General Discussion

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When this site was opened it was aimed at those interested in the idea of direct democracy and to provide a forum for discussion how it could be introduced in the United Kingdom. The added intention in providing a forum was that The Harrogate Agenda, other than holding meetings attended by roughly the same audience of 30/40, appeared to be doing nothing - and appears to be continuing down this route.

Ian Parker-Joseph put in a great deal of work on the design and funtionality of the site, as did I where time and money were concerned.

At the outset it was pointed out here that it was not my intention to 'lead', ergo that was up to those registering to formulate ideas in order to achieve this. It is disappointing that since early January not one article or comment has appeared.

Where this particular site/forum is concerned I am not prepared to continue pouring my money down the drain for no return.

Put bluntly, the message I give is: use it or lose it - the choice is yours.

 

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In the hope that it may clear the enforced, recent, 'hoiiday fog' of our brains which may not yet have achieved full functionality, the following is reposted from ScribblingsfromSeaham. In this regard one can but repeat the quotation which forms part of the heading to this site:

To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not a nation of observers.

When a foreign national seeks citizenship/naturalisaton of their host nation, who should make that decision – those of the community in which the applicant lives; or, as in the United Kingdom, a bureaucratic, box-ticking government department?

Recently, in Switzerland, a case concerning a woman who had lived in Switzerland since she was eight, speaks fluent Swiss German, has three children with Swiss passports, has no criminal record, doesn’t claim welfare and is politically active was rejected. On the face of it, one would have thought she would be a ‘shoo-in’ for a Swiss passport. How wrong you are..

Read the article and you will find the reasons why the outcome of her application was rejected. You will also be able to read the comments to the article, among which is mine.

As I wrote, my view is that only those to whom ‘ownership’ of a nation is a ‘given’ should be able to confer citizenship and the benefits that such brings.

Should that not be the case in our nation, the United Kingdom?

Is there not a case made, in this instance, for ‘people power’ – and should not ‘people power’ be able to decide any matter which affects that people’s nation?

What do my readers think?

Cross-posted from ScribblingsfromSeaham:

We today have news that our government is to trial various forms of identity at polling stations with a view to reducing electoral fraud, coupled with a press release from the Cabinet Office.

A a result of Sir Eric Pickles’ report Securing the Ballot published in August this year, the government will seek to introduce a number of his recommendations to tighten controls around the conduct of polls to eliminate electoral fraud. As well as piloting the use of ID in polling stations across England, the government will seek to:

  • prevent the intimidation and undue influence of voters at the hands of activists and supporters
  • end the dubious practice of postal vote harvesting, and
  • consider measures for nationality checking that will prevent fraudulent voter registrations

We are informed that the government will consider how to bring a number of these measures into practice including introducing new guidance for Electoral Registration Officers who conduct the polls. The aim is that pilots for ID in polling stations will be conducted at the local government elections in May 2018. Electors will be required to bring ID to prove who they are before they can vote, preventing anyone fraudulently taking another person’s ballot paper. Local authorities will be invited to apply to trial different types of identification, including forms of photo ID such as driving licenses and passports, or formal correspondence such as a utilities bill to prove their address backed by a signature check. Voters will be asked to produce ID before they can be given their ballot paper. If successful, the measure could be introduced for general elections and other polls. The key recommendations from Sir Eric Pickles’ report that the government will consider how to take forward can be seen in the aforementioned government press release

Chris Skidmore, Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office, is on record stating: The government’s view is that electoral fraud is unacceptable on any level. I want to protect the right of everyone to have their say and participate in our democracy. That is why the new measures we are announcing today will protect anyone who is at risk of being bullied, undermined or tricked out of their vote – and their democratic right. By eliminating fraud and tackling improper practices, we are ensuring the integrity of our electoral system while building a clear and secure democracy that works for everyone.

Regular readers will be aware that I frequently write – and in so doing, complain – that representative democracy is anything but democracy per se as ‘the dice is loaded’ against the electorate. Consequently I am continually amazed at how our politicians feel able to ‘preach’ to we, the electorate, then do exactly that at which they preach against – which leads to the title of this article.

From just the second paragraph of the Foreward to his report Pickles writes: My work in the Department for Communities and Local Government during the previous Parliament highlighted some shocking issues and revelations: our well-respected democracy is at threat from unscrupulous people intent on subverting the will of the electorate to put their own
candidates into power, and in turn, manipulate local authority policy and funding to their own self-centred ends. Towards the end of this Foreward Pickles also writes: Electoral fraud and corruption is intertwined with other forms of crime as well. Local authorities
have a large procurement role. A group of people who cheat their way to power are unlikely to hold a higher moral standard when handing out public contracts, or when making quasi-judicial decision on planning and licensing.

