that scary clown dream

When I was younger I used to write down my dreams in case any novel ideas came out of them that I could turn into stories.  Last night I had a dream so comical that I thought I might just repeat that exercise, lets face it nobody would ever come up with this as a scenario for a story, it would make a really good comedy.

The scenario is that the Queen has just had anointed an unelected Prime Minister from a party that managed to get less than 40% of the popular vote, and that that Prime Minister then appointed the biggest political buffoon in the country to be the Foreign Secretary.

We are talking here of a politician who gets stuck on zip wires, can hardly string a sentence together and whose only knowledge of foreign affairs are those affairs foreign to his own marriage.

The first task of that buffoon was to prepare for a meeting the following week with the foreign ministers of all the European Countries that he had lied about and deeply offended in a recent national campaign.

Of course, it would be a very hard sell to ever get it published, I mean it could never happen in real life, could it?

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the battle for Britain

On 23rd June 2016 the British People voted against the advice of:

  • Every Living Prime Minister
  • Almost every economic expert
  • Almost every scientific expert
  • Almost every historian
  • Almost every industrialist
  • Almost every financier
  • Almost every trades union
  • And almost every foreign leader who isn’t seeking the demise of the UK and Western society

The response of the “Remainers”, thus far, has been disbelief in the gullibility of the British People to follow the calls of lunatics to take our country off the world stage and into an unstable, unsafe wilderness at the edges of the political world.  We despair that our country is now in the hands of people we don’t relate to and can’t understand, which is interesting because that is exactly the complaint that the ‘Leavers’ have had for many years.

Despite every opinion poll and all the canvassing and table-top stalls feeding back that we were losing the debate, the powers that be in their ivory towers in Westminster continued to pump out the same drivel (and this is not 2020 hindsight if you read my blog) that failed to address the fundamental question being asked by the leavers: “Can we please have control of our lives back?”.

It is easy to point at the pied pipers that were Farage, Johnson and Gove and Stewart, but these people are not the authors of this tragedy, they are the players.  They represent not cure to the problem of reclaiming our democracy, but rather are a symptom of the political impotence the British people feel.  The simple truth is that with a half decent leader UKIP could have stomped to victory in a General Election right now,  it remains to be seen whether with Farage gone that leader will yet emerge.

In the meantime the three parties that have been central to our politics for Generations have completely failed to learn the lessons of these past few weeks.

The Conservative response to a cry for greater democracy and to take back our country is to impose a Prime Minister who has not faced election for that post.  Mrs May claims she wants to represent the poor and the alienated, but she will be doing so not as a representative of the people but as a patron, imposed from on high to do good deeds.  That is not what the people are calling for, they are calling for greater and more open democracy, not less.

The Labour response to a cry for greater democracy and to take back our country is to depose a Party Leader that its members have elected in their droves, on the say so of the very elite that the nation is rebelling against.  Labour is not my party, but if it were I would be furious with the Oxbridge elite that is now rallying to undermine the will of the ordinary members.   They are back to that idea that the country should be run by a munificent elite managing our nation “for the benefit of the workers”.  The people are crying out for something very different, they want government by the people for the people.

So let me turn then to the Liberal Democrats, and the big difference in how they do things.  THERE IS NONE!

There, I said it.  For nearly 30 years this party has promoted itself as being the only party in which the members make our policy.  It’s total bunkum; yes policy is determined by conference and now on the basis of One Member One Vote, but the policy we discuss is decided by committees half of which are elected by the members and the other half of which are appointed by the great and the good.

This party that believes in Regional Devolution in England is run by a London elite that is blocking any attempt for Regional Parties to establish themselves as autonomous policy making bodies.  What the Liberal Democrats practice is far from what they preach.

The Brexit vote was about much more than leaving the European Union, it was a cry to renew our democracy.  Since King John signed the Magna Carter, the Law of Precedence, the provisions of Oxford, the Supremacy of Parliament, Universal Suffrage, the right to Freedom of Association, the right of Assembly, the right to strike, time and again the changes to extend our fundamental freedoms have come not in considered reform but in rebellion.

Today that rebellion has taken the form of the Brexit vote and regardless of whether we are in the 52% or the 48% the reality is that that is the call that must now be answered.

An unelected Prime Minster, anointed by a party which secured less than 37% of the popular vote is not going to change anything, it is a continuation of the rotten system that got us here in the first place.  What is needed is radical change which must include:

  • Direct election of the Prime Minister.
  • Proportional Representation in Multi-Member seats for our MP’s.
  • A directly elected House of Lords.
  • The right to recall MP’s for wrongdoing.
  • A written Constitution.

This must be followed by an immediate Prime Ministerial election, within two years of that an Election of the new House of Lords and within two years of that the election of a new House of Commons.

I would love to be able to say that only the Liberal Democrats can deliver on this reform, but quite frankly they can and will not alone.  Every candidate must be asked if they will vote to implement these changes in the first term of a new parliament and if they fail to do so they must be held to account.

