Democracy day

750 years ago today England made an important democratic advance. The so called De Montfort Parliament met at Westminster. It was not the first Parliament, and it was the idea of a rebel government that had outmanoeuvred the King. They invited two knights from each shire and two burgesses from each important town, as well as nobles.

This was far from the first time powerful people in the land had instituted formal discussions with the King, the executive government. After all, on June 15th we will celebrate 800 years since Magna Carta. That too was a negotiation between Crown and powerful forces in the country. That established the idea of more meetings between Crown and barons to keep the King honest and to ensure follow up to promises. Subsequently Parliaments of varying composition had been called.

The central underpinning of this proto democracy was a simple one. Those who paid tax and offered allegiance to the King, should be able to seek redress of their grievances before granting more money. They should look to the Crown to offer impartial and fair justice for all, so disputes could be sorted out and criminal conduct dealt with in an independent and acceptable way.

Parliament grew from these origins. There was a strand of work gradually widening the franchise, until all adults came to enjoy the vote. There was another strand of political action, tightening the grip of Parliament over taxation, so monarchs first had to deal with Parliament to get supply, and then became figureheads as Parliament took over the administration of the executive and its budgets.

This impressive story of the growth of democracy was interrupted by our membership of the European Economic Community. It is still causing troubles, as there is no proper redress of our grievances with the EU before they take our tax revenue. There is no easy way of removing the EU government if it no longer pleases us the voters. That is why we need to have a constitutional debate about our relationship with the EU, and need to sort it out. This year of anniversaries reminds us of how precious our early development of freedom under the law, habeas corpus and Parliamentary representation was. It also reminds us how it has been damaged by EU administration and jurisprudence.


  1. john malpas
    January 20, 2015

    Before removing the EU there should be a removal of the politicians in the UK parliament who turned against the people of the UK and started replacing them with so called immigrants.

    1. petermartin2001
      January 20, 2015

      We need to better use of the many good arguments for exiting the EU along the lines that John Redwood has written in this article. Being anti -EU is not at all the same thing as being anti-European nor anti immigrant. The UK has always had immigration , long before we had EU membership.

      We need to raise the tone of the debate. If the anti EU campaign is seen to be dominated by the immigrant bashers of the far right, it is going to have much less chance of success.

      1. Livelogic
        January 21, 2015

        “Being anti -EU is not at all the same thing as being anti-European nor anti immigrant.”

        Indeed being anti EU is clearly being pro Europe and pro democracy – just anti the new undemocratic, disastrous, socialist super state being rammed down people’s throats.

        1. Hope
          January 21, 2015

          It is reported that Major thinks people view themselves as British not European but his diminishes with each generation. This sentiment lies behind the mass immigration policy of the LibLabCon cartel. What does this say about the lack of patriotism of Major? It seems to me it is the patriotic duty of each British citizen to force politicians to get the UK out of the EU and prevent the political project of the UK becoming a region of the EU super state which Major and his likes are trying to achieve. Nationalism and nationhood is a good force to keep our sovereignty and independence.

  2. Lifelogic
    January 20, 2015

    Indeed but thanks to Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and now especially Cameron we will never get any real reform nor any real say. What sensible red blooded Tory would want to join a party led by a wet, pro EU, green crap, tax borrow and waste, serial ratter like Cameron? He has managed to halve the party membership so far. One assumes the rest are just too old or lazy to bother change their bank debits.

    Looking at the list of (almost without exception) truly dreadful government ministers and his token women is very depressing indeed.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 20, 2015

      Lots of absurd & totally misguided “Juris” coming from the EU, but virtually nothing of “prudence” – discretion, foresight, forethought, circumspection. These are not words that spring to mind when one considered the EU. But then without any real democracy in place they are just not interest in prudence, they are interest in power, money, bossing people around, overpaid jobs and large pensions for themselves and their mates.

  3. Old Albion
    January 20, 2015

    All the more tragic that in the light of such history, England is the only country in Europe without it’s own Government or Assembly.

    1. Martyn G
      January 20, 2015

      And without a name on the map of the EU either!

  4. Narrow Shoulders
    January 20, 2015

    I wonder if those represented by knights and burgesses at de Montford parliament were able to recall their representatives if they misbehaved or did not look after their true interests. If not the de Montford parliament was no more democratic than the EU freight train which we can not derail.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      January 20, 2015

      I managed to keep quiet as regards John’s article but cannot allow the world to follow his lead, meaning that it was MontforTTTTT

    2. alte fritz
      January 20, 2015

      I think that ‘recall’ in the thirteenth century had altogether more sinister implications!

  5. Lifelogic
    January 20, 2015

    The next democracy day in the UK is May 7th just 15 weeks away and yet Cameron is not even trying to win. He dare not debate Farage nor even seriously address the main issues: unselective immigration, the EU, expensive green crap energy, the bloated size of the state sector, the dreadful quality of public services, the huge over taxation and regulation of everything and the dreadful state of government finances.

    His election strategy seems to be keep his fingers in his ears, whistle and keep walking straight over the cliff. Just like John Major,etc ed

    1. fedupsouthener
      January 20, 2015

      Yes, and the big worry is that while Cameron can’t be bothered he is leaving the door wide open for either a Labour/SNP/LibDim party if Farage cannot get enough seats. This will finish the UK off. He has to start talking to UKIP if we are to get some kind acceptable government. The whole green crap and renewables scenario is totally unacceptable and that is all the SNP are interested in. More subsidies for industry paid mainly by the rest of the UK’s bill payers.

      1. DaveM
        January 20, 2015

        Lots happens in a year. The point is, the number of MEPs which are anti-EU have made absolutely no difference to the autocratic rule of the European Council (of which we comprise 1/28th). Not democratic.

