Tag Archives: cadre

Death of democracy is confirmed as Cameron ignores the will of Parliament

The not-so-great dictator: It seems David Cameron's government is now ignoring all attempts to hold it to account.

The not-so-great dictator: It seems David Cameron’s government is now ignoring all attempts to hold it to account.

Ladies and gentlemen of the United Kingdom, your plight is worsening: The government now no longer pays any attention to the decisions of your Parliamentarians.

You’ll remember that a debate was held on Monday, in which MPs called for an inquiry into the effect of changes to the benefit system – introduced by the Conservative-led Coalition government – on the incidence of poverty in this country; the question was whether poverty was increasing as a result of the so-called reforms.

Parliament voted massively in favour of the inquiry (125 votes for; two against), as reported here.

We considered it a great victory at the time, and looked forward to the commissioning of the inquiry and its eventual report.

Now that dream is in tatters as Michael Meacher, the MP who brought the motion to Parliament, has reported that nothing is to happen and the government is ignoring the vote.

It seems he is blaming this partly on the media because “it wasn’t reported” – and he has a point; only 2,500 people have so far read the article on Vox Political, and that’s not nearly enough interest to worry David Cameron and his unelected cadre.

This turn of events raises serious questions about the role of Parliament in holding the government of the day to account, influencing legislation and taking effective initiative of its own.

Perhaps we should be glad that this has happened, because the illusion that we have any kind of democracy at all has been, finally, stripped away.

(On a personal note, this saddens me greatly as it confirms the belief of a very rude Twitter user who accosted me on that site earlier the week to inform me that democracy died many years ago, and I was deluded in trying to save it now. What a shame that such a person has been proved correct.)

Here are the facts, according to Mr Meacher – and they make bitter reading: “The chances of influencing … legislation are negligible because the government commands a whipped majority at every stage of a bill’s passage through the commons.

“Parliament can make its voice heard, but it can hardly change anything that the government has decided to do.

“The only rare exception is when there is a revolt on the government benches which is backed by the opposition, and even then when the government lost a vote on that basis last year on the EU budget, it still ostentatiously dismissed the vote as merely ‘advisory’.

“Nor, it seems from Monday’s vote, can parliament take any effective initiative of its own either.”

He said newly-instituted systems that followed the expenses scandal are already disappearing:

  • “The backbench business committee, which for the first time gives parliamentarians some control over what is debated in the house, is being sidelined and decisions on its motions ignored.
  • “The promised house business committee, which would share negotiations between government and parliament over the passage of all business put before the house, has been quietly dropped.
  • “Only the election of members of select committees by the house, not by the whips, has so far survived, but one cannot help wondering if that too will be taken back by the party establishments over time.”

This is, as Mr Meacher states, a major constitutional issue – especially as our current government was not elected by the people but created in a dirty backroom deal, and its actions have no democratic mandate at all; nobody voted for the programme of legislation that we have had forced – forced – upon us.

Did you vote for the privatisation of the National Health Service? I didn’t.

Did you vote for the privatisation of the Royal Mail? I didn’t.

Did you vote for the increase in student fees? I didn’t.

Did you vote for the Bedroom Tax? I didn’t.

Did you vote for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership deal? I didn’t.

Did you vote for the Gagging law? I didn’t.

Did you vote to protect the bankers who caused the financial crisis from having to deliver compensation to us? I didn’t.

Did you vote to protect tax avoidance schemes? I didn’t.

There are many more examples I could list.

Mr Meacher suggests possible ways to reassert the authority of Parliament, but none of them will have any immediate effect – or possibly any effect at all.

He ends his piece by saying “the most effective way of making progress is greater awareness among the electorate of how Parliament actually performs, or fails to perform. If the public understood more transparently how the corrupting influence of patronage actually works, how the power system turns everything to its own advantage, and how the genuine objectives of democratic elections are so readily thwarted, a lot of these unedifying practices would have to be curbed.”

Considering Cameron’s attitude to the will of the people so far, this seems unlikely.

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RIP Hugo Chavez – when can the UK have a Prime Minister like you?

Which would you rather have - Chavez or Cameron?

Which would you rather have – Chavez or Cameron?

