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