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Archive for the category “parliament”

The Big Oppressive Society

Yesterday in Parliament, David Cameron suggested that even more legal restrictions may be introduced to control our Trade Unions. He favoured the idea that no strike may be called unless at least 50% of the union members cast a vote.

We already have probably the most draconian anti trade union laws in Europe, a fact which ‘New’ Labour , to their shame, did little to balance. The right to withdraw labour in persuit of a just settlement in a dispute is a right that if abolished leads along the path back to serfdom. The benefits, comforts and rights that we enjoy to day in our standard of living have been hard won by thousands of our forebears and we owe it to them and indeed to ourselves and to our children, to stand up to those who seek our domination.

Yes, in the event of strike action we the public may suffer some inconvenience but that is a price worth paying for freedom. The early trade unionists suffered far worse for future generations; abuse, violence, imprisonment and deportation. Are we now so softened by the life improvements that they gave us that we no longer have the guts to stand up to injustice?

Cameron believes that over 50% should exercise their vote in a strike ballot; well, how about applying the same rule to electing MPs. The voter turn-out can be 30% or less in some constituencies and very, very, few are elected with more than 50% of the votes cast. Now there would be a problem!

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We Shall See Won’t We

Well, that’s it! The election is over and the Lib/Dems have done some sort of deal with the Torys.  The lust for power must have been overwhelming for both parties involved because the Torys and Lib/Dems are hardly natural bed fellows. Mind you Cameron went to Harrow and Clegg Westminster so I can see them getting on. Both have said they were working together for the good of the nation and if you’ll believe that you’ll believe anything.

So, time for a prediction or two? We’ll be alright for a month or two due to plans set in place by Labour which are now coming into fruition and Cameron gets a feel for power. We can then expect a rise in unemployment as the new government sets about sacking public sector workers in an over eager attempt to reduce the national debt. Most still in employment will be working harder and longer for less (in real terms) and the effectiveness of public services will decrease. Stealth taxes will add to the impoverishment of the population and there will be some civil unrest put down by a larger and even less uncontrolled police force.

The much vaunted referendum on a fairer electoral system will be denied or put in such a form of words as to be almost certainly rejected despite what the Torys may say at present; they are as slippery as eels. Another election will be called within 18 months at which the Lib/Dems will slip back into obscurity taking the blame for Conservative mismanagement.

Uncertain is whether Labour can learn from it’s mistakes as well as the good things that it did whilst in Government or tear it’s self apart.

Time will tell.

Manifesto You Wont See (Mine)

DEFENCE: We believe that threatening the annihilation of millions of fellow humans is wrong so we are getting rid of all nuclear weapons. This will make us less of a threat and so reduce our risk of attack. We will also save billions of Pounds.

We will have a review of the past few hundred years to see just why we have rampaged around the globe engaging in acts of aggression and stop doing it. Our military services will have only defensive weapons and therefore we will finally pose no threat to any other nation thereby further reducing our risks to near zero.

HOUSING: No further second homes will be allowed and existing ones will pay treble Council Tax until there are no more homeless or sub standard housing. All private property will become State owned on the demise of the current owners. (This will reduce house prices enormously and make them affordable places to live in and not investments for profit)

ENERGY: Rail, Electricity supply, Gas and Water will be re-nationalised.

WAGES & BENEFITS: All State benefits (except unemployment) will be cancelled and in their place the national minimum wage will be raised to a level fit to live on, along with pensions. There will be no unemployment benefit on leaving education until at least two years of employment have been completed. Benefit will be earnt by community service to prevent drifting into benefit dependency. No one will be allowed to earn more than ten times the minimum wage and bonuses will be outlawed. A fair days pay for a fair days work will be the norm.

TRANSPORT: Cities and urban areas with good public transport will be subject to an extra vehicle tax similar to the London congestion charge. Money raised will offset fuel reductions to those in rural areas where personal transport is essential.

DEMOCRACY: A good idea which will be adopted starting with an elected Head of State rather than an unelected monarchy. The second chamber shall also only have elected members. A fair voting system will be adopted where no vote is a wasted vote.

All connections between religion and the State shall be severed and all tax advantages currently applied to churches, mosques etc will end.

CRIME: All drugs will be de-criminalised and available on prescription thereby cutting up to 70% of crime. This will have the added benefit of slashing the prison population which doesn’t work anyway and saving huge sums of money.

The creation of a more fair and equal society would of itself reduce the incidence of crime. The current method of sentencing is ineffective, there being no point in a fixed time inside, therefore custodial terms will be opened ended. That is to say when it is considered the offender is ready to take his/her proper productive place back in society then they are released with adequate support and not before.

