Armies, democracy and power

 

           Western admirers of democracy are having difficulty deciding whether to condemn Egypt for an army coup against an elected President, or praise the people power which triggered a change of regime and the promise of new elections after alleged anti democratic decisions by the outgoing President. 

          It is all too easy for us in the west to feel morally superior, knowing that in the UK and the US the army does not intervene in politics, and that regime change occurs if people want it at General elections. In practice power in western democracies is more nuanced than the theoretical models suggest. It is all more complex than the slogans and soundbites we learn in our youth.

             It is true that in the UK the army has not visibly and directly intervened in politics in an unconstitutional way  since the English civil war. Even then, the army was a major force in politics largely because it was led by MPs who used the army as an adjunct to their Commons strength. In past centuries the UK has prided itself on having only a small army in peacetime, and making it clear the army leadership should only undertake tasks that the elected government proposes to them.

          However, US democracy was partly created by the field army the rebel colonists used against the British forces and the loyal settlers. Winning the war of independence led to the rest. In Great Britain the use of the army against the King in the 1640s assisted Parliament’s assertion of rights to influence and shape government.

          There has been plenty of exchange and mutual influence between the army and politics in both the US and the UK since those founding battles. Top Generals like Washington and Wellington became President or Prime Minister. Modern US Generals are potential recruits for the roles of Secreatry of State or Secretary for defence. UK Generals can end up as legislators in the Lords, and an Admiral became a Minister in the last UK government. The UK Defence chiefs join War Cabinets in the event of conflict, and have influence at all times over senior members of the government.

          The Egyptian issue raises another fundamental question – can the establishment in a country curb or even change an elected government which goes beyond the establlishment’s view of what is reasonable or permissibile conduct? In the UK a Minister is regularly advised of the legal restraints on his or her actions and is rightly expected to obey the law. The Minister’s privilege is he can change any law he does not like if he has  the agreement of his colleagues, but only for the future.

          Mr Blunkett experienced the unwillingness of his officials to implement an instruction he made concerning a prison riot. Mr Blunkett changed his mind the next morning and de facto accepted the advice he had expressly overruled before. It was an extreme and public example of a continuous process of debate between Ministers and officials. Ministers may decide (within the law) but officials may choose the timing and method of implementation unless the Minister has been very precise and foreceful in following up. A Minister may think he has decided, but officials may regard the decision as provisional or something they intend to return to later.

            More fundamental to limiting the power of the elected official is the ever looming presence of EU government in the UK. Just as the army in Egypt sought to limit or direct decisions by the elected President, so in the UK the unseen hands of the EU are constantly shaping and reshaping Uk policy on a myriad of items. Modern UK Ministers have very limtied powers of decison and discretion thanks the huge powers transferred in recent years to the EU, and thanks to the massive build up of EU law. Ministers in Euro area economies have even less power, with new governments forced to continue with the otugoing government’s economic policies however unpopular they may be.

            So before we feel too superior about the maturity of our democracy and too dismissive of those in Egypt arguing over how to find a democratic model athat works for them, we should remember two things. The army has at times played an important role in UK and US politics. Our own UK democracy is facing a crisis of authority and accountability thanks to the many decisions that now cannot be made  by any elected official, whatever the wishes of the UK people.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

39 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    You cannot really describe the UK as a democracy as so much power has been transferred to the EU against the clear will of the people. The EU had no meaningful demos with common interest or even a common language. We see with the Cameron/Osborne ratting over the EU referendum, the IHT threshold the contempt in which the electorate are held.
    Heath, Major, Bliar, Brown and Cameron have actively almost destroyed it fully.

    One vote between two or three candidates (who have any real chance) once every five years, who will not do what they promise anyway, on a first past the post systems is such weak control as to be almost pointless. Only in extremis is it of any real value.

    Politicians largely act in the interest of politicians, the parties, the EU high command and their “consultancy” providers, the electorate come a very poor fifth at best.

    Egypt is a lesson (in the impact of ed) of religions (on politics ed). So what are the politicians doing in the UK? They are using taxes to fund religious schools that encourage these cleavages in society, to replicate a sort of Northern Ireland II, but rather worse. Also protecting these (word left out ed) beliefs from any criticism by special laws restricting free speech.

