Archive

Archive for January, 2017

Using money to thwart democracy is dictatorship wearing different clothes

January 26, 2017 1 comment

gina-millerInequality is a current and far reaching issue in the UK today. The difference between rich and poor, the educated elite and those with ‘poor education’ or the 1% and the rest are topics which are never far from the news, even if they are presented in an indirect but nonetheless similar way.

Whilst it would now be easy to challenge any portrayal of imbalance within ‘normal’ life across in the media, the fact remains that wealth, education, housing, employment, healthcare and the opportunities to access just about every method of support which can make a difference to any one persons quality or experience of life is not available to each and every one of us in exactly the same way. The same opportunities are not given to everyone, and however unacceptable or unpalatable this may seem, it remains an almost universal fact.

The social disparity which people experience today is sadly just an evolution of a problem which has been consistent throughout history, albeit at varying levels and presented in terms which have been contemporary for the times.

Beyond birth and death, our shared reality offers no genuine equality between any two people.

Whilst the rights lobby and so-called ‘progressives’ are unlikely to agree, human experience and free will render the possibility of true equality obsolete.

Democracy and the process of giving everyone within a community the same choices – even within the framework of restrictions which is imposed, is likely to be one of the most equal of opportunities which are the same for everyone. Whatever somebody’s background, address, bank balance or work status, they equate to the very same thing when it comes to placing a voting slip in the ballot box. We are conditioned to expect the same of the Law in this Country too.

The relationship between democracy and Law is all too easily overlooked. This has been alarmingly well illustrated by the decision on triggering Article 50 by the Supreme Court.

In the UK today, democracy franchises the Law. Yet the Law has now inadvertently been used to franchise an alternative to democracy; one which is being facilitated by money, which has been supplied by just a few people who have the financial means to manipulate a process which places emphasis upon technical truths, in order to promote and deliver upon their own view.

Dress it up in whichever way you like, by challenging the instruction which the result of the European Referendum provided, those who funded the Court action against the Government have used independent means to frustrate democratic process. They have successfully played the process of Law against the very people it is there to consider, to support and intended to represent above any private interest.

In this light, we can clearly observe the relationship between wealth and influence. Money is power and the injustice that befalls far too many everyday people, simply because the views of the few who have sufficient wealth to facilitate a decision which frustrates the will of the many is very frightening indeed.

At best, it appears that money can now be openly used to manipulate the result of a democratic process which will effect the lives and future of everyone in the Country.

If such ignorance of the majority view were to be as blatantly replicated by a handful of politicians or the prime minister who leads our Government by misusing their power – no matter how valid they believe their own argument to be, we would be justified in using terms to describe such behaviour as being akin to dictatorship.

The question we should all perhaps now be asking is what is the difference here and perhaps where else is this approach being used?

 

image thanks to telegraph.co.uk

Trident-tongued Theresa……..Maybe?

January 23, 2017 Leave a comment

may-marr-tridentLeading the UK right now is a role that few would be envious of if they took the responsibilities of being our Prime Minister seriously. Even within lucid non-partisan moments, many of us would struggle with the implications of a juggling act which can at its worst require the incumbant to knowingly sacrifice the lives of others in order to deliver a result which is focused upon a much greater good.

As a people, we are culturally and unwittingly trusting of our political leaders. There being some kind of unwritten understanding or expectation that those which have been elevated to the greatest office in the land will have the integrity, set of values and robustness of character to fulfil a role which has been occupied by titans of history such as Winston Churchill.

However, we have also become deeply suspicious of the political elite and quietly look for that moment when the true colours of any new occupant of 10 Downing Street are shown in the open, perhaps confirming our hope-against-hope based fears.

We should make no mistake that leadership does require information to be held back from a wider audience, and sometimes in ways with which we might not automatically agree. But whilst good strategic management might require a government not to tell us everything – even because it might give credence to a counterproductive argument which could have serious implications as a result, it doesn’t necessarily follow that when challenged about such an event, it is ok for a Prime Minister to lie as a result.

The Trident question does indeed have all the hallmarks of Theresa May’s watershed moment. Not because she kept quiet about the June misfire of a £17 Million weapon. But because she has now deliberately ducked the question about the incident when challenged by a respected journalist on National TV.

Some will be jumping up and down, demanding to know why the story didn’t surface in June. But others will appreciate that the vote on Trident renewal which followed soon afterwards in the Commons, would almost certainly have suffered the same fate as the missile had it done so.

