Posts Tagged 'Democracy'

It’s time to take on and defeat the pro-EU side

Under the section on ‘Progressing the Agenda’ on page 26 of the Harrogate Agenda pamphlet, it says:

One of those objectives, not explicitly stated, is the withdrawal of the UK from membership of the European Union. As it stands, the direct democracy embodied in THA is not compatible with membership of the EU.

The inception of the Harrogate Agenda was to campaign for a transformation in British democracy – namely bringing it about.  It just so happens that democracy, real people power, is utterly incompatible with membership of the EU and its model of governance beyond accountability, which is why THA says it is necessary for the UK to leave the EU.

However, given the significantly changing pace and indeed face of the EU referendum debate, the Harrogate Agenda committee and advisory panel will meet in May to discuss formalising and increasing the link between THA and the EU Referendum issue, in order to give more prominence to campaigning for withdrawing from the EU.

In other words, although THA was not brought into being to fight for withdrawal from the EU, it is looking to re-focus its activity to achieve that end.

This does not mean THA will abandon its aim of demoratic reform in the UK.  Far from it.  Rather it is a recognition that before that can happen the UK needs to be free of the EU and we have a part to play in that.

To achieve that goal of leaving the EU there is a clear need for the anti-EU side to get all the help it can.  Blogging supporters of THA have variously highlighted and lamented the shortcomings of the anti-EU side over months and years.  Therefore the proposal being put before THA supporters – who are currently engaged in building the foundation of the movement before presenting it to the public – is that we now actively get involved in the game, that we devote our attention and focus on EU withdrawal, while formally bringing to it whatever philosophical and technical tools we can.

There are too many things that the public is not being told.  There are too many Europhile lies going unchallenged.  The media is awash with FUD, spin, deliberately sown confusion and ignorant commentary.  Not enough is being done to provide voters with reassurance that leaving the EU can have positive benefits in addition to the UK governing itself and speaking with its own voice on the world stage.

It’s time to tackle and overcome those problems.

THA has something to contribute – not least Richard North’s outstanding, condensed FLexCit plan that provides a definitive roadmap for leaving the EU and dealing with expected stumbling blocks along the way. It’s time to get out of the stands, onto the field and energise the pro-independence side.

EU membership: We have to change the terms of the debate

Laura Sandys MP, we are told, is the Conservative Member of Parliament for South Thanet and the Convenor of European Mainstream. In Parliament, Laura was first appointed to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and, until recently, was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Greg Barker MP, Minister for Climate Change. She is currently focused on consumer policy, energy security, the green economy and our relationship with the European Union.

Unsurprising to find therefore that she has written a puddle of unmitigated dribble for the Telegraph, in an article that the editors have chosen not to allow comments on.  A puddle that includes gems like:

[...] ‘Better off Out-ers’ appear fearful of negotiating abroad, unable to succeed in getting their way, and instead choose to loudly ‘beat their retreat’.

[...] However, ‘Out of Europe’ as a stated policy would be the first time in modern history that the UK’s aim would be to diminish its influence in Europe – an extraordinary retreat from our national interest.

[...] For my part I am greedy for the UK, not cautious – I want EU PLUS. I want the 500 million customers that the EU offers PLUS new trading partners and new export opportunities from across the globe.

There is a world of difference between ‘negotiating abroad’ and being subject to political control from abroad.  It is the better-off-outers who want to broaden the UK’s horizons and look beyond the borders of the EU for cooperation and trade in our own name and using our own voice.

It is worth noting that we are increasingly seeing politicians attempting to justify political settlements and the erosion of democracy with some perceived economic benefit.  Almost every political matter is now being projected through an economic prism.  Sandys is doing exactly the same thing here.

This shows the extent to which the political process has been captured and is now dominated by vested corporate interests.

The Europhile side barely ever talks about any other reason for remaining under EU control than trade and wealth.  Important as these things are, people power, accountability, sovereignty and self determination are essential elements for a society.

Having these removed by stealth, without our permission, then having a meagre promise of an economic carrot tossed in our general direction as some kind of compensation when the culprits are rumbled, is not acceptable.

We have to pull the debate back on to the political pitch and demand that the politicans talk to our interests, rather than move the issue on to the economic pitch preferred by their corporate paymasters.

Democracy through the Wythenshawe prism

We have learned that the media will do all it can to ignore the crucial matter of political and electoral legitimacy. The establishment can’t have ordinary people actually thinking about or discussing MPs sitting in Parliament after securing only a tiny amount of support in the ballot.  That would be dangerous to the establishment.  The media, as its ally, continues to help distract attention away from this significant issue.

84.4% of eligible voters in Wythenshawe and Sale East did not vote for the candidate elected as the area’s MP.  71.8% of eligible voters in the constituency did not even vote.  The turnout was mentioned in Chris Mason’s piece, but only as part of the result, tucked away as a bullet point neatly at the bottom of the vote tally, no further discussion of it wanted or permitted.

This is an issue that is not going to go away.  In a democracy the elected representatives must have legitimacy.  Mike Kane’s election ‘victory’ with only 15.6% of the available vote is nowhere close to legitimacy.  We do not live in a democracy.  It is time people made a stand in order for this country to become one.

The real Wythenshawe election result

Party politics is a tribal business and it was no surprise this morning to see my tribe had won the Wythenshawe and Sale East By Election in a landslide. The results were as follows:

Makes no Difference so Not Bothered   -   61,034  (71.8%)
Labour   -   13,261  (15.6%)
UKIP   -   4,301  (5.1%)
Conservative   -   3,479  (4.1%)
Lib Dem   -   1,176  (1.4%)
Green   -   748  (0.9%)
BNP   -   708  (0.8%)
Monster Raving Loony   -   288  (0.3%)

We will get to the implications for democracy in just a moment.  So what does this mean for the parties?

Labour said they knocked on every door in the constituency, yet even with the abuse-enabling postal vote they were unable to motivate even 16 in every 100 voters to make a positive vote for them.  This was always a win and from the moment he was appointed, Mike Kane could have used his candidacy as collateral for long term borrowing and planned a new, well funded lifestyle with plenty of holiday time and boondoggles to cherry pick from.

UKIP as ever talked a great game but even before the declaration, Paul Nuttall was moaning about a postal vote stitch up and the inability of a party to build momentum during a campaign. This is fatuous nonsense.  This is not the 1960s where voters had a range of policies to choose from on the big issues that matter, and therefore wait to be persuaded by powerful arguments before choosing who to vote for.  With the EU running almost all the major portfolios, parties have little scope to change anything of substance and even less therefore to offer voters.  Swing votes are increasingly cast on the basis of economic self interest, be that a desire for lower taxation and efficient services, or the preservation of benefits and welfare payments, in constituencies that are marginals between Labour and the Conservatives.

I said to friends before the election that anything less than 5,000 votes in this election would represent a failure for UKIP, as their vote would turn out even while others stay at home. Even as a dustbin for protest votes and with substantial media coverage over recent months, UKIP only managed to enthuse 5% of Wythenshawe’s voters to come out and support them in rejection of the other parties.  This does not indicate any sense of a breakthrough. It shows the limitations of UKIP’s appeal and it represents a bad result for the party in the current political climate.

They will do better in some other constituencies where a vote for UKIP can inflict a bloody nose on another party in a close race, or where the election is meaningless, such as the European elections.  But for all the noise of UKIP fanatics on comment threads, in the real world voters are not flocking to the party in the way its vocal followers imagine.  On this showing, second place in the Euro elections seems more likely now.

Conservative election managers were expecting a pounding and they rightly got one.  Their vote collapsed with it being obvious Labour would win easily.  Tory campaigns have been hit hard by the loss of supporters, particularly since Cameron became leader and turned the party into the new age Social Democrats, then rejected the option of forming a minority government and calling another snap election to secure the extra seats they needed for a majority – instead getting into bed with the Limp Dums in order to give Cameron the cover he wanted to dump much Conservative policy.  The party is finished in the northern urban areas.  It has nothing to offer that differs from Labour and its own efforts to maintain a client state in years past is coming back to bite it hard now finances necessitate welfare to be reined in.

Fib Dim supporters repeatedly rejected suggestions they would lose their deposit here, but they did, then promptly went into a self imposed media blackout.  Previously the party of all things to all men, now they are nothing to almost everyone.  The party will now write off the Euro elections and prepare to see its MEP tally slashed to almost nil.  All attention will turn to a ‘hold what we can’ strategy for 2015, where what remains of the Lib Dem activist base will be drafted in to selected constituencies where they have MPs for the most bitter and nasty election campaigns we will have ever seen in a desperate battle to retain most of their seats.  If any party is devoting more time to party maintenance than anything else, it is Clegg’s declining rump.  They have nothing to offer and most voters now treat them with the contempt they have long deserved.

Green / BNP can be lumped together as two cheeks of the same authoritarian arse.  While one seeks to undermine and reverse the progress made over decades in our industrialised and open country through damaging and regressive eco-loony policies, the other seeks to undermine and reverse the progress made over decades to build a more inclusive society through racism and identity politics.  Neither party is credible.  Neither party appeals to anyone outside a limited number of angry and hate fuelled drones who want to ‘purify’ this country through ecological and traditional fascism respectively.  Thankfully here they made up little more than 1% of eligible voters, but even that was too many.

Monster Raving Loony entertainment is always a fixture in By Elections and in addition to those who treated the election as a farce and stayed away, another 288 made an effort to come out and treat the party political process with a bit of extra contempt by voting for those upholding Sutch’s legacy.

So what does this mean for democracy?

We still don’t have it.  We have an electoral process, but that’s all.  Mike Kane will settle his backside onto the green benches, but will now answer to Labour whips in Parliament, vote as he is told and parrot prepared lines to take.  He will go through the motions of being a lawmaker, but ultimately change absolutely nothing for the residents of Wythenshawe and Sale East.

In 2015 he will stand again and will win again.  More people will be motivated to turn out and vote just to ensure the hated Tories do not sneak in by some fluke of electoral happenstance.  The Tories will regain second place as many of their stay away voters from this campaign come out in forlorn effort to stop Ed Miliband becoming Prime Minister.  UKIP back will likely slide back into third as the enthusiastic support they have has already turned out and few others will jump into their camp at the General Election, so they will be overtaken by Conservatives who will turn out after getting in a lather as a result of the General Election hype.

All in all, after great expense and column acres of discussion, analysis and interpretation, nothing of substance will change.  Voters will be no more empowered and have no more control or ability to change things through the system than they had before.  People power will remain a soothing catchphrase.  Slowly though, more people will reject the process and increase the number of those who could be tempted to look at a radical alternative to what masquerades as democracy today.

No, the EU has not gone off the rails; we are seeing what was always intended

The Tories are at it again, pushing their lie that the “Common Market” started off with good intentions and somehow went off the rails.  It is laughable because this argument cannot withstand the merest wisp of a breeze of scrutiny of the substantial mountain of evidence that underlines the truth. What we are seeing is what was always intended.

The European project has not lost its way or gone beyond its original plan.  It is firmly on track to achieve what its architects set out to do.

But that doesn’t stop the likes of John Redwood and an assortment of nice/nasty but dim Europlastics in the Conservative Party, and their corporatist proxies such as Open Europe, from chuntering about a mythical renegotation of UK membership and wider reform of the EU, because the union has supposedly gone further than they ‘believe’ was intended.  These people need only to trouble themselves to read the substantial body of documents and speeches by the European project’s leading lights, dating from the present all the way back as far as the end of World War I, to see how deluded and ignorant their ‘off the rails’ argument is.

While the EUphile media in the UK laps up the Tory ‘off the rails’ lie and reports the faux fightback it as if it were a defining issue of our time – because like the media the Tories want to keep the UK firmly under the control of the supreme government in Brussels – in reality this hoo-haa is just for domestic consumption by a British audience, to service the vested interests of corporations that benefit from EU membership and rule by bureaucracy, while the negative consequences of membership are experienced by ordinary people as the democratic process is eroded and the capacity of people to effect change is eradicated.

But in the corridors of EU power, this renegotiation/reform ‘debate’ so beloved of the Europlastics barely registers, as Mary Ellen Synon explained to the Bruges Group recently, because David Cameron reassured the EU last April that he would not take Britain out of the EU just because a referendum result was a vote to get Out.  Renegotiation and reform is a singularly British monologue and it doesn’t even make it into the EU’s in-tray.

The fact is there is no great crisis of confidence in the EU.  In fact the EU is supremely confident and relatively content with its patient implementation of the decades-old plan, hatched by the likes of Monnet and Salter, to develop one overall government for all of continental Europe.  It was never about creating a continent-wide free trade area.  The customs union was not the aim, just a consequence of creating a single political jurisdiction. In José Manuel Barroso’s own words, the agenda is ever closer union and ‘the EU needs to be big on big things and smaller on smaller things’.  Governance is a big thing and the EU will be big in governing, as per the long standing plan.

The European project was always intended, slowly and deliberately, to relegate national governance to nothing more than a rubber stamping operation.  By keeping nominal national governments in place, the distracted and barely cognisant populus would retain an impression of national sovereignty where none exists.  The Tories are either too stupid to read the evidence and grasp this; or too dishonest to admit it, lest their complicity in this long planned and slowly implemented subversion of national self determination is eventually recognised, understood and punished by the electorate.

Until the reality of the European project, and the EU it has spawned, is understood so people see the lies, delusion and misrepresentations for what they are, we will never have an honest debate about the UK’s future and this country’s place in the world.  Remember, those suitcases on the baggage carousels at Brussels airport so vividly described by Mary Ellen Synon in her Bruges Group speech linked above, have stickers that say “Europe is my country”, not ‘Europe is my free trade area’.  The reality of what has always been intended is no secret. It is ludicrous in light of so much evidence that the Tories are allowed to get away with their lie.

So long as the Tories and their proxies are allowed to keep presenting their distorted and false narrative unchallenged, the British people will never be able to make an informed decision about the central and vital question of who should run Britain.

Please help more people to understand the reality by spreading it far and wide, in general discussion and on comment threads.  It’s time that people had the chance to  debate and decide Britain’s future in an informed way with knowledge of the realities, not the politically-motivated myths that currently hold sway.

Cameron’s supposed challenge to free movement in the EU is going nowhere

On the day when much of the world lost all sense of perspective and proportionality, to beatify by acclaim the media constructed legend of Nelson Mandela, the outcome of discussions that directly impact on the lives of Britons – and therefore matters rather more – was quietly released.

Home Affairs ministers from around the bloc have taken note of the European Commission’s communication on ‘the free movement of EU citizens’ and responded to it, making clear that.

The overwhelming majority of member states agreed that the free movement of persons is a core principle of the European Union and a fundamental right of all  EU citizens that should be upheld and promoted. They also agreed that individual cases of abuse have to be combated within the existing legal framework and in cooperation with local authorities in the member states.

Moreover, the Visegrad countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) circulated a joint statement on this issue (17395/13), considering that the selective  application of core freedoms by member states leads to an erosion of the single market.

This, coupled with the process of qualified majority voting, means Cameron’s attempt at a putsch to dilute one of the European project’s four fundamental freedoms is dead before it even gets out of the gate.

As if to reinforce the point – and provide a timely reminder that many of the worst impacts of mass migration here are the result of the UK government failing to use powers at its disposal – the ministers, whose UK representatives were Chris Grayling and Theresa May, generously suggested actions that should be carried out instead:

In order to help national and local authorities to effectively apply EU free movement rules, the document presents five concrete actions to be implemented together with member states:

– helping member states to fight marriages of convenience (handbook);
– helping authorities to apply EU social security coordination rules (practical guide);
– helping authorities to meet social inclusion challenges (funding);
– exchange of best practices between local authorities;
– training and support of local authorities in applying the EU free movement rules.

From a democracy perspective this is valuable and instructive, as another example of how the EU circumvents national governments and talks directly to local authorities to ensures they deliver what the EU wants at a local level.  This sees to it there is no need to overcome potential resistance from Parliaments.  Westminster will therefore once again be by bypassed as our supreme government talks to the lowest levels of government and hands them their orders – which are enthusiastically followed by pro-EU council officers.

Of course, voters in local elections are never asked if they agree with what their local authorities plan to do on their behalf in respect of dealing with immigration.  They are not even told what measures will be taken or how many tax pounds will be allocated for this work, let alone have any say in what actually happens, or any veto over it.  Despite this people still witter on about this country being a ‘democracy’.

The media will not report this.  The Cameroon sycophants will ignore it, as they ignore everything that challenges their inaccurate beliefs and delusional shibboleths.  Most people will know nothing about it.  Rather than focus on how we are ruled and decisions are made without our consent, time and money is devoted to lauding a man who used violence to help achieve his ends – with one increasingly unhinged commentator even drawing comparisons between Mandela and Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the solution is for people to use social media to start sharing information like this that the media deliberately withholds from the public, and stop simply being used by the media to link to stories it has chosen to cover in pursuit of an agenda that serves interests other than ours.

State funding of political parties must be opposed

Hands off taxpayers’ hard earned cash.

If a political party cannot fund itself through membership fees or donations then it should wither and die.

That is one of the more sensible comments that left in response to a typically sycophantic outburst from Steve Richards in the Guardian.

People have the freedom to join political parties or not, to donate money to them or not.  However it seems that if we use that freedom to reject the parties and withhold our money from them, the establishment will remove our freedom by compelling – through a law to which we will not be asked to give assent – the confiscation of our money for their own private, party political use.  They will attempt to justify this in much the same way Richards tries with this appeal:

We need parties. The alternative is nightmarish [...]

[...] Virtually every dark story in British politics over the last 30 years has a connection with the funding of politics, but without funding parties cannot function.

In other words, they want us to believe there is no alternative to the parties bar anarchy; and all the examples of dirty dealing and misbehaviour by the parties to hoover up cash have only happened because of our unreasonable refusal to voluntarily hand over our money to subsidise their vested, tribal interests.  It is only the because the parties have made themselves irrelevant, by treating the electorate as if we are irrelevant that they find themselves in this position.  And now they are going to compound the problem.

The softening up process of preparing the way for theft on an industrial scale – not for purpose of providing essential services, but for nothing more than the maintenance of parties with agendas that run contrary to the wishes of most people – is well underway.  Richards’ piece is just the latest call from within the establishment for state funding of parties.  Its inception would represent a staggering abuse of power.

Do you think such an obscene state of affairs could ever come about in a democracy?  It must be opposed aggressively.

Longrider has a post on this subject saying much the same thing, in his own inimitable way…

The Harrogate Agenda Explained…

A number of readers have asked for The Harrogate Agenda and its aims to be explained in a little more detail.  The document below is a one-page explanation.

You can also download the document in PDF format and save to your computer by clicking on the PDF graphic below…

The Six Demands are detailed on The Harrogate Agenda website.

Tackling the web of delusion

Inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners Lee, is one of this country’s finest exports.  When one considers the huge contribution he has made to the ability of people to share information and knowledge around the globe in seconds, it seems a shame to find cause to criticise him.

But sadly that is the case today.  In fairness, Berners Lee has rightly articulated in the Telegraph a sound assessment that:

One of the most encouraging findings of this year’s Web Index is how the web and social media are increasingly spurring people to organise, take action and try to expose wrongdoing in every region of the world.

But, while that is true to an extent, Berners Lee has fallen into that prison of the mind, a web of delusion, when it comes to understanding what constitutes democracy.  For perhaps understandable reasons, this otherwise extremely intelligent man thinks we actually have democracy, which leads him to argue that:

… a growing tide of surveillance and censorship now threatens the future of democracy. Bold steps are needed now to protect our fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and association online.

Surveillance and censorship of the type we are increasingly seeing are not threats to democracy; they are symptoms of the absence of democracy.

The definition of democracy has been corrupted.  Its definition today as advanced by the political class, has been adulterated to mean nothing more than periodic elections taking place.  Small wonder people are ignorant about what democracy really is and continue to labour under the delusion that we have it.

All this sham ‘democracy’ permits is a change of the colours of the tribe that will execute agendas formulated by unelected and unaccountable people, without consultation with us, or our permission.  The political process is completely detached from the people.  Power has been removed ever further from the people and the only solution is for people to take that power for ourselves – it will not be willingly reliquished by the establishment.

There is a way of taking that power and commencing the journey to democracy, one that will take time and numbers.  The Harrogate Agenda has the sole and unswerving objective of having democracy implemented in this country and has a strategy to achieve it.  A one page (PDF format) explanation of The Harrogate Agenda can be downloaded and shared from the right hand side of this page or by clicking on the PDF graphic below:

The Harrogate Agenda explained

Taking power for the people can be done, peacefully, intelligently and by operating within the law.  Withdrawing our consent to be governed in the way we are can be achieved by frustrating the establishment through a mass refusal to abide by their rules and requirements when it comes to the source of their power – the control of money.

When will these hacks open their eyes to the reality of party politics?

The Tories’ obsession with their ‘brand’ patronises voters by treating them as shoppers, so writes Brendan O’Neill in the Telegraph today.

It’s another of those commentary pieces that again goes around the houses to articulate and bemoan the hollowed out shell that now passes for party politics in this country, but consistently fails to seek and explain why this is the case.

In his own way, O’Neill tells us what we already know and have heard from numerous other talking heads in a variety of slants on the same core theme, when he says:

That everyone now seems to think it’s normal to talk about the Tories as a “brand” shows how shallow, how surface-driven, modern politics has become. A brand, of course, is an outer mark, a stamp either burnt on to one’s skin or, in modern parlance, stamped on to a product or service for sale. That the Tories, especially their modernisers, have become myopically obsessed with this outer mark, with the lick of paint on the outside of their party and the question of whether a new, more youth-friendly lick of paint is required, shows how bereft of serious thinking they are. Embarrassed by the historical and political substance of the existing Tory Party, and lacking any newer substantial political ideas for taking the Tory Party forward, they obsess instead over garb, over prettification strategies, over imagery, like those annoying hip graphic designers who think style is everything and substance is so 20th-century.

As always the cause and the answer are clear; we do not have democracy.  All that is left of the political parties is shallow, branded, tribal trivialities that are devoid of substance or ideas.  This is for the simple reason that all the major issues concerning goverance of this country are decided by the EU.  The UK is not a sovereign nation.  Our politicians have some relatively meaningless shreds of control left in areas the EU has not yet taken or cannot bother itself with owning.

The days of weighty and ideological battles, of matters of substance being argued over in Parliament, through the media and on the doorsteps, are gone.  This is what the EU – in all its guises – set out to do, to remove power from where ‘populist’ sentiment, i.e. voters, could influence it, because people vote for things in their ‘narrow national interest’ rather than the interest of the political class and their corporate sponsors.  I left the following comment in response to the piece:

The only philosophy is the desire to hold office, no matter how powerless or meaningless it is.  Of course there is the added incentive of pay and perks and the personal profile and future spin offs that come with such a position.  But anyone who makes the argument that they want to enter party politics to ‘change things from the inside’ is clearly too ignorant of reality to be worthy of election in the first place.

One wonders how long it will take for this to dawn on people, particularly the talking heads, who remain incapable of joining together a few dots or reading about what our surpreme government was created to do and recognising what it has so far done.  Bar a few notable exceptions, it seems the massed ranks of the lamestream media are either in denial or must have been subjected to a collective lobotomy.

Politics of the kindergarten

A measure of just how far party politics has sunk, and the extent to which the desperation of politicians to see their tribe ‘in power’ trumps everything, can be seen in Nick Boles’ suggestion that the National Liberal Party be revived by the Conservatives.

Such is the contempt in which voters are held by the political class, politicians like Boles believe that the Conservatives setting up a modern day National Liberal Party – which in its previous incarnation after splitting from the Liberal Party had the likes of Michael Heseltine and John Nott on its roll, before going on to merge completely with the Conservatives in 1968 – would attract liberal-minded voters at the next general election that the Conservative brand cannot.

The point here is that Boles is admitting the Conservatives are unpopular and need to win Liberal Democrat votes.  Knowing most of those Lib Dem supporters who could be tempted to jump ship from the SS Clegg would jump left rather than right, he is pinning his hopes on people falling for a false flag party that, he reasons, would appeal to the centre left yet obey the Conservatives’ bidding without question.  It failed in the 60s and it would fail again now.  But the fact the idea is even being kicked around shows the depths these people will plumb.

Of course, nowhere in all these shenanigans is there any consideration of what the people may want, or recognition that most of the promises the parties will make ahead of the 2015 General Election could never be honoured in any case because the power sits in Brussels, not Westminster.  While a relatively small story with little traction, this is by far one of the most cynical trains of thought and naked attempts to con voters into supporting something they don’t want that has so far emerged from the festering swamp that is home to the political bubble.

Voting for any of these lying crooks would be an obscenity.  They are nothing more than children playing games.  We are looking on at the politics of the kindergarten.  It’s well past time for a change to the system.

A “filthy, dirty, posh wanker” or just a deluded idiot?

David Cameron has dignified a foul-mouthed and abusive outburst by Russell Brand with a typically juvenile response, reported as a story by the Guardian.  No surprise there.

The real story however concerns the substantive issue Brand raised recently, concerning disengagement from the political system by increasing numbers of eligible voters.  While some of the disengaged understand clearly what the problems are, others are disengaged only because they have a sense that things are not right, that politicians and parties are to blame and that as nothing changes there is no point in voting.

The reason why nothing changes, as we have explained in the two posts on Hard Truths here and here, is because our politicians have given away the power to govern this country to the EU.  They could not change things even if they wanted to, unless they first made the UK independent again.  Politicians have continued with the transfer of power despite knowing for decades that the EU undermines and erodes sovereignty and democracy by design.  Democracy can lead to outcomes that don’t suit the political class, so they simply use power to prevent the wishes of the people being followed.  It is this that is fuelling disengagement and anti-political sentiment.

So while it is self evident that you cannot believe in democracy and support the EU or membership of it, we find Cameron making a comment of profound and deluded idiocy – or cynical deception – in response to Brand’s call for ‘revolution’:

I’m a democrat. If Russell Brand’s got a better idea, he can let us know.

I have a better idea, Dave, and I’ll tell you right now what it is, let’s have democracy!  Not the sham that describes dictatorship by an elite as ‘democracy’, but the real thing that reflects the meaning on the word, demos kratos – ‘people rule’.

Whatever Cameron is, he isn’t a democrat.  Cameron wants to continue with the fraudulent notion of democracy that merely collapses ‘democracy’ into periodic voting, while isolating the political process from any form of control by the people.

Brand’s desire is for revolution.  We do need a revolution, but not of the kind Brand has in mind.  We need a peaceful withdrawal of consent to bring about a change of the system.  Resorting to violence plays into the system’s hands, because they can put down violence with far greater and better equipped violence.  Brand doesn’t seem to get that.   No, we need a revolution that leaves the state’s hands tied by making their systems unworkable and their rules unenforceable.

It can be done.  But it needs to be done in a way that keeps structures and rules intact, only under the control of the people, in order to avert anarchy.  The Harrogate Agenda has a strategy that can achieve that .  A post on that later this weekend.

Representative Democracy: The disengaged

Four in 10 people are “alienated” from  Britain’s political parties and say they will not consider voting for any of them, according to new research that is reported by the Independent.  It is an interesting article that is worth a couple of minutes of your time to read.

The problem with the article is that it drifts off into the realm of fantasy when it goes on to tell readers that, although the polling carried out by TNS-BRMB does not mean people are apathetic about politics,  the Committee on Standards in Public Life which commissioned it believes the findings pose worrying questions about the future of democracy in Britain, maintaining the illusion that we actually have democracy in this country.

Lord Bew, who chairs the committee, said the growth in the size of this group over the last 10 years represents a real challenge to politicians, parties, local organisations and community groups to provide the public with a sufficiently attractive and relevant set of options to choose from.

This is where the lack of understanding about how this country is governed, and by whom, is utterly exposed.  The politicians, parties, local organisations and community groups cannot provide the public with attractive and relevant options to choose from because they do not govern the country, the EU does. This is why we have meaningless posturing, endless broken promises that could never be kept, fights over narrow meaningless matters and soundbite politics, instead of genuine choices and real change when people want it.  This needs to be repeated over and over until people understand it.

British politicians do not run Britain.  This is why no matter who is elected in this country, on the substantive issues nothing changes because they do not have control over those issues.  This is not a sovereign country.  Our control over the laws in this country has been lost, our control over the taxes payable in this country has been lost.  Whether most stay-away voters realise this or not, they do at least see that voting changes nothing and is not a worthwhile exercise.  More people are joining their ranks.  The disengaged is a growing constituency.  The only solution is a wholesale change of the system where the people hold the power, not the political class.

Getting back to the democracy illusion, one of the comments in response to the article captures the essential point about our condition with ruthless efficiency. It is an excellent potted summary that deserves to be shared around, for it underlines the reality and helps to reinforce the necessity of challenging and changing the system to replace the cheap and nasty sham we have with real democracy:

Their fear is growing, the establishment is circling the wagons

Russell Brand’s interview by Jeremy Paxman, and the subsequent furore about not voting, has evidently rattled the political class.  So much so, the columnists are still pouring out their implorings for people to trapse to the ballot box and continue doing what clearly has no effect whatsoever, and think tanks are now weighing in to spread their own brand of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).

The latest examples are in the Independent today, where Jane Merrick reports (without any question or challenge) a tidy piece of scaremongering from the Labour party’s closest thinktank, the Institute of Public Policy Research.  And John Rentoul uses his space to argue that even a vote for Nick Clegg is better than not voting.  The IPPR piece stands out for its FUDmongering:

People who do not vote are more likely to face public spending cuts and reduction in household incomes, a leading think tank reports today.

Political parties are more likely to tilt their policies and economic decisions towards groups who turn out at the ballot box than those who do not, the IPPR says. As a result, it leads to a “vicious cycle of disaffection” because low turnout groups feel politicians are not listening to their concerns, and this makes them even less likely to vote.

There really is a worry among the political class that the increasing tendency of large chunks of the electorate to stay away from the polling stations, recognising that however they vote nothing will change and the will of the people will be ignored, will increase as a result of high profile personalities articulating the reality and encouraging more people to follow suit.  To help things along, this comment has been added to the article’s discussion…

The Norway Option

The video of the Norway Option (trailer above) is now on sale. It is available online via Peter Troy’s website, together with his “Voices for True Democracy” film, which introduces The Harrogate Agenda.
The “Norway Option” is a powerful counter to the propaganda efforts of the CBI and others, with some illuminating interviews from a stance that the BBC will never allow you to see, complete with Nigel Farage explaining that Article 50 is the way to go.

So where are the hard truths then? – Part 2

Continuing from the previous post… In his comment piece in the Guardian, Russell Brand has himself admitted that he said nothing new or original in his interview with Jeremy Paxman, acknowledging that it was the expression of the knowledge that democracy is irrelevant that resonated with both Paxman and a wider constituency.

In his op-ed, Brand argues that:

As long as the priorities of those in government remain the interests of big business, rather than the people they were elected to serve, the impact of voting is negligible and it is our responsibility to be more active if we want real change.

What Brand this fails to acknowledge or deal with is the reason why the people who politicians were elected to serve are not being served.  It is too simplistic to say the politicians are only looking after the interests of big business.  The fact is the power to effect change in this country has been given away to the European Union and politicians here cannot rein in behaviour of the corporates when EU laws give them a mandate to act as they do.

Whether Brand realises it or not, the issue again boils down to sovereignty – who should run Britain?

When Brand says that politicians are frauds, he is right on the money about many of them.  This is because there is a significant number of politicians who understand very well the limitations that EU rule has on a government’s scope for domestic governance.  Despite this they make impossible promises and hold forth about changes that need to be made in areas of policy where the UK no longer governs itself – while staying silent about the EU dimension.

However, there are politicians who simply do not understand the EU dimension and think the UK still has the ability to effect changes.  Given the fast moving world of current affairs and the sheer breadth of things they need know just enough about to comment upon, as if they were in control of a brief, these are the people who don’t take the time to learn how this country is really governed, where power really resides and how little can actually be changed even if Westminster was of a mind to.

This takes us back to the so-called ‘democratic process’, which is just long hand for ‘voting’.  This is about the limit of involvement people can have in our so-called democracy.  But where is there any value in voting when the people we elect do not have the power to change those things we are opposed to?  Back to Brand’s op-ed again:

The only reason to vote is if the vote represents power or change. I don’t think it does. I fervently believe that we deserve more from our democratic system than the few derisory tit-bits tossed from the carousel of the mighty, when they hop a few inches left or right. The lazily duplicitous servants of The City expect us to gratefully participate in what amounts to little more than a political hokey cokey where every four years we get to choose what colour tie the liar who leads us wears.

Replace ‘The City’ with ‘the EU’ and Brand has actually got it spot on.  The reason we only get a few derisory tit-bits is they are all there is within the gift of the people we elect to give to us.  The reason they hop a few inches left or right is that all the big issues are dealt with in Brussels, so there’s no point in ideological battles when any mooted changes could not be delivered unless the EU willed it.  That leaves us with the change in tie colour every four or five years, because the three main parties are all fighting over that narrow piece of ground where Britain still has some control over its affairs.  That results in the insignificant differences Brand references.

Somewhere else Brand has managed to land on solid ground is with these words:

I like Jeremy Paxman, incidentally. I think he’s a decent bloke but like a lot of people who work deep within the system it’s hard for him to countenance ideas from outside the narrowly prescribed trench of contemporary democracy. Most of the people who criticized me have a vested interest in the maintenance of the system. They say the system works. What they mean is “the system works for me”.

Perhaps. Or perhaps they just have no imagination.  Perhaps that is why the likes of that fool, Harry Mount, rush forth with a blanket rejection of Brand’s comments and have to work in extremes.  The alternative to what ‘democracy’ we have today, the likes of Mount argue, is violent revolt, lawlessness, social breakdown, chaos.

Not for Mount is there any consideration of a different system where there is real democracy.  One where the politicians have to ask for permission from the people before executing some of their plans.  Not for Mount is there any route to this other than though armed revolt, rather than peaceful, intelligent civil disobedience that demonstrates a removal of consent by the people and removal of power to implement the wishes of those over whom we have no control and who we cannot hold to account.

Just as politicians avert their eyes from the EU elephant in the room, the other parts of the establishment avert their eyes from the one way they can be brought down, without them being given the excuse to use force of arms. Although Brand heads off on a flight of emotional indulgence, he does return to the core issue, possibly without realising what he has hit on, when he writes:

Here’s one for blighty; Philip Green, the bloke who owns Top Shop didn’t pay any income tax on a £1.2bn dividend in 2005. None. Unless he paid himself a salary that year, in addition to the £1.2bn dividend, the largest in corporate history, then the people who clean Top Shop paid more income tax than he did. That’s for two reasons – firstly because he said that all of his £1.2bn earnings belong to his missus, who was registered in Monaco and secondly because he’s an arsehole. The money he’s nicked through legal loopholes would pay the annual salary for 20,000 NHS nurses. It’s not illegal; it’s systemic, British people who voted, voted for it. I’m not voting for that.

What he has described is the result of the loss of sovereignty.  This is what happens when a nation state can no longer levy taxes because it is precluded from doing so by the law that applies in the political union.  This is a powerful case for leaving the EU, where corporatist interests are indeed put first.  We have never voted for it, as Brand asserts.  The politicians simply made it possible by taking decisions in our name and refusing to seek our permission.  It doesn’t take a violent revolution to correct that.  Just making ourselves ungovernable in a peaceful way is far more effective as it breaks the very system from which they derive their power and exert control.  This is Harrogate Agenda territory.  And it doesn’t require a single vote for the least worst choice of identikit political climber, it doesn’t require a spoiled ballot paper.

Brand finishes his piece thus:

If we all collude and collaborate together we can design a new system that makes the current one obsolete. The reality is there are alternatives. That is the terrifying truth that the media, government and big business work so hard to conceal. Even the outlet that printed this will tomorrow print a couple of columns saying what a naïve wanker I am, or try to find ways that I’ve fucked up. Well I am naïve and I have fucked up but I tell you something else. I believe in change. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty because my hands are dirty already. I don’t mind giving my life to this because I’m only alive because of the compassion and love of others. Men and women strong enough to defy this system and live according to higher laws. This is a journey we can all go on together, all of us. We can include everyone and fear no one. A system that serves the planet and the people. I’d vote for that.

He is mostly right.  If we collude and collaborate, if we believe in and want real change, if we defy the system in intelligent ways that frustrate and undermine our tormentors, we can indeed embark on a journey together and bring about a system where we, the people, have the power and our interests are served.

These are indeed hard truths, though perhaps moreso for those people who continue to troop to the polling station and put an ‘X’ in a box, particularly those who do it without enthusiasm because they feel it is their duty to exercise their franchise.  In the main, most of them do not realise all they are doing is legitimising a system where they are not able to vote for the people who really do make the decisions about how Britain is governed.

In such a circumstance, why bother voting?  If it changed anything, they would likely ban it.

So where are the hard truths then? – Part 1

Last week we had Russell Brand, who for reasons passing understanding is now a very rich ‘celebrity’ holding forth on politics and being selected by our dumbed down media to be afforded a platform, telling Jeremy Paxman that he ‘can’t be arsed to vote’ and looking forward to a revolution, in a Newsnight interview.

Now we have the Guardian focusing on Paxman’s confession that he himself, grizzled establishment beast that his is, once did not venture out to vote because looking at the candidates he found ‘the choice so unappetising’.  This was enough to spark off the Guardian’s Michael White into writing an op-ed, that we will look at in a moment, as it actually prompted this post.

Back to Paxman for a moment though.  Regardless of who he works for and the editorial line he takes, some of his withering assessment is illustrative and quite valuable.

Russell Brand has never voted, because he finds the process irrelevant.  I can understand that: the whole green-bench pantomime in Westminster looks a remote and self-important echo-chamber. But it is all we have.

In one recent election, I decided not to vote, because I thought the choice so unappetising. By the time the polls had closed and it was too late to take part, I was feeling really uncomfortable: the person who chooses not to vote – cannot even be bothered to write ‘none of the above’ on a ballot paper – disqualifies himself from passing any comment at all.

At the next election we shall have a choice between the people who’ve given us five years of austerity, the people who left us this mess, and the people who signed public pledges that they wouldn’t raise student fees, and then did so – the most blatant lie in recent political history.

It won’t be a bombshell if very large numbers of the electorate simply don’t bother to vote. People are sick of the tawdry pretences.

It was in response to these comments that the Guardian’s insufferably arrogant Michael White entered the fray with a voter apathy piece.  Now, things are never black and white, there are always shades of grey, which is why there were some parts of White’s piece that seem well judged.  But this is Michael White, so he undoes his good work with some typically idiotic rot:

But Paxman speaks to a wider malaise in which the media itself plays a larger part than it ever cares to admit. Yes, politicians promise too much and under-deliver. But the idea promulgated by Brand, that they deliberately “lie and deceive” while remaining indifferent to voter needs, is risible. If anything, current politicians are too keen to appease voter demands – better services for less tax – than to tell hard truths about our problems.

This is so much establishment bollocks.  Take David Cameron, Nick Clegg or Ed Miliband for example, promising too much and under-delivering.  Why does this happen?  It is perfectly fair to argue that they are lying and deceiving.  It is not risible.  Their failure is not about being more keen to appease voter demands than to tell the hard truths about our problems.

The first hard truth is that they infer action will be taken, or promise action will be taken, on matters where they know all too well the UK Parliament has no control, because sovereignty has been ceded to the European Union.  They know it because they are briefed about the limitations of what they can and cannot do by advisers and civil servants. They don’t make these promises to appease voters, they do it to conceal the extent to which power has been given away.  That is why they indulge in such tawdry pretences.

If these men and their ilk wanted to appease voter demands we would have had, for example, an EU referendum years ago, we would not have invaded Iraq, our troops would have already ended the Afghanistan debacle, illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers would be removed from the country as soon as their claim was rejected, people wanted on terrorist charges overseas who abuse our hospitality by using this country as a base from which to incite violence would have been deported, wind turbines would not be replacing coal and gas power stations at greatly increased expense to consumers, fuel duty would have been slashed, and idiotic rules on waste collection and spiralling landfill costs we are forced to pay would have been dropped. Just for starters.

So Russell Brand is right about the lies and deceit.  What about this assertion from White?

Consensus can be a boring but necessary part of life, at home as much as in politics. Compromise is part of the process of politics whereas polarisation fuelled by outrage (real or fake) is more fun, but also more dangerous.

The reason why there is so much consensus is that the major issues of ideological difference have been removed from national control.  Change cannot be effected, so the three main parties are congregated around the scraps that are left, where there isn’t really scope for wildly divergent viewpoints.   There is a hard truth here, but none of the politicians acknowledge it.  The EU elephant is in the room, the deception is maintained.

The hardest truth of all is that democracy has been utterly subverted.  We hear lots about democracy when politicians seek legitimacy through elections.  But when constituents try to influence how their elected representative votes on a matter in the House of Commons, they are rebuffed by the MP – often with words to the effect of they represent all constituents, not just those who write or call to press for him/her to vote in a certain way.

So where from here?  Since writing this post commenced in the late afternoon, Russell Brand has been given space in the Guardian for a lengthy opinion piece.  The comments and ideas there concerning elections and voter anger will be covered in part 2…

Tax tourism and sovereignty – defining the real issue

Reading through the comments responding to the previous post, it seems the point I was trying to get across hasn’t landed as intended.  So hopefully this better defines the real issue.

The primary issue is not about whether corporations pay tax, or even how much they pay.  The issue is about who decides, the nation state, or the European Union with its judicial court bristling with legal primacy sitting in Luxembourg.

This is about sovereignty.

Without sovereignty over the law and over taxation rules in this country, the UK does not have the competence – the right or ability – to decide what entities operating here pay tax, or how much they should pay.  As such our nation state cannot effect change, be it positive or negative. We are powerless and at the mercy of foreign legal and fiscal institutions that are beyond the control of the British people and are not accountable to us.

But no one is talking about this essential issue.

It was dodged in Parliament during HMRC’s examination by the PAC.  It has been ignored by the media despite the matter being in plain view and ripe for massive coverage. Crucially, it gives lie to the oft repeated claims of the politicians that we are still an independent country, and are just sitting within a club of member states.

Control over the essential matters that determine whether a nation state is just that, has been removed from our national parliament and legal structures.

This has been done without our permission or consent.  But the emerging consequences, while provoking all sorts of complaints, investigations and hearings – be that concerning taxation of geographically distributed corporations; regulation affecting energy prices and ownership of our energy providers and means of energy generation; regulation affecting water prices and ownership of our water companies;  and even the regulation affecting how we collect and dispose of rubbish and the costs loaded on to us as a result – are not being connected back to the root cause… removal of sovereignty.

That is the real issue.  That has to be the area of our focus.  That is the battleground to determine how and by whom the UK is governed.  It is about sovereignty.

