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Political Reform - The Red Tape Revolution

More committees and a cull of MP's. That'll solve the problem, according to the politicians and Esther Rantzen. Plus of course a routine moral regeneration resulting in everyone becoming nice and responsible and decent and dutiful overnight. Happens all the time.
Naturally, a recession mentality is different, being forged by deprivation rather than gluttony. And the culture it creates may well deliver more status for social duty than before, when those not lining their pockets were merely a bunch of suckers and losers. But for as long as the profit motive rules, politicians will be bent, and the public will have to judge as best they can.
Individuals now have more power of information than ever. The concept of counter-veillance is here, as seen in the G20 protests. And the steam train is no longer the fastest means of communication. So we do not need the same forms of political representation we did when most people still lived a days trainride from delivering a petition to anyone who could make a difference. We don't need the same form of delegated politician, we need more access to the decision-making process itself.
For the time being, we have the technology and the infrastructure to restore an element of the community camp-fire to politics and economics. And restore some of the trust between people which has now almost completely vanished. And save the planet a bit.
If that technology can put the first black man in the White House, it can surely help restore the balance in favour of those deserving community interests hitherto out-priced and out-lobbied from power by vast commercial interests. We are facing a deep ideological choice between the politics of the last 200 years, and a politics which can see us through the next 200 years.

As the socialist George Orwell said:

"I suggest that the real objective of Socialism is not happiness. Happiness hitherto has been a by-product, and for all we know it may always remain so. The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood. This is widely felt to be the case, though it is not usually said, or not said loudly enough. Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step. Where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue."


The Clingon Expenses Scandal

If indeed it is inevitable that Labour will lose the next election then it has to get rid of Gordon Brown now. By doing so, it might at least cut the size of the landslide to come, and some Labour MPs might save their jobs.
If the Labour party does not have the long-term political survival instincts to see this, it deserves to lose. By proving it does have them by choosing a new leader, whatever his or her merits, it might just stand a chance of reclaiming some public credibility and at least be able to mount some form of effective opposition to the crippled meanderings of Cameron and his Etonian mates.
Gordon Brown will naturally cling on to power as long as possible, hoping to be rescued by his international prestige and his perceived role as the Action Man of the Crunch. But by doing so he is presenting the anti-political media with another year to undermine not only him, but the entire political class, recently resurgent after decades of inaction, but now cowering in the shadow of the next issue of the Daily Telegraph.
By staying, he is also risking the jobs of many of his colleagues, and is therefore in a very delicate political game which cannot be won by bullying. So he may not be granted the time for Barack and Angela and Silvio to make their decisive Facebook entries.
So with the bankers and politicians now discredited, the only thing to do is to invite fascists to have tea with the Queen. Obviously. Only a rank socialist would imagine any other solution.
People are right to be angry at the corruption and greed of the politiciuans they trusted with their vote. But methinks they do protest a teeny bit too much too. After all, they would never cheat the IRS. Just as journalists would never inflate their expenses, or their bosses hide their money in tax havens.
If they were sincere about democratic accountability, the media would be doing some accountancy, namely, by conspicuously balancing the numbers of offending MPs against the numbers of the innocent, giving a true picture of the problem. But the message blaring out is that all elected politicians are villains, which (conveniently) only leaves the press and Joanna Lumley as a source of honesty and decency. Plus of course the unelected politicians...
The obvious solution to this state of complete decadence would be for all the press to back the nutter party of their choice, and by empowering it, seek to then 'control' it.
The rest is history.


When the Harrumphing Had to Stop. From Dunkirk to D-Day.

High tory Sir Patrick Cormack baffled the house of commons and the daytime TV audience at Mick Martin's Last Shamble on monday by comparing the disintegration of British political credibility with the Norway Debate of 1940, now remembered as the moment Neville Chamberlain was forced to resign as leader and make way for Winston Churchill.
To sum everything up in the same vein, today is being portrayed more and more as parliament's Dunkirk, a British disaster which turns the tide, leading presumably to a D-Day assault on the real den of democratic corruption, the frightful European Parliament gravy train, which we will all be voting about next month, and which the fascists and Little Englanders are hoping to join.
Parties are striving to outdo each other as reformers, some going as far as to demand elections to select those to be elected, which will mean a logarithmic rise in election expenses to be paid by the taxpayer. But in another way, this repersents a welcome show of Obaman co-operation in the face of an agreed threat, and a move away from the negative competition usual between British political parties. And why shouldn't they co-operate more? They don't have many ideological differences to fight over since the Labour party signed up to the capitalist consensus in about 1926.
The British people are somehow shocked by the fact that MP's fiddle their expenses as diligently as journalists, or anyone else who feels they are not paid enough. They are shocked by the fact that their MP's are just like them.
The big question is why, after everything they have been told about politicians and bankers and businessmen and the police, are they only outraged now? Why has it taken them so long to wake up to the emasculation of politics by the same culture of consumerist greed which they have enjoyed for ten years, and which was ushered in by their idol, Margaret Thatcher - who, incedentally, also introduced the very expenses system now being dismantled.
More mischief from the grave, which a chastened generation has to now undo.
As for Martin himself, his position was made clear by handling of the illegal police raid on tory shadow minister Damien Green's office months ago. As Nye Bevan put it as prosecution counsel in the case of The People Versus Anthony Eden:
'If he knew that the police were going to raid without a warrant, he is complicit in an illegal action, and should resign. If he did not know, he is too stupid to be speaker.'

The popular accusation is that MPs have undermined of democracy. Also that they have no morals, conscience or backbone. This was exactly the kind of politician needed to allow mad 90's marketonomics free rein. And the same people who demanded this race of eunuchs in parliament are now outraged to discover they have no balls. The generation of politicans which made Roy Hattersley look like a Trotskyite was bred in the kennel of reaganomics and monetarism, and reared in the dreamworld of global digital consumerism. What do the British middle classes expect? A breed of Aneurin Bevans?


G20 Agents Provocateurs

The Metropolitan Police have been very quick to deny accusations by Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake that there were plain clothes officers urging the crowd to violence at the G20 protests on April 1st. Apparently 'a spokesman' has said that they would never 'deploy officers in this way or condone such behaviour.'
Brake will present evidence tomorrow to the parliamentary joint committe on human rights that one individual who was noisily inciting the crowd inside the kettle was suspected by the crowd of being a police plant, and on displaying a form of I.D. was allowed out. Brake and others are assuming this person was a police officer in plain clothes, or more likely, in some form of crusty costume deemed appropriate for the day. This may well be a reasonable assumption. But it ignores the fact that the other kind of person generally allowed through police lines are journalists, who would have much more to gain from a violent crowd than the police.
The police are generally only obeying orders from their superiors, and the rewards are meagre. Journalists are generally obeying the orders of the market for sensationalist copy, and the rewards, at least for the tabloid owners, are enormous, especially at a time when newspaper sales are crumbling.


The Joanna Lumley Mercenary Agency

Joanna Lumley's emotional need to repay her debt to the Gurkhas is understandable, if a little spooky in its father-worship. But the delights of her public therapy session should not prevent us asking the serious question of why Britain is still hiring mercenaries from the poorest parts of the world. We should be fighting our own wars, not siphoning the most able young men from a tiny state which needs their energies much more than we do.
As usual, Nick Clegg hit the nail on the thumb when he said that those prepared to fight for this country should be allowed to live here. The truth is the reverse, that only the British should be asked to lay down their lives in defence of Britain. Poor countries should not be treated as pools of cheap hired killers doing the dirty work of much richer and more powerful countries.
The current contract granted a pension on return home which enables Gurkhas to take a leading part in Nepalese society, providing whatever skills and experience they might have acquired. Now, not only will Nepal be drained of even more manpower, but once they are gone, they will be unlikely to return. What we will gain on the fast food counters, Nepal will lose in its community councils and education system.
The khukris are out for the government, and this affair provides another hapless cabinet lamb for the block. But it is a triumph of jingoism over sense, and histrionics over government.
La Lumley's populist campaign has given the tabloids another chance to wave the flag and revel in war fever, thereby selling more papers. These are the same tabloids which daily demand British Jobs for British Workers. They are able to simultaneously push the BNP line while also supporting British Military Jobs for Foreign Mercenaries, which is a phenomenal act of mental contortionism. But then, the tabloids are produced by highly trained minds, able to jump through all kinds of intellectual hoops on command. Oxbridge trained minds, in some cases. Some of whom even went to Westminster School and studied anthropology at Cambridge University. ...