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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Earwig's essay (long) on how we may change the British political system for the better.


A New Model For Democracy
by a member of Max Farquar's blog known simply as "Earwig".

I have lifted this in total, unashamedly from Max's blog of which Earwig makes a lot of telling comments. The above link will take you to the article on Max's blog. However, it is exceedingly long and you need to be in a quiet place, and in a quiet frame of mind to read it and take it all in. I am not saying I agree with everything in Earwig's solution but have to admit, I found it very interesting reading and whatever one's views are, I think we already instinctively know that "something has to be done".

Ampers.

It’s been over 4 months now since I published an article by Earwig, a regular commenter on my Max Farquar blog. It caused quite a stir at the time and with good reason. So, if you’re not one of the many thousands that have already read his piece, entitled ‘God Cursed Me With X-Ray Vision‘, you can find it by visiting the above link. I know quite a few regular readers of this blog, and other sites beyond, have been eagerly anticipating Earwig’s second article. Well the wait is over. So you may want to switch off the phone and settle down with a drink or two before you read Earwig’s latest essay … A New Model For Democracy :

Max Farquar.



Over the last ten years, my general despair and disbelief at the way the world is being run has increasingly given way to outright and exponentially rising alarm. I don’t wish to appear a sensationalist, but it’s no exaggeration to say that if something pretty drastic isn’t done pretty soon to change the way we’re governed, then we’re all going to die. You can take that literally or metaphorically, but it makes very little difference in practice, for if we remain alive as slaves – the direction in which we’ve been headed – we might as well be dead, anyway. This might sound like the beginning of just yet another cheerless, dispiriting rant, of which there are no shortage on the Internet but rants alone achieve very little other than raising the blood pressure of the reader. This article, it is hoped, moves beyond mere rant and goes on to provide a foundation for offering a real and lasting solution to the many grave problems we face courtesy of the established system which has consistently failed to address these severe difficulties for many decades now.
Under the current democratic model which has got us to the position we now find ourselves in, there are flaws which have allowed tyranny, treachery and ultimately even treason to prevail. This model’s prospectus, however, appeared virtually pristine on the surface. So much so, in fact, that it has been adopted by countless other countries around the globe. It’s only after many decades of seeing the mechanism actually in action in the countries where it has been running longest, that these extremely far-reaching defects have become exposed. The problem essentially is due to the weakness of human nature. No matter how noble our elected representatives’ intentions may be at the outset, when they first set out to climb the greasy pole of a career in politics, the majority of them become our enemies over the course of time. And you don’t need to look far to find evidence of this. Wherever we look, we see politicians pursuing their own agendas (which usually revolve around the acquisition of power, prestige and wealth for themselves) whilst the needs and wishes of you and me – those who put them there – are constantly ignored and sidelined.

In Germany last month, 80% of the people said NO to having more of their money thrown down the toilet in trying to prop up failing economies like those of Greece, Portugal and Spain, yet the bailout fund – under whatever fancy phrase du jour it’s currently known as – was nevertheless approved by a significant majority of Germany’s lawmakers. Ireland tried to say “no more” to the madness; they had a Referendum on the matter, but they voted ‘wrongly’ the first time around, so a second vote had to be called so they could make the ‘right’ choice and vote ‘yes’ – which under duress they did. For some strange reason there was deemed no need for a third round decider.

In Britain, David Cameron promised the voters a “cast iron guarantee” of a Referendum if he were made Prime Minister. But for some unaccountable reason, when the opportunity for calling one actually arose, he was going around threatening his MPs with all sorts of punishments if they dared to support the move! Everywhere you look, the people we vote in break their promises and betray us. Once they’ve got our vote we can all go to hell as far as they’re concerned. And increasingly they don’t seem to care if we know it, either!

