Monday, July 31, 2006

I need feedback please

In order to develop the ideas I have been putting forward, I need your feedback, whatever it may be. I would hope that some of it would be supportive but I also need good criticism that will help formulate the details for moving forward.

I am happy to post large or small pieces of of your thinking if you think it's too complex for addition to existing posts in the form of comment or if it takes the whole idea in a new direction. If you have such a contributioon please email me
abi.rhodes@tiscali.co.uk and if I'm happy with it I'll post it attaching your name and any other details you wish.

Looking forward to hearing from you

How Should Parliament/Councils be Run?

My ideas at present are thus.

Do away with General Elections and whole Council Elections.

There should be elections of one fifth of the membership each year so the whole body is replaced on a rolling basis every 5 years.

Thus it is possible that there is a significant swing in political emphasis each year - this should reflect thje mood of the constituency and the performance of the ruling body in the previous 12 months.

A leader/head of government/chief executive/whatever should be chosen by the whole elected assembly and would not necessarily be the leader of the majority party/grouping but would be the person most respected as being suitable for the job by the majority. The method of making this choice to be debated elsewhere (it's not so important for the present purpose)

The chosen leader having obtained the general assent of the house would then set about appointing the ruling body/government/cabinet from the whole assembly choosing people who are most suitable in the circumstances based on experience, ability, stated agenda etc NOT on Party Allegiance.

The success/performance of this grouping will be important as it will no doubt dictate what happens at the following year's elections, thus ensuring the current leader's likelihood of continuing in that position or not.

Thus the whole system becomes more fluid and accountable to the electorate. If there are hugely unpopular or totally unacceptable policies implemented the populus will be able to respond within the year and get things changed rather than have to wait upto 5 years before change can be wraught. This will ensure that politicians stick to their stated aims and do not overstep the mark by passing inappropriate law by stealth.

Please note that many of these ideas are put down in a stream-of-consciousness method of writing and although I may have been ruminating on these matters for a long time, what actually appears in the blog just come out of the ends of my fingers as I type. What I guess I'm trying to say is that these ideas are rough and ready and are there for you to adopt and modify at will and I'm keen to hear what you think, so that I can develop them and refine them so that by the next election we can have a fairly well thought out set of ideas in place so that reform minded independent thinkers can have a sort of collective philosophy in place in order that a concerted effort may be made to change the smug self-perpetuating regime that we now find ourselves stuck in.

Climbing down off soapbox......

So.....How do we get THEM out?

Now, it's not my intention to form a new political party. That would be joining them rather than beating them. But...

...I think it might be possible to use the 'No Ta' label as a rallying point rather in the same way that the Monster Raving Loonies did in Lord Sutch's day.

It would be necessary to find people in your locality who want to be involved in reforming the system to the advantage of everyone [except THEM!]. Then you would need to find a person willing to stand for Council or Parliament

The general principles would be

Greater Democratic involvement by the general populus
Increase personal freedom and real choice
Encourage popular involvement to move towards bottom-up decision making etc
Electoral reform
Review method of forming government
Minimise Law
etc etc etc


Details of policy would be upto local groups supporting candidates to decide between them, based on personal interests and local issues etc

These ideas need to be refined and locally applied according to situation

Your turn to contribute please!

Remember Community Politics?

In the 1960s,the good old Liberal Party, as was, made a thing out of Community Action or Community Politics, which encouraged us to get involved in local issues etc

Sadly that emphasis is gone but surely it's time it was revived for anyone with an opinion, whatever their political stripe.

As things stand, the local scene tends to be dominated by party activists, racists, local press campaigns, NIMBYs, very PC community groups etc while the majority of residents allow stuff to land on them from above and just sit and moan.

If there was a community centre in every locality, I believe that the 'ordinary person' would be more likely to participate in issues of interest to them and bottom-up politics would gradually become the norm. Participation by Jo Public would stop local councils being so patronising and following their own agendas so much.

So I would encourage you to get involved in your local community in some way. Join a Friends group for your local park or wildlife site. Campaign for positive all inclusive facilities - not just families and children, but old folk, single people and youth too. All categories of people often feel left out and are discouraged. By showing you're interested, they may become involved and feel more part of the community and then volunteer their particular skills for the benefit of all - whetehr it be physical strength, their memory, their friendliness, etc

Let's go for it - talk to your neighbours and get something going where you are. Start in this small way and someone might emerge who can represent your locality who is more grassroots than your present councillor or MP, and who is willing to stand as a community candidate rather than a party poodle.

This sort of thing depends on participation of as many people as possible. It's not reasonable to expect someone else to take the lead. That way lays the perpetuisation of the present top-down dominance of partty politics. We want to turn that on its head and hand power to people who've never had it before - the person in the street!

PR - Party Reinforcement

Proportional Representation is a con.

It only reinforces the grip that the major (and second division) parties have on the system. It does a brilliant job of shutting down entry to lesser beings.

How on earth would anyone standing as an independent ever get a look in?

Of course, even if you're a supporter of a particular party, it takes away any say you have in electing a named candidate, thus reducing your democratic influence.

As things stand, with party A-lists etc, the choice is very much limited for local party organisations by the central office.

Yet another way in which Big Brother is moving ever closer.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Funding Political Parties

I hate the idea that we could end up with political parties being funded out of the public purse. This would entrench the domination of politics by the main parties and the evil system of limited choice they have to offer.

How could radical thinkers ever get a foot on the ladder? How could the likes of Martin Bell or other independent candidates ever stand a chance of election - it's difficult enough for anonymous but well-meaning interlopers to get recognition as it is.

At least with a carefully regulated system of parties being funded by loans and gifts we are entitled to know what interests think they will benfit by the election of party X and can choose to vote accordingly if inclined to.


When you look at the money wasted on huge poster campaigns at elections, the other alternative might be to ban parties from spending on advertising at all and force them to do their campaigning using good old-fashioned legwork.

Too Much Law?

I think so, don't you?

We are accumulating new laws faster than I can count them. Are we going to allow this to continue? Well, unless we decide to do something about it, it will. It is in the interests of those people who want to make us just like them [but without their power] to bring us evermore under their control.

What's the solution?

Well, I would propose we obviously demand a far more rigorous system of law introduction where the public is more involved and wider debate is encouraged so that the necessity for the law can be measured in a wider context than it being the subject of the latest tabloid crusade or being a certain politician's bee in his/her bonnet.

[BTW, what bonnet can you suggest for your favourite politician?]

This would mean changing the culture of belief that passing a law will lead to solving a problem when the reverse is true. It creates problems.

PASSING A NEW LAW CREATES A NEW CRIME

This creates new criminals.
This adds to the prison population.......

THE CHIEF REASON FOR CRIME IN THIS COUNTRY IS LAW.
Take the Drug Problem. People who use illegal drugs for whatever purpose are automatically categorised as criminals even though in other areas of their lives they may be quite model citizens. As they cannot obtain their required drugs legally they are forced to deal with dealers who are the thin end of vast criminal organisations which exploit people at all points along the drug chain. In order to pay for their requirements, addicts may be driven to steal of even mug folks to obtain cash to pay for their habit. Thus a whole cycle of criminality is created by the very fact that something is illegal.
How much simpler things could be if the drug wasn't illegal in the first place. The raison d'etre for that criminal regime would cease to exist. Less people would get hurt, there'd be less people in jail, etc etc
Sure, there might be an increase in dependency, but a more caring attitude in society could help ameliorate this if not eventually reverse it.Extend this type of analysis to other illegalaties and I think you could find equally appalling problems which are essentially the result of a law rather than people's desire to be criminal.

Of course there are certain actions which are truly undesirable and need the control provided by law. But I would contend these are fairly few and far between and relate mainly to the safety and security of the individual. Much law is dedicated to the protection of institutions which operate in the interests of various powerful groups which exploit or subjugate others. These deserve to be questioned and removed in order that society can become more equitable.

I do not believe that the majority of law exists in the interest of or to protect the general population. Rather its purpose is to keep the population in its place and ensure that the current politically correct status quo is maintained.

Getting back to my proposal, I would favour moving towards a situation where all law has a limited lifespan - say 15 years. After this time is should be reviewed and if found to be working usefully, renewed for a further term - otherwise it should be amended or dropped. Thus we would do away with quaint situations like it being illegal to take a horse and carriage to attend church on Christmas Day etc - some might say this would be a shame!

The sheer amount of work involved in the review process would ensure that only really useful law would remain on the statute book and the kinds of law which arise out of kneejerk newspaper campaigns would have an assured minimum lifetime.

I think That just about covers it for now so I'll stop - but I'd like to hear your comments. Please feel free to shoot me down in flames or make further suggestions to advance the argument. My favourite pastime is changing my mind so please put forward exciting ideas to make me want to think on!

What's It All About

I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with the sham nature of UK politics. So-called representative democracy is anything but that. You are asked to vote every few years for a person whose main allegiance is to his/her political party and because of the whipping system is expected to vote according to party policy, regardless of his/her own view let alone those of his/her constituents. Very often this leads the whole country to be dragged into situations hardly anyone wants to be in. This is manipulation, pure & simple. I'm sure we can all bring such a situation to mind without too much effort!

It is my intention to set a ball rolling that will change this dreadful state of affairs.I have particular beefs and agendas of my own which I will mention from time to time, but it is not my intention to ram these down your throat or to form a new political party to get them accepted by the already skewed arrangement we live under. Quite the reverse. I want to see the present system dismantled and replaced by a form of government we can all feel comfortable with. We should be able to minimise state and local government intrusion into people's lives whatever their politics, race, religion, sexuality etc

The reason I am confident it will have widespread appeal is because it is to be based on the 'principle' of "None of the Above" [NoTa]. This hopefully would lead to a large number of members of parliament or councils who would no longer be there on the basis of party allegiance, but on the basis that they were being given the chance as indivuals to represent their constituency in a trustworthy and honest manner on the understanding that if they fail, they will be [r]ejected next time.

I will also be talking about the excess of laws and controls we seem to have accrued in recent years, the amount of political interference in everday life and public institutions and how we might reverse this accelerating movement towards '1984'.

Please make comments freely on anything you read here. I am a keen supporter of open and honest debate and dislike the constraints of the current forms of political correctness but would say that racist propaganda will not be welcomed here. My only other requirement would be that you must be able to take as good as you give.

I look forward to corresponding with you and perhaps moving forward into a truly democratic and more respectful future.