Tag Archives: Electorate

Election 2015 . . . Manipulative and Broken!

election photo

Whilst the dust continues to hover over last Thursdays totally unanticipated results I am reminded of the wisdom of 2000 years ago:

“Nothing is more fickle than people in a crowd, nothing harder to discover than how men intend to vote, nothing trickier that the whole way in which elections work!” Cicero

Days later and I am still unsure about the serious implications upon our democracy of what has happened.

To begin with the opinion polls have had a vast impact upon the electoral proceedings although they are completely unregulated! This has allowed a former Deputy Chairman of the Tory Party, who is not a pollster or member of the British Polling Council, to buy in polling information from other companies, who he is unprepared to disclose and put it out into the mainstream. The fact that all of this information was seriously flawed and used as propaganda is neither questioned nor any responsibility taken.

“There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics” is a phrase attributed to several authors but its underlying wisdom is pertinent today. With all of the popular pollsters keeping each other company in their poorly analysed data it was the website Number Cruncher Politics that proved to be in contact with reality, predicting correctly that there would be a Tory majority, even before the voting began.

There accuracy was the result of simple hard work in analysing the statistics and patterns of the electoral data over the last 50 years. They were able to substantiate their claims to such an extent that it is possible they delayed the other companies from publishing their latest findings at 7pm on the day, although they came out several hours later and maintained their, now hopelessly inaccurate, stories of a neck and neck race.

These opinion polls almost put our media in the shade but undaunted the Tory press went after Miliband and co with a tenacity that demonstrated just how much hatred he had stoked up in Rupert Murdoch. (And let’s not forget the political strategist responsible for the huge Tory success, another Australian Lynton Crosby, coincidence . . . you decide!)

Again we are letting ourselves down as an electorate by allowing such powerful influence to be wielded over our democracy by someone who in not resident in, nor has a loyalty to our country. His credibility has already been destroyed by the hacking scandal but still he is able to influence how we must live our lives, because of the strength of his global business activities.

When will government grasp the nettle and legislate that if an entity, be it an individual or corporation does not commit to residing or meeting its full tax bill in this country for a prior 5 years, it has no entitlement to influence our democratic process!

We now come to the most emotive of aspects of our broken system as we look at the seats acquired by the voters. I shall simply quote the two obvious examples. The Tories achieved their stunning victory with 11,334,520 votes that gave them 331 seats in Parliament – a government ‘majority’ produced by the majority NOT voting for them!

The Greens on the other hand secured nearly 10% of the Tory vote (1,157,613) and just 1 seat in Parliament! 1.1 million people represented by just one elected representative and each Tory representing 34,243 people is not, by the widest stretches of the imagination, a healthy democracy at work. (Source BBC News)

Not content with these distortions The Sunday Times reported that Cameron is already looking to ‘rearrange’ the boundaries to give the Tories an extra 20 seats at the 2020 election. He knows the only time he can get away with this, which was previously censored by the Lib Dems, is whilst he has a majority and also whilst our attention is being diverted by the EU referendum.

He also knows that after 10 years voters become restless and seek change. He has declared he will be leaving by then and can say he gave the new incumbent every support when this time arrives.

As an electorate, with a growing awareness of what is really going on with our democratic process, we can never become the master of our national destiny until such time as we mend a system that is now only fit for the knacker’s yard. ‘Club’ Westminster is running hopelessly out of control and I shudder to think what abuses we will be subjected to in the next 5 years, with a government now unfettered by coalition.

Scotland and the Scottish people are shinning a light in this direction by producing a true majority government. Perhaps it is now time to get our own house in order . . . and then sort out the EU.

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Is It Now Time To Licence Politicians . . . And More? (1 of 2)

My 30 year career in the financial services industry was at a time when it was largely unregulated and where unqualified individuals could make a substantial living. Be they a ‘butcher, baker or candlestick maker’ it was simplicity itself to change direction and put up a sign declaring ‘Independent Mortgage, Pensions and Investment Advice’.

Lack of regulation led to abuse, sometimes of huge proportions. This was particularly so when Thatcher sold off councils housing stock at knock down prices and mortgages were arranged “on the condition that an expensive and often inappropriate Life policy was taken out to get the money”. We also saw large scale abuses when the Pensions “Opt Out” occurred and people were mis-sold private pensions in droves, earning fortunes in commission for the advisor’s.

Eventually the industry began to clean up its act. Advisor’s had to become licensed by establishing they were knowledgeable about the advice they were giving. The huge upfront commissions paid by insurance companies to advisor’s was ended and they had to charge fees to clients for their advice.

Greater regulation has resulted in greater accountability because the client is now paying the wages! It has also seen a growth in trust and confidence as these services now function more in line with other professions, such as accountants and solicitors.

I can’t help feeling that this is the direction we should now be pursuing with our democratic process, where trust by the people is possibly lower now than it ever was with financial advisor’s. The ease with which anyone can put themselves up for election promotes freedom of expression, granted. But I just wonder, like the previous unregulated financial advice environment, how much understanding there is by candidates about fundamentals? How our money supply works, the effect of long term corporate funding upon the democratic process, the need for integrity and accountability in the management and use of public funds spring immediately to mind.

Certainly the scandals of recent years suggest this understanding ranges from limited to irresponsible.

Let’s take just two examples. Firstly, there is support for the now notorious TTIP, which seeks to place power with the corporate world to decide which political policies are implemented. The important decisions about Societies needs will depend solely on whether they pose a threat to corporate profits, or not.

Secondly we have the EU, where political power is gradually being devolved to Brussels, the ‘Granddaddy of all bureaucratic rice puddings’. Here, with now decades of experience in its workings, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that, through its sheer size, voters have slowly but surely been removed from the decision making process.

I am indebted to my fellow tweeter Sheena who made me aware of this 9 minute YouTube clip. Its central character is a senior police officer who, in the course of his duties, came across official documents that allude to potential treason committed by Prime Minister Edward Heath when he took us into the then ‘Common Market’ in the 70’s. I cannot vouch for the validity of the content but the devolution of power from the UK to Brussels that has taken place is endorsing his words as an alarmingly accurate prophesy. http://tinyurl.com/o9rbvxw

With just these two examples, it seems as though politicians are working incredibly hard to put themselves out of a job? DUH! Or, is it that they will be paid by corporate lords and masters, as well as funded from Brussels perhaps, with little or no political responsibilities in future. Just rubber stamp legislation that has become heavily biased in favour of vested interest and seemingly no accountability to those who elected them.

(As an aside, in no way do I believe David Cameron is looking to take us out of the EU. Current cleverly worded headlines with no substance – when aren’t they – are designed to combat the UKIP threat and will be reversed if he returns to No 10. This also begs the question as to the validity of his 2017 EU Referendum promise, but I digress!)

All I do know is that I am extremely uncomfortable with all that is going on and the continued erosion of the political process as it affects our democratic rights. I have tried to lay out here the reasons for my concerns and tomorrow I will offer my thinking on why I believe the medicine meted out to the financial services industry needs to be topped up and applied liberally to our democratic process.

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to The 99% . . . If They Want It!           By J T Coombes         

Democracy in UK Now Seriously Under Threat

PollingStation

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 5 May 2005. Website: http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/

 

With the contents of this year’s Queens Speech now in the public domain we have the evidence of the further serious erosion of democracy by government. We have known for a while that David Cameron has a personal agenda to eradicate all obstructions to his pursuit of a fracking bonanza that will lay two thirds of this country open to exploration.

As if this wasn’t enough he is now ignoring the desires of 74% of the public who do not want the current Trespass Laws changed to allow chemicals to be pumped under their property without their consent. It has always been said that “An Englishman’s Home is His Castle”, identifying our feelings of security in shutting our front door behind us when we return home and thus being inviolate to the world at large.

Now Parliament, with little dissent, seems intent upon using its power to push through critical abuses of our rights as human beings to live our lives as we choose. That is defying the core of the democratic process. We decided and the elected carry it out. Sadly we are in an era of “career” politicians, where the elected are convinced they know better and are shaping a state of their choosing.

If ‘their choosing’ benefits the majority then I can see nothing wrong but sadly the continued alienation of the people from the political process is the only result of current political practice. There is no visionary leadership but rather a determination to hold on to and wield power.

We have seen our social services collapse before our eyes as successive governments have placed the needs of business before the needs of the people. We are told that business must be free to do whatever it deems necessary to create jobs but jobs are not forthcoming, only an increasing divide between rich and poor.

