Meeting Mr Trump

Running a country is harder than running a company, especially where the country concerned has a system of checks and balances to prevent the person who actually runs the country from acting in ways that are unconstitutional or illegal. Also there are differences in objectives between the two tasks. He or she who runs a company does so in order to profit and benefit a defined group of people, who are shareholders in the company. The person who runs a country should do so in order to benefit all citizens of that country and where there are conflicts between several groups of citizens’ interest the person in charge must balance and distinguish and act so as to ensure fair treatment of all.

I think that these differences between running Trump Enterprises and running the United States of America have now become apparent to Mr Trump. Continue reading

What is Democracy?

Things are getting complicated. The results of democratic votes leave many people unsatisfied, as the votes electing Donald Trump as US President and those in favour of the UK leaving the European Union show. Those who are on the losing side of such votes try to reverse the votes by legal means, often offering up arguments that they would not countenance had they won the votes and the losers offered up those same arguments.

It has often been thus. In the USA, Mr Trump was repeatedly asked before the election whether he would accept the result of the vote. He said that the election was “rigged” and this statement brought howls of derision from his opponent and those supporting her, who claimed that democracy was threaten by such a viewpoint. Today those very people do not accept the results of the vote carried out in accordance with the rules set out in the constitution, yet that is democracy.

In the United Kingdom the result of the referendum is now going to be pored over by judges, who may well render the “leave” vote impracticable by their decision, any by the restrictions imposed by the courts may force the government to take actions which make its bargaining position untenable and thus alter the democratic votes’ effect.

We all have the right to disagree with democratically made decisions but we do not have the right to attempt to overturn them or render them nugatory, for if we do we deny the democratic process we deny our most important freedom. Democracy simply appeals to the lowest common denominator of interests so it will often provide results that those seeking to impose their own versions of what is in the interest of a nation will find repellent.

Democracy has been described as the least worse system of government. It exists because time and time again we see that dictators, tyrants and monarchs are not to be trusted. We deny it at our peril.

A Triumph or a Disaster?

Time has passed, more than two months, since the result of the UK’s referendum was known and Brexit became a reality.For some the result has been depressing but for others quite the opposite. I rather think the result was a triumph of experience over hope. The young with the optimism of youth, feel the older generation has betrayed them. The older generation, perhaps with wisdom in their eyes believe that the vote was in the best interests of all who live in the United Kingdom. We shall see. Continue reading

The Fat House of Lords

The House of Lords is, as the political commentators are keen to point out, the second largest legislative chamber in the world. The largest is in China, a nation of 1.4 billion people, compared with the 64 billion people of the United Kingdom.
It shows just how much the United Kingdom’s politicians and its establishment love patronage; they love it more than democracy.  Continue reading

Nice Work If You Can Get it

The latest scandal affecting the House of Lords is nothing unusual nor is it in itself a reason to change the constitutional arrangements to reform this appointed un-elected body of cronies of elected politicians. There are plenty of scandals that affect elected chambers; humans are weak frail and full of hubris so it is not surprising when scandals emerge. The reason to abolish the House of Lords is that it is simply undemocratic.  Continue reading

Democracy 1 Bureaucracy 0 (Half Time)

The Greek referendum vote contrary to predictions by journalists and contrary to the leaders of Eurozone nations that are not in default turned out to be a rather overwhelming vote which supported the Greek government and by implication supported their efforts to secure a what the Greek regard as a fairer deal to end or help end their financial crisis. Continue reading

British Values

The Government’s master plan to combat the recruitment of terrorists in these islands is to stress “British Values”, by which they mean tolerance, democracy and other desirable ways of thinking and behaving. Of course these are not British values. Britain has no monopoly of these qualities although they do exist to some extent in the majority of the inhabitants of modern Britain but did not so exist in the not so recent past of Britain. Continue reading