in the political elite of the time viewing the movement as dangerous, refusing to negotiate with it or deal with its demands and eventually crushing it. We also learn that their ideals, as with most well-intentioned ideals, flourished in hard times but faded in prosperous times.

If it is accepted that change through the ballot box is presently impossible - impossible due to the stranglehold that the three main parties are able to exert on the electoral system coupled with their control of the media - then perhaps it is possible to adapt that of the Chartists with a view to effecting the change that is required. To those who will understandably counter that if the Chartists failed in their attempts to create a movement for change then how do I believe it possible to succeed where they failed, I can but point to the power of the internet -  also hopefully, with the participation and leadership of this blogger, those of us involved can ensure the idea does not fade, but gains traction. It is intended to return to this subject over the course of the next two or three days, so bear with me in the meantime.

One final thought and that is there may be some among my readers who will point out that I instigated a website, talkconsitution, with a view to creating change to our democratic system - so how long will this latest idea last. That is indeed true, but in my defense I have to plead that personal events in my life forced me to neglect that idea, however rest assured that that neglect will also be addressed within the next seven days. The effect on my personal life, vis-a-viz talkconstitution, has been mirrored by that of Ian Parker-Joseph, with the site he started - Judas Class. IPJ still has 'interests' that do not allow him, at this time, to further his project, however - and still to be discussed with him - I would hope to 'relaunch' his idea also.

Friday, 30 March 2012

False-flag politicians?

Toby Young has a most 'argumentative' article on the Spectator blog, an article in which he muses about 'Tory Rebels' and posits that a new type of politics has been born. Oh dear, my cynicism rises to the surface yet again!  According to research carried out by the University of Nottingham, there were rebellions in 179 of the 331 votes held in parliament between the election and last Christmas. That’s a defiance ratio of 43 per cent, quite without precedent in the postwar era. Wow! That begs the question that if this new intake are 43 per cent in disagreement with their party, why are they still members of that party? Also, according to what I believe is basic maths, 179 as a ratio of 331 is slightly more than 43 percent - but I digress.

Philip Cowley, the Nottingham professor who conducted the research, apparently has various theories as to why the 2010 intake are such a fractious bunch. Cowley cites what he calls ‘the Norman Baker factor’ — the fact that plum government jobs that would normally go to loyal servants of the Tory party have been given to second-rate Lib Dems. With so little hope of promotion, exacerbated by a lack of reshuffles, why would any ambitious new MP toe the line? To which one can but respond: sour grapes?

Toby Young quotes Daniel Hannan who cites the fact that whips used to be able to dangle 'foreign junkets' in front  of the troops, quoting Hannan thus:
"They used to be able to hand out foreign junkets, but these days who has the time to go off to Fiji?....In the wake of the expenses scandal, who would dare?"
Do tell, Mr Hannan - the difference twixt Fiji and the Congo is? The difference where this principle is concerned, twixt an MP and an MEP, is?

Toby Young then quotes Douglas Carswell, in respect of the '81 rebellion':
"The view that the new intake feel obliged to pay more than lip-service to their constituents is echoed by Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP who played a pivotal role in last year’s EU rebellion. ‘After the vote, several people phoned me up and asked how I managed to pull it off,’ he says. ‘Look, we didn’t plot it in a basement in Westminster. It was 81 MPs responding to pressure from their constituents. I don’t have magical, charming persuasive powers. The pressure is coming from where it should, from the voters."
Great, in which case those 81 'rebels' won't mind producing all the emails and letters from their constituents then - you know, just to dispel the idea that those MPs were not just demonstrating their application of 'Burkes law'? 

Toby Young also quotes Louise Mensch, that well-known 'wall-flower' of the Conservative Party - you know, the one that posed for GQ magazine. According to Mensch, the social media allows her to 'communicate with people'; to 'interact'; to 'have a conversation' - but more importantly 'catapult herself into the spotlight'. Enough said on that score from someone who plaintively queried what she had to do in order to gain advancement.

Where Toby Young is concerned; where our politicians are concerned; where the media is concerned; where the electorate is concerned - just who is leading who 'by the nose'?

Cynic? Moi?