Isn’t it amazing, the amount of joy the right-wing press and its adherents can project over the death of a man who improved conditions in his country beyond all expectations?

That is what we are seeing after the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

But we should not be surprised – after all, these are the same newspapers (and their bosses) who support the nation-wrecking policies of David Cameron and the Coalition – an unelected dictator and a cadre of manipulators whose only linked interest is their own enrichment at the expense of anybody else.

Chavez was not perfect. There are some aspects of his personality that would give any reasonable person cause for second thoughts. His support for foreign dictators is one. Any man who can draw tributes from Ahmadinijad and Assad is questionable. The rise of violent crime in his country is another – and extremely worrying. Violent crime is linked with poverty, and yet…

And yet any criticism of his presidency on economic grounds is absurd. His nation’s wealth tripled during the first 12 years he was in office. Tripled!

As for his association with unelected dictators – this seems beyond strange as he was not one himself. In fact, his share of the popular vote at his last election was enough to turn every British Prime Minister since Winston Churchill pale with envy.

That last election was won under one of the fairest and most robust voting systems in the world – that was implemented by his own party. Former US President Jimmy Carter thinks its system is superior to that of the US. Turnout was more than 80 per cent, with 55.1 per cent of voters casting for Chavez. It’s notable that the 44.3 per cent of votes cast for rival Henrique Capriles would shame every single UK Prime Minister since Harold Wilson in 1966.

In other words, Venezuela’s former president was elected by one of the most democratically-sound systems in the world, and gained more support from his people than any British PM since Churchill.

Not a despot, then.

He has cut extreme poverty by two-thirds, and general poverty by almost half.

He has cut infant mortality and improved equality; and he has cut unemployment by almost half, to 8.2 per cent (strikingly close to the UK level).

He has improved his nations infrastructure and public services.

And he has proved that left-wing policies can improve prosperity and increase economic growth.

That’s why the right-wing press hate him. He shows there is a better alternative to the nightmare we are living through.

So let’s look at David Cameron, shall we?

Only 23.47 per cent of eligible voters supported David Cameron in the UK general election of 2010 (compared with 44.32 per cent for Chavez in January this year).

That election was marred by the fact that many voters were prevented from casting their vote at polling stations that closed at exactly 10pm. This was incorrect – all voters who had arrived and were queueing by 10pm should have been admitted to the building and allowed to cast their vote. So the UK election of 2010 was carried out in an improper way.

The result was a hung Parliament, with no single political party gaining power. The Con/Dem Coalition was formed in a backroom deal between Cameron and Nick Clegg, and had nothing to do with the will of the electorate. Therefore Cameron can be said to be unelected. Less than a quarter of the eligible voters wanted him and he did not win enough Parliamentary seats to justify taking office.

Then we come to dictatorship. How many unwanted policies have we had since this rabble slithered into government, determined to restrict our freedoms just as much as possible?

Policies like, for example, the cuts to Legal Aid?

Secret courts?

The Internet snooping Bill?

The plan to gerrymander the number of Parliamentary seats and the boundaries of constituencies, in order to deliver an unfair advantage to the Conservative Party in the next election (which, thankfully, failed)?

How many policies have been imposed on us with the intention of impoverishing the poorest in society?

The Welfare Reform Act?

The Localism Act, with its reintroduction of the hated Poll Tax (that’s the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, for those of you in England who have to deal with it)?

The Bedroom Tax?

AUSTERITY?

And then there’s the Health and Social Care Act, an attempt to ‘fix’ the National Health Service when it wasn’t broken, in order to let private operators get their hands on the huge cash opportunities it offers. Has anyone noticed that the nation’s health has worsened, according to many indicators, since the ConDems took over?

And there has been no mention yet of all the policies to put money in the pockets of the very rich, donors to the Conservative Party, bankers, people who park their money in offshore tax havens (thereby keeping it away from the taxman) and the many other corrupt ways this government’s members have been filling their own pockets with cash (and those of their friends and donors) when they should have been looking after the national interest.

Yet the right-wing press supports Mr Cameron and his cronies, despite the fact that they have been a worse disaster for the UK than the financial crisis that preceded their arrival.

Can we ever hope to have a champion like Chavez in this country?

Or is the British system now so badly corroded that it can only ever attract the worst that society has to offer?