        Also, my apologies for posting the same points twice – I thought my first post had got lost in the ether when my Bahraini internet connection cut out.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      January 20, 2015

      Lifelogic–The decline in the oil price is serendipitous for him but he would do better in all respects, in particular how proud he is about homosexual so-called marriage, if he were to stay shut up

    3. Lifelogic
      January 20, 2015

      Cameron could of course still, just about win a full majority, with some sensible movement towards UKIP’s position and an offer of what the voters actually want. After all Miliband and even Lord Mandelson do seem to be trying to help Cameron.

      He seems simply not to be interested in winning. He is still foolishly aiming at a few lefty floating voters in a few marginals. This superficially might seem logical given the voting system, but it will not work. What is needed it some real change of direction, momentum & inertia from the Tories. The Tories need to stand for cheaper energy, far lower taxes, growth, more jobs and far less EU – currently they are just the same as Labour but for Milibands idiotic rent act II and the mansion tax. Indeed what is 12% SDLT if not a mansion tax from Cameron.

      Thatcher won 3 majorities (and another effectively with John Major as her man). Heath, Major (once he was sussed) and Cameron have all failed dismally electorally with their lefty, green crap, pro EU, over regulate & chase the marginals approach.

      So little time left and Cameron has not even nudged the tiller yet.

  6. DaveM
    January 20, 2015

    You’re right Mr Redwood. The problem I see and the frustrations many of us feel is that the times you describe above were far more volatile than now, and the major constitutional change you describe was brought about by violence and threats of violence. We are now supposed to have a fair system of voting. What a sick joke.

    From where I’m sitting, it feels like we have two choices of party (because any independents or non-LabCons are utterly hounded and destroyed by ConLab spin machines and tame media companies) and we have no US-style primaries to even decide who we want to lead those parties; the PM has presidential powers without the electorate having a presidential election.

    The people of the UK accept that voting is our way of telling you politicians what we do or don’t want, now the days of violent revolt are (hopefully??!!) in the past. The most recent local and EU elections have sent the loudest, clearest message in decades, but what difference has it made? Absolutely none. We (and many other EU member countries) have huge numbers of anti-EU MEPs yet it makes no difference. We in England have no parliament and can be forced to pay tax and conform to rules with no representation (which I thought Magna Carta was supposed to have addressed).

    There is no democracy in England. What we have is relative freedom to live our lives how we want but I don’t feel as if I have a say over anything. We send clamouring messages but they are ignored. Cameron says he offers a referendum – Labour won’t even do that because they’re scared of the result (as is Cameron probably).

    You say we need a debate and need to sort it out, but when? You and a couple of others seem to be the only ones who have the appetite to rock the boat and face up to these issues but nothing ever happens. Bills and White Papers disappear, MPs and Lords filibuster. To call our system democracy is a joke. We need to get out of the EU now and sort out the constitution of the UK if we are to have the privelege of calling ourselves a democracy. Hopefully the Greeks will start the ball rolling next week.

    Many of your blogs address the growth in wealth among the electorate. Be careful – the richer people get the more time they have to look around and realise what’s actually going on!

    In the meantime, don’t be duped into thinking that, just because we’re now busy and not talking exclusively about votes and referendums that things have gone back to where they were – if you speak to people in our towns and cities you’ll find that the move towards Ukip etc is more pronounced now than it was at the EU elections. Ukip just need a very cleverly fought election campaign (something they’re actually pretty good at (not that they have to try that hard these days)) and your leader and (word left out ed) Millipede are going to be left looking at each other in May saying “how did that happen?” A bit like Tescos and Sainsburys wondering how Lidl and Aldi are killing them.

    Do something John, before it’s too late and we’re living in a Brussels-controlled EUSSR. I hope it’s not too late already.

    1. DaveM
      January 20, 2015

      I’m posting crap all over the place today due to the wifi where I am – I’ll give up now!!!

      1. David Price
        January 21, 2015

        Not crap. You are right that we do not have democracy, in that each individual does not have an equal influence over policies or direction. Neither is it a democracy in the US sense of government of, by and for the people. What we have is government of the people by an elite for the elite’s benefit.

        There is no attempt at real debate on key issues that effect us and when there is consultation it is ignored – the focus is on being seen to consult not on facing and addressing the issues.

  7. Sheikh Zubair
    January 20, 2015

    Habeas Guantanamo.

  8. bratwurst
    January 20, 2015

    There is no proper redress of our grievances with the UK government before they take our tax revenue. There is no easy way of removing the UK government if it no longer pleases us the voters, except every 5 years. That is why we need to have a constitutional debate about our relationship with the government, and need to sort it out. This year of anniversaries reminds us of how precious our early development of freedom under the law, habeas corpus and Parliamentary representation was. It also reminds us how it has been damaged by UK administration and jurisprudence.

  9. The PrangWizard
    January 20, 2015

    All was well until you began the final paragraph, jumping headlong into your obsession with the EU.

    Today is the day you should have been writing about the people of England and the issue of a new and true parliament for England, but we know of course you opposed to that.

    Weak compromise on issues of principle and right is not something anyone should aim for.

    1. Duyfken
      January 20, 2015

      I would have thought that the last paragraph was the point of the article and the conclusion to which JR has come, and indeed which I thoroughly endorse. Far from an obsession with the EU, it might better be described as an aversion from the EU. The Prang Wizard seems obsessed with an English parliament whereas would it not be best just to have back our UK sovereignty?

      1. DaveM
        January 20, 2015

        UK sovereignty first, constitutional change thereafter. Surely we’re entitled to both?!! If we don’t get our sovereignty back the rest is moot anyway.

        We on this website spend a lot of time looking inwards and being pessimistic – if you look at Europe it might make you more optimistic!

        I feel positively brotherly towards our French, German and Greek neighbours at the minute. Not to mention the Catalans.

        1. William Gruff
          January 22, 2015


          UK sovereignty first, constitutional change thereafter …

          I can’t help smiling at that. I’ve been advocating the same for a very long time.

          Here’s to independence for England.

    2. John
      January 20, 2015

      My sentiments exactly PW. John purports to speak for England but did not consider it necessary to consult with the English before he elected himself to that position. Every part of the UK gets multiple referenda but the English are told what to do by the British and never asked if they approve.

  10. A.Sedgwick
    January 20, 2015

    Whatever the electoral implications of PR, FPTP is a current example of taxpayers being denied meaningful votes and sidelined by vested interests as per medieval monarchs. We are used to having governments elected with large majorities with 35% of votes cast, it looks possible that the party with the largest number of seats post May will poll 30%. The subsequent government will again involve post election, anti democratic horse trading, which gave us, for example, fixed five year parliaments, I don’t remember that in any manifesto.

    A pure PR vote, ironically as per European elections, would probably give a Conservative/UKIP popular vote majority and the real chance of an in/out referendum and perhaps rid us of another undemocratic system.

  11. alan jutson
    January 20, 2015

    Nice to have a few friends in this World, politically or otherwise, but a true friend will not constantly be demanding more and more money from you, neither will they be telling you how to run your life, or put limits on what you want to purchase.

    It begs the question, do our politicians really know the meaning of true friendship in a statesman like context.

  12. Bob
    January 20, 2015

    “That is why we need to have a constitutional debate about our relationship with the EU, and need to sort it out.”

    Parliament has done it’s very best to prevent any such debate, and in October 2011 they voted against putting the question to the voters in a referendum. It is clear that the LibLabCon want the UK to be governed from Brussels and UKIP want it governed from our own Parliament. The election is in May and the choices are clear, despite Mr Cameron’s numerous attempts to dupe the electorate.

    1. fedupsouthener
      January 20, 2015

      Hear,hear, and that is why many of us are voting UKIP!! We want our democratic country back.

  13. Kenneth R Moore
    January 20, 2015

    That is why we need to have a constitutional debate about our relationship with the EU, and need to sort it out.

    Here here!.

    First lets be a little more sceptical in our view of the Eu. Lets also stop pretending that the arguments are fundamentlly economic. We need to get real and face a number of uncomfortable truths – that the founders of the Eu project were radical revolutionaries with an ideology that is not in our national interest.

    Richard Coudenhove Kalergi, the son of an Austrian diplomat, is a little known figure outside of Brussels but is held with great reverence by the Eu commission.

    – In 1922 he founded the “Pan-European” movement in Vienna, which aimed to create a New World Order, based on a federation of nations led by the United States. European integration would be the first step in creating a world government

    – The movement was set back by the second world war but resumed shortly after

    – His belief was that ‘the man of the future will be of mixed race. The races and classes of today will gradually disappear due to the elimination of space, time, and prejudice’. (that would be more easily controlled by a supreme ruling elite)

    -Kalergi’s ideas are part of the guiding principles of the European Union.

    The Coudenhove-Kalergi European Prize is awarded every two years to Europeans who have excelled in promoting his ideas. Among those awarded such a prize are Angela Merkel and Herman Van Rompuy. Yes really. the European commision has named a prize after a man that advocated this deranged plan and is busily implementing it (with our governments helpful assistance.)
    This has been happening with barely a whimper of protest from our government or usual media outlets.
    I wonder if Dr Redwood feels it appropriate that there exists a Coudenhove -Kalergi prize ?. Do you find it’s existence rather creepy and sinister ?

    1. agricola
      January 20, 2015

      I can sympathise with the desire in Europe ,in the aftermath of WW2, to create something that avoided it’s repetition. I have no problem with a trade area that encompasses services and professions. Law would be a problem for the UK because the basis of our law is different from their Napoleonic base.

      Fifty or a hundred years of trading might have given the Mediterranean countries the chance to prosper and be as successful as their northern neighbours.
      To do so they would undoubtedly have needed to retain their own currencies and adjusted them to help their economies. Maybe after fifty years there would have been a number of countries whose economies were in harmony, sufficient to opt for a common currency. However much the southern countries might have wished to become part of a common currency area they should not have been allowed to do so until their economies were strong enough . Others like the UK, Switzerland, Norway etc. should have stayed as associate members because the DNA of their electorate is such that they need to feel free to function.

      Sadly over ambitious and unthinking politicians, maybe with a desire for self aggrandizement got hold of it and in their haste have created the chaos we see today with all the components for serious civil unrest.

      1. Kenneth R Moore
        January 20, 2015

        To me, the idea that we should have embarked on a journey to destroy, then re-build European member states just to prevent a further uprising of German agression is abhorent. But that seems to be the course upon which our political grandees have undertaken.

        It is the logic of owning a Rolls Royce…then smashing it up with sledgehammers just to make it less likely it will be stolen by a jealous thief. Better security together with reform of the character of those that covert others property is the answer.

        In 1945 a single power tried to dominate Europe and was repelled by nations that valued their independence and right to self determination. Why do today’s elites so readily yield to the remote and unelected Eu ?

        1. Richard
          January 21, 2015

          Didn’t Nicholas Ridley tell Dominic Lawson in July 1990 that monetary union was “all a German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe” ?

          1. Kenneth R Moore
            January 22, 2015

            It’s a pity Mrs Thatcher didn’t take note of Mr Ridley’s sentiment earlier in her career – by the time she had turned against the Eu project it was too late to turn the tide in my view.

  14. willH
    January 20, 2015

    Mr Redwood I keep reading that MPs have nothing much to do from now until the election, so how come there was no time to debate the EWA properly?

  15. agricola
    January 20, 2015

    Thanks for the history lesson. I would add that the lack of connect between those who pay taxes and those who rule lost us our American Colony. All we have achieved of late is to have replaced a myopic monarch with a myopic government who are playing out his role to the increasing irritation of the electorate. It is not just about taxes this time, though £12 Billion and climbing is a big subscription for nothing. Dishonest politicians since the end of WW2 have systematically connived at the destruction of the UK as a price of their adulterous relationship with Europe and their cuckolding of their own electorate.

  16. Bert Young
    January 20, 2015

    It grieves me whenever I think of the relationship we have with the EU . We are no longer independent and we cannot rely on our parliament representing us and formulating the laws that govern us . We joined a European Free Trade Union and not a European Political Union . The backgrounds and cultures of the countries within the EU are too diverse for them to exist happily under one centrist control and the bureaucracy it has created is , frankly , laughable .

    We have made a grave mistake in participating in the morass of the EU and we should withdraw and re-instate our democracy at the earliest opportunity . This year – the time when we celebrate the Magna Carta is the time to do it .

  17. James Matthews
    January 20, 2015

    Without an English Parliament there is no democracy for the English. Will the BBC be suitably outraged I wonder?

  18. Iain Moore
    January 20, 2015

    Just listened to the debate on democracy on the Today program. Not one of the worthies the BBC invited for the debate mentioned the problem of having much of our sovereignty locked away in EU treaties, that makes voting a pointless exercise , as the electorate aren’t allowed to change very much any more.

    Reply I was there and made just that point

    1. fedupsouthener
      January 20, 2015

      John, in light of your views I wonder why you did not jump ship ages ago. What are you doing in a party that seems to be against much of what you believe in?

      1. Leslie Singleton
        January 20, 2015

        Fedup–This is much trodden old ground–He gave his word to his local Party and that, he says, overrides everything else

    2. Brian Tomkinson
      January 20, 2015

      Reply to reply,
      The BBC chose not to broadcast your contribuition; I wonder why?

      1. Iain Moore
        January 20, 2015

        Thanks, I thought I hadn’t heard Mr Redwood’s contribution.

        I wonder how he feels having his argument censored off the air waves?

      2. fedupsouthener
        January 20, 2015

        I noticed that BBC Scotland tonight mentioned the fact that the Tories want English votes for English issues but I did not see this mentioned on the BBC London (England) news programme this evening.

  19. Martyn G
    January 20, 2015

    A measured and true post, John. As I have said before, our freedoms (now being rapidly eroded) were passed to us by those who fought and often died in their efforts to secure our freedom. Up to joining the EU our Parliament were the trustees of those freedoms and absolutely without the right to throw it all away, as it has and continues to do.
    Magna Carta? Thrown away. Habeous Corpus? Thrown away. Freedom of speech? The latest bill going through Parliament in the guise of anti-terrorism measures will effectively throw that away too – a careless word overheard in public leading to someone – anyone – making a complaint about it will lead to police action and possibly a criminal conviction. Freedom? Don’t make me laugh, after all we must not let the situation become confused by facts!

  20. Richard1
    January 20, 2015

    We often hear from leftists that people are ‘disenfranchised’ by our democracy. The green leader Natalie Bennet seems to claim it, and an incoherent student claimed it in a debate in Westminster Hall broadcast today. Of course no citizen over 18 and out of gaol is disenfranchised – they have the vote. What such leftists mean of course is we do not have a government pursuing policies which they like. Well Ms Bennet and other leftists, you are free in this country to argue for your socialist nonsense, but we are free to vote against it. The evidence is liberal democracy and capitalism delivers better outcomes for people, and that’s why – so long as they have a choice – people are inclined to vote for it. Those like the greens who want to destroy prosperity by opposing free trade, imposing ruinous taxes and forcing expensive energy on the basis of a spurious environmental scare are likely to be disappointed.

  21. Mark B
    January 20, 2015

    Good morning.

    If Parliament and Parliamentarians such as yourself believed in the things you say, then they would evoke Article 50 of the TFEU, and begin negotiations on a new relationship with the EU.

    You power lay with people such as yourself. If, as you yourself have pointed out repeatedly, not enough members support our removal from the commitment to EVER CLOSER UNION, then we are destined to forever be further entwined within the EU.

    1. zorro
      January 20, 2015

      If Parliament is not sovereign, it is nothing…..


  22. oldtimer
    January 20, 2015

    This is the key issue of the day. The ruling political class ignores it at its peril.

  23. bluedog
    January 20, 2015

    We also need a constitutional debate about the role of the Bank of England in the programme of Quantitative Easing. Who sits on the Treasury benches in Threadneedle Street? The answer is no-one, although QE is the global fashion in economic management and everybody’s doing it. As a consequence interest rates in the UK and globally are zero in real terms, a massive disincentive to savers. And what is the solution to an absence of savings, (incredibly not a problem in the UK, but it should be)? Yes, it’s more QE! An economic system that denies real returns to savers, encourages borrowings at negative real interests and makes up any shortfalls in the money supply with the printing-press may not be a long term proposition.

  24. Mondeo Man
    January 20, 2015

    Let’s please stop blaming the EU.

    The blame lies entirely with our own political class and their adherence Blairism:

    The reconcilliation of champagne socialism with capitalism, Animal Farm elitism with ‘equality’ instead of fairness for the rest (fairness is all we Ukippers demand) And multi-culturalism to dethrone Anglicanism and Anglo-Saxon heritage.

    Why do they do it ?

    So that they can pay for the sins of their Imperialist fathers (mine toiled down pits and on farms) whilst enjoying protected status from the true costs – paid for by others – of assuaging their own guilt.

    They make a living from blaming the EU for their inadequacies and then wonder why a popular anti EU party comes into being.

  25. Mitchel
    January 20, 2015

    A debate with/between whom?Most of the Establishment seem to have been happy to acquiesce in,if not promote,the dissolution of our democracy and leave decisions to the Davos/Bilderberger/UN set -the EU is just a middle man.

    I really do believe that at some stage we,the people, are going to have to restore democracy by force of arms.

    1. turbo terrier
      January 20, 2015

      Have to say that you could well be right unless the political elite start hearing and listening

  26. Denis Cooper
    January 20, 2015

    Centuries of hard-won progress towards national democracy have been reversed; but never mind, youngsters in Scotland will soon be able to vote in all the elections classed as “municipal” by the EU, just as they were able to vote in the referendum last autumn on whether to break up the country, even if their votes will actually be worth less and less as more and more power drains away to the EU:

    “NICOLA Sturgeon has pledged to fast-track law changes which will hand 16- and 17-year-olds the vote in Holyrood and council elections in Scotland.

    The First Minister said new legislation will be enacted at the Scottish Parliament “as soon as possible” after a deal was struck between the UK and Scottish Governments to devolve the power over the franchise.”

    “Scottish Secretary Alistair ­Carmichael added: “I’m delighted to confirm a timetable has been agreed for 16- and 17-year- olds to vote in future Scottish Parliament elections.

    “I’ve always been a firm ­believer in votes at 16 – with the sheer number of young people participating and voting in last year’s referendum, I believe the case has become ­undeniable.”

    The Section 30 order is the first stage in implementing the Smith Commission’s plans for greater devolution after the ­referendum No vote.”

    1. Mondeo Man
      January 20, 2015

      If teenagers voted Conservative would she have been so keen ?

  27. Atlas
    January 20, 2015

    I think that tight grip that the Whips have has reduced Parliament to rubber-stamping the policies the Civil-Service bounces Ministers into fronting. So the EU is not our only source of ‘democratic deficit’.

    Reply THis has been the most rebellious Parliament since 1945 so you are wrong.

    1. ian wragg
      January 20, 2015

      Rebellious my a*se. There are a handful of rebels amongst a majority of quislings.
      Will the coming politicians particularly Tory, talk the Eurosceptic talk and then when elected change tack as usual.
      Cameron is a traitor as is Milipede and Clogg. Just what is it that makes our weak politicians hand over our country to a Napoleonic /Stalinist quango.
      All over Europe the wheels are starting to come off the gravy train and Daves mate even had the Dresden march stopped. The politicians all over Europe are wetting themselves because the plebs are starting to revolt. I think it will end very badly and politicians and ex politicians will be fair game.

    2. Jagman84
      January 20, 2015

      I think that Atlas is entirely correct about the Civil Service. It has been politicised beyond redemption by successive Labour Governments. Quangos are stuffed with their placemen/women and howls of protest from the left if attempts are made to remove them. I still await the “bonfire” to be lit.

  28. Timaction
    January 20, 2015

    There are a few voices in the LibLabCon who claim to oppose the unelected EU superstate but they are heavily outnumbered by the those who want us to be part of this entity without the will or mandate of the people. After all it is the legacy parties who signed us up to this position by incremental stealthy treaty changes and lying to the people.
    UKIP will continue to tell the truth whilst the rest spin and lie about their true intentions.

  29. outsider
    January 20, 2015

    Dear Mr Redwood, I note that Labour is pledged to enfranchise anyone over 16. Like almost all recent attempts at constitutional reform (alternative vote, fewer MPs, House of Lords, fixed 5 year Parliaments) this is no doubt designed cynically to favour the party proposing it.
    More importantly, perhaps, it shows how unimportant the privilege of voting is now seen by the political elite.
    At age 16, one is not considered sufficiently responsible to buy a Swiss penknife or a bottle of wine, order half a pint of beer, buy a cinema ticket for any certificated film, enter into any contract such as a credit card transaction or start accompanied on-road driving lessons.
    But Labour considers one is responsible at 16 to help choose the Westminster government as well as local authorities and MEPs. If a Labour-led government introduced such a “reform”, I doubt that the Conservatives or LibDems would oppose it because that might be judged bad for their brand image, which is all that now matters to them.

    1. Iain Moore
      January 20, 2015

      And what is me than likely to happen is that Cameron, the ‘ heir to Blair ‘ will go along with it, just like he has gone along with all the rest of Labour’s constitutional vandalism, and done nothing to reverse it.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      January 20, 2015

      Outsider–How old do those Cardinals have to be (possibly just in practice if there is no rule) to elect the Pope?

    3. Richard
      January 21, 2015

      I do not think it should be a question of age but rather whether any tax is or has been paid.

  30. Peter Stroud
    January 20, 2015

    Many of us agree that a free and open debate on the EU, and it’s distorting of our democracy, is essential. But, assume the Conservatives win the GE with an overall majority, what is the chance that such a debate would be allowed? We know that there would be no chance of examining the workings of the EU under Labour, or if the LibDems were still involved in government.

    1. Mondeo Man
      January 20, 2015

      The risk of voting Conservative and being let down is one that I’m not prepared to take anymore.

      The frustration I have felt in the last five years has been too intense to go through again – that I voted for it being the worst.

  31. The PrangWizard
    January 20, 2015

    The BBC is being its usual deceitful self today. We had Joanna Gosling in Westminster Hall saying that today in 1265 we had the first ….. wait for it ‘elected’ parliament, not an English parliament of course, going on quickly to get the British word in. They are trying their hardest not to mention England.

    1. ian wragg
      January 20, 2015

      Joanna Gosling probably wouldn’t be able to distinguish between England and Britain. To the BBC we are a province of Europe.

    2. Lifelogic
      January 20, 2015

      Of course the BBC is in effect just a lefty arm of the EU & LibLabCon. Ones assumes that is why Cameron appointed Lord Patten. Who next, Lord Mandelson or Ken Clarke perhaps?

      Today the BBC were going on about “up to 20-30% of voters in the EU voting for extremist parties” one assumes this is another sly attack UKIP types of parties. What on earth is “extremist” about wanting some UK democracy, control of our borders, selective immigration, cheaper energy, lower simpler taxes, better services, a smaller state, free trade and fewer regulations?

      Many other countries have exactly that – are the Swiss, Canadians, Australians and Americans all extremists?

      1. Leslie Singleton
        January 20, 2015

        Lifelogic–And it cannot be said often enough that Canada sends three quarters of its Exports to America–a much higher percentage than we do to the Continent–a subject much banged on about by the EU nutters; and wouldn’t even think of an ever closer (hog tied) union, common currency, non existent border etc–Oh and don’t forget we are the 5th biggest Economy in the World (so apparently too small to stand on our own–fatuous); and in any event you would think that given that Canada and America speak the same language; and furthermore are without the Channel in between that, if anything, any (hard to detect) pressure for homogenisation might be larger over there. No way though. Try talking to a Canadian. It must be something that has been slipped in to the water we drink. Never ever get a glimmer of an answer on these points. My own MP certainly has nothing relevant to say.

        1. Leslie Singleton
          January 21, 2015

          Postscript–Plus Canada’s population is much smaller than ours

    3. forthurst
      January 20, 2015

      In 1265, constitutionally speaking, there was no ‘British’ anything since neither Wales, Scotland nor Ireland had been incorporated into the Realm. One cannot help feeling that the solution to the problem of the BBC is to locate the loathsome specimen who ‘believes’ that neither England nor the English have ever existed and give them the same attention received by Simon de Montford after the Battle of Evesham.

  32. margaret brandreth-j
    January 20, 2015

    There has been a lot of chat about the Great Charter recently not least of all Mr Camerons blunder when he could not translate Magna Carter. Never mind . David Starkey brings attention to clause 39 which mentions justice and freedom and there are lots of other ‘articles’/ ‘clauses’ which may not be appropriate today .We in the West need to continue with the evolution of democracy but we( as the power of the people) should not be forced to go along a particular direction. I do beleive that the monarchy had little choice in giving powers to the people though . Let us , the majority, not have a reversal of that scenario.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 20, 2015

      Powers the politicians are have now given and are still giving away without any authority from the people.

  33. BobE
    January 20, 2015

    This was because the elite had been hearing about the revolution in France and were terrified that the English might get their own Guillotine. Better to create their own democracy before the people decided for them. Viv la France.

    January 20, 2015

    Today on “Daily Politics ” on TV, excerpts were shown of Rt Hon Harriet Harman (Labour ) and Caroline Lucas ( Green ) on their take on women’s bare chests in light of a daily newspaper ditching its portrayal of such.

    Parliamentary democracy is obviously dependent on just who is elected. Are they of the right calibre? Are they grown-up? Are they likely to go off at a tangent to mature discussion and spout puerile nonsenses?

    The Party system oddly has colours, such as red, blue, green, purple, yellow etc and is reminiscent of schooldays when one was bunged into a “House” for purposes of sports and athletic competition.

    Unfortunately some MPs are elected on the basis of colour/ ideological reasoning without any real reference by the electorate to individual capabilities and complete maturity.
    It may not be the time to end political parties in England and make Parliament a collection of individuals who may shift their allegiances and groupings in a more fluid way than that allowed by Party Whips. Pity.

  35. Sandra Cox
    January 20, 2015

    Aah, democracy – what a wonderful word – sadly becoming a distant memory in the UK.

    Disgracefully and shockingly, this government and parliament has taken democracy and justice even further out of our reach: EAW surrender, and further powers to the EU, continuation of the replacement of the native population with others who have no love, loyalty or respect for our country and its laws, leading to electoral fraud; snoopers’ charter and suppression of free speech; chaotic referendum in Scotland, lack of democracy for the English – the list goes on.

    What we have is faux democracy – a shameful, shameless, sham – designed to weaken the very foundations of a once great nation, trussing it up in preparation for consumption by the EU.

    David Cameron has demonstrated that he has no love or respect for the history of our country, so how can we trust him or most of our so-called parliamentary representatives when the only people he and they are representing are themselves and their bosses in Brussels. Under this parliament, our democratic process has almost completed its transformation into something that would shame a banana republic. We are now approaching a sham general election – postal voting and fraud in many constituencies, electoral rules hastily being reviewed and future coalitions being “formed” for political advantage, probably as we speak.

    For pity’s sake, your party has had five years to negotiate and take action on one of our most precious freedoms – the ballot box: boundaries, postal voting and its bi-product, electoral fraud! Lack of effective action in these areas by Cameron and his clique leads me to believe that the process that underpins democracy has also been infiltrated by the undemocratic tentacles of the EU?!

    And as for any sort of democracy for England – no rush, Hague has only been thinking about it for fifteen years and counting!! …..

    1. Iain Moore
      January 20, 2015

      “no rush, Hague 2

      Cameron gave the consideration of English devolution to a politicians, Hague, who has lost interest in politics , and who wants to go off to the back woods of Wales to write books.

      Thanks a lot Cameron, we really really appreciate that consideration.

  36. Sandra Cox
    January 20, 2015

    …. And as for any sort of democracy for England – no rush, Hague has only been thinking about it for fifteen years and counting!! …

    … Further to my earlier comment, and the question of democracy for the English, a recent press release from Campaign for an English Parliament:

    “…Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish taxpayers will all have their own manifesto, explaining how each political party policy will affect them. This is because all the political parties produce separate manifestos for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland…while England continues to be left out in the cold.

    Yet there is clear policy separation between the countries of the UK, especially when it comes to Health and Education. What affects England does not necessarily affect Scotland and vice versa. This means that the people of England must have their own manifesto, or else how can they make a clear and educated decision at the General Election?…”

    John, as the Conservative Party owes its very existence to English voters, does it finally intend to produce a separate manifesto for England, as it apparently has always done for the other three nations?

  37. Martin
    January 20, 2015

    Would the Roman Catholic Church be able to sue the Monarch for the return of its assets seized by Henry 8th?

    What about the execution of Sir Thomas Moor by Henry 8th?

    Most historians would point out that all Magna Carta did was say that the King had to be sort of decent (some of the time) to the rich barons.