Tax sovereignty, tax tourism, national impotence and the European dimension

According to an entry in Wikipedia, a sovereign state is a nonphysical juridical entity of the international legal system that is represented by a centralised government that has supreme independent authority over a geographic area.   It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither dependent on nor subject to any other power or state.

The only way a centralised government can be sure it has supreme independent authority over its geographic area is if it controls all laws that apply in that territory and it is controls the setting and collection of revenue through taxation.

In the last three posts on this blog, we have focused on an issue that demonstrates beyond any doubt that the United Kingdom is not independent.  Laws to which British people are subject are made by a foreign entity outwith these shores.  Control of the setting and collection of revenue is similarly determined by an overseas power.  As such:

  • the UK does not have legal sovereignty
  • the UK does not have tax sovereignty

This is of fundamental importance to this country and its people.

The Public Accounts Committee scrutiny of the HMRC Annual Report and Accounts for 2012-13 have brought this essential issue to the fore, yet the far reaching implications of the absence of sovereignty in these areas are either not being understood by the media, or ignored by it.  This is the most serious matter concerning governance in the UK today, yet no one, with the exception of a couple of bloggers, is trying to draw attention to it.

When Margaret Hodge asked HMRC why they have not chosen to litigate and test their powers, in respect of collecting tax based upon revenues and profits made within the UK’s jurisdiction by corporations such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google, the answer from HMRC should have been they they have already tested their powers in the Thin Cap Group Litigation - and lost the case in the European Court of Justice.  Very recently indeed, in 2007.

HMRC lost the case because EU law prohibits restrictions on corporations moving capital between member states and, crucially it prohibits restrictions on corporations making payments between their component entities within the European Union.  This basically means a company can make a huge profit within the UK’s jurisdiction but the UK cannot collect corporation tax on that profit if the corporation chooses to make transfer payments to a European ‘parent’ entity within the EU.

In such matters, as a result of being an EU member state, the UK has been rendered impotent.  It is therefore not sovereign.

Many people have been greatly angered by what they see as corporations ‘not paying their fair share’, not least Margaret Hodge.  But too few of their number understand that what the corporations are doing is legal and enshrined in EU law.  The free movement of capital (a principle which was later extended to include payments) was one of the four fundamental freedoms of the common market.  It is an EU matter.

This has shone a light on an issue far more serious than the actions of the corporations – namely the inability of member states to have tax sovereignty.

Yet this huge issue – tax tourism – with all its far reaching implications, is hiding in plain sight and attracting no attention from even a single media commentator.  Not a single national paper or news broadcaster has explained this point to the public.  The question is, why?

Politicians like Hodge can wring their hands, scream, shout and hissy fit until they faint.  They are powerless.  Their agencies, such as HMRC are hamstrung and unable to do anything.  No amount of hearings or inquiries will change that.

The competence for taking money in taxes from corporations in the UK, that choose base their activities in another EU member state and choose to transfer money made in the UK to that base from the UK in the form of payments for royalties or rights etc, has been removed by European treaties.   The UK has ceased to be sovereign.  The only way this will change is if the UK withdraws from the EU.

Yet you can be certain all those corporate interests will be lining up as they are now, demanding the UK remains in the EU because it’s ‘good for business’.  What has been outlined in this post is the reason why.  National sovereignty and the will of the people don’t matter a jot to them, only achieving the largest profit possible by paying the lowest tax rate they can find.

Guilty

Each time a provider has put up their prices, Labour has spun its smoke and mirrors on their ludicrous plan for a 20 month price freeze.  Meanwhile the Tories have said people need to change provider to get a cheaper deal.

Both are trying to convince the public they want to ‘do something’ even though both have laid the blame for the huge and continuing price rises at the door of the energy providers and have tried to ignore the government’s significant role in driving up energy costs – which are far greater than the 10% admitted to by DECC.

But today, against a backdrop of Tories and Socialists at least going through the motions of claiming they want to see the rapidly increasing burden of energy prices reduced, the Lib Dem energy minister, Ed Davey, has said he is pledging to turn the screw even harder.

I am not going to give up on renewable energy, they are not going to touch it, and I am not going to betray the fuel poor. That’s for me is a complete red line. I feel passionate about that.

The green taxes we have been pushing as Liberal Democrats in this government have been extraordinarily successful and point to an extremely green, clean energy future. They’re not being touched and they won’t be touched. It’s incredibly important for investors that they hear that.

His pledge to help the fuel poor just creates more fuel poor to pay for it.  But his real priority is renewables.  He wants to carpet bomb the country with wind turbines so he can rid the energy mix of coal fired energy – at a time when environmentalist Germany is building more competitive and reliable coal fired plants, to ensure its people and industry can afford to power homes and businesses.

While Germany thinks about its power needs and acts on them, Britain has the insipid Davey thinking about investors’ needs and crippling consumers.  These investors are the people and companies that coin in a fortune from our taxes and energy levies to put up wind turbines that earn them vast sums, even when the turbines deliver only around a 1/5th of their energy capacity – and they even make money when the turbines generate nothing!  It is ideology-driven insanity.

The sustainability agenda has a new figurehead in the UK.  Ed Davey, a man who is guilty of dogged determination to make things worse because he refuses to accept his direction is damaging.

He thinks he is a force for good.  He is merely a puppet of delusional environmentalists, with little concept of the real world and is in thrall to those who believe humans are a plague that should be controlled, by reversing industrial progress and undoing the humanitarian progress that has enabled many people of even meagre means to heat the property they live in.

Ed Davey is possibly the most dangerous extremist in this country today.  The damage he is capable of wreaking far exceeds that of armed terrorists.  His sustainability jihad should be of serious concern to everyone who does not have a parasitic interest in making money from underperforming novelties that attract ludicrously inflated feed in tariffs: and whose low output must be purchased by energy providers irrespective of the cost – the pain of which is then borne by all powerless energy consumers.

Davey is out of control and impervious to the wishes of the people.  He is aided in this by the fact we do not have democratic control that enables this idiot to be called to account.  More than any other politician today, he embodies the pressing need for structural reform of governance in this country to ensure people have the power, not dictatorial ideologues elected by around 28,000 voters in one corner of south west London.


Enter your email address below

The Harrogate Agenda Explained

Email AM

Bloggers for an Independent UK

AM on Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

STOR Scandal

Autonomous Mind Archive