As a species we are designed to strive and achieve as much as we are designed to breed and build a home; it has been the way of things since the dawn of time. This striving is best recognised when we are young, pushing the boundaries with our parents, teachers and Society during the painful adolescent years as we seek to find our own identity and place within that Society.
This desire to push the boundaries remains with us throughout our lives and constantly manifests in sport, careers, business, the arts and all other aspects of Life. Often it can become obsessive and addictive, leading to gross irresponsibility’s. The banking collapses of 1929 and 2008 were evidence of this human characteristic at its most irresponsible, with the subsequent worldwide devastation they caused.
For this very reason, throughout our history we have sought to create buffers which guard against these excesses. This has become a critical aspect in the work of governments, with the laws they put on the statute books and constantly update as we evolve. Our desire to strive and accomplish then pushes back as we seek ways to bypass these restrictions and so the eternal ‘Ping-Pong’ of expansion and containment continues.
We are at a point in this endless game where boundaries are being pushed in unprecedented ways and protective barriers are being removed at an alarming rate to permit the unrivalled creation of wealth. Global corporations are now as wealthy and powerful as small nations, capable of dominating political parties and influencing the enactment and repeal of laws that support their growing power and profit.
For me this is vividly demonstrated by the insidious TTIP secret trade agreement now being pushed through with the minimum of democratic debate. Here we have the power of the written word at its most menacing, as laws and agreements are put into place that will hold our governments accountable in a fashion that the people can only dream about. Any government action that works against corporate greed will result in penalties for that government (and of course its people, as they will have to pay the costs of these governmental transgressions!).
Just think about that for a moment. This deal is at the heart of the democratic process, where government is held accountable for its actions! Democracy here, however, is not for the benefit of the many but just the few. Indeed its impact upon the many (and this beautiful Planet) will be like a cancer, as our quality of life and our natural resources are abused and discarded with equal disdain.
If this is the way the game is now being played then “what is good for the goose, is also as good for the gander!” If it’s written agreements that now determine how we live, as integrity seems to have gone the way of the Dodo, then the people need their own ‘TTIP’ with which to hold government accountable.
I have argued before that Society is in exactly the same position that it was here in Britain 800 years ago, when unbridled power brought the country to its knees. Yes barons were looking after their own interests then with Magna Carta but it reflected back on the people in “no imprisonment without trial by peers”. With Terrorism we are now headed back to those dark times before Magna Carta.
It worked before and it can work again, in using the power of the written word to bring back accountability. This time the barons need to be replaced by a political party that will adopt a revised Magna Carta and legally invoke it as The Objectives of Parliament for the foreseeable future. It would be updated from time to time, to keep it in line with a changing Society and its needs, but its essence would always reflect the protection of our quality of life.
The last thing we want is a legal document that would keep lawyers in clover forever but a means by which the people can decide for themselves if government is doing its job. Manifestos would become simple forms which declare each new incumbents intentions to support all, or particular aims of the Charter during their term in office. People could then decide who to vote for, depending upon the popular consensus as to what needed tackling in Society at that time.
Clauses might include a ‘public’ monetary system, gender and religious equality, protection of planetary resources, a people’s democracy and so on. Empowerment of the people would come from being able to measure each government’s achievements and decide if they had done a good job or not in furthering the aims of the Charter. Their decision would then influence their next vote and secure our steady progress as a Society.
How would we arrive at this new Charter? Easy! Follow Iceland’s example and give it to the people to design and agree upon. It worked there, in spite of ridicule by the opposition party and it can work here just as well!
Whilst none of this will happen by this election, if a seed is sown it will place the present party’s on warning that we are setting the political stage for the future. We are looking for a party to unite and lead us . . . and we expect it SOON!
Until the next time
Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes