Quote of the Day

•02/03/2010 • Leave a Comment

Heard at 11.15am in the City of London.

Market trader on mobile phone in Great Winchester Stree area :

“I know your business is good, but is it legit?”

Don’t you just love an oxymoron.

Is It Right To Prosecute?

•02/02/2010 • Leave a Comment

Today I was going to write about my Democratic values and what they means to me. Fortunately you have been given a reprieve. Instead, I will relate a nasty incident that happened to me not more than a couple of hours ago and ask your opinion on a moral dilemma.

Lunchtime today I was minding my own business, having lunch in a fast food restaurant when a men came in. He sat down at the adjacent table and started to hurl abuse at the person sitting opposite me. When that person got up and left the restaurant, he rounded on me throwing verbal abuse (which I shall not repeat here) and then bits of his food at me and then asking me to apologise for it.

Continue reading ‘Is It Right To Prosecute?’

Questioning the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949

•26/01/2010 • 1 Comment

The Parliament’s Act 1911 was passed as a result of Conservative resistance to a Liberal Budget proposed in 1910 by the Chancellor, Lloyd George, which included provision to levy a new land tax on the lines of the American model. As the major landowners, the Tory majority within the House of Lords rejected such a proposal, passing the Budget only after the land tax was removed from the Bill. They argued in favour of an import tax on goods from abroad, principally to protect their own landowning interests.

In order to obtain the necessary consent to pass this Bill, the Prime Minister, Lord Asquith went to the King to seek approval to increasing the number of Liberals in the House of Lords by as many members as necessary to pass the bill. This Edward VII rejected. As a result the Prime Minister, who controlled a minority government, went the people seeking a second election to secure the necessary mandate for constitutional reform. After being returned to power, the Prime Minister was able to go to the new King, George V; (the King Edward VII having died in the meantime), who was willing to approve the new members to break the Conservative hold over the House of Lords. In the end the threat was sufficient to achieve the necessary result and the Bill was passed.

This important effect of the Act was to prevent to Lords from vetoing any public legislation. The effect was to limit the time taken by the Lords to review a piece of legislation from two years to one and limit the number of sessions for readings of such acts. It opened the way to allowing Royal Asset to any legislation that did not meet this requirement, altering the balance of power in favour of the House of Commons as the pre-eminent house.

Interestingly enough, the Act has been used on few occasions, the threat of it being sufficient to force legislation through the House of Lords. This has two major effects. Firstly, it means that Parliament is less likely to become bogged down in prolonged and effective blocking of legislation, which gives rise to a practical flow of legislation without regard to the necessary safeguards of a second chamber. While this veto of the Lords is not often invoked its importance cannot be understated in driving through measures that are not widely accepted outside of a majority in the Commons; most typically of one or other of the major parties due to the present electoral system.

Secondly, this ability to manipulate the upper house whose sole purpose is to review and approval proposals made by the lower house is a compromise of the Bicameral basis of Parliamentary democracy and can lead to a process of ‘creeping bureaucracy’ since the ability to prevent legislation is impeded.

The 1949 Act, which is an amendment to the 1911 Act, is further suspect because it relies upon the powers of the very Act it is amending to allow it to be strengthened further. The context in which this legislation arose was to do with the nationalisation of Shipyards and Steelworks in Post War Britain in 1949, for fear the Lords would block this legislation. Once again the Act was not invoked but it has raised questions of legitimacy over the soundness of such a dependent legislation, since the premise is that any Act shall be read without reference to another.

Further, in testing this rule again Colonial legislation, it was found that any such act did not encompass the passing of executive powers unless such powers were so invoked in the Act.

Recent attempt to undermine the validity of the 1949 Act have failed due to ruling of the Law Lords to uphold this legislation, following appeal in the year 2000.

It should be noted that the principle intention of the 1911 Act is not contested. It is based upon a mandate of the people by specific reference to a General Election and to the approval by Royal Assent.

The question as to whether the Acts significantly compromise the rights of the House of Lords in conducting its business, whether directly by enforcement as in several recent cases or by threat of enforcement as in many others.

With changes to the system of life peerages and the introduction of many serving members of the lower house into the upper house, we have seen a process of dilution of the perception of elder statement engaged in the task of tempering legislation to one of lackeys conducting the interests of their party in passing legislation through the upper chamber as a matter of expediency and not temperance. This process takes us very close to a once party state governed by a ruling party with little or no separation of powers and the same concern can be voiced for the appointment of the Law Lords and influence over the Judiciary.

One might argue that abolishing the party political system and enabling a process of free-voting on matters brought before the house should become an essential modification to the constitution. The power of members should come from the mandate derived from their constituencies and their local authorities and be a matter of representation of those interests and the electorate’s wishes, rather than a matter of personal conscience.

Today, with many questions being asked about the viability of Parliament and its integrity, the question of the wisdom of the compromises portrayed by these originally emergency Acts must continue to be questioned, since they raise real questions about the balance of power in Westminster and the abuse of party political interests over the system of government.

You can find reference to the background and content of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 and other political reference information at:

http://wordpress.enfranchise.com

Do We Have A Right To Self-Determination?

•24/01/2010 • 1 Comment

The original concept of Athenian Democracy was to give the citizens of the City-State a say in key policy decisions of the nation.

Should we have that same right today, or is it right that parliamentary democracy acts in what others believe are our best interests?

A Fresh Start

•24/01/2010 • 6 Comments

This site is intended to house articles on my lobby for change and share it with a wider audience. I hope you enjoy reading and participating in the my campaign for free social democracy and reform in the UK.

I will shortly transer some of my key articles here for you to enjoy.

If you wish to participate in this process, please add this site to your favourites and leave me a message!

Links to related sites will be added to this ‘Enfranchisement’ centre.