Yes, it may well sound like a suitable conclusion in the circumstances. But it would not account for the many successful previous tests of Trident Missiles from our Nuclear Submarine Fleet, the excessive costs of testing them each time we do, nor the fact that as everyone knows, machines of every kind break down or ‘go wrong’ at the most inconvenient times.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but on balance, the Prime Minister was indeed right to sit that incident out, purely on the basis that renewal of the Nuclear Deterrent had been delayed already for far too long, and hollow arguments do not account for the true responsibilities of government – even if they make exceptionally good headlines.

That as they say, should really have been that. Theresa May was fortunate that the story didn’t leak before now and the Government – quite rightly – achieved a good majority vote in Parliament to drive the Trident Renewal Policy forward and ensure that our would-be enemies will continue to have to be minded of our existential threat.

Politics is however a game, and it does as such have rules. Sooner or later, the Trident story was always going to break, and it was inevitable that the way which the Prime Minister handled it would shine a clear light upon the quality of leadership therein.

When Theresa May was challenged not just once, but four times by Andrew Marr on Sunday, an honest and comprehensive response could have easily justified the action of not publicising this now historic event.

Members of the public are much more attuned to the credibility of the baseless arguments that many politicians employ than those MP’s grandstanding to the media might like to think. Yet the public would also have valued an honest and genuine response which demonstrates that the Government and the Politicians who are part of it, thoughtfully but nonetheless respectfully take the burden of quiet responsibility when needed, in order to prevent stupidity and political point-scoring from becoming a tangible risk to the safety of us all.

Instead, Mrs May has now brought the whole process into question and will have to accept that she will be responsible for any whirlwind that comes from the seeds which not in June, but on Sunday morning were almost certainly sewn.

 

image thanks to standard.co.uk

Stoke Central will define UKIP’s future success or failure

January 21, 2017 Leave a comment

paul-nuttallWith our world being awash with significant events on what feels like an almost daily basis, it would be very easy to overlook the potential impact of the Stoke Central By-Election both in terms for the future of Labour, put perhaps more importantly UKIP.

Speculation over when and where Paul Nuttall, the new leader of UKIP might next attempt to secure a seat in Parliament have been trickling around the media and blog sites since he was elected. But his decision to now contest what some will say is a very winnable seat, will surely define much more in terms of his Party’s future, than it will about him alone.

UKIP’s definitive purpose was effectively achieved on the 23rd of June. This is a fact that it is surely borne out by Nigel Farage’s decision to quit the Leadership of the Party and take up commentating roles first with LBC and now Fox News in the States.

Those remaining within UKIP may overtly tell us that their job is now to ‘hold the government’s feet to the fire’ in terms of what Brexit will ultimately deliver. However, the motives of those who have stuck with that specific cause may now come into serious public question, given that in their own words, much of Theresa May’s Brexit Speech either echoes or copies much of what they have already said.

It would be foolish to write off the influence that UKIP has had upon the Brexit decision and the chances are that the Prime Minister will still come to regret not reaching out to Farage in some meaningful way. However, the question of whether people really see UKIP as the voice which speaks for change, or as a change which gave them a voice has yet to be fully proven. Stoke Central will almost certainly provide that opportunity.

In the weeks ahead, the lamentable performance of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn will go head to head with what we are led to believe is a resurgent Conservative Party and a UKIP which is now attempting to channel itself as the people’s champion and all things to all people.

However, whether those who vote come from a suburban re-mainstay or a potteries haven for leavers, attempting to equate the outcome of any future election with the way that people voted in the European Referendum, would in itself do them the considerable injustice of suggesting that Brexit has only ever been about one thing. It never was and never will be.

The question that the media and political establishments might now be better asking would be about the relationship of UKIP’s election successes to date. Yet none of them seem interested in whether the population as a whole is rather more savvy or intuitive about the political branding to which it will entrust real responsibility, choosing instead to continue talking up the kind of populist mobilisation that out-of-touch politicians are staking the hells-pace evolution of their unedifying careers upon.

If Nuttall wins in Stoke Central, the out-of-touch establishment may be seen to be correct in their assumptions. We will surely then observe even more of a scrap within Labour, UKIP and the Tories as they try and deliver messages that sound every bit more radical than the last.

However, if UKIP fails, the point will surely have been made that the establishment is overdue in accepting that meaningful change must now come from within the mainstream of politics itself and that it is time to stop blaming all of their political woes upon everybody else.

That would of course be the case if we had a political culture which could face up to being wrong.

 

image thanks to http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk

%d bloggers like this: