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Archive for May, 2009

One of the ideas being mooted by the troughers at the top, desperate to save their own hides by deflecting culpability away from themselves and onto ‘the system’, will have the unfortunate effect of undermining the principles of parliamentary democracy by implicitly disenfranchising vast swathes of the electorate.

An MP, when elected to parliament, represents the constituency and, by implication, everybody in it whether they voted for that MP or not. But if the party to which the MP belongs is somehow empowered (for example, through some sort of ‘oversight committee’ of the constituency party being set-up) to dismiss the MP for whatever reason, then the electorate in that constituency are no longer represented. The person they thought was their representative in parliament has become no more than a party delegate. This also implies disenfranchisement for those who do not belong to the party. The gravity of this cannot be stressed heavily enough. There is such a thing as totalitarian democracy (one vote for only one party). Quite possibly we would have invented a multi-party version of it! In fact, a similar system was set-up in France after its revolution. It was also, in its way, a form of democracy and it utterly failed.

It’s fair to say that we have been brought to this by the operation of the party system within parliament, where MPs are treated by the central party machine not as, primarily, constituency representatives, but as delegates, just like with the style of ‘democracy’ you would find in a trade union. It has never been worse than under this government, where representative, parliamentary democracy has been systematically undermined by what Hailsham called ‘elective dictatorship’. Of course there must be some form of party unity – even some enforcement of that unity – in order to provide strong leadership and stable government.

But who’s really in charge of Parliament has been forgotten. The country and Parliament need reminding: through the representatives we elect to speak for us there, we are in charge. In order to protect this crucial principle from governments seeking to rule by decree, I think it’s obvious it must now be enshrined in some form of written constitution. But most of the current incumbents in the House of Commons (and the House of Lords), tainted as they are by the rotten stench of mass-sleaze, cannot be trusted either to draft or to implement this new constitution. That is why there must first be an immediate General Election. As only Cameron and Clegg argue, it is the beginning of the process of reform and not a ’cause of chaos’ as our implausibly appalling Prime Minister so desperately wishes to have us believe.

A written constitution is not reform, it is affirmation and in any case I believe that “reform” for its own sake is not, technically, what is required. What’s required is reassertion of the principle of the independence of MPs within parliament; the recognition in a single document that MPs are elected representatives of their constituency, not the voting fodder of The Party. (A completely new set of MPs would be major step forward to this). What is required is, almost literally, renaissance where the meaning of ‘sovereignty’ for Britons is clearly defined once and for all.

There are some democratic reforms that can occur during this renaissance, of course. E-democracy, for instance – a form of direct democracy – would be preferable to fudging representative democracy still further and ending-up with the worst of all possible worlds for ‘we, the people’: even less representation through botched and insincere (fake) reform. E-democracy is also preferable to the current, corrupt arrangements at local level in its own right.

Politicians in their attitude to constitutional reform – or, at least, this crop of particularly awful politicians – are similar to the police force in their attitude to the law: they both crave more and more powers in order to make their lives less and less difficult – and ours impossible. Both are anathema to liberal democracy. Besides, as the great S.E. Finer would remind us were he still alive:

‘Politicians are not as clever or as charismatic as you or me,’ pause, ‘particularly me.’

Of this they should be constantly reminded, especially when they say they want to tinker with a system they themselves have abused. Be suspicious – totally.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that at least one idea – now being seriously considered by all three parties – that constituency party committees can somehow ‘call back’ and ‘dismiss’ MPs is an affront to our democratic rights as well as being constitutionally unsound. It is a poor fudge dreamt-up by stupid and desperate careerists as a distraction for an angry electorate. It must be resisted at all costs. What we need right now is a new Parliament followed by no less than a British renaissance, not more dithering and drifting followed by disingenuous and extremely harmful, destructive ‘reform’.

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One of the ideas being mooted by the troughers at the top, desperate to save their own hides by deflecting culpability away from themselves and onto ‘the system’, will have the unfortunate effect of undermining the principles of parliamentary democracy by implicitly disenfranchising vast swathes of the electorate.

