John Alexander McFadyen wrote:
[Jocko] Jocko John Alexander McFadyen
Personally I trust no one on any side, be it political or
ideological. In the case of withholding the Attorney General’s legal
advice it is perfectly possible that it does not contain anything of
substance that would allow a more clear cut decision to be made. All the
subterfuge being aimed at it all being a let down to those looking for
the smoking gun in order to take the wind out of their sails and have
the populace duped into thinking Mrs May was judged harshly thus gaining
her sympathy votes from waiverers.
Open government is a myth; I am currently at loggerheads with my
local authority over a safeguarding issue which, although straight
forward, has been the subject of obfuscation and prevarication and
downright dishonesty by the powers that be, They are even claiming a
straight forward freedom of information request has possible
confidentiality dimensions which would prevent release of the information.
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Trust in politicians and governments may provide peace of mind but can
also produce a false sense of security. Citizens’ access to knowledge of
public affairs, and the ability of electorates to supervise, moderate
and if need be censure politicians – in between as well as at elections
– are important features of good governance.
Once political parties, and persons who may become ministers, MPs or
local councillors, have been elected then there are woefully inadequate
checks and balances on their actions or inactions and on their
performance in office. Some remain attentive to the needs and wishes of
the people, many follow the demands of their paymasters or simply pursue
their own interests.
In the UK this state of affairs is buttressed by the dogma that,
although we are supposed to have democracy, the people and electorate do
not hold political and state power. Rather this power, state
“sovereignty”, is said to belong to Parliament. To make this “spin”
sound grander and to discourage citizens from questioning it, the
highest power in the land has been dubbed “queen in parliament”. Which
miserable churl would dare to challenge the power of a monarch?
The above picture of a ruling élite and a powerless citizenry has of
course been modified over recent centuries, for instance by the
influence which local party members can have on their MP and by the
nervous attention paid by some politicians to trends in public opinion.
But the reality, that, below, there are the ruled masses and above, the
groups who are entitled to govern, prevails. Worse, associated attitudes
and behaviours, left overs of aristocracy, notions and effects of
“class” and “station”, these sour and poison relations among people,
groups and populations of different backgrounds and localities.
What can be done to promote better democracy and to create a more even
“playing field” for people of different backgrounds and degrees of
Most important is that citizens as individuals and in co-operating
groups claim and try to exercise greater political power.
We can aim to better supervise and control our publicly employed
political workers (“representatives”, MPs, councillors). Much can be
done in local and central governance if citizens push stronger for
rights to effectively take part in governing, planning and decision
making. This must not be limited to “participation”, “consultation”, or
“citizens’ juries” but must enable the citizenry and electorate to
intervene in public matters if they choose to. Electorates must demand
and take the power of public proposal (initiative) and the right to
demand and obtain a legally binding ballot of the whole electorate
(“binding referendum”, “plebiscite” = decision by the people). (This
must not mean that all functions of parliament and government shall be
taken over by the “demos” – the people. It means that although people of
a political unit assign a governing task to a group of politicians
nevertheless they the people retain the right and ability to intervene
if and when they decide to do so: to propose new or “forgotten”
policies; to veto bad or unwanted proposals of parliament, government,
civil service or other body; to dissolve council or parliament.) MPs and
governments work for us. We should let them do only until they may need
supervision or correction.
Comments are welcome.
Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum I&R ~ GB
http://www.iniref.org/ Link to site index
Proposal: New democratic procedures GB+NI Basic presentation