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BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK

The Barden of England 27 May 09 - 03:56 PM
Rapparee 27 May 09 - 04:04 PM
The Barden of England 27 May 09 - 04:11 PM
Riginslinger 27 May 09 - 04:12 PM
The Barden of England 27 May 09 - 04:16 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 27 May 09 - 04:43 PM
Georgiansilver 27 May 09 - 04:53 PM
Leadfingers 27 May 09 - 04:57 PM
The Barden of England 27 May 09 - 05:02 PM
Eric the Viking 27 May 09 - 05:21 PM
Eric the Viking 27 May 09 - 05:29 PM
The Barden of England 27 May 09 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Allan 27 May 09 - 05:54 PM
Richard Bridge 27 May 09 - 06:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 May 09 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,Daily Mail reader 27 May 09 - 07:30 PM
Lox 27 May 09 - 07:38 PM
The Barden of England 27 May 09 - 07:40 PM
The Barden of England 27 May 09 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,Daily Mail reader 27 May 09 - 08:08 PM
The Barden of England 27 May 09 - 08:12 PM
Richard Bridge 28 May 09 - 03:06 AM
Stu 28 May 09 - 04:07 AM
Richard Bridge 28 May 09 - 07:12 AM
Bryn Pugh 28 May 09 - 07:29 AM
Ringer 28 May 09 - 08:01 AM
The Villan 28 May 09 - 09:05 AM
Acorn4 28 May 09 - 09:31 AM
sian, west wales 28 May 09 - 10:43 AM
Richard Bridge 28 May 09 - 12:22 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 28 May 09 - 01:38 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 28 May 09 - 01:46 PM
Eric the Viking 28 May 09 - 01:56 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 28 May 09 - 04:12 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 28 May 09 - 04:32 PM
Richard Bridge 28 May 09 - 05:13 PM
Lox 28 May 09 - 05:18 PM
Slag 28 May 09 - 05:30 PM
Eric the Viking 28 May 09 - 07:01 PM
Lox 28 May 09 - 07:04 PM
Eric the Viking 28 May 09 - 08:08 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 28 May 09 - 08:14 PM
Richard Bridge 28 May 09 - 10:26 PM
ollaimh 29 May 09 - 01:43 AM
Ringer 29 May 09 - 04:28 AM
Backwoodsman 29 May 09 - 05:50 AM
GUEST,Allan 29 May 09 - 06:51 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 29 May 09 - 08:45 AM
Ringer 29 May 09 - 09:21 AM
theleveller 29 May 09 - 09:45 AM
McGrath of Harlow 29 May 09 - 07:48 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 29 May 09 - 10:33 PM
GUEST,eric the viking 30 May 09 - 03:39 PM
akenaton 30 May 09 - 05:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 May 09 - 06:19 PM
DMcG 31 May 09 - 03:41 AM
s&r 31 May 09 - 04:03 AM
Backwoodsman 31 May 09 - 11:19 AM
Eric the Viking 31 May 09 - 02:18 PM
Partridge 31 May 09 - 02:39 PM
Eric the Viking 31 May 09 - 03:19 PM
akenaton 31 May 09 - 03:43 PM
Ringer 01 Jun 09 - 02:21 AM
DMcG 01 Jun 09 - 02:25 AM
Eric the Viking 01 Jun 09 - 11:41 AM
vectis 01 Jun 09 - 12:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Jun 09 - 06:25 PM
akenaton 02 Jun 09 - 11:06 AM
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akenaton 02 Jun 09 - 04:48 PM
The Barden of England 02 Jun 09 - 05:21 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Jun 09 - 07:23 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 02 Jun 09 - 10:46 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Jun 09 - 04:21 AM
Bryn Pugh 03 Jun 09 - 04:38 AM
The Barden of England 03 Jun 09 - 05:31 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 03 Jun 09 - 08:09 AM
The Barden of England 03 Jun 09 - 08:59 AM
bubblyrat 03 Jun 09 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,DMG (without cookie) 03 Jun 09 - 11:17 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Jun 09 - 11:27 AM
The Barden of England 03 Jun 09 - 11:47 AM
PaulF 03 Jun 09 - 12:46 PM
PaulF 03 Jun 09 - 12:47 PM
GUEST 04 Jun 09 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Ringer-who's-lost-his-cookie-AGAIN 04 Jun 09 - 09:22 AM
The Barden of England 04 Jun 09 - 10:24 AM
Ringer 04 Jun 09 - 01:15 PM
DMcG 04 Jun 09 - 02:00 PM
The Barden of England 04 Jun 09 - 02:10 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 04 Jun 09 - 06:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jun 09 - 08:03 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Jun 09 - 11:55 PM
The Barden of England 05 Jun 09 - 03:53 AM
GUEST,DMcG at work 05 Jun 09 - 07:22 AM
Ringer 05 Jun 09 - 07:46 AM
The Sandman 05 Jun 09 - 08:19 AM
The Sandman 05 Jun 09 - 08:23 AM
manitas_at_work 05 Jun 09 - 08:35 AM
The Sandman 05 Jun 09 - 09:48 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Jun 09 - 12:42 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 06 Jun 09 - 05:33 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 06 Jun 09 - 09:51 PM
Riginslinger 07 Jun 09 - 12:58 AM
akenaton 07 Jun 09 - 07:18 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 07 Jun 09 - 04:56 PM
akenaton 07 Jun 09 - 06:26 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 08 Jun 09 - 07:08 PM
Riginslinger 08 Jun 09 - 10:45 PM
Gurney 09 Jun 09 - 07:39 PM
Ian Fyvie 10 Jun 09 - 11:06 AM
Ringer 10 Jun 09 - 11:34 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jun 09 - 12:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Jun 09 - 02:16 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 10 Jun 09 - 06:38 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 10 Jun 09 - 06:42 PM
Ian Fyvie 10 Jun 09 - 09:52 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jun 09 - 11:03 PM
GUEST,Allan 11 Jun 09 - 11:01 AM
The Barden of England 12 Jun 09 - 03:55 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Jun 09 - 07:24 AM
The Barden of England 12 Jun 09 - 03:03 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Jun 09 - 06:50 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Jun 09 - 07:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Jun 09 - 07:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Jun 09 - 07:25 PM
The Barden of England 13 Jun 09 - 04:30 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 13 Jun 09 - 10:31 AM
Richard Bridge 13 Jun 09 - 09:17 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Jun 09 - 03:44 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 14 Jun 09 - 08:38 PM
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The Barden of England 15 Jun 09 - 06:03 AM
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Subject: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 27 May 09 - 03:56 PM

There are now so many threads regarding 'Snouts in the trough' etc, etc. that I just wondered if it's time we (and by that I mean the UK electorate) got rid of the 'first past the post' system that leaves us with either a Conservative or Labour government, with no effective opposition to speak on our behalf for 3 or 4 years. I believe that until our politicians stop treading the 'party' line and bowing before the 3 line whip, we are just fodder at the polls. Proportional representation returns democracy to us (and by that I mean me), it stops the old addage 'I don't vote 'cause who I vote for won't get in' syndrome. It may mean that the odd 'BNP' or 'Raving Looney' will get there, but it works in many European country, so why shouldn't it work here??
I'd love to hear your views.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Rapparee
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:04 PM

The UK isn't a democracy. It's a constitutional monarchy. You can't bring back what you never had.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:11 PM

The Monarch has no power here in the UK. I figurehead is all she is.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Riginslinger
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:12 PM

Surely the BNP will bring it back!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:16 PM

Never in a million Riginslinger.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:43 PM

"The Monarch has no power here in the UK. I figurehead is all she is"

The form of government is a constitutional monarchy nonetheless.

God help us all if the BNP do show signs of being able to run the country.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:53 PM

The voting system in the UK may be democratic in nature but the results are most certainly not... Those appointed are supposed to do their best for the Country AND the people... the British people that is. In effect we appoint a party.... whose aims are different to another few parties.. who battle it out verbally (in the House of Commons) like little boys in a playground with all the name calling and pseudo logic it presents.
I personally feel that we should have a NO party system and our country should be run by a democratically elected 'Board', chaired by a democratically appointed Chairman... to run the Country as a going concern... for the good of the country and the people and in a way that preserves all the good things our little country has.... such as the Health Service... the Educational system, the benefits system, care for the elderly and other 'challenged' groups etc etc.
You don't see two or more parties running a successful business.... namecalling, jeering, battling for power with each other.... the business would surely fail !!!!... A Board of Directors who are concerned with 'doing the right thing for the company' is the successful way... and I really believe that this is what our country needs............
Ah well... I was being honest whatever.
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:57 PM

Wsnt it Winston Churchill who described Democracy as an absolutely BAD system , that was infinitly better than any of the current alternatives ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:02 PM

Thanks Georgiansliver, that's just the sort of thing I was looking for. A wide view on this would, I believe, give us a far better and less narrow take on things.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:21 PM

The Queen plays no real part in our politics. The Royal ascent has not been refused since about 1707 When queen Anne refused to sign it. The last time it was signed by a monarch was in 1854. So they have no real use except to figurehead and get loads of money orf us peasents.

Proportional representation is the only real sensible idea. The three line whip forces the adjenda of the party elite on us. It does not represent, nescessarilly, the view of the electorate. (Sometimes good and sometimes bad but not truly representivitve)

The BNP will bring more hatred and violence should they ever become strong enough. They will set family against family, friend against friend, religion against religion (As if that crap isn't bad enough already) and race against race. Then the police and the army on the rest of us!

A parliament of many honest independent MP's would have to work. The machinery of the civil service would ensure that it would continue to gevern and groups would form around common ground and common policies. With established honest MP's from the major parties and the established civil servents as experienced mentors and a system of fair pay, just reward and not open to abuse, there might be a chance.

"The UK isn't a democracy. It's a constitutional monarchy. You can't bring back what you never had". Well it's about time we did have one then ! There is no written constitution. There are contributions from three major documents; The Magna Carta, The Bill of rights and The Reform act. None of which seem pertinent in today's climate. When we cast our vote, we generally whether intentionally or not only prop up the two party system. With the balance of power swinging between these two for the last sixty years and more it's no wonder that the "club" has thrived at our cost.

PR should become the norm. Labour won't touch it though I suspect they would do well under it.(Before recent activities) The lib dems would do much better, and David Cameron has ruled it out.


Popular vote 2005 election.
   
Labour   36.91%                   9562122 votes.


Conservative   33.86%             8772598 votes


Liberal Democrat   23.09%         5981874 votes.