An MP, when elected to parliament, represents the constituency and, by implication, everybody in it whether they voted for that MP or not. But if the party to which the MP belongs is somehow empowered (for example, through some sort of ‘oversight committee’ of the constituency party being set-up) to dismiss the MP for whatever reason, then the electorate in that constituency are no longer represented. The person they thought was their representative in parliament has become no more than a party delegate. This also implies disenfranchisement for those who do not belong to the party. The gravity of this cannot be stressed heavily enough. There is such a thing as totalitarian democracy (one vote for only one party). Quite possibly we would have invented a multi-party version of it! In fact, a similar system was set-up in France after its revolution. It was also, in its way, a form of democracy and it utterly failed.

It’s fair to say that we have been brought to this by the operation of the party system within parliament, where MPs are treated by the central party machine not as, primarily, constituency representatives, but as delegates, just like with the style of ‘democracy’ you would find in a trade union. It has never been worse than under this government, where representative, parliamentary democracy has been systematically undermined by what Hailsham called ‘elective dictatorship’. Of course there must be some form of party unity – even some enforcement of that unity – in order to provide strong leadership and stable government.

But who’s really in charge of Parliament has been forgotten. The country and Parliament need reminding: through the representatives we elect to speak for us there, we are in charge. In order to protect this crucial principle from governments seeking to rule by decree, I think it’s obvious it must now be enshrined in some form of written constitution. But most of the current incumbents in the House of Commons (and the House of Lords), tainted as they are by the rotten stench of mass-sleaze, cannot be trusted either to draft or to implement this new constitution. That is why there must first be an immediate General Election. As only Cameron and Clegg argue, it is the beginning of the process of reform and not a ’cause of chaos’ as our implausibly appalling Prime Minister so desperately wishes to have us believe.

A written constitution is not reform, it is affirmation and in any case I believe that “reform” for its own sake is not, technically, what is required. What’s required is reassertion of the principle of the independence of MPs within parliament; the recognition in a single document that MPs are elected representatives of their constituency, not the voting fodder of The Party. (A completely new set of MPs would be major step forward to this). What is required is, almost literally, renaissance where the meaning of ‘sovereignty’ for Britons is clearly defined once and for all.

There are some democratic reforms that can occur during this renaissance, of course. E-democracy, for instance – a form of direct democracy – would be preferable to fudging representative democracy still further and ending-up with the worst of all possible worlds for ‘we, the people’: even less representation through botched and insincere (fake) reform. E-democracy is also preferable to the current, corrupt arrangements at local level in its own right.

Politicians in their attitude to constitutional reform – or, at least, this crop of particularly awful politicians – are similar to the police force in their attitude to the law: they both crave more and more powers in order to make their lives less and less difficult – and ours impossible. Both are anathema to liberal democracy. Besides, as the great S.E. Finer would remind us were he still alive:

‘Politicians are not as clever or as charismatic as you or me,’ pause, ‘particularly me.’

Of this they should be constantly reminded, especially when they say they want to tinker with a system they themselves have abused. Be suspicious – totally.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that at least one idea – now being seriously considered by all three parties – that constituency party committees can somehow ‘call back’ and ‘dismiss’ MPs is an affront to our democratic rights as well as being constitutionally unsound. It is a poor fudge dreamt-up by stupid and desperate careerists as a distraction for an angry electorate. It must be resisted at all costs. What we need right now is a new Parliament followed by no less than a British renaissance, not more dithering and drifting followed by disingenuous and extremely harmful, destructive ‘reform’.

Read Full Post »

One of the ideas being mooted by the troughers at the top, desperate to save their own hides by deflecting culpability away from themselves and onto ‘the system’, will have the unfortunate effect of undermining the principles of parliamentary democracy by implicitly disenfranchising vast swathes of the electorate.

An MP, when elected to parliament, represents the constituency and, by implication, everybody in it whether they voted for that MP or not. But if the party to which the MP belongs is somehow empowered (for example, through some sort of ‘oversight committee’ of the constituency party being set-up) to dismiss the MP for whatever reason, then the electorate in that constituency are no longer represented. The person they thought was their representative in parliament has become no more than a party delegate. This also implies disenfranchisement for those who do not belong to the party. The gravity of this cannot be stressed heavily enough. There is such a thing as totalitarian democracy (one vote for only one party). Quite possibly we would have invented a multi-party version of it! In fact, a similar system was set-up in France after its revolution. It was also, in its way, a form of democracy and it utterly failed.

It’s fair to say that we have been brought to this by the operation of the party system within parliament, where MPs are treated by the central party machine not as, primarily, constituency representatives, but as delegates, just like with the style of ‘democracy’ you would find in a trade union. It has never been worse than under this government, where representative, parliamentary democracy has been systematically undermined by what Hailsham called ‘elective dictatorship’. Of course there must be some form of party unity – even some enforcement of that unity – in order to provide strong leadership and stable government.