The banking collapse was the greatest betrayal of the electorate by government as taxpayer money was used like a sponge to soak up the bad debts of unregulated banking practice. The most glaring evidence that business must not be free to do what it likes, but carefully controlled to resist the lure of easy profits from dubious business practice at the expense of the people.

People are becoming overwhelmed by the plethora of abuses coming out of government, from the expenses scandals, to corporate lobbying that nullifies the democratic process and surveillance that strikes at the very heart of our privacy, all of which the taxpayer must pay for.

All that is left now to reassert democracy is the internet and the power of social media to enable us to speak freely and directly with each other. The mushrooming across the globe of people driven campaigning sites such as 38 Degrees, Avaaz and many others is having an impact upon both business and politics as people react to current abuses.

Most notable was the clipping of Rupert Murdoch’s wings when he and parliament believed his takeover of BSkyB was a forgone conclusion and people demanded he be stopped . . . and in no uncertain terms he was stopped! Time and again people power has asserted itself to the extent that governments are now troubled by this supposed interference to ‘party line and policy’. But this is the very essence of how people reassert a true democratic environment and fight back against current lack of transparency and political skulduggery.

Whether it is fracking, EU membership, healthcare, student debt or the myriad of other abuses perpetrated in the interest of business or political expediency people now have the tools to effectively fight back, as well as the ballot box. On the latter it would be good for the political establishment if only minority parties were put in power from next year’s elections, as a mark of national discontent at the ‘3 party system’ that is now crippling this country.

The country would not fall into chaos because the Civil Service runs the administration of our services, politicians simply point them in a political direction. Certainly a vote of discontent of this size would provide a severe and necessary wake up call to the political establishment, destroying the arrogance and contempt that currently prevails towards the electorate and sounding a warning that people have had enough of the abuse from the current political system.

Another election would be quickly called and new manifestos drawn up which more closely align to what people are calling for, and not political interpretation of what they think people want. All of a sudden there would be a new respect for voters and the power they are able to assert. It would be good for people as well, to see their actions causing tremors in Whitehall in a manner never before achieved.

The means to do all of this exists now, it just needs for people to want to do it . . . it really is that simple! I would like to see a start now with something we can win which is the curtailment of current government fracking activity across the country. It will destroy our countryside and could poison our farmlands forever with chemicals the industry is loath to disclose. How exhilarating to win and then turn to the next subject as we build a message for the 2015 elections.

Until the next time

If you would like to support my petition to seriously reduce government sponsored fracking in this country follow this link: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fracking-limited-and-responsible-testing

Voters called the shots in 2014 . . . They can do it again!

 

PollingStation

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 5 May 2005. Website: http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/

The success of UKIP last night has severely shaken the three main parties. THAT is what voter power is all about and now needs to be followed up. With only a 36% turnout, that the electorate (or a third of it) could achieve this type of impact . . . what could two thirds or even 90% do?!

With the 2105 election machinery now gearing up the main parties will all be very aware of what they have to do, not to resolve the horrendous problems of debt, employment, health and education, but to hold on to power. We are in an era of ‘professional’ politicians who seek power but lack any vision of what to do with it once they have it, and voters have to demand better.

This can be done in two ways. Firstly to prepare a voter mind-set that will seek out and only vote for minority parties in 2015. This does not show disloyalty to the party of their choice but rather sends a clear and powerful message to ALL parties that the time of vague party manifestos is over. We want defined action to return power to people and create a Society that has proper support for living life.

By voting for minority parties, if done effectively, there will be no clearly defined majority party going into power and another election will need to be called. In the meantime THE COUNTRY WILL NOT FALL INTO CHAOS – FACT! The Civil Service run all of Societies services, the government of the time simply points them in a direction. The only chaos will be within the political environment because for the first time voters have called the shots and demonstrated their lack of patience with the abuses of the past.

Fracking and the impending TPP are the most frightening examples of this new era of corporate sponsored government, with the impact they could have upon this Planet and its people. Too much power is being passed from voters to corporations, resulting in a world unsustainably driven by profit and the only means to stop it is by people power . . . there is nothing else!

Yesterday a few people demonstrated what can be achieved, in firing a warning shot across political bows of all colours and the impetus must not be lost now! If my thinking resonates tweet me and let me know what you think . . . I don’t think I am that alone in demanding more and fairer government.

Until the next time

“In the final moments of our lives how will we justify our apathy to our children?” J T Coombes