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If supporters of democracy and Leaving the EU are ready to donate, let’s skip any protest that will fall on deaf ears and go straight to being the change that the UK needs

October 10, 2019 Leave a comment

img_4318As we look at the days and weeks ahead, no one can be sure what further twists and turns we will experience in the events that surround the Brexit process.

What we can be sure of however, is that nothing in British Politics is ever going to be the same again.

Unbelievable as it might seem to the many millions of us who have become captive spectators of the ridiculous shitshow that our Parliamentarians have been acting out now for some 40 months, the majority of our elected MPs continue to believe that contrary to all the principles of democracy, Brexit can be stopped and forgotten, and that they have some kind of mandate that justifies any action that they take to get this done.

The events that have led to a situation where we have a wilful majority of MPs squatting in Parliament that contradicts the will of the People and the instruction that they have democratically been given is pretty much the perfect political storm. One that has been created by inept self-serving politicians looking to preserve their own power; taken forward to the point of destroying British Democracy whilst they disloyally sell out their own Country to a Foreign Power under the auspices of Remain.

We may never know if David Cameron and Nick Clegg would have dealt with their need to create the Fixed Term Parliaments Act differently, had they known exactly what was to come.

Reality is that with the exquisite mix that is a hung parliament, filled with politicians who have no integrity or responsibility towards the People who elected them, all puffed up like a gargantuan peacock using the FTPA like a life-preserving crutch – we have what we can only hope will be an historically unique situation. One where resolving and clearing up all of this dreadful mess will only be achieved when we have politicians running this Country who can and will always do the right thing.

Sadly and most regrettably, politicians of this calibre and nature do not exist en masse in this Parliament today. If they did, we would never have found ourselves in the circumstances that we are currently in right now.

Whether the MP that you would normally Vote for or aim to see elected in the Constituency where you live would be Conservative, DUP, Labour, Lib Dem, SNP, Plaid or even from the Brexit Party, none of the Parties that they are loyal to are equipped, have the intention or have the policies in place (or the will to create them) to look at everyone and everything across this Country and then behave not as if they are acting out their own fantasies in a parallel universe, but are in touch with what we all need to see, feel and experience. Basically making clear that they are with us all in exactly the same room.

With all of this madness going on since the European Referendum Vote in 2016, it was perhaps inevitable that sooner or later the discussion amongst those who support Leaving the EU – even if just to respect the concept of democracy – would move to suggestions of protest and even civil disorder. All in the hope that action of this kind would change the minds of those who are misusing their power and the responsibilities of their Office to coercively overturn Brexit and bolt us into a permanent form of Remain.

It won’t.

Not because the argument that we have and share isn’t justified, right and legitimate. But because the people who have their hands on the levers of power and are therefore at the controls of this chaos are not.

Events are not under anyones control. Once each and every decision has been made, the consequences and the events that will subsequently follow are always out of the hands of the decision makers – no matter what they might have us believe or what we have already been told.

As such it remains possible something that Boris Johnson is doing already or is about to do will end up having the required result.

However, I like many others cannot say that I feel hopeful.

With this Remain-collective-Opposition running the Country, behaving like some giant snake attached to the tail of a very small dog, there is as much chance if not more that we could have this same zombie Parliament until the early Summer of 2022 as there is that we will have the General Election that we are all waiting for anytime soon.

When the next General Election does come – whether its this Autumn or in around 30 months time – without having change in the kind of politicians that we have and are able to elect, nothing will really change for any of us who are on the receiving end of all that they do.

Whilst the faces might look different, the way that broken politics has failed to represent us properly in this Country for decades, will simply continue onwards just the same.

At the time of a National crisis – which is precisely what we are now in, it is difficult to imagine engaging in any process that does not appear to offer an instant solution and a remedy for all those involved.

Yet if we don not start to think differently about the cause of all these problems we are having and how all these issues would actually be resolved today, as we look forward when we get to that place tomorrow, we will only be regretful when we get there and realise that nothing in our relationship with government will have actually changed.

The change we want and the change we need is not a change that will resemble anything that any of these Political Parties are telling us that they will do.

Yes, we must Leave the EU cleanly. But Brexit – in terms of our future – is just the symbolic act of opening the door.

So if we now back any of these proponents of the old politics, which is all about them and not about us – no matter what it is that they now say, all we will be doing is endorsing candidates and politicians who once elected will still resemble the politicians that we have got already in every meaningful way.

If there is the money, support and the will to do everything that is now necessary in order that the UK can take control of its own future and destiny AND do all that is best for our People whilst bringing democracy back in from the cold, we should together be seeking to create a new movement for change and with it a political party that reaches across all parts of the political divide.

Whether Left or Right, Leave or Remain, it’s what we have in common between all of us that should be dictating the public policies and the choices we make to create our future.

We must do everything necessary to remove bias and any form of manipulative behaviour from politics that prevents equanimity of government. We need leadership and power that values each and every one of us the same.

Together we have the power that can achieve this change if we can discover the collective will to do it.

But it will not happen if we sit back and believe that someone else is going to step in and make the difference.

If we as individuals, together as communities and being one as a Country want things to really be different in the UK now and for the future, each of us must step up and be the change.

 

 

Changing Politics for the better Pt 7: Social Care

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

It’s very easy to forget that most of us will become old, and that 1 in 4 of us will require care in the later part of our lifetimes.

Whilst there currently some resentment of the ability for older people to influence politics with their Votes ‘because they won’t be here to see it’, the reality is that every single person in this Country should receive care and support at any time during their life – should they need it, whether it be just through the provision of education, access to the NHS, benefits or more specialised support, that includes Social Care for anyone who needs it when they become elderly.
Most of us would agree with this approach upon reading it. But the reality is that right across the provision of services to people who need them in this Country today, there are too many experiencing lower levels of service than it would be reasonable to expect from the Public Sector, and in some cases, they are not receiving help at all.
Of these services, one of the hardest hit by changes in local Government Budgets and the way that Local Authorities are now run is Social Care.
There is no longer the level of consistency of service provided to guarantee that the support needed, wherever or however that need might require, will be the same for everyone.
This must change.
But we must also address the causes of the problems with Social Care and Public Services first.
When we hear Politicians talking about Social Care and how they intend to address the problem, they will almost certainly suggest that the problem is all about money or lack of funds. Sadly, thinking that throwing money at every problem will solve it, is just something that current Politicians do.
Yes, in the short, but probably only the immediate term, additional funds can appear to make a problem like this go away. But without looking deeper into the much wider problem and facing up to the changes that must now be made, the problems with Social Care and all forms of Public Service Delivery are simply not going to go away.
In a Country as wealthy as the UK appears to be, we should all have unhindered access to the Public Services that we need.
Those Public Services should be affordable if they are managed and delivered in the way that they should be. And we should all be happy that the contributions that we make through Taxes and National Insurance will be spent appropriately and that everyone will receive help and support to cover all their needs, if and when they genuinely need it.
A good Government could begin by:
  • Reversing the European Working Time Directive and replacing any other restrictive working practices that make workers rights more important than the ability of the organisation or business they work for to perform economically.
  • Installing new legislation to protect employees that works sensibly and fairly for both the employee and the employer.
  • Doing away with any rules, regulations and laws that mean it is more cost effective for a Local Authority or NHS Trust to outsource or contract out any role, supply or service to a profit-making private contractor, than keeping the provision or service ‘in-house’.
  • Removing gold-plated and disproportionate pension schemes that are being subsidised by Taxpayers and the expense of service provision.
  • Creating new profiteering laws to prevent third party agents or middle men from taking profit from supply chains at any stage, without adding real value to the services or products offered.
  •  Legislating to prevent Councils and Health Authorities seeing Temporary Staffing Agencies as an easy option to overcome staffing difficulties.
  • Undertaking sweeping Public Sector Reform to ensure that Officers and those employed by any Public Service are ready, able, prepared and unhindered in doing their job, without the influence of blame culture, or fear of doing wrong.
And there is definitely much more….

Changing Politics for the better Pt 6: Governing the Internet, Social Media and the online world

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

For many young people, access to the Internet, Smartphone technology and publishing every aspect of our lives online is already experienced as being the way that things have always been.

Yet for those who have lived through the arrival of analogue, then digital mobile phones; analogue internet with the dial-up tone, then broadband and streaming too, the whole process feels remarkably quick when looking back on 30 years doesn’t actually feel like its that long.
But a process that has been very short for what has been achieved in terms of technological development and access during that period of time, has been remarkably long for the large wheels of government, which have moved throughout this period at a rate that looks comparatively very slow indeed.
Like it or not, the way that we interact with each other and with anyone with whom we have contact has been affected by this extraordinary change.
Social skills that we learned through basic interaction and conditioning with other children, with adults and with the people we met as children has been replaced with a cultural restructuring.
Children are now handed ipads or tablets at a very early age and quickly learn to use the tools that they have been given. Yet in so doing, they surrender much of the understanding and trial and error learning processes that come via human and community interaction, and they do not develop a robust or rounded set of social skills as a result.
Likewise, the ease with which adults can order almost anything on the internet and the speed with which what were once long winded processes are now completed, for many is a new skill, outlook or understanding that simply cannot be unlearned.
Yet the changes that on the face of it appear to have significantly improved our lives have at the same time created a strange and unrealistic dichotomy, where ethics or the rules of interaction with others only seem to count in ‘real life’ when we find ourselves face to face with others, and even these now seem to be being eroded too.
A distance now exists between many people that was never there before. Not with the people we know and love. But the humanity is being lost from the way that we interact with each other in those situations beyond. And instead of the parallel universe that is the Internet catching up with the way that things have always been done in the real world outside, the dehumanisation of relationships that exists on the Internet is now finding its way slowly, but steadily into the way we behave with each other in the real waking world.
We only see the tip of this daily in the way that the removal of social barriers on the internet encourages people – who in real life would never dream of talking to other people face to face in the same way – to attack, criticise and yes, troll other people as if their action will never create any harm – simply because it has been done online.
Without government having already taken the steps to govern our use of the internet with a working, open, accessible but nonetheless safe framework for social interaction and conduct with business, people in the online world are simply going to continue cherry picking what they want to take away from the rules we are currently much better at accepting when we are in and focused on the world beyond.
The apparent ease with which internet giants can appear almost overnight doesn’t give them a free reign to ignore rules of an unwritten kind that have developed and governed the way that people behave over a very long time.
In fact, if anything, the whole thing needs to be turned on its head. We must learn to respect the Internet as another part of our already complex lives, and ensure that the rules are no different and that what we do online and especially in the case of interaction with people we never have or may never have cause to meet are simply the same as they would be if we were meeting with that person face to face, and government needs to do so before it is much too late.
Life is already becoming much too cheap as a result of a system which conditions us to believe that we can always quickly get our own way.
We must embrace the positive aspects of the internet and smart technology for the benefits that it ahs and will continue to deliver for us all. But at the same time, we must also recognise the very dangerous and destructive side to this two edged sword and ensure that legislation is created and then evolved to make sure that the Internet really is a tool that is there to benefit everyone and is not just there to be exploited at the expense of others by yet another ‘knowing’ few.
A good Government could begin by:
  • Removing the ability of all to be completely anonymous on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Blogger, Youtube or any other form of social media where commenting and the ability to openly attack anyone or anything is openly involved.
  • Ensuring that a system does exist where legitimate anonymity such as whistle blowing or helpful comment and dialogue from those with a genuine desire to help others whilst needing to protect themselves professionally can also exist.
  • Creating legislation to ensure that no decision that could affect the future and wellbeing of any individual in any way, such as credit checks & authorisation or CV matching can be fully automated or completed by algorithms alone without human interaction on the part of all parties involved of some kind.
  • Creating legislation to ensure that everyone is automatically ‘forgot’ after a period of three years, so that everyone has the ability to legitimately move on with their lives, and only appropriate authorities hold longer term records on any individual or business and hold the right in certain circumstances to disclose.
  • Legislating to ensure that any social media or publishing platform builds in detection software that will automatically trigger an on screen flag when formulations of words or topics that might be offensive to others might be involved.

Changing Politics for the better Pt 5: HS2 & Travel by Rail

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

HS2 is an unnecessary expansion of rail infrastructure using public money. A lot of money that could be spent more wisely and more effectively in other ways. A final bill that is only set to grow like the cost of Crossrail has.

Politicians have been guilty of fire hosing money at problems, rather than giving thought to solutions that would be better and cost less – usually because there is much more effort and political risk involved.
HS2 is not a transport project that offers genuinely good value. It is not creating a new link in the way that HS1 did when it linked London with Brussels and Paris via the Channel Tunnel.
HS2 gives the impression of creating more opportunities for travel whilst not solving or doing anything to address the problems with rail travel in the UK that we have already got.
Yes, we do need more capacity on the UK rail network. But capacity can be significantly increased without spending billions on new lines and line beds across open countryside.
We just need to make better use of existing infrastructure, improve it where it needs it and be realistic about the benefits vs. the cost.
A lot of the problems with rail travel today were brought into being by the shortsightedness and backward view of politicians and the consultants they employed as consultants to advise them in the 1960’s.
Public Services always cost the Public money. But that’s because a fair and comprehensive level of service provision for all will never offer blanket profitability.
The minimum requirement from any public service should only be that surplus or ‘profit’ generated from one area of an operation should be allocated to those that cannot do so with the aim that surplus offsets any cost. Run commercially but without shareholders taking dividends would soon keep subsidies required to the absolute minimum and ensure that they were seen to be an investment, rather than a form of commercial loss.
A good Government MUST scrap HS2 and change the way that problems with rail travel in the UK are being addressed.
They could begin by doing the following:
  • End the HS2 Project and take any so-called losses on the chin.
  •  Reopen closed line beds and stations across the network.
  •  Take franchises back into ‘public care’ and run them as commercial enterprises without shareholders.
  •  Increase capacity in the network by extending existing terminus stations, building new ones where services get ‘turned around’ and rebuilding those demolished as part of the enactment of the Beeching Act.
  • Use Computer Technology to reduce gaps between services safely.
  •  Create partnerships with heritage railways to provide passenger services using their existing rolling stock and introduce green and efficient rail cars to increase capacity and services in rural and poorly served areas

Changing Politics for the better Pt 4: Housing

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

If a housing shortage forms the basis of the housing problem, why is it that every time a new estate is built, prices of those new-builds and the homes in the communities around them don’t simply go down?

That is the question that we must answer, because the answer is not to keep on building and concreting over our fields and what used to be our green and pleasant land.
The UK is pretty much alone in prizing property, its value and the accumulation of personal private wealth off the back of it in the way that we do.
With disproportionate buying power having enabled exceptional overvaluing at the top of the market and a money-generating culture having made it normal for doing everything on credit to be normal and therefore for debt to be farmed, the housing market has become inflated over and over many different times to the point where the value of a home is disproportionately higher than the average salary in each and every British Town.
At the top end of the scale, people have so much money that they can afford to own or purchase more than one. Second homes have squeezed many of our rural and seaside communities, where low priced homes for life have been absorbed into a weekend and holiday market, for no better reason than just because.
There is no reason to be down on those who are successful, if that success is not generated by riding off the back of others or then used to disadvatage others lives.
Yet a system that not only allows, but actively encourages property ownership as a way of generating income for financiers and builders, without regulating ownership and disincentivising under use can only succeed by making housing a growing problem for everyone else.
A Government working for all MUST change the way that the housing problem is being addressed.
It could begin by doing the following:
  • Stop the push for green-field building.
  • Regulate builders and the financiers working in the property market .
  • Make unnecessary profiteering on house building and community property illegal.
  • Bring in a higher level stamp duty or purchase tax on second homes.
  • Introduce higher tiers of council tax for second or multiple homes.
  • Use a penality system to discourage houses in rural areas and by the seaside being left empty for days or even weeks at a time.
  • Give local communities a real and meaningful veto over large scale development and not leave it up to appeals to the Secretary of State before a planning decision can be put on hold

Changing Politics for the better Pt 3: Money

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

The role of money is now seen and accepted as being a key to every part of life.

For many of us, monetary wealth is a benchmark or reference point for happiness.
Money has been elevated to the status of a god. And we interpret our reality based on what we believe.
Because it has become such an emotionally powerful tool, the role of Money has become imbedded in the psyches of decision makers and is automatically considered to be the key or default factor when all decisions are made.
As such, Politicians make decisions based on the premise that spending more money or simply lowering costs will be the best way to solve any problem – no matter what the non-monetary costs, knock-on effects or consequences for us all are involved.
When it comes to the creation of money and the economy itself, very few Politicians have a genuine understanding of the processes and real responsibilities that are involved.
It is a fact that successive Governments have simply abdicated responsibility for the one area of policy that is guaranteed to have an impact on us all.
They look upon the banking system peripherally and listen to economists who give them the messages that they want to hear.
Often, they interpret and perceive information only in the short or electoral term and are only too happy to allow problems with debt and overspending stack up for later generations. It’s only ever the quick-hit to gain our buy-in and support for them about which we are told.
Beyond the ineptitude of the Politicians, the finance industry has become a law unto itself in these circumstances and whilst capitalism itself is pretty much an intrinsic personal state, untamed and allowed to flourish on the basis of exploiting others and taking value from supply chains without adding any or putting anything meaningful back in, is itself having an incalculably negative impact upon the basic cost of living, and why we are in a situation where going into debt is for many the only way that People can keep going and have ‘normal’ lives where these unseen influences have made basic life too expensive to afford.
We cannot continue allowing anyone with the power to do so, to keep pushing up prices directly of indirectly beyond what it is reasonable for an average salary and typical commitments to afford.
Monetary responsibility must be returned to the hands of Government and not entrusted to the whims of so-called specialists and experts who have no understanding or no desire to understand the impact and consequences of what they do on anyone else, so long as there is a juicy profit involved.
A good Government could begin addressing the difficulties being created in our lives through the miss-use, miss-creation and miss-management of money by:
  • Removing the ability of banks to ‘create’ money through any type of leverage process.
  •  Abolish the practice of spread-betting, hedging or any financial activity which involved speculation or making profits from activities which are at arms length from the businesses or bodies with which the shares they are handling are affiliated with, and so are not in any way actively involved .
  • Create a Law to stop unreasonable Profiteering from any financial or business activity that removes agents and middle men who take value from supply chains simply by assuming temporary ownership and adding fees and margins without adding value to whatever it is that’s involved.
  •  Work with the City to create a new and hopefully temporary set of Regulations to restore ethics to all financial practices and above all refocus the way that publically owned businesses are run to prioritise service and value, rather than returning guaranteed levels of profit to shareholders.
  •  Incentivise banks to speculate on the creation an development of small businesses, placing the emphasis on there being risks involved for bankers too, rather than allowing them to walk away from opportunities that would benefit us all if realised.
  • Create a new People’s Bank which will provide cash-free services to all People who are receiving benefits from the Government of any kind, and will fill the gap in supporting new businesses and projects for growth that the time it takes the banks to transform to responsible capitalism leave behind.
  • Considering a reset of our currency in whatever form that might take, to ultimately bring values back in line with where they should be, so that those with much cannot continue to leave those with very little behind.
  • Introduce a Flat Tax system.
  •  Tax all retail business at the geographical point of sale
  • Remove the ability of commercial organisations or bodies that they have control of to oversee credit ratings and the influence they can have on businesses or individuals of any kind.

Changing Politics for the better Pt 2: Bringing Jobs & Manufacturing home

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

Globalisation and the Global Marketplace have been sold to us for decades as the place where a forward-looking economy should belong.

But like everything else in the world of the old politics, there is no mention of the consequences for us all, for our industries, for our communities and our Country as a whole, by embracing this kind of deep-seated policy which is sold to us on the basis of making the cost of living cheaper, whilst the true and far reaching costs are never mentioned, but massive profits keep coming to shareholders, the City and all of those who are intricately involved.
The truth about globalisation is that money and making more of it for those who are financially invested in it is all it ever has been and will be.
The benefits for everyone else are far outweighed by the costs that are significantly higher and reach into so many different areas of life negatively – and contrary to everything that we are told.
When businesses move factories across the world, they do so to save money on the costs of operating here, whilst exploiting less advanced economies elsewhere, thereby taking all the benefits from selling into our own economy, without having to contribute anything meaningful here or there.
It’s exploitation and blatant profiteering irrespective of how positively the concept is then sold.
As an economy, we are better prepared, resourced and able to be specialists as manufacturers and producers in certain things.
So it is with goods and products that fall outside of this where we should engage the wider world positively and encourage them – through importing those things – to do the same kind of things.
For goods, services and produce that British People use regularly or pretty much every day, the businesses that provide them should be based here, pay tax here and benefit the wider economy which is benefitting their owners in a very dynamic way.
Localism is a term that has been heavily misused by politicians in recent years. But that doesn’t mean that a Good Government should not now pursue a genuinely localistic view.
Companies and their owners should be encouraged and incentivized to provide goods, products and services that not only appeal to the people that live near to their premises, but are also used by the people they employ.
This isn’t about having a downer on capitalism. It’s about keeping capitalism as a concept that is open and beneficial to all and not just the few.
Globalisation sounds great until the penny drops that it is completely screwing everyone here, over there and is only beneficial to those who have money involved.
A Good Government MUST engage with the global economy differently, encouraging the import of goods that we cannot produce here, whilst securing our own market for all the things that we can supply and do well.
It could begin by:
  • Imposing additional taxes on goods imported that could be made or otherwise produced here.
  • Taxing British Companies that have moved manufacturing to other Countries to encourage them to return.
  • Create Laws and Legislation that underpins realistic levels of profitability, so that Companies cannot simply create a cost vs. benefit disparity on the basis of the money they earn for shareholders as an excuse to move abroad .
  • Incentivize new startups and developing businesses that have the ability and desire to thrive in our Markets.
  • Changing employment Laws to make employing British People more attractive, whilst ensuring that the choice for employees to work with contracts that benefit them and the businesses that they work innovatively are voluntary in every sense and not just imposed.
  • Promote and further the concept of responsible capitalism and encourage a business culture where profit is not simply measured in financial return alone.

Changing Politics for the better Pt 1: Public Sector Reform

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

The key aim of my discussion on change in politics is to talk about Brexit and the possibilities that it opens up to us more openly, and how a good Government can go about putting the ideas underpinning A New Politics into practical and meaningful form.

In the first instance, it is easy for us to assume that these changes can come about just by changing the way that Politicians think, or replacing the Politicians themselves. But the reality of changing the way that Government and the Public Sector works is so very much more.
One of the reasons it has become so important that we get the right Politicians in place, is because the Public Sector itself has as a result of EU influence and poor political management over many years, become rotten to the core.
The Public Sector has become for many senior officers one big gravy chain with tentacles that reach outwards and far beyond. There is a protectionist culture in place from top to bottom that shies away from responsibility and passes the buck onwards an upwards – usually to consultants who actually add nothing new, rather than simply getting the job done, which is after all exactly what all Government Officers and Civil Servants are employed to do.
Rather than the priority of Public Services being to serve the Public, the focus has become all about the people who are employed within its jobs. The employment rules and regulations and bottomless pits such as the Local Government Pension Scheme are a gargantuan drain on just about every resource.
And it is because it has become so very expensive to employ staff directly and to keep up with the legal obligations to those staff that once were, that significant incomes generated by Council Tax and Business Rates go nowhere near as far as they should.
Poor Management, management based on self-interest and management which is incompetent whilst selling itself as knowing better than elected decision makers is at the core of this rich malaise.
Any original thinking that could find solutions to the problems is restricted by all the rules that being tied to the EU has put in play.
And the rich mix of key positions of influence in the Public Sector being filled by people who really shouldn’t be there, entwined with the incompetence of politicians who are in it for themselves as simply assume that the executive is there to decide what work to do, rather than being there to do as they are told, means that the whole Public Sector System is failing us. Is too expensive to run. And is at the mercy of idiots who have concluded that getting more money from Central Government is the only way to get anything done.
A Good Government will immediately embark upon top to bottom Public Sector Reform.
To begin with it could:
  • Create a new code of ethics and protocol that requires all public employees to fulfill both the obligations and live up to the responsibilities of their jobs.
  • Ban the use of outside consultants, agencies or temporary staff to carry out work that a public sector employee could do.
  • Ensure that Employees and the expectations placed upon them are realistic and where extra is required from them, that they are happy to undertake additional work voluntarily if that is the most sensible way to get things done.
  • Stop councils and other public sector bodies contracting out services to profit making contractors and agencies.
  • Reform and remove the guarantee of the gold-plated pension schemes and put them on a par with those in the commercial world.
  • Reverse the reforms that Gordon Brown enacted to Pension Schemes in 1997.
  • Remove the Working Time Directive and any Employment Rules that mean the employer has to prioritise the rights of the Employee above the execution of the job and the responsibilities that they were employed to do.
  •  Put a fixed, realistic and mandatory pay scale in place for each and every level, role or position, placing the emphasis back on jobs in the public sector including the benefit of putting something back, rather than being all about what the employee can gain from being in the job that they do.
  • Take appropriate steps to stop ambulance chasers and everything that contributes to the culture of blame. Public employees need to know that they are trusted to do their jobs and to adapt to circumstances rather than having to do everything based on a risk assessment first in case they should be accused of intending to hurt others in some way, or do something that could otherwise be interpreted as being wrong

Restoring Democracy Pt 8: The Electoral System

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

RD1As with most things political today, politicians and activists have the common habit of blaming everything they see as being wrong on something or some factor that is outside of them or outside of their control.

Boiled down to its basic components, this means that when something isn’t working – such as their own ability to get power by gaining or retaining enough Seats in Parliament or perhaps a local Council – they believe that the problem must be with someone or something else, and that the way to fix that problem will be to fix that ‘someone’ or that ‘something’, rather than to do anything else.
Right now, politics is broken.
In fact, politics has been broken for a long time.
Politics has been broken for a lot longer than the Brexit question has been around and Brexit is a symptom of the problem – not the cause.
Yet politicians who do not have power, or the working majorities that provide that power in Government and in our Councils, most often believe that the problem or the reason that politics is broken, is nothing to do with them.
Those politicians with power aren’t worried about gaining power. They only worry about keeping it. And that is why they are obsessive about sound bites and vote-winning policies that will keep them where they are. They aren’t worried about anything that has helped them to be in the position they are now such as the Electoral System.
But those politicians without power don’t believe that the Electoral System has served them and their ideas well.
They believe that it is the system itself that is at fault. Not the ideas that might actually be wrong.
Those politicians without power are the ones that advocate changing the Electoral System from First Past The Post (FPTP) to a form of Proportional Representation (PR) with the overt argument that it is much fairer and much more representative of Voters and their intentions – when it is actually nothing of the sort.
The reason that FPTP isn’t working in the way that those without power would like it to do so, is because the content within our political system – that’s the Politicians, the Parties and the ideas, policies and approach that they espouse – are actually undemocratic or unrepresentative of democracy.
In fact, FPTP is actually working very well. FPTP is working just as it should. Voters are simply giving their democratic support and mandate to the Parties and Policies which they believe in the most.
There just isn’t a majority in Parliament, because no Political Party is showing the leadership, reliability, reason, thought and trustworthiness to be trusted by the majority of Voters as any Party of Government surely should.
PR would actually make the problems that we are experiencing with politics in the UK significantly worse.
PR would consolidate the position of fringe ideas, idealistic philosophies and single-issue Political Parties and make compromise a permanent feature of Government.
Good Government can never compromise on key issues if it is to be responsible to all members of the Electorate as it always should.
Those Political Parties that are unhappy with their ‘showing’ or Electoral Results should be looking at themselves and the policies that they are offering; looking inside themselves instead of outwards and accepting that they and what they do are not representative of a majority democratic view.
That they are in effect, in it for themselves.
No Political Party can itself be perfect. But a Political Party can be professional and considerate of its obligations to others in all that it will do.
The acid test of a democracy is when a majority of people vote clearly for one Candidate or one Party over all others. Because it is then clear that what that Party or Candidate is offering at that specific time and in that Election Campaign, is representative of the real Democratic and therefore Political Tide.
We must retain FPTP in order to return democracy in this Country.
It is the Politicians and the Political Parties that must change.
Once Politicians are doing what they should be under FPTP, Majority Government will soon be restored.
We do not need the permanent state of flux that we would have if PR were to replace FPTP. Majority Government would only ever then be possible through Coalition – which would mean what we actually Vote for will be set aside in compromise so that power can be shared between different Parties that could otherwise never achieve a majority, whilst what we actually voted for will never be in mind.

Restoring Democracy Pt 7: Public Services should only have one master

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

RD1Meddling with public services has become normal part of a politician’s life.

No matter whether its exerting direct deliberate influence or an indirect consequence of anything else that they have done, Public Services have become unsustainable – not just financially, but also in the way that they are run.
The key to solving the problems that the Public Sector faces is relatively simple. It’s already in the name.
Public Services are literally the provision of services to the Public. That should be the priority, the aim, the reason for doing and how any decisions affecting them should ultimately be informed.
The meddling and imposition of rules over employment, pensions and a variety of other targets which have redirected priorities in order to avoid what would otherwise be legally recognisable employee upset has switched the focus of what the NHS, Councils, Schools, Government Departments and what Quangos are there to do, and placed it instead upon avoiding any kind of problems with staff, who have also become too expensive with all the rights they now have for all of them to remain employed.
This itself is one of the key contributing reasons for the employment of commercial service providers and consultants to do jobs that public servants were previously employed to do. And what you rarely hear mentioned is that these private enterprises are often doing exactly the same job, paying their staff all that they are legally entitled to, whilst making a profit on top for the business owner, yet still cheaper than the not-for-profit public sector provider used to.
The problem with all of these different priorities and providing services using contractors is the master is never the Public itself. Yet they are the reason that all of these organisations exist and why the people doing the jobs are actually employed.
A Good Government MUST return the emphasis of public service to serving the public and take whatever steps necessary to ensure that We the Public are always the priority. Not staff. Not profit. In absolutely everything that they do.

Restoring Democracy Pt 6: Ambition & Direction – not broken promises and being strung along

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

RD1For decades, generations of Politicians have increasingly become aligned with motivations and priorities that should never be in the make up of the people who are privileged to hold power in Public Office.

Encouraged by a Party Political system that has focused more and more on taking only those steps necessary to secure and retain power, it was inevitable that the Candidates for Political Office that they have brought forward would look at their roles in the same way.
For too long, Politics has subsequently only been about doing what has been deemed necessary or politically expedient to get the result that suits the interests of the Politicians involved.
Politicians are always on message, do whatever is necessary to secure position and elevation and do not often take the risk of speaking out or against the system for fear that they will lose their roles after being singled out and ostracized for being wrong.
The most successful of this current Political Class are in most cases little more than ‘yes men’. And the problem with saying yes to all the right people to get ahead and get elevated is that sooner or later, you have to be able to say no – and especially when you get to the top job.
A career and circumstances like these do not encourage and develop skills of leadership.
There are no skills of decisiveness or understanding of the world outside of politics that politics impacts upon.
All that is wrong with the system has been illustrated by the disastrous Premiership of Theresa May.
When Politicians appointed to Lead us actually have no idea how or what it means to lead and only focus on keeping their power, it is inevitable that it will lead not only to disappointment. It is how significant problems for a Country are made.
We never needed this old politics. It doesn’t work for the many. It only works for the few. It is time for something new.
We now need a generation of forward looking Politicians who are themselves led by Leaders who have ambition for all of us and our Country, not just themselves and what it takes for them alone to get on.

Restoring Democracy Pt 5: The new politician – qualified by experience, not experienced enough by qualification alone

September 6, 2019 1 comment

We have a system in place where it is technically possible for anyone registered as a Voter and living in the UK can stand as a Candidate for Election to Parliament.

This would be restriction enough, if it were not for the way that the system works.
 
In reality, it is very near impossible for any person to get elected to Parliament without being a Member of a Political Party, being selected as a Candidate and then being nominated by that Party to represent them in an Election for a specific Seat.
 
Regrettably, with the way that Politics has been working in this Country, this reality has meant that the real choice of who will or will not represent us in Parliament as our MPs is the choice of the Party that wins the Seat. Because whilst the system works on the basis that we elect the individual representative or MP, it is a habit of ours to Vote for the Party instead.
 
If the existing Political Parties are serious about system reform, they must adopt a different approach to the way that they select their Candidates for Parliament, putting what’s best for us as the end aim and result.
 
This will involve prioritisng Candidates who have the life experience and wherewithal that will benefit others, not just help the Party to secure Seats.
 
A Good system for the Political Parties to qualify Candidates might be:
  • A minimum age requirement that Candidates are 30 years of age or older .
  • That Candidates have at least 8 years professional experience that has included demonstrable supervisory and/or management experience as well as experience as an employee at junior/team level.
  •  That Candidates have served a minimum of one full term as a Town or Parish Councillor.
  • That Candidates have served a minimum of one full term as a Borough/District and/or County level Councillor.
  • That Candidates have fought and won at least one election at local level .
  • That Candidates have held officer level responsibility within a community, social or student organisation
  • That Candidates can demonstrate a vocational calling to represent others selflessly and provide a voice for those who cannot or choose not to speak publicly on issues of pubic policy themselves.

Restoring Democracy Pt 4: Joined-up thinking, rather than focusing on issues on their own

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

Politics isn’t just broken. The whole Political System has lost its way, and most of the problem is because of the way that Politicians think about what they do.

Everything in Politics has become about the ‘quick win’.
 
That’s pulling the white rabbits out of the hat that have the desired effect of grabbing Voters attention drawing their focus away from what’s really going on whilst catalyzing support.
 
The whole approach is very shallow. It is all about dealing with the effects of problems rather than dealing with the causes. Worse still, there is very little consideration for the impact of Public Policy beyond the scope of whatever the plan has been put in place to address.
 
The result is that problems affecting often many more parts of society than just the one that ha been targeted by a policy change are created or made worse, whilst the solutions put in place don’t ever last in any meaningful or useful way.
 
Like putting a plaster on a leg break, Public Policy requires Politicians to do considerably more than they do.
 
Compromise is not something that should ever be necessary when Public Policy is being created for the right reasons and nobody is focusing on the wrong priorities such as if something doesn’t work out as it should, who then gets the blame.
 
Joined up thinking is now essential as a part of how every policy is reviewed or how every one is made. There must be consideration and action taken to address the root causes, the effects whilst they continue and then the consequences no matter how far reaching they might be, once any new policy has been implemented and the changes have been made.

Restoring Democracy Pt 3: Communities & locality first

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

Localism became a fashionable term during the Coalition years under David Cameron. Yet the Localism that we thought it was and the localism that it actually was are two very different things.

Like many of the miss-sold and misrepresented ideas about what serves the Public interest, such concepts are sold with sound bites cleverly constructed to give the impression that they will takes steps, if not leaps towards some form of natural justice. But they don’t.
For example, the creation of the Office of Police and Crime Commissioners and Metropolitan Mayoralties was presented to us as giving power back to local areas.
Yes, they give the appearance of having more money coming to benefit the areas. But this take on giving power back to us is a dubious representation at best. Worse still, instead of bringing power back in the direction of the People, it has instead focused it away from the lower levels of Government decision making – or rather those which are closer to us, and instead transferred it into the hands of one, rather than a number of Politicians.
Many People do not realise that there four different tiers of Government in this Country. (Five If you were to Count the European Parliament too)
They are from the lowest to the ‘top’, Parish & Town Councils, Borough & District Councils, County Councils (Unitary Authorities can include all of the responsibilities of the above) and Parliament or Central Government itself.
Like Westminster, Party Politics plays a significant role throughout these tiers of Government and we have the very same problems with Politicians at a local level as we do in London.
Far too many Local Politicians are motivated by self-interest, pursuing their own interests and furthering their own or particular causes.
In some ways, the injustice at work at local level can have an even more meaningful impact upon our lives. Because the decisions taken by bodies such as Planning and Licensing Committees can and do make changes to the environment that we experience every day around us.
When these local decisions are not taken in our best interests – as is all too often the case – the cost for all of us can be particularly high.
Federalism and the model of putting decision making in the hands of local people that the EU presents is even worse, rather than better. It gives the lie to this injustice even further.
Together, the real workings and methodology of Central and EU Government is to implement a set of rules that are so tight, the so-called decision making and democracy that tales place at a local level, is in fact no more than a tick-box exercise for the Officers and Politicians involved.
Removing the rot in Politics and getting good people into Political Roles where they will really fight our corner, will make an immediate difference to how decisions are made locally. It would make life much better for everyone involved.
But the real difference that could and should be made by good central Government – once we have removed the influence of the EU once and for all, is to genuinely give back decision making, influence and responsibility to us and put back as much of it as is possible, into the hands of Politicians and Representatives  at the most local level to hold.
There will always be policies and responsibilities that need to be accounted for at a higher and more appropriate level.
But that doesn’t mean that the Politicians at the top should be the only ones with real or meaningful control.
The reality is that today, the buck stops in London and in Brussels for far too many decisions. Laws are simply interpreted at local level – a process that leads to much misunderstanding and frustration for local People and locally minded Politicians that really don’t have the responsibility and influence on issues that are most pertinent to them – no matter what they are being told.
Getting decision making back to the point where it is as close to the People as possible is an essential part of giving us back a genuine feeling of community, re-enfranchisement and that we can have real and meaningful influence on the world around us.
A Good Government could begin giving us genuine localism by:
  •   Overseeing a clean, secure and permanent Exit from the EU .
  • Abolish the roles of so-called Metro-Mayors and transfer their powers back to more local control .
  • Abolish the roles of Police & Crime Commissioners, re-establishing the local Committee structure whilst taking measures to ensure that political influence is kept at the minimum and that Committee Members are drawn from outside privileged and insider networks.
  • Reverse all processes of centralisation within the Tiers of Government and/or restructure to ensure that decision making and influence is structured and administered in such a way that the emphasis is always upon the quality of service and experience of end-users – always ensuring that it is as accessible as possible, rather than simply being about money, the decision makers and the officers involved.
  •  Return final point of decision making to the level most near to the end user and only use frameworks as a guide unless there are very specific rules such as the minimum drinking age involved.
  • De-centralise powers that have been given to unelected and unaccountable bodies such as the Highways and Environment Agencies. Create more localised umbrella organisations where it is absolutely necessary to facilitate joined-up thinking, but above all ensure that no decision can be taken arbitrarily by any bureaucrat without local representation having genuine influence in the process and if necessary having a veto over changes to or that will affect local infrastructure or property.

Restoring Democracy Pt 2: We ALL have a part to play in change

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

RD1

One of the most challenging aspects of changing politics for good, is for each and every one of us to accept that change on this scale is about everyone being prepared and accepting of changing their own views inwardly and not just expecting everything outside of them to be the people or things that have to adjust.

The world we live in is a place where everything is relative and whilst we look at everything in terms of wealth and the power that people have, the values underpinning all of this are fundamentally the same for us all.
In this sense there is little difference between bankers exploiting the housing market, to a union rep calling a strike to push for unsustainable levels of pay.
It’s simply the toys that look and feel different, whilst innocent third parties are always going to get hurt along the way.
Put into context, there are few of us who cannot appreciate that there is value in thinking differently, whether it be over a few pounds a week, or over multi-million Pound empires that might be under our control.
But saying and doing things differently are themselves very different things.
And if we want to change the world around us for the better and gain benefits from a much fairer and balanced system in the longer term, we must accept that there will be sacrifices to make, but sacrifices that are really just ideas and feelings about what could be, because the benefits for the future will quickly outweigh what feels like the immediate cost.
To be different and have different lives, we must all think differently about the things that we do.
Yes, we deserve to have Leaders who will show us the way not through words but by action, giving us an inspirational example that will illuminate our learning and light the path along the way.
But the change that we want will begin when we see that change as being the difference between now and where we want to be.

Restoring Democracy Pt 1: The ‘Old’ Politics

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

RD1

Everyone quietly knows and has known for a long time, long before Brexit, that something is and has been wrong with British Politics.

Because of the relationship that we all have with Government and Politicians, we have simply accepted that this is just the way that things are.

Yet Brexit opened a doorway. Not just to removing the shackles of the EU and Leaving it behind, but to also shining a light on everything that is has been rotten with our Politics.

We now know and understand that this old politics has to go and be replaced with something NEW.

The old politics is synonymous with everything bad about self-interest.

Like a cuckoo invading the nest of another bird, the old politics has slowly an insidiously taken over every part of or democratic system.

Its effect has been amplified through the manipulation and exploitation of the Political Party system, furthering the interests of people and politicians who only ever see their interests as being combined together as one.

The old politics is what gave birth to the phrase ‘career politician’.

It has created a situation where Politics is not a calling or public responsibility. It is merely an opportunity for furthering the interests of the politicians. It is to them no more than an income, a step to advancement. What most people recognise as the basis of a job.

To be free of the problems that led to Brexit, restore our democracy and then move forward in a confident, beneficial and measured way, we must now end the grip of the old politics on all parts of Government and the Public Sector.

It’s time to manage Public Services and the things that we share in common in a much more community minded, forward looking, considerate, consequence based and emotionally intelligent way.

 

Brexit is the doorway to change

June 23, 2019 2 comments

BF1

Brexit is the only way that the UK can access all the opportunities that are now open to it. Not only for our economy, but for us to ensure that each and every one of us has real equality of opportunity in life, in education and in the workplace, so that together, we, our communities and the whole Country is then enabled to realise everything that it has the capability to become.

As people, as individuals, as who we alone really are, we like to have the freedom to make choices when it comes to the decisions that will affect what we can do, what we have, where we go, who we are friends with, who we have relationships with, what we believe – to choose who we actually are.
The UK as a Country and Nation is no different.
Those choices and decisions are just scaled up and instead being about each and every one of us as People, are instead about us and our identity as a whole Country.
Its about who as a Nation, its community and businesses together, that we really are.
Just as we cannot make choices as children, when we are subjected to a controlling relationship of any kind, or placed in any situation where we do not have the freedom to respond to the world around us freely as the people that we actually are, the UK has been and is currently in this very kind of relationship with the EU. Its holding us back and we don’t know who we really are.
By Leaving the EU properly – which is what a democratic majority of as has already chosen to do, we can take back the choices which make us free, and will allow us together as a Nation, to regain our confidence and make the right decisions that will reflect our communities, our people, our geography, our culture, our economics, our relationship with the whole world and besides all of that, a whole lot more.
Whilst we will always have things in common with every Country in the World, the reality is we are in the majority of ways simply not the same.
To get the best out of everything and be an influence for the better we must respect the limitations of a corrosive relationship where values are being set for us under the premise that we can only get the best available if everything is the same.
Our strength lies in our diversity. That the UK is different to every other Nation on the Earth. Just as the internal strength within will get stronger as we respect and make the best of the differences that we have between all of us as people, thriving together, but independently within our different lives and roles.
We can only be the Country and Nation that we are supposed to be if we have the freedom to choose what we do.
Released from the shackles of rules that are undemocratically imposed, our lives will begin to improve immediately as a balance comes back in decision making that makes sense to us and the localities involved.
This isn’t idealistic thinking. Idealism is the premise that everybody can be conditioned to be the same when we clearly are not.
We have something much better lying ahead for all of us and Brexit is the Doorway to Change.