But who’s really in charge of Parliament has been forgotten. The country and Parliament need reminding: through the representatives we elect to speak for us there, we are in charge. In order to protect this crucial principle from governments seeking to rule by decree, I think it’s obvious it must now be enshrined in some form of written constitution. But most of the current incumbents in the House of Commons (and the House of Lords), tainted as they are by the rotten stench of mass-sleaze, cannot be trusted either to draft or to implement this new constitution. That is why there must first be an immediate General Election. As only Cameron and Clegg argue, it is the beginning of the process of reform and not a ’cause of chaos’ as our implausibly appalling Prime Minister so desperately wishes to have us believe.

A written constitution is not reform, it is affirmation and in any case I believe that “reform” for its own sake is not, technically, what is required. What’s required is reassertion of the principle of the independence of MPs within parliament; the recognition in a single document that MPs are elected representatives of their constituency, not the voting fodder of The Party. (A completely new set of MPs would be major step forward to this). What is required is, almost literally, renaissance where the meaning of ‘sovereignty’ for Britons is clearly defined once and for all.

There are some democratic reforms that can occur during this renaissance, of course. E-democracy, for instance – a form of direct democracy – would be preferable to fudging representative democracy still further and ending-up with the worst of all possible worlds for ‘we, the people’: even less representation through botched and insincere (fake) reform. E-democracy is also preferable to the current, corrupt arrangements at local level in its own right.

Politicians in their attitude to constitutional reform – or, at least, this crop of particularly awful politicians – are similar to the police force in their attitude to the law: they both crave more and more powers in order to make their lives less and less difficult – and ours impossible. Both are anathema to liberal democracy. Besides, as the great S.E. Finer would remind us were he still alive:

‘Politicians are not as clever or as charismatic as you or me,’ pause, ‘particularly me.’

Of this they should be constantly reminded, especially when they say they want to tinker with a system they themselves have abused. Be suspicious – totally.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that at least one idea – now being seriously considered by all three parties – that constituency party committees can somehow ‘call back’ and ‘dismiss’ MPs is an affront to our democratic rights as well as being constitutionally unsound. It is a poor fudge dreamt-up by stupid and desperate careerists as a distraction for an angry electorate. It must be resisted at all costs. What we need right now is a new Parliament followed by no less than a British renaissance, not more dithering and drifting followed by disingenuous and extremely harmful, destructive ‘reform’.

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Lyrics by WS Raccoon.

I am the very model of a modern Parliamentarian,
I’ve nothing but contempt for the humble proletarian
I’m anti- drink, I’m anti-smoke, and I’m chastely ecological,
I quote from Hansard and I’m never logical
I’ve learned to speak at conferences, colloquia and seminars
I’ve even sent impassioned pleas to European commissars
I never miss a photo op because it’s free publicity
I smile, shake hands, kiss babies and praise everyone’s ethnicity.

[Chorus:]
He is the very model of the modern parliamentarian
He’s nothing but contempt for the humble proletarian

There is no universal law, that I must live a life of sleaze
Nor is there proof the world is fair, nor that I should do as you would please
I know the code of Green Book Law and which receipts are optional
I bolster up my claims with fabrications risible
Of moats, and porn, and mortgages invisible
Those claims are valid; the Green Book’s a revelation
It says we can, and there’s no taxation

[Chorus:]
The claims are valid, the Green Book a revelation
It says he can and there’s no taxation

You get nowt from Fees office if you can’t show your claim to it
But we never fear de-selection by our constituencies
We wrote the rules, that’s why they’re lax
And we rely on you to pay the tax
That’s why I think I am invincible
The laws of this great land of ours were written with a lot of thought
So when I violate them, it’s important that I not get caught.

[Chorus:]
The laws of this great land of ours were written with a lot of thought
So when he violates them, it’s important that he not get caught.