Er, do not political parties subvert the will of the electorate by putting their own candidates into power; and do they not, when in power, manipulate local authority policy and funding for their own self-centred (and idealogical) ends?  By such reasoning, is not Pickles agreeing that political parties and politicians are thus unscrupulous? Do not political parties and their politicians cheat their way to power with manifestos, the contents of which they have no intention of fulfilling – think recall of MPs as promised by the Coalition Government in their ‘post-election’ manifesto of 2010?

Returning to that which Skidmore said, just how do these measures ensure that those of us with a factual view of Brexit get heard – and thus have their say? Just how do these measures ensure that FlexCit is acknowledged; as I have yet, to my knowledge, hear one of them mention it? Are not we, the electorate, bullied into accepting falsehoods told us in manifestos or during election/referendum campaigns; especially when our voice is in effect ‘blocked’ from being heard?

In total Pickles made 50 ‘recommendations’ – and in most of them questions arise. To take just one – #7: Completed postal ballot packs should only be handed in at a polling station by the voter or a family member / designated carer acting on their behalf – a limit of two should be applied for any one person handing in completed ballots and require an explanation as to why they are being handed in and signature provided. Is it not well known that there exists in the UK immigrant communities in which tribalism/mosogynism is a way of life? What proof could be provided that would negate any suspicion of coercion? So it must be extremely easy for any such person to circumnavigate their way round that requirement.

There must be those on the electoral register who possess neither passport nor driving licence; and do not have a utility bill in their name. On that latter point I do not have a utility bill in my name and recently, on a property transaction, had to provide a second bank statement in lieu. How many are there on the electoral register without a passport, driving licence or utility bill – but has two bank accounts?

Yet another point that has to be taken into consideration where Pickles’ report is concerned; how much more bureaucracy will be involved and what will be the cost? We all know who will be paying that cost; however one question: when did we agree to so do? It is here that I must use a statement, one reputed to have been said by Thomas Sowell: I have never understood why it is greed to want to keep money you have earned, but it is never greed to take somebody else’s money. But then as ‘governments’ have no money of their own, how else do they acquire it? Is it not time we insisted that: No tax, levy, expenditure of public money nor borrowing be permitted without the express consent of the people by majority vote  (see here).

In ‘days of old’, when communication took days, weeks – even months – to arrive, it is understandable that representative democracy was an acceptable, nay practical, form of government. However, in today’s world of instant communication which allows a greater extent for the people to become involved in how their country is governed, is it not time for change?

People: wake up, do! Your minds are being controlled, you are being robbed blind, you are being led up the proverbial garden path by those who complain about unscrupulous, mind-controlling individuals – and, more importantly, you elect them!

Comments? Is anyone interested?

It is drawn to the attention of users of this forum that a change has been made to the log-in procedure.

Please note that it is no longer a requirement for those who only wish to comment on articles published, to 'log-in'.

However, those readers wishing to submit articles for publication will have to continue so to do.

2 Comments

Political party or other? What other is there?

Much of what I am about to write I have written before in other places.

For me at 70 years of age to spend to spend any significant amount of time or money on this I will need to agree with the aims of the organisation, be convinced that there is a strategy to go forward that stands some chance of success, that any monies contributed get used properly and is accountable and that there is enough traction to get more people on board. This latter I know is a bit of chicken and egg, however for the moment I would accept increasing sign up to this site as a measure of traction. (Note to David would it be possible to publish stats on this on a regular basis?)

For the general public to get involved, they would I feel expect to be similarly convinced.

The general public are familiar with the concept of a “Party” and in general I would say are comfortable with it. A party provides structure and focus, people that join can be harnessed in a hopefully focused and disciplined manner finally people can see where the subscription monies are being used.

It is my belief that the party needs to be set up as a not for profit charity with a properly convened chair person secretary etc. The shareholders would be members who had purchased a share in the company and there needs to be enough people prepared to be paying shareholders at start up.

In general the operation of the company should wherever possible mirror the processes that we would wish to see in central government e.g qualified majority voting.

Doing things this way means that should the wider membership want to sack the Chairman and appoint another they can if enough vote to do so all within a defined framework of company law.

As has been pointed out by Raising the Nation there is a requirement for local chapters or branches of the party.

As we are going to “play” in the existing game to the existing rules then we need a branch for each constituent, we are after all ultimately going to contest every seat.

For want of a better term I will call the first company set up the “executive”, branch companies would be set up in an identical manner except that they would be owned in part by the executive company as well as local members. This provides a means of funding the executive from the wider membership as required. NB the “executive” company could be a branch company at one and the same time.

Setting up the first company is something that anyone could do for not much money, however the issues of Charity Status, legal and tax issues are something that I would want gone into before going this route, after all we do not want to end up paying corporation tax or VAT on members contributions. So question... any experts in this field out there.

Party and company name is also something to be decided on DD4U is a bit of a mouthful I have to say that I did like Democracy NOW! Which is short but doesn’t really cover it so how about Direct Democracy NOW!

Now this is my view on what needs to be done and I believe an initial company could be set up very quickly if there are enough people willing to stand as officers in the company.

However this is my view and may not be the view of the majority, I have seen various other ideas floated such as pressurising existing MP’s via social media demonstrations etc.

I have to say that none of them has convinced me that on their own they stand the remotest chance of forcing change, it is worth remembering that where we want go effectively destroys the existing Party structure and Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.

I would be interested to see what resonance this has with others,

I would also caution against getting too bogged down in details such as Primaries or local electoral structures they are all irrelevant until power is gained, my belief is that to change things we need to gain power the ways to do that are pretty well defined and constrained by the existing democratic process we will need to focus what energies we have on this one objective so lets not spend to much time discussing things which would be better discussed with the electorate once power has been gained.

We need to campaign on those things which will change the system permanently i.e a refined six demands and as importantly voting and tax reform BUT at least for a first term we would need to have a position on the issues of the day e.g NHS, Welfare Brexit etc. they will not wait while a heavy workload of major constitutional reform is being implemented.

There is much detail that needs to be worked and on which I could write more but little point if we are going a different route.

I started this essay with two questions I have given some insight for one now what of the other?

This really is for others but if direct action is the order of the day then kidnapping the Queen may produce results. After all she is the Constitutional Head of Government who has the power to appoint dismiss her council of ministers…...

Originally posted on ScribblingsfromSeaham:

According to this report it would appear that a senior judge who will be sitting as a member of the Supreme Court may have compromised her impartiality.

Lady Hale, the Deputy President of the Supreme Court, queried whether a “simple Act of Parliament” would be enough to give Theresa May the authority to kick-start the two year countdown to the UK leaving the European Union. Instead, she argued that the Government may have to come up with a “comprehensive replacement” for the 1972 European Communities Act, which authorised Britain’s membership of the then European Economic Community. She also stated: What has to be done instead is perhaps not so clear. But the case is destined for our court, so I must say no more.

The question may well be: P’haps, M’Lady, you have said more than you should anyway – even allowing for the fact it is well known that those born in Yorkshire tend to be a tad outspoken? Is it not a case that her views should be reserved for the ‘judgement’, having heard all the legal argument – and not aired prior?

This situation illustrates that perhaps where those that are to rule on decisions made by the people, they should be elected by the people – rather than being, at the end of the day,  a political appointment? In any event is not the judiciary supposed to be separated from government and thus be impartial?

Discuss………

2 Comments

The article I wrote (Statement) has prompted a few comments; and those comments, whilst welcome, appear to me to be missing the point of this Forum. Whilst comments are welcome. comments on comments will not on their own, I suggest, get the desire to implement direct democracy any further forward.

Restoring Britain homes in on the point that political parties are the arbiter of who can stand in any particular constituency; he also raises the point that Westminster is the 'battleground', when surely it is our nation that is the 'battleground'.

Flyinthesky agrees, adding that there is little point in local democracy if they have to operate within the constraints of national policy.; adding that there is a need for greater political activation and organisation.

Tony Day counters that the only way to get change is to 'put more bums on the green baize seats'; whilst mentioning Frome as an example of what can be achieved where local democracy is concerned.

At the time of writing Restoring Britain (@5.25pm) raises another interesting question about possible pressure by mean of social media.

