Moving Forward

This blog has come about from a response I wrote to http://munguinsrepublic.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/is-what-little-bit-of-democracy-we-once.html and kinda captures what I am thinking at the moment about where we stand right now.

Our non democracy is under attack right now more than it has been for a long time, maybe more than it has ever been in the past. With EVEL (English Votes for English Laws), the fiscal trap that is the Scotland Act, the EU Referendum, the threat of coming out of ECHR, the new surveillance laws proposed by the Home Secretary Theresa May, the SNP super database, boundary reforms, the continued use of sanctions to remove much-needed social protection under IDS, the continued existence of the unelected House of Lords and the unelected head of State means our democracy is in a mess.

As I have hammered home in my blog previously, and on twitter, we do not and never have lived in a democracy in this country. We might have a vote, but that vote comes with the conditions laid down by repeated Conservatives and Labour Governments over the years, a vote which has been weakened more and more over the years, and a vote under attack like never before by the above in as far as removing more and more of our rights and protections from the state and from employers.

I agree with sentiments made in Munguin’s Republic, Margaret Thatcher would not have dared try to do what David Cameron is doing to our limited democracy right now, not because she was not smarter than he is, but because I do think she may have seen what he is doing as a step too far, plus Westminster at the time of Thatcher was filled with far smarter people and in Labour you still had many of the old guard from the 70’s who still had an ounce of socialism about them, so the results would have been very different.

So what of our democracy?

The Windsor’s (Royal Family) is a disgusting institution and I hate everything it stands for, it is undemocratic and has no place in the modern world. I might have more time for them if they had as much to say about poverty and the attacks on their poorest and most vulnerable subjects than they do for buildings. They have far more influence over decision-making than most people realise and I could not give a shit if they give pleasure to anyone. This awful institution doesn’t even pay the minimum wage to their staff, they pay little tax, they are much the same as Mike Ashley at Sports Direct in that they have awful employment practices, but less honest because they have underhanded and secretive power over me and you, supported by our politicians but hidden away in secret. Some people might like to look at all the plundered jewels from the old empire and believe they are wonderful and stand up for them but their influence over decision-making is wrong, undemocratic and unacceptable. As long as the hereditary principle remains in this country we will never live in a democracy.

The HoL (House of Lords) needs reform but it won’t be reformed, Cameron will weaken it but will not make any major changes to its numbers or what it does. Labour and the Liberals will do nothing to push for reform as it will soon be the only place they actually have any power in. While they may have played a small part in raising the issues of Tax Credits, what they actually did was bring in an even worse system where tax credits will actually be gone within three years, our compliant media of course played this up to try to convince us that we need this unelected chamber.

Moving Forward.

While I remain a committed member of the Liberal Democratic Party the party remains a disappointment in so many ways. I suspect it has some more falling to do before any real change happens. The reason I think this is because it has failed to learn from past mistakes and continues to follow the Clegg line which has virtually wiped it out. It continues to say it is a federalist party while filling the House of Lords, it supported the bombing of Syria, it continues to push the myth that the Scotland Act is the Vow being delivered, it has supported Alistair Carmichael even though the comments from the judges could not have painted a worse picture of an untrustworthy politician. They choose to stand up and say this was all a nationalist attack, which is was not, but the result and their actions were an attack on our local democracy in the that local voters should have the right of recall over a lying politician. The party leadership in Scotland continues to push ahead with all female short lists, how illiberal can you get. That may well be the thing that pushes me over the edge this year if passed at the spring conference, I do not and will never support all female short lists. While they are correct in raising concerns about GP numbers, mental health services, the plight of refugees, the super database, these are wiped out by the above. Sad to say but I suspect the Scottish Liberal democrats will do well to keep what they have right now come May.

Jeremy Corbyn needs to get a grip of the Labour Party, he was naïve to think for one minute that Tories like Hilary Benn would fall into line, he needs to weed them out. He has been given a mandate like no leader before him and if that means many break away then so be it. It is time for the members to control that party and rebuild it, we do need a Labour movement and a strong one, but one that actually represents poor and working people in England, an opposition to the awful Victorian Tories, and one that offers real opposition to the SNP in Scotland. In Scotland they are miles away from any sort of recovery, Kezia Dugdale is not a leader, people like Jackie Baillie are poison and the so-called left like Neil Findlay are only left in name, they are still more Tory than the Tories in so many ways. David Cameron played them like they have never been played before, the posh boy put them back in their place and didn’t they just accept it like the good subjects they are. Their SNP bad mantra won’t work but they will keep at it.