My financial pursuits have caused a few to say I’m cynical
I can say I’m not and not be one ounce hypocritical
When wreathes are laid, I cough and clear my phlegm
I’m confident that someone else will pay for them
I serve on 10 committees, none of which do anything
I formulate agendas and debate them with the rest of them
But don’t ask me to implement, I leave that to the rest of them

[Chorus:]
Yes, the Green Book will save this troughing riparian,
He is the very model of a modern parliamentarian

I’ll guard the health of my pension by self-interest most astute:
I realise that you voters find my avarice quite vital
I’ll give back your money if you can prove your title
And spin the tale with arguments convolute
Until my lofty rhetoric and arguments meticulous
Inspire shouts of laughter and the hearty cry, ‘Ridiculous!’

[Chorus:]
Until his lofty rhetoric and arguments meticulous
Inspire shouts of laughter and the hearty cry, ‘Ridiculous!’

I love to say at any chance that everything is relative
And prove it with statistics showing nothing is correlative
About this act I haven’t even moments of remorsefulness
I have the utmost confidence in the whips’ resourcefulness
So though we have run quite amok, we readily will go away
If for my worthless time, you were an extra £60,000 to pay.
In short, with economy shrunken and democracy gone,
For all my years of graft, my C.V. is just one line long

He was an MP and now he has gone

[Chorus:]
Oh yes, he has gone, but there’s more of the same on the way,
There’s more of the same on the way.

Brilliant 🙂

Read Full Post »


Lyrics by WS Raccoon.

I am the very model of a modern Parliamentarian,
I’ve nothing but contempt for the humble proletarian
I’m anti- drink, I’m anti-smoke, and I’m chastely ecological,
I quote from Hansard and I’m never logical
I’ve learned to speak at conferences, colloquia and seminars
I’ve even sent impassioned pleas to European commissars
I never miss a photo op because it’s free publicity
I smile, shake hands, kiss babies and praise everyone’s ethnicity.

[Chorus:]
He is the very model of the modern parliamentarian
He’s nothing but contempt for the humble proletarian

There is no universal law, that I must live a life of sleaze
Nor is there proof the world is fair, nor that I should do as you would please
I know the code of Green Book Law and which receipts are optional
I bolster up my claims with fabrications risible
Of moats, and porn, and mortgages invisible
Those claims are valid; the Green Book’s a revelation
It says we can, and there’s no taxation

[Chorus:]
The claims are valid, the Green Book a revelation
It says he can and there’s no taxation

You get nowt from Fees office if you can’t show your claim to it
But we never fear de-selection by our constituencies
We wrote the rules, that’s why they’re lax
And we rely on you to pay the tax
That’s why I think I am invincible
The laws of this great land of ours were written with a lot of thought
So when I violate them, it’s important that I not get caught.

[Chorus:]
The laws of this great land of ours were written with a lot of thought
So when he violates them, it’s important that he not get caught.

My financial pursuits have caused a few to say I’m cynical
I can say I’m not and not be one ounce hypocritical
When wreathes are laid, I cough and clear my phlegm
I’m confident that someone else will pay for them
I serve on 10 committees, none of which do anything
I formulate agendas and debate them with the rest of them
But don’t ask me to implement, I leave that to the rest of them

[Chorus:]
Yes, the Green Book will save this troughing riparian,
He is the very model of a modern parliamentarian

I’ll guard the health of my pension by self-interest most astute:
I realise that you voters find my avarice quite vital
I’ll give back your money if you can prove your title
And spin the tale with arguments convolute
Until my lofty rhetoric and arguments meticulous
Inspire shouts of laughter and the hearty cry, ‘Ridiculous!’

[Chorus:]
Until his lofty rhetoric and arguments meticulous
Inspire shouts of laughter and the hearty cry, ‘Ridiculous!’

I love to say at any chance that everything is relative
And prove it with statistics showing nothing is correlative
About this act I haven’t even moments of remorsefulness
I have the utmost confidence in the whips’ resourcefulness
So though we have run quite amok, we readily will go away
If for my worthless time, you were an extra £60,000 to pay.
In short, with economy shrunken and democracy gone,
For all my years of graft, my C.V. is just one line long

He was an MP and now he has gone

[Chorus:]
Oh yes, he has gone, but there’s more of the same on the way,
There’s more of the same on the way.

Brilliant 🙂

Read Full Post »

Yours truly has been down the beach enjoying the glorious summer sun all day. Why, then, did El Gordo have to spoil it all by opening his disconnected gob? I avoided Marr’s much-trumpeted interview assiduously this morning, knowing full-well that it would contain the kind of platitudinous, backtracking, soundbitten horseshit that is Brown’s bankrupt oratorical currency. But I failed. This afternoon I succumbed to curiosity and read the Sunday Times coverage of it. What I found was not pleasant and is lingering in the atmosphere like a disowned fart.