The EU’s stranglehold over the UK: How impractical idealism created a real-life straightjacket

BF1

The attraction to Membership of the EU is not something that can or should be easily dismissed. It is highly deceptive.

We have been continually sold solutions to gatekeeper issues that sound very simple, are usually highly appealing and play to the idea that being part of the EU is a one-way street to improved quality of life for everyone involved.
The problem is that behind those gatekeeper issues, such as the Working Time Directive of the Social Chapter, sit many knock-on effects and consequences that are not talked about but will almost certainly impact many areas of life and business that actually make lives for many if not most much harder to live.
Again, it’s a case of idealism hurting the many whilst glorifying the ideas of the untouched few.
The nature of the relationship with the EU and its forerunners that the UK was obliged to sign up to when it became a Member means that the many rules that follow as the result of opening the door to one of these ‘big ideas’ simply get created in Brussels and then rubber stamped by our own Government and our Civil Servants.
The reality of Law and Rule Making in Brussels is that we and our Parliament get no say. Rules and Laws created in the EU are simply sent across the Channel and then imposed.
So in the case of something like the Working Time Directive and the Employment Laws that surround it, the impact on our businesses of rules made by bureaucrats that have no understanding of running or managing businesses is to restrict working practices very tightly. The result is that businesses can becomes less profitable, less productive and for employees it might well mean less opportunity in every sense possible – that’s it they don’t actually lose their jobs.
This nanny-state management is actually representative of undemocratic coercion at best.
It is probably already a lot worse and would get increasingly so, if for any reason we were to end up having to Remain.
We should never hesitate to dream about creating a world which is better and works fairly and without prejudice for all.
But this is itself a dream with many steps to get there and there is the practical reality of how the real world works standing in the way before any journey can be planned to get there, or the downside of forcing this idyllic upside will hurt a lot more people than it will ever help along the way.
The EU and its direction for the future is based solely on impractical idealism.
Yes, the UK needs powerful aspiration for something better for all.
But the journey to our future must at every step be based on practical reality and understanding of how the world and human behaviour actually works. Nothing more.

The United States of Europe: Supranational Aims and Lost Identities for us all

June 23, 2019 1 comment

One of the biggest lies we have and are being told, most tellingly because of a veil of silence around it, it where the EU is actually going. What Remaining a Member of it would actually mean and how the UK staying within the Bloc is more likely to help this hidden grand plan unfold.

The people who designed what we today or at this stage know to be the European Union were very clever about concealing their aims.
They knew how to play not only people, but also politicians who lacked wherewithal and vision, so they could all become manipulated by certain truths whilst facilitating the development of something much greater which was always the underlying aim.
The history of this idea is not post Second World War as many would now like to claim. It’s inception was around 100 years ago – its just the case that some of the ‘values’ that were used as a way to sell it had not by that time changed.
As any plan that we have has unfolded, for the architects of the EU the process was very similar, if not just the same.
It began with finding a way to solve a problem, then the solution opened the door to other possibilities and options and that was how a grand plan towards a United States of Europe was actually made.
The whole thing as we know it started off with controlling and harmonizing the European Market in steel as a way to prevent Countries from having the resources as their disposal to contemplate or actually go about starting Europe-sized wars.
This progressed to harmonization of trade and the creation of the so-called Common Market which was the sweetie that was used as an incentive to suck the UK in.
It has since progressed much further beyond that to the point where any law or regulation that can influence or be influenced by trade across the EU is it has not already been, will within time be included within.
The process of Europisation has been sold under the highly attractive proposition of bringing down barriers to trade, opening up markets, furthering progressive ideals and being much better for everyone within.
But the process has been one of harmonizing whole peoples, which are culturally, geographically, linguistically and in just about every way different on the false pretence that we can be forced to be the same.
It means that those who make the rules or are able to influence their creation are the ones that will always win.
Key to the successful creation of the United States of Europe, is the loss of identity within Nations or what they want to rename States within.
Many people today question why we are no longer comfortable with our British Culture and confident about our place in the world.
But this is not about guilt or an Imperial past which we still have many reasons to be proud of.
Its because we have allowed a Foreign State to take over the way we function by bringing in rules and regulations that supposedly make life better – all unseen and by the back door.
Brexit is and definitely will continue to be a challenge. But it is a real doorway to massive opportunity just the same.
We just have to get our Politicians to accept that the UK – not the EU – is the only real cause.

The Real EU Story is one that never gets told

BF1

If you work, live and function outside then world of Politics or one of the sectors or professions that are aligned with or feed into it, you are likely to struggle to remember very much about the history of the EU if you are asked.

In fact, we generally don’t consciously think about the history of the EU in any way at all.
There is a reason for this. It’s deliberate. It’s why so many of us walk around with the unrecognised belief that the EU is an entity that always existed and simply was.
If we were to all be taught the EU’s history as a proper text-book style topic, it would raise too many questions from too many people who would have too many reasons to then doubt that Membership is in no way what is all cracked-up to be.
That Membership is an ongoing assault on democracy, identity, freedom, business, community, ideas and everything that pipes right down to the level of each of us as individuals.
It’s simply not the way that things should be.
This history would also explain to the masses, that the EU is continually developing its reach in every way. Whether its simply through the addition of new Member States or what are actually Countries, through Laws, Regulations and just about every other way that the reach of Government and the Public Sector can be used to change and condition lives on the basis of harmonizing or making everything the same across a whole Continent. Not based on the simple alternative of facilitating and encouraging a common good.
We cannot expect everyone to learn, know and understand the reality of what the EU is, it’s back-story and motivations, and more importantly, what the EU actually does.
We can or rather should be able to expect our elected MPs and Politicians to do this for us. But they don’t.
And because most of them see and understand the reality of the EU no better than any normal person would when they simply have no problems with the world around them, this is why we have been watching so many of them stand in the way of democracy, behaving like they know the real truth around the question of Brexit, when nobody that Voted to Leave really does.
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