Posts Tagged ‘the Cabinet’

Zionist Entryists Jewish Labour Movement Threaten ‘No Confidence’ Vote against Corbyn

March 22, 2019

Mike earlier this week also put up a post reporting that Jeremy Newmarks’ Jewish Labour Movement is threatening a ‘no confidence’ vote against Jeremy Corbyn. This should surprise no-one, as the JLM, formerly Paole Zion, ‘Workers of Zion’, has been desperately trying to depose Corbyn since it staggered out of its political grave in 2016. It has been one of the chief organisations in the Labour Party flinging accusations of anti-Semitism around.

Paole Zion, from which the JLM is descended, has been part of the Labour party for over a century, but was more or less moribund and defunct by 2014. Then, as the Electronic Intifada has revealed in a recent post, it was taken over by the egregious Newmark, who pumped money into it and refounded it as the Jewish Labour Movement. Newmark is the former head of the very Conservative Jewish Leadership Council, who was quietly released from his position for massive embezzlement. He is, apparently, as crooked as a nine-bob note. So crooked, in fact, that one Jewish blog described him as a ‘one man crime wave’. No Morals took over Paole Zion because he was upset at the bad press Israel was getting because of their bombardment of Gaza. The JLM states in its constitution that it is a Zionist organisation, although when Mike was hauled before the Labour kangaroo court, one of the charges against him was that he had accused them of representing only Zionist Jews. This was despite the evidence from the organisation itself, which claims to represent all Jews. Er, no. No, it doesn’t. There are other Jewish organisations in the Labour party, like Jewish Voice for Labour, Jewdas and the Jewish Socialist Group, who also speak for Jews. But they’re the wrong kind of Jews, because they support Corbyn, and so they’re ignored by the Conservative, establishment media. Also, to join the JLM you don’t have to be Jewish, which means that there’s going to be a lot of Jewsplaining by its gentile members going on, as these non-Jews tell real Jews what they should believe as Jews. You also don’t have to be a member of the Labour party to join, which is presumably why the massively right-wing nutter Jonathan Hoffman is a member. It also has a tiny membership. There are only about 2,000 of them. This is larger than that mighty conquering movement, The Independent Group, and far larger than the obnoxious Nazi and Fascist grouplets running berserk, but still tiny compared to the Labour Party’s overall membership of 500,000, the overwhelming majority of whom support Corbyn.

Mike in his piece about them showed ‘No Morals’ Newmark in a photo, in which he stood between Shai Masot and Mark Regev. It’s pretty much a rogue’s gallery, and good evidence why you should trust nothing he says. Masot was the official at the Israeli embassy, who got sent back home for conspiring to select who should be a member of the Tory cabinet. Regev is the Israeli ambassador himself, who used to be one of the lecturers in an Israeli military academy and who now spends his time lying publicly for his country. Think this is too hard? Not so. Jon Snow called him a liar years ago on Channel 4 News during the bombardment of Gaza, when Regev tried telling the British public that if you sent aid to a place in Israel, rather than Gaza, it would still get through. Snow knew he was lying and said so.

As Mike points out in his article, the supposed vote is nothing more than another piece of political theatre to try to unseat Corbyn. Like their announcement the other week that they were considering seceding from the party. As Asa Winstanley had said then, he’d predicted they’d try something like that year’s before, as the Zionists had pulled the same stunt at the Universities and Colleges Union in order to present them as being so anti-Semitic that Jews were being forced to leave. The reality was that the Zionists were angry because the union had passed resolutions against Israel. This was simply more of the same stunt and tantrums.

The JLM is a complete fraud. It doesn’t really represent Jews so much as Zionist Jews, and Zionists generally. It’s an entryist group, as its members don’t have to Labour members and includes at least one Tory. It’s headed by an embezzler, and in any case, it’s tiny membership means that in its attack on Corbyn, it’s another case of the tail trying to wag the dog. Its stupid stunts and rantings should really be ignored. But they won’t, because its determination to unseat Corbyn through the anti-Semitism witchhunt coincides with the political and media establishment’s own. That is, until someone in the Labour party has enough of them and finds the determination and strength to insist that they obey the same rules that apply to everyone else.