Dan Hannan’s deoderising is the best so far, so I’ll leave it to him:

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, along comes Gordon Brown with a proposal for statutory regulation of MPs. Prime Minister, it was the “I have acted within the letter of the rules” mentality that brought Parliament to this pass. You cannot compel moral behaviour by legislation; on the contrary, such laws replace a culture of conscience with a culture of compliance.

The PM, in an unwontedly pharisaical aside, said that some recent revelations “offended my Presbyterian conscience”. But any good Presbyterian would see that external regulation smothers personal responsibility. (See here for the full case against the Broon’s abominable idea.)

Yes, the House of Commons needs an external regulator. Happily, it already has one: the electorate. Have we so little confidence in ourselves as voters that we are content to surrender our right to choose our representatives to a government-appointed quango? Is this what Coke and Hampden and Pym fought for? What fools our fathers were if this be true.

It’s a pretty simple point but it’s one that liability Brown is incapable of grasping: there was nothing wrong with the expenses ‘system’; the problem is the MPs who exploited it. Revealing their utter turpitude through temptation is, in fact, the system’s triumph. Then again, with his deflection tactics and mishmash ‘reforms’ (which, as Hannan implies, will only actually serve to deform our democracy still further), perhaps he knows exactly what he’s doing – sort of. He will say, do, destroy, obfuscate, bully, cheat, steal, burn, ruin and annihilate anyone and anything to cling on to power. So wrecking British democracy will be a stroll in the park for this new Caligula.

“We will be the reforming party on the constitution. It’s always where I have wanted to be.”

Priceless. If you’re going to be a hypocrite, might as well be a massive one. If you’re going to tell a lie, it might as well be an absolute whopper. He’s clearly got Balls. People of Britain, deliver the crushing defeat to this tyrant on Thursday that will start the countdown to his demise. It’s not just desirable now, it’s vital.

Read Full Post »

Yours truly has been down the beach enjoying the glorious summer sun all day. Why, then, did El Gordo have to spoil it all by opening his disconnected gob? I avoided Marr’s much-trumpeted interview assiduously this morning, knowing full-well that it would contain the kind of platitudinous, backtracking, soundbitten horseshit that is Brown’s bankrupt oratorical currency. But I failed. This afternoon I succumbed to curiosity and read the Sunday Times coverage of it. What I found was not pleasant and is lingering in the atmosphere like a disowned fart.

Dan Hannan’s deoderising is the best so far, so I’ll leave it to him:

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, along comes Gordon Brown with a proposal for statutory regulation of MPs. Prime Minister, it was the “I have acted within the letter of the rules” mentality that brought Parliament to this pass. You cannot compel moral behaviour by legislation; on the contrary, such laws replace a culture of conscience with a culture of compliance.

The PM, in an unwontedly pharisaical aside, said that some recent revelations “offended my Presbyterian conscience”. But any good Presbyterian would see that external regulation smothers personal responsibility. (See here for the full case against the Broon’s abominable idea.)

Yes, the House of Commons needs an external regulator. Happily, it already has one: the electorate. Have we so little confidence in ourselves as voters that we are content to surrender our right to choose our representatives to a government-appointed quango? Is this what Coke and Hampden and Pym fought for? What fools our fathers were if this be true.

It’s a pretty simple point but it’s one that liability Brown is incapable of grasping: there was nothing wrong with the expenses ‘system’; the problem is the MPs who exploited it. Revealing their utter turpitude through temptation is, in fact, the system’s triumph. Then again, with his deflection tactics and mishmash ‘reforms’ (which, as Hannan implies, will only actually serve to deform our democracy still further), perhaps he knows exactly what he’s doing – sort of. He will say, do, destroy, obfuscate, bully, cheat, steal, burn, ruin and annihilate anyone and anything to cling on to power. So wrecking British democracy will be a stroll in the park for this new Caligula.

“We will be the reforming party on the constitution. It’s always where I have wanted to be.”

Priceless. If you’re going to be a hypocrite, might as well be a massive one. If you’re going to tell a lie, it might as well be an absolute whopper. He’s clearly got Balls. People of Britain, deliver the crushing defeat to this tyrant on Thursday that will start the countdown to his demise. It’s not just desirable now, it’s vital.

Read Full Post »

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