EDUCATION: Management costs will be no more than 1% of the budget and teachers will revert to running the schools and colleges. Choice of school will be abolished and all schools will be of an approved standard in all areas. University fees will be abolished but a small lifetime increase in income tax will enable graduates the satisfaction of repaying society for the privilege.

Private education establishments will be abolished by ever increasing taxation.

HEALTH: Management costs as for education. Medical staff taking more responsibility for running hospitals and clinics etc. A State pharmaceutical research facility will be set up and tight controls put on those in the private sector. Drugs which are highly expensive and merely prolong life by months will not be available.

Private health care will be abolished by progressively rising taxes.

LAND: All land will be nationalised without compensation and a rent paid for all private property upon it.

Our Election Humiliation

Well, that’s it, the General Election date is finally to be announced today. The date when we, the electorate, shall decide to whom we will lend our power for the next probable five years. Yes, our power, as citizens in a supposedly free and democratic society.

Before this can happen though our elected Prime Minister must go to Buckingham Palace and ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament in order for the election to take place. It is a national humiliation that the permission, even if somewhat symbolically, of an unelected, undemocratic, Head of State who is only there by virtue of being born into one particular family, should be sort.

If we elect a party with an overall majority then the Government is not effective until the Monarch has given her approval and in the event of a ‘hung Parliament’ again it is the Queen who ‘invites’ one Party to form the Government. In addition it is through the Monarch’s Privy Council that powers that we, the people, did not give to the Prime Minister of the day are wielded. It is time to embrace true democracy and end our humiliation.

Freedom Diminished

A couple of days ago the Commons voted for restrictions to the Freedom of Information Act so that senior members of the Royal family are exempt for FOI requests. This is a disaster for democracy.

Should this Bill make it through the process and let’s hope it fails of course, then we will not know what lobbying Prince Charles, for example, has been doing on behalf of his architectural preferences or some of his other crack pot schemes. We will not know if Government decisions are being made in the interests of the people or of the Royals.

As long as we have an unelected and hereditary head of state then Royals should be subject to more scrutiny not less.

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.

Royal Secrets

Brown had promised us more openness and transparency in the wake of the expenses scandals. What does he do? He caves in to pressure from the Palace and is bringing in a blanket ban on the Freedom of Information Act applying to the unelected Royals stating that secrecy is required to ensure the impartiality of the head of state. What?!!

Statement from the Ministry of Justice:

To ensure the constitutional position and political impartiality of the Monarchy is not undermined, the relevant exemption in the Freedom of Information Act will be made absolute for information relating to communications with the Royal Household that is less than 20 years’ old. After that point – if the relevant Member of the Royal Family is still alive – then the exemption will continue to apply until five years after their death – on an absolute basis for the Sovereign and the Heir to the Throne, and on a qualified basis for other members of the Royal Family.

This is utterly outrageous; if they demand secrecy then they must have something to hide or rather, a lot of ‘somethings’. We are footing the bill so why shouldn’t we have a right to know or at least find out what they are spending our money on? If they are using their undemocratic powers to influence political decisions, or promoting their businesses or using government planes for their private pleasure at our expense we have a right to know.

It is even likely that this FOI ban will become law not by being debated in Parliament but brought into being by powers given to the Prime Minister by the very people who demand this outrage.

If you still have any doubts about whether we should know then how about this from The Guardian in June last year.

“Prince Charles used the royal train to travel from Kemble, near his Gloucestershire home, to Penrith, Cumbria, to visit a pub – part of the “pub is the hub” initiative to revitalise village life – at a cost of £18,916, which may make it the most expensive pub visit ever made. The prince also used the train to get to Edinburgh (£21,460) and during a trip for various engagements in Wales (£43,258).”

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.

Gurkha Victory but…

Joanna Lumley,  ably assisted by the media, who love a good story have won the right for ex Gurkhas and their families to live in the UK. Although against the wishes of the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Parliament voted in favour of the then proposal with the result that the P.M. has today announced agreement.

Undoubtedly this is a democratically arrived at decision and the power of the people has in this instance prevailed which I for one applaud although not agreeing with the decision. However, the UK will now be saddled with an estimated up to £5bn in the costs of the expected additional immigrants and further expenditure as the years roll by. So, what to do? My advice to Gordon Brown, although I very much doubt he will take it, is to disband the Gurkha Regiment as soon as practically possible. This will prevent rolling immigration, save a whole heap of money and should there be a shortage of troops then we can get our noses out of someone else’s country and save some lives as well.

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