Friday, 13 February 2009

Democracy? Where?

When any organisation becomes inefficient, expensive, ceases to function satisfactorily and its existence creates more problems than it solves we are informed that it is in need of 'root and branch' reform. It seems, from recent events, that this country requires a 'root and branch' examination and encapsulated within this task should also be the workings of Parliament and the responsibility of how MPs carry out their duties.

Consider the following that has occurred during the tenure of the present and previous governments:

1. Parliament, by means of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill - otherwise known as the Abolition of Parliament Bill - would have allowed any Minister to amend or abolish any Act of Parliament, or secondary legislation, using a statutory instrument; in other words to make law without debate in Parliament.

2. Parliament continues to delegate legislative powers to agencies that cannot be held accountable to the electorate.

3. Membership of the European Union delegates the ability to make laws to a body the British electorate have no power to control.

4. It has been shown that MPs and Peers have become immune to prosecution for acts that would, for a private individual, result in legal recourse being sought and it also appears they are unable to 'police' themselves.

5. With our current electoral method of 'first past the post', this invariably results in one party having a working majority by which they can then basically govern as they please.

6. Too often MPs, who are supposedly elected to reflect the views of the constituents, do not consult their constituents on matters of importance but vote in accordance with 'the party line', Whether this is due to the hope of personal advancement within their party is open to debate.

7. Whislt the electorate is allowed to choose which party forms the next government, it is a fact that after said election has taken place the electorate then revert to being subject to a form of 'democratised dictatorship' in that they are subservient to Parliament until such time as the governing party is forced, or chooses, to consult the electorate once again.

Whilst all three main parties talk about devolving power down to the lowest level, not one of them would wish to do this as they fear it negates their own power, ie law making ability. This attitude can best be summed up in the words of Ken Clarke who said: "......Nothing would make parliament weaker than taking major decisions out of its hands........".

Alternative methods of government have been put forward, amongst which have been a paper called The Plan, written by Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell; and a paper from Civitas called Total Recall, written by Nick Cowan. Both these documents have ideas which, if implemented, would preserve our democracy, parliamentary system of government and, at the same time, allow people more freedom to live their lives as they choose.

Each of the three main political parties, by their wish to retain this country's membership of the EU, by their wish to retain the present status and power of Parliament, by their wish to remain 'aloof' from those laws that they pass and which their electorates are subject to and by their voting intentions being more concerned with party rather than the wishes of their constituents; who are after all the providers of their remuneration, allowances and expenses; are not representatives of democracy as it is generally known and do therefore but pay 'lip-service' to the principles of democracy.

At the next opportunity of expressing their democratic 'rights', the electorate need to think very carefully about where they place their mark on any ballot paper. They will find, after careful consideration, that there is only one party offering the electorate the opportunity to become a self-governing nation once again, that is offering people the opportunity of real 'local' government and also the means by which MPs and Peers can be, once again, held accountable to the ordinary person.

For all its faults and criticisms, that party is the UK Independence Party.

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