To take the foregoing comments in sequence,

  • how about an article on 'Primaries' (ie, in any constituency all the electorate decide which candidate for a political party can stand - ie they are thus 'elected'? How about, within that same article, the suggestion that if we are to have direct democracy, the candidate elected at a general election is liable to recall (without any 'input' from Parliament) by his/her constituents? How about electorates setting the remuneration of their MPs - those that 'perform', as their electorate wishes, get paid more than those who don't? That idea immediately shifts the 'battleground' from Westminster to the electorate; does it not?
  • How about local authorities being self-governing entities on 'reserved' matters? Suppose local authorities had total control over taxation, policing, education, transport, for example. Flyinthesky, also mentions a need for greater political activation and organisation - so how can this be brought about and thus achieved?
  • Tony Day opines there is a need for the formation of a political party as the way forward, then how about an article on how that could be achieved? What should be the aims of its constitution? Is there a need for a political party?
  • Restoring Britain then hints at the need for social media pressure, so how about a concerted twitter campaign arguing against those political decisions which should be those of the people and using the hashtag dd4uk or the arrow symbol

To begin the formulation of any system of direct democracy for the United Kingdom, what is needed is for an individual, or a group of individuals, to 'take control' of a subject and produce a well-researched  article incorporating a plan showing how any particular subject could be implemented, looking at all the ramifications contained therein.

The early indications of this Forum is that it could well become another 'talking shop' - and four years have been wasted, doing just that by another direct democracy group so please do not let us emulate them.

Forgive what may seem frustration or impertinence on my part, but this is, for those of you who wish, like me, to see direct democracy introduced in this nation, the opportunity to see well researched suggestions how that can be achieved. Six requirements for direct democracy have been suggested - has anyone actually read them,or even thought about them? If so, do we agree with them or disagree?

It may be some of you are working assiduously preparing articles for discussion - if so, how about  an advisory article to that effect to 'wet the appetite'?

Over to you........................

 

Following the first article in this series it would appear that confusion still reigns where the subject of contributing articles is concerned.

Whether as a subscriber (which only allows you to comment on articles) or a contributor (which allows you to write articles for discussion), as Ian explained in his piece, you must register by creating a user name and password. In this regard it would be preferable were you to use your real name rather than hide behind anonymity (although this, at the end of the day, remains your choice). If anyone wishes to be granted contributor status, one again please contact me and I will arrange this

Having been granted contributor status, when you log on you will be taken to what I refer as the 'back-end' (or input side) of the forum. If anyone is unsure how to use WordPress then it is requested you contact me prior to commencing,  please (contact telephone number in previous article in this series).

All articles will initially be placed in moderation, a status I will do my utmost to 'clear' reasonably quickly. The reason for this is that the forum is registered in my name and, although the site is hosted abroad, this does not negate the fact that ultimately I can be held 'responsible' for that which appears.

When writing please do not forget to insert 'Tags' as this will input that article into the respective headings. Also. if you wish to place a vote on the article likewise do so at the time of writing.

Early days, but a few 'corrective pointers' for prospective users:

  1. It appears that that there are instances of people attempting to 'log on' without having first registered, which will result in their being 'blocked', meaning that they will never be able to gain access to the forum. Those that have attempted such, who are 'known' to me, have been unblocked - so to those I don't 'know'; I say, try again please?
  2. On SfS comments were made, where the introduction of direct democracy was concerned, that what was needed was a strategy coupled with a programme to enable progression of the idea. I have also suggested that lessons can possibly be learned , in that regard, from the 5*Movement and AfD. I have also suggested that, possibly, the formation of a political party may be one way forward.
  3. In regard to point 2, those that have already registered as 'subscribers' - and thus only have the ability to comment - please note: there will be nowt to comment on if you are looking for me to provide that on which to so do. I have already stated that it is not my intention to 'lead' this forum - that is your job, so I can but suggest you get writing?

If anyone has any  queries in respect of the foregoing, then please email me by means of the link provided - or telephone me: 077 022 7 5544.

6 Comments

For far to long people in lands across our planet have been subjugated to rule ranging from one man to groups of men numbering hundreds, all in the name of democracy. The system of democracy which has prevailed, representative democracy, is no longer fit for purpose.

In starting this website - and with the intention to stir debate - some ideas for discussion have already been submitted. It may also help stimulate what I hope will be an interesting discourse if readers refer here, here and here - three articles I wrote in November 2011 and which I believe were the catalyst for the promotion of direct democracy; articles which prompted a 'conversation' with another blogger on the merits of direct democracy. I refer to these articles as a further source which may be of assistance in your deliberations.

In the same vein, Robert Brooke wrote three extremely good articles on the subject of power; here, here and here. I would suggest they too are well worth reading as they provide further food for thought.

As I previously have written on Scribblings from Seaham it is not my intention to lead this debate - yes, I can/will offer guidance and advice if so asked, or where I think it necessary; but having been given the opportunity, which has never previously been afforded, it is up to you to decide how the ills that beset this nation of ours can best be addressed. All that I hope is that you make use of it to the best of your abilities.