As things are supposed to work at present, anyone (subject to very few restrictions) is permitted to run for Parliament. They may do so either as an independent candidate, or else as an approved candidate of one of the established political parties. In the case of the former, they are free to run on whatever arguments they please; in the case of the latter, the candidate is circumscribed by the manifesto of the party he represents. His own room for manoeuvre with respect to policy matters will be highly restricted. The general public, who are, it seems, not so motivated as to run for office themselves, are permitted and indeed vigorously encouraged to vote at election time for the candidate who best represents their wishes and aspirations. psephologists tells us that in this regard, candidates who are members of mainstream political parties tend to be far more successful in getting themselves elected than independent candidates. Quite why this should be so is a matter for conjecture, yet it is undeniably true.

What typically tends to happen after a general election is familiar to many, whether the system in place is ‘first past the post’ as it is in Britain, or some form of proportional representation as it is in many other countries. Other countries again have yet more exotic systems, but generally speaking, the leader whose party garnered the largest share of the vote attempts to form a government. They may be able to do this outright, if they have been successful enough, or they may need to enter into some sort of alliance with one or more rivals to secure a working majority. In all cases, however, we are supposed to eventually reach a position where the aggregate Will of the people is broadly reflected in the make up of the final government. This government then normally has a fixed term of 4, 5 or however many years in which to implement its policy objectives as outlined in its manifesto, which is the critical document that voters rely upon when they stick their little crosses on the ballot paper.

So in principle then, all should be well. Our elected representatives work on our behalf to implement a policy agenda to which a sizeable majority of voters have given their backing. If during their term, our representatives are felt to have done well, they may win one or more further terms in office, normally without limit. In fact, even if they are not very good in government, they may still prevail at the next election time if the opposition has exposed itself during the interim as being even less competent. This model then, with which we are all so familiar, has borne the practical system of governance that we have lived with now for generations. And sadly it’s proved to be little short of a disaster. Most good folk don’t even know the half of it. What follows of this essay is devoted to exploring what went so badly wrong, how it all came about, and to fleshing out some key concepts which if they are crystallised into a wholly reconstructed system, can eliminate the corruption and perniciousness we’re all too familiar with and usher in an entirely new age of politics where the Will and best interests of the people becomes once again the primary purpose of decision-making.

Now before offering up a proposal to solve the problem, let’s examine point by point, how the existing system, which seemed to promise so much in the beginning (hundreds of years ago, remember) has been compromised over time and brought us to the disastrous state of affairs we now find ourselves in. Firstly, it’s important to recognise that any political system one cares to conceive of will be subject to attack at every level. There will always be determined, special interest groups constantly seeking ways to undermine its integrity in order that their needs be placed above those of the general public: the tax-payers who for the most part form the primary constituency through this begrudging yet necessary benevolence of theirs, which requires their interests most rightly and properly be put first. How have these unfortunate people, who fund the whole thing, come to have their needs pushed right to the back of the queue; to have their position usurped by the undeserving and corrupt? How has democracy morphed into the very enemy of the people it was once intended to represent and serve?

To best illustrate this failing, kindly consider the (non-exhaustive) list below which illustrates a powerful range of malicious influences which together destroy the effectiveness of our present way of doing things:
  •     Professional Lobbyists: persons working for powerful commercial interests which are perfectly prepared to offer substantial inducements to politicians in exchange for policy variations which bestow commercial advantage on the corporations concerned.
  •     The so-called ‘Elites’ – would be shadow governments-in-waiting such as the Bilderberg Group – who attempt to influence events from behind the scenes in line with their own nefarious agenda.
  •     The vested interests of the media in all its forms, complete with biased reportage, which mislead and misinform voters and law-makers alike.
  •     Blatant, intrinsic dishonesty on the part of our representatives and the hollow excuses they make when challenged on any deviation from their previously stated manifesto pledges.
  •     The lack of rigour shown by voters who are mostly too otherwise occupied with simply trying to keep their heads above water, putting food on the table, paying the bills and bringing up their children, to adequately monitor the activities of their elected representatives.
  •     The blizzard of distractions the public face from the mainstream media. So much of what little spare time that ordinary people have is seized by the unhealthy influence of TV, magazines and newspapers, barraging them with trivial, inconsequential matters which by accident or design hinder their awareness to their ever worsening plight.
  •     The voters’ own need for distraction from the real world as a stress-reliever. Their desire to be constantly entertained; their need today to have others fill every idle minute of their time for them.

The fact that most people have such short memories in respect of the wrongs repeatedly done to them by the political classes has enabled this pretence of so-called ‘democracy’ to be sustained indefinitely. For example, it was only last year that Labour lost an election after 13 years in power, yet already some folk are beginning to forget how truly awful they were! 

All the above factors have long ago been identified by our domestic and foreign enemies as chinks in the armour of ‘democracy as we have known it’ and have been and continue to be ruthlessly exploited to our collective detriment in furtherance of those enemy interests as a result.

We may reliably infer from the foregoing that any democratic model requiring trust on the part of the voters on the one hand and honour on the part of the law-makers on the other is doomed to failure. Human nature simply isn’t selfless enough for such a system to function properly. Whilst many people out here in the real world may still be generous in spirit and heart, there are, regrettably, rather more in number who are anything but, and will seek to put their own interests before those of the people they have been charged with representing. This sad fact alone makes our current model of democracy unworkable and it is no coincidence that it is this very same selfishness that has been seen most keenly to wreck the practical implementation of Communism wherever this failed and discredited doctrine has been introduced around the globe.

Legal sanctions against corruption in public life have been proven to be unworkable, too. The corrupt don’t expect to get caught and will go rotten in any event. When they do, and they will, only the lowest among them will be brought to book; the expendables – the lowest ranks of the political food chain will be grudgingly sacrificed in an a cynical attempt to protect the better connected higher-ups – as the recent UK government expenses scandal well attests to. We can therefore find little effective deterrent in the threat of punishment for wrongdoing.

The pyramidal nature of our current government structures also undermines true democracy. In the wake of a General Election, what happens? The leader of the largest party sets about appointing a cabinet of ministers to deal with the major and minor offices of state. He will also appoint several other figures to the government. He will appoint a deputy for himself and deputies for his cabinet. Whips will be appointed to ensure that party members vote the ‘right’ way on important matters of policy. The resulting structure will closely resemble that of a pyramid, with absolute power being exercised from the top down over ever lower minions who are all bound by the discipline exercised by those above them. At the top of the heap, so we are led to believe, sits the all-powerful Prime Minister whose commands, supposedly reached in discussions with cabinet from upon high are sent down through the ranks to the very lowest levels where his instructions are passed on to the top of other pyramidal structures, such as the Civil Service and various forms of local government, where exactly the same chain of control mechanisms are reassuringly in place once again.

Thus by this mechanism, one man – be it a President, Prime Minister or whatever – can move mountains. It appears very efficient at first sight, but there is, as always, a catch; a weakness to be exploited. Imagine what happens if the leader in question is subservient to someone else? Someone unelected and unaccountable to the domestic electorate. Perhaps even a foreigner with foreign priorities? Invisible even? We can envisage a situation where an influential foreign figure, perhaps acting on the instructions of an even more powerful supra-national body, instructs our leader to do something which is contrary to the Will of the sovereign people of the country. We might conceivably never even know that such an instruction has been given, yet its effects could have all sorts of far-reaching consequences for us. Consequences relating to our national currency and taxation, for example, and even the deployment of our armed forces and the commencement of a new war. All these nefarious objectives could be brought about simply through the manipulation of the leader. The pyramidal structure has much to commend it, but its weaknesses are severe in the extreme, for the manipulation of the entire mechanism can generally be effected simply by the manipulation of one man.

From the foregoing it is obvious that a President or Prime Minister is the leader of the country only in the minds of the people. In truth he is but a nominal leader; a leader in name only whose strings are pulled by persons unknown who lurk in the shadows and who are seldom if ever identified. This situation might have arisen via any number of different scenarios. Perhaps our man has weaknesses which were identified very many years ago then subsequently exploited. Perhaps he has some skeleton in the closet that he fears might be exposed. Some peculiar and shameful (and/or illegal) sexual preference, perhaps. On the other hand it might be something as simple as an inducement; the promise of great wealth, status, or position. There are any number of possible carrots or sticks which could be used as leverage by the unscrupulous to ensure our man does as he is told and in so doing sells out the legitimate needs and wishes of the public he is supposed to represent. The issues the man in the street desperately wants to see addressed become secondary to nefarious unknown and concealed alien interests. And it doesn’t even have to be the head honcho that is compromised in this way, either. Someone of a lesser yet still important position such as a foreign secretary/secretary of state could find him/herself similarly targeted.

The UK’s foreign secretary, William Hague is, as I understand it, a member of a group known as the “Conservative Friends of Israel.” Now what’s that all about? There’s a counterpart grouping, too on the Left, imaginatively titled: “Labour Friends of Israel.” As far as I can see, if you’re a ‘friend’ of Israel, you’re an enemy of Palestine and heaven knows how many Arab states by definition, so how can you be an honest broker in any dealings with the Middle East? And what business is it anyway, for a British MP to have allegiances with foreign powers? How is membership of such a body supposed to benefit his constituents – those poor fools who voted for him? He’s supposed to be representing their interests and their interests alone. How much time is he spending on the phone, like President Obama, being pestered in his dealings by the likes of Benjamin Netanyahu – whom President Sarkozy no less describes as “a liar”?

Then, in the interests of balance, there was a lady MP some 20 plus years ago. I believe it was Emma Nicholson if I recall correctly. For some unaccountable reason, she took an exceptional interest in the plight of the Marsh Arabs in Iraq. I’m not quite sure exactly what their sad plight was now, but I distinctly remember this woman making numerous trips to their small community where she was photographed, considerately turned out in Islamic dress, listening attentively to their woes – and all at public expense, of course. Now I have no problem with British citizens embracing any old creed they please and if they want to go to Romania, for example, to raise cash for the gypsies, that’s fine by me. But when they’re elected MPs and supposed to be working on behalf of their constituents, then it becomes a very different matter. A very different matter indeed. If the likes of William Hague and Emma Nicholson feel so strongly about foreign interests that they take more than a passing interest in them, then the proper thing for them to do is to get the hell out of Westminster and make way for someone else who’s prepared to put their own people first. But when does this ever happen? Never, so far as I’m aware. The temptation to keep sucking on the atrophying teat of the British taxpayer is too strong, it seems.

And the two above examples don’t even amount to the tip of the iceberg. MPs working for undisclosed interests in our time and on our money have been legion over the years. It is simply unacceptable but rarely if ever is anything ever done about it. This current system has proven itself time and time again to be beyond reform. Our law-makers don’t work in our interests any more. They haven’t done for decades. Instead they spend the greater part of their time signing into law legislation that removes ever more of our ancient rights and protections – and they have the audacity to pick our pockets through taxation to fund their opulent lifestyles for the privilege. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had about enough of paying worthless, shiny-arsed pen-pushers good money to take all my long-cherished rights and freedoms away. Both local and national government have become abstraction layers; not structures for facilitating democratic rule, but barriers actively preventing it. An ugly, costly obstacle that stands between we, the people who pick up the bill for it all, and the ever shrinking list of what little remains of our liberties they haven’t yet axed.

So that’s enough ranting. It’s time to propose some solutions. Firstly, when you think about the big picture here, our downfall has arisen through just three rudimentary errors:
  1. our misplaced trust in the fools and knaves we elect, and
  2. our delegating to such entities the responsibility for enacting our wishes, and
  3. the total lack of any alignment of interest between us and them.

