There is just one point that has been missed by many of the commentariat in both old and new media about the competition between David Cameron and Jack Straw for ideas that involve tinkering round the edges of our derelict parliamentary system.
Recall of MPs, set-term parliaments, committees elected by back-bench members, more scrutiny of legislation, all sound wonderful ideas but none of them tackle the main issues of legislation being done by bodies we do not elect or control.
Cameron is also talking about devolving power to ever lower rungs of government, an idea that he may or may not have acquired from Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell. Nothing wrong with that, though having a quango to supervise the House of Commons finances does not seem to me to be a step in the right direction.
This, however, has turned into articles and headlines that tell us about David Cameron wanting to devolve power to the people. If that is what the Boy-King means then he has completely misunderstood the basic tenet of modern English and Anglospheric power structure. The state cannot devolve power to the people because it belongs to them in the first place; the state does not grant the people liberties because those liberties are the people's property. It is all the other way round: the people might, for various reasons, loan powers and agree to forego their liberties for certain purposes. It is high time our politicians grasped this simple fact.
True, except that the power that we have loaned, has now been confiscated from us. How do we get it back apart from the exercise that we have once in 5 years? Revolution? Letter writing? The latter seems to do little apart from act as a safety valve.ReplyDelete
That is a very good question and one we need to address. In the end, politicians will have to give up that power. My point is that they will be giving up something that is not theirs to start with, not generously devolving it on us. That may be a good start, but it is only a start.ReplyDelete
I agree with the sentiment. But the reality is that Norman conquest of the Anglo-Saxon people is the first chapter in our political history. An evolutionary process substituted the absolutism of Kings for the rule of law (Magna Carta) and the tranfer of powers from King to Parliament (Civil War, Cromwell and then the Glorious Revolution). The same process then granted ever greater democratic power over Parliament to the people throughout the 19th Century and the early 20th Century. But the central fact of our democracy is the primacy of the House of Commons and this has been so for centuries.ReplyDelete
that is all well and good, but when in the entirety of British history has it been the case that the people have actually enjoyed the power and liberties that have been witheld from them by the 'State'? Our history is littered with examples where the people, or groups therof, have become so fed up with the use being made of their powers and restrictions upon their liberties by the 'State' that they have risen up and demanded a return (in part) of those powers and liberties. Magna Carta 1215, Bill of Rights 1689, Great Reform Act 1832, universal sufferage 1918 being just a few of the highlights in the never-ending struggle of the British people v the British 'State'.
Nick - there seems to have been only one successful revolt of the British people v the British 'State', that I can think of, the Colonial Revolt of 1776.ReplyDelete
I'm in Virginia USA at the moment, where the liberties and freedoms that the then Colonials wrestled from the British 'State' are held very dearly, even if they are currently under threat.
The difference is that people here, in the USA, seem very willing to fight to retain their freedoms and are most vociferous whereas most in Britain just cannot be bothered.
I compare the local paper here, full of politics and letters for and against the current rise of socialism, and then read my paper back home. Today's headlines are about motorcycling and Alice Cooper! "Give them cake" has turned into, entertain the masses and they wont bother you.
'entertain the masses', as you rightly say, and also leave them uneducated, as has been done over the last 40-50 years or so by ruinous Con/Lab anti-education polices.
Banks got into trouble because they borrowed too much and lent it to bad customers. When it was plain to see just how slapdash the banking sector had become, bank creditors started calling in their loans.ReplyDelete
Parliament is much the same. It has 'borrowed' more and more of our authority and autonomy and gleefuly handed it to institutions that are beyond our reach and do not have our interests at heart. This cannot continue. We are Parliament's creditor and it is time to collect.