Smell the coffee

So alludes George Galloway, in what may be termed an explanatory (some may say self-congratulatory) article in CiF, at the end of which he writes:
"The media, especially the London media, should also smell the coffee. Something is happening in this country outside of the echo chamber. The council elections take place in May in many parts of the country: prepare for more shocks to come as people find their voices at the ballot box and in mass, democratic opposition to an elite that is failing them."
Yet again, a few questions:

  • How have people found their voices when a candidate conducts a cynical, opportunistic, campaign directed at one section of society, a section which comprises a majority?
  • How can people express their dissent in a mass democratic opposition to an elite that is failing them when the 'democratic system' that they are being asked to partake in is itself anything but democratic?
  • How can people express their dissent in a mass democratic opposition when parties that should be speaking for them, don't?
  • How can people express their dissent in a mass democratic opposition when they have been 'conditioned' not to think, but to accept that which they are told and consequently are 'uninformed'?
  • How can people express their dissent in a mass democratic opposition when that which they are asked to oppose has not been presented to them in an open, transparent manner, but in a 'selective' manner?
  • How can people express their dissent in a mass democratic opposition when those that they oppose care not one iota for the views of those they are meant to represent, but care only about their careers?
One day the people will discover the answers to those questions - and when they do, we will have our revolution!

Just saying......................

A few observations on respect

Understandably the airwaves are full of the news that George Galloway has triumphed in the Bradford West by-election, with accusations full of recrimination coupled with other articles containing supposed enlightened comment flying about left, right and centre. Methinks all need to calm down as one or two matters do not appear to have been considered, namely;

  • What percentage of the votes cast for Galloway were postal votes;
  • What percentage of those postal votes were from the ethnic electorate;
  • What were the percentages of ethnic votes by races and religion;
  • What percentage of those postal votes could be considered 'justifiable';
  • Galloway has in the past shamelessly played the 'Palestine' factor while campaigning; consequentl he brought together his anti-war, pro-Palestine views and aimed his message at the ethnic community;
  • Galloway is a politician and consequently any views he expresses about speaking and caring for the people of Bradford West can only be viewed with suspicion, especially when one bears in mind his parliamentary attendance just before and after the 2005 general election.
In view of the above I would tend to disagree with those who hold that this result was a rejection of the Lib/Lab/Con and all for which those parties stand. Is not the public perception of our political elite as one that comprises white, educational elitists who have never had a real job and consequently invite ridicule when they talk about hard-working families? Was this not a by-election and not are such events renowned for protest votes?

Cranmer has written what can be considered a condemnation of Ukip and Nigel Farage, which brought forth a comment on twitter that Ukip needed to change their strategy in order to win - a comment which, in turn, prompted my response querying how can one change something that does not exist in the first place. To be fair to Ukip, it could be suggested that they were on what may be termed a hiding to nothing in a constituency that contains significant numbers from abroad, a section of our population that Ukip have vowed to repatriate.

It is worth considering other factors following the result of Bradford West. 

  • With Galloway being a 'lone voice' in Westminster, will he now be ostracised by his fellow MPs?
  • Has Galloway 'debased' our electoral system with what may be termed a cynical campaign in which he targeted and exploited ethnicity?
  • Has the policy of multiculturalism not polarised the political views of electorates as a result of ghettoising areas of the country - for example, Bradford, Leicester and Newham?
  • Would Direct Democracy, with that system's inbuilt ability of the electorate to challenge government policy, have allowed multiculturalism and wars to proceed?
  • Had Direct Democracy been the 'norm', would the platform on which Galloway stood have existed; and would politicians such as Galloway exist?
Just asking....................

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Mixed messages

Today, in the Daily Telegraph, we have two articles - here and here - reporting how Cameron intends to give people choice over which schools and hospitals they use together with control to local parish or neighbourhood councils over their local streets and parks, as a result of planned reform to public services.

Douglas Carswell waxes lyrical over these plans, writing that "David Cameron today announces plans to give people a legal right to choose what public services they get. He promises to end “the closed state monopoly where central government decides what you get, and how you get it" - an announcement, he writes, that has sent him off to his Easter recess with a spring in his step. He also writes that at the moment we have very little say over how government spends all the money we give it, or what they buy on our behalf.

