Friday, 24 July 2015

A crisis of the highest making – British democracy

There have been allegations around the existence of a Westminster paedophile ring for at least thirty years. These allegations have gone hand in hand with suggestions of police corruption and orders from on high to abort  any form of investigation into the existence of a Westminster paedophile ring, armed for good measure with an alleged cover-up by the very authorities on which we depend to investigate and prosecute guilty parties. These allegations concern high ranking members of the highest order, including both current and past MP’s, members of the house of lords, the secret services and high ranking police officers. It was only under duress, that home secretary Theresa May announced a public inquiry into the allegations last year. Two appointed chairpersons of the public enquiry have been forced to stand down due to concerns about their impartiality.

The members of high society are accused of having systematically sexually abused children as young as eight years old, the most vile and disgusting crime imaginable, yet none of this has been properly reported in the so called “free” British press. In fact it took an Australian journalist from the program 60 minutes to investigate and report these allegations to any degree.  This has lead to further allegations against the British “free” press and media channels of coercion in the alleged cover-up. Much of the general public are both disgraced and disgusted that more has not been done to properly investigate these allegations and bring the perpetrators of the alleged crimes to justice. After all, we are all allegedly equal before the law and the law applies equally to all of us, does it not?

Last weekend, NHS staff and their supporters responded to wholly untrue allegations from our Secretary of State for health Jeremy Hunt, that many NHS consultants are currently opting o working weekends and this is leading to a higher likelihood of death for patients admitted to hospital at the weekend. The response was a campaign on social media site twitter using the hashtag #ImInWorkJeremy which achieved widespread support. The campaign has been followed up by a petition on the governments own petition website, that is ultimately calling for the resignation of Jeremy Hunt. The petition received more than the required 100,000 signatures in less than three days, to initiate a potential debate in the house of commons. However, the governments response to the petition, has been to repeat it’s completely untrue rhetoric about a significant number of NHS consultants opting out of working at the weekend and the alleged increased likelihood of death for patients admitted to hospital at the weekend. Clearly our government are not listening to the almost 186,000 people who signed the petition.

This week, all but 48 of our labour MP’s, toed the party line by abstaining from the vote on the second reading of our governments welfare bill, which plans to further reduce the benefits cap to £20,000 per annum for those living outside London, cut tax credits for thousands of working families and abolish housing benefit for those under the age of 21, to name a few. Then on Thursday, Tony Blair made a speech where he said that anyone who has the politics of Jeremy Corbyn in their heart needs a transplant. A vile and disgusting attack on those who support Jeremy Corbyn in his campaign for leader of the labour party. Clearly, the other three Blairite candidates and their supporters are getting worried about the increasing popularity among the public for Corbyn. Growing numbers of people are angry about the politics of the neo-liberalists such as Blair & co, the liberal democrats and the tories. It is neither representing them, nor meeting their needs. Jeremy Corbyn is the only candidate offering an alternative and the neo-liberals are feeling threatened by this. Prepare for more vile and even personal attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters.

Evidently the labour party are in crisis. They have lost their way and forgotten the fundamental principles on which the party was founded. The party no longer represents the vast majority of poorer working people and instead are trying to chase the traditional labour voters who left them at the last two general elections, with a tory lite agenda that supports austerity, cuts to welfare, the selloff of our public assets, all of which disproportionally effect poorer people. Ultimately I think the labour party are finished as a major party in British politics, but if there is anyone who might be able to save them, it is Jeremy Corbyn. I believe though, that even if he is elected, the mammoth task at hand will prove too much even for Corbyn, as there will be no end to the dirty tricks campaign his opposers and others will go to in order to discredit him.

These are all very good examples of why I suggest that democracy in Britain is in crisis, if not dead. They also provide some of the reasons I have decided I cannot sit back and complain from the side lines anymore. Radical action is needed. That is why I have setup a new grassroots group for individuals who are concerned about the crisis our society now faces. The groups purpose is to provide a platform for anyone with UK residency to come together to discuss, debate, design and build a better, fairer and more democratic UK society, where everyone will have an equal chance to prosper.

Group meetings are being held online as webinars and the first meeting of the group is scheduled for this coming Monday 27th July at 8pm. Anyone who is UK resident and wants to be a part of building something better can join us by sending an email to

Sunday, 19 July 2015

People power - coming together to design the UK society in which we want to live

Disabled people, unemployed people, students, Muslim people, students, elderly people, and the sick have all been the subject of our governments vile and disgusting, demonising attacks and their latest target is our Drs. As a part of our governments campaign for a seven day NHS, which we already have, secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt announced he would be introducing new contracts for consultants that would force them to work weekends. But the truth is we already have drs, nurses, radiographers, surgeons, anaesthetists, porters, cleaners, healthcare workers and consultants working 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.  The campaign to deliver a 7 day NHS is nothing more than an insulting attack on our NHS staff. It wants to demonise them in the eyes of the public, in pursuit of it’s ultimate goal to privatise our NHS. This is evidenced by the barely publicised announcement last weekend that a new parliamentary committee has been set up to look into the possibility of privatising our NHS.

Another part of the true agenda is the announcement from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens that the NHS will need an additional £30billion by 2020 in order to maintain it’s current level of service and that £22billion of this would come from efficiency savings. The truth is that £22billion worth of efficiency savings is unachievable and Mr Simons knows it. The plan is to declare the current model for our NHS unworkable when NHS England fails to make those efficiency savings, at which point it will be handed over to the private sector to run. When Aneurin Bevan set up our NHS, he declared that it would continue for as long as there were people willing to support it. Sixty seven years later our NHS is on a cliff edge and in dire need of people to support it.

There have been a number of demonstrations and other campaigns against the governments plans to privatise our NHS, but the vast majority of the public seemed unconcerned or unmoved by these plans. Our NHS does not belong to the government and they certainly don’t have a mandate from the public for their intentions. Our NHS belongs to us and I suggest it is not for us to give away what has been freely given to us. Our politicians in opposition have proven themselves both unwilling and unable to challenge the governments plans, so that responsibility falls to us the people. I believe that the majority of the public are both unaware of the governments true intentions and of what privatising our NHS would actually mean. They don’t know that a two tier healthcare system would be created, with world class healthcare available for those who can afford it and little or no provision for those who cannot. The majority of the public don’t realise that there will be no more free healthcare. Access to everything from the ability to see a GP to major lifesaving surgery will be dictated by the providers of an individuals health insurance policy.

At the same time, our government is driving a counter productive and ideological program of austerity against our young people, disabled people, poor people and those who are least able to defend themselves, while handing out tax breaks to the rich and multi national corporations. All public sector workers have endured a five year pay freeze and our chancellor has just awarded them a 1% pay increase, while MP’s have been awarded a 9.6% increase, despite 88% of respondents in a public survey objected to the rise. In 2014, an estimated £122billion in tax revenue went unpaid, while our public sector services are being annihilated. Britain has the sixth richest economy in the world, yet 13.7million of it’s citizens are living in poverty and 4million of those are children. In the 2015 general election 33.4% of those eligible to vote felt so disconnected and unrepresented by the candidates, that they did not cast their vote. The election result produced a conservative majority government that only 24.7% of the electorate voted for. Overall, the results were the most disproportionate of any election in our history.

Our politicians are not listening to us and appear to have forgotten to whom they are supposed to serve. In response, a new group is being setup. It’s purpose will be to provide a platform for UK residents who are concerned about the situation to come together to discuss, debate, design & build a better, fairer UK society in which we all want to live and where everyone will be treated equally. Meetings of the new group will take place online as webinars and plans are in place for the first meeting to take place during the last week in July. Anyone may join, by sending an email to in order to be added to the list of invitees.

Although the group will have one facilitator of the meetings, it has been designed so that there are no group leaders. All group members will have an equal voice and an equal opportunity to participate in the groups discussions, debates and activities. Members will make all decisions, from naming the group to deciding it’s ultimate goals and everything in between. The group will not be associated with any other groups or organisations and will raise their own funds on an as needed basis and as it’s members see fit. This will be a mass movement of the people, coming together to decide the role and makeup of the kind of UK society in which we want to live.   

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The people of Greece are showing us the way to a better, fairer more democratic society

The people of Greece have spoken and cried a resounding no to the politics of the elitists of the EU. Their democratically elected government, exercised democracy by allowing the people to decide whether or not to accept the EU deal. Despite the familiar tactics of scaremongering, fear and threats from right wing politicians right across the EU, the people of Greece have rejected the terms of more austerity from the EU, ECB and IMF. For the first time ever, the people have stood up to the bullies and said enough is enough, no longer will we bow to your impossible demands. Their decision takes Greece and their creditors into unchartered territory, as Ireland, Spain, Italy & Portugal all accepted the terms of their creditors terms for a bailout. Nobody knows what will happen next. Right wing politicians are spreading threats that the EU will eject Greece from the Euro, but it does not have the mandate to do so. Those on the left are calling for some of the Greek debt to be written off and a new repayment agreement being drawn up over a longer period of time. Without a mandate and with Britain holding an in/out referendum on the EU by 2017, it seems unlikely the EU will want to rock the boat by expelling Greece from the Euro.

What is clear from the Greek referendum is that democracy works. It was right that the Greek prime minister let the people decide whether or not to accept the deal on offer. Although completely unfamiliar in modern British politics and across the world, power should ultimately lay with the people. Decisions about the kind of society we want to live in should be made by the people, rather than centralised bureaucrats in government. We would not be living under a ideological program of austerity in Britain, while the richest in our society are given tax cuts if we lived in a true democracy where the people make the decisions. The resounding victory in Greece, clears the way for other EU nations to make a stand against enforced austerity, in favour of a more democratic and sensible approach to our economic issues.

In a more democratic society the people would decide the rates of taxes payable. We would empower our tax collector with the resources it needs to collect all taxes that are due. Obtaining a licence to trade in Britain would come with a commitment from all companies to pay all taxes in full and on time. Directors of corporations would be made liable for the corporations’ actions and those not paying the taxes due would be dealt with using the full force of the law. If a corporation tries to avoid paying tax by artificially shifting their profits to an overseas secrecy jurisdiction, the UK company directors would be prosecuted for non payment of tax. We could use the proceeds of crime act to seize the companies UK assets until the tax owed is paid and if it is not, sell the assets in order to reimburse the public purse. Where a bank is suspected of illegal trading such as rigging the rate of libor, the SFO would be called in to investigate. Individuals found to have participated, would be arrested and prosecuted in a court of law, as would directors of the bank who can be proven to have known of the illegal rigging activity. Again, the banks assets could be frozen and sold off to compensate the public purse for any estimated losses. The ultimate sanction, reserved for repeat offenders would be to withdraw their trading licence, making it impossible for them to trade in Britain.

It is wholly undemocratic that HMRC are not accountable to parliament. In a new democratic society HMRC would be made accountable to a government minister of taxation. The minister would therefore be accountable for the operation of HMRC and ensuring it is enabled to collect all taxes that are due on time. With the right number of staff and other resources, HMRC would be empowered to tackle the estimated £104billion in lost tax revenue through avoidance and evasion in 2014. It would reopen the network of local tax offices across the country, allowing people to have their concerns resolved face to face with a member of staff. The current practice of business friendly relationships with large multi national corporations would be abolished and those corporations who do not pay the taxes they owe would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The mega rich and large corporations would no longer view HMRC as a soft touch tax collector, while being over zealous with individuals and small and medium sized businesses. It would be a firm but fair tax collector, treating all it’s customers the same.

Individuals who do not pay their taxes would be treated in exactly the same way as corporations. Through a public register of ownership and improved tax agreements with other nations, anyone identified as hiding money overseas from the taxman would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. There would be no more cosy deals like was seen in the recent case of HSBC Swiss bank, where eleven hundred British nationals were found to have been evading tax by hiding money in Swiss bank accounts. The law would apply equally to everyone, regardless of their wealth or position in society. The people would set the applicable rates of tax, and everyone would be expected to make their contribution to society. Tax revenue would be spent on a public education system, a national health service, publicly owned systems of transport, a welfare system, through which we would look after those who are unable to look after themselves for whatever reason and any other provision as determined by the people.

All tax revenues and spending would be made freely available online by local constituency councils. The spending of public money would be open and transparent for all to see. The people would determine the salaries of all public sector workers and members of the local constituency council would vote on any proposal for a bonus to be paid to a public sector worker. The national minimum wage would be raised to a living wage and enforced by law. Any employer found to be paying anyone eligible to work in Britain less than the minimum wage would be prosecuted, with the ultimate sanction being the removal of that employers trading licence.

Friday, 3 July 2015

What a 21st century democracy might look like

In the last few articles on this blog I talked about some of the political problems we are facing in Britain today and how these could be addressed through a citizens convention on the constitution, which would ultimately produce the first ever written constitution of Britain. The peoples constitution. There will of course be much opposition from the political elites and others to accepting this new constitution, most of whom are very comfortable with the way things are at the moment, thank you very much. They will not just hand over their privileged positions and power because the people have come up with a better idea. I don’t know how we get around this problem, but strongly believe someone will know how we can force the hands of the political elites to carry out the will of the people.