UK Independence   2.32%            603298 Votes


Scottish National   1.59%          412267 votes



Labour   36.91%


Conservative   33.86%


Liberal Democrat   23.09%


UK Independence   2.32%


Scottish National   1.59%


Others   2.23%



from the above if PR were "it", then parliament would have been much more balanced.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:29 PM

I agree with Georgian silver, but.... Look at the fine examples that the bankers have recently set. They were suposed to be..." A Board of Directors who are concerned with 'doing the right thing for the company'. In the end, many of them did the "right thing" for themselves at our expense. Having said that there are many thousands of businesses whose board do do the right thing. In this case the "right thing" should be the protection and care of the peoples of Britain in the widest sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:31 PM

Thanks Eric the Viking - Good to see the breakdown for the 2005 election. It would have been '3 party' politics, but that's got to be better than where we are now I believe.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: GUEST,Allan
Date: 27 May 09 - 05:54 PM

"Quote- The UK isn't a democracy, it is a constitutional monarchy"

The constitutional monarchy is a form of democracy. The government is elected and the Head of State herself is not part of the government.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:22 PM

1. Parliamentary rules should become enforceable at law.
2. The Whip system needs radical modification. It should remain possible to withdraw the electoral whip (ie a candidate might have to stand as "independent" rather than, say "conservative"), but the function of a whip in seeking to ensure voting along the party lines should become illegal and all votes in the house should become votes of conscience. With luck this should bring an end to the schoolboy insult style of debate.
3. Constitutional conventions should become enforceable at law. That sort of muddle is one of the things that the common law system is superb at sorting out. Then, for example, ministerial reponsibility would mean something.
4. The doctrine of separation of powers needs properly sorting.
5. Committees need reforming too, but I find the innate problems more intractable. One has to have them since not everything can be debated on the floor, but they have become part of the instrument of steamroller.
6. The entire system for positive and negative resolutions to approve statutory instruments is a farce, but I am damned if I know how to fix it. Statutory instruments in general and particularly those implementing European Law are not in any real sense scrutinised and have become a constant source of incomprehensible rubbish.
7. John, for God's sake do not go anywhere near the "Board of Directors" concept! I got saddled with teaching some company law last term and it reminded me that the history of English company law is of directors stealing from their companies. It is the concept of short term shareholder value, and short term director value through stock options and a flawed system of determining remuneration that led us to the present crisis (that and bankers being bent).
8. There is nothing wrong with a constitutional monarchy, it's a lot more economically efficient than the US presidency system (look at the constant turmoil they have there with elections to two houses and the presidencey, and the quasi-autonomous state systems) and Miss Piggy has proved rather good at keeping it on track, as, I suspect, Big-Ears or Mrs Naff-Orf would be (he has a conscience and she some common sense) but I am substantially less convinced about those contaminated by the Dim Diana bloodline. However they probably could not do too much harm since the limited influence of the monarchy requires subtlety.
9. I am reluctantly persuaded that we do need reform of the Hose of Lords, despite the few recent times that that House has acted as nation's conscience. I am not convinced that any of the proposals that we have seen will get it right, but if we can dilute the dictatorship of the majority in the commons then it becomes less vital to ahve the Lords as a safety valve.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 May 09 - 06:34 PM

I don't think boards of "successful businesses" are too good a model for running a democratic system. More especially since so often the "success" just melts away - and the board members waltz off with a fortune while the company goes under.

The question of whether to retain a purely decorative Queen or King is a complete red herring. Does anyone seriously think that the Italian Republic is a better example of a democratic system than say Sweden, with its King?

There are a whole range of electoral systems - the first-past-the-post one is probably the least democratic one that could be devised, with its ability to ensure repeatedly that parties which most people vote against can get enormous majorities in parliament, that most MPs have seats for life, virtually regardless of how they perform, and that the only electors who can make any difference are the relatively small number living in more marginal seats.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: GUEST,Daily Mail reader
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:30 PM

You will see a change, you will see democracy in Britain and you are seeing the British public moving towards the only party that can deliver true democracy. It will be a slow process, but believe me my friend it is coming.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Lox
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:38 PM

No it isn't, and the reason is that just about every person I meet would rather superglue their genitals to an extractor fan than allow the BNP into power.

But enough about your impending orgasm. Nobody fancies your chosen political part.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 27 May 09 - 07:40 PM

And in what way GUEST,Daily Mail reader?

John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:01 PM

That's a most wonderous picture you've painted in my minds eye 'Lox'. The best 'put down' I've seen in a while, and thanks.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: GUEST,Daily Mail reader
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:08 PM

I can assure you the campaign is coming on swimmingly. A friend of mine in the Scotland British National Party team said things could not be going better up there. Their groundbreaking campaign in "new" territory in Clydebank, Dundee, Edinburgh, Dumfries, Fort William and Aberdeen has been amazing.

The public's disgust with the mainstream politicians is evident with lots of people in these areas promising to vote BNP on June 4th, a public pledge of support which we have never seen in Scotland before.

BNP Scotland are keeping their feet firmly on the ground with regards to its expectations. They were starting from almost no organization a year or so ago, and are literally building from the basement level up.

Just goes to show you what a few years can do. They wouldn't have had a sniff in places like South Wales, County Durham, Wiltshire, Cumbria, Kent...or North West Scotland..!!


Interestingly my mother in law grew up in Clydebank and a number of her friends who still live there have stated unequivocally that they will be voting BNP. Yes, they are sick of the other parties, but it's not a protest vote. They maintain that they have looked at what the BNP have to offer and are impressed. BNP Scotland, like the rest of the Party, are doing an excellent job and have much to be proud of. I am also proud to say that both my daughters are going to vote BNP at the upcoming election. My BNP vote was decided a very long time ago. I have never looked forward to an election so much. Onward and upward.

It's down to dedicated folk like Nick. Every corner of our fair islands now have the opportunity to show the self-serving "mainstream" spivs and the hacks living in their back pockets, how highly the BNP are regarded...roll on June 4th...

Good night and Best of British to you all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 27 May 09 - 08:12 PM

And the best of British to you too DMR. I think I know how the majority will vote on the day. Now I put it to you that the majority will NOT be for the BNP. I trust my fellow Brits to understand the implications.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 May 09 - 03:06 AM

Don't you think it rather telling that DMR completely ignores all of the fairly detailed commments I made above?

Ah well. Come his revolution we'll vote for what we're bloody well told to vote for.

Incidentally does anyone else realise that the anglo-saxons are a set of invaders who raped and pillaged their way across what is now England in about the 500AD period, driving the indigenous cultures out to Cornwall Wales Scotland Ireland and Brittany - and indeed destroying civilisation road building learning and literacy, until the Irish (mostly) re-introduced at least the latter (having learned thier value in that country's extraordinary enlightenment following St Patrick?.

So, DMR, back to Jutland with you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Stu
Date: 28 May 09 - 04:07 AM

"Good night and Best of British to you all."

You wouldn't know what the Best of British is.

"Incidentally does anyone else realise that the anglo-saxons are a set of invaders who raped and pillaged their way across what is now England in about the 500AD period, driving the indigenous cultures out to Cornwall Wales Scotland Ireland and Brittany - and indeed destroying civilisation road building learning and literacy, until the Irish (mostly) re-introduced at least the latter (having learned thier value in that country's extraordinary enlightenment following St Patrick?"

Er, not actually true. The idea that the Anglo-Saxons somehow ethnically cleansed their way across England has long suspected to be wrong, and recent DNA analysis shows 80% of the population of the Isles share the same ancient DNA (see this article for a summary). Like the spread of Celtic culture the invasion was of ideas rather than masses of people (In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles it states Alfred made provision for the 'British' of Wessex).

Indeed, there is evidence emerging of the continuous occupation of defined tribal areas that seem to straddle the period of transition between Celtic and Anglo-Saxon English settlement, indicating that the tribes became an amalgam of Saxon and indigenous culture, rather like the spread of Estuary English in the south.

Of course, the DNA evidence of Cheddar Man etc shows that in all likelihood our ancestors haven't moved too much since they arrived at the end of the last ice age.

It's outrageous the BNP hijack our history, which is far more fascinating and full of wonder than their hateful little minds could ever understand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:12 AM

I didn't say people, Jack, I said cultures. Many of the indigenes acculturated to the dominant invaders.

After the German/Danish/Viking invasions: -

1. The old language disappeared
2. Stone buildings ceased to be built
3. What remained of centralised or regional government after the ROmans left also disappeared
4. Roadbuilding stopped
5. Paganism largely replaced Christianity (until the Irish brought it back)
6. Literacy largely disappeared (until the Irish brought it back).


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:29 AM

What Richard Bridge said, post of 0622 above.

The only problem with his first point, as I see it, is that under the UK Constitution as it stands, there is no Statute which is not amenable to subsequent repeal.

(Parliament can make or unmake any Law whatsoever; and no person or body is seen as having power and/or authority to overturn or ignore a validly enancted Statute : Dicey, Law of the Constitution).

Hence the principal difficulty in concretising Parliamentary Rules and Constitutional Conventions into Law.

It is claimed that the use of SIs (Statutory Instruments - Delegated Legislation) saves Parliamentary (i.e. House of Commons) time. I would see these done away with.   Legislation which impacts on subjects

of Public Law (you, me, Joe Soap and Lizzie Dripping) should and must be the subject, and the result, of debate on the floor of the House.

(This might give Parliamentarians less time for "Yah ! Boo! Sucks!" abuse.)

Those remaing powers which constitute the Royal Prerogative must be vested in Parliament and not in the PM of the Day, purportedly exercised by the Crown.

The House of Lords must be abolished, and replaces by a small body of directly elected "Senators" (for want of better term).


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Ringer
Date: 28 May 09 - 08:01 AM

It wasn't only DMR who ignored "all of the fairly detailed commments" you made above, Richard Bridge; everyone else did, too. I am about to rectify that.

Of your 9 points, 4 is the most important. Since most wannabe MPs want to be in government rather than be backbenchers, and since toadying to whips and ministers is the way to get that preferment, then they toady away, instead of holding the government to account. Whilst the government is drawn from parliament, this is bound to happen. Hence, separation of powers is essential. All else, from reforming expenses to PR, is mere tinkering at the edges.

I disagree with your last point, that the House of Lords should be reformed. I don't think that the zeitgeist would permit anything but an elected second chamber; and the quality of the elected Commons shows what that would be like. The Law of Unintended Consequences implies, in this case, "Let well alone." (And I think it is well, as you yourself admit it can be the Nation's conscience.)

Some of your points I do not understand. What, for instance, is the significance of, "Parliamentary rules should become enforceable at law?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Villan
Date: 28 May 09 - 09:05 AM

What about having a sort of Alan Sugar The apprentice/Britains got talent approach.