During a recent, brief, conversation with Daniel Hannan I took the opportunity to query whether his vision of Direct Democracy - as outlined in "The Plan", the tome he co-authored with Douglas Carswell - meant that central government would only be responsible for a few matters, such as foreign affairs and defence, with the remainder, such as law & order, health and education, being devolved to local authorities. This he agreed was the case, making the point that local authorities would be the equivalent of Swiss Cantons.

Now Hannan's statement must be one with which Carswell agrees, which makes the latter's exultation with Cameron's statement a tad bewildering. I fail to see how providing a choice over which hospital or school we get to use is empowerment of the people, when Cameron and his government have just spent a few bruising weeks getting their proposals for how the NHS will be managed, said proposals set by central government, and which will be imposed on us all. The NHS debacle is surely no more than a continuation of the closed state monopoly where central government decides what you get, and how you get it - yet another example of a Cameron policy which does not do what it says on the tin. Where was the choice in that for the people - and it is surely a process which is a complete anathema to Carswell's core beliefs in Direct Democracy.

Another matter where I consider Carswell is being a tad disingenuous is his statement that we have very little say over how government spends all the money we give it, or what they buy on our behalf. The truth of the matter is that we do not give any money to government, it is extracted from us. We do not have very little say - we have no say.

Ever since my youth I have been an aficionado of westerns which at that time mainly involved cowboys and indians. From that era I can but paraphrase, where Cameron, Carswell and Hannan are concerned:

Blue man speak with forked tongue.

Just saying...........

Pasty trivia

Lo and behold, George Osborne slaps VAT on pasties and we get stories in our media of politicians who just love pasties and promptly visit Greggs, accompanied of course by the required press photographer and reporter. We also get sketch pieces that gloss over the 'elephant in the room' aspect which in the process makes a mockery of politician's and journalist's gravitas alike.

Now if only the EU would slap a tax on gas ovens..............

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings..........

Daniel Hannan, on his Daily Telegraph blog, writes about a move by MEPs to take away what is presently allowable funding from the BNP.

In respect of the BNP, Hannan writes:
"We are, without question, talking about nasty parties, extreme even within the foetid world of neo-fascism....Most of parties in question subscribe to an ideology called ‘Third Positionism’, whose roots lie in Strasserism and National Bolshevism, and whose adherents describe themselves as ‘beyond Left and Right’. They want authoritarian governments, high tariff walls, regulated economies, confiscatory taxation and the repatriation of immigrants."
"Authoritarian governments"; "regulated economies"; "confiscatory taxation" - hell, Daniel, thought you were writing about the Conservative Party for a minute......

Later, Hannan writes:
"Not that greed is the main motive here; narcissism is. No one really imagines that €289,266 will pay for a pan-European Nazi revival, but plenty of MEPs see the opportunity to preen and look important and, in effect, say: ‘Look how nice I am: I hate those evil fascists even more thanyou do!’ They are all for diversity, provided it doesn't extend to diversity of opinion."
And Conservative eurosceptics don't preen and tell us they hate the evil EU even more than we do? That they hate the EU provided it does not involve cessation of EU membership?

Tsk, tsk: it is indeed fortunate for Carswell and Hannan that their disciples among the public suffer from blinkered vision, that their disciples seem unable to see two politicians who's stated beliefs are at virtually total variance with the party under who's flag they sail, yet retain the cover of that flag purely to enable their careers to continue.

Shifty and arrogant - and that's just the government

Ben Brogan's op-ed piece in today's Daily Telegraph is headlined: "Shifty and arrogant, but still the best government we've got". Wannabe pedant that I am, it must be pointed out to Brogan that it can hardly be the best government we've got as there is no alternative choice,  neither did we actually choose it. Anyways, Brogan writes:
"Mr Osborne is desperate to recover lost ground – it is said yesterday’s concessions on planning were beefed up at the last minute to head off another round of negative publicity – and so is Mr Cameron. Both are contemplating a slump in support, in particular among Tory MPs. In the tea rooms the figure that gets discussed is 46, being the number of letters to the chairman of the 1922 Committee needed to trigger a vote of confidence. The idea is laughable, a matter of idle gossip rather than political substance, in particular as the increasingly dominant 2010 intake does not nurture the disappointed ambitions of its elders and is more instinctively loyal."
When writing that the increasingly dominant 2010 intake does not nurture the disappointed ambitions of its elders and is more instinctively loyal, one has to wonder what planet Brogan has been holidaying on. Only at the end of last August Matthew Barrett was writing on Conservative Home about the 2010 intake and noting:
  • Tory newcomers have accounted for 31% of rebellious votes cast by all Conservative MPs
  • More 2010 intake Conservative MPs have rebelled (46), compared to Labour MPs (21) or the Lib Dems (7)
  • 31% of new Tory MPs have now rebelled
  • New Conservative rebels have cast 249 rebellious votes
If Brogan, when writing about the new intake not nurturing the disappointed ambitions of their elders, is discussing their elder's aversion to EU membership then perhaps he is unaware that only last October Ed Stourton was advising us:
"The latest intake of Tory MPs is far and away the most Eurosceptic in the Conservative Party's history."
Brogan surely cannot be alluding to their elder's disappointed ambitions where ministerial advancement is concerned; I mean, it was even his own paper that reported the frustration of Louise Mensch (a member of the 2010 intake); and being Deputy Editor it stands to reason that he must have seen the article.

What we have here is a typical Brogan 'Big-up Cameron and the Conservative Party' piece leading one to  muse on the number of pieces of silver this particular 'journalist-not' is in receipt of.

Readers will have noted, no doubt, that the heading of this article included the words: "and that's just the government". On that point, let us revert to the question of Conservative eurosceptics - a topic on which Autonomous Mind has been quote vociferous (and understandably so) , an  example of which is here. When considering Conservative eurosceptics, the two names that spring to mind immediately are those of Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan. On the subject of Douglas Carswell we find Luikkerland writing on the subject of the budget coupled with the imposition of VAT on food:
"Of significant incidental note is how, back in April 2011 when the Express brought this to wider notice, the Tory MP, under-cover Europhile (as all Tory politicians are), and apparent main player in his party’s reconstruction into the Progressive/Marxist abomination that it is today, Douglas Carswell, characteristically pretended opposition to a harmonised EU VAT rate, and was quoted in the Express piece chiding George Osborne and urging him to resist harder than he had done with regards to UK contributions to euro bailouts. However, since the Budget, Carswell has seemingly, albeit completely predictably, not expressed an opinion with regards to the stealthy implementation of the thing that he acquired front-page exposure and recognition as a eurosceptic in opposing. Indeed, in February 2012 in his corporate-advertisement covered blog, Carswell explicitly spoke against cuts in VAT. Readers should note that it is the way of the devious Tory eurosceptic to publically denounce overt loss of British sovereignty, but to not draw attention to it when it is being done on the sly."
Neither have I seen any article from Daniel Hannan accepting that Osborne had no option under EU requirements but to go for all or nothing. In this one can but refer to Luikkerland's last sentence above.

Finally, reverting to Brogan and the newspaper for which he writes, it is puzzling that a newspaper which claims to be a 'serious broadsheet' employs sub-standard journalists of the likes of Brogan and others - notable among whom is Daniel Knowles.

All one say is that it is suggested that they do indeed give up the day job.

The enemy within

Following the Budget, Autonomous Mind asked the question: "So where are the 81 Eurosceptic Tory MPs now?" in relation to George Osborne's announcement in the Budget about the imposition of VAT on hot-take-out food. In that post he linked to one by Richard North which pointed out that the Sixth Council Directive (77/388/EEC) allowed the UK to zero-rate most foodstuffs, but the proposal in the budget would see the UK voluntarily give up this derogation, and once it has been given away we assuredly would never get it back. Commenting that that would be an act of even deeper EU integration, AM continued:
"So, we ask, where is the supposedly heroic and infamous band of ‘81 Tory MPs‘ who profess themselves to be rebellious Eurosceptics? Were they shouting Osborne down as he committed his budget to the House of Commons? Or were these tribal drones cheering and waving their order papers with the rest of their playmates as Little Gideon took his seat on the sumptious [sic] green leather bench? Let’s remind ourselves of the facts about these 81 Tories." (My link: Waving of Order Papers: 13:30:00)
To repeat the question posed by AM: where are these supposed 'euroscpetic' MPs? Only last October Ed Stourton (BBC) was stating:
"The latest intake of Tory MPs is far and away the most Eurosceptic in the Conservative Party's history."
A point repeated by Tim Montgomerie, Conservative Home, who referred to "the supercharged Conservative backbencher."

