It has really upset me that I have been unable to attend the meeting at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate today.
Having fallen ill and thrown myself upon the tender mercies of the NHS, I am currently unable to drive any distance and have had to withdraw from something that I have looked forward to participating in for so long.
The discussions that take place today have the potential to form the foundation of a new settlement for democracy and representative government. Like the Chartists, it may be today’s specific demands for reform are not realised by this group. But they may instead become a catalyst for people who follow to secure those reforms later for the benefit of the people of this county.
As in the time of the Chartists this action has become necessary because of the nature of politics. We have a political class that is unresponsive to the wishes of the people it is supposed to serve. What passed for democracy has been further eroded by the outsourcing of control to an unelected, unaccountable and alien bureaucracy, whose mandarins are allowed to suckle at the teat of the taxpayer – claiming expenses for items they have not even purchased, and affording themselves the perk of not having to pay tax on their earnings. Power is sought for its own sake.
As they enjoy the trappings of power, the politicians defer to the ‘guidance’ of faceless civil servants who take their lead from the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats overseas. What results are spectacles such as that where the Prime Minister rejects the clamour of people to be allowed to decide how this country is governed, citing his personal belief that it is not in our interest. Democracy denied. A yawning chasm of a deficit.
It must end. The dictatorship must be dismantled. The people must be the constituency that determines how monies collected by the state are used. The inverted master – servant relationship must be corrected.
Sentiments such as these will certainly treated with contempt by the establishment. There is every likelihood that they will be considered threatening and hostile and therefore necessitate action by the state. But that is only because democracy is the antidote to their grip on power. Our interests are not the same as their interests, so we need to be as determined and ruthless as them in seeking to put our interests first.
The meeting at the Old Swan Hotel is but a small step on a long journey that has to be taken. The thirty or so people who are currently engaged in the sharing and challenging of ideas are just the first of those who are prepared to stand up and be counted. There is no doubt that as more eyes are opened more people will make a stand. The sooner the better.