Friday, 8 January 2010

Democracy And The Next General Election

The underlying issue that should be considered by voters at the forthcoming General election is, with apologies to any other views, not the specific consideration of, for example, bank bail-outs, wind farms, or preservation of our national health service - to mention but three. All such matters are dependant on one basic, overall question which is the state of our democracy incorporating to whom our elected representative are answerable - their electorate, their country, their party or themselves. If candidates, standing in the next General election, are refusing to even consider taking their electorate's views into account and in so doing adhering to their party 'line' or, even, promoting their own views then surely such candidates are inelligable for their electorate's vote? When all is considered what other reason is there for a candidate to be elected as a Member of Parliament if it is not to 'represent' his/her constituents? It is worth remembering an important fact, that, as a further example, David Cameron is the candidate for Witney constituency - standing on behalf of the Conservative Party. It follows therefore his allegiance is to his constituents and not to the Conservative Party.

As some readers may be aware I have been involved in a new movement, The Albion Alliance, whose purpose is to have candidates acknowledge that they must place country above party with a view to their demanding, of the government of the day, a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. By this weekend the Albion Alliance will, hopefully, have e-mailed every candidate that has, to our knowledge, been declared, so far, by their party. On this point, on behalf of the Albion Alliance, a plea must be made. Just because a candidate has been e-mailed by the Albion Alliance and, having replied, subsequently refused to answer the question posed does not mean that other e-mails, or letters, need not be sent. It is imperative that as many people as possible, within a constituency, e-mail all candidates and press them for a response. It is only by candidates learning of the depth of disgust and abhorrence felt by the public that candidates will be forced to come to their senses.

In view of the assertion above - that a candidate's prime responsibility is to constituent and country before that of his/her party - it is dispiriting to read the responses from candidates that have been received to date. To say that some candidates who have responded have 'wriggled', rather than answer the question, would be stating the position mildly and the responses received, so far, range from 'parrotting' the party line to being quite curt. 

Consider the following:

Graham Oakes, Liberal Democrat, Exeter: The response by this candidate only serves to demonstrate that he, along with others, fails to grasp one of the basic elements in any democracy - that of accountability and that the 'will of the people' must be paramount.

Turning to the Conservative Party, it would seem that when the question of Britain's membership of the European Union is concerned all candidates have been provided with a script - presumably because the party leadership dictatorship does not trust them to speak for themselves? This suggestion is borne out when considering the responses from the following: Nerissa Warner-Oneill, Conservative, Preston; Jason Sugarman, Conservative, Lewes; and Karen Lumley, Conservative, Redditch. These three examples of responses by Conservative candidates show, without doubt, that the needs of party are placed above those of country.

One may be forgiven for thinking that their Leader's tendency for 'abruptness' has rubbed off on them, if the responses from Jude Robinson, Labour, Camborne & Redruth; Bruce Hogan, Labour, Forest of Dean; and Jayne Innes, Labour, Nuneaton are anything to go by. Whether this curtness is the result of a lack of understanding of democracy, natural curtness, natural discourteousy, or the fact that they feel their candidacy is, in effect, a 'lost cause' - four characteristics they also appear to have inherited from their Leader - one knows not.

At the time of writing, it is interesting to note that of all respondents, those agreeing to sign to the pledge requested by the Albion Alliance are 5 UKIP candidates, 1 Conservative and 2 Independents. Details can be accessed from the main data base page, clicking on 'Refine your search' and then 'Pledged'.

When David Cameron recently stated that "We cannot go on like this" he was, just for once, absolutely right! We cannot continue with a system of Parliamentary representation by people who cannot accept that their responsibility rests on a requirement to acknowledge the wishes of their constitutents and the needs of their country. We can no longer continue with a system whereby the electorate believes that candidates are standing not out of a love of their country, nor a belief in true democratic representation, but purely for the chance to gain admission to a 'financial system for self improvement'.

This situation can best be summed up by a comment made on an earlier post - Rubbish is rubbish - whether it is in a bin, plastic bag or sits in the House of Commons in the guise of an MP!


Jude said...

Dear Witterings,

I would have been very happy to expand on my views to the Albion Alliance but it was made very clear in the email I had that the Alliance wanted a very simple yes or no answer. It is the teensiest bit unfair to ask politicians to be brief and then castigate them for it.

At least you spelt Camborne right though - unlike the alliance.

Witterings From Witney said...

Hey Jude (to coin a phrase),

I think you will find it spelt correctly on the Albion Alliance site too.

All correspondence is available to read on their website so perhaps the public will make up their own minds.

Trooper Thompson said...

There was nothing to stop Jude from expanding on her opinions, she chose not to do so. A straight 'yes' or 'no' is fine, in her case it was 'no', and everyone knows where they stand. She does not support the people having a choice, so she doesn't deserve support from the people.

That said, I think the wording of the question put to candidates could be improved upon - sorry to criticise from my armchair. We do need a straight 'yes' or 'no' answer to whether a candidate will push for a referendum, but the way the thing is worded makes it difficult for someone to say 'yes' unless they share our desire to get out of the EU. As our main argument is one of democratic accountability, we should be prevailing upon all those who claim to believe in democracy, including those who want to remain in the EU. If there was a referendum and the EU crowd won, they would disarm us of our most potent weapon. If this point could be stressed, we may get more candidates to support the AA in pushing for a referendum, candidates who would campaign for a 'yes' vote. At present I think the AA only represents those who want a 'no' vote. It's not that I think many pro-EU types will join, but the door must be wide open to them, if only so we can show that they care nothing for democracy.

Witterings From Witney said...

Your point is well made, however with e-mails now sent to the majority of declared candidates it would be one hell of an exercise to go back to them with a revised version.

In e-mail exchanges with candidates I have made the point that how they would campaign or vote is neither here nor there - the question is that we need the opportunity to express our choice, ie a referendum. It is apparent however that some candidates dont even agree to a referendum!

An article based on your point will be posted in the Forum shortly.

Trooper Thompson said...

Sorry again! My point may be about as helpful and welcome as the guy who told me not to run, because its slippery, right after I'd fallen flat on my face.

I'll look out for the forum article.

Trooper Thompson said...

...Not to say AA's fallen flat on its face, only that the advice came too late to be of use.

Witterings From Witney said...


Apols totally unnecessary! Comment is up under MPs Responses.

Any other ideas - speak up, please.