Subsidiarity – a long word that means power to the people

Somewhere in this country a new movement is forming to carry forward the cause of Regional and local Government empowered to act on behalf of the people it represents.

Somewhere in this country there is a party forming that believes in proportional representation, an elected Lords, a written constitution and a right to recall MPs.

I used to believe that that was the Liberal Democrats, but after 30 uears of backing them I now find myself doubting that as a London-centric party mobilises to stifle any attempts to practice within the party what it preaches outwith.A leader who does not recognise and nurture the instincts of the party, a president who fails to reflect the democratic processes of the party, these are not conducive to the party progressing its policies in the country.

“Life, don’t talk to me about life!”

The outcome of negotiations for a British exit from the European Union are not, and can not yet, be known and so the Referendum was held on an entirely false premise that we would be better off out than in.  For this reason it is logical that when the options are known we should ask the British people again whether they prefer what we had or what we will replace it with.

That would require a second referendum this time on the terms and conditions laid down in fact, not some fiction of the future based on ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’.

No busses sporting false promises of £350 million extra funding a day to the NHS; no false claims one way or the other on control of our borders; no claims and counter claims that the British economy will thrive or crash outside the EU.  The scenario in which we were asked to vote was not dissimilar to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; the answer is not as everyone thinks 42, but 46 because the question asked was the wrong question.

Her Majesty’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has written to the millions of people who signed a petition calling for a second referendum to tell them that

The Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House of Commons on 27 June, the referendum was one of the biggest democratic exercises in British history with over 33 million people having their say. The Prime Minister and Government have been clear that this was a once in a generation vote and, as the Prime Minister has said, the decision must be respected. We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU and the Government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations.

What this response seems to forget is that the Prime Minister also effectively said ‘so long and thanks for all the fish’ and he led a Parliament that had no popular mandate to hold the referendum in the first place.  37% of the popular vote (less than 25% of the electorate) is not a mandate for Government it is a call for humility.

What came after the referendum vote seemed pretty much like someone had activated the infinite improbability drive, what with the PM going, then the heir apparent going, then the opposition tearing itself apart, then the man who started the whole thing in the first place going.  All that was missing was a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias (though for one brief moment I could have sworn I heard someone muttering ‘oh no, not again’).

The simple truth is Britain has now placed itself in the peculiar position of being out on her own in a Universe she doesn’t understand with nothing but a comfort blanket and a big book, emblazoned across the front of which, in big letters, are the words ‘Don’t Panic’.

What a way to run a country, you just couldn’t make it up (or maybe someone did).

Chilcot – did the Liberal Democrats get it right?

I have been asked why I named this page 2020 Liberal Vision, and the answer is simple, the Liberal Democrats have a tendency to be right in our predictions of the impact of the decisions of our Government on the life of our nation.  Never was this more so than in the decision of Charles Kennedy to oppose the Iraq war.

His decision was not that of the pacifist, Liberals are not and have never been pacifists, it was on the very grounds that Chilcot has now found against the British Government in its handling of the situation.

I quote Charles’s Kennedy (his observations were much derided at the time by Labour, Tory and the media alike).

When it comes to the further engagement of our armed forces, it would be proper for hon. Members to raise legitimate questions, as many have in all parties, on the supply and suitability of equipment, the eventual war aims, the participation of British forces and the bombs that might be used. It would be right to ask whether we would desist from resorting to cluster bombs or depleted uranium. It would also be right to ask about the longer term role that we hope British forces will play, if the war ensues, in the humanitarian and reconstruction roles on which they have such a distinguished track record. That is why we have supported the UN route, and it will be a source of great regret if the motion is passed because British troops will be put into action.

Charles Kennedy

Now, when you read Chilcot, remember what the Liberal Democrats were asking and ask yourself one simple question:  Did we get it right?

If your answer is yes then join us.

there may just be a plan!

“What has Europe ever done for us?” was the cry that sounded across a disgruntled and largely ignored working class Britain as it pressed the red button that had clear instructions written across it is big yellow letters “do not press under any circumstances”.

The problem is that if you offer people no hope, no control over their own lives and no say in their own futures then a sign saying “do not press under any circumstances” leaves them with an option to take, and that means they can choose between a status quo that leaves them powerless or a big red button that might just change things.

There are those who suggest that 23rd June 2016 will go down in history as Britain’s Independence Day, but when the dust settles and our country is still run by an Oxbridge Elite that have been getting it wrong for generations what will really have changed?  The simple truth is that all the pain will have been for nothing.  We will still have a sham of a democracy in which 37% of the popular vote can deliver a majority in the commons; an unelected house of lords; and a media that is ruled by tax-exiles and foreign nationals.  This is no way to run a country.

If there is to be a people’s revolution then it will require that:

  • Power is ceded by Westminster to Regional Parliaments and local Government;
  • We shift from a voting system that gives 51% of the seats to 37% of people who voted;
  • We have a House of Lords that is elected by the people rather than appointed on political patronage;
  • We have a directly elected Prime Minister who can select a cabinet from the best brains in the Country rather than the biggest sycophants in Westminster;
  • A written constitution.

