A nation's decline with the aversion to democracy.

British history shows that it is not enough to be against dictatorship. You cannot push against something without having ground to stand on. The ground in question is a proper understanding of democracy, so much shirked and kicked-against in current debate.

An industrial undemocracy and decline.

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Failure to reform the Lords for well over a century is a source of Britain's political woes. The historic role of the second chamber is, as Churchill said, to represent the interests of the nation. It failed to represent the working classes. This meant that labor had to get itself represented in the first chamber, which should be a House of Commons or communities, not a house of classes. The result is a politics ruled by special interests.

Economists, such as Tim Harford, know that economies dominated by special interests are the least successful. Business interests manouvred Britain into the Common Market on terms that made the reparations of Imperial and Nazi Germany ephemeral in comparison.
*Lobbygate* Labour has completed the degradation. The Lords stayed medieval but is now the target for a modern cronyism by party politicians seeking to colonise it.

Since helping win the second world war, Britain has had to endure crippling defeats. Britain put-up with the crippling terms of the Treaty of Rome, which the three main parties wont rectify. And Labour was defeated as a social democratic party. In 1974, Harold Wilson's victory speech to the nation sounded like a defeat speech to the City. He seemed cheerfully terrified of the loss of share values with a Labour victory and the prospect of a third devaluation of the pound under Labour.

The Wilson government had some constitutional plans to make big business accountable, a sort of freedom of information of boardroom policy. But this was too much for business, like revealing plans to the enemy. It was dropped and the minister of state resigned in protest.

Likewise, industrial democracy was given too low a priority to become law, and in the Bullock report, the unions sabotaged its independence, by restricting representation to members of the closed shop.

In the Attlee government, Emmanuel Shinwell, a rare democrat, offered the coal miners industrial democracy. But its leaders prefered popular posturing to unpopular responsibilities.

The miners leader Joe Gormley was an intuitive democrat who made sure he won the argument for the support of the British people against the new Thatcher government's proposals. Britain's over-mighty executive knew they were beaten against that combination and had to back down. The greatest general wins without fighting a battle. Gormley even won the respect of his opponents.

His successor, "that well-known television personality, Arthur Scargill" wanted his strike regardless of not winning the public debate even in all his own union.

Britain had imposed industrial democracy on Germany to strengthen the social democratic unions as the main opposition to the Nazis. On "the British disease" of industrial strife, a television representative of a thriving Germany pronounced: We dont have an Arthur Scargill.

Germany remains a considerable industrial nation amidst globalisation. The legendary self-seeking bloody-minded British worker was a blinding mirror to the British boardroom as a worker-exclusion zone.

The Japanese learned, as the British didnt, that nobody knows better than a firm's own workers what are a firm's weaknesses and what can be done to improve their business. But in Britain, what might be called constitutional or parliamentary means, of governing business in everyone's interest, failed.

This left only extra-parliamentary conflict with capitalism in the Labour party. The failure of Labour, as a progressive party, led to the take-over war from within by the likes of The Militant Tendency. Was there ever a revolutionary organisation with such a self-effacing name? They are English. They only tended to militate. The two local Labour party-selected Militants, entering parliament, worked hard for the working class, even taking lower salaries to that end.

The Trotskyists infiltrated the same way nearly everyone else infiltrated the system, by getting a majority on a local selection committee, that already decides the MP if their party has a safe seat in a single member constituency.

Failure to appreciate worker participation had the knock-on effect of weakening the British economy till Britain's leaders begged to be admitted to the Common Market on its terms.

The English disease was not just industrial undemocracy that destroyed the industry. The Labour party aspired to the tradition of aristocracy, in such terms as: "We are the masters now." Or, "Labour are now the natural party of government." The dysfunctional party system has excluded, rather than included, the public interest. The relentless decline in party memberships prove it. People are still public-spirited but they find no scope for this in parties.

The evidence (not confined to the Power Report) is that this most limited of choices, left-right left-right left-right does not meet the modern aspirations of the British people. Even experimental pigeons would have got tired, by now, of pecking the red or the blue card. The moral is, as usual, the need for political and economic democracy.

Bicameral democracy, of communal and specialist representation, is not a luxury. It is the manifest of the nation's knowledge, against the authoritarian ignorance and folly, perpetrated by the current Labor and Tory parties.

Lords reform is still dogged by the make-believe dilemma of appointed experts versus elected politicians.
Why not elected experts? The specialist bodies that make up the country's division of labor are required to elect their governing bodies. And these elections could include representatives to the second chamber. This proportional representation of the occupations in the second chamber was suggested in 1920 (H G Wells, Outline Of History). All it involves is fairly including all the under-represented vocations, such as the whole range of scientists and technologists (British government has also direly neglected to educate and produce in the competitive modern world) besides the traditional incumbents like the armed forces, land-owners, lawyers, bishops, merchants, statesmen etc.