The first thing would be to accept all those wanting to be Prime Minister putting their names forward and nothing to do with allegiance to any party.
They then appear on telly just like the above programs and the country votes by phone each week eliminating a couple of them each week until we finish up with 1 truly nominated Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister then advertises the management posts available, and all interested parties go through the same procedure, until each position is filled by whom we want.

All other jobs are then filled as you would employ anybody in this country.

We could all set the salary levels and other employment rules.

Just think, we might end up with people like
Alex Ferguson, Ester Ranson, Joe Brown, Richard Branson, Vin Garbutt running the country.

Your thoughts :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Acorn4
Date: 28 May 09 - 09:31 AM

Right Wing extremist parties will always do well in a recession, as with Oswald Moseley in the thirties, and we must realistically expect the BNP vote to go up.

How about doing what Martin Bell did a few years back and putting in candidates on an anti-sleaze agenda.

If you wanted a label, the ticket could be called "Honesty" - would steal a few votes off the BNP as well as the other parties I would imagine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: sian, west wales
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:43 AM

Remember that we have Proportional Representation in the devolved governments, although I don't know if we all use the same system. I think ours is the one referred to as Single Transferable Vote and, although I didn't think it was the absolute best choice at the time, it gives a much more balanced Assembly than the old first-past-the-post system. I like it. We have a coalition gov't at present which, again, many people don't like but I think it's great. Makes debate a lot more consensual. Of course, it'll get reeeeaaaaaal interesting when we have a different team in the driver's seat at Westminster than we have in Cardiff ...

I know they tried to bring PR into ... Ontario? ... a while back but that style of PR was absolutely daft and deserved to be thrown out.

And if we're playing the "dumb-ideas-for-new-gov't-paradigms" game, it's my go: I think we should have two elected Houses, one all male, one all female, and either can initiate legislation and every law has to pass both Houses. Maybe a male Speaker in the Ladies House and a female Speaker in with the Lads. Not sure what one does about the Prime Minister; maybe they'll have to be hermaphrodites only.

sian


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 May 09 - 12:22 PM

Well, Bryn, as you will remember there are ways - arguably, but the main point about parliamentary rules having the force of law would be that until their repeal the courts, not the goverment nor parliament, decided whether the rules were broken.

Rig thank you for your considered comments - I am a bit pressed but may get back into thinking mode on Monday (off to Pig's Ear Folk Ale in the morning).


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 May 09 - 01:38 PM

""I can assure you the campaign is coming on swimmingly. A friend of mine in the Scotland British National Party team said things could not be going better up there. Their groundbreaking campaign in "new" territory in Clydebank, Dundee, Edinburgh, Dumfries, Fort William and Aberdeen has been amazing.

The public's disgust with the mainstream politicians is evident with lots of people in these areas promising to vote BNP on June 4th, a public pledge of support which we have never seen in Scotland before.


Strange indeed that the Scots should espouse the BNP in disgust against their politicians, given that most of the measures to promote openness and honesty are already in place in Scotland, and have been for several years.

Strange too that DMR should be totally unaware of that FACT, given the FACT that Alex Salmond has been making serious capital out of it on English TV.

WHAT A COMPLETE PILLOCK!

I have received your note John, and I'm considering my response, as it requires very serious thought to answer in a meaningful, and NON partisan way, which, IMHO is required at this point in English Politics.

I WILL post soon on the matter.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 May 09 - 01:46 PM

""How about doing what Martin Bell did a few years back and putting in candidates on an anti-sleaze agenda.""

Tony B. Liar did that in 1997 Acorn, and look where that led.

"An end to Tory sleaze", and the beginning of a period of New Labour sleaze which was at least as bad, and more widespread, encompassing, as it did, ALL THREE PARTIES, and some of the minorities.

The ONLY party which was completely honest WAS the BNP. We already knew what a bunch of slimy, xenophobic, bigots they are. I don't know what their expenses were like, but I'd be surprised indeed if they WEREN'T on the fiddle.......BIG TIME!

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 28 May 09 - 01:56 PM

Where is the evidence for the claim? "A friend of mine in the Scotland British National Party team said things could not be going better up there. Their groundbreaking campaign in "new" territory in Clydebank, Dundee, Edinburgh, Dumfries, Fort William and Aberdeen has been amazing," There are no reports on the TV or in the Scottish papers I read .

My son lives in Dundee and he and his friends think they are a pile of shit. He is not aware that the BNP is groundbreaking, just the usual collection of skinheaded thugs that you would cross the road to avoid, lying low and getting drunk.

I got the BNP leaflet though my door along with all the others. I cleaned up the cat litter tray with it. I was going to post it back, but though much more of the postal workers who might have had to handle it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 May 09 - 04:12 PM

""My son lives in Dundee and he and his friends think they are a pile of shit.""

I've always thought the Scots were a canny lot Eric.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 28 May 09 - 04:32 PM

"and we must realistically expect the BNP vote to go up"
doesn't mean me, the family and the dogs have to like them *LOL*


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:13 PM

You know (elitist old lefty as I am) I'm all for the "one man (or woman) one vote" principle - but I am prepared to make an exception for DMR and friends.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Lox
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:18 PM

Don,

I would like to refer to your post of 28 May 09 - 01:38 PM






LOL!!





Awesome.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Slag
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:30 PM

Get a real King, have a real monarchy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:01 PM

From all that seems to be going on we in the UK are up shit creek without a paddle. Parliament has lost the will of a large segment of the population. The major parties are in a mess.The BNP are being hyped up, and the more everyone talks about them the more they get publicity.Crooks and conmen..................... I wish I was young enough to leave Britain. I've told my kids to get out. Australia, New Zealand. We are heading for disaster...........I've always been an optimist until very recently. What think you?

I'd like to think that we here engage in (sometimes) serious debate making fairly well informed comments and judgements whatever our personal stance (ignoring those who deliberately upset others)But I worry for the disenfranchised members of society.They are already out in the wilderness, unrepresented and ripe for extremism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Lox
Date: 28 May 09 - 07:04 PM

I'm with tony Benn - don't underestimate the intelligence of the public - and don't patronize them.

Not saying that anyone here is, just that we should feel more confident.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 28 May 09 - 08:08 PM

You are quite right but nobody is discussing the influence that the threat of an increased BNP pressence is going to have on ethnic minorities. If I was an asian or an afro carribean, I'd be more likely to look to my own extremist party to combat the (supposed but maybe real) threat. It does not mean that the general public is not intelligent but given the extreme level of disgust felt towards the mainstream parties and their expenses and the "sexing up" of the BNP, those who generally pay little heed to what is happening around them and live in degrees of privation soon find a common ground to stand on.There are many people who live on poor estates with degrees of racial tension on both sides who could be soon influenced.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 28 May 09 - 08:14 PM

I think we should all vote for Joanna Lumley. :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:26 PM

Now I know the world is turned upside down! I have to agree with Lizzie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: ollaimh
Date: 29 May 09 - 01:43 AM

all right i'm game. who the hell are the bnp? and for that matter who are the uk independence party--speaking as a canadian colonial suffering uner out legacy of a constitutional monarchy.

i am guessing the bnp are a right wing nationalist party but they don't seem to even be rivals with the uk independence parrty and the snp so are they a real threat to gain votes?

i would also like to point out that the unwritten constitution is far too susceptable to the whims of the momentary political majority. many canadians are shocked that the uk has gotten rid of the "golden thread of british justice" the presumption of innocence without much caring or notice it seems from this side of the pond.

as for the house of lords--sheesh--really guys--how does anyone hold their head high when the supreme court of appeal and the higher chamber of their legislature are a bunch medieval aristocrats. i understand labour has reformed the chamber, but why would anyone want such a non democratic anachronism?

we have an appointed upper chamber called the senate but at least they are people of significant achievement who get appointed not hereditary do nothings. and out senate safely does not usually interfere with legislation comming from the house of commons.

when i lived in the uk back in the seventies down on chaney walk in chelsea i had a neighbour who was the son of a member of the house of lords. nice fellow, but a real berty wooster type--i shudder to think he might be sitting in parliament right now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Ringer
Date: 29 May 09 - 04:28 AM

"...but why would anyone want such a non democratic anachronism?"

Possibly because we've seen what a modern democratic alternative (ie the Commons) is like.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 May 09 - 05:50 AM

Olive, I think you need a new keyboard - the 'Shift' key's not working.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: GUEST,Allan
Date: 29 May 09 - 06:51 AM

"I am guessing the BNP are a right wing nationalist party but they don't seem to even be rivals to the UKIP and the SNP"

The BNP and SNP in particular wouldn't be likely to be rivals for votes and the Scots Nats would be aghast at being somehow compared to them. The BNP don't stand through the whole UK but they do have a presence throughout Great Britain whereas the SNP stand only in Scotland and of course are currently the Scottish government rather than a fringe movement. The BNP believe Britishness is somehow down to genetics whereas the SNP stated aim is that should they achieve Scottish independence then (as well as some other categories) anyone legally living permanently in Scotland at that date would be offered citizenship regardless of ethnicity, religion or place of birth, and if they chose not to accept that citizenship then that wouldn't affect their rights of residency. The SNP are also one of the more pro EU parties in the UK. There are many people who disagree with SNP policy but very few who would suggest they are comparable to the BNP. Basically just because both parties have Nationalist in their name it doesn't mean they in any way resemble each other. There is a small vehemently anti-English grouping called Siol Nan Gaidheal (Seed of the Gael) who beleive on independence English people (but not Irish) should go up in front of a tribunal which would decide whether they could get citizenship. People attached to this grouping were banned from SNP membership more than several decades ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 29 May 09 - 08:45 AM

A thoughtful line from Georgiansilver. Don't assume that the board would be running an avaricious company for the benefit of its investors. Think more of a charitable trust. Trustee directors of such organisations often do an admirable job. I have to think only of that wonderful organisation, the CAB, where I myself do an admirable job... Anyway, it's an idea that deserves to be teased out in the review of UK governance that is now so desperately needed.

The UK constitution has degenerated into a basketcase, In particular the upper chanber is a mess. Its hereditary element has been removed only to be replaced with an ill-defined, ad hoc process of patronage exercised by the leading political parties - especially whichever one happens to be in government. The fact that the government of the day can "rewrite" the (unwritten) constitution at will (sweeping changes to the upper chamber, the relationship between governance and the judiciary, etc) is ridiculous. And any reform of the voting system for the lower chamber is in the gift of the government, and as the late Robin Cook observed (with regret): no government is going to change the system that got it into power.

On the question of PR v first-past-the-post I would make this observation without comment: Labour achieved a landslide victory in the 1997 general election with a smaller vote than Labour achieved in 1951. Yet the electorate was much smaller in 1951 than in 1997. And in 1951 Labour LOST.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Ringer
Date: 29 May 09 - 09:21 AM

"In particular the upper chanber is a mess."

Been on holiday, Peter K? If you think "the upper chanber is a mess," have you considered the Commons lately? "Mess" doesn't describe it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: theleveller
Date: 29 May 09 - 09:45 AM

Our local MEP, UKIP member Godfrey Bloom, lives in our village and is a complete and utter pompous pillock.

Here's what happened on his first day at the European Parliament.

"A Euro MP for the UK Independence Party has sparked controversy hours into his first day in the Strasbourg parliament.
Godfrey Bloom was given a seat on the European Parliament's women's rights committee on Tuesday.
But he told the media: "No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age."
A range of fellow politicians were outraged, saying his views were terrifying and outrageous.
Mr Bloom, an investment fund manager from York, told journalists he wanted to deal with women's issues because: "I just don't think they clean behind the fridge enough".
"I am here to represent Yorkshire women who always have dinner on the table when you get home. I am going to promote men's rights," he added."

Why would anyone, in their right minds, vote for this tosser?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 May 09 - 07:48 PM

Actually in 1951 when Labour lost the General Election, it received considerably more votes than the Tories, who won. The Tories clocked up 12,660,061 votes and Labour got 13,948,883.         The first-past-the-post system does stuff like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 29 May 09 - 10:33 PM

Those figures, McG, are even more telling. First-past-the-post may somehow work in practice, but there is no escaping the fact that it is a hopeless basis for representative democracy, to the point of being almost a fraud.

Ringer, perhaps you are not able to understand context. I was talking about the constitution. The expenses fiddling recently exposed is a trivial sideshow by comparison, and was capped at £24k in most cases.

As I argued in another thread, the main failure of the Commons was in not having the bottle to implement recommended pay awards to themselves. Instead they found a backdoor solution through the expenses racket, and it has blown up in their faces. If you add £40k to their £64k salaries (£40k taxed at 40 per cent is equivalent to £24k tax free) you finish up with a package which is comparable with secondary-school headteachers and getting nearer to the average for GPs - these being the widely accepted comparators for determining MP pay.

What many MPs did was wrong-headed, but it was a drop in the bucket against the obscene levels at which, say, company directors etc have been rewarding themselves for many years. And the scale of the press-led reaction has been wildly disproportionate.

So I am happy with what I said, Ringer. On top of various other constitutional issues, we now face a real prospect of no party securing an overall majority in the next election. In that case the UK will certainly move to some form of proportional representation - a system which, especially during a climate of hostility to the major political parties, will greatly strengthen the crackpot UK Independence Party and the racist British National Party among others.
That, alas, is the downside of democracy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: GUEST,eric the viking
Date: 30 May 09 - 03:39 PM

I'm sorry to disagree with Peter about the level of remuneration for MP's. Not with the actual figures, but with their worth. MP's have for many years set their own levels of pay. They have given themselves good and sometimes above inflation percentage pay rises. Labour have in the last few years, I agree, cut the size down. Their pay is still much better than that of Joe public. Including their non taxed allowences and all the other perks they have it is still good. They have sat for many years setting the level of pay for public service workers who do essential jobs. Don't forget that it doesn't take a mathematical genius to work out that a 2.9% pay rise of £17,000 is a considerable amount less than a 2.9% pay rise for someone on £64,000 who has seemingly unending perks, all expense paid trips all over the place, free lunches, free travel, tax wrangles, houses all over the place, paid for by us and furnished by us. And THEN bends the system without any moral conscience whatsoever.

Today the news that MSP's claimed for poppy wreaths for rememberance day on expenses shows the low level to which they will go to screw the system.

What ever job I have ever taken I always knew what the pay was. There are few headteachers earning £100,000.00. Those are HT's of the biggest schools. Their level of responsibility is so much higher than MP's who are relatively unaccountable. HT's and school are rigorously inspected and suffer undeniable stresses.Doctors save lives,you and I are alive because of their work.

They, MP's turn up when they wish,vote on (mostly) what they want. They get huge pensions and payoff's. They often have other jobs.Huge holidays

This isn't an envious view, I took my own route in life and wouldn't wish much other.I've turned down higher salaries and promotions. MP's take the job KNOWING what they get paid.

Nobody forces them into it.

In a hypothetical world where certain groups of people might not exist there will always be a need for doctors, teachers, nurses, cleaners, producers and manufacturers. Dangerously, MP's do not need to fit into these groups, we can do without them.I am not advocating dictatorship.

"It was wise of MPs to agree, some years ago, to link their pay to that of a Civil Service grade, a move designed to take the politics out of the issue.
But this tactful arrangement has broken down. Civil servants have accepted performance-related pay, and so the link doesn't really work any more.
It is amusing to think of MPs' pay being related to their performances, but hard to work out a good way of doing it...... They knew what parliamentary salaries were before they started. And they are increasingly feeble at their main job ? holding the Government to account" (Source:Daily Mail 2007) By the way I am not daily mail reader in disguise.

MP's should be beyond reproach.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: akenaton
Date: 30 May 09 - 05:16 PM

In the seventeen-nineties a section of the French society, thought themselves above the laws that they themselves had set and treated the rest of the populace with complete and utter contempt contempt......the rest is history, but I think it may be time to bring out the tumbrils once again.

A place in the first of those vehicles, should be reserved for a man who is rapidly becoming one of the richest and most corrupt ex= politicians in the UK.......Mr Anthony Blair.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 May 09 - 06:19 PM

I'm still puzzled how anyone feels that £64,000 isn't a very adequate salary.

I suspect a lot of the time it isn't so much that they feel they need the money as such, but more a matter of the money being seen as a marker of respect - and they feel undervalued if they aren't overpaid. Poor dears.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: DMcG
Date: 31 May 09 - 03:41 AM

I agree with a lot of Richard's points of 27 May 09 - 06:22 PM, but am not so sure that I think number 4 is the most important and the rest tinkering at the edges, as Ringer suggested. They all seem too tightly interwoven for that. If I had to pick a key proposition from the list, it is #2 to reduce the power of the whips. While any sort of preferment is dependant upon doing what the whips say, the system will remain outside our control. One possiblity is that that all ministerial appointments are on an acting basis only, and must be confirmed by a separate mechanism. The US approach is similar to that, but I'd like the electorate even more directly involved.

I've said this before elsewhere on Mudcat but some time ago I heard a lecture from Edwina Currie on the five (I think) rules that you must follow to be a successful politician. None of them involved the electors, and I genuinely think she hadn't noticed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: s&r
Date: 31 May 09 - 04:03 AM

When I first voted it was illegal to put the party allegiance of the candidate on the ballot paper. The idea was, I think, that you elected a candidate of integrity who would vote honestly.

I would like to see two things in politics

1. Ban parties
2. Have a system that allows a constituency to call their MP to account for his actions, with the power of expulsion if the account is unsatisfactory.

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 31 May 09 - 11:19 AM

"The expenses fiddling recently exposed is a trivial sideshow by comparison, and was capped at £24k in most cases."

Oh right, only £24k - just sweetie-money really. That's alright then, carry on chaps.

And yet a Tesco checkout girl who gets caught lifting a fiver from the till will get the sack and almost certainly be prosecuted.

What strange double-standards some people have.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 31 May 09 - 02:18 PM

Maybe the expenses are capped at £24K but the fiddling, using to advantage some may call it, goes far in excess of the morality set for ordinary people. The criticism of the banking system and the "fat cat" system is that directors etc pay themselves huge amounts of other peoples money (Shareholder profits) make a mess or a success and then eventually walk away with a big wad. Exactly what some MP's have been doing. Thousands of pounds from profitable house selling and renting. Oh, of course nothing "illegal", especially when they set their own rules.

Suppose I decide to live by my own rules and ignore the rules of others what then?

If all that is left to us is to moan about it and then have our pathetic own act of defiance at the ballot box then it shows just how impotent the population have become.

What else can we do?

To whom can we appeal for justice?

Every one of them who has shown the slightest bending of the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

This lot in power at the moment are still protecting each others backs. They have only got rid of deadwood so far.

And then as Mr Morality himself, David Cameron, bays for the blood of others it turns out that he made some good money and could have saved us £22,000.00. So little hope there then. Brown on TV this morning was a waste of space, backpeddling.

So what is left to us?

Any reasonable answer accepted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Partridge
Date: 31 May 09 - 02:39 PM

Just wait till you find out how much MEPs can claim in expenses - they dont even have to have receipts...........

scary

I am at the point where I dont know who to vote for, I dont trust anyone in the government. How long have we been lied to and misled?

And stupid us for allowing it to happen.
i think this is a wake up call


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 31 May 09 - 03:19 PM

Yes, MEP's they are even better ! They can make millions by all accounts. We have no answers or means of change unless.............


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: akenaton
Date: 31 May 09 - 03:43 PM

Trouble is, no one said anything, as long as they kept handing out "cheap" money, house prices were going to keep rising for ever, and we were going to climb the ladder rung by rung.

We bought it all, we are the ME ME ME generation, we even allowed them to take us into a war we KNEW was wrong.
We're a shower of hypocrits and deserve the Blears....the Blairs...the Hoons ...the Straws....the Smiths...the Tories...Because we're just like them....really


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Ringer
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 02:21 AM

"...capped at £24k in most cases."

That's £24K per year. You note, of course, that all the MPs caught out use the excuse, "the fees office said it was OK." Not one says, "I'm worth it."

You're right, Peter K: I had ignored the context in which you called the Lords "a mess." Sorry.

But I still disagree with most of what you say: for instance, if a company director pays himself large amounts of money and his company's shareholders do not vote him off the board next AGM then they obviously think he's worth it, so who are you to call his salary "obscene?" Directors are probably more accountable than MPs, and shareholders look to maximise their returns.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: DMcG
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 02:25 AM

That's not entirely fair, akenaton. There been quite a lot of people outside the political parties calling for various reforms such as a written constitution, better separation of powers etc for a LONG time. For example, Charter 88. I would agree though that the number of members of groups like that is, quite literally, negligable as far as the career politicians are concerned.
It is the unity in the general public over this expenses scandal that has made the topic of reform hot. Even so I think our chances of getting a real reform rather than just publishing expenses is slim. For example, I have come up with a scheme where all expenses are published and 'reasonable', no pay rise is needed but the MPs could still milk the system for tens of thousands.
No, I'm not going to explain how to do it - they will manage it themselves!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 11:41 AM

Akenaton, please do not include me in the "we". I and many many others never bought into the Thatcherite greed culture. I didn't take the management route for a higher salary though I was under pressure to do so. I didn't get mortgage upon mortgage up to the hilt, borrowing much more than I could afford to pay back. I wrote to my MP about the war, I have been on peaceful protests and continue to donate to charities when ever I can.