    I also have no means of remedying my grievances with UK organisations I have to stump up tax for. A minor change in policy a few years down the line is the best it gets for us peasants! (e.g. I no longer have to go to the Post Office to stump up for Road Tax).

    P.S. When will we get a referendum about leaving the Commonwealth? An organisation I get no benefit from whatsoever.

  38. John B
    January 20, 2015

    “The central underpinning of this proto democracy was a simple one. Those who paid tax and offered allegiance to the King… etc”

    Except it those who pay little or no tax now who get what they want by voting themselves the money of others.

    The King had to go to Parliament for supply; to whom does Parliament have to got to for supply… before you say the voter, re-read the above sentence?

    Parliament has in essence become the King, taxing to fund foreign wars, buy influence, pay for a nice lifestyle.

  39. lojolondon
    January 20, 2015

    John, you are absolutely so right to point out this important date, which has had enormous influence on the entire world, especially the West.
    Note I predict that the Biased BBC will doubtless sweep the whole event under the carpet, as they are partly EU funded and fully EU compliant, and the mortal enemy of the EU is democracy and nationalistic pride.

  40. Kenneth R Moore
    January 20, 2015

    My post seems to have been declined.

    I will try to paraphrase.
    Today being democracy day and with Magna Carta in mind I’m mindful of ‘The Coudenhove-Kalergi plan’. |It’s (evil in the eyes of anyone that values diversity and freedom) is a doctrine very close to the Eu’s heart. In fact they have named a special prize after it and award it to leading figures such as Angela Merkel and Herman van Rompuy.
    In short the ‘plan’ is to create a homogenous Europe through social engineering/mass immigration without the consent of the voters. It was and is a mad idea but that doesn’t stop Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg, Mrs Merkel and the usual suspects wanting to implement it more than 100 years after it’s inception.

    Magna Carta will become irrelevant if the |EU grandees get their way (and the electorate continue sleepwalking to disaster)

  41. DaveM
    January 20, 2015

    There’s no democracy in England or the UK Mr Redwood.

    We vote to get our views across so we don’t return to the violent revolutions you speak about in your blog. But what difference does it make?

    We have a choice of two parties (all others are savaged by the ConLab spin and media machine). We have NO choice over the leaders (effectively a president without presidential elections or even primaries).

    We told you what we thought at the last locals and EUs – there are anti-EU MEPs from all over Europe but it makes no difference. The patronising attitude of your leader and (word deleted ed) Milliband is a bloody insult – one promises a referendum as a carrot, the other won’t even entertain it. WE’RE NOT STUPID KIDS!!! We told you what we wanted democratically but you won’t give it to us. How is that democracy? It’s a sick joke.

    We have a broad choice over how to live our lives but not the rules by which we live. How is that a democracy?

    I just hope to God that what I hear in our towns and cities is reflected at the ballot boxes in May, and, like Tesco and Sainsburys lamenting the rise of Lidl, Cameron and Milliband are left looking at each other and saying “how the hell did that happen?” while someone else walks into Downing Street cheered by the masses who voted for them.

    Do something John! I’d suggest that in this year of Magna Carta, the political so-called elite study the causes and events that led up to it rather than pretending to be the people who enforce it. Reminds me of Animal Farm – Napoleon Cameron and Snowball Milliband. Dictators masquerading as Democrats.

    A plague on all your houses.

    Reply I seem to remember around one third voted UKIP in May, and their poll rating is now 15%. That does not get the UKIP leader into Downing Street.

    1. BobE
      January 20, 2015

      Yes, but we can make a good start and be ready for 2020. We can only do what is possible. (By then the Tories will have privatised the NHS I wager).

    2. DaveM
      January 20, 2015

      Lots happens in a year. The point is, the number of MEPs which are anti-EU have made absolutely no difference to the autocratic rule of the European Council (of which we comprise 1/28th). Not democratic.

      Also, my apologies for posting the same points twice – I thought my first post had got lost in the ether when my Bahraini internet connection cut out.

    3. Kenneth R Moore
      January 20, 2015

      Opinium Polling 17th Jan
      Labour 33% (nc)
      Conservatives 28% (-4)
      UKIP 20% (+3)
      Lib Dem 7% (-1)
      Green 6% (+2)

      I would say UKIP are firmly snapping at the new un-popular modern Conservatives heels. If you leave an open goal, as wide as Cameron has, someone like Farage is going to kick the ball in.

      An experienced campaigner like John Redwood knows his party would be around 40% now (considering Labour are in meltdown) but he’s been hammered by Cameron and his cronies lurching from one unpopular decision to another.

      Reply You choose an outrider poll for UKIP. The average is lower.

      1. Kenneth R Moore
        January 21, 2015

        The yougov Poll on the same day puts UKIP on 18% suggesting a figure closer to 20% than 15%. The real question is why are the Conservatives doing so badly – your party should be around 38% now to stand a chance of winning in 2015.

        Reply Another recent poll has UKIP on 11%.

  42. Brian Tomkinson
    January 20, 2015

    Here is your coalition government colleague Cable’s contribution to Democracy Day given today, as you might expect, to his and your real bosses – senior EU officials:
    “We do not think that a referendum is sensible or helpful in anyway. Precipitating a referendum in current conditions, holding out the prospect of major reforms that aren’t going to be achieved is dangerous.”

  43. JoolsB
    January 20, 2015

    There is no such thing as democracy for us English John.

    I see Gideon today has confirmed that draft legislation on the devolution of extra powers to Holyrood will be published on Thursday. No mention of EVEL though, except to say restrictions on the voting powers of Scottish MPs would ‘have to apply on areas connected with the Budget’.

    So there we have it, it now seems English votes for English laws has been watered down yet again to meaningless restrictions on only some areas. We should have known Cameron would rat on the promise he made on the steps of Downing St. on the morning of 19th Sept.

    The anti-English Lab/Lib/Con parties deserve our contempt, they do not know the meaning of democracy!

