Contemporary democratic revolutions

There is a mood to sweep away the old centre left and centre right parties on the continent in a desperate bid to have something better . In the USA and the UK there is the wish to force change on the body politic by voting for Brexit and Donald Trump, within the traditional party structures. On both sides of the Atlantic and the Channel there is that same impatience with politics as it has been practised for the last twenty years, and anger at the way the governing corporate,civil service and Ministerial elites have behaved.

The anger is justified. The elites told us they knew best. They assured us they had the expertise. On the continent Tweedledum and Tweedledee parties alternated in government but little of substance changed. In the UK a puppet Parliament pretended to be in control whilst shovelling through thousands of pages of laws and many spending programmes that the EU required, with both parties claiming to support them without criticism or proper debate. In the UK we were made to live through the Exchange Rate Mechanism recession, the Banking Crash recession and the Euro crisis at one remove. The US was put through the Great Recession and the Iraq war. The Euro area had to endure the most economic pain with the ERM crash, the Banking Crash and the continuing Euro crisis.

People not very interested in politics, or pessimistic about their chances of changing anything for many years, have decided to take back control. In the USA Mr Trump first tossed aside all the serious professional well honed politicians of the Republican party to take their crown. He then went on to defeat the doyenne of political insiders, the darling of the elite, Hilary Clinton, who ran on a ticket of expertise and experience. The public said if it meant the expertise that had brought them the Great Recession and the Iraq war, they would rather try something new.

In the UK many groups of people with very varied political opinions united behind a campaign with the express slogan of Take Back Control. The more Remain paraded every great figure of the established governing and corporate bosses, the more the Leave case was supported. The experts who had led much of southern and western European economy into mass unemployment with their Euro currency were surprised when people did not believe their forecasts of gloom if the UK dared to vote Out. My belief Leave would win was strengthened at a big public meeting when many in the audience laughed and cried out their disbelief when the Project Fear forecasts were put before them.

If parties wish to run and support technocratic government it must at least be competent technocratic government. If they believe only they have the expertise to make the decisions and that the people just need bread and circuses, they must make sure everyone can afford the bread and get to the circus. The main reason the old establishment is being swept away is it failed to deliver.
Tomorrow I will look at the parlous light of the Conservative and Labour look alike parties on the continent.

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110 Comments

  1. Peter Wood
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    The EU commission/parliament reminds me of the Chinese, PRC, government; its only claim to legitimacy is that it continuously improves the living standards of the people it governs. As soon as it fails to do so, as has happened already in Europe, the governed will seek a change. The PRC may not be far behind…..

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      The living standards of the people increase due to improvements in technology, business efficiency and science. The government, like a parasitic growth, grab most (or even all)of this and further damage the productive with absurd red tape, energy religions and other red tape lunacies.

      Singapore has twice the GDP per cap PPP (from these same innovations), and yet the state sector has been kept to a sensible size. If anything the U.K. Would be richer still with a state sector cut of similar proportions. But Theresa Miliband is clearly a bloated state, red tape, ever higher taxes interventionist.

      Let us have this bargain basement economy (as Corbyn calls it) please. The electorate (other than some of the feckless and state parasites) would far prefer it.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        And I think it’s important to recognise that “The living standards of the people increase due to improvements in technology, business efficiency and science”, and now with only minor contributions from increases in the volume of international trade. That is why the natural growth of the UK economy in each of recent quarters, about 0.6% of GDP, has been similar in magnitude to all the projected one-off benefits of TTIP, despite the grossly over-hyped claims of some that it would usher in a new era of transatlantic prosperity. I imagine that at one time trade may have been so restricted that it significantly slowed down economic progress, but it seems to me that we are now well into a zone of diminishing overall returns from further trade liberalisation. That would explain the finding that world GDP has been increasing faster than the volume of world trade, which some see as a matter for concern but maybe unnecessarily. Of course this does not mean that the disruption caused by a sudden cessation of the existing trade would not have hugely damaging consequences.

      • getahead
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Let’s get out of the EU first, Lifelogic and then perhaps we will see what she is made of. In my opinion she is not doing too badly.

  2. bluedog
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    ‘But how can the unelected House reject the will of the people in the referendum and the will of the Commons by such a big majority?’

    If ever there was a British ‘swamp’ it must surely be the House of Lords in its current form. With the Commons in a process of contraction, it is truly bizarre that the numbers of Lords is rising steadily upwards with no sign of a ceiling in sight. Perhaps it is time for radical surgery. Instead of the government talking about flooding the Lords with new members if necessary to ensure the passing of Brexit, how about reducing the numbers of peers to a level half that of the numbers of Commons.

    300 peers should be enough if the camera angles are carefully controlled at the State Opening of Parliament. Anything more is a racket at tax-payer expense.

    • Hope
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Who put them there? The same swamp that needs to be be disinfected. Remember Cameron claiming openness is the best disinfectant? Now look at Cameron’s so called honour list. A hair stylist, an EU campaigner and his spokesman! Lords needs to be cleared of all former MPs and cronies to PM.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 2:57 am | Permalink

      Yes an upper house of no more than 300, I’d suggest even less, (the US senate manages with only 100); but the problem is who. Historically the peers were supposed to be the best educated, least likely to be corrupted because of personal wealth, and highly experienced with a desire to serve the nation. How many of the current members qualify under these, albeit old-fashioned, conditions? Elected or selected?

  3. Henry Rogers
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Do we really need an Upper Chamber nowadays? New Zealand seems to have managed very well without one for well over half a century.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Henry,

      I’m not a fan of the House of Lords and suspect you too are that way inclined, but I do think there’s something to be said for proper scrutiny of proposed legislation where those with experience in certain fields can point out flaws or pitfalls before it is enacted into law.

      The trouble is, the present system is open to abuse and manipulation. Stuffing the House of Peers with cronies to influence the debate one way or another, or worse still, for purely nepotistic reasons to benefit some minority to the disadvantage of everyone else, must be resisted at all costs.

      A simple revising chamber could work, so I am bound to ask, do we really have to give somebody a title in order for them to lend their considered opinion or expertise?

      Many of us would do it without reward of any kind, and see it as a duty to our country.

      Tad

      • Henry Rogers
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Tad,

        I’m sure most of us here would agree with you that ill-considered legislation needs to be avoided. I wonder whether a second legislative chamber really is the best way of ensuring that?

        Neither an appointed chamber with limited powers, full of current and former cronies, or an elected chamber which could challenge the authority of the Commons, seem very attractive to me. This hasn’t mattered much for a long time, but very soon it will matter a great deal.

        Henry

        • John C.
          Posted February 11, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

          What’s gone wrong is in part that those promoted to the ranks of this supposedly experienced, wise, revising body have, for historical reasons, been called Lords and Ladies, as if they were in some way the landed gentry, with enormous estates and responsibilities. In fact, many are just cronies.
          The idea of a second chamber that reviews, examines and advises on new legislation, seems to me a sound idea, but the HoL is now a historical absurdity, and should go.
          We need a new body, consisting of a limited number of those who have displayed wisdom and experience in a wide area of national life. How membership is gained is open to debate, but I would suggest a 100 people is about the right number to bring to bear knowledge and experience to this chamber.

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      The Scots, Welsh & NI legislatures don’t have a second chamber either, the Lords do not scrutinise devolved legislation, and now the devolved parliaments have been promised even more powers from Cameron’s vow and May has promised to repatriate even more powers to them coming back from the EU, more and more UK business will become English only matters. A reason for a vast reduction in their numbers or preferably abolition if nothing else yet 800 plus self serving unelected cronies and has beens from across the whole of the UK will not give up their privileges and their tax free £300 a day without a fight.

      Known as the upper West Lothian Question and as with the West Lothian Question, both need to be addressed if we wish to call ourselves a democracy but unfortunately for England, MPs and Lords and Ladies continue to put their own self interests before any pretence of democracy for England as that would mean a cull in both their numbers.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Jools

        Good point about no second chamber in the devolved Parliaments given they will be getting even more power,

        Looks only like England will have to go through this hoop in future.

        The Lords in its present form seems to becoming more and more irrelevant.

        Me thinks time for a re-think simply on grounds of cost, if nothing else..

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Henry,

      I agree that HoL is past its best by date, and that revising could be dome by a smaller chamber and committee stage. Some of the advantages of the NZ single chamber though flow from it being elected by two vote MMP, this prevents dictatorial swings and requires worthwhile debate in the single chamber.

  4. Freeborn John
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Irrespective of home they behave on the Article 50 Bill, the House of Lords should be abolished forthwith. The democratic revolution should not stop at leaving the EU; we need to purge the system of anti-democratic elements and the Lords is the next worse body after the EU institutions.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      While we are having interminable debates about reform or abolition of the Lords, yet again, I think that the first immediate step should be reduce their scope for doing harm by reducing the permitted period of delay for Bills.

      Under the present Parliament Acts it is one month for Money Bills and thirteen months for other Bills, and it would only need a simple short third Parliament Act modelled on the 1949 Act:

      http://legislation.data.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6/12-13-14/103/enacted/data.htm?wrap=true

      to cut that thirteen months to three months. That way they could still have their say and still suggest useful amendments but with less ability to block Bills.

      • sm
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Would it also not be sensible only to ennoble a strictly-limited number of experienced people – from many fields – to give their expertise?

        The HoL has a very useful function: to scrutinise proposed legislation. But it should be done by those who have knowledge of what they are talking about, and those who are still consistently alert and can keep themselves up-to-date. So I’m afraid I would also propose a lower and upper age-limit (and one for the HoC too!).

        All other honours (whether justified in one’s personal opinion or not) should be restricted to membership of Orders and a knighthood.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted February 11, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          SM. Absolutely right on this. Even when the HOL listen to an expert they tend to ignore them. I have watched numerous lectures from real experts on the state of our energy policy but still nothing concrete gets changed. They all seem to have their own agenda and stick to it. David Cameron said years ago that all the green crap would go but all we hear and see is more of the bulls—t. It has been pointed out to ministers both in England and Scotland that the amount of money renewables is costing is damaging our economy and putting more people into poverty but it is ignored. No wonder people have no interest in politics. They all have their own agenda and cannot think outside the box and actually do something useful.

        • Andy
          Posted February 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          That is why the old House of Lords was so superb at revising.
          But I must caution all these calls for abolition. We have a House of Commons that is basically ‘over mighty’ and we must ensure that essential checks and balances are maintained and enhanced. As Clare Short remarked in 1997 with Blair’s overwheming majority they could pass a Bill for the ‘Murder of the First Born’. The question is how do you stop such an assault on our liberty and freedom ? We could only rely in a limited way on the House of Lords and ultimately in the good sense of Her Majesty.

          • Peter D Gardner
            Posted February 12, 2017 at 4:09 am | Permalink

            True and since Brexit is fundamentally a constitutional issue – who governs the country and by what right and authority was sovereignty passed to the EU – one would argue that we cannot entrust everything to the Commons and we need A second chamber. The issue is who is in that chamber and what is its scope and role? in attempting to make it more representative all we have done is drag it into the arena of party politics. One things is certain: we need to remove or at least severely curtail the PM’s patronage which has undermined not only the Lords but also corrupted the conduct of politics in the Commons.

        • DaveM
          Posted February 11, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          Agree 100%

        • getahead
          Posted February 11, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          Funny thing is that it seemed to work well when most, or a good proportion of the peers were hereditary. It meant that they tended to vote less along party lines. Of course that didn’t suit the left wing,(Blair) who insisted on stuffing it full of party faithful.
          Since then it operates like a second Commons.

          • Peter D Gardner
            Posted February 12, 2017 at 4:11 am | Permalink

            Yes, because they owed little loyalty to parties and particularly little to party leaders. They could be far more objective.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        That’s the bit that bothers me too Denis.

        Call me a pessimist, but I can see lots of trouble on the horizon. They won’t get their way, ultimately, but we can expect all-manner of shenanigans along the way.

        Interesting to see the number of Lib Dem peers in the HoL, so I can’t quite reconcile the ‘Democrat’ bit in their party’s title, but I’ll bet a pound to a penny they’re the ones who will make the most noise about our leaving the EU, and who will do the most to stop the people having their democratic rights upheld!

        Tad

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 12, 2017 at 1:50 am | Permalink

          Nor the Liberal bit either. The Libdems are wrong on every issue other than, very occasionally, civil liberties.

      • Original Richard
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        In addition, the composition (or the voting composition if it was considered sensible to have debating members without a vote) of the HOL should be based upon a proportional system decided by the votes cast for each party at the GE for the HOC MPs.

      • LordBlagger
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Introduce a spending bill that sets the spending on the Lords at zero.

        With no expenses they won’t turn up.

        It’s a spending bill and they can’t veto.

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted February 12, 2017 at 4:14 am | Permalink

        It should not be difficult to add a clause to the bill pointing out that there are implications for taxation and public finances which must be addressed by parliament and therefore make it a money bill, or is the latter too narrowly defined?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 13, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          Ask Bercow, he decides whether to issue a certificate.

          “There shall be endorsed on every Money Bill when it is sent up to the House of Lords and when it is presented to His Majesty for assent the certificate of the Speaker of the House of Commons signed by him that it is a Money Bill.”

          “Any certificate of the Speaker of the House of Commons given under this Act shall be conclusive for all purposes, and shall not be questioned in any court of law.”

    • libertarian
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Freeborn John

      Totally agree, if we wish to have a second chamber then it really is very simple. Make the HoL into an English parliament

  5. Mark B
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Good morning, and another fine post from our kind host.

    The two political parties did indeed seem to merge almost into one. For Labour to get power the has to reinvent themselves. Out went their objections to Trident. Out went Clause 4. Out went their opposition to the EU. Gone, they said, were the days of boom and bust. They became more conservative, at least on the outside, than the Conservatives.

    For the Conservatives they had to be more seen as more New Labour than old Conservative. Less the, Nasty Party and more, lets hug a husky. The had a new, fresh faced leader and, while upper-class, had enough of the common man touch to reach out to people with the; “Call me Dave !” approach. Heir to Blair ? I never thought so.

    The problems for all the political parties came with the expenses scandal. I am sorry Mr.Redwood MP sir, that was the moment when I lost all faith in our institutions, and parliament especially. I held, much like so much about my dear country, its institutions above all others, but I was wrong. Our MP’s, Civil Servants and Councils were no better than a Banana Republics. We are use to reading of the nonsense going on in the EU and elsewhere but, this was England ! More fool me.

    People are quite savvy. They can sense change and know whether it is for the good or not. Many could see, like the Gordon Brown; “British jobs for British workers'” fiasco that power of our elected parliament was ebbing away. So as parliament had fewer and fewer powers in key areas, in order to remain relevant, it had to start inventing things for itself to do. The area where it had control was over we the little people. Smoking in Public Houses and the workplace were banned. Tax imposed on certain foods and evermore intrusion into our lives sought through so called thought crimes. Instead of being free people we became property of the State. We became more European both in political terms and legal terms. We no longer had a law that said what we could not do, but one where we could not anything unless the State allowed it. We were becoming something we were not and it was that they people, through various ways, sought to change in the referendum.

    Parliament must be free to make and abolish our laws. Free to raise and abolish taxes. And above all, responsible to the people for the former.

    We have voted to return back those powers which parliaments once had and should have never ever gave away.

    As to your future post(s) on the continental political parties. Can we please get one thing right ? The French Front Nationale is not Right Wing ! They are Left Wing.

    Thank you.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Mark,

      You make a lot of good points.

      I know it is revisiting an old wound, but not all MPs were tainted by the expenses scandal. Some were caught up in it because the rules on allowances were unclear, and some even said to me privately that they thought they were mugs for not claiming as much as they could have legitimately done. But I came back with a line from the bible,

      ‘What would it profit a man were he to sell his soul for the whole world?’

      To be enticed by trinkets and baubles – material things in other words – shows how shallow some of these social-climbers are, and wouldn’t ya just know it, the ones who by their stated compassionate equalitarian values, are supposed to be above such earthly things, were often the worst offenders.

      Tad

  6. Old Albion
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    When this is all over (Brexit) We need to mobilise the common man in England. We need to take up the case for an English Parliament with the same vigour displayed in the successful ‘leave’ campaign. As you have said, the time is right for change.
    You are the man to lead such a campaign, JR.

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I agree but sadly John doesn’t support an English Parliament do you John?

    • Mark B
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Hear hear.

      Leaving the EU will not resolve the constitutional and administrative issues bequeathed to us buy, TB, GB and New Labour. For that we will have to wait another day and possibly another political party and / or government.

      In the meantime, I urge everyone to keep up the pressure and, whenever possible, show small but legal acts of defiance. ie Instead on any forms putting British or United Kingdom, put English instead. The more we want to be seen as a people, the more the politicians will come to our cause.

      Have faith, we will have our way, one way or the other.

  7. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    The judiciary in various forms is the latest threat….certainly in the USA and EU. A tangle of Acts and Statutes that obstructs the progress and authority of leaders. Yet another joke alongside the various swamps.

  8. Ian Wragg
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Already we have potential capitulation with your government wanting to keep the Patent Office as an EU institution. Luckily Carswell is on it. We must be vigilant otherwise leaving the EU will be a cosmetic affair.
    So Barnier wants €60billion before we begin negotiations. 43 years and all we have accrued is liabilities. No assets. Dream on sunshine.

    • Duyfken
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      This item seems to have very little exposure yet it is certainly important . I only heard of it late last year from a judicial friend in Oz who advised:

      “I was disturbed to learn … the May government is said to be proposing to join an EU-wide patent system; and, worse, that this might be a precursor to a return by United Kingdom in some measure to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. If there is anything in it, I would be aghast: the prospect of getting away from the ECJ and its legal system was a prime mover of my espousal of Brexit.”

      This presumably is the “unitary patent”, a system which was set up in 2012. As against other patent laws which are European, the unitary patent is an EU initiative. Although maybe worthwhile in some respects, it possibly provides a point of leverage for the UK to be absorbed back into the EU legal system generally. We will indeed need to be vigilant!

    • LordBlagger
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      60 bn Euro as the UK share of their pensions.

      UK share of the budget. 11.5%

      33,000 Eurocrats.

      That’s over 13 million Euros in pension debts per Eurocrat.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wragg. On Barnier, so far, and only so far, I have the impression that Michel Barnier is thoroughly businesslike in his approach, the kind of man with whom Mrs T would say she can do business. He has not been prone to the wild emotional posturing of EU leaders. This EU threat is not his making. He has been given it by the Commission. Obviously UK will claim compensation for the loss of its share of EU assets (won’t it Mrs May?). The EU does have genuine interests and we can expect Barnier to know them and to negotiate for them as is right and proper. It is up to Mrs May to know them too and to keep Barnier from straying off the genuine issues and trying it on, and to know Britains true interests and press them hard.

      There should not be an assumption of disagreement and opposition to each other in these negotiations. After all, despite UK’s rejection of specific things, like sovereignty passing to the EU, we still want many of the same things as the EU member states

  9. agricola
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The big game changer is the availability of information through technology, and the ability of the masses to express their opinions using the same means. Political parties tend to be ring fenced in their beliefs which does not always satisfy their traditional supporters. Given a subject, my opinions might be termed socialist even though I see myself in general terms as a conservative. Parties will need to get used to responding to these more individual thought patterns with MPs whose principal loyalty is to those they represent, not necessarily to the party they belong to. The current labour party is seeing this drama being played out big time.

    This people or party dilemma could not be typified more markedly than the fight of a small number of MPs and the majority of the people against the collective wisdom of the political parties when it came to being in the EU or out of it. It was won by those few MPs because they carried the people with them.

    The remaining elephant in the room is the civil service who must re- find their true purpose as servants of the people, rather than a covert governing body.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      The remaining elephant in the room is the civil service who must re- find their true purpose as servants of the people, rather than a covert governing body.

      All very true.

  10. margaret
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I am angry . I daily have to live with the ramifications of all those bad decisions and fight to keep my head above water as those with stolen qualifications, superficial qualifications try to put me down. They try to demean our state saying that the state which founded our post war beliefs of a support system is not up to par as they bring in staff whose training has not been based on the principles of NHS humanity . It is status which rules and not the belief that all health care should be equal. Universities try to instil waffle into medics and nurses to replace knowledge of medicine for the nurses and doctors and then tangle the graduates up in their vacuous war on which University is best , when they should be thinking about whether the staff are equipped .
    We need bright principled people to take up positions in important institutions with ethics being the force to take the country forward. Ethics is a discipline which trains people to think about how we use science , how we treat people , how to keep strength to reduce suffering . It doesn’t mean being too soft to think.

    • turboterrier
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      @ margaret

      Ooooooooooooh I think you have laid that one to rest.

      Brilliant

  11. alan jutson
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I certainly think more ordinary people have engaged in politics in some way since we were given the real opportunity of changing things, with a referendum each vote was equal and each vote counted.

    So is there a case for using referenda for other major decisions ?

  12. Martyn G
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Well put, John. I see today in ‘Der Spiegel’ that this is noted by some in the EU who are calling for a European Broadcasting Company (EBC) to counter ‘the false news and falsehoods being propagated on the internet’. The article suggests the EBC should be part publicly funded, and complemented substantially by a levy on the major digital platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter.
    The authors say the EBC should be launched early 2019 before the major elections, ‘with a well-produced talk show format, a kind of European Champions League of talk shows, during which European figures discuss, argue and seek solutions. Every week in a different place in Europe and with a different audience’. It sounds a little sinister to me but happily, perhaps, the chances of getting 27 nations to agree to it and decide proportionality of representation by 2019 seems unlikely….

    • Andy
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Well they are busy getting their own EU Guard – sorry, I mean ‘Army’ – so acquiring ‘Pravda’ is logical.

  13. William Tyndale
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    You are totally right: we have to get out of the EU as fast as possible. Those of us who have been keeping up with the thinking know – as people who read your blog know – that the EU is dynamic and will soon become even more centralised, even more elitist, even more corrupt and arrogant. We need to get out.
    BUT
    We aren’t just facing one danger: we are on a tightrope. Scylla – yes. But do not forget Charybdis.
    “the audience laughed and cried out their disbelief when the Project Fear forecasts were put before them.” The whole trouble is that Mr Cameron trashed, for no good reason, “the Norway Option” and Mr Osborne organised “project Fear”. Actually, if we join EFTA, we get all the benefits and none of the disadvantages of staying with the EU pillar of the EEA.
    It is all there on Dr North’s blog.

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Another alias Mike. RN’s blog is down to about 10 people. We don’t want EFTA/EEA as these will lead to associate membership and still have free movement.
      We are getting out and do not want ECJ influence on our laws which EFTA entails. Disputes are generally adjudicated according to ECJ influence.
      out is out.

    • Original Richard
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Dr. North is a remainer in leaver’s clothing.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Dr North is an excellent researcher but he is not infallible, and as he is never minded to accept any criticism there is an unfortunate tendency for any errors to get perpetuated. Today he concludes that “Mrs May’s free trade agreement ambitions are lining us up for twenty years of negotiation, all to be squeezed into two years”; so presumably that twenty years is how long we would have to remain in the supposed “interim” stage of EFTA/EEA before moving on? Well, maybe, but surely that would also depend on whether the EU was even prepared to start the twenty years of negotiations apparently needed to agree a replacement FTA – without the unrestricted freedom of movement of persons, and other undesirable features of the EEA – before we had formally notified the other countries of our intention to leave EFTA/EEA – with the notice periods for those withdrawals, both EFTA and the EEA, being just twelve months rather than the two years notionally allowed for negotiations in Article 50 TEU, so that would then be “lining us up for twenty years of negotiation, all to be squeezed into just one year … “

    • Duyfken
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I marvel at the metaphor of being between Scylla and Charybdis – on a tightrope!
      As for Dr North, I sussed him years ago.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 4:31 am | Permalink

      I have read all the various versions of Richard North’s blog. It wallows in detail and fails to see the big issues. It is not just in or out of the EU it is the reasons for that question. The reasons are not satisfied by Flexcit or the Norway option. He fails totally to see the potential threats to the long-winded progression he proposes and he makes an inordinate fuss over the mounds of EU legislation applicable to UK. However, he is right that a quick exit is needed but it must not compromise independence from the ECJ, complete control of immigration and the supremacy of UK’s national Parliament. This precludes the Norway option.

      I do not know what the Government will do but I do know that a treaty at the level of heads of government and the corresponding legislation in Parliament does not need to have all the details sorted out. There will be two agreements with the EU. The treaty on the new relationship should be based on the UK having departed the EU by the agreement on Arrangements for withdrawal and need do only three essential things: agree the key points of the end state to be achieved in that relationship; the timescale to do it, and the key steps of the process. That is the deal, done and dusted.
      Then lower levels then get on with the business of agreeing details and implementation.

      Whatever the the desired end state is to be, continuing free trade should be agreed as the starting point. There is no need whatsoever to join EFTA or the EEA to make a smooth transition.

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted February 12, 2017 at 4:32 am | Permalink

        Oops! I meant Richard North’s Flexcit.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      It is very sad that Dr. Richard North does not come on this site to argue his case, as he has done so in the past. I know he has gone to other sites and posted there, only never to return, at least officially.

      Come on good Doctor, what do you say ?

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    The only thing recent politicians have been good at is:- the over regulation of everything, increasing the size of taxes and the bloated state and this while delivering generally dire or appalling public services.

    Another hugely damaging ruling in relation of Pimlico Plumbing yesterday. Do the government and courts realise how damaging these “you were actually an employee despite all the evidence” rulings will be to business efficiency and models?

    The government needs to intervene by relaxing employment laws and making clearly that people can work freelance for companies too without being able to claim otherwise years later.

    • turboterrier
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      @lifelogic

      The only thing recent politicians have been good at is:-

      Should have read:- Looking after themselves.

      Very few in the house have a scooby do to how the real world works. Those that do are banished to the back benches. Result same old same old.

    • rose
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      What interested me about this case was that Pimlico Plumbers were prepared to spend large sums on litigation to overturn the referendum. That means they want an endless source of cheap foreign labour, to drive down pay and conditions for native workers. Ican’t say I was sad to see them lose the case, though like you LL, I would prefer to get back to a situation where employers and employees make their own arrangements – but that must not be in the context of flooding the labour market with foreigners and leaving the wages to be topped up by the taxpayer.

  15. Original Richard
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    “There is a mood to sweep away the old centre left and centre right parties on the continent in a desperate bid to have something better ….The main reason the old establishment is being swept away is it failed to deliver.”

    The main reason is that this is the only way to begin to remove the unelected EU officials who are wanting to change the EU in a way not wanted by the indigenous populations.

    The EU officials who introduced the Euro with the intention to eventually federalise the Union with the elimination of nation states, helped by mass migration within the EU.

    The EU officials who believe that the EU should continue to accept mass immigration from outside the EU even if this eventually changes the very essence of Europe itself.

  16. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    The remaining mystery to many of us is why these elites “huddle together” rather than breaking ranks?

    Just why did Cameron stick so closely to the idea that being in the EU, regardless of his success at negotiating and its success at delivering for the UK, was a “good thing?”.

    Was Carney really convinced that the economy was going to fall apart on the basis of a vote for independence? Was there an historical precedence or any empirical evidence whatsoever for this assertion?

    Given the supposed reasonable academic intelligence of at least some of these folk, why don’t they break ranks when they see the unveiled truth of the matter? Or are they all so ensconced in “group think” world that this is impossible? In which case, all that should be left of them and their careers are dinosaur footprints.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      I wonder whether it has to do with being ostracised from the gravy train?

      I do not recall Messrs Lawson or King, who these days are quite analytical of the problems caused by a consensus of 28 (27 in reality) within the EU, when they were more fully renumerated through the establishment with our money. Similarly Mr Hague who went native in the foreign office but who has recently been more critical.

      Ex PM Cameron transformation from anti Lisbon treaty to stay in whatever remains wholly inexplicable to me.

      • Andy
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        I think it is quite simple really. You get use to going to all these meetings – meetings about meetings – and you are there hob nobbing with all these other leaders, and you all think you are doing great and wonderful things. It all comes back to this ‘We are building Europe’ b*llocks they all spout and it is this doctrine that has lead to Schengen, the free movement of Kalashnikovs, and the ultimate delusion, the Euro. They are all busy playing ‘Empires’ without having to wage War. I believe there is an old proverb ‘Many are they would would succeed in small things, lest they were troubled by great ambition’.

        • rose
          Posted February 11, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          I think they just like going there: it is civilized and the dining is excellent. Read Ken Clark’s book Kind of Blue.

          • Sir Joe Soap
            Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            I have to say that given the choice between following establishment “group-think” and being truly independent in thought, I still don’t “get” why so many people who have some pride in their intellect are prepared to put that aside for a few decent meals and champagne.

            I don’t think it adds up.

  17. A.Sedgwick
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Even though I am delighted by the Referendum result, pleased by the A50 Commons vote I am nervous about the final deal. After Cameron’s comment that he would walk away from a bad deal but accepted the laughable crumbs from Merkel’s table. He also failed to deliver after the Scots referendum with a deal for England and it is possible that UKIP might morph into ENGIP. My view at the 2015 GE was a vote for the SNP was a de facto vote for independence and with their continued antics that view is stronger. Then there is the joke House of Lords. In summary there are still several windmills for the “ordinary people” to assail.

    • turboterrier
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      @ A Sedgwick

      Then there is the joke House of Lords

      They are way past being a joke they are pathetic.

  18. JimS
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    When will the people get the BBC off its back? Why are they taxed for a self-selecting ‘elite’ that doesn’t look them or think like them to get a free run at insulting them and working against them at every opportunity?

  19. Tony Harrison
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    “On the continent Tweedledum and Tweedledee parties alternated in government but little of substance changed.”
    “To what extent is this applicable to the UK? Discuss…”
    Clearly it’s not the case that Labour and Conservative are wholly interchangeable, but to a disturbingly large extent they are pereceived as such by many voters. For example, in their different ways they were each hostile to the idea of a referendum on EU membership, until in effect bounced into it by years’ worth of pressure from UKIP… I am aware that Mr Redwood (one of very few Conservatives whose ideas I have admired consistently) dislikes mention of UKIP, indeed his colleagues practically all emulate his dislike for the upstart Party: but it is very hard for Conservatives to argue that UKIP did not in fact have this effect.
    Our two established Parties have acted like a cartel, aided & abetted by our voting system designed to make it as hard as possible for newcomers to gain seats. For me it is indisputably the case that the 2015 General Election produced perverse, undemocratic results: when UKIP attracted more votes nationally than the SNP and LibDems put together, for one seat compared with their 60+, who can argue this is truly representative of the electorate?
    For me as for many others, out 2-Party duopoly represents a Tweedledum & Tweedledee approach to government. It’s not good enough.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Labour and the Conservatives are indeed largely interchangeable. They have a different presentation (as their voting supporters are rather different). The outcome however is largely the same, ever more government, virtual monopoly Stalinist healthcare and education, a bloated incompetent state, the climate alarmist religion, counterproductive wars, economic incompetence, endless government waste, uncompetitive banking, red tape strangling every one, a devaluing currency, a huge PSBR and huge state debt, PC drivel everywhere, more and more Lawyers and other essentially parasitic jobs for bureaucrats and yet more parasitic “experts” to guide you through the swamp of red tape and the bonkers tax laws swamp.

      May seems as bad as most of them. Worse in many ways.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        She certainly was, and now she is walking a tightrope. It is more important than ever to keep up the pressure from UKIP or any other Independents which wish to challenge the duopoly. Stoke hopefully will be the next nail in that coffin.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree. The UK government has two parts:

      1, The largest unelected legislative chamber in the entire western world.

      2, An elected chamber in which the government’s level of support , as measured by share of the popular vote, in the entire OECD.

      Neither of these are acceptable. Both are long overdue change and reform. As a modern democracy which represents its people, the UK is bottom of the league.

      The current government is in power with the support of just 24.4% of the electorate, Labour’s share was even lower in its last two terms (21.7% in 2005 and 24.2% in 2001).

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Point 2 should say:

        An elected chamber in which the government’s level of support , as measured by share of the popular vote, is the lowest percentage in the entire OECD.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Spot on. We will be free because of UKIP and it’s supporters. We need to get proportional representation so that every vote counts and we remove the legacies into a true democracy. If the other Nations have their own devolved administration’s, England needs the same. The legacies have just implemented EU law and have lied and pretended to be in charge for years, exposed again by……. UKIP, the only patriotic party.

  20. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    On the continent due to PR voting it is far harder to remove the elites from government, they simply form “grand coalitions” of left and right leaning establishment parties to keep out the insurgents.

    • hefner
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it the case in the UK too? No PR, but some kind of coalition within each of the Tweedledum and Tweedledee parties.
      I am really looking forward to the next GE, even if I am not convinced at all that the situation is likely to change, the UKIP “top people” being of a rather poor calibre, as seen in the recent poor show that was the replacement of Chairman Nigel.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        It’s the ideas not the people which count.
        Otherwise you start rating Cameron a 5*?
        Vote the Idea – people didn’t Vote Trump – they voted what he stood for – the people will follow, and there are anyway already good people in UKIP.

  21. Iain Gill
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    If the children in care are being raped, parents have no choice of rubbish school, sub third world health care, out of control immigration, taxed to pay for diversity officers and all the other waste, drivers persecuted, state encouraging family breakup…

    There has to be another way

  22. snowstorm
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Your sentence
    “People not very interested in politics…decided to take back control”
    sums me up and is why we will win.
    Also if I were a prospective male refugee /economic migrant, I too would make every effort to get here.

  23. jeffery
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    The American term Great Recession needs ditching. It may be my imagination, but it does seem to be being phased out. The US had one of the lesser recessions in 2008-09, contracting 4.2% peak to trough (UK: 6.3%). While larger than any US recession since the 1930s, it was not way out of comparison with 1981-2 (2.8% contraction). True, it is a complete mystery why it was so large, but that is only one element of wider economic issues confronting the west since 2000. At a guess, the US electorate is more concerned with the current grindingly slow “expansion” than 2008. As often pointed out, the US economy bounced back vigorously from 1983 onwards. By contrast, BarryO left office with 2.6% growth in 2015 as his best year! This is worth pointing out, since none of it is particular to the US.

  24. The Prangwizard
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    This revolution must extend beyond politics. Our institutions are filled with elitists who restrict our views and behaviours because they think their world view is superior, much like the political elites. We cannot be complacent. If we are to have change and a more representative society many must be removed or they will continue to oppose the people.

    This extends into the police and other authorities, the educational establishment and so on. It is concerning that the police do not seem to be acting against the threats and intimidation we see coming from the anti-Trump anti-Brexit side with their attempts to close down discussions they do not like.

    They prove their impartiality and belief in blind justice.

  25. oldtimer
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    A very perceptive post. Technocratic control will fail because it promises certainties where there are none. This was very evident during the referendum campaign when, as you point nout, people relied on their common sense to laugh at the experts, the prophets of doom. Economists seem especially keen to offer precise forecasts where such precision is not possible. We get the same claims made about the weather and the “climate” and have had prescribed in law, reinforced by wasteful subsidies, all kinds of measures that will do nothiong to affect or abate climate change.

    The reality is that in all areas of public life we must deal with uncertainty – Macmillan’s “events, dear boy, events” which more often than not turn up to upset the best laid plans of mice and men.

  26. Shieldsman
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Lord Kerr who drafted the article 50 clause in the Lisbon Treaty has been quoted quite regularly in the Media of late. He now says the two year negotiating limit is inadequate, so why did he write it in?

    Perhaps if Lord Kerr in his EU capacity and past Prime Ministers (Major and Brown) and Governments had paid more attention to where (political union) the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties were leading Brexit would not have become necessary.

    Instead we have become enmeshed in the web of Regulations and Directives that control every aspect of trade with our European neighbours. Our very lives are subject to hegemony of the Brussels bureaucracy.

    All I personally can hope for to render our escape is the demise of the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Knowing that Lord Kerr claims authorship of Article 50 I was surprised to hear the Labour MP Gisela Stuart saying that she was the original draftswoman.

      On January 31st at Column 864 here:

      https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-01-31/debates/C2852E15-21D3-4F03-B8C3-F7E05F2276B0/EuropeanUnion(NotificationOfWithdrawal)Bill

      “That brings me to the nature of article 50, which is where history is important. I was the draftsman – or draftswoman – of the original provision that led to article 50. It was actually an expulsion clause in the draft European constitution, which said that any country ​that did not ratify the European constitution would be asked to leave within two years. It is in the nature of the European Union that anything on the drawing board is never allowed to go away, and it became a leaving clause – hence the period of two years – but nobody seriously thought through how it should be implemented.”

      • Mark B
        Posted February 12, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        The story I heard was that it was draughted because the EU Constitution would not be allowed to be seen as legal under the Treaty of Vienna, or something.

        Someone, many years ago, said on EUReferendum that, when a EU civil servant was not deemed sufficient in some manner, they were sent to Room 50 ! I have no way of proving any of that and you and others must regard it as a story and no more. But something like that was said.

