Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

UK Political weblog

Archive for the category “elections”

Election for Sale

I’m not going to go into the obvious scandal of Lord Ashcroft but it does point to a big fault line in our weak democracy.

The cost of elections escalates with every one of them so it doesn’t take a genius to realise that eventually, if not already, that the party that can lay claim to the most money stands a far greater chance of winning. That is not democracy that is akin to buying votes. Surely it is time that a limit is set to what can be spent by any party both at an election and also and perhaps even more importantly, on any one constituency between elections.

In addition we must have a fully elected 2nd chamber and therefore do away with buying seats in the Lords, Bishops and aristocracy influencing our laws and while we’re at it lets have an elected head of state. Then and only then can we lay any sort of claim to actually being a democracy.

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BNP Leader Pelted with Eggs

Nick Griffin was forced to abandon a press conference outside Parliament today and was pelted with eggs before being driven away by his henchmen.

_45893690_grifegg_226The BNP in a free, fair and democratic election has won two seats in the European Parliament. Tens of thousands of people voted for them and the two new MEP’s are their chosen representatives. Most of us may be appalled by this result but it is democracy. Rather than offering the BNP violent protest, which will only give them the oxygen of publicity, let us address the reasons that so many voted for them.

I think it was Winston Churchill who said “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” If we value freedom, if we value democracy then even when it is difficult, perhaps even more so when it’s difficult, we must defend the right to free speech.

Thomas Paine: Jan 29 1737 – June 8, 1809

Today marks the 200th  anniversary of the death of Thomas Paine the founding father of what is now the United States of America’s break from the domination of the British monarchy.

There can be no doubt that Thomas, were he around now, would be both horrified and amazed that the people of Britain still have their weak democracy dominated by an unelected second chamber and ruled not by the vote but by a single unelected family.

Standing Down

So far a bakers dozen of MP’s have announced that they will stand down at the next general election over expenses claims that at the very least were not within the spirit of the rules.

The MP’s whilst remaining in their posts for the next twelve months will now benefit by up to £200,000 made up by their salary, expenses and a generous severance payment. Not bad for being found out fleecing the taxpayer!

A means must be put in place whereby constituents can hold their representative to account without waiting for a General Election.

BNP By Royal Invitation

Our Head of State, Elizabeth (the last?), has kindly sent out an invitation to Nick Griffin and his deputy to a garden party at Buck House.

For once I am almost struck speechless. What kind of a signal does this send out to voters with the local and European elections coming up in just a few weeks? The Royal stamp of approval to a bunch of fascist Nazi supporters gives the lie to the oft stated opinion of Royal supporters that we need the Monarchy because of their accumulated wisdom.

Thinking of Voting BNP?

The BNP under it’s leader Nick Griffin try to hide their anti semitism but underneath they are just the same bunch of ignorant thugs as their previous party name the National Front. So if understandably, you are disillusioned by the main parties and thinking of lending your vote to the BNP perhaps the following will help you to think again.

Public Anger

The public are rightly outraged and angry over the subject of MP’s expenses and perhaps we could do with some more anger.

If only the public would show more anger then perhaps we might get some worthwhile changes. Like anger over our young soldiers dying in a futile invasion of Afghanistan; like wasting billions on nuclear weapons, submarines and aircraft carriers; like billions more on ID cards and intercepting all our ‘phone calls and emails. Like refusing to allow the imposition of Unitary Authorities when the people, on the rare occasions they have even been asked, give a resounding no. Let’s get angry about the unaccountable House of Lords and yes, let’s get angry about that bastion of anti-democracy, the Royal family.

If this current anger over expenses helps to make voters take note of politics and realise that power really does lie with the people but that we have to fight to keep it, every inch of the way, or risk losing it altogether, then it will turn out to have been a good thing.

Peers Knuckles to Be Rapped

A couple of Peers, Lord Truscott and Lord Taylor have been found guilty of being willing to amend laws in exchange for cash have been recommended for suspension from the House of Lords for up to six months.

Wow! As much as that for taking bribes, bringing the House of Lords into even more disrepute and shame on the Labour Party. What on earth will they do with themselves for six months away from the House? Just have to be content with their business interests and make money I suppose.

At least with the current scandals in the House of Commons when it comes to elections we can, if we choose, vote out those whom we distrust. The Lords are unelected, undemocratic and beyond the reach of the electorate. Tony Blair promised reform of this anachronistic, medieval chamber but did nothing. It is time that we demanded our democratic right to elect all who make decisions on our behalf.

Treason?

In the post today I received my Poll Card for the forthcoming European and local council elections. I don’t usually bother to read all the guff on the back but being a bit bored I suppose, this time I did. It included the following instruction. “Show the presiding officer the number and other unique identifying mark on the back of the ballot paper…….”

I rang the Local Returning Officer and asked him if this ‘number and unique mark’ could in theory be used to identify how I voted. Well, apparently it can but only if I were suspected of Treason! It seems that the master copy of numbers & marks are sealed and kept for six months following an election and were it found that a ballot paper had for example treasonous remarks on the back of it then a judge could order the unsealing of the master copy in order to identify the author of this treason.

Now being a Republican this is a bit unnerving as I just might not be able to help myself and as the Local Returning Officer pointed the penalty for treason is still hanging.

New Unitary Authorities

‘All Fools Day’ 1st April and seven Unitary Authorities in England take over control on this day.

The people living in these counties were never given the opportunity to vote on this measure even though well over half of their elected representatives are done away with. A whole level of democracy removed in a single swipe by this centralising government. It was suggested that this move would save money but in my county even the change over costs have more than doubled and what consideration was given to the thousands who will lose their jobs or the enormous cost of unemployment benefits. It was said that there would be no ‘compulsory’ redundancies but large numbers of the old District Council workers were temporary or agency staff whose losses do not show up on the statistics.

The newly appointed CEO’s of these counties will be paid more than the Prime Minister and Councillors will tend to be remote figures covering huge areas rather than your local representative, known and accessible.

Who are the fools on this day? Frankly, we are, we did not protest enough, we did not take to the streets or march on Downing Street. We gave away a huge chunk of our power like lambs.

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