David Cameron is a diabolical failure when it comes to democracy. Last May, with a free-hand and opportunity following the General Election, he could have acted but as I posted ‘Dave stumbles at first hurdle’. He won the election by default, being the least objectionable option, but has proceeded with a radical agenda as if he had been given a mandate with a resounding endorsement. What he and George Osborne fail or refuse to understand is that ‘Direct Democracy’ is about giving ‘Power to the People’. Subsidiarity is the crucial element in any democracy, and this applies as much to the EU as it does to the UK. Local Democracy is being eroded in the UK, while at the same time national UK democracy is being subsumed by the EU.
It has to be acknowledged that Dave has grudgingly stuck by his pledge to hold a referendum on continued EU membership, while at the same time doing his very best to ensure the UK remains a member. He promised to reform the EU before holding the referendum and he has failed to do that. He did not even attempt to tackle the democratic deficit within the EU structures and institutions. During his ‘negotiations’ he found a reluctance by the EU establishment and national leaders to acknowledge the widespread concerns of many Europeans, not just UK citizens. There is great unease about the direction of travel by the EU under German leadership. Sir James Goldsmith, the founder of the Referendum Party, explained this as the unification of Europe being a continuation of the unification of Germany by Bismarck and Prussia. The Prussian approach was that the people were irrelevant.
The people are reluctant for ever greater union, especially the Euro using countries, that further erodes national sovereignty, statehood and economic competence. The people are, having never been asked, concerned about the expansion of the boundaries of the EU and the consequences arising therefrom for national culture and cohesiveness. The Balkan countries may desire to join the EU but it is problematic, with the accession of Turkey being too volatile to be worthy of consideration. The aim of some European leaders to allow access for Mediterranean fringe countries is beyond belief. While any encouragement to Georgia and Ukraine, that they might at some time join the EU, is tantamount to an act of aggression resulting in a severe Russian reaction. Add concerns about free-movement of European people and lack of management, together with uncontrolled immigration from outside the EU, and there is little wonder that people question the competence of the European Commission. To a lesser extent, and because people are not fully aware, are the matters of an EU military force and direct tax-raising powers for the EC.
Having failed to negotiate genuine reforms, that benefit all EU states, Dave returns from Brussels waving his piece of paper [having no legal significance] claiming reforms that do not stand scrutiny. He then reports to the House of Commons that he has achieved a special status for the UK, one that will result in the UK being progressively isolated and excluded from the decision processes. He fails to advise that any future government can reverse his negotiation and that the only permanent and irrevocable way to ensure democracy, independence and sovereignty for UK citizens is to vote to leave the EU. He could then leave it to the people to decide in the referendum, but no he declares he will campaign for the UK to stay in the EU. The full force of government is turned to that end and truth becomes the first casualty.
During his report to the Commons he describes his ‘successful’ negotiation as a Reformation. Perhaps a slip of the tongue, or does he believe that he has broken from the Treaty of Rome?
As stated earlier, he has failed to tackle the most diabolical part of our constitution. There are some worthy Lords, mainly independent cross-benchers, in the House of Lords who serve the purpose to scrutinise and revise legislation. This function would not be necessary if the House of Commons did a proper job, instead of passing lazy Bills that are ambiguous and open to misinterpretation by judges. Hereditary Peers have been excluded from the House of Lords, to be replaced by political appointees. The majority of Lords fall in to this category, described as cronies and geriatrics, the worst of all circumstances. An elected Chamber that challenged the supremacy of the directly elected Commons is not the way forward. The Lords will not cooperate with their own demise. The way forward is to cut the Chamber down to size by introducing a moratorium on appointments. Once the message gets through that reform is inevitable, they might become more cooperative. At which time a programme for reducing the number of Lords could be implemented.
George Osborne is implementing a radical reform of local government that has not been mandated and is not fully understood. The city regions that are being created, seem to be a reincarnation of the metropolitan counties dismantled in the 1980s, with the imposition of elected mayors under duress. No mayor, no public funding. These are being imposed by Whitehall and extended to the rural counties, like East Anglia. To be sustainable these changes should be happening from the ground up. What happened to the policy of localism?
The move from local policing to large combined county forces and regional forces for specific purposes has been relentless. This trend has been seen to be mirrored with the other emergency services. The election of Police Commissioners does not appear to have had any relevance for the general public and their safety concerns. In some cases Police Commissioners have been given responsibility for fire and rescue services. Flooding emergencies over the last couple of years have demonstrated the haphazard nature of civil defence and emergency planning. Our proposal for elected sheriffs in each county is intended to address this situation, but more important to enable people through the democratic process to define the choices and establish priorities that meet their local concerns.
The National Health Service is no longer National [other than for funding] with the devolution of power to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Within England drastic and radical reforms have been introduced. The democratic element has been totally ignored with no accountability to the people who access and use the health services. The CDP has proposals to remedy this deficit. With the increasing demand on health and care services, and the issue of limited funding, there is only one way to reconcile the conflicting pressures – the people must decide what their priorities are from the choices available.
The coming years are going to be a testing time for democratic government. A failure to meet the challenges will lead to disenchantment and to people responding to alternative forms of government. As a Democratic political party we are up to the challenge, because the people are more important than the party.