The SNP are in real danger of becoming complacent, while they have handled the bridge situation really well for example, the budget, although limited in what they could do because of fiscal traps, was virtually a mirror of Osbourne’s. By passing on billions of pounds of cuts to local authorities they have avoided the wider issues to a degree on how we pay for public services. This budget may result in thousands of job losses in the public sector, with the resulting impact on local economies all over Scotland, what I think is needed is a real debate around how we fund public services. While I am for universalism in entitlements, we do need to have a serious debate on how we go about that. The SNP Westminster group also need to be far more radical in how they approach their role, they have meekly accepted, in my opinion, outdated traditions in the so-called palace of Westminster and need to be seen to be more radical in how they go about their business. Some might argue that in doing so they will achieve little, I would argue that given the hatred towards them they will be allowed to achieve little anyway so they might as well be a real pain in the arse and keep the issues that are important to many in Scotland very much in the spotlight.

The Tories in Scotland, well I don’t really care, but they might come second in May as more Labour members return home to the their real party, but overall they don’t expect to do well and are really just in place to give Cameron some sort of illusion of presence in Scotland. This also gives the excuse of a media in Scotland an excuse to keep pushing the unionist mantra that they love so much. It will be an interesting year but lets not forget that this interesting year will bring with it so much pain and suffering to the many that cannot defend themselves, and to many thousands away to lose their jobs because of this so-called union.

Sorry for the length, and for the doom and gloom of this blog. I am not looking forward to 2016 in so many ways, I am not looking forward to the next four and half years of politics under the Victorian Tories or the meek opposition from failed unionist parties in our country that ill serves us so well. They have all let us down, we deserve so much better than this shit.

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11 comments

  1. lanark

    Best wishes for 2016, this blog along with some others helps to maintain optimism in pretty bleak times.

    I hope you don’t feel that criticism of the Lib Dems is a crticism of yourself and the decent members of the party, but perhaps it would be best if the party collapses and is replaced by a proper Scottish Liberal Party. The present party seems to be going the way of the old National Liberals.

    I have never seen the point in the House of Lords and while wishing the Royal Family no harm, I firmly believe in a Republic post independence.

    We will get there.

  2. grumpyscottishman

    lanark

    Happy New Year, no not at all. I knew what I was getting into when I joined the Lib Dems but I think the party may well be on the cusp so to speak so I agree with you there. I know the polls are saying they will keep 6 seats but even a slight surge in the green vote can see that fall to 3 or 4. No one really knows how the Carmichael affair is going to play but I suspect not well. We do have 2 really good candidates in Dundee but they are up against it due to the strength of the SNP. I also wouldn’t be against a Scottish Liberal Party and would join one if it were the right people and not just the same old crowd as the Lib Dems need to change.

    I agree with you on the HoL and Windsors, in this day and age they should be consigned to history but it won’t be as it keeps the unfair and disgusting system we have in place.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Bruce

  3. Jock Campbell

    I can’t believe someone who considers themselves a political commentator would be so thick as to relate the reign of the monarch to the political problems within the UK.

    The monarch has NO say whatsoever in the internal politics of the nation. That is OUR domain! The monarch has no power over politics and hasn’t since 1688! I suggest you catch up with the times!

    Scotland WILL be independent of England very soon, but we will remain within HM realm UK. Only the state known as the UK will end. The realm and the state are not the same thing.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Jock

      To answer your points I don’t consider myself a political commentator, that’s David Torrance, I really just see my blog as expressing purely my personal opinion. I do it to express my opinion and hopefully that encourages others to have a wee think and to question what they get told.

      I don’t consider myself thick at all, maybe not the best at expressing myself as well as professional writers and or some of the truly brilliant blogs out there but no not thick. But anyway, you called me thick in relation to power that Windsor’s have over our political system that I spoke about. Well sorry to inform you but you are in fact WRONG on that one and it would be worthwhile for you to spend a little time actually looking into this area, to help you with that here is an article link that explains it very simply and very well , just cut and paste into your browser:

      http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jan/14/secret-papers-royals-veto-bills

      The Windsor’s have far more power than the Government like to admit and certainly more influence in our democratic process (for what it actually is) than you or me will ever have. I do agree that Scotland will one day be independent, I sincerely hope that when that time comes we will have a referendum and become a republic, there is no place for the hereditary privilege anymore and as long as that and the HoL exists we don’t live in a democracy.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and thanks for your insights, I hope that you read my response and that I have pointed you in the right direction towards gathering more information.

      Bruce

      • Jock Campbell

        The Windsors have NO power over parliament BUT the power to prorogue it *IF necessary*.

        They cannot influence parliament one iota! They have NO influence in our democratic process EXCEPT having the power to ensure it cannot be dismantled!

        As for the article: OF COURSE the Royals have VETO over legislation… WE GIVE THEM THAT POWER!!!! That’s the whole function of a head of state! It’s exactly the same power the President of the United States has… or ANY head of state for that matter!! THAT’s what a head of state DOES!!

        The difference is, OUR head of state is politically neutral.

        Independence will not deliver a republic, nor should it. The United Kingdom is Scotland’s realm… with a Scottish lineage at its head! No-one can hold the throne of GB UNLESS they have DIRECT lineage to Robert Bruce. I suggest you stuff that in your pipe and smoke it.

        So yes, you ARE thick!

        Bruce!

        • Anonymous

          You accept that a veto is a power then say that the Windsors have no power over parliament, a power of veto over legislation is exactly that but if you can’t understand that I really can’t be bothered trying to help you. Life is just too short.

          Thanks for shouting and being abusive.

          Bruce

          • Jock Campbell

            This is a power EVERY head of state weilds over the government of the day and a power wielded on OUR (the people’s) behalf. The monarch weilds OUR sovereign power in order to prevent any government from imposing draconian, unconstitutional acts upon us.

            That protection is priceless… As any oppressed society can attest.

            If you cannot understand the value in that, you’re a damn fool.

            • grumpyscottishman

              Jock

              I’m more than happy to have a discussion with you and point you in the right direction, I have looked at your blog, but since you more into name calling I don’t think I’ll bother. Once you want to do away the name calling then feel free to comment and have a discussion but until you are willing to do that then please don’t waste my time or your own.

              Bruce

              • Jock Campbell

                I didn’t use any names, I said you were thick. That’s an observation, not a name.

                Incidentally, if you need to “point me in the right direction” then clearly you lack the language and knowledge to provide a good argument to the points I’ve raised. Instead, you think diverting me to some website peddling Republican propaganda will somehow change my position.

                What you do not understand is through I have roundly destroyed Republican arguments in protracted debates… Debates which these websites will not engage in… Because they know damn well their arguments are weak and can be ripped to shreds by rational logic.

                My advice to you is not to assume you know everything, and defer judgement until you hear.. And consider carefully… the other side of the story.

  4. lanark

    We tell our children that if they study and work hard, they can have any job they want. However not in Britain as one job (Head of State) is off limits to anyone outwith a certain family and also to anyone of the wrong religion.

    As regards the Bruce lineage, the current Royals regard themselves as descendants of William the Conqueror as any Royal Family tree will demonstrate. The Stuarts were only allowed in as it were due to James IV’s marriage to Margaret Tudor. Also they assume English titles, Scotland never had Elizabeth I, the first six Edwards and Wlliam will be William V when Scotland will have had only four monarchs of that name.

    • Anonymous

      Lanark

      I totally agree, it is who you know in this country, and sadly that is at most levels but especially in politics. Selection of candidates is one area that tends to disappoint as sometimes good people go forward, like Craig Murray, but who can’t even get on the list for members to vote for them.

      The Windsor’s I have no idea about, Jock above seems to think he knows but I’m not so sure. I checked out his blog and while a few interesting things on it he reads between the lines a lot but everyone to their own. I don’t agree with him, however I won’t resort to trying to make him out to be stupid or naïve, that’s when I switch I off when people start to do that as he appears to do sadly.

      I am all for a republic and the sooner the better, an elected head of state can provide the same protections as any system and it has to be better than an accident of birth and being made to feel in servitude to a whole family, not for me.

      Thanks for commenting and sorry for the delay in replying, have a really bad eye infection that is getting worse and not better.

      Bruce

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