There were many warnings, many stood in opposition and many never bought the hype.

It didn't include most people I would suggest, but it certainly was pushed and hyped up as the answer. A million quiet voices and ordinary struggling lives never seem to reach the heights of a few hundred greedy and loud individuals.

Just remember that at the same time MP's and government were moralising at us peasents to tighten our belts, grass up a benefits cheat,fill in our tax returns or else! Means testing hundreds of people for student support or for benefits, closing small and essential post offices, raising higher and higher the level of taxation and fuel duty, removing the right to supported further and higher education for the lower paid, putting students into thousands of pounds of debt, bragging that they had given pensioners another 10p a week, hearing of fuel poverty, ignoring the numbers of old and frail who die in winter etc etc.And don't forget not giving our service personel correct equipment.

Just remember that they were charging US for kitkats, toilet seats, chocolate father christmases, making thousands on shady property deals, having free trips to anywhere there was a free anything and better, plasma TV's, duck houses, avoiding taxes, lying, cheating and milking us for all they could. They were claiming for money spent on wreaths of poppies, they were claiming on the trivial and downright obscene.

If we, the population did anything wrong...it was to trust them !! Never again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: vectis
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 12:09 PM

The thieving, fiddling barstewards should be under arrest for theft, fraud, false accounting and any other charge that might have a chance of sticking.
You or I would be if we had done as they did.

And while I am on the bandwaggon...

Why do we need so many of the buggers? Surely one per county and one for each major city shopuld be enough. Far cheaper to run and maybe they would actually have a chance of getting something useful done instead of spending so much time slagging each other off in the House.

As to the Lords. Sorry but I actually liked the thought of learned judges, clerics and aristos trying to balance the self seeking rabble in the lower house. They actually used to be able to put a brake on the Commons but this new lot seem to just kowtow to them.

Rant over


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 06:25 PM

We bought it all,

No "we" didn't. A lot of people did. A lot of people didn't.

The papers do this all the time - use "we" as if it meant everyone out there in the real world, when it really means mean the writer and the people he or she runs into around the office and around the dinner party circuit.
.............................................

The problem with cutting down the numbers in the Commons would be that, unless they change a few other bits to the system, it would make some things even worse - which is probably why so many people in the public opinion industry are suggesting it.

Under the Westminster system, ordinary MPs live in the hope of being given jobs as ministers or shadow ministers etc, jobs that put them in the pocket of their party leaders. Cut down the number of people in the Commons, while keeping the same number of jobs for the boys (and girls occasionally), and the "payroll vote" would be massively increased in proportion. There'd be hardly any backbenchers left.

There's supposed to be a rule to stop rulers buying people's loyalty that way - any MP accepting "an office of profit under the Crown" automatically ceases to be an MP. It's a rule used in order to formally allow MPs to resign - they accept a notional job such as "Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds", which counts as "an office of profit", and bingo, they are out as MPs.

But perversely the jobs given out by the government to its supporters do not count as "offices of profit under the Crown", though that is just what they are, sinc ethe government exercises all the powers that lie with "the Crown". Change that rule and it would shake up the whole system, and greatly reduce the power of governments to control the House of Commons.

One idea would be that anyone accepting a paid government or opposition job should automatically cease to be an MP, and move over the House of Lords for so long as they hold the job, with a by-election to replace them in the Commons.

But I somehow don't think they'd much like that one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 11:06 AM

Well... I apologise to McGrath and Eric....There were indeed people who didn't "buy into" Blairism/Thatcherism............But they were all Green Luddite Anarchists....just like me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 02:21 PM

There's more of us around than some people reckon...

And I wasn't implying that aken was on the media dinner-party circuit. Just that the "we" mannerism spread out from there, and becomes too easy to echo. (You know the way they go on about stuff like clothes and books and films and food, and ideas, suggesting by implication that everyone is following their obscure little fashion agenda.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: akenaton
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 04:48 PM

Anyway..."democracy" doesn't work, the majority are too easily manipulated, so why bring it back at all?
Now that the system has come to the inevitable end, why not ditch the lot and go for something different.....or are we fated to serve the capitalist cycle for ever?

The problem McGrath, is the very people you mention...good folks with good intentions, who think some way, some day, this economic and social system can be made fair and provide happiness........WRONG, this system and the fake democracy which supports it depends on unfairness, greed and envy to prosper.

All this financial regulation, parliamentary reform bullshit will last as long as the system is down, when its back up and running by throwing millions of young people on the scrapheap, cutting services etc....it wont be long till we see the snouts back in the trough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 05:21 PM

You can see what they think of us I believe when they cry out 'It's affecting my health' or 'I want to spend more time with my family'. Do you know that's what I, and I suspect so many others have been saying for years. They just don't see, nor know how we all suffer in just the same way. When you've left school, gone to Uni, taken a year or so travelling and then gone into politics, how the hell do you know how MOST people live? How the hell do they believe that 'giving' a pensioner another £1 per week will make him/her grateful? Or taking a penny off the income tax is a 'splendid' way make people happy? They just don't get it.
Until we are governed by concensus politics (not first past the post), we will get what we deserve.
Our masters, for that's exactly what they are, are not changing now, nor will they. They'll flannel, waffle and tinker, but woe betide anything that may ACTUALLY clean up our system. That's going to be a complete No No - just wait and see. I really do hope I'm wrong, but I sure as hell ain't holding my breath.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 07:23 PM

Alas John there is no consensus. Scratch the surface even of most folkies and you find consumerists and capitalists. Look at Pig's Ear over the weekend. Most people there were eating the pub meals at £8 per head upwards. Ake is right that revolution is necessary, but the problem has long been to find a trustworthy revolutionary. Cuba did well by its people for a long time, despite US capitalist aggression, but will it now last? Remember 1984 (the book)? Revolutions exchange the middle class for the ruling class, and the working class remains dispossessed and opressed. This applies of course to both workers by hand and workers by brain (look inside the university system: I know sessional lecturers who after taking into account preparation time, travelling time and marking time are working for under minimum wage - the direct consequence of the application of Thatcherite principles to education).


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 10:46 PM

""Cuba did well by its people for a long time, despite US capitalist aggression, but will it now last?""


You know Richard, for an intelligent and well educated man, you DO come out with some amazingly inane comments.

Have you ever BEEN to Cuba?

I HAVE! About 20 years ago, and if Cuba has done well by its people it's NOT visible at street level.

No obesity there, except among the ruling clique which surrounds the not so benevolent dictator.

Nobody else has enough food to get overweight, and that ain't all. Their accommodation would, in this country raise the eyebrows of the RSPCA if we kept pigs in it.

You talk about revolution as if it is a universal panacea, when in point of fact no revolution in history has ever improved the lot of the common people.

In Castro's Cuba, we couldn't even be having this conversation. No member of the proletariat has access to the internet, and if they did, they couldn't possibly afford a computer.

Instead of carping on about destroying the system we have, it MIGHT be smart to look for ways of making it work to our advantage, by controlling what our representatives can or cannot do.

For the first time in MY lifetime we have a situation where the population is UNITED in its anger and disgust, and we actually have the politicians on the run. They're jumping ship in droves, and WE CONTROL THE SELECTION OF THEIR REPLACEMENTS!

NOW is the time for us to say what we require of them, and make it clear that we will NOT hesitate to SACK the bastards if they don't comply TO THE LETTER, with the rules WE set.

Now, John B, knowing that we have very different political views, asked me in private to comment here, and I have been reading posts, and mulling over what I wanted to say.

Having seen the general tenor of opinion here, with most wanting to chuck the baby out with the bathwater, get rid of the method of government we have laboriously constructed over a thousand years, and the evolution of which has cost countless lives, and great sacrifice, I was very tempted to say "It's NOT worth the bother. Just go ahead pissing and moaning while the likes of Nick Griffin and his Nazi thugs set up the revolution you want. It won't bother me because I'll be on an early boat out of here".

Then I thought "NO! I'll say my bloody piece, and maybe, just maybe, somebody might think there's some sense in it". So here goes.

1. YOU CANNOT ESCAPE POLITICAL PARTIES!,

This is, or should be, self evident. You can call them by other names, but all government involves committee action at some level, and this ALWAYS leads the the formation of cliques with a common agenda. Even Germany, under Hitler's dictatorship, had numerous factions vying for the approval, and patronage of the Fuhrer.

So, there is simply no point in trying to do away with the party system. A two party system is insufficient, as all the opposition has to do is wait for their turn. Three or more parties is better, providing you weed out the more ridiculous ones, and bring a little common sense to the elections.

PLEASE, nobody try to tell me that it would be possible to have a government of independent MPs. You could elect them, but, within a week they would be forming groups with common agendas, just to get anything done. And what would you call those groups? PARTIES, that's what.

2. PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION HAS ITS PROBLEMS!

Most people want to be able to contact somebody in government who, at least nominally, represents the local people. If you don't elect a local MP, who represents YOU? The constituency system is the one that the majority of people in this country feel comfortable with. Also, in spite of the fact that the Parties WOULD be more fairly represented in Parliament, the end result is unchanged. You would still have one party able to push through its agenda, or if not, a hung parliament which could not govern effectively (Imagine a government where, say, the BNP held the balance, and under PR, you WOULD have BNP members).

Let's face it, the constituency system CAN be made to work properly, if the right rules, checks, and balances are put in place.

Once you institute a system of independent judicial oversight, (and I would want that to include, not just expenses, but the whole financial situation of the government including annual audit and publication of a National Balance Sheet showing where every penny of OUR money was spent), combined with the right of recall by constituents in cases of misdemeanour, the politicians would actually be working for US.

3. Given that parties ARE inevitable, and that first past the post CAN be made to work, there is NO logic in destroying the existing system.

I am making a non partisan comment here. We should, IMHO, continue to support a party as if the expenses mess had never occurred. Those of us who had a fixed preference should continue as before. Those who were floating voters, should think very carefully about the likely consequences of NOT voting. We absolutely CANNOT afford to destroy ANY of our three major parties.

It is my belief that everyone should make careful use of his/her vote. People died to win us that right.

We have a golden oportunity to bring our representatives to heel, and force upon them the realisation that WE ARE THEIR MASTERS!, and let them know we are WATCHING THEM.