We make our biggest mistake by falling into the assumption that if you want to change the system, you have to do it through the ballot box. As I said in a previous essay, and as some trenchant mind long before that observed, “if voting made any difference, they’d abolish it.” How true! The sad fact is that popular movements, as they acquire momentum, get taken over in the process. It happens every time. Phoney ‘supporters’ of movements which look to be getting too much traction open up divisions within them and seek to use this opportunity to wrest control from the founders with the end result that no one is any better off than before and nothing really changes. Real change won’t come from tinkering with the system as it stands. It won’t come from founding new parties; it won’t come from switching support from mainstream to fringe. Much as I admire the great Nigel Farage for his magnificently discourteous and disrespectful orations in the European Parliament; much as I agree with some of the sentiments expressed by well-intentioned, passionate people such as Nick Griffin, I wouldn’t waste a second voting for them. Even were they to win, we would still end up yet again with a pyramidal power structure which is far too easy for alien interests to manipulate by compromising key figures within it. No, we’re fast running out of time and I want to see REAL change!

REAL change requires the removal of the current abstraction layers. It requires DIRECT democracy by the people with no obstacles between them and the power to make – and more importantly perhaps undo – laws. I am suggesting that we simply sweep away root, trunk and branch, the manifestly worse-than-useless status quo. We need to GET RID of these worthless, parasitic individuals before they can do any more damage than they’ve already done. This will be the hard part, of course. They will doubtless not go quietly. Why would they? They must look around at the ruination they’ve brought about and the lengthening dole queues and shudder at the thought of being thrust back into the dismal reality they have been so happy to create for everyone else. Nevertheless, go they must. Let’s face it: our politicians if they have possess any real ability in anything marketable, will find alternative employment somewhere. There are always plenty of burger flippers required in our dynamic, service-based economy and if that fails, they can no doubt find work doing the jobs that their precious immigrants don’t want to do. To have the chance to compete like everyone else in the jungle they’ve created is no less than they deserve, after all.

As stated above, however, don’t expect the parasite to abandon its host so readily. After all, when was it ever easy to remove a leech or a tic? The most likely opportunity to implement the sweeping change we desperately need will come not through the good grace of our politicians, but rather from the collapse of the system they themselves have propped up for so long. Such a collapse, long heralded now by those far-sighted individuals who actually sit down, study history and do their sums, may come as early as next year. We are, after all, currently on a knife-edge with the state of the world economy. If things do get very much worse, as seems all but inevitable, then we may well see things turn very ugly. Where will it all end? Piano wire and lamp posts? Who can say? But there will eventually come a time when the dust has settled, the spilled blood has washed away and we must re-build from the ashes of the old. It will be then that any attempt to resurrect the previous system must be robustly and emphatically rejected. This will be the time for decisive change and I would like, if I may, to propose the structure outlined below be adopted in its stead with all the swiftness and decisiveness that such a rare opportunity permits.

This new system must be verifiably free from the three major traps identified earlier in this essay. In other words, the new system must not rely in any way on the placing of trust or faith in selfish human nature. To this end, the system must ensure that the desires of the new government and the desires of the people are in complete alignment.

Now let’s flesh this novel concept and put some flesh on its bones. In order to avoid the fatal pitfall of placing trust in the hands of deceitful individuals, I propose that the public themselves make the laws of the land. In other words, direct democracy as opposed to the representative democracy we have had hitherto. I propose that the first ‘People’s Congress’ be composed of say 2,500 individuals selected by broadly similar methods currently used to select juries for criminal trials. The term ‘People’s Congress’ probably jars with many older people reading this as it has undertones of the worst aspects of Communism. Let me assure you that in this context it simply means a cross-section of ordinary lay persons randomly selected to serve their country for a period of 9 months after which they are all, without exception, discharged back into their normal lives once again and replaced by another intake of 2,500 to serve another 9 month term and so on. In due time it will be hoped to be able to reduce this number to something between 500 and 700 for the sake of economy, but initially it will be important from the point of view of establishing faith and trust in this new system for it to be as substantial and broadly based as possible (not least because the armed forces and police will need to be convinced of its legitimate authority).