Is there not though another subject about which the latest intake of what is considered to be the most far and away eurosceptic Conservative MPs in the Party's history should be more concerned, especially the 81 to which AM refers with their call for a referendum on EU membership? I refer to one matter to which they should be concerned were a referendum to be granted yet has not, it would appear, to have entered their thoughts. Let us consider those that would be eligible to vote in any referendum; the constraints of electoral law that would be imposed on both sides of any referendum; and, more importantly, those matters which remain 'unspoken'.

From about my vote we learn:
"......Commonwealth and European Union countries. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, and resident in the UK, you are eligible to register to vote in UK elections. To qualify, Commonwealth citizens must be resident in the UK and either have leave to remain in the UK or not require such leave. The definition of a 'Commonwealth citizen' includes citizens of British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories. Citizens of the European Union (who are not Commonwealth citizens or Citizens of the Republic of Ireland) can vote in European and local elections in the UK, but are not able to vote in UK Parliamentary general elections or referendums."
It may not be realised but citizens of Malta and Cyprus are eligible to be registered to vote in respect of all elections held in the UK, even though they are citizens of the European Union, as they are also members of the Commonwealth. Those voters, whilst possibly insignificantly small in the overall numbers were the result to be close, could well be decisive.

From the Electoral Commission we learn that, as with any election, there are indeed financial constraints imposed on both sides of any referendum, however there are other aspects, ones which no-one, least of all MPs or the media, appear to have taken into consideration - I refer to:
  • what may be termed eurosceptic pressure groups of which there are many.
  • "Third Sector" bodies (e.g. Climate Change campaigners, WWF, Christian Aid etc) which will no doubt campaign on the basis that EU membership guarantees environmental protection and saves polar bears etc)
  • Other EU-sponsored bodies, coupled with the possibility of EU-wide "parties" trying to influence results
  • Corruption of the electoral process through postal voting in culturally enriched areas.
  • Disproportionate funding
Consider the first item: eurosceptic pressure groups, of which there are quite a few. We currently witness one such pressure group who intend holding 'mock' referendums on an in/out question in selected constituencies, the first of which is in Thurrock -  planning to roll this out country wide - a campaign for which, at the time of writing, 103,717 have 'signed up for'. Yet there is no 'plan' for what would follow, were their overall campaign to be successful and which subsequently forced the government to grant a nationwide referendum. There are other pressure groups, who need not be named as they are 'well-known', who produce masses of literature and statements on their websites, yet seem 'actionless' - they 'talk' a lot, yet appear to do nothing. If these various pressure groups meant what they say, would not logic dictate that they combine their message and their efforts? The 1975 referendum showed that the 'No' campaign was for ever playing 'catch-up' to their opponents; in other words the 'Yes' campaign dictated the 'rules' under which that campaign was conducted. At the next referendum on EU membership those roles have to - and must - be reversed, yet the performance so far of the various euroscepticMPs are but faux eurosceptics so the cynic in me considers that the existing pressure groups are no more than what may be termed a 'controlled opposition' to EU membership - or likewise, 'faux-eurosceptics'. If they are not, then where are the provisional plans for opposition come any referendum? It is well known that public opinion can force a change of policy within government, so where is the campaign that will stir public opinion to force such a change?

What constraints are there imposed on "Third Sector" or other EU bodies regarding input into any referendum? What can be done to negate any possibility of corruption which has been shown to be endemic with the postal voting system, especially among ethnic voters?