For God's sake, let's stop moaning and start fixing our system.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 04:21 AM

My late father - a rabid capitalist-industrialist - went to Cuba and returned very impressed with the health system. I have friends who go there every year, sometimes twice a year, and return every year unfavourably comparing our health system to the Cuban one. You make the mistake, Don, of elevating consumer hardware to a religion.

There is some, however, of what you write above with which I can agree. If we are to make the best (or least worst) of our present system then we need to be wary of kneejerk reactions tothe expenses muddle - however, although Bob Marshall-Andrews is a large claimer I have read his arguments that the expenses of his actual office were proper, and I think he is right. Proper office expenses are one thing. Moat maintenance is another.

I shall certainly be voting. Everyone should. I was half minded to vote Green in the Euro-erection, but by way of comparison I always get a reply from the local Labour Party to my emails, and I also always get a reply from the ward councillors who are conservatives. Reply from the Greens to my questions about their transport and other policies came there none. Shame really since that Green woman is not bad - anyone hated by the hard-core Eurocrats and the Eurobusiness lobby cannot be all bad.

It is not, however, I think, true to say that no revolution has improved the lot of the common populace. It took a long time for Cromwell's revolution to bear fruit, but it was necessary to overcome the Carolinian attempts to destroy the gradual process before then towards the beginnings of a separation of powers. Materially, the current population of the US are very likely better off as a result of their revolution, and the principles of their constitution are widely admired despite pork-barrel lobbying. Surely the French are better off today as a result of their revolution, although it may have gone a bit too far at the time. You surely would say that the Polish revolution was beneficial. Romania?

Your suggestion that we control the selection of MPs is only half true. We do not control the selection of candidates, and there is no obvious route for us to come to do so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 04:38 AM

This is off-thread, but I think worth a mention.

There is a wonderful grafitto on the wall in the Student Union bogs :

'I've half a mind to vote BNP. That's all I'd need'.

Res ipsa loquitur, if you ask me [and I know you didn't :-)].


PS Well impressed with the arguments in the previous two posts - Richard and Don. Congrats.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 05:31 AM

Don - I don't believe that PR would necessarily give the BNP any power. Sure it would give them seats, but what other party in their right mind would get into bed with them just for power? What party leader could even suggest it? In a democracy we sure as hell should expect some of the population to have a say (remember Speakers Corner) however nasty their political views; the problem is we've not had a proper say for 3 generations or more, for the 2 party system is nothing but a cover up for a one party system leading to the apathy which leads many people not to vote. You often hear it - 'they're all the same' and this latest debacle really only goes to prove it.

On your point about Cuba, I don't think they were any better under Batista, and certainly had a much lower life expectancy. And an embargo by the USA doesn't help much either. The US trades with China, which to my mind is a much worse case than Cuba, but then China is thousands of miles away rather than 90.

John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 08:09 AM

""Don - I don't believe that PR would necessarily give the BNP any power. Sure it would give them seats, but what other party in their right mind would get into bed with them just for power? What party leader could even suggest it?""

Given that when you tot up percentages of the total vote, there is normally only the tiniest difference between Labour (old or new) and the Conservatives, a difference which is normally occupied by Lib/Dems, it is not so far fetched to suppose that a situation might arise in an important free (conscience) vote, where a few BNP members could decide the issue.

Given the obscene racist policies of those thugs and criminals, I woul not want to take even a one in a million chance of that happening. Would You?

Richard, many of us belong to the local parties and can make our position clear on selection. Those who do not belong, could join, or simply write to let them know that, unless the VOTERS get some say in choosing candidates, the party can kiss the VOTES goodbye.

I think they would prefer to go to the polls with our choice, rather than go there with NO hope.

In the current climate of frustration and anger, I believe we could, and we SHOULD, bulldoze OUR requirements through.

Alternatively, of course we could just say "What's the use! I can't make a difference!", and let God knows what kind of rabble represent us. Haven't we had ENOUGH of that with the present lot?

Don T.

P.S. I have communicated my views to both the local Conservative Party, and the local Labour Party, Lib Dems too. I can't be arsed to bother with the losers and loonies.

I'm waiting to see which party CARES about getting my vote. As my current MP (New Labour) has enjoyed a large majority, I suspect HE won't care. I know the Tories WILL. And I must confess I'm curious about the Lib/Dem response.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 08:59 AM

I honestly can't see that situation Don, it's not all about the BNP either as there are the Greens and a few others too. It works elsewhere in Europe, so why not here? I'm totally fed up with our 1 party politics, as I see no difference in the two that have run things for the last 64 years. It's a cosy situation, and I don't see them changing it in any measure as it suits them just fine.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: bubblyrat
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 10:08 AM

"What's the point of voting?? They're all as bad as each other. "
         
    How many times have I heard that,in the last 50 years or so? And I expect to continue to hear it,as long as voting is NOT compulsory !!   How can we EVER have a "democratically" elected government if up to,or even more than,fifty percent of the electorate can't be persuaded to turn out and register,even if it's only for the MRLP ? ANY election with a turn-out of less than 95% of the Electorate should be declared invalid,and the whole thing repeated until there IS a result.
    This country is on the slippery slope to disaster,and in dire peril of handing victory to extremists like the BNP on a plate.The public are ,understandably,seething with anger over the recent MP's expenses scandal,and therefore in danger of "teaching this lot a lesson" by doing something that they might later have cause to regret.
    We shall see !! Incidentally,Richard, I love the idea of a "Hose of Lords " !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: GUEST,DMG (without cookie)
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 11:17 AM

There are some differences between "the formation of cliques with a common agenda" and parties. Two important ones are that the parties have relatively fixed membership and are few in number, whereas cliques are both more numerous and more fluid - you still get cliques within parties at the moment, for instance, and for certain matters even across parties. However, the most important difference is that in our current system the party has a near-monopolistic control on whether an MP gets on committees, becomes a minister, is reselected for the next election; in short it has a huge say in the MPs future. Cliques can do that to some extent, of course, but as long as there are a goodly number they will compete and none will have the monopoly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 11:27 AM

Compulsory voting is not democratic. Not unless there is "none of the above" on the paper - or a "yes" box and a "no" with "noes" getting deducted from "yesses".

I was much tempted by the greens this year (as you can guess by my "open letter" thread) but the fact they totally ignored my direct email to them suggests to me that their canvassing material is even less connected to the reality than other parties. So I guess it'll be Labour again, as I don't think the Scargill mob have any chance of enough votes to register on the PR scale. So Labour will be as good a "no to the BNP" vote as any, and better than some.


As for Cuba, pre-Castro over 75% of the land was controlled by foreign corporations, over 600,000 islanders were without any prospect of (lawfully) earning money, and what economy there was was run by the Mafia. Fair play to Castro, when land was nationalised, his family's holdings were nationalised too.

Do take a hose to the party BR. I think you will find those assembled less amused.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 11:47 AM

I went for the Lib/Dems for being somewhat more socialist that New Labour, they're on my wavelength.
The bloody Tories took control of Maidstone and I now have to pay £25 for a visitors permit if someone is visiting me. The lying bastards said it was needed as the streets around the centre of the town were being used during the day by people visiting the town centre and left no room for local people, which is an out and out lie as you could park an entire fleet of busses in my street during the day, the problem comes at night, so what do they do? Not only charge us £25 for a visitors pass, but another £25 for my own one. The £25 for mine I don't object to, but previously if you had an 'N' pass you could park in 'N1 or N2 or N3', but no longer - they've stopped that even though there was a huge public outcry against it. They then admitted that the council run car parks in the centre of town are £100,000 in the red and they needed to recoup some of that. Now, where do all the Conservative councillors live? Why outside of the affected areas. We are effectively paying a Coucil Tax surcharge of 16.9% over other Maidstone Borough council tax payers. So much for the Tories for me. That's what you get Don!
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: PaulF
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 12:46 PM

Funny thing democracy, both UK and try to force it on other countries to whom it is a foreign concept, but neither of them practise it themselves.
Paul


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: PaulF
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 12:47 PM

UK and USA that should say


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 09:21 AM

I've just re-read your opening post again, Barden of England. Couple of points:

1) Your thread-title is "Bring back democracy..." The implication is that the UK once had democracy but has it no longer. Comments?

2) I don't think that the way we elect our representatives is at fault -- the problem is with the representatives we elect. Sure, you can argue that this or that PR method would be "better" or that the Lords should be elected, but nothing will improve things until we have MPs of integrity rather than those seeking to be first at the trough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: GUEST,Ringer-who's-lost-his-cookie-AGAIN
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 09:22 AM

Damn. The above is from me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 10:24 AM

You're right 'Ringer'. It's debateable that we've ever had a true democracy, but then again it wasn't that long ago that if you were a woman, or didn't own property, you weren't allowed to vote either. So things have changed, and I believe they should do again. PR could well bring us MPs with integrity, and something really must be done to get rid of this (essentially) one party system. Have you any ideas?
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Ringer
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 01:15 PM

Why do you think that "PR could well bring us MPs with integrity?"

I seriously doubt it, but would like to hear your arguments.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: DMcG
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 02:00 PM

Here's an idea that has no chance of being implemented! Ministeral appointments to be confirmed using a panel of 120 people selected using the existing jury selection systems. If a nomination is not confirmed the nominee is barred from any ministeral post for the rest of the session ,but there are two more attempts, then the PM becomes barred in turn and Parliament as a whole must propose a new PM to a similar panel. If the new PM is not confirmed it triggers a full election.
There are various refinements, but there is the core idea to be shot down.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 02:10 PM

Ringer - The reason I say that it may well bring us MPs with integrity is that not one party will end up with a stonking great majority, something we have suffered from for almost the last 30 years - a generation by any measure. When MPs are not 'whipped' to within an inch of their seats (for look what's happening now with 'resignations' and de-selection, as if that matters to me!) they have to start thinking about what they're there for. Will they ever be able to get away with the scandalous behaviour that some of them have exhibited? They were just fodder, and PR should stop that in its tracks. It will probably mean some years of political instability, but in my mind that is a small price to pay for the benefits to come. Now, I just wonder what your take is on this?
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 06:29 PM

John, you should be able to remember the period from about 56 to 70, during which the Italians went through a similar period of political turbulence.

The standing joke of the time was "Hi there, who is prime minister THIS week?"

The Mafia wound up running the country, and it took years of assassinations and terrorism to clean them out.

Do we really want that?

Also, whenever your Lib/Dems have had the chance to make a difference during a hung parliament (at least three times in MY lifetime), instead of cherry picking the best ideas from both sides, and making them reality, what did they do?

They rubber stamped Labour Party decisions, good or bad (and plenty WERE very bad).

Do we want THAT again, Gordon Brown propped up by Nick Clegg?