Expert advice is necessary in government and it should be given the legitimacy and authority of being electively representative of the members of a profession, trade or calling etc.The main obstacle to this economic democracy, a second dimension to one-dimensional political democracy, is the party politicians' desire to control both Houses of Parliament for themselves and their pay-masters, the lobby kakistocracy.

One electoral system, STV, will do for both the political and the economic franchise. Indeed, STV is already used in many non-political or occupational elections. The single transferable vote is the democratic and scientific method of elections. The Lords' Tyler committee did recommend STV, tho not for an economic franchise.
That is justified as a conservative check from expert evidence on the radical political principles legislated in the Commons for community law. Radicalism becomes dogmatic, divisive and destructive, when passed without due heed of all general laws' possible special applications, The dynamic of science is the inter-relation of theory with practise. This is evident in the historic role of the revising chamber, which might be named, The House of Callings.
That is how science works and progresses thru a dynamic of radical rationalism with conservative empiricism: general theory checked by special practise.

Intellectual stagnation.
(January 2011)

On the Parliament channel, I caught the end of a motion debated in a hall by some of Britain's most prestigous authorities. The motion was to the effect that an elected second chamber would be harmful for British democracy.
The show of hands in the hall suggested the movers had managed to scare a few more people, by the end of the debate.

This so-called debate is like an ever-lasting trench warfare between one-dimensional democrats crawling in their party-political trench versus non-political undemocrats crawling in theirs. This is not so much a debate as like two rutting deers with their antlers locked.

One of the movers complained about a dead-lock between two elected political chambers but for some reason failed to suggest the possibility of the second chamber retaining its historic vocational nature while dragging its representation out of the Middle Ages to that of the occupations of modern society.

Another mover expressed the fear that democracy can lead to something else. And so urged appointees to exercise checks. This anxious state of mind resembles those people who so fear an undesired outcome that they are compeled to embrace the worst, because they can no longer endure that fear, hanging over their lives.

The first false assumption here is that the democracies that led to something else were really democracies. The assumption fails Mill's distinction between democracy and maiorocracy, the tyranny of the majority. More-over, as Mill said, the maiorocracy soon degenerates into minority rule, because a majority of a majority can become a minority.
More-over the democratic election system, Mill advocated, gives democracy within and across parties that are built-in safeguards to representation of the public interest. This is explained innumerable times in my web pages.

Still, it is true that this by itself is not enough. More than one dimension of democracy, economic as well as political, might have curbed the financial exploitation of the public, that culminated in the 2008-9 credit crunch.

And even more deep-seated problems need to be addressed, such as raising the general standard of literacy. Education would be much more effective if it were enlivened by democratic values that would promote universal literacy against an English language that "never learned to spell." (H G Wells.)

Raise education to the quite simple standards of honest debate that are essential to the progress that science itself can achieve. And which are so lacking in the partisan and monopolistic mass media. Media opinion is in conflict of interest, with public interest, from advertising revenues.

We need the Fairness doctrine and media pluralism and judicial respect for the truth, that President Reagan dismantled in the USA.

The following was my comment on a Telegraph article by Simon Heffer (also january 2011):

Lady Boothroyd seems to share Ken Livingstone’s view that the key to understanding politics is that it doesn't attract the best people. That is because the parties are top-down organisations that discourage independent opinion and render expertise worthless.

Had the coalition done what Tony Blair did to the European elections, there would be some merit in your argument.

He inaugurated closed party lists that allow the voters no personal choice of candidates. This is despite the fact that the system that John Stuart Mill called personal representation was already in use for Euro elections. That is to say the single transferable vote, the very system you are blaming on Nick Clegg for introducing into the House of Lords.

In fact, STV was recommended by the Tyler report for the Lords. Indeed, STV is the consensus of 5 or 6 reports, in the last decade. This is the system in which people vote for individuals not parties to be proportionally elected, tho the latter is also a consequence.

Independents are not discriminated against in the proportional count, as they are with party list systems, where a vote for the Labour list for say Ken Livingstone might help to elect Tony Blair or vice versa.

That couldn't happen with STV unless the voter expressly wished it in their preferences.

STV is the best and only hope for a Lords of distinguished independent minded members, free of party patronage.

It is true that the historic character of the Lords, as a chamber of vocations, is the proper franchise but at least STV would allow the public to prefer candidates on their vocational merits, with or without respect to party affiliation. Many professions already used this system to elect their governing bodies, without a party in sight.

Britain's capitulation to Common Market and EU.

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After a quarter century of vain-glorious war movies, Britain surrendered to the Common Market. Neither the Kaiser nor Nazi Germany were expected to pay for ever to the victors. But because our leaders thought we had lost the peace, they accepted crippling conditions for entry thru the Common Market tariff wall.

These included betraying kith and kin overseas, as well as discriminating against Third World agriculture to intensify world poverty. The Common Fisheries policy sunk Britain's fishing industry, which had not made war on anyone but the fish, unlike the German High Seas Fleet, scuttled on being impounded after world war one.
The CFP also betrayed other maritime nations, which have as rightful a place as any in the councils of Europe, but had the courage or survival instinct to stay out or withdraw from Common Market blackmail.

Ted Heath signed the Treaty of Rome, and in the eternal city pledged eternal reparations. The Heath government's terms of entry were recognised by Labour as no good but they couldnt do any better themselves, winning worthless concessions that they palmed off as acceptable.
It is alleged from disclosed documents, that all along, the British government secretly knew they were entering a future European Union - and certainly dont object to it now. Its bureaucracy has become invasively bold. Such deceit is not worthy of a representative democracy.

The European Union is founded on its ungrateful injustice to its liberator, Britain, over entry terms to the Common Market. No wonder it is so unloved here. If France and Germany do not make amends, Britain would be sensible to escape from its selfish tariff wall against the world, and consider other international alliances on economy and security: the EU does not have a monopoly.

The EU doesnt come up to democratic standards and behaved like a monopoly that gave its British liberators a shoddy deal when joining the Common Market. Indeed, for its greed, it lost Greenland, which only seemed like a joke.

I watched a shouting match on tv beween members of the three main parties plainly embarrassed and trying to noise over the unwillingness of the British people to be conformed to a federal Europe that, like the Bourbons, has learned nothing.

The UK Independence Party is the legacy of the Treaty of Rome reparations. UKIP has been caught up in allegations over financial donations going awry. This suggests they include the same sort of people as get into campaign financing difficulties in the main parties. First Past The Post has prevented UKIP from getting all but the odd defector in the national parliament.

Mr Rees-Mogg doesnt see what can be done about EU federalism. Voting UKIP will only weaken the Tories. He is not likely to change a lifetime's allegiance. And that goes for the voting system that guarantees voting for UKIP will split the Euro-sceptic vote. It will split many other voting allegiances till the general election result bears only the most frustrating resemblance to the choices people would wish to make if their votes werent wasted.

UKIP's Mr Farage seems a plucky fellow. I would sympoathise with UKIP, if their energy policy was not more odious even than the Eurocracy.

There was a joke about the European Heaven, run by German engineers, British police and French cuisine etc. Then there is the European Hell run by French engineers and German police, British cuisine etc. The latter, the worst of both worlds, is what Britain is having pushed on it. Gordon Brown and co's Tory-supported nuclear cronyism, in their centralist hubris, wish Britain's energy to be run by French nuclear engineers, instead of the wisdom of German engineering's move to renewable energies.

Unity depends on liberty.

There is no doubt that the world is becoming a "global village" but not without severe dislocations that must be corrected.
The political class of the British would rather be Europeans than democrats, who could be either or both as they chose.

Leon Brittan, the EU Commissioner once said that the international scope of business meant that international government was required to regulate it. In 1923, H G Wells made the same point, well over half a century earlier. Wells supported European government as one of the steps to world government. The new world society must have global rules made globally.

But Wells initiated the 1940 Sankey Declaration on Human Rights, a fore-runner of the UN Charter. Praise-worthy was the sense of historical context, and the manner in which people were so widely consulted. Of the first importance was the recognition that for every expansion of state power, the freedom of the individual must be re-asserted.

The controversial section 11 even insisted on voting methods that give effective expression to individual choice, meaning proportional representation in the sense Wells always meant it: Single Transferable Vote (STV).

The law of society is that unity depends on liberty: agreement is only valid if freely made. This is frustrated by the cavalier way that politicians conduct their consultations with the people. Instead, they should be conducted with scientific rigor so that no-one can deny their legitimacy. That should exclude the possibility that money talks rather than the public talks at the polls.

This recognition that progress comes from democratic progress, or improved reconciling of individual freedom with a peaceful community, is what politicians of left and right fail to appreciate. You only have to look at how they try to correct their failures by taking more and more power to themselves, till they become intolerable. The greatness of a nation is in the greatness of its people, not its leaders. The best leaders set the people free.

It is time for Britain to apply some democratic leverage to the EU, by pursuing free and fair, pre-Common Market international relations, even if that means being subjected to a Napoleonic Continental system. At least we would see the EU in its true colors.
The Adam Smith Institute once called the Common Agricultural Policy "criminally selfish" to the Third World. And a 2009 newspaper lead, from the Express, was about milk, that Britain had paid to subsidise, being poured away. It seems nothing has changed.

The Dutch, French and Irish, the only people given the chance to rebel against a European Union constitution, have done so. Ireland had to do it again till they got the "right" answer, with big business advertising behind the second referendum and the bankers' credit crisis focusing people's minds on a European bail-out.

The British people have more in common with other peoples than they have with their rulers, who are becoming an international elite, impatient with popular aversion to their global ambitions of wealth and power: Ambition, the sin by which the angels fell. Some of the global elite are trying to dismiss democracy as an out-moded form of government, when it hasnt really been tried. This is what the Czech president refered to as the EU being in a state of post-democracy. (Straight from a condition of pre-democracy.)

The command economy and command polity has failed, as the EU is set to do. European union is not necessarily wrong in principle. What is wrong is the same thing that is wrong with the national government's over-whelming of regional and local administration. It is perfectly logical that national politicians, who thought the regions and the localities - the ancient folk settlements - had no right to a vigorous independent existence, should betray in turn the national government, as if it were a parish council.

Presumably, the same fate awaits the European "ideal" as Napoleonic ambitions decide Europe, the world... is not enough.
C S Lewis, in a science fiction novel, has his narrative character translate in a satirical manner the naive and immature universal imperialism of a "conquest" of space. Lack of democracy's proper consideration, for all, is the problem, whether it be in the reaches of space, or the reaches of time to the helpless unborn, baited with diffusing and proliferating dumps of radioactive poison from the civil and military nuclear industry.

The Sunday Telegraph commented on another metric martyrdom (12 oct '08). The editorial concluded that the verdict had nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with making people do what they are told. It is as if a random assault were to take place outside a police station while the staff inside went quietly about their business. That is the barbarism to which public life in Britain has sunk. I know these are troubled times but had governments taken as much trouble over the welfare of the humble folk of the world, the world would not now be in such a financial mess.

The first duty of government is to protect the vulnerable. That current outrage, a transparently unjust persecution of an ordinary market trader, would be countered by making officials accountable thru elections (real ones with no safe seats to hide in). And in an extreme case like this, subjecting them to a process of a Recall. This was how Arnold Schwarzenegger originly came to be elected California governor.
H G Wells suggests the Recall in his 1914 novel, The World Set Free. But our country, especially the English, seem still to be bowed under a millenium of servitude.

There is a Prussian Tendency to New Labour government. At the turn of the 20th century, the gifted humorist Jerome K Jerome wrote an admiring book about the Germans. But he could not resist satirising their mania for rule-making and doing everything by the book. He even imagines a suicide consulting a rule-book in his endeavors to do it properly.

Jerome told that German officials are given complete authority over the public, who are not allowed to question their decisions and that they can fine them on the spot. Does that land of little fuhrers ring any warning bells?

The Germans were quite right, during the current credit crunch, to turn round and lecture the British on economic prudence. Only one in thirty Germans owns a credit card. Liberals, like myself, are accustomed to regard the French as the political heroes and the Germans as the villains. But in economics, it has been more the other way round. German economics is economic. At any rate, it is not the executive despoliation, encouraged by Tony Blair and New Labour on coming to power. Blair went on about "meritocracy" to the displeasure of Michael Young, who only coined the term in a satire.

One day in 2009, The Daily Mail and The Guardian both had the same headline: The great EU stitch-up.
Daniel Hannan picked-up on it in The Guardian. I repeated my comment in the former to the latter paper:

Of course, EU leaders are anti-democratic, but so are British leaders of the two-party stitch-up. (The Lib Dems, as well, let the country down with their EUphoria.) If you want to change that, you have to know what democracy is.
What a pity Britain's Left and Right cannot agree impartially to democratic standards. This country needs a new constitution settlement like that of 300 years ago, becoming the first major country to adopt Milton's sound case for free speech, and many other civilised reforms.
Today we dont even have free speech in the whipped Commons. That is because MPs are beholden to the parties rather than the people.
We need to pick-up on J S Mill's pioneering case for representative democracy in his speeches on parliamentary reform in the 1860s, essentially the modern single transferable vote, for starters. STV answers all the democratic reservations against electoral reform...

As a [Guardian] postscript to my Daily Mail comment, that I couldnt squeeze in there, I dont mean to imply that STV is the only democratic reform we need. We need many radical reforms to strengthen the public interest against parasitic vested interests. So many that it would be almost invidious to mention some of them. But another most decisive and (therefore) neglected reform is extending legally required elections for occupational self-government to their proportional representation (by STV) in the second chamber.