Now I have said that these Congresses should be chosen by a similar method to that for choosing juries. However, because the nature of the task and the nature of the challenge is very different, it would, in my view at least, be necessary to tighten the criteria somewhat. For example it would be absurd to draft in persons who were unable to read and write, or for whom English was not their first language. Likewise, on the grounds of the very necessary life experience required to take part in such an assembly, it would be foolish to have persons under the age of 25 taking part. Other restrictions may spring to the mind of readers in addition to those above mentioned. Nevertheless, whatever restrictions may be placed on assembly members based on age or ethnicity or what-have-you, NO restrictions can be legitimately imposed on persons simply for their political views, however extreme whether they be far to the left or the right, irrespective. This is, after all is said and done, an exercise in true democracy; an attempt to let everyone from every shade of the political spectrum, unfettered by artificial constraints such as political correctness or ‘causing offence’, to have their views, to which all are fully entitled, reflected in the laws of the land should they enjoy the majority support necessary within the assembly.

At the first of these Congresses, which I would suggest take place in the present Houses of Parliament once it has been fumigated of its long-standing inhabitants, the first task for the inaugural assembly would be to decide what the most pressing problems facing the country are at the time and to prioritise each of them for action. The result of this process would probably be a lengthy list of difficulties of varying degree, each requiring special consideration. It would not be for me to second guess what they might come up with, but if I had any influence whatsoever on such a body I’d be inclined to put Britain’s relationship with Europe at the top of the list. Should we be in or out? A decision of such major importance would be beyond the remit of the Congress alone and would require a Referendum, but it would be for the Congress to authorise and organise a plebiscite on the question. Any matters of unusually key significance such as withdrawing from the EU, NATO or declaring wars would be within the Executive’s remit to discuss, but for the electorate as a whole to decide upon. One more wish of mine would be for the first few Congresses to spend the bulk of their time on lightening the statute book by repealing the vast body of laws their ignoble predecessors have sought to burden us with over the last 100 years. Let’s have a real ‘bonfire of the regulations’ of the kind that Michael Heseltine promised us but failed to deliver on all those years ago.

The whole ethos behind being called to serve on a People’s Committee would be public service, in the same way that National Service was once regarded. Service on the Committee would probably only be called upon an individual once in his or her lifetime and it should be thought of as poor form to attempt to wriggle out of it. Having said that, the writer acknowledges that it may be undesirable to compel certain classes of people to set aside 9 months of their lives in this service (sole traders whose clientele could vanish within weeks, for example). Commensurate with the fact that this is a public service honour, the rewards would be modest; merely based upon compensating the member for salary lost in his/her normal occupation and nothing beyond that, although expenses limited to meal vouchers and rail warrants to attend the daily sessions would be quite rightly granted. Accommodation would need to be provided for those attending from far flung corners of the country, but they could be accommodated in modest surroundings and return home at weekends. In this way it is clear that considerable savings would be made over and above the costs of the running of Parliament in its current form with its complex, opaque and extravagant schemes for salaries, pensions, benefits, allowances and expenses.

The day-to-day work of these Committees, once the priority agenda has been established, would revolve around finding common agreement on how to solve the country’s most pressing problems. To assist in this quest, research resources would be made available in the form of high-speed internet access with sufficient terminals available to enable all of the members to get online at some stage without undue delay. All major and minor search engines should be available and there should be no no-go areas or taboo sites to which access is prohibited, save for the obvious distractions such as social networking sites. Members can attend to their Facebook pages in their own time and on their own money like everyone else. Once common consent on a way forward is arrived at by a sufficient majority of members, they can explain their wishes to a small, permanent panel of lawyers specialising in drafting statutes who can codify these wishes into a draft Bill to be passed back to the members for further consideration, revision where necessary, and ultimately if approved, adoption into law. Note this proposed route pays no respect to the existing ponderous procedure which proposed Bills have to take before reaching the statute book, since I envisage a period in our history where time is in short supply and urgency trumps precision.

It is important to note that no one member of a Congress is any more powerful than anyone else. There will be no appointees to any positions implying any kind of chairmanship on their part. No one will have any more influence than anyone else. It is acknowledged that inevitably powerful personalities will emerge; such is human nature, but every person in every Congress as time goes on will be no more entitled to call the shots than any other. Additionally, at the end of each nine month stint, the emergence of dominant personalities has to start from scratch again with a completely fresh field of new faces. To further ensure transparency and honesty, all the proceedings will be recorded AND televised live on a specific TV channel given over for this purpose alone, rather along the lines of the BBC Parliament channel but without the selective bias exhibited by same. The people will be at liberty at any time to petition the currently serving Congress on any matter they feel needs addressing and the members shall duly accord it a priority in their agenda if deemed sufficiently worthy. In all cases where voting takes place, whether it be within Parliament, or for the purposes of a Referendum, there will be no use made of electronic machines which have been in the past and probably always will be in the future, more readily susceptible to tampering.

There will be no need for high level civil servants, either. These people have proved themselves to be a nuisance even to our current shower of MPs. Many of them are nothing more than under cover lobbyists for yet more vested interests and we can well do without them, even for continuity purposes when an expiring Congress turns over its dossier of unfinished business to an incoming one, there will be no place nor need for civil servants to be involved anywhere in the process. Hence, all the old dead wood that resisted meaningful change may be ripped out in one fell swoop. Of course, the parasites who stand to lose their jobs will kick up the most almighty stink: these proposed Congresses are composed of laymen, what do they know of economics and foreign affairs? What experience have they of high finance and law and order? To which I would simply reply that MPs under the old system were no different. Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter who went on to be a chemist. John Major was a labourer on a building site and came from a circus family. Michael Foot was a journalist for Lord Beaverbrook of all people. None of these entities were any better nor had more schooling in running a country than the man in the street and boy, don’t we now know it! So much for ‘experience.’

In fact experience can be a severe disadvantage in human reasoning and a periodic dose of fresh blood can help keep law makers from developing myopia and tunnel vision. The Russian polyglot Leo Tolstoy put the matter most succinctly when he made the following observation in 1897 :-
The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.

If that doesn’t perfectly describe the arrogance of power that has led to the current disastrous situation in the euro-zone, I don’t know what does. We were unfortunate enough also to witness its effects closer to home under the catastrophic leadership of a certain academic and career politician named Gordon Brown ….

Our lawmakers must themselves, as a consequence of these proposed changes, directly feel the pain or the benefit of their decision-making. They will not be insulated from their mistakes as is so often the case at present. Consequently, they will much more careful to get things right. Any bans they introduce will apply to them as much as everyone else. Any tax rises likewise. Inflationary policies will hit their spending power along with everyone else’s. They will be acutely aware that when their 9 month term comes to an end, they’re back once more in the unforgiving real world with the rest of us, so every measure they introduce whilst in their temporarily privileged positions will be passed with the certain foreknowledge that they themselves will be unable to escape it.

Not for them a golden future and inflation proof pension; nor any lucrative second career directorships with merchant banks in the City or elsewhere. It is simply not feasible to ‘nobble’ members of this new structure. It’s not pyramidal but perfectly flat. No individuals control it and no one votes them in or out. There isn’t a single person with influence for the lobbyists to approach. Our new representatives, thanks in large part to their very short tenure in the job and the absence of any cushioning from the real world, finally have interests which are tightly aligned with those of the long-suffering voters. At last we shall have representatives working for the common interest of us all.



It is my belief that in due time, we shall look back on the old way of doing things and marvel in disbelief at how it ever took us so long to make the few simple (and cost-saving) changes necessary to bring to an end all the corruption, fraud, warmongering and pursuit of naked self-interest that the old, discredited system so readily facilitated. When Britain makes changes to its democratic system, the world takes notice. If other countries are looking for a better way forward, as we can see for sure they have been (in particular since 2008) they may well follow our lead. On the other hand if we are tardy, they may get there before us. If we are serious about trying to make the world a better, safer and more prosperous place, these few, simple, inexpensive changes could well prove to be the answer.

Earwig.

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