Friday, 25 October 2013

I don't want to frighten you all but......




Interesting comments by Tony Benn in the late '70s regarding the power of industrialists and bankers:

"..compared to this, the pressure brought to bear in industrial disputes by the unions is minuscule. This power was revealed even more clearly in 1976 when the IMF secured cuts in our public expenditure. [...] These lessons led me to the conclusion that the UK is only superficially governed by MP...s and the voters who elect them.

Parliamentary democracy is, in truth, little more than a means of securing a periodical change in the management team, which is then allowed to preside over a system that remains in essence intact. If the British people were ever to ask themselves what power they truly enjoyed under our political system they would be amazed to discover how little it is, and some new Chartist agitation might be born and might quickly gather momentum."


Me
In life you go through a variety of stages. It is not uncommon for people in their late teens and early twenties to embrace a fairer way for people to be treated. This can manifest itself in a variety of forms ranging from Christianity through to communism and beyond. The one thing I've learned is that I agree with Tony Benn's final sentence. The upshot of all this is that it is plain why revolutions take place and I mean throughout the ages. The people in power like the power and will move heaven and earth to hang on to it. Whether this takes the form of suppression of personal freedoms that infringe ordinary peoples' human rights or plain and simple slaughter of the outspoken; it depends on the scruples of those in charge.
Another life stage that you go through is when you get to an age when experience has opened your eyes to the truth of what you believed as a much younger person, quite often in retirement. You are then classified as an old reactionary or words to that effect. Who classifies you in that way? The hurtful thing is it can be friends. Their reason, which they will never admit to anyone is their desire to attain the 'in power' benefits!

Edward Snowden

A symptom of the above is the furore created by the revelations of the whistleblower Edward Snowden. He has been branded by the USA a traitor, the UK government concur and after the revelations in the Guardian about the 35 government leaders monitored by the CIA and our own GCHQ you can see why. The two governments are embarrassed by the truth! There is another side to this of course. The fact is that they have all been spying on each other for years it is naive to think that doesn't go on but nobody has dared to say it until Edward! I personally believe that he should be given an honour in the Queen's New Years Honours list - the first to be raised to the Order of People's Champion.

Chartism 

It was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain between 1838 and 1848 which took its name from the People's Charter of 1838. The term "Chartism" is the umbrella name for numerous loosely coordinated local groups, often called "Working Men's Association", which peaked in 1839, 1842 and 1848. It began among skilled artisans in small shops, such as shoemakers, printers, and tailors, and handloom workers in Lancashire and the Midlands as a petition movement which tried to mobilise "moral force" but soon attracted men who advocated strikes, general strikes and physical violence, such as Feargus O'Connor, known as "physical force" Chartists.
The People's Charter called for six basic reforms to make the political system more democratic:
  1. A vote for every man over the age of 21;
  2. A secret ballot;
  3. No property qualification for members of Parliament;
  4. Payment for MPs (so poor men could serve);
  5. Constituencies of equal size;
  6. Annual elections for Parliament.
Chartism was a continuation of the 18th century fight against corruption and for democracy in an industrial society.
Me again
Now obviously annual elections etc would not be practical but for the most part there is little that I would alter. Obviously women would have to appear in the first point but I would extensively change points 3 and 4 to be replaced with:-

3. To qualify to represent people of a given constituency a person must have lived in the said constituency for at least three years.
4. An elected MP must give up all other forms of employment, remuneration or associations which would lead to an interest that could be served by the position of MP and therefore induce a conflict.
In my own distinct and naive way I feel that the position of MP is a position of privilege and should be above the influence of corruption.
Will it happen? I doubt it in reality but one can dream. 

Writing
Isn't it amazing when inspiration sits up and slaps you in the face to say wake up! I have just given myself an idea for another book! It's not new of course as there have been many novels that have tried to point the way to a better existence or warn us all of the dangers of carrying on in our current pattern of behaviour. I'm thinking of Huxley's 'Brave New World' and Orwell's '1984' and 'Animal Farm' but perhaps there is room for an up-to-date version?

God Bless