I mention this, especially to a Conservative like Hannan, because it is the conservative check of expert experience on a tendency to dogmatism from the radical political principles of the first chamber, which follows the effective example of science for progressive achievement.

The government refuses its own power-sharing medicine for Ulster.

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Another serious dereliction of democracy was the reaction to the troubles in Ulster. This broke out as a violant reaction to the nationalist minority's demand for civil rights. It was originally just a peaceful protest on the model of the American movement.
The Irish premier, Jack Lynch went on tv to ask the British government to call in a UN peace-keeping force.

I had good history teachers and their lessons of the legal oppression of Ireland were still fresh on my mind some years after. This was not teaching political correctness. No judgments were made. Just the unembroidered facts were given. That was eloquent enough. So I agreed with Mr Lynch at the time. No credit to me, of course, just the excellence of my teacher.

The British government had the legal right to send in British troops to Ulster. But in view of the historical hatred of their presence on Irish soil, popular sentiment should have been allowed-for. It just needed something to go wrong, as it inevitably did - and it was no small thing, Bloody Sunday - for the whole vicious circle of violence to be repeated. In short, the moral of this sorry story was again dereliction of democracy.

When a neighboring premier, on an issue so close to home, that he undoubtedly knows what he is talking about, goes out of his way to publicly warn you and the world of a mistake you may be making and offers advice of how to avert it, you dont just stand on your dignity and brush him aside. This is what premier, Ted Heath did, backed by opposition leader, Harold Wilson. The rarity of this agreement between British party leaders was only surpassed by how ill-judged it was. The trouble with British government is that it is not used to having to take notice of people outside the ruling party with its fake parliamentary majority.

The fake parliamentary majority, the legal fiction rather than the popular reality, was and is so dear to the British two-party system that even for the sake of peace, they wouldnt practise the power-sharing they preached for Ulster.

I admit I have not read The Good Friday Agreement and cannot say whether it is good, bad or indifferent, for whom or why. I listened to the speeches of the Irish and British leaders from all parties, and there did seem a humanity and humility that was refreshing to hear, not only there.

I believe it was necessary to make an agreement. Paddy Ashdown, who has the military background to know these things, said that a terrorist group, with substantial backing from the community, cannot be defeated. Waging more war would just recruit more enemies. This is an argument against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and war in general.

Power-sharing democracy is the only way, I know, of containing conflicts from breaking out into wars. Lack of sharing, even so much as lack of respect for others' views, takes advantage of people's tolerance, as the English are taken for granted by their rulers, as in many other countries where many people are simply not voting, in the first place, for want of effective voting method to make peaceful political participation worthwhile.

Election-rigging stalled devolution and local democracy.

"Apart from FoI and Lords reform (more done than for 100 years, but now stalled)..." Michael White claimed in The Guardian, in 2009.

The Lords may no longer look so much like the Middle Ages but at least the Middle Ages had some idea of what the function of a second chamber should be: to represent the character of the nation in its callings. Democratic representation could bring a House of Callings up to date, not the old corruption of favorites and appointees, nor a redundant colony for politicos.

Britain, with its indiscriminate Official Secrets Act, was conspicuously behind the rest of the democratic world on FoI (Freedom of Information). If only for sheepish reasons, the government had to act. As for Freedom of Information in 1978, the Callaghan government left it too late to pass.

Much of their time-table was taken up by the marathon attempts to pass a Devolution Bill, twice-failed. This owed to government intransigence on electoral reform. At first, they tried to impose a multi-member FPTP system which would have accentuated, at the time, Labour's over-representastion even more than single-member FPTP.

The Liberals were misguided in not insisting on PR for their support of a Scottish Parliament. The respected Scottish Tory, Lord Home supported a Scottish Parliament, reasonably stipulating PR, which is what Callaghan's own Royal Commission on the Constitution (the Kilbrandon report) insisted on, despite his ruling out PR from its terms of reference - the truth Labour didnt want to hear.

Devolution would have passed twenty years earlier but for Labour's abiding obsession with rigging the voting system.
When they did get round to a Scottish Constitutional Convention, it was the Scottish Labour party that vetoed the Kilbrandon report's specific and unanimous recommendation of STV/PR.

A devolved Scottish Parliament was left to make do with the vastly inferior Additional Member System, a doubly safe seat system. That makes MPs virtually unrejectable - a democratic objection made by the Richard Report on the Welsh Assembly, which had been consigned to the same dire AMS. The Richard Report's recommendation of STV was blocked by in the Commons by the Labour government.

Of course, the Tories also get away from anything democratic that would frighten an MP (Mouse of Parliament).

The Great Reform Act of 1832 abolished about 100 rotten boroughs. It was thought appallingly revolutionary. But the Tories, of 1979, also by boundary changes created for themselves about 100 rotten boroughs. And that was no less appallingly reactionary, for its time.
When challenged about the 1983 triumph of Distortional Representation, Margaret Thatcher replied "We arent complaining."
As if she didnt know they contrived it. It was the first thing the Tories did when they got back into power in 1979.

In local government, the Tories went on to abolish the Labour-held metropolitan councils but kept the Tory-held county councils. Their motive was to stop Labour's local over-spending. The Tories destroyed local democracy, in a partisan fashion, rather than improve it.
First past the post creates one-party states in local government. The Commission on standards of conduct in puplic life, looking into local government corruption, was banned from considering proportional representation to make the opposition stronger and hold to account elected officials. Again the truth that the covetous Labour and Tory parties didnt want to hear.

However, it is to the credit of a Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition in the Scottish Parliament that they remedied this situation for Scottish local government in 2007. With STV, the four main parties are proportionly represented, as well as proper representation for Independents, important in local government, and a few small parties.

It is questionable whether the 1980s Tories were not as bad as their Labour successors. If so, it was only because they were rolling down hill when it was less steep. But the Tories set a decline going that accelerated under Labour.

"Capitulism."

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Britain's New Labour was militarist or Prussian in its attitudes of making officials into ranks the public cannot challenge. Also, its media manipulation or "spin," not to mention starting a deceitful war that might have been avoided by more widespread and peaceful international diplomacy.

The Labour government indulged a sharp increase in legislation over previous governments. In march 2005, an official advisory group said the government had developed a knee-jerk response to problems by introducing new legislation. This was perhaps part of their media-driven habit of: "Do something, even if it's stupid." (Simon Jenkins)

Dan Lewis in "Essential Guide to British Quangos 2005" said 529 quangos were costing taxpayers billions. Many are useless and duplicative. At least 111 were set up by Labour since 1997.

In april 2006, David Craig, a former managment consultant for twenty years, said the government had blown 70 billion of taxpayers money on managment consultants. The government spent vast sums for "little or no value" to the public. Peter Oborne, in The Triumph of the Political Class, explains this waste as New Labour's turning to the private sector, in their second term, after the failure of their politicising the civil service to get results.

Not only State socialism fails on democratic legitimacy. Capitalist corporations, as fictitious legal individuals, are above the law of individual responsibility, allowing them to be the pirates of the planet and its inhabitants. Democracy is life itself for mankind.

The Gods That Failed, by Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson (reviewed by Simon Shaw, in The Mail 2, Feb 1, 2009) is about an arrogant elite, "the New Olympians" thriving at everybody else's expense, due to Right and Left governments' complacent failure to regulate the economy.

This is "Capitulism," the capitulation to piratic capitalism, and debt nationalisation's "socialism for the rich." Britain is 4.8 trillion in debt and the bankers, including those bailed out by the taxpayers, are still giving themselves huge bonuses. In the book, Fleeced!, reviewed on this site, the authors had estimated three trillion debt, and were rightly up-tight enough about that.

The coalition appears divided on what to do. The Lib Dems led by Nick Clegg and Vince Cable think the excesses must be curbed. Cameron seems closer to those represented by The Telegraph journalist, who urged Britain's financial sector must remain competitive with the rest of the global bankruptocracy.

Many times, I received a long NHS questionnaire. Questions about was the clinic clean and could you talk without being heard, I regard as ironic. It reminded me of the Soviet system of informers. Stalin grew paranoid that state control wasnt working, in the belief that operators, like the engineers, were sabotaging his command system. The blame really belonged with the total denial of individual initiative, so that the command economy eventually collapsed under itself.

Masses of money spent on the over-managed NHS have left hospitals dirty. US hospitals are allowed to clean themselves and are "relentlessly clean" according to the example Richard Littlejohn saw. Simon Jenkins identified the British problem as out-sourcing. NHS hospitals arent allowed to clean themselves.

It is as if the Tories and Labour were to decide that the British could not be trusted to wash themselves. So, the politicians put out to private tender the cheapest hygiene solution. Say, the winning cut-price plan was that everyone is required to present themselves naked outside their homes at eight every morning to be hosed down by passing company fire engines (not available against fires).

After the 2010 election, the Tory-led coalition is still capable of doctrinaire privatisation, such as their much opposed plan to sell off Britain's woodlands into private ownership.

Ed Miliband, the new leader of the Labour urged that his party has to change. But he must include himself in that stricture. In a speech (shown on the Parliament channel) urging investment to boost growth, the example he singled out for mention was Sheffield Forgemasters.

This would mean an 80 million subsidy for the manufacture of a nuclear reactor component. Nuclear power continues to swallow massive subsidies that the taxpayers will never see again. This is more of the same failure to learn from government failure to pick winners.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, in whose constituency the firm resides, was chastised, in a Mail article, for not bothering to go down the road to PM David Cameron to beg the money. And incidentally break yet another promise, that is that the coalition wouldnt subsidise nuclear power.
Clegg was condemned for not serving the Sheffield firm's employment special interest, and his own, against the taxpayer.

This is one of the reasons against single member constituencies. They make MPs too vulnerable to powerful interests. In multi-member constituencies, you can be sure of a more representative sample of voters to back public-spirited candidates. So far, Clegg hasnt crumbled on this one, but he has been blamed, any-way, by many - even that silly journalist, who doesnt know that it isnt an MPs business to pay special interests their ransom in votes to keep himself in power.

An American program noted how an air-line company (Lockheed, as I remember) had works in every constituency in the Union. The representatives were beholden to it for their constituents' employment. As Ralph Nader might ask: Who governs Congress?

Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have in common that their wives have been bought by energy companies. Clegg's Spanish wife works for a Spanish energy company. Ed Miliband's wife is bought by Eon (a German firm). Gordon Brown's brother Andrew was bought by EDF (a French state firm). The last thing Britain needs is to be an energy hostage to France's nuclear nationalised industry with its hands in the taxpayers pockets, as if they were a bottomless pit.

Ed Miliband is still of New Labour's nuclear cronies. This is the nuclear feudalism of an imperilled and impoverished nation of energy tenants.

The wrong-headed subsidising, of the failed nuclear command economy and consequently a nuclear terror police state, as a necessity, is the argument of tyrants.
It is lazy and ill-bred to foul the nests of your descendants with radioactive pollution.

There is no excuse for government by inertia, in a dogmatic ignorance of alternative and renewable energies, the progress being made in research for in-house energy generation, as befits a free people.

Worse than Watergate: 1970 Britain's bought election.

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If you are born to rule by force and fraud, it is hard to believe possible that people can freely come to agree. The House of Commons confrontation of benches was built at a distance of drawn-swords. This is the fragile progress of mankind from aggression to compromise.

A century ago, in The Servile State, Hilaire Belloc condemned the two party system as really only one party. Half a century ago, this was called Butskellism, after R A Butler and Hugh Gaitskell. But there was still what David Low called "outmoded class war junk" to make the masses vote for the upper or the lower class party. British social life has been Americanised, into a sense of personal worth regardless of station. It is only good and not evil, if it extends from oneself to others.

It's not surprising that there is a chronic lack of social mobility in Britain, because the country has been ruled by a political class that prevents social mobility into politics and Parliament, with its safe seat system and funding from interests in conflict with the good of the nation.

In my youth, you were still asked whether you were Conservative or Labour. You were a potential recruit for one of the two sides. That rare bird, a Liberal, was considered a joke, because they had no chance of winning a general election. Winning was, and still is, what it is about. There are deplorable instances of foreign election-rigging. It would be courteous to foreigners to remind ourselves and the world of our own deplorable electoral malpractises.

In recent years, a politician's death-bed confession uncovered a scandal preceding Watergate and remarkably like it, in the stealing of the opponent party's confidential papers. The Tory party secretly bought Labour's election files. Take Harold Wilson's preparations for his national television debate before the 1970 election. By laboriously preparing refutations, the Tories could make him look like a simpleton. And it is a fact that the polls showed Wilson winning the 1970 election right till the last moment and that eve of poll tv appearance. It could easily have swung the result, which was a complete surprise.

In a blog post about the infamous 1970 election bribery, I charitably recalled wrong (and later corrected) the story as a contrite Labour man's last confession. In fact, it was some unrepentant Tory grandee's boast to have changed history, made when he was beyond prosecution, in this life.

The subterfuge, of Labour's bought election strategy, was an impeachable offence, graver than Nixon's complicity. Heath was supposed not to have known, as if that were an insurance against retribution. It doesnt matter, the Tory party, as such, carried out this cheat. Meanwhile, the conceited but gullible British dismiss "banana republics." (The cliche is an undeserved slur on poor countries with only the odd staple product.)

Of course, in a real sense, elections usually are bought. That is the more basic problem that wealth needs to be taken out of the balance that decides the direction of policy.
There was a crude example of this the other day (january 2011), when Lord Sainsbury, a 13 million past donor, made it known that he had no more plans to fund Labour now that it was led by Ed Miliband rather than his brother David. Apparently, he thinks one old Labour and the other New Labour.

This state of affairs is a war, in which a war lord decides to make one side lose by depriving them of the power to be heard, since money talks, till they surrender to his will.

A civilised world has to move away from this political primitivism and parasitism to scientific standards of honest debate and progress in every-one's interest.