 

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SNP’s Ian Blackford Calls on May to Resign

December 12, 2018

Ian Blackford, the SNP politico, who tore to shred’s May’s ‘strong and stable’ slogan in parliament last week, now demands her resignation in this video from RT.

He says

Mr Speaker, first, ‘Strong and Stable’; we were promised a vote on the Brexit deal, but this PM can’t even do her own job because of the Tory civil war. This government, Mr Speaker, is an embarrassment… This government is a farce, the Tory party is in chaos, the PM is a disgrace with her actions, the reality is that people across Scotland and the UK are seeing this today. Prime Minister, take responsibility, do the right thing, resign.

May then rises and replies with a load of drivel about how she has deferred the vote on Brexit because she and her government has listened to views across the House, and it’s because of that they are pursuing the matter further with the EU. She then claims that she was being respectful of the views raised in the House.

I’ve seen no evidence of respect from Tweezer, and certainly not in her treatment of the poor, the unemployed, the disabled and the homeless. As for respecting her cabinet colleagues, there was briefly a video on YouTube last night asking if she told the EU that she was going to defer the vote on Brexit before she told them. And the sheer suddenness with which Tweezer made the decision after she had repeatedly told the House indicates that it had nothing to do with respect and everything to do with Tweezer fearing for her own tenure of No. 10. As Denis Skinner said, borrowing a phrase of Maggie Thatcher’s, she was ‘frit’.

She’s a disgrace, and it’s high time the country was rid of her and her government.

The Nazi and Israeli Use of Fellow Nationals Abroad

November 17, 2018

One of the charges laid against Mike by the Blairites and the Israel lobbyists in the Labour party was that he accused British Jews of being more loyal to a foreign state or their own people than other Brits. This, they argued, followed the classic pattern of anti-Semitism.

It’s certainly true that anti-Semitism does see Jews as more loyal to each other or to a foreign state than that in which they reside and of which they are citizens. It’s the basis of the ‘Stab in the Back’ myth that led to the rise of the Nazis in Germany: that Germany’s defeat in the First World War was due to the secret machinations of the Jews. There were similar anti-Semitic conspiracy theories going around Britain at the same time, directed against Anglo-German Jewish industrialists like Mond. It is the central idea behind the grand anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, that the Jews are in control of both capitalism and communism/socialism, and using both to enslave and destroy non-Jews. The White race is to be destroyed through immigration and intermarriage with non-Whites.

I’ve shown ad nauseam that Mike is not, and never has been, an anti-Semite, and has always regarded such conspiracy theories as vile, pernicious, murderous rubbish. That this accusation, directed at supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, is completely bogus is also clearly demonstrated by the fact that it was also leveled at Cyril Chilson. Chilson is a naturalized Brit of Israeli extraction, who served in the IDF and its propaganda unit. His mother was a Holocaust survivor, and his father an airman in the Soviet air force fighting the Nazis. Who also murdered his entire family. It is outrageous that this man in particular should have been smeared as an anti-Semite. Just as it is outrageous that so many other decent, anti-racist people, including Jews, Blacks and other Brits, who’ve been the subject of racial abuse and assault, and who may also have lost relatives to real Fascism and Nazism, have been smeared as anti-Semites.

But as I’ve shown in a previous article, the Israeli state and Zionism is very similar to Italian Fascism in that both Netanyahu’s Likud government and Mussolini’s Fascists have attempted to use members of their ethnic group or nation resident abroad to promote their countries’ interests. In the case of Mussolini and the Italian Fascists, this was the Italian communities around the world. And the Nazis attempted to use expatriate Germans in the same way. Robert A. Brady describes this in the table summarizing the main features of Nazi economics and ideology in his The Spirit and Structure of German Fascism (London: Victor Gollancz 1937), pp. 41-2.

On page 42, he writes

13. Non-Germans cannot be citizens; as a corollary, all Germans residing outside Germany either belong or owe allegiance to the Third Reich.

Israel was founded as the Jewish state, and under the law of return, only Jews may immigrate to become citizens of Israel with full rights. Furthermore, Netanyahu himself passed legislation a month or so ago declaring Israel to be ‘the national state of the Jewish people’, an advance on previous legislation which declared that all Jews, everywhere, were automatically citizens of Israel. It was ridiculed and criticized severely by Jewish anti-racists and pro-Palestinian activists. One Jewish American from Anchorage in Alaska posted a piece on YouTube making it very clear that he thought it was ridiculous that he, who had never even seen Israel, was now a citizen, while his Palestinian friend, who was born there, was not. And it is certainly true that Israel demands the supreme loyalty of all Jews, regardless of where they live. Diaspora Jews, who wish to continue living in their traditional homelands and vocally reject Zionism are denounced as ‘traitors’ and worse. And the Zionist activists, who collaborated with Shai Masot in seeking to determine who should be members of the Tory cabinet clearly were members of a conspiracy and did put the interests of a foreign country above their own. And it doesn’t matter how loudly Maggie Cousins, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism or Labour’s NEC howls ‘anti-Semitism’ at the mere mention of this. It is still true.

But it is obviously not true of all Jews, just one section of the Zionist movement, which is concerned to close down all criticism of Israel through clandestine political manipulation and spurious and mendacious accusations of anti-Semitism.

As directed by Netanyahu and the Likudniks, the Zionist movement is acting very much like the Nazis and Italian Fascists wished their compatriots abroad to behave: as promoters and servants of their ideology, whose loyalty was to the Fatherland, rather than the peoples with whom they lived. The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism declares that it is anti-Semitic to compare Jews with the Nazis, but in this instance, as regards Zionism and its collaborators, as in so many other areas of Israeli policy, the comparison is accurate. And the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is itself pernicious in that it is deliberately being used to deny these similarities, and silence those who point them out as anti-Semites.

Next Week’s Episodes on the Radio 4 Series on the History of British Socialism

February 25, 2018

The BBC Radio 4 series, British Socialism: The Grand Tour, continues on its usual timeslot of 1.40 pm on weekdays next week, beginning with a programme on Sidney and Beatrice Webb. Here’s the programmes due to be transmitted, with the brief descriptions of them from the Radio Times.

Monday
Sidney and Beatrice Webb and the Fabian Society

Michael Ward, Dianne Hayter and Steven Fielding join Anne McElvoy to explain how Beatrice and Sidney Webb contributed to the development of the modern welfare state.

Tuesday
Ernest Bevin vs. Stafford Cripps

McElvoy traces the battle between rival traditions of British socialism amid the crises of the 1930s.

Wednesday
1945

Anne McElvoy examines how Ellen Wilkinson went from the Communist Party to the Jarrow March, and to a seat in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education.

Thursday
Socialist Feminism and 1968

Anne McElvoy explores how the women’s liberation movement and the politics of 1968 changed the language of socialism in Britain. With contributions from Sally Alexander of Goldsmiths, University of London; Barbara Taylor of Queen Mary, University of London; and Jon Lawrence of the University of Exeter.

Friday
Tony Benn

Amid the crises of 1970s, competing strands of British socialism struggled for dominance. There were the statist technocrats, who looked back to Labour’s 1945 victory and the building of the Welfare State; the post-1968 generation who had revived the tradition of a socialism focused more on radical self-realization. Meanwhile, the shop stewards forged a new approach to trade unionism. So when Tony Benn moved from a mild, modernising emphasis on the possibilities of technology, and started marching alongside workers who had occupied their factories, it was a significant turn. Present by Anne McElvoy.

And there’s an omnibus edition of that week’s programmes on the same channel at 9.00 pm in the evening that same day.

Alleging that Something Is An ‘Anti-Semitic Trope’ Is No Argument against the Truth

February 20, 2018

One of the tactics used by the Israel lobby and the Blairites in the Labour Party to smear their opponents as anti-Semites is by denouncing anything they write, which is vaguely similar in theme to some of the malignant and poisonous myths about the Jews, as an ‘anti-Semitic trope’, even when it is solid, documented fact. The person reading or hearing these denunciations is thus meant to believe that those they’ve libelled as anti-Semites really are such, and that what they have written is also false, and based on the earlier murderous lies about the Jews.

Thus Mike’s coverage of the secret meeting between members of the Tory party and Shai Masot of the Israeli embassy, where they plotted which members of the Conservatives they wanted in the cabinet, was brought up at his hearing in the Labour party. Mike had described it as ‘a conspiracy’, which it was. it was a secret plot, and Masot and his friends in the Tories were conspiring to affect changes in the cabinet. But because Mike described it as a conspiracy, the Blairites and Israel lobby seized on it as anti-Semitic because of the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. They wanted people to think that Mike had written about it, because he’s anti-Semitic Fascist loon, who believes all the stupid conspiracy theories about the Jews controlling international finance and politics to enslave gentiles. And with that, they were then expected to ignore the fact that Masot and co really had been caught conspiring on camera by Al-Jazeera.

But such allegations are no argument or defence of Zionism and Israel, when the actions committed by them are documented fact. For example, in the 14th century Jews were accused of causing the Black Death, which is estimated to have killed 1/3 of the European population, by poisoning the wells. They did no such thing, but this lie was believed and led to terrible pogroms and violence against them.

But in the last days of the Second World War, or shortly afterward, a group of Jews did try to poison the drinking water in one of the lakes in Germany. They were led by a poet, Kovner, and wanted to kill six million Germans in retaliation for the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. There was a documentary on them broadcast on BBC 4 on Holocaust Memorial Day. I can also remember reading an article on them in the Daily Heil several years ago. This plot is documented fact, and as far as I know, no-one has accused the Beeb or Fail of anti-Semitism simply for covering this story. But it is similar to the medieval myth of Jews poisoning wells, and so, going by the logic of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement, is an ‘anti-Semitic trope’.

Similarly, One of the methods the Israeli Defence Force uses to try to make life in the territories occupied by Israel unbearable for the indigenous Palestinians is to throw chemicals into the wells to make the water undrinkable. Again, this is documented fact. It’s similar to the lies about Jews poisoning the wells in the Middle Ages, but that lie has nothing to do with the reporting of this violation of the Palestinians’ human rights.

Just because something done by the Israelis now is similar to the poisonous medieval and Nazi lies, does not mean that the accounts of the Israelis’ crimes and conspiracies isn’t true. Nor does it mean that it is anti-Semitic to document and describe them.

Mike most certainly is not an anti-Semite, as his article on Shai Masot and his fellow co-conspirators shows. The allegation that what he wrote was ‘an anti-Semitic trope’ is a fraudulent lie, made by the Blairites and the Israel lobby to smear him, and cover up their own embarrassment at being caught. They are utterly disgraceful, and owe Mike a retraction and an apology.

Chunky Mark on the Tory Supporter Who Punched Female Protester at UWE

February 7, 2018

One of the big stories this weekend, apart from the Sunset Times and Robert Peston libelling Mike as a Holocaust denier, was about the violence at a meeting held by Jacob Rees-Mogg at the University of the West of England in Bristol. The story, as reported by the mainstream news, was that the Antifa assembled there had attacked and hit Rees-Mogg. In fact, as Rees-Mogg himself stated later, he hadn’t been attacked.

But there was violence. And the Skwawkbox revealed that later footage of the incident showed it started with one of Mogg’s own Tory supporters. This thug stood in front of a young woman holding a placard, and struck her in the face. He then continued to stand there menacingly, and I think may have tried to hit her again.

And it also appears that this same man has also on occasion thought it would be jolly good fun to dress up in Nazi uniform.

In this clip from Chunky Mark, the Artist Taxi Driver, he expresses his own anger and disgust at the incident, and the thug’s predilection for Nazi dress. He also criticises the Tories’ hypocrisy over the incident. They’ve made much of the violence by the Antifa in order to discredit the left, as it shows them as intolerant. In the meantime, none of the mainstream media have covered the attack by this character. It was done by the Skwawkbox as a piece of citizen journalism. And Brandon Lewis, David Gauke and other Tories have actually defended the thug, who hit the young woman. Chunky Mark also attacks the way they want to take this round the universities.

He states very clearly and loudly that the Tories have no policies, and are attacking those who do. This is the people, who fight for higher wages, against homelessness, for the NHS and against people dying in corridors. People who believe that another world is possible.

I’m not surprised that the Tories supporter, who punched the protester liked to dress up in Nazi uniform. A number of them were caught doing this several years ago in a series of scandals. And Private Eye reported several times that the late Conservative cabinet minister, Alan Clarke, used to describe himself as a ‘Nazi’. He probably wasn’t, but it shows the fascination the Third Reich and the Nazis have for a certain type of right-wing Conservative.

As for Brandon Lewis wanting to tour this round the universities, and pass legislation so that it’s impossible to criticise it, this refers to the government’s concerns about democracy on campus. The Tories are afraid that some of the groups at university threaten free speech. By which I think they mean the anti-racist, feminist and gay rights groups. I think they’re afraid of the strong position such groups hold on campuses throughout Britain, and want to attack them as part of a campaign to promote approved Tory values. It’s just part of their programme to change educational system to indoctrinate children and young people with Conservative views. Like Michael Gove tried to do when he was head of education a few years ago, and complained about schoolchildren getting the ‘Blackadder’ view of the First World War.

They’ve clearly realised that actually admitting that they want to promote Conservativism amongst students would sound bad, and so they’ve been trying to pass this off as a defence of free speech. But the only speech they’re interested in defending is for themselves. They really want to close down everyone else’s. And so they and their supporters in the press were busy promoting this story about Rees-Mogg and his supporters being attacked, and very carefully ignoring the fact that the violence was started by the Conservatives.

May Moves Closer to a ‘Ministry of Truth’ for Cabinet Unit to Rebut ‘Fake News’

January 22, 2018

The Tories’ movement towards authoritarianism and dictatorship goes on. Mike today put up a story about Theresa May, our unfunny comedy prime minister, wanting to set up a ‘rapid response unit’ in the cabinet office to rebut ‘fake news’ on social media. Mike on his blog raises the obvious question about who will trust such a unit, when the Tories have been responsible for spreading so much fake news themselves. He illustrates this with a piece from the Canary, in which Victoria Atkins, the Undersecretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, by Niamh Eastwood of the drug charity, Release, for the lies Atkins had told about British drug policy and drug treatment.

And this is really just one instance of so many, many others. The Tories lie inveterately and constantly. Another example that comes readily to mind this week is Boris Johnson, once again reviving his lie that the money saved from being in the EU will go to the NHS. It’s been shown repeatedly that we won’t save the £350 million he claims, and when England did vote against EU membership last year, Johnson then went back on the promise, and blustered about how it was just an example of the kind of thing the money could be spent on. But in actually fact wasn’t. He’s revived this lie once before, and last week dragged it back up again.

May’s proposal also shows the massive insecurity the Tories now have. Despite having the overwhelming support of the British press and broadcasting, with the BBC apparently staffed by members of their party and producing constant pro-Tory propaganda through presenters and editors like Laura Kuenssberg, the Tories still feel they have to crack down on a threat from social media.

It’s because people are rejecting established news sources, like the press and the BBC, because they’ve been caught out lying too often. The Tories and their collaborators in the mainstream media have done their level best to vilify and smear the Labour party, and specifically Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum. If you believe them, Corbyn and the true Labour moderates – most definitely not the Thatcherite entryists that came in with Blair – are a load of anti-Semites and Trotskyites. But few people are buying that. Corbyn gained a considerable amount of support on social media, much of which was spontaneous, just as Bernie Sanders did over in the US. The Tories have been unable to compete with this, and so they want to shut it down. Mike’s article on this piece of news concludes

This is not an attempt to ensure a “fact-based public debate”.

It is a bid to hijack the news and turn it into Tory propaganda.

Who are you going to believe if you aren’t given a choice?

Tories hate the freedom of speech employed by the social media. They see this as their opportunity to end it. And they think the people are too stupid to realise they’ll be filling our newspapers and other news media with lies.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/01/22/whos-going-to-trust-theresa-may-to-tackle-fake-news-when-her-tories-are-responsible-for-so-much-of-it/

Absolutely. And May’s proposal is a real danger to free speech and freedom of opinion in Britain. It comes close to the ‘Ministry of Truth’ in Orwell’s 1984, or the rigid state control of the media in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Soviet Russia. Perhaps the functionary Tweezer intends to put in charge of this new unit will be called ‘the Minister for Public Enlightenment’, like Goebbels?

This comes after the various attempts by Thatcherite administrations to set up secret courts. These are closed hearings, where, for reasons of national security, the accused may not know what crimes they are charged with, nor have the evidence against them disclosed to themselves or their lawyers. Blair tried to introduce them, and David Cameron and Nick Clegg passed legislation setting them up. Again, it’s a justice system very much like the Kafkaesque travesties of the Communist and Fascist totalitarians of the last century.

And this has to be stopped. This is another infringement by the Tories on freedom of speech and conscience. If it goes ahead, whatever May or her spokespeople will bluster and say to the contrary, it will be another attempt to dictate to the people of this country what they can believe politically. By a weak, terrified Tory prime minister, and the corrupt, mendacious party and corporate class she serves.

Open Democracy Webinar on Alternative Democracy

February 25, 2016

Last Thursday, February 18th 2016, I was privileged to attend a webinar held by the Open Democracy forum on ‘alternative democracy’. Webinars, if you’ve never come across before, like me, are discussions held over the internet between a number of participants. They remain in their own homes, and talk to each other via their webcams or digital cameras attached to the computers. In this instance, the main speaker at any given point occupied most of the screen, while the other participants were each shown at the bottom. I was invited to go by Michelle Thomasson, a member and a commenter on this blog. The discussion was an hour long, covering topics that have been central to the issue of democracy since the very first democratic theorists like the ancient Athenians and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. These include the fact that democracy leads to popular government, rather than right government; the problem of applying a political system that originally arose in small city states to large, complex modern societies, and the problem of energising and encouraging public engagement in politics and the political process at a time when increasing numbers feel disenfranchised, and that politicians are self-serving and isolated from the rest of society.

The first issue, that of democracy allowing the public to vote for the ‘wrong’ people, or make the ‘wrong’ decisions, is shown by the controversy about capital punishment and the EU. One of the female participants made the point that she wasn’t happy with referenda, because if one was a held on those two issues, the British public would almost certain vote in favour of reinstating the death penalty and leaving the European Union, both of which she considered wrong and unjust. She also made the point that there was a problem in that people don’t understand how parliament itself works. People have been horrified by what they’ve seen of it and the parliamentary process on television, especially since the launch of the parliament channel. She also discussed the problem of young people becoming uninterested in politics. She felt that part of the solution to this problem of increasing political indifference and disenfranchisement was for parliament itself to become more representative. She was in favour of quotas, and particularly for more women in parliament. She also felt that there should be more teaching in schools about the importance of politics, democracy and political participation. There still were areas for the public to be involved in politics in local issues, but these were becoming increasing rare as many local amenities, such as youth clubs, were being closed down. There was therefore a real danger of people retreating into social media.