I don't think so.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 08:03 PM

"Proportional representation" tends to be used for a whole range of different systems of voting, which would have different consequences. (And some of them, such as the single transferable vote shouldn't properly be given that name). Opponents of electoral reform tend to point to the systems which have major disadvantages, and ignore the ones that do not. And at the same time they brush aside the very major flaws in the first-past-the-post system.

One major flaw with the existing system is that it can entail giving a job for life to some pretty shady characters, because it's impossible to vote against an individual MP without also voting against the party that is unfortunate enough to be lumbered with him or her.

Another is that people feel compelled to vote for people and parties which they would prefer not to in order to keep out people and parties they like even less.

And another is that in many/most constituencies the margins between candidates are so wide that there is no realistic likelihood of the sitting member losing, so there is no real point in voting.

All those are flaws which could be reduced or even eliminated with a better voting system.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 11:55 PM

It is certainly true that a system with no constituency boundaries would reduce the inherent gerrymander in setting constituency boundaries. Am I not right that in every election since 1945 more votes were cast for a party or parties other than the winning party?

The delays in DMcG's system would render it unworkable - as indeed is not likely to be demonstrated over the coming weekend.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 03:53 AM

I do remember that time Don, but that was Italy and not here. They still have the PR system by the way, so what about mentioning 1970 to 2009?
I also remember the Ted Heath years and 3 day weeks, The Labour winter of discontent, and yes the Liberals were in bed with them and should have done much better than they did, but at least there was mostly full employment. I also remember the Thatcher years and what that did to my pension prospects. The Unions needed reigning in without a doubt, but if you want to mention places like Italy, then why not places like France and Germany? Germany for example has taken on and integrate what was the basket case of East Germany. Would this country have been able to do that? Those 3 countries have the Euro by the way - done them great harm hasn't it. Our politicians will never let go of the Pound, because without it they lose some of the power they hold, and of course I trust them with that power - not.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: GUEST,DMcG at work
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 07:22 AM

Thanks for that comment, Richard.   In some ways the system I suggested is not that different to the US system, where some Presidential appointments have to be confirmed by the Senate (?); I assumed that the appointments would be effective on an acting basis where necessary before the formal confirmation, but I accept this could lead to the parties allowing long delays between acting appointment and confirmation, so it would need some mechanism to prevent that.

My main objections to my own idea are twofold: (a) how do we ensure anyone is ever confirmed, because almost by definition the majority of the population does not want that party in power and (b) how could we stop the media having undue influence on the selection panel.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Ringer
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 07:46 AM

Barden of England: I refer to your post Date: 04 Jun 09 - 02:10 PM

Aren't you confusing PR and whipping? I should have thought that if PR yielded small or no majorities then whipping would be more prevalent, not less so. If a party has a majority of 50 or so (as now) a few MPs voting against the whip makes no difference at all, but if the majority were small then those few MPs could well lose the government's vote.

It seems to me that constitutional reform is being used by the unscrupulous as a smokescreen to hide the recent disclosures of just how deceitful MPs are. But I repeat: it's not a better method of electing MPs that's needed, but better MPs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 08:19 AM

there is an important difference between the Labour and the Conservative party:foreign policy towards the unification of Ireland.
the Conservative party was until recently Conservative and Unionist party.
investigate the Conservatives recent decisions in running candidates in Ulster.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 08:23 AM

Site last updated
5th June 2009

New_euro_election
Voting For Change

Ahead of the European Election on Thursday, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party Sir Reg Empey and Leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron have issued the following joint statement.

"Change is needed across the United Kingdom.

Gordon Brown's Government has taken the UK to the brink of bankruptcy, and now we have a Parliament that has lost the trust of the people.

Public confidence in our institutions and in our politicians is at rock bottom.

David Cameron said last week that "big change and a new politics is exactly what people can expect from a new Conservative government…with people in control of the things that matter to them, a country where the political system is open and trustworthy and where power is distributed from the political elite to the man and woman in the street."

We want the people of Northern Ireland to be part of this process of change and new politics. As citizens of the United Kingdom they should have the same political and Parliamentary standards as their fellow citizens in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Ulster Unionist Party and Conservative Party, standing together as 'Conservatives and Unionists,' have already taken the first important step towards change and new politics. We have jointly endorsed Jim Nicholson as our candidate for the European Parliament.
[imo]if you believe in the peaceful unification of Ireland ,this is a reason not to vote Conservative,because you are in effect voting unionist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 08:35 AM

I've got a sense of deja vu about this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 09:48 AM

100.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 12:42 PM

As I have said on the other thread on which that statement from Cameron was pasted in, it is a statement worthy of Goebbels.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 05:33 AM

Poem 41 of 230: EVEN AFTER LINCOLN, STEINBECK, AND KING

Written at a public toilet by the
    Statue of Liberty:
"What of Equality, Fraternity;
    And Democracy!?"

The U.S.A. has aided dictators -
    Right-Wing leaders, of course;
So some's bestowal of democracy
    Is hypocrisy.

From http://walkaboutsverse.sitegoz.com (e-scroll)
Or http://blogs.myspace.com/walkaboutsverse (e-book)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 09:51 PM

""[imo]if you believe in the peaceful unification of Ireland ,this is a reason not to vote Conservative,because you are in effect voting unionist.""

With respect Dick, that statement is nonsense.

A conservative vote in England, has no bearing on what happens with the Northern Irish vote in Stormont.

At the moment, there are more loyalists in Northern Ireland than republicans. It is supposed to be a democracy, so the majority carries the day, and just now the majority chooses to remain part of the UK.

That balance, though, is changing, and before long there will be more republicans than Loyalists, and when that day comes the majority will unite with the south (assuming that Eire wants them, and that's by NO means certain), and if the loyalists can't accept that, they will be free to leave and go to England or (more likely) Scotland, just as today's republicans could, if they chose move south.

This, unless somebody starts up the violence again, is what IS going to happen, and it is right that it should.

And for those who continually castigate the British government for its interference, I am certain that the British government LONGS FOR THE DAY that it sheds the responsibility to intervene, when Northern Ireland leaves the Union.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 12:58 AM

And California will likely join Mexico for the same reason. It must make Protestants hate Catholics even more.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: akenaton
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 07:18 AM

Yes thats right Don, and the problem is likely to be transfered to Scotland with the Northern Irish Loyalists.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 04:56 PM

By then, Ake, the Scots will most likely have left the Union too, and they can all be happy presbyterians together.

Thank God, when THAT day comes, we'll also be rid of Gordon Brown.

Don T


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: akenaton
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 06:26 PM

Oh I think you English will have more than enough probs with race riots, BNP, the unemployed etc, to keep you busy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 07:08 PM

Some of them might be English problems though, and maybe we too will be able to afford free prescriptions.

Don T


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Riginslinger
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 10:45 PM

"By then, Ake, the Scots will most likely have left the Union too, and they can all be happy presbyterians together. Thank God, when THAT day comes, we'll also be rid of Gordon Brown."


                When was the Bishop's war, 1635 or somewhere there abouts?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Gurney
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:39 PM

On your original question, John, I live in NZ, which has a Mixed Member Proportional system of voting. This means that we have two votes, one for a local MP, and one for a political party. The party vote is counted nationally, and a further group of MPs are appointed, who are selected by the specific political party.
The appointees have, and are, selected as Ministers, and seem to have as many powers as elected MPs.
The original electorates remain. The appointees are additional.

Leading figures in political parties are both on electorate and party lists, so that EVEN IF VOTED OUT, THESE PEOPLE ARE STILL APPOINTED.

Unfortunately, since the system was introduced, most political parties have not had the figures to govern alone, and have had to form alliances with smaller parties, who have then seized the opportunities to push their agendas, some of which have proved widely unpopular.

We currently have a National (similar to Conservative) Government, who can govern alone, but have still formed coalitions anyway.
We have a government minister whose party has ONE seat in parliament.

I wouldn't recommend this system of election. However, politicians love it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 11:06 AM

Just dicovered this thread - lots to read!!

On PR - any system of PR is better than First Past the Post. But some are better than others. Look carefully at the pluses and minuses of each PR system.

And once the PR priciple is accepted for Westmister elections, all who care should must make sure our rulers don't foist on us the sort of PR that gives vurtually the same result as we have now - a House of Commons full of three Benefit slashing, privatising, lackeying to Big Business parties.

My guess is that PM G Brown and chums are up to something that looks good - but means Business as Usual for the usurers and global gamblers.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Ringer
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 11:34 AM

"any system of PR is better than First Past the Post."

No it isn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:48 PM

First past the post results in a dictatorship by small majorities. I don't know of a PR system that achieves that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 02:16 PM

All governments are coalitions (with the possible exception of some dictatorships). Under the first-past-the-post system the coalitions tend to be disguised by the fact that the competing factions tend to be inside the major parties, rather than having a formally separate existence. This reduces the power of voters to pick and choose between the various factions.

First past the post results in a dictatorship by small majorities. In fact it results in a dictatorship by a small controlling minority within a larger party which may or may not have received more popular votes than its opponents. In 1951 Labour received a million more votes than the Tories, and lost the election; in 1974(February) the Tories got 200,000 more votes than victorious Labour.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:38 PM

""First past the post results in a dictatorship by small majorities. I don't know of a PR system that achieves that.""

On last week's results, Richard, PR would mean:-

Tories 38%
LibDems 17%
Labour 15%


We all know that what is the end result of that, going by past experience, is that the least unpopular party with the highest percentage of votes is powerless, since the LibDems will, as always in the past, prop up labour by rubber stamping their policies.

Bottom line.....The country is effectively run by the party which polls least votes.

Well, bloody hooray for PR.... the fairest system? I don't THINK so, and neither would the majority right now.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 06:42 PM

Scrub that.

There's a flaw in my figures, certainly in this election, but in most elections over the last forty years the result would have been as described.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 09:52 PM

Don

PR is not one system, its a number of systems which aim to produce a more representative reflection of the voters' wishes. The principle alone is infinitely superior to that behind First Past the Post.

But they differ in their effectiveness to reflect voter choice. Manipulation by 'thresholds' can virtually ensure the same effective result as First Past the Post. That's to say, a House of Commons packed with the same three benefit slashing, privatising parties, but in a more reflective mix just among the three.

These thresholds in a badly constructed PR system can be used to exclude all the parties that offer a real alternative just as now, so you end up with a Parliament (English seats at least) packed with a bunch of Big Business grovellers who distinguish themselves only by who's got the prettiest Leader.

Anyone voting for a real alternative party (and a huge percentage did in the 2009 Euros) could be wasting their vote again, as now, if they get away with insalling a con trick variation of PR.