When considering permitted expenditure for political parties during a referendum there is no level playing field within Electoral Commission rules. Note the fact that the level of expenditure for political parties is based on the proportion of the electorate who voted for the party at the previous UK Parliamentary general election. Immediately it can be seen that the one party who will be campaigning for a 'No' vote - and who took second place in the last EU elections - will be severely handicapped where the level of expenditure is concerned. Why should one party be allowed a larger expenditure than any other? Surely, if fairness is a prerequisite of any contest, all registered political parties should receive the same cap on the level of expenditure?

Are not those pressure groups that will be campaigning against EU membership but part of a 'controlled opposition' and thereby qualify to be classified as Judas Goats? Are not those of us opposed to EU membership right to question the veracity of our electoral system? Are not those of us opposed to EU membership right to question the integrity of our political elite?

The fact that the 'No' side are already on the back foot before the battle has even commenced, does not auger well. But then, as in any dictatorship, those at the head of that dictatorship will always ensure that any question put to the people elicits the required response.


The fact that the Welsh windbag turns 70 today is about as newsworthy as the fact that in 11 days time so do I.

Just saying..................

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

There are BOGOFs and there are BOGOFs.........

It has been a long time since the letters page of the Daily Telegraph provided such a wealth of material - and today is one of those days.
Once again, from that same source:
"SIR – We now know the cost of access to the Prime Minister. But there has been no mention of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Was this a buy-one-get-one-free offer?
Keith Flett
London N17
Not a bad joke. Mind you, when one has had so much practice.............

A Punch Line

From "The Local" (Switzerland's news in English) comes news that a Muslim family has been fined CHF 1,400 for refusing to let their daughters partake in mixed swimming classes.

From the letters page of today's Daily Telegraph:
"SIR – Alcohol, cheap or otherwise, is only a small contributing factor to drunken and disorderly behaviour (Letters, March 26). The greater factor is the mind.
In Switzerland, young and old people drink just as much as those in Britain, but seem to manage to get home without vomiting, swearing, urinating or violating others’ property. Why? Because they have always been taught that this is not the proper way to behave and the Swiss police do not tolerate such behaviour.
Perhaps the Government should consider a more moral education system.
Blaise Craven
Zurich, Switzerland
When considering an ultimatum that should be given to immigrants whereby they are informed that if they wish to live in our country then they respect the rules of our society, coupled with the question of acceptable behaviour among society; then a certain 'Punch' line springs to mind in regard to the two items above:
"that's the way to do it"

Just saying..................... 

Funding and lobbying

Writing in the Independent Steve Richards ends his article on party funding thus:
"But take parties out of the picture and what is left? To avoid finding out the answer, the parties need to reach agreement on new forms of funding, quickly. The alternative is more leaders being caught out or no parties at all. Don't hold your breath agreement will be reached."
A letter, on the same subject, in today's Daily Telegraph:
"SIR – It is difficult to imagine a system in which political parties do not rely on donations. However, such funding could be democratised by capping the donation by any one individual or organisation. Perhaps a limit of £100 to bring it in line with what the average person could afford.
Political parties would, once again, have to engage with the electorate at a grassroots level and work for their money. They would need to reverse the trend of dwindling party membership and make their parties more relevant to the majority.
Political parties would, once again, have to engage with the electorate at a grassroots level and work for their money. They would need to reverse the trend of dwindling party membership and make their parties more relevant to the majority.Dr Robert ListerFarndon, Cheshire"
From the article and letter, questions arise. Parties may well need funding, but for what purpose? If a cap is to be placed on political donations, who should set that cap and at what level? How can political parties be made more relevant to the majority, whilst 'engaging with the electorate' at grass roots level? In what way can parties be made to work for their money - and not necessarily just in the field of donations?

Obviously political parties require funding to operate, ie, to cover employment costs, production of literature, manifestos, election expenses, etc; and the necessary funds can be obtained through membership fees and donations. It should however be remembered that representatives of political parties are elected based on political sympathies and ideology. If interest groups increasingly provide funding to parties, there is a risk that the parties will no longer shape their agenda according to their ideology alone, but increasingly according to the wishes of the interest groups. It must then follow that the parties and their members would consequently lose credibility as the representatives of the people. Yet another factor that it is necessary to bear in mind is that parties with a large campaign budget could become omnipresent and bombard voters with propaganda – whether on the street or through the media thus making it difficult for people to form a balanced opinion. Sound familiar? It should do because that is how the present political system in this country works where the Lib/Lab/Con are concerned and it is a system that allows them to effectively 'shut out' smaller parties from the political arena.

