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 Post subject: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 1:35 am 
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It is rather entertaining, at one level, to see Simon Heffer declare an intention to take on Sir Alan Haselhurst at the polls, protesting at the use of his allowances to pay for £12,000-worth of gardening at his country house.

Heffer, we are told, "joins the growing ranks of public figures who have come forward offering to unseat MPs seen to have abused the system". These include Esther Rantzen, the broadcaster and campaigner. She is to stand against Margaret Moran in Luton South unless the Labour MP resigns over her expenses, including £22,500-worth of dry rot treatment at a house 100 miles from her constituency.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 4:13 am 
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Hmmm. Professional Politicians versus Amateur incompetents? You give us an interesting either or which I, for one, do not accept. You seem to feel that outsiders cannot possibly do as good a job as the current 'experts' because they do not understand the system. Of what have you been imbibing?


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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 4:32 am 

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The amateurs aren't there to understand the system as is, they are there to make the, or a, system work.

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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 7:05 am 
So how much does Mr Heffer earn and can we see his last set of expenses?


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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 7:21 am 
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Interesting times methinks!


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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 7:49 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:27 pm
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Location: Oxford, UK
Think about when you try to tell the Army or RAF things, and they come up here and on ARRSE telling you you can't possibly understand because you are not one of the special people, and haven't been on the ground etc etc. That's what you are doing now. It may be true, or contain large elements of truth, but it is not convincing.

What if some amateur MP were to fail to understand why the PM doesn't answer the questions properly at PMQs? The pros all swallow this without any problem. They have got used to it, and to all the other ways of riding roughshod over our constitution and liberties.


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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 8:01 am 
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gregb wrote:
Hmmm. Professional Politicians versus Amateur incompetents? You give us an interesting either or which I, for one, do not accept. You seem to feel that outsiders cannot possibly do as good a job as the current 'experts' because they do not understand the system. Of what have you been imbibing?


Noooooo ... that's not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that, within the current system, neither amateur nor "professional" politician can succeed. The system needs changing. I also go on to say that, unless you know something of the system, it is unlikely that you can even begin to change it (for the better). I then say that the impetus for change is going to have to come from outside.

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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 8:16 am 
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Heffer would get bored as an MP in a trice.

Imagine him in his surgeries telling his humble petitioners they are wastrels who should be ashamed of themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 8:39 am 

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Quote:
I then say that the impetus for change is going to have to come from outside.


Unless there Independents receptive to change within the HoC you are talking about violence?

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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:17 am 
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Location: England
I admire the American Constitution and people like Jefferson. But much of his inspiration came from the British political system or philosophy, which probably came from other places I'm not learned. We might once have had separation of powers.

I happen to think the likes of Jefferson were geniuses. They needed a political system and obviously saw that the British one had good parts but was deeply flawed. The one they came up with should be ours but with the major flaws removed. Checks and balances, no single person all powerful. So to the people who revolt at the thought of having an American style Constitution for this country, we would be bringing very little new back home.

Our system started off flawed with monarchs and never really kicked the habit of divine right of kings, even now. Amazing that in the 21st century we still have a House of Commons and House of Lords. We still have a monarch who is required to sign everything that is put in front of them without challenge and is hence useless.


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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:33 am 

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Quote:
We still have a monarch who is required to sign everything that is put in front of them without challenge and is hence useless.


Who WE require to sign... by convention only. It would not be a constitutional amendment as such to require the Monarch, if they feel that the public is not with Parliament on a given issue, to put a bill up for assent to referendum. The mere threat of this would force Parliament to remember whose power they borrow.

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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:37 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:30 pm
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Stuart wrote:
..... We still have a monarch who is required to sign everything that is put in front of them without challenge and is hence useless.


But, surely, that is the same as the American system as it is......Barack told to sign ('or else !) by his 'executive' from Goldman Sachs ?


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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:40 am 
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Mosquito wrote:
Think about when you try to tell the Army or RAF things, and they come up here and on ARRSE telling you you can't possibly understand because you are not one of the special people, and haven't been on the ground etc etc. That's what you are doing now. It may be true, or contain large elements of truth, but it is not convincing.

What if some amateