Classical Liberal
Primacy of Individual Freedom

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The UK & Ireland Resolving N.Ireland

The UK & Ireland Resolving Northern Ireland

The 1998 Northern Ireland Peace Agreement has at best been fragile and over the last few years is beginning to unravel, with the latest issue over the Union Jack fully exposing the Protestant distrust of the Peace Agreement and the huge divide between the two communities..

This agreement cobbled together by the Political elites attempting to appease all sides, and in collusion with the Clinton Administration, never addressed the real issues. Namely the sectarian divide, which has been accommodated rather than resolved, and the increasing Catholic population in Northern Ireland which will force the end of partition in time.

The only way forward is for the British and Irish governments to recognise the only real solution for the province and its people is the end of partition, and by addressing it now will allow a political settlement that will enable the Province to plan for the future of its people.

This is a difficult time to address these issues, primarily because both the Irish and British economies are bankrupt, which ironically will mean the politicians will not be able to fudge any political settlement as they simply won’t have the money to bribe the two sides. The taxpayer in both Ireland and the UK  have simply run out of money for the foreseeable future.

The failure of the UK and Irish governments to address the N.Ireland issue will be tantamount to criminal neglect to the people of UK,Ireland and Northern Ireland, as the result of failing to do so will be another terrorist war with a much greater danger of it engulfing Ireland and mainland UK  cities next time.

Understandably there is still a great distrust of British Governments in Ireland, partly history and partly because we are a much larger and more powerful country. However our own UK is under threat, we have the Scots seeking Independence, the Welsh devolved, many of  the Regions of the UK feel alienated from the Political Centre in London and the South East.

There has been much talk of devolving power in the UK  but precious little action to carry it forward, but people want control of their lives, and they do not have it when all the levers of power are centralised in London. It is clear, whether Scotland achieves Independence or not, probably not, there is a real discord in our Country that needs addressing.

The UK and Irish governments should be discussing a single Federal state, where the regions of the Single state have the power to run their own affairs, including fiscal control. All Federal States would be represented by a small central government.

When the people of Northern Ireland can see that the two countries. Ireland and the UK are serious about a single state then it will change the whole dynamic in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland with its population of 1.8 Million will not be able to hold the two governments to ransom, they will be part of the process of forming a single state but that is all.

There would be many advantages for both Countries, it would offer Ireland an alternative to the Euro, it would free up our economies, and drive forward our industry and employment. It would of course require strong safeguards with such a large population in England compared to Ireland, Wales & Scotland but when you give power to the regions this would dissipate the power of England as a whole to the advantage of its regions. Alliances may change?

Many will point to the fact that we are a monarchy, and understandably the Irish would not wish to accept a Monarchy, but this is not a real issue if you have a loose federation with real power held by each state of the Federation. 

It would be a nonsense to allow the monarchy to stand in the way, both monarchists and republicans could be accommodated.


The cultures of Ireland and the UK are broadly the same, we have a lot in common, particularly now that the power of the churches has diminished with their falling memberships.
We have a great opportunity to change for the better and  if we harness our talents together we will give our children the opportunity of a future unclouded by internecine strife.

I believe now is the time to grasp the nettle on this issue, to start the debate, and to look at the possibilities for all our people in this time of huge change, not only change in Europe but around the World.

Monday, 1 October 2012

A New Politics to end Tribal Politics

I have been banging on about tribal politics for some time, proclaiming the way forward to be open primaries using the 2009 Totnes open primary as a template. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/04/tories-totnes-mp

I believe the open primary route could provide us with a way to diminish the power of the political parties that have stolen our democracy. However there may be other ways and I would be interested to hear from anyone who has ideas on other alternative ways forward

The problem with our current tribal politics is that it brings down the debate to the yah boo level, people are so busy defending their tribe they fail to consider the logic of the argument for change.

However many people have difficulty in seeing the advantages of the  political parties power diminished, they think it would cause chaos and that you cannot do without a party system.

Of course you cannot eliminate the party system, we are tribal after all and we like to be part of a team, but you can diminish their power.
Currently we select a candidate for MP either as directed from Party HQ or by the constituency party, we as the voters have no say in this so it is not surprising that party memberships have dropped dramatically, the Tories for example from 3 million in 1950 to 170,000 in 2012.  http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05125 This is unsustainable in a democratic country.

It cannot be right that our MP's enter parliament having being given a mandate by the voters to represent us, only to be promptly taken over by the party machine and told which way they must vote, despite their constituents.

This results in any party with a majority pushing through legislation without proper debate and with which a majority of the electorate may disagree. In poll after poll you find the electorate often support measures which their party does not, the electorate are a lot smarter than they are given credit for, they have common sense.

Imagine a House of Commons with MP's who are directly accountable to their electorate, meaning they can be recalled by their constituents and if needs be sacked for not representing their manifesto commitment. This would also preclude them from signing up to the party manifesto as a whole if they disagreed with some aspects, a further curb on the parties issuing manifesto's they have no intention of honouring. (Referendums!)

This would lead to a House of Commons with independently minded
MP's, who although being a member of a political party, need have no hesitation in voting against their party if they believed by doing so they would be representing the views of their constituents.

This would lead to the Political Parties having to convince ALL MP's of the logic of their proposed legislation, it would mean that the government could be voted down regularly if they were not listening.

I can already hear you saying this could cause chaos with governments continually resigning, but I don't believe this would happen, if you can't convince the MP's of the validity of your legislation then you have to drop it. In the event of a government's legislation continually being defeated, then yes they would have to resign, but that would be no bad thing.

We would end up with a mature thinking House of Commons with MP's  primary concern being their constituents, and if needs be voting accordingly, even if it meant voting for the other parties, and without a threat to their future as MP's within the party.

The Political Parties  would have to compete for the votes of all MP's, without the aid of whips, so becoming the servant of the MP's and not the master, and through them the electorate.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Tribal Party Politics has Stolen our Democracy

We are faced with a political system that has stolen our democracy, supported by the political classes who   support the 'Party' before they do voters who elected them.

The Political parties have no intention of changing the status quo, after a brief flirtation with a successful open primary in Totnes, the Tories have quietly dropped the idea with no objection from their MP's. The other parties have made no movement or noise whatsoever, except to try and change the voting system to ensure they can stitch up the system in an even more comprehensive way.

The truth is they are all very comfortable thank you, a job for life in many instances, and none of the parties wants or has the courage to rock the boat.

The voters have responded very predictably, with their feet, totally resigned to the fact that all our parties are in essence in it for themselves, they have departed from the ballot box in droves. Indeed there cannot be a time since WW2 that politicians have been so discredited and despised by the electorate.

It is also very apparent we are totally over represented with our layers upon layers of 'elected' representatives,starting with parish &district councillors, county councillors & MP's. This is before you take into account the new assemblies in Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland, and throw in our infamous quango's for good measure.

It is time to grasp the nettle at Westminster by starting with a radical reduction in the number of MP's who represent us, it would appear that we could quite safely reduce them from the proposed 600 to 300 to 400 without impinging on our democracy.

The elephant in the room however will remain, that is the Political Parties whose power knows no bounds, this must be changed to ensure that we the voters are empowered to choose who should stand as our MP.
We must move forward to a system of open primaries, with the Totnes open primary of 2009 taken as a template. I am sure this could be strengthened further in favour of the voter so only the voters  have the power to choose who should stand for them.

We must diminish the power of the parties by banning the use of the Whips, this together with MP's chosen by open primary,plus the ability of the voters to recall the MP if they are dissatisfied with their performance,  will bring an independence to our MP's that has not been seen before in our lifetime.

Imagine if you can a House of Commons full of  genuinely independent MP's of all persuasions voting by conscience, common sense and their constituents wishes rather than voting according to the demands of the corrupt Tribal Party system. What a change this would bring about in our politics and our democracy!

But the question is how do we go about achieving this aim, to win back our democracy, and have the government and representation we want. It is clear the political parties in Westminster are not interested, UKIP have proven same old same by supporting the status quo and PR despite recent referenda.
Organisations like the Freedom Association do not have the wherewithal and the think tanks do not consider it to be part of their remit.

I have to confess I do not have the answer, which is the reason for this blog, to find the answer from others, for it is surely the only way we are going to clean up our politics. We need to find  an organisation willing to take on this task. Any ideas ?