On Governments

In the United Kingdom we are governed by governments chose by those we elect to Parliament. Today the old Parliament has run its course and the people will soon be electing a new Parliament. The old Parliament deserved to be extinguished; the people deserve better than what it offered. Members of the Government’s Opposition clung to their seats not to introduce or scrutinize legislation but to embarrass and humiliate the government as much as possible which largely left the government reasonably helpless and the people without a government that could govern.

It was said nearly two hundred years ago “that government is best which governs least” which a few years later Henri Thoreau turned into “that government is best which governs not at all”. But the world has changed in two hundred years. Life is extremely complex now and the people of each nation need competent governments and deserve governments, ideally good governments governing according to the wishes of the majority of the electorate that chose their representatives in Parliament.

The experience of the past few years shows that our representative democracy when mixed with plebiscite democracy leads to chaos. Many of the members of the old Parliament representatives did not feel bound by the referendum and thought it perfectly democratic to subvert the results of the referendum because they believed that representative democracy is more democratic than referendum democracy. If they did not believe that, they must have believed that they knew better that their electorate.

For all that, those purporting to believe in representative democracy are (ironically) anxious to limit their own democratic powers (and the wishes of the electorate) by subverting their own powers to the powers of foreign institutions. One Parliament, in constitutional theory, cannot bind a successor Parliament. The way around this rather inconvenient rule of the constitution is if one elected government can enter into a foreign treaty then the provisions of the treaty can bind every future Parliament for long periods of time, because treaties are so much harder to overturn than legislation.

For this reason, certain politicians seek to tie the hands of future governments in fields like employment (called workers’ rights) environmental policy and economic policy and immigration policy. Thus some politicians have sought to prevent future Parliaments elected by the people for putting into effect what the electorate may democratically vote for in future.

Effectively the electorate are told that they are not competent to elect a government with the powers that governments have enjoyed in the United Kingdom for hundreds of years. In fact governments that we may elect are also not competent; the only competent authority to govern us lies outside these islands.

I find this behaviour by certain members of the old Parliament as both immoral and disgusting.

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.

Donating Taxpayer’s Money to Charities is Wrong

I was astonished to learn that the charity, Kids Company, has been receiving taxpayers’ money from the government to help it in carrying out its work.
The charity seems to do excellent work, but in soliciting and receiving money from the government it loses is independence, and can be dragged in to a political dispute. It seems that this is exactly what has happened. Continue reading

Vote For the Official Monster Raving Looney Party

No one wants a government that they did not vote for to run the country. The Scots who voted for independence recently used as a main plank of their argument for independence that Scotland had had to “suffer” a government which the Scots did not elect and by independence they would be able to enjoy a government that they did elect.
That argument is hopeless. Of course, a majority of people in Scotland did not vote for the same government (or coalition) that a majority of people in the whole United Kingdom elected. That is the nature of democracy. In the referendum the people of Glasgow did not vote to stay in the United Kingdom. The people who live in the house where I lived have during the last twenty five years voted for all sorts of political parties including the Green Party and on one desperate occasion when the candidates were all disgusting, the Official Monster Raving Looney Party. Perhaps I should declare my home to be independent of the United Kingdom. I could then set up my own government, my own tax regime and ensure that those who governed me always met with my approval.

It must be tough to be Prime Minister

It must be tough to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom right now. Continue reading

Good Arguments Defeat Bad Government

The right to bear arms in America has always been a matter of controversy. What some Europeans fail to appreciate is that the people who wish to exercise the right to bear arms do not just want to do so to protect themselves from robbers and murderers and rapists. They also fear the government and want to protect themselves from the government and government interference. Traditionally, the right to bear arms is associated with the American Revolution when the fact that the people did bear arms enabled them to successfully revolt against the British. Continue reading

Governments Waste Money

Governments waste money. When you work to earn your living and out of your work you pay your taxes, whether on the amount you have earned of whether from the things that you buy with the fruits of your work, you must accept that the share of your time – around 42% – that you pay to the government, will be used for the common good, but a significant part of it will be wasted. Continue reading