Ian F


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 11:03 PM

The maths isn't that complex, but I'm not doing it now during my usual 4 am prowl. To illustrate, assume first a uniformly distributed population and two parties. The party with 51% of the vote gets 100% of the seats. Next assume a randomly distributed ("normal" bell-curve) population - the same effect is present but less so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: GUEST,Allan
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 11:01 AM

"Bottom line the country is effectively run by the party that polls the least votes"

That isn't the current experience in Scotland. The Nats polled the highest number of votes but don't form a majority. They are a government who are governing effectively but have to govern by consensus, hence some of their more individual policies had to be shelved for the time being.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 03:55 AM

Don - I don't believe that the Lib/Dems will always 'rubber stamp' New Labour policies, no more than I believe that New Labour will 'rubber stamp' Lib/Dem policies, and yes it is a two way thing otherwise why get into bed with them? And of course in 1978 the Liberals decided they weren't goimg to prop up the then Labour Government (because they refused to 'rubber stamp' the policies) and we ended up with 18 years of Tory rule. That may have been fine for you, but not for me. Plenty of tax cuts there for the rich, leading to enormous pay rises for the bosses, whilst all the time police services were severly cut, nurses were told they couldn't have pay rises and pensioners had to put up with no increases at all. Such a caring lot the Tories really are (and I count New Labour as a Tory part by any other name). That is exactly the reason why I want PR, as it will give us government by concensus and stop us 'normal' folk being sh*t upon from a great hight. Power back to the people is what it's all about.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 07:24 AM

""And of course in 1978 the Liberals decided they weren't goimg to prop up the then Labour Government (because they refused to 'rubber stamp' the policies) and we ended up with 18 years of Tory rule.""

In fairness to my argument, it should be pointed out that in 1978, the Rock of Gibraltar couldn't have propped up the severely incompetent Callaghan government. With rampant inflation over 20% and interest rates approaching 15% (by 1979 when they lost the general election, they left 17.9% interest rates, and 21.9% inflation), and that AFTER Harold Wilson had devalued the pound by some 10% (by some miracle, "without affecting the pound in your pocket", according to him).

Of course we knew that devaluation wouldn't affect the pound in our pockets. But when we took it out to buy food...............

On every OTHER occasion when there was a hung parliament it was as I stated. Labour said "Jump", Liberal said "How high, and how often?", which of cours meant that only an overall majority would deprive labour of control, whereas Labour NEVER needed overall majority.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 03:03 PM

That still doesn't answer the 'Tax cuts for the rich' though Don. That's where I'm coming from. The Police cuts, the pensions freeze, the nurses derisory less than inflation awards. Harold Wilson devalued the pound to $2.40 at the time. I remember in 1985 or was it 1986, that the pound reached parity, $1 = £1. Now let's see who was in power then - oh yes. MAGGIE!!! Regarding inflation, what was it under Ted Heath? I remember that it got so bad I got a 2% rise every month. Great strategy that. The interest rate at 17.9% I believe was after July 1980 (when I first moved to Maidstone) so it could well have been 1981, and maybe even higher. I will check.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 06:50 PM

""Regarding inflation, what was it under Ted Heath? I remember that it got so bad I got a 2% rise every month.""

No Fair John. You know very well that:-
1. Ted Heath inherited that rate from Wilson
2. Ted Heath didn't have a majority which allowed him to do anything.
3. Ted Heath was in any case not in power LONG enough to do anything.

""The interest rate at 17.9% I believe was after July 1980 (when I first moved to Maidstone) so it could well have been 1981, and maybe even higher. I will check.""

Once again No Fair.

The figures were as I stated in 1979 when Maggie took over. Almighty God couldn't have improved them significantly in just one year.

However, if you go back to the earliest days of Labour in power, they have always inherited a better financial situation than they have left, and they have ALWAYS presided over rising inflation and rising interest rates.

Even in the period 1997 to 2007 they went from an inherited 2.5% to an eventual 5.0% and rising. Only a global economic crisis saved them from yet another session of spiralling inflation.

Not once in their history have Labour been responsible for a period of fiscal stability.

An examination of public record will quickly confirm this.

Don


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 07:02 PM

"Harold Wilson devalued the pound to $2.40 at the time. I remember in 1985 or was it 1986, that the pound reached parity, $1 = £1. Now let's see who was in power then - oh yes. MAGGIE!!! "

Precisely, John.


Incidentally, inflation erodes savings not earnings. It harms the rich more than the poor.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 07:23 PM

It can be quite handy sometimes if you can pay off your debts in devalued currency...


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 07:25 PM

And house inflation seems to be widely regarded as a good thing - in fact when house prices stop rising it gets treated as disastrous.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 04:30 AM

I wondered to myself if you would answer these parts Don:-

That still doesn't answer the 'Tax cuts for the rich' though Don. That's where I'm coming from. The Police cuts, the pensions freeze, the nurses derisory less than inflation awards.

and noticed that you didn't. Also the value of the pound dropping to parity was between 6 and 7 years into Tory rule. Once again I believe you can answer that, but have chosen not to. Am I correct?

John Barden


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 10:31 AM

""Incidentally, inflation erodes savings not earnings. It harms the rich more than the poor.

All I know is that MY earnings never kept up with the mess that Labour produced in those years, and I was , and am one of those you would classify as poor, never having achieved a wage half the national average.

Please don't try to tell me WHAT Labour did for me.

I'll tell YOU! As a working man with four mouths to feed, Labour bloody near DID FOR ME!

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 09:17 PM

Well, I don't understand that Don.

I know what Nigel Lawson did for my mortgage repayments, and I know what the Thatcher deliberately engineered recession did for me. I know what the Thatcher years did for millions of people.

And I know that from 1976 when I graduated until the Thatcher recession, I had some tight months but never any disasters.

I know that the grant financing of higher education from 1967 to 1973 (plus working, both here and abroad, in the vacations) enabled me to get two degrees that my parents could not have paid for. I made £12 per week as a humble clerk in 1966/7, before I went to university, and my rent was £5. Chucking logs in a papermill in Sweden paid well by student standards. Being a fitter's mate in the Maidstone papermills, working 12 hour days, was more than OK. I drove a van for a well-known electrical chain (loved that job but the pay was only so-so). I collected rent for a local council. And I was a car-body preparer for a while. The only job that really didn't pay adequately was assembling fluid control valves in Alsace. I wasn't a lawyer then, and I saw hardly anyone struggling.

One of Jacqui's old flames, made enough in 6 months truck driving to take every summer off and go hitchiking in France.

None of these were special jobs.

The people whose incomes typically failed to keep up during inflationary times were those on fixed or state controlled incomes.

During the Wilson period, for example, post-tax incomes of the lower deciles grew considerably faster than those of the upper deciles.

No government can save everybody, but you seem to have been a statistical anomaly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 03:44 AM

PS - of course, some governments don't want to save everybody.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 08:38 PM

I'm not in the habit of lying Richard. The 70s under Wilson and Callaghan were far leaner times for me and my family than the Thatcher years.

Nothing will satisfy you and John other than complete capitulation and a statement that All tories are intrinsically evil and Labour is the one true religion.

Step forward a few years and examine how the current government looks after the poorest people in this country, most of whom are pensioners who had half their pensions stolen. By Thatcher?......NO! BY GORDON BROWN, who wiped five billion pounds off the value of all our pensions, including yours, I might add.

What has he done to help pensioners negotiate the credit crunch, and deal with rising costs across the board?

1. After fuel cost increased by 40% (when oil went up to over 100 dollars a barrel), and only dropped 10% (when oil went down to 40 dollars), he gave us an extra winter fuel payment of £50 per household, per year.

My wife and I paid separate National insurance and tax all our working lives (45 years), but we receive this benefit between us.

2. He gave us a one off payment of £60 in the first three months of 2009. Bully for him! We'll starve three months later than we would have otherwise.

3. He increased our tax free personal allowance by £2000, which, as far as the poorest are concerned, he needn't have bothered doing.

We didn't have enough pension income to pay any tax on the previous lower allowance, so this empty vote winning gesture is of zero value for those most in need of assistance, and those who DO benefit are probably outside the poverty zone.

4. He bashed the motorist again, and I can't afford to use my car for leisure. The fourteen mile round trip by bus to Maidstone involves 40 minutes on the bus, each way.

A trip to Ashford (fifty miles round trip) takes two hours each way, and Canterbury three hours each way via Faversham (miles off route).

I can't go out in the evening using public transport. There isn't any after 8 o'clock.



Tell me again how the Tories are my enemy, and I should vote Labour. I'm very much in need of a good laugh just now.

Don T


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 09:08 PM

Don, if you still had the pensions created by Barbara Castle (snatched back by Thatcher) you'd be in clover.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 05:22 AM

""Don, if you still had the pensions created by Barbara Castle (snatched back by Thatcher) you'd be in clover.""

Thank you. I said I needed a good laugh, and you came up trumps.

The pensions of which you speak, had that Labour government continued, would by now be worth about a couple of quid a week.

Back then, the majority of firms didn't even HAVE company pension schemes for blue collar workers, who were paid so little that they couldn't have afforded them anyway.

When those schemes became the norm, we were able to put some money in and increase our chances of having a life after retirement, instead of merely existing. Gordon put paid to THAT idea.

Then this wonderful government enacted the age discrimination legislation, which, among other things protects us against being refused jobs on grounds of age.

At least that's the theory.

The FACT is that it protects everybody against age discrimination, EXCEPT THE OLD.

It does NOT apply to anyone 65 years of age, or over.

So I can't even realistically continue to earn. Since the firm I WAS working for ran out of funds and dismissed me, and five other drivers, I have applied for thirty jobs, without getting one single interview. They are all looking for "a younger person".

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bring back Democracy to the UK
From: The Barden of England
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 06:03 AM

I'm certainly not asking you to vote Labour Don, I'm trying to say that the Tories are there for the rich in our society, and that certainly isn't you, I or Richard - and once again I'll point out that the present govenment is Tory in all but name in my mind and I would never vote for them. Was it Labour who took away MIRAS (mortgage interest relief at source)? - no - it was the Tories, so much for the caring, and if that wasn't a stealth tax, then of course nothing else is. The fuel price only coming down by 10%, well now isn't that what big business does in a capitalist society? Would the Tories ever have given the Bank of England its freedom? Never in a million, it took away some of their power, which when they had it led directly to boom and bust - and before you say it's bust now, it's a world recession we're in now - General Motors demise has nothing to do with the present British government for example. I could go on at length, but I just want you to know that I'm no 'New Labour' enthusiast either. Bring me a just and social form of government please, and that sure as hell ain't tory.
John Barden


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