The participants also discussed the possibility of learning from the Occupy Movement, which mobilised people against the cuts and bankers’ bail-outs across the world. People were disillusioned and felt that politicians were distant. One possible solution was digital democracy, but it was felt that this also was not the right way to go. They also pointed out that as far back as ancient Greece, politicians have never done what the electorate wanted. There was also the additional problem of democratic decisions in large societies like modern Britain. They pointed out that although the march against the Iraq War were the largest modern protests, most people still supported the invasion of Iraq, because they had been deliberately given the wrong information. There were similar problems with the reforms attacking and dismantling the welfare state. This led to a discussion of the wider problem of how communities could be connected to parliament.

Some possible solutions included the transformation of the House of Lord’s into a genuine popular assembly, and the revitalisation of political parties. Trump and Bernie Sanders in America, and Jeremy Corbyn over here at sparked an upturn in people joining and becoming interested in political parties. This led to the problem of how to involve other organisations to balance the power of the big corporations now involved in defining and influencing politics. They felt that the revitalisation of the political parties should be done through the existing political system. However, one of the problems with Jeremy Corbyn was that one of the speakers felt he hadn’t drawn new people into the party, but caused older members, who had let their membership lapse, to rejoin.

That led in turn to the question of what should be done with all the new political activists and participants, once they’d been energised, so that they could transform society. One of the men stated that the Labour party had declined from a genuinely popular movement into a party, in which people in suits made decision on behalf of the people they represented. This led to the question of local democracy in the Aristotelian sense. He considered that we currently have local administration rather than democracy. Most of the funding for local councils in England comes from central government, compared with Sweden where 80 per cent comes from local taxes. One of the other participants pointed out that the Coalition was indeed trying to reverse this situation under the guise of localism. They also discussed the way the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition had dissolved the regional partnerships, that had some success in regenerating the local political and economic situation. On the other hand, the Coalition has also encouraged local authorities to group together so that they could co-operate across borders. This worked well in some areas, like Manchester, but was less effective in others.

They also discussed whether Britain needed a constitution. It was pointed out that those nations with constitutions were not necessarily any more democratic than those which did not. One of the speakers was also quite scathing about the way the leadership in Labour party had blocked a bill on corporate funding in order not to upset the trade unions. The result of this was that the Tories were continuing to enjoy massive corporate donations, while trying to find ways to deprive the Labour party of money.

They also returned to the question of referenda. They stated that this worked in small countries with a tradition of direct democracy, like Switzerland. It was much less effective in large countries like Britain. As an example, when the Americans set up internet polling following the British example, the two petitions with greatest number of signatures were for America to build a Death Star, like the one in Star Wars, and to deport Justin Bieber back to Canada.

They also raised the issue of untrained cabinet ministers. Many ministers didn’t know how to manage the performance of the civil servants under them, as it wasn’t a requirement for cabinet ministers. There was poor human resource management in the Civil Service and poor project managers. However, expertise in specific areas did not necessarily make someone a more efficient minister. Andrew Lansley was an expert on health and healthcare, and yet his reforms were dreadful. The Coalition had also performed a number of U-turns, as no-one had told its members what the results of their reforms were intended to be. Overall, they concluded that the problem was one of improving the existing system, rather than overturning it.

All of these issues are complex and it’s fair to say that they need long and careful examination if we are to overcome the continuing crisis in British democracy. People do feel bitter and disenfranchised by their politicians. The scandal over MPs’ bonuses showed how bitter the public felt about their claims. Hopefully, more seminars and discussions like this will lead to the discovery of better ways to reverse this, and to bring people back to participating in the political process, which is supposed to serve them. Democratic political theory states that political sovereignty lies with the people. It’s a question of putting them back in charge, and taking power away from an increasingly managerial elite.

And if digital democracy is not a solution to this problem, than the internet has also provided part of the solution. Yes, there is the danger that people are retreating into social media. But the same social media has enabled political discussions like the above, by connecting people vastly separated from each other, who can discuss weighty issues like this easily in the comfort of their own homes.

A recording of the webinar, plus comments, can be found at: https:​//plus.​google.​com/events/cqjpogiqt6osi7fliui​4k4tkg4c
Thanks, Michelle.