Archive for March 2008
A judge decides businesses are entitled to charge cash paying customers more for the same service.
Does anybody remember the time when such people were welcome, nay, encouraged? I can’t help but think that the financial institutions that profit from debt and credit are behind this. Once they have us in the loop, were there for life. I intend to die owing thousands!
After an 18 month trial, permission for television broadcasts of Commons’ proceedings was finally granted in 1990. I was marginally against this. Why? Democrats (in the purely British sense of the word) might well believe it would give the proceedings transparency. I was afraid that the men (and women) in the flash suits would have ‘the edge’. While I do not wish to infer that the voting population of Britain are not capable of making objective judgements, it seemed to me that we are a nation of ‘cap doffers’. With the best will in the world, we, the British have a tendency to trust the man in the suit, the one who is well presented. We do not look beyond the image. The politics of the last 30 years and more should show us that being well dressed does not mean the individual is worthy of our trust. Many of these well dressed men and women have let us down.
I make the point of John Profumo. Well Dressed, gentleman? Turned out to be untrustworthy and a liar.
Michael Foot who, in the 1970’s placed a wreath to the fallen from two World Wars on Armistice Day at the Cenotaph, wearing a ‘donkey jacket’ gave up leadership of the Labour Party because of the outcry, instituted by the right wing press and their Tory overlords. I shan’t quote the obvious- that most of the men who died to protect our freedom would have been similarly garbed. (Yes, I quoted it. I’m a liar, too.) I’ll just say we gave up a man who might have brought about some real changes. A man, who despite the donkey jacket, was a genuine and trustworthy individual. I was a member of the Labour Party back then. He would have made a great Prime Minister. When I say that, I mean in the vein of Benjamin Disraeli, Lloyd George and even, perhaps, Sir Winston Churchill. We really lost an opportunity for Britain to be ‘Great’ again.
I’ll end by saying that was the beginning of the end of the Labour Party in once Great Britain. We saw the beginning of career politicians. When the job became more important than the care of the people. When the expense account became more important than the job. When looking good meant more than being a good politician.
I rest my case.
I have just been listening to BBC’s news24. I heard a reporter discussing the China/Tibet situation. He described China, correctly, as a ‘one party state’. Well, I’d like somebody to explain to me where in the world today there is any state that is not ‘one party’. Take Britain today. We have a conservative, Labour and Liberal party. We can vote for either one by electing our local candidate. He or she may well attract the most votes from his or her area. But, it is likely that a party of a different political persuasion might well be the governing administration. Is that democracy? It could be argued that it is. I would argue differently. They all believe that giving rich businessmen tax breaks and financial loopholes to the detriment of the poor worker will bring rewards for us all. Well, that’s been happening since the industrial revolution. And our society is still financially and politically biased to the rich land and factory owners. We have a Conservative right wing capitalist party. We have a ‘Labour’ right wing capitalist party. We have a Liberal right wing capitalist party. Where, I ask you, in this ‘democratic’ country is a left wing socialist party that has a real possibility of being elected?
I know there will be those who will say I could start my own. But, to be honest, I haven’t the means, education or possibility in this ‘democracy’ to do so. I am not represented by anybody. The few socialist MP’s I might vote for do not represent my constituency, and so I cannot use my ‘free’ vote to see representatives of my opinion elected. So I have become one of the many who do not vote and are considered unworthy of consideration because we ‘cannot be bothered’. Well, I can be bothered. When there is somebody worthy, in my opinion, of my vote.
I think, as do many, it is time to re-assess our system to allow my vote to be used where I feel it to be most effective. Not limited to my geographical location. For me to be able to vote for a person or party, irrespective of where I live. If I choose to vote for a person I would like to see in Parliament to reflect my views I should be able to do so. A member of this venerable institution should be elected according to the wishes of the majority of the country, not his or her constituency. That would truly reflect the wishes of the majority, which I always understood democracy was all about. (‘What’ says the wealthy capitalist? ‘A real democracy? Where the workers have enforceable rights? Where I have to pay a fair wage? Not while I hold the reigns of power!’)
This leads me to another anomaly in our so-called democratic society. Why do we still have 26 Bishops automatically given seats and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on retirement automatically givens seats in ‘the other place’? In our and most other modern democracies the state and church are supposed to be separate. Then why do we still allow these people a place in the House of Lords purely on the basis that they are or were high ranking members of the clergy? But we have yet another anomaly. The Parliament Act, which asserts the supremacy of the House of Commons by limiting the legislation-blocking powers of the House of Lords. Under the provisions of the Act, the Lords lost the power
(a) To delay certified money bills for more than one month,
(b) To exercise an absolute veto over other public bills.
If a public bill (other than a money bill or a bill extending the maximum duration of a parliament) was passed by the Commons in three successive sessions, with at least two years between the first Commons second reading and the Commons third reading in the third session, it could be presented for Royal Assent by the Commons.
So, the Lords is both undemocratic and a waste of tax payers money since they have no real power. Their ‘veto’ can be overruled by the commons.
So, let’s do away with them once and for all. Replace them, if you must with an elected body. But not with a group of people, failed politicians, churchmen, Lord ‘My-Dad-was-one-so-I-have-a-right’ etc and are there by virtue of their previous position.
Then there is ‘it could be presented for Royal Assent by the Commons. ‘
In other words, no Act of Parliament can become law unless the monarch signs it. So, irrespective of our 18thC revolution, when Charles the 1st was executed in the name of the people and his son was given leave to return and rule only by the right of the people expressed through parliament, the monarchy still retains the unassailable right to pass laws. Look at the 1974 election, when Harold Wilson won by the rules of the day, but our reverend monarch, Elizabeth the second offered the role of government to Edward Heath. Although Harold Wilson’s Labour our Party were elected, Edward Heath was offered, by the Queen to form Her government. The fact that he could not form a coalition with the then Liberal Party is irrelevant. The Parliament was offered to an unelected body by the sovereign. Had he (Ted Heath) chosen to take the role offered by the monarch, albeit with a minority government, under British law that would have been legal. It may not have worked, but was allowable under our constitution. (Unwritten, so possibly, nay, probably allowable.) And who would have defended this undemocratic situation? The British Army, who vow an oath to the Queen.
Democracy? I’ve yet to see one.
As you can probably see from most of my comments, I am a socialist. I verge on Communism, but prefer persuasion to force. I admit to sometimes wishing we could have a violent revolution, as it seems to be the only way we can institute a socialist régime when faced with the Capitalist misinformation that sounds so logical to so many people until it is examined in detail. So my following opinion on the subject of China’s disregard for the people and culture of Tibet stems not from a condemnation of the principles of socialism, but from the aggressive methods China chose to use to try to force their system of government on an independent people. (Capitalist America has done the same- Hawaii for one. Many Hawaiians, previously an independent island do not want Hawaii to be an American state.) A phrase often quoted is ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’. I believe China has and is showing us the ‘unacceptable face of socialism’ (as did Josef Stalin in communist Russia).
Where is the USA? They are quick enough to send troops to ‘protect’ oil rich countries. This smacks of East Timor. (No, we haven’t all forgotten.) If the USA are, as is claimed, the world’s police (isn’t that the role of the United Nations?) why aren’t they as aggressive and pro-active in this circumstance as they are in the Middle East? Why haven’t they warned China off? Why did the world ignore China’s aggression and invasion of Tibet in October 1950? What’s the matter, George Bush? Hasn’t God spoken to you on this? The world is watching.
For those who feel that, as I do we have no alternative political party to vote for. For those who believe we have no effective opposition. And for those who don’t trust any political candidate. If you have such leanings, but would like to register your non-vote, and have a wish and willingness to vote may I suggest that at each election you go to the polling station and put a question mark against each of the candidates?
This way, no candidate will be credited with your vote. The voting paper will be rejected. If there are millions of such papers, it may, probably will be noticed. (I have been a scrutineer at a count. I believe they would, eventually be noticed.) We may become a non-affiliated political force to be reckoned with.
I end every email I send with ‘WANT TO VOTE BUT HAVE NO ACCEPTABLE CANDIDATE? PUT A ‘?’ IN EACH BOX. SHOW THE ESTABLISHMENT WE EXIST.I also link it to this post. Maybe you could do the same. Maybe we can make a difference.