The political party with a long record of offering these measures is the same political party that people rejected in 2015, and a political party that has warned of the democratic deficit for generations.  The last significant reforms to the UK constitution we Liberal Reforms, the NHS and Social Security were proposed by that great Liberal William Beveridge.

We now see the Conservative Party tearing itself apart over Europe, and most likely to elect a Leader who supported Remain, with the main leave candidates having either expressed their own unsuitability for the role or fled the field for the lack of a plan.

We see at the same time  Labour party that is tearing itself apart as the pro-nationalisation Socialists try to defend a leader who has shown himself incapable of leading against the pro-mutualisation social democrats who form the majority of their Parliamentary Party.

Right now our country is desperate for leadership, we need a General Election so that that leadership has a mandate to move forward and we need a Leader who knows who and what he is fighting for, will bring power to the people and does not hail from a discredited elite that have for decades done harm to this country.

The great Irony is that the working people needing a working class leader can look to only one party.  Every Tory and Labour option for Leader is a part of the Oxbridge Elite and the only one from outwith that elite is Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

There may just be a plan!

after the EU Referendum

The oldest parliamentary democracy in the world is facing constitutional crisis and political meltdown following the EU Referendum vote, and the only solution is an immediate general election, as most MP’s have no mandate to vote in favour of Brexit and most probably don’t even want to.

Most Tory candidates who became MP’s had made personal pledges to support the IN and therefore they have no mandate to vote for Britain to leave the EU.  By the same measure, none of the other parties except UKIP supported holding an EU referendum and therefore they have mandate to accept the result.

The simple truth is that we have a parliament that does not have the capacity to accept the result of the EU referendum and that means that we need a new parliament.  Whether we will get that new parliament is down to securing a 2/3rds majority of MP’s supporting a resolution to dissolve Parliament, and Turkeys do not vote for Christmas even when sitting on the Thanksgiving table.

There are also other reasons to call for a General Election.  The Conservative Party is governing this country, and was enabled to create this constitutional crisis, with just 37% of the popular vote.  This means that of those who voted 63% did not vote for the current Government, a government that is itself split on the issue of the EU referendum.  Furthermore the official opposition changed it’s leader almost immediately after the General Election meaning that the people have not elected the Labour MP’s under its current leadership.  Furthermore they have a leader who was if anything luke warm about remaining in the EU.

I do not agree with everything that Jeremy Corbyn stands for, but I could work with him.  He is a man who like me and my party opposed the illegal Iraq war in which hundreds of thousands were murdered on the back of a lie.  He like me opposed Labour’s Bedroom Tax, and its extension by the coalition.  He, like me and my party opposed the unnecessary continuation of Austerity politics following the recovery of our economy.  He is not tainted with the mess of the New Labour project.

The MP’s who are calling for his removal as leader of the Labour Party are betraying the wishes of the thousands of Labour members who voted for Mr Corbyn, but worse still they are doing so at a time when what this country needs from Labour is Leadership and not an internal rebellion by a self-serving elite that believes it knows better than hundreds of thousands of ordinary members what is in  their interests.  This is the reason I never joined Labour, and never could join Labour, it is that old clause for thing of ‘the means of production shall be controlled for the benefit of the workers’ rather than ‘by the workers’.

Then we need to consider the fact that Scotland, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, The Scilly Isle and most of our big cities voted IN.  This creates a constitutional crisis for the UK as a whole and puts the Lib Dems in Scotland in a very different position to that which they were in pre Referendum.  I don’t know yet what my colleagues in Scotland will decide to do when it comes to a second referendum on Scottish Independence from the UK, but I have a very strong feeling that they might just now switch sides and support an independent Scotland that remains IN the EU.  If that switch happens it could just tip the balance in Scotland.

So with Scotland gone and there being no UK any longer, whither UKIP?  They simply will have to drop the UK bit of their name, and they will be independent, so therefore the only thing holding them together will be the word Party.  They have achieved what they set out to do, and no longer have any reason to continue to exist.

The Liberal Democrats are likely to be the only party fighting the next General Election on a platform of Remain.  Tim Farron has made this clear already, and has called for an immediate General Election (I had given my view stated here on this to him before he announced his decision).  The 48% who voted Remain will have a voice in the next General Election and I for one hope that they support that voice, but the choice is theirs.

Already we are seeing racist attacks in our country, as hatred spills our onto our streets and into our communities.  This must be stopped, and as Tim Farron has made clear,

Our fight for an open, optimistic, hopeful, diverse and tolerant Britain is needed now more than ever.

If you are one of the 48% and you want to fight to ensure that Britain can remain in the EU then now is the time to put aside your past political loyalties and to join the Liberal Democrats.

You can express your support by clicking here to go to Twibbon and adopting our #LibDemsRemain twibbon on your Twitter and Facebook accounts and you can join the 9000 who have already joined the Liberal Democrats since last Thursday online by clicking here!