That lobbying of politicians is a fact of life - and a necessary ability for constituents of an MP - it becomes problematical when said lobbying is carried out by companies and/or individuals making regular, usually large, donations with a view to influencing party policy and ideology; after all, is that not what lobbying and lobbyists are aiming to do? There can, therefore, be an argument for a cap on political donations, with a currently suggested cap of £10,000 per individual per year. However, if political parties exist with the will of the electorate then logically, should it not be the electorate that decides the limit of donations? Would that not be the democratic way bearing in mind politicians are, so we are informed by them, all for democracy? With a view to transparency - another matter which politicians assure us they are in favour of - should not politicians be duty bound to make available details of all meetings with lobbyists including the reason for such meetings; and where any financial element is involved, be that even being bought drinks or a meal, all details being included in a register?

When considering the other questions, namely making political parties more relevant to the majority, while at the same time engaging with grass roots level and working harder for their money it would be necessary for a disengagement with our present system of representative democracy and a move towards direct democracy and the ideology of referism. Only when politicians are aware that they are the servants of the people; that their every decision can be challenged by the people; that the people can force politicians to implement laws, laws which they may not wish to implement; that their personal positions as MPs can be terminated at the wish of their electorate between elections - only then, it is suggested, will our politicians become more relevant to the majority; only then will an attempt be made by them to engage with 'grass roots levels; and only then will they be forced to work harder for their money.

Regular readers will know that when discussing any adoption of direct democracy I often proffer Switzerland as an example. Extraordinarily, of all countries, political donations do not need to be declared in Switzerland. According to critics, however, this lack of transparency is a problem, because dubious people and institutions could be making donations to political parties. Critics are also asking how independent political parties actually are as the more intensive the election campaign, the more it will cost and these costs need to be covered. If parties become increasingly dependent on interest groups, this could be problematic and critics claim that this dependence could lead to bribery or corruption. Most Swiss cantons do not require the disclosure of political donations, however since 1998 and 1999 respectively, the cantons of Ticino and Geneva have had legislation governing the disclosure of political donations. The canton of Ticino requires parties to report donations of over CHF 10,000 to the cantonal chancellery. The amount of the donation and details of the donor must be given. In the canton of Geneva, political parties are required to submit their accounts and the names of their sponsors every year to the cantonal financial inspectors. 

The Swiss Federal Council has, in the past, dealt with several calls for increased transparency in the funding of political parties, including the motion by social democrat Max Chopard proposing "Increased transparency in the funding of political parties". It has rejected* the demand for statutory regulation and advocated voluntary measures, on the grounds that there are many open issues regarding implementation, enforcement, enforceability and sanctioning options. In addition, pressure from the state could make people less willing to become involved in political matters, and it is precisely from this willingness that direct democracy draws life.

Just a few thoughts for discussion..............

* The opinion is only available in German, French or Italian - however if using Google, the translation is quite good.

Monday, 26 March 2012


Commenting on the story that the BBC's Television Centre is infested with rats, Richard North, EU Referendum, advises that the infestation is being blamed on 'neglect at the building'. The rats about which Richard North writes are of course the quadruped variety - but cannot the same accusation of 'neglect at the building' be levied where the proliferation of the biped variety are concerned in respect of our democracy and politics?

Nigel Farage (with apologies to RN for the use of bad language!) has maintained for a few years now that you cannot get a cigarette paper between the Lib/Lab/Con where policy is concerned - yet this is nothing new where that accusation is concerned. In his preceding post to the one linked to above, Richard North quotes from an article published in 1942, of events in 1939, its author being former Times foreign correspondent Douglas Reed:
"The electorate had seen that the Parliaments it returned always, invariably, did exactly the opposite of that which had been promised and that which it had been returned to do, and felt, furthermore, that there was no means of remedying this, because no clearcut difference was apparent between the two parties which faced each other in the House; appalling though the Tory Party's record was, the Labour Party offered no clear alternative."
Noticeably, the difference twixt then and now, is?

