Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

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Archive for the tag “parliament”

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).”

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Queen’s Intervention

A few Members of Parliament have suggested that the Queen should step in and remove the Speaker of the Commons, Michael Martin, from his post over his handling of the expenses scandal.

The Speaker is elected by the whole House and then under our ridiculous and undemocratic system, is appointed by the monarch of the day. Now that is bad enough but should the Queen exercise her power to remove the Speaker then the whole rotten system of unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable power of the monarchy would come into the open and be exposed for what it is. This is why it will not happen but here’s hoping.

A Conservative King

The Princes Trust set up by Prince Charles presumably to raise his profile and give him something to do whilst waiting for his mother to slip off the throne and drift peacefully away into a gold plated heaven has also been fund raising for the Tory’s.

imagesYes, according to an investigation by The Mail on Sunday, The Trust arranged a joint fund raising event in the House of Commons no less, the other beneficiary being ‘Women2Win’ which aims to increase the number of Tory women MP’s at the next election. Twenty guests were apparently willing to cough up £1675 each to meet Margaret Thatcher. Now if freethinkeruk had that kind of spare cash he might be tempted to go along, provided he could throw green custard at the old witch but not just to meet her. Anyway, back to the plot. For a charity to make political donations is illegal, so now that Charlie’s trust has been found out the money will have to be repaid but that still leaves the question of a king wannabe who is supposed to be apolitical, funding one party. In addition it is against the rules of Parliament to hold party fundraising in the Palace of Westminster. Still, if you are a monarch in waiting you probably think you’re above such silly rules and laws.

Control Orders Legislation 2009

I watched today as the House of Commons debated the renewal of the Control Orders Legislation relating to the Anti Terrorism Act 2005 Draft as these orders require renewing annually.

In basic terms a Control Order can be issued against anyone suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. The subject of the order is not told of what they are accused although an advocate is appointed to represent them. This advocate is informed of the accusations but is not allowed to pass on this information to the controlee. So much for fairness and justice. An order is granted when the security services ‘believe’ that a person is a risk but either do not have sufficient evidence to ensure a conviction or that their security methods may be compromised by giving evidence in Court.

The controlee must reside in an approved location and is not allowed to leave except for a short period in an again approved place such as a walk in a park under observation. The controlee is not allowed any communication equipment except for a monitored fixed telephone and is allowed no visitors.

I feel shame that I am a citizen of a country can that enact such a law which flies in the face of all that this nation has stood for; fairness, equality before the law, justice, freedom and the right to a fair trial. I was also ashamed that for the duration of the debate in Parliament there were only about two dozen MP’s who were concerned enough to even listen to the arguments and yet when the division was called the Government won the vote with a majority of 261.

Tax Payers Support The Royals Again

I make no apology for copying in full, the following statement from the ‘Republic’ web site. The more we know how this private family company rips us off the sooner we will get rid of them and replace them with Democracy. Now there’s a novel idea.

The bargain rent on a five bedroom Kensington Palace apartment, soon to be paid by Prince Michael of Kent, is a scandal, according to Republic.

The apartment, which also includes 5 reception rooms and 7 ‘utility’ rooms will be rented by the Kents for the price of a three bedroom flat in West London, after more than two decades of free use.

Spokesperson Graham Smith today called for a further parliamentary investigation:

“A quick search of rental properties shows the commercial rate for the palace apartment should be at least twice the price the Kents will be charged.”

“The Queen reportedly gave this apartment to the Kents as a wedding present, despite it not being hers to give.”

“For years virtually nothing was paid for this apartment, then the Queen began to pay for it at a knock down price from funds the taxpayers gave her. Now the Kents continue to benefit from the very best of family connections.”

“The palace belongs to the country. The House of Commons asked for the Kents to be evicted and for the apartments to be put on a more commercial footing. This should now happen.”

Gobbledegook

Freethinkeruk signed an on-line petition a while back, calling for MP’s to have the right when voted in, to swear an oath of allegiance to the Nation and to their constituents rather than to the Monarch. I paste below the petition and following that the response from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Details of Petition:

“All residents of a constituency where the MP is a Republican are deprived of their fair and equal representation in Parliament unless their MP begins his Parliamentary career by swearing loyalty to the very institution which they have just been elected to oppose. It is morally wrong and profoundly anti-democratic.”

· Read the petition

Read the Government’s response

The present oath or affirmation which members of both Houses are required to take at the beginning of a new Parliament or on entry into Parliament recognises an appropriate obligation on the members of the Parliament, in their consideration of forthcoming measures, to respect the existing constitutional arrangement. This does not represent any bar to the proposal by members of alternative arrangements. The Government has no plans to propose any change to the form of the Oath or Affirmation currently set down by law for Members of Parliament.

Apart from showing contempt for millions of voters and of MPs who want change it also doesn’t make sense. What are these alternative arrangements mentioned? I suppose it means we will still be subjected to the ridiculous spectacle of MP’s taking the Oath with their fingers crossed behind their backs thus signifying that they are lying.

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