General Elections as Marginal Defections between the two handicap parties.

Without class loyalty to fight their wars for them, the two parties have become one party of competing mercenaries. Those, rich enough, or desperate enough to circumvent the public interest, bet both ways.

Following the ancient Chinese saying that the beginning of wisdom is calling things by their proper name, then perhaps we should speak of a (First Past The Post) General Election as a Marginal Defection.

By the late 90s the Lib Dems were beginning to succesfully work the First Past The Post system of targeting winnable seats, with their limited resources. Tho, theyve since lost that art.

By 2007, Tory millionaire marginal targeting may have put-off Gordon Brown from calling an election.
The wittiest remark on the 2010 general election was made by a Guardian Comment Is Free posting. At the time an Icelandic volcano was spewing ash clouds over the UK and beyond, grounding air traffic. Lord Ashcroft was based in a Bermuda tax exile. It came out later, at last, that he was avoiding paying British taxes.
The remark was to the effect that there was a cloud of cash moving from Bermuda over British marginals during the general election. Lord Ashcroft's long shadow was blotting out the light.

This verity is the backbone of Tory electioneering by targeting key voters in marginal constituencies. For this purpose, they bought a computer program from US politics. These politicians dont want people to think for themselves, they just want to manipulate them, for their own ends.

The new UK, British or English parties hope to emulate the Celtic parties, who owe their success to local patriotisms that overcame FPTP. But this further splits the X-vote - and will continue to do so until we replace this single non-transferable vote with a single transferable vote in equitable multi-member constituencies.

Let us have a free Press debate on properly democratic voting method, instead of opportunist concerns with holding onto the present unfairness or trying to fix a new unfairness. Keeping power thru ignorance (of the logic of choice) is the basis of government by frustrating people's wishes.

For elections, the Labour and Tory parties are the handicap parties, because they insist on giving themselves a handicap in the election rules such that their votes count more than anyone elses. They dare not contest elections on equal terms with other candidates.
The handicap is the two-party system, of First Past The Post in monopolistic single member constituencies.

Lib Dems including their leader have pointed out a correlation between over-claiming on expenses and safe seats. The implication is that MPs in safe seats are less accountable in general and in particular have not counted their expenses as carefully.

A Channel 4 online assessment of the Liberal Democrat claim cavilled that a correlation does not prove a cause. (As if we needed them to tell us that.) And gave a 2 out of 5 rating as a consequence.
It says more about this news program's aversion to the new than it says about the Lib Dems, doing something new here: in effect, denying to the mainstream media that safe seats are an act of God, and that the British can never do more than grumble about them, like the weather.

It is perfectly reasonable to claim lax expenses claims may well be linked to the lack of accountability inherent in safe seats. We may not be able to prove it but it is a logical consequence of a belief in democracy at all. And suggests certain journalists dont much believe in democracy beyond the stale two-party rudiments of one, that is so alienating the public as to be testing the safe seat system to destruction, pretending that is "democracy" which is then blamed as no good.

When David Cameron was interviewed about the fall in the Tory vote at the 4 june 2009 county council elections, he just brushed that aside as due to more small parties, and concentrated on the gap between Tory and Labour votes.

There is no sense of justice. Whatever happened to integrity?
A Guardian article, by David Cameron, called for a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. This follows the tactics of New Labour in trying to get back into power in 1997. The Lib Dems opined the Tories were not to be trusted. Labour fell short of electoral reform promises. The Tories have refused to make them at all. Here follows my brief Guardian comment on the article:

Mr Cameron,
As more than one party in government may be needed to face any national emergencies from the recession or other causes, your advocacy of a Tory-Lib Dem coalition makes some sense, especially if co-options are sought. But a coalition depends on negotiations in which everything is put on the table by both parties. (Much to discuss there, which I have to skip.)

However, you have already precluded this possibility by stating in this newspaper [The Guardian] that you would not consider proportional representation.
To add insult to injury, you did so on the spurious grounds that PR gives too much power to the parties.
This is only true of the party-list corruptions of the original and genuine PR. As you must surely know, tho the general public does not, this is not true of the single transferable vote, which merely gives representative democracy, which is all that is required of any and every election.
Like the Labour party, who suddenly decide they want PR on their own terms, the Tories continue to steer clear of STV, despite six recent reports' support of STV/PR. Labour and Tory are still in tacit coalition over the leading role of the two party system.

Postscript:

Since the 2010 general election, the Liberal Democrats have gone into coalition with the Conservatives. They only secured a referendum on the Alternative Vote, which does give voters more than the least possible choice offered by an X-vote but does not give equitable or proportional representation.

Richard Lung.
Mainly 2008-9.
Up-loaded 3 February 2011.

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