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.

The Making of Laws

Once things were simpler; we had (in common law jurisdictions) laws created by custom (no more than what most people usually did), which turned into precedent, mostly solemnly followed by judges and laws made by the dictate of monarchs. Then, with the coming of Parliamentary democracy Parliaments made laws which they called statutes. Things became more complex.

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A Tale of Taxes – Laughing all the Way to the Tax Haven

Jimmy Carr is a successful comedian. He makes people laugh. His success enables him to earn a great deal of money, and people who earn a great deal of money are supposed to pay tax on what they earn as are people that earn modest amounts of money. In order to postpone or reduce the tax he paid Mr Carr entered into a tax scheme or device, under which he transferred his right to receive his salary to an offshore entity. However, Mr Carr still wanted to receive his salary and so as part of the deal, it seems, he borrowed money back from the entity. There would be no tax to pay on the loan, so he was in effect avoiding tax on a large income while still being able to spend it. Continue reading