  44. formula57
    January 20, 2015

    Of likely more significance than EU/UK relations and structures is the post-nation state world that finds expression in Philip Bobbit’s notion of the “market state”. That is described by George Martinez thusly: –

    “The authority of the nation state is based on the idea that the state offers
    to improve the material well-being of its people in exchange for its power
    to govern. According to Bobbitt, the nation state will not be able to satisfy
    this goal because of a number of current developments in the world. One
    such development is the realization that nation states will no longer be able
    to protect their citizens or to preserve their national cultures. Instead, the
    market state is emerging as an entity to take the nation state’s place. In
    contrast to the nation state, the market state offers to maximize individual
    opportunities for the people in exchange for power.”

    Alas, it seems the 1 per cent. are busy having their individual opportunities maximized and there is no time for the rest of us to have the same done and no-one with any power to change things who we can ask, nation state (or supra-state) politicians not being relevant anymore.

  45. Jon
    January 20, 2015

    Nice blog on Democracy Day and something we can be proud off. All is not well though, if I can refer to the Governments Guidance on pension freedoms. This is about no taxation without representation. The financial advice industry will be charges £4.2 million in it’s first year to pay for it, the set up cost is a Government loan of £20 million, who will pay for that?

    Where is the representation for the tax? No one from the industry was invited to partake or sit on the boards. It is being devised by unqualified appointed people. Who takes on the liability if all goes wrong? If an additional tax is to be levied there should be representation but there is none.

    There are other areas where additional taxes have been levied on target groups or proposed taxes such as the mansion tax. When specific minority groups are targeted for a new tax should there not be representation specific to that target group on how it is spent? Income tax etc is a broad brush but I see these targeted stealth taxes undermining the basic principle of due representation.

  46. Hefner
    January 20, 2015

    Another of John “EU bee in his bonnet” Redwood ramblings! As if the meeting of knights and burgesses had brought democracy, the rule of people by people. In those days as today, most MPs mostly represent the “great and the good” without much concern for ordinary citizens/subjects. Try asking JR whether he could sign an Early Day Motion. He doesn’t do EDMs!
    And without the suffragettes, Parliament would not have given the vote to women by its own will.

    On a related topics, isn’t it a “joke” to hear the Conservatives asking for a 40% vote for allowing employees to possibly start a strike. As if any of the Conservatives, Labour, Lib-Dems had recently got to such a level in recent elections.
    Finally, some contributors to this blog appear to hate the “EU compliant BBC”. Have they ever considered and analysed what is available outside the BBC?

    Reply I rarely sign EDMs as they are not normally debated. I prefer to make the point contained in an EDM direct to a Minister so the government considers the point and we get a reply.

  47. Javelin
    January 20, 2015

    Hmm. I feel that it’s hard to slide a fag paper between the main parties. They chase the marginal voters and ignore core voters. Is this really democracy?

  48. TJS
    January 20, 2015

    Thank you Dr Redwood. It is always a pleasure to read your blog.
    There are so many things that voters in the UK are completely unaware of because they are never discussed.
    For eg; How many people know that our BBC gets funds from the EU?
    There are 800 plus Jean Monnet seats in acedemia. They are all being payed for by the taxpayer without our consent.
    The European Union has it s fingers in every pie without any acountablity to the people who fund it.

  49. John Bull
    January 20, 2015

    What about colonialism? Was that part of the impressive story of democracy?

  50. Richard
    January 21, 2015

    Democracy in the UK, and even more so in England, is disappearing.

    This is because the vast majority of our MPs are no longer “representing” their constituents views but simply following the party line.

    We have the 3 main parties, Con/Lab/Lib, and the Greens all agreed on the 3 major policies of our time :

    The extinction of our democracy through continued EU membership.

    The extinction of social cohesion through continued mass immigration of both
    EU and non-EU people.

    The extinction of our ability to provide sufficient energy for ourselves though the Climate Change Act.

    This means that there will be is no discussion at all from these parties about these important issues during the forthcoming election.

    Since any vote for these parties will naturally be considered by these parties as a vote to continue with these policies, it makes no sense at all for anyone who does not agree with any of these policies to vote for any of these parties.

    As Albert Einstein said :

    “Insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    1. Mondeo Man
      January 21, 2015

      But Einstein wasn’t a quantum physicist.

      1. Richard
        January 21, 2015

        Quantum theory does produce consistent, reproducible and predictable results otherwise it would not be serving any useful function in physics.

        Furthermore, to quote Wikipedia on the subject of quantum mechanics :

        “In 1905 Albert Einstein interpreted Planck’s quantum hypothesis realistically and used it to explain the photoelectric effect, in which shining light on certain materials can eject electrons from the material. He won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for this work. Einstein further developed this idea to show that an electromagnetic wave such as light could also be described as a particle (later called the photon), with a discrete quantum of energy that was dependent on its frequency.”

      2. stred
        January 22, 2015

        Albert Einstein proposed that light consisted of ‘quanta’ in 1905, and this theory was rejected at the time by Max Plank and Bohr. Later he proposed the relationship of frequency and the Plank constant. Then there was his work on atomic energy levels, the photo electric effect and the word ‘photon’. He took part in the development of Quantum Mechanics, debating with Bohr but, possibly because of his Theories of Special and General Relativity limited the speed of light, he could not accept the conclusion of ‘spooky action at a distance’, which results from QM. Not a quantum physicist- he started it. Re Wiki.

  51. Iain Moore
    January 21, 2015

    So much for democracy when the SNP state they are going meddle in the English NHS.

    If Cameron wasn’t so Englishphobic he would have resolved the West Lothian Question with the result the SNP would have been kept out of English politics.

    Now as a result of Cameron’s incompetence, he not only failed to to get equal constituency sizes which has cost the Conservatives dear, now he won’t be able to carry his business in England ( if re-elected) because he failed to resolve the WLQ.

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