So assuming we have found a way and the peoples constitution has been enshrined in UK law, what might this new democratic society look like? Parliament could be moved to a more central location, in an existing building that is renovated for the purpose. Westminster palace could be sold off to be developed into much needed affordable social housing. Both the House of Lords and local councils might be abolished and it’s role passed to new constituency councils that would be set up in each of the 650 existing constituencies in UK. Members of constituency councils could be made up of democratically elected local constituents. The councils would hold the balance of power on behalf of their constituents. Annual spending budgets would be prepared by council departments and voted on by the constituents. Full details of public spending would be made publicly available online and in hard copy by the constituency councils, who will also provide regular updates on local spending at their monthly meetings. Any constituent may attend and vote at any meeting of the council, to raise an issue, or hold the council to account.

MP’s could be held accountable to their constituents through the local constituency council, who will be enabled to discipline their MP as they see fit, including sacking of the MP if deemed appropriate. In circumstances where the council deems there are grounds for dismissal of their MP, all local constituents will have a vote on this. MP’s will be required to attend council meetings at least bi monthly, where they will present a report on their work in parliament. Full details of MP’s expenses will be made publicly available on the constituency councils website. MP’s will be given a salary equal to the national average wage, with the opportunity to earn an annual bonus based on performance. Constituency councils will make a recommendation on the value of the bonus and constituents will vote on whether or not to award that bonus. By attending council meetings, MP’s will be able to obtain feedback on how their constituents would wish them to vote on a particular issue. As any constituent could attend any council meeting, this would help to close the divide between MP’s and their constituents.

Control and ownership of public assets would lay with the people of Britain. In the event of parliament proposing to sell off a publicly owned asset, it would have to first produce a report outlining the reasons for this proposal, including a full cost benefit analysis of the sale. This report would then be passed to all constituency councils, who would analyse it and make a recommendation based on it’s constituents best interests. Constituents would then vote on whether or not to sell the proposed asset. This would prevent the disastrous outcomes for the taxpayer we have been seeing over the past thirty years or more, where successive governments have sold off our publicly owned companies and other assets without consulting us and at vast losses to the public purse. Too many once great British companies that were making profits and annual contributions to society through taxes have been sold for less than their true market value. This is at least a contributory factor to our falling productivity output levels.

In a new democratic society Britain would no longer pander to the ever increasing demands of multi national corporations. We the people would dictate the terms and conditions of all corporations being allowed to trade in Britain. Most fundamental I suggest, would be an agreement to pay all taxes that and when they become due. Company directors would be made personally liable for the actions of their corporation. Anyone company or individual not paying their taxes would be dealt with using the full extent of the law. The same treatment would apply trading in a way that might cause damage to our environment. Any corporation wishing to trade in Britain will be made welcome and we will support them, but along with those benefits comes the expectation that they will respect our laws and our society. The ultimate sanction for a corporation breaking our laws would be the removal of their licence to trade in Britain. Participation in full country by country reporting and a public register of corporate ownership would also be conditions of trading in a new democratic society.

Each constituency council would have responsibility for properly enforcing the national minimum wage within it’s borders. The national minimum wage would be increased to a living wage. Any employer found to be paying someone less than the national minimum wage will in the first instance be issued with a formal forming. Constituency councils will have a range of sanctions available to them, with the ultimate sanction being the removal of the employers licence to trade. The national minimum wage would apply equally to anyone entitled to work in UK, help to tackle the growing problem of people living in poverty, give workers a sense of self worth, pride and value in the work they do, increase household incomes, increase tax revenues which could be spent on public spending and eventually eliminate the need for top up benefits such as tax credits and housing benefits for low income workers. There is an estimated £85billion per year of public money being spent on subsidising big corporations that pay low wages.

Power and control would be moved away from a centralised government and into the hands of constituency councils, with British citizens holding the ultimate balance of power and control. The role of parliament might be to draft, debate and vote on new legislation as it sees fit. Bills passed by parliament would then be handed over to constituency councils for review, amendments and voting on the bill. Councils may decide to pass the bill to it’s constituents for a vote and no bill may become law without approval of at least two thirds of the constituency councils. Bills relating to matters of national interest and votes on a proposal from government to take us to war would have to go to a national referendum. This would be a truly democratic Britain, run by the people, on behalf of the people.