For 73 years then we, the people, have been complicit in the proliferation of these biped rats, rats which have been allowed to breed at a phenomenal rate, These rats have spread the diseases of misinformation, state dependency, social engineering, freedom diminution, destruction of sovereignty; to name but a few. It can be argued elsewhere whether this has come about as a result of our disinterest and/or ignorance, but one thing is now patently apparent - they must be culled to the point where not one remains.

When discussing our biped variety of rats one initially thinks of our politicians but we must also include their 'little helpers'. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures for the last quarter of 2011 showed that public sector employees amounted to 5,942 million and this report from 2010, citing a study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Investigative Journalism is, I suspect, an oxymoron - but I digress), illustrates many examples of the chief biped variety of rat - which is where a start can made.

It is unfortunate that we do not possess the modern-day equivalent of the Pied Piper, consequently a cull carried out by the masses will be necessary - of course, when you are ready and feel so inclined, masses. 

Perhaps a study by the masses of "Direct Democracy with Referism Macht Frei" might just stir some immediate action?

When will they ever learn?

At the time of writing the Daily Telegraph website has not updated their letters page, however in the letters page of the print edition today appears the following:
"Sir,After Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, I thought it would be impossible for anyone to persuade me to vote for the Labour party again. Congratulations to George Osborne on achieving the impossible.Leonard MacauleyStaining, Lancashire"
When one considers the type of democracy that exists in this country it stretches logic that a member of the electorate considers the only choice is between a set of spivs who wear the colour blue and an alternative set of spivs who wear the colour red - which is not to forget a set of 'trainee' spivs who wear the colour yellow. Do not misunderstand me, I am not advocating we all vote for another set of 'trainee' spivs who have adopted the colours purple and yellow and who wish to retain the status quo of central control, albeit with a small democratic twist.

One only has to read Jeff Randall's op-ed piece in today's Daily Telegraph to realise that there is no difference twixt the blue spivs and the red spivs. That he who is presumably a 'thinking' member of the electorate is prepared to switch his allegiance back to a party who were part of the root cause of our country's present difficulties can only underline the nadir to which our democratic system has sunk. That that same member of the electorate also seems unable to think 'outside the box' and appears to accept that representative democracy is the only form of democracy available also underlines how democratically unaware the electorate have become.

On Saturday last I attended a small seminar, the subject of which was how to ensure that any referendum for cessation of our country's membership of the European Union was successful. This was attended by an MP (Mark Reckless), two MEPs (Daniel Hannan and David Campbell Bannerman) and representatives of various pressure groups. Two matters never entered the speeches given or the questions raised - namely that there are too many pressure groups in existence and that perhaps those groups need to combine in order to present one voice to the people; and neither was any mention made of what, exactly should occur once any referendum was won. After all, is it not essential that if asking the people to vote for something all aspects of the alternative being offered should be spelt out? It is all very well campaigning for the laudable aim that those who govern us should be able to be 'hired and fired' by the electorate - but what is the point of exchanging one set of 'central controlists' for another; in other words what is the difference between a collection of dictators who cannot be hired and fired and the alternative who can? We still end up with dictators.

The fact all present appeared to accept that continuation of representative democracy was the only form of democracy available and was therefore a 'given' was depressing in the extreme, likewise the failure of those calling for a referendum who appeared to have committed the political sin of not thinking through that which they propose.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Strange followers

Suddenly Twitter advises me that a number of new followers have appeared, all within one minute - names such as gugofadi; degocamyjy; biliyzifyv; cyxycema; nytidanufem; wyfuwugac.

Normally when you block and report a spam tweet that tweet disappears from your timeline - not these boys.........

Something I said, what it?


From Wikipedia:
"Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power. That entity may be an individual, as in an autocracy, or it may be a group, as in an oligarchy. The word despotism means to "rule in the fashion of a despot" and does not necessarily require a singular "despot", an individual......Colloquially, despot has been applied pejoratively to a person, particularity a head of state or government, who abuses his power and authority to oppress his people, subjects or subordinates."

In the United Kingdom it is also known as representative democracy.

H/T: Fausty's Libertarian Blog for the idea.