  27. Kenneth
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    For several decades we have gradually passed power to the unelected such as:

    1. Quangos
    2. Judiciary
    3. Overseas bodies

    It was becoming perilously close to the point of no return in the UK before the Brexit referendum dramatically reversed the process.

    Now we must go to work in disarming these unelected technocrats and consolidating People power.

    The UK led the world in the march towards the restoration of democracy which is now being rekindled in the U.S, and continental Europe.

    I am extremely proud of my country and look forward to a bright future.

    • APL
      Posted February 14, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Kenneth: “For several decades we have gradually passed power to the unelected such as:

      1. Quangos”

      As an illustration of just how useless the Conservative party is at :

      1) Conserving anything and 2) carrying out election promises

      It was frequently a plank of the election manifesto in the ’80,’90 and ’00 to reduce the number of Quasi Autonomous Non Governmental bodies.

      Instead they have exploded, and the Blair government took the example forward and Nationalised the Charities too. Successive Tory governments haven’t done anything about either error.

  28. Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    PTF parties, which includes all parties Point The Finger instead of talking about how to get new ideas for democracy. The faults in the system need to be itemised and improved. There is a sort of malaise thinking that affects all parties, which is a kind of hypnotic mantra: “This is the best we’ve got because we cannot think of anything better; it’s not perfect, so we have to make do.”

    The “factual summary” type of thinking lists all the bad things the elites have done, though the “elites” are never described clearly. PTF thinking is easily disguised in academic argument as calm, clear and well organised.

    New ideas can arise from any party including the elites. What is interesting is to hear elites mentioning third parties as elites but never actually putting the spotlight on them or making it clear exactly who these elites are. PTF thinking needs replacing from time to time with some fresh ideas.

    • hefner
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      I love your PTF, I am looking forward to tomorrow’s JR’s PTF to the continent. He must be an elite connoisseur of all things European. Can’t wait for these pieces of research.

  29. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Fine words, but just as we have lots and lots of people in politics and media beating the drum for capitalism, on the one hand, and socialism for the other, so we need more people beating the drum for distributism.

    Raw capitalism and raw socialism just don’t work. Economic history and history in general clearly tell us that. So we’ve got to try and do something now to change things.

  30. Duncan
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I have followed John Redwood’s career for years. He appears to be a decent, humble and moral person and yet over the years even he’s been exposed to the slanderous attacks by the ‘liberal’ left.

    For the record, I utterly despise the ‘liberal’ left. They are a pernicious, poisonous, deceiving clique of sanctimonious professionals determined to shame into silence anyone who dares to question their beliefs, ideas and role in public life.

    The ‘liberal’ left politicise everything. They desire to politicise everything. They do this for one simple reason. If you can politicise our very existence you can manipulate that very existence for political ends.

    The ‘liberal’ left despise the private sphere because they can’t gain access to it. And no access means no political influence

    They see not your humanity nor your individuality but your political potential. Humanity is too be politicised to its core. If they can achieve this they can achieve political leverage.

    Moreover the LL despise free society, freedom of speech and freedom of thought. They even try to control the vocabulary of human interaction in an attempt to control how you view the world

    It is the above that I find so appallingly disgusting almost totalitarian in its construct but these cliques hold significant power across the public space and they operate without restraint (BBC) without any sense of balance or impartiality

    In time these nefarious, subtle efforts to control and manage will produce a response from the silent majority that they will find absolutely disagreeable

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      “….almost totalitarian in its construct…”

      Absolutely right,the liberal left,so-called,are not the children of Marx or Lenin,they are the children of Stalin and they have sought-and largely succeeded in-creating a “party state” where only those who support-or pay convincing lip service to -the programme get senior jobs in the judiciary,media,subsidised arts,civil service and the wider shadow state of quangos,NGOs,charities,etc to which power and control has been outsourced.I even read yesterday that our schools are now teaching that Stalin’s five year plans had good points as well as bad.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Great post !

      Copy and Pasted for future reference. Plus name of author 🙂

  31. Bert Young
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    There is no doubt that our system of politics and control like those in other countries have run out of steam and needs drastic overhaul . Priorities have changed and the allocation of resources have to be-aligned to need . The media – quite rightly , have reported on the scandalous use of ” foreign aid ” at a time when hospital overcrowding and the ageing population have been ignored . The proposal now to require LGAs to increase rates in order to deal with the care of the elderly is idiotic when China , Pakistan and other places receive billions .

    The size and function of the H of Lords is equally out of date ; any form of representation without public authority needs to be ” binned “. Pomp and elegance is one thing but , today , it is the will of the people that really counts ; any politician who gets this wrong is past his/her sell by date . Elitism and youth is no longer a route to power ; the “establishment” is a dead duck on the water . Priorities are different now and those anywhere near power and influence would be wise to recognise this .

  32. libertarian
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    We really are in need of becoming a democracy.

    We need root and branch reform

    We must have direct elections for the post of Prime Minister , 1 person 1 vote

    Cut the number of MP’s along the lines of regional constituencies so in my county East, West, North,South and Mid and the two candidates in each constituency with the most votes get elected we have 17 MP’s this system would reduce to 10

    H of L should be scrapped

    There must be an English Parliament

    One level of local government should be removed

    Here in Kent , 4 local authorities are discussing merging their operations. If that is the way forward why bother with them at all, we already have Kent County Council why not do away with the middle tier of local government, split responsibilities between KCC and parish/town councils.

    Politics of the old left/right knockabout stuff is well past its sell by date. It forces people into camps in which a lot of the manifesto of each group isn’t actually supported. I really am astonished as an entrepreneur that there is such a lack of vision, creativity and leadership amongst the political class. In fact it leads one to believe that the vast majority of people in politics are failures in life with a good line in patter.

    Surely someone with political ambition can see the huge obvious gap in the market? Most new successful businesses disintermediate the market. The same should be true of politics . How about the iDemocracy party, manifesto created and voted for by all party members via internal electronic voting. Funded purely by party member subscriptions, & using Steve Hiltons Crowdpac political crowd funding platform to raise funds.

    • turboterrier
      Posted February 11, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      @ libertarian

      In fact it leads one to believe that the vast majority of people in politics are failures in life with a good line in patter.

      So very true the fault lies in the selection process at constituency level. Too much attention paid to micky mouse degree’s and no attention to career, business and industrial acumen.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      I really am astonished as an entrepreneur that there is such a lack of vision, creativity and leadership amongst the political class.

      That is because many of them have never had proper jobs in their lives. They either come from universities and work in large corporations or, go into politics as SpAds, councilors or such like. From there they move up the ladder never coming face to face with the real world as they live of the Great State Money Making Tree.

      Simple.

  33. Antisthenes
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    The establishment has with it’s progressive and mostly leftist views (even the Conservative party is moving leftwards) and their dismissive attitude of any opinion other than their own has raised the ire of the electorate. The complacency of the establishment and the belief in it’s own omniscience that it has failed to live up to has exposed it. That exposure tells me that governments when they become too big and have too much power they become corrupt and incompetent beyond an acceptable level.

    The answer then is to scale back the size and role of government so that it’s corruption and incompetence is at an acceptable level. However most of the electorate do not see that as the answer instead turn to alternative and/or extreme parties. The result is the corruption and incompetence remains it is just being done by a different section of society. Who in the end become the new establishment elite and the cycle begins all over again.

  34. Prigger
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    JR, this sounds like the start of a good book indeed.

  35. Peter D Gardner
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant, Dr Redwood.

    It seems to me that the EU is unique for a number of reasons and one is its extraordinary combination of institutionalised incompetence and self confidence. It is reminiscent of Admiral of the Fleet General Air Marshal Idi Amin, the late President of Uganda. He managed his incompetence all on his own. The EU has institutionalised it so that nobody is to blame and individuals can continue to claim they know best.

    Every other regime throughout world history that has exhibited the characteristics of the EU has failed, and failed badly. The world has yet to find a better form of government than sovereign parliamentary democracy under the rule of the law of the land – the last part means of the people of this territory. et the EU, so full of expertise, ams to abolish national democracy and replace it with autocracy.
    Perhaps as a last gasp, the EU should fund an experiment somewhere on a small scale to find out wether technocratic supra-national government is better than sovereign parliamentary democracy under the rule of the law of the land.

    We wait, with bated breath …

  36. Stephen Berry
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    JR: “The main reason the old establishment is being swept away is it failed to deliver.”

    Is this quite right? Are we not seeing once more in history the power of national independence movements? Whether these movements are rebelling against a supra-national body like the EU or simply want to make America great again, in my opinion it’s nationalism which is at the core. One interesting sidelight is that, unlike with the anti-colonialist movements of the first half of the 20th century, the political left have this time got themselves on the losing side.

    Strange then that there is a rash of stories in the media that Marine le Pen really does not have much chance in France, one of which is below.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/08/no-president-le-pen-change-french-voters-front-national-populist

    But, if you were an ordinary French guy offered the choice of Le Pen or Emmanuel Macron, investment banker, pro-EU and favouring the same open door immigration policy as Merkel, which way are you likely to jump?

  37. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    One idea would be to keep the Lords as it is and add experts from all fields to review bills and speak in debates but have a lower number of “voting” Lords assigned in a proportional way based on GE results or in a separate PR election every 5 years or so.

  38. Vincent Crawford
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    “…Hilary Clinton, who ran on a ticket of expertise and experience. The public said if it meant the expertise that had brought them the Great Recession and the Iraq war, they would rather try something new.”

    John, How can you possibly conclude that Trump’s election was caused by anything but voters’ stupidity, manipulation, or worse, when (i) it was his party that was largely responsible for the Great Recession and completely responsible for the Iraq War, and (ii) when Clinton so plainly passes the “expertise and experience” test that Trump fails more and more spectacularly every day? Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is the best I can say for it.

    • Original Richard
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Isn’t Mr. Trump fighting also fighting against the existing Republican Party who were you say “largely responsible for the Great Recession and completely responsible for the Iraq War…” ?

      This is the advantage the US voter has to be able to overleap the establishment by having a direct vote for the President.

      Perhaps this is what the EU needs to be able to overleap all the unelected ex (?) communist EU Commissioners.

    • rose
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      1 Trump is not a Republican but a New York Democrat who ran as an independent in effect. He fought the Republicans as well as the Democrats.
      2 How does Mrs Clinton pass any test when she isn’t in the office being discussed?
      And how can you say Trump is failing spectacularly when the news on both sides of the ocean is being spectacularly manipulated? On a scale as never before.

  39. Caterpillar
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    My main institutional concern requiring reform is that of money creation (and the consequential asset speculation and inequality).

    We need to look at interplay of the independence of the BoE, Govt led money creation, large bank vs community bank money creation, speculation vs investment money creation, electronic money, guaranteed basic income…

    A system in which money is largely electronic, created by large unregulated/un accountable (to communities) banks + a Needs assessed state benefit would continue the shift of power too much. A system of partial Govt/central bank money creation for infrastructure investment, mixed electronic/physical/blochchain mediums of exchange, large bank regulated money creation, community bank accountable money creation, availability of investment assets for economic saving and a sovereign capital dividend etc., may limit the centralisation of power and distribute freedom more.

    Much needs to be considered and worked on now to avoid further centralising and inequality by default.

  40. ian
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I hope the plebs stick to tribal party system because i am starting to like seeing them get right good hiding all the time.

  41. Norman
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Or as one American lady said, after telling us she was in her late 50’s, she’s been waiting years for a politician who didn’t do political correctness. At last one has arrived in the person of Donald Trump. I thought that was a very perceptive statement, and one which speaks volumes to many, on both sides of the Atlantic.

    PS: its not our institutions that are wrong, but the apostasy that has overtaken them. Reform, yes, but abolition, no. The EU is a different matter altogether.

  42. Posted February 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Taking back control from the EU may be a fine ambition and one which I share. Whether our Parliament and all things therein is fit for purpose in the new circumstances is another matter entirely. Many people who watched huge amounts of the Art 50 debate like me were absolutely appalled by the methodology. Having largely uninformed idiots shouting at each other for days on end while knocking back pragmatic amendments because of the – rightly held – fear of judicial review; is no way to legislate in a modern, democratic, industrial state. And do not get me started on the Select Committees either. They invite the wrong witnesses, ask the wrong questions, ignore what they say and then produce reports no one pays any attention too. With “control” are going to come demands for significant constitutional reform in due course. Some people in the debates carried on as though we are still in the nineteenth century.

  43. Posted February 13, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    We have plenty of bread but are short on circuses. This is because of a shortage of qualified clowns. Court jesters do their best but a professional clown could do the maths for the incompetent comedians.

  • 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.

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