  2. Andyvan
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Whilst the military does not intervene in the government of the US and UK it does intervene in the government of many other countries. For some reason we feel so morally and intellectually superior to the locals that we can decide whether their government is suitable for them despite having governments of our own that cannot run an economy without a gigantic deficit. Every single intervention and interference by the West has been a disaster. Our “leaders” should get their own house in order before even expressing an opinion on others.

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      I see Sir Jeremy John Heywood the Cabinet Secretary has suggested recovery has suggested recovery could take 20 years. Well it might well if Sir Jeremy continues to preside over such a hugely bloated and inefficient state sector. Paying thousands of civil servants to do little of any use, at about 150% of private sector wage rates.

      If however he want a recovery all he has to do is start emailing redundancy notices out, for the 50% of his staff that are clearly surplus to requirements and 33% pay & pension cuts for the rest. Combine with tax cuts and just watch the recovery then. But alas we have self interested socialist in charge.

      • lifelogic
        Posted July 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Sorry posted in the wrong place in error.

  3. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Your last sentence seem pessimistic. Are you giving up on trying to change the nature of our relationship with the EU?
    There was a comment on one of last nights reports which underlined the fact that the coup was going against the state law in Egypt and in itself is antidemocratic.
    We have just travelled through the celebration of the American day of independence and little has changed over the years except the realisation that no one continent / nation is really independent and democracy, in the broadest sense, eventually wins through ( if we take it that democracy reflects the will of the people )
    Moral superiority arises from a notion that it is right and proper to follow one course or another and expresses a desire for self approval for executing that which is in the best interest of others as well as ( paradoxically ) self, yet who decides what is morally superior, who makes us instinctively know what is right? For example I cannot see why Iranian ladies have to continue with such strict dress codes. The weather makes the garments uncomfortable and the lack of sunlight puts women at risk of osteoporosis due to Vit D deficiency. The women abide by the rules due to the present law which to rebel against would be antidemocratic , but in actual being, the women are being harmed and we certainly cannot truly call it democracy.
    We in the UK have a framework for democracy and as you quite rightly point out the nuances and workings within that frame work of , reshape and remould continually morph into something new , but that is what is exciting about democracy :when something needs changing, it can be changed and we need to feel morally superior about that ,if nothing else.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      What has happened in Egypt is a “revolution”, in the rather specialised sense that it involves a legal discontinuity, with actions being taken which overturn existing law rather than being an evolutionary development of that law.

      Revolutions in that sense can range from being highly conspicuous to being so surreptitious that they are barely noticed by the wider population, and they can involve a lot of physical violence or little or none at all.

      The Civil War and ensuing events were both conspicuous and extremely violent, while the later Glorious Revolution was also highly conspicuous but involved very little physical violence.

      The EU rather specialises in surreptitious non-violent revolutions, for example that which took place on May 9th 2010 when EU leaders collectively decided to break the EU treaties by arranging a bailout for Greece even though they had no legal authority to do that.

      As the French Foreign Minister Pierre Lellouche implicitly admitted less than three weeks later, in an interview with the FT:

      “”It is an enormous change,” Mr Lellouche said. “It explains some of the reticence. It is expressly forbidden in the treaties by the famous no bail-out clause. De facto, we have changed the treaty,” he added.”

      The problem being that the only legally valid procedures for changing the EU treaties are to be found in Article 48 TEU, and none of them would allow EU leaders to make any such change to the treaties.

  4. David Price
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    There is the third factor which you raise which is that no matter what a minister or our democratically elected pariliament might want unless the “officials” agree then it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are UK officials or EU officials the effect is the same.

    What does that say about our nuanced democracy and the value of James Wharton’s bill?

  5. Posted July 5, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Are you not arguing that the constitution controls or should ministers!

    “can the establishment in a country curb or even change an elected government which goes beyond the establlishment’s view of what is reasonable or permissibile conduct”

    We for instance elect a government to rule within our constitution, you are now saying the EU prevents a minister doing what he might want, yet our constitution expressly forbids interference from outside of the state. Hence it is not the EU but our own governments who are to blame because they have ignored the constitution by allowing this interference from the EU.

    As the problem is internal so must be the solution.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 6, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      @Ken Adams: Did I miss something or did not the elected parliament of the UK pass various Acts (between 1972 & 2013) that allow the EU to do just that [1], are you saying that parliament acted beyond their powers when they passed such Acts and doesn’t that also mean that the elected parliament can not (in effect) change our unwritten constitution – and if so one has to then ask the question, who can, and what of the many other changes to our constitution over the years?

      Cherry picking (facts) is nice work if you can get it!…

      [1] also the EU doesn’t actually make out laws, although they might well specify what should be, but only national parliaments actually enact them. The national governments either ratify or negotiates a derogation or full opt-out. Any newly elected national government can also change any previous decision, they could (as so often pointed out within the comment sections of John’s blogs) even repeal the very act of accession to the EEC/EU.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 6, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Your [1] is incorrect as far as EU regulations are concerned, and they are by far the most numerous of the different kinds of EU laws.

        http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/introduction/what_regulation_en.htm

        “Regulations are the most direct form of EU law – as soon as they are passed, they have binding legal force throughout every Member State, on a par with national laws. National governments do not have to take action themselves to implement EU regulations.

        They are different from directives, which are addressed to national authorities, who must then take action to make them part of national law, and decisions, which apply in specific cases only, involving particular authorities or individuals.

        Regulations are passed either jointly by the EU Council and European Parliament, and by the Commission alone.”

        • Jerry
          Posted July 7, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: What did you not understand about the following; “The national governments either ratify or negotiates a derogation or full opt-out.”? I agree that some regulations do apply automatically ASSUMING that they apply (fully) to the member state in the first place.

          Message to JR: I do wish your webmaster would get the cookie problem sorted, unless the whole idea is to simply p*…sorry, annoy the active contributors off so much that they simply stop bothering to reply and perhaps even stop bothering to read the website….

          Having to constantly either re enter our details or going into the Cookie editor to edit the date is getting a little silly, considering that these cookies are expiring even when the site/page is open!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            What do you not understand about:

            “[1] also the EU doesn’t actually make out laws, although they might well specify what should be, but only national parliaments actually enact them.”

            which you wrote; and the contradictory:

            “Regulations are the most direct form of EU law – as soon as they are passed, they have binding legal force throughout every Member State, on a par with national laws. National governments do not have to take action themselves to implement EU regulations.”

            which has come from the EU Commission?

          • Jerry
            Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: ““Regulations are the most direct form of EU law – as soon as they are passed, they have binding legal force throughout every Member State, on a par with national laws. National governments do not have to take action themselves to implement EU regulations.”

            That might be so but if the EU and a national government has agreed an opt-out or what ever then the regulation doesn’t apply to that member state, what do you not understand. Try actually thinking the meaning through rather than just quoting chapter and verse from the Europa web portal all the time!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        Factual reply not yet published.

  6. Gary
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    “Ministers may decide (within the law) but officials may choose the timing and method of implementation”

    Just as I suspected, the ministry runs the country. So, we don’t have a democracy ?

  7. Nina Andreeva
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    “Our own UK democracy is facing a crisis of authority and accountability thanks to the many decisions that now cannot be made by any elected official, whatever the wishes of the UK people.” You really think that Dave grits his teeth, accepts the futility of trying to do otherwise and accepts the Brussels diktat against his better nature? I think its more realistic to say that the elite that run this country are just as much a problem as any perceived interference from overseas in ignoring the “peoples will”.

    I hope the British people soon develop the same political consciousness as the Egyptian people have about who are controlling their lives at the moment and when they do Britain will be a better place to live. Cameron the the EU sell out can go the same way as Morsi the American puppet

    • Jerry
      Posted July 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      @Nina Andreeva: “I hope the British people soon develop the same political consciousness as the Egyptian people have about who are controlling their lives at the moment and when they do Britain will be a better place to live.

      Well yes, I suppose descending into another civil war would clear the UK’s political cobwebs out…

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Our “democracy” has been the object of a coup by the EU, aided and abetted by MPs who betrayed their constituents by handing over the powers entrusted to them, without the people’s consent, to an organisation which is not and cannot be elected by the British people. Today there will be a mendacious attempt to persuade us that the Conservative party is actually prepared to reverse this coup and allow the people to decide. It is supported by a leader who has already expressed his determination to keep the UK inside this anti-democratic organisation called the EU. Today is cheap party political opportunism by Cameron.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Mao said “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”, and he was right.

    Most of us UK citizens alive now have never or only rarely experienced UK state employees pointing guns at us, but we know they could do so if necessary.

    We saw that in Northern Ireland, where it became usual for police officers to be equipped with firearms, and when their available firepower was no longer adequate to deal with the situation the armed forces had to be deployed in support of the civil power.

    So far the eurofederalists are only part way to providing themselves with the means to impose their will through violence or the threat of violence; they cannot always rely on national forces to do the work of violent repression on their behalf; their paramilitary force, the Eurogendarmie, is still in a relatively early stage of development; and so too with their federal armed forces, Eurocorps.

    Given time they will get what they want, unless they are stopped; but at present when Marine Le Pen asks what the EU would do if France left the euro, “Send in tanks?”, the correct answer is that although Eurocorps already has tanks the eurofederalists could not yet use them for that purpose; so instead they will resort to other means to protect their precious project, such as getting her prosecuted for anti-Muslim remarks.

  10. JoolsB
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    What makes you think we feel superior about our so called democracy John? As poll after poll shows, more and more people in England feel they live in anything but a democracy. It is now the only nation in the western world denied it’s own parliament or the government of it’s choosing but instead has it’s laws decided for it by unelected, unaccountable politicians elected outside of England.

    Before our politicians get on their high horse about what is happening in Egypt, may I suggest they look closer to home at the growing anger and resentment which is bubbling at the constant discrimination which is levelled at every man, woman and child in England both politically and financially by UK Governments of all colours, including this Tory led one.

    The Conservative party to their shame continue to ignore the greatest democratic deficit of all and will pay a heavy price come 2015.

  11. Deborah
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    No, England does not have army coups … just permanent rule by civil servants and bureaucrats whilst ministers dance around giving TV interviews, pretending they are in charge.

  12. Neil Craig
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the Egyptian people will be given the chance to vote again and again until they get it right – this appears to satisfy the EU definition of democracy.

    We should also remember that the BBC regularly assert that countries they don’t approve of like Russia & Iran aren’t democratic because, although the large majority vote for the winner, that winner doesn’t have our approval. The BBC justification being that the media must be biased (despite the fact that in Russia there is a legal requirement that even small parties get 21 hours coverage at elections – something which large but unapproved parties like UKIP do not get here).

    Since we have an openly corrupt electoral system (governments in Britain get about 1/3rd of votes cast & 20% of votes available) and we have a rigorously censored broadcasting monopoly I don’t think we are in a position to lecture about democracy.

  13. Iain Gill
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Democracy is not perfect. Hitler was elected, personally I wouldn’t have had a problem if anyone had overthrown him. Our own democracy is far from perfect, and as Falkirk demonstrates a small unrepresentative band selects many MP’s in practise, and they get rubber stamped by the electorate into their safe seat. And most of the population disagree with much of the consensus of the main political parties so stuff like immigration policy and implementation is so far away from what the public want we may as well be living under dictatorship by the politically correct classes of all the main parties.

    We need to do better to figure out ways to get the very best people capable of running the country into those jobs, at the moment we fail massively to do that.

  14. Lincoln
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    As any good Republican (not conservatives) would point out, you first establish a constitution and then elect a president, not the other way around. The constitution should include a lawful mechanism for removing a president, which seems to have been absent in Egypt, other than by street protest and military intervention.

  15. Martin Adamson
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    “can the establishment in a country curb or even change an elected government which goes beyond the establlishment’s view of what is reasonable or permissibile conduct?”

    I don’t think it was just “the establishment” that objected to the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s a feature of democracy itself that limits the amount that can be accomplished without destroying that very same democracy. Certainly, there is no way in any democracy in the world that a fundamental reduction in the social and legal rights of 50% of the population – women – could ever be carried through. Nor could any democracy survive that attempted to deprive 10% of the population – the Christians – of any right to participate in the political process at all.

  16. Posted July 5, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Mr.Redwood,

    It is time that Members of both Houses of Parliament acknowledge that the legislation which has taken us into membership of the European Union is contrary to our historic Constitution and therefore unlawful. Edward Heath was warned of the Constitutional implications, ignored that advice and lied to the nation about the effect on our Sovereignty. No Minister or Government has the right to give away what does not belong to them.

    The Sovereignty of this nation belongs to the people of this nation, and though rule is loaned to a government on a temporary basis and to a Monarch, in response to that Monarch’s promise to rule according to our laws and customs, that permission may be, and has been withdrawn in the past, with dire consequences to all concerned.

    Egypt and the U.S.A. have their own problems. The duty of our present representatives in Parliament is to correct the abuses which have occurred here.

    John Wrake

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 6, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      From the Conservative MP Brian Binley during yesterday’s debate:

      “I had the good fortune a long time ago of working as a bag carrier for Edward Heath in his private office. At that time, we talked about political union being the very essence of what this adventure was about.”

  17. Graham Hamblin
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Had there been the threat of a communist government back in the 1960’s I believe the military would have put an end to it? I believe the same will happen with respect to our membership of the European Union when the public finally wakes up to what has been done in their name and kicks up a real fuss.

    Mr Farage, where is he, is not the answer!

  18. Normandee
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    The people and then the army of Egypt reacted to what they saw as the democratically elected government handing over that government to another organisation that overall was not in the interest of the country. This is an exact copy of what has been happening here for the last few decades, here it has happened a lot more subtly, but happen it has.

  19. Andy Baxter
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Interesting Constitutional observations to consider;

    The English Civil War was a conflict betwixt a ‘divine right’ King who sought to exercise arbitrary and absolute power over his subjects and Parliament who ‘represented’ those same subjects in defending and extending their liberties and freedoms.

    It was a defining period in world history; yes world history because the historic liberties which blood was spilled for (Bill of Rights, Petition of Right, Habeas Corpus et al)we see being eroded by ever restrictive statutes on those self-same liberties.
    Those very same constitutional documents formed the basis of the Constitution of the United States, Canada, India, Australia NZ and others hence the impact on world history.

    Up until our recent surrender of sovereignty to the EU, Parliament in effect had become the new ‘divine right’ King and still seeks even today to impose its arbitrary and absolute power on its citizens via statute. MP’s who are supposed to ‘represent’ constituent interests are by and large party creatures bought via fear or favour under the whip system and initial selection (of which there is much furore of late)
    That we live in a ‘democratised dictatorship’ as Lord Hailsham argued in ‘Dilemma of Democracy: Diagnosis and Prescription’ is all too evident.

    Parliament (the legislative) can no longer be the defender and advocate of our liberties and rights whilst almost a 100 of its members are also part of the executive (government) there can be no true separation of power whilst our constitutional conventions (habits) allow such a situation to exist.

    Legislators who become part of the government should have no say in voting for policy they advocate and the electorate should have the final say on major constitutional issues via referenda, hell even in fact the budgets of their local councils for after all its OUR money that’s taken from us under menaces and spent without OUR say so.

    So if as is evident that Parliament is the new king exercising in effect absolute power who then should the defenders of our historic liberties and rights be? And who should have the final say in anything that affects our self-determination?

    “We the people”

    Isn’t that what the Egyptians are (albeit somewhat clumsily and destructively) doing now?

  20. Martin
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    You keep telling us how wonderful things would be out of the EU etc.

    Well our own wonderfully independent treasury has just been made to look out of its depth by by some tax dodgers!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jul/05/tax-avoidance-uk-effort-switzerland-fails

    Just as well for some that Unite has taken the headlines!

  21. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Overseas, the destabilization of Salvador Allende’s government in Chile comes to mind. Allende, a Marxist, had wrecked the Chilean economy and was clearly manoeuvering to avoid any more elections. Richard Nixon therefore decided to destabilize the Chilean government, something for which Richard Nixon had great aptitude.

    In the UK, there have been interactions between the Queen and politicians. One thinks of the early 20th century, when the Conservative opposition in the Lords was thwarting the programme of the Liberal Commons majority. And throughout the 20th century the military have been on hand, if necessary, to deal with Communist inspired Trade Union uprisings.

    Now, there is a problem with people who are deeply entrenched in the Foreign Office, the Home Office, Conservative HQ and Parliament, and are determined to prevent the will of the people prevailing on the EU and immigration. We need to flush out this nest of vipers and traitors, beginning with those in the Conservative Party. Having Europhile Conservative candidates makes no sense.

  22. cosmic
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    “So before we feel too superior about the maturity of our democracy and too dismissive of those in Egypt arguing over how to find a democratic model athat works for them,”

    We have elections, but I’d dispute whether that constitutes democracy, especially when both major parties agree not to talk about certain things. No particular feelings of superiority there, especially as we appear to be subsuming ourselves into the decidedly anti-democratic model of the EU. I’d say our democracy was a work in progress.

    It is in my view a dangerous assumption that Egypt wants a democratic model and it’s hard to see how that fits with the theocratic model which is vying for supremacy.

  23. Mark B
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I think we need to remind ourselves as to what democracy is. It is the right of the people to elect those who wish to stand-up and speak for them and for those so elected, to exercise power for the common good.

    As for Egypt, her Government, people and Army, all I can say is that their particular version democracy leaves something to be desired.

    The Muslim Brotherhood, who have been so implacably backed by the west, an in particular the US and the UK, have shown themselves to be anything but worthy of Government and elected office. The people, despite the aforementioned, elected them and have to shoulder the responsibility of what was ‘their’ decision. The Army has no place in this. An Army is for defence of the nation, not its power-broker.

    What may be uncomfortable for our Government, is that the Erdoğan Government in Turkey may itself face a similar crisis at some point.

  24. zorro
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Thomas Paine – “The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.”

    zorro

  25. Socrates
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    The BBC portrayal of democracy is as ever mindlessly simplistic. Their thesis is that if you (or in this case Morsi) have been elected – you have legitimacy. Sadly as usual they have a selective memory. Hitler was elected and worse still he was elected by a proportional representation system. Democratic legitimacy doesn’t just exist because someone was elected – it has to do with what they do afterwards. In most cases, I think that Hitler isn’t regarded as a democrat because of what he did after he was elected. When Morsi declared himself to be above the courts, I think that was a very clear sign that he had left the path of democratic legitimacy in the direction of dictatorship.

    The BBC’s frequent use of conservative as a description of the Muslim Brotherhood is symptomatic of their endemic bias against the Conservative Party. Why would they want miss an opportunity to damage the Party?

    I was greatly impressed with the Greek government’s recent approach to its’ state broadcaster. Perhaps we could use it as a template – but then Cameron wouldn’t have the nerve.

  26. Peter Davies
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    If there is any doubt about the direction the EU wants to head in – I saw a tweet from Martin Schulz on twitter earlier quote these words have been copied straight from Twitter:

    “US have one currency, one Central Bank and one Govt. Europe has one currency, one Central Bank and…17 govts! Cannot go on like this.”

    If you want an example of politics going out of control I cant think of anything more compelling right now

  27. Excalibur
    Posted July 6, 2013 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    My view is the United Kingdom would benefit hugely from a period of military rule. Having tolerated for decades the erosion of British values at the hands of the radical left (cloaked in a patina of moderation and reasonableness, of course), it would be salutary to have some of the diktats of the right imposed for a change. We could start with conscription for everyone on reaching the age of eighteen. I suspect many clamouring to get into Britain currently would find the prospect singularly less attractive.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      @Excalibur: “My view is the United Kingdom would benefit hugely from a period of military rule

      Always assuming the leader of the coup wasn’t follower of Fidel Castro – ho-hum!…. 😛

      Also, I find your disdain for free elections (which after all brought your hated political left to government) rather suggests that you either do not actually understand what “democracy” is or actively dislike the idea that the Plebs should have a say – in other words you are no so far removed from the hard left yourself, the only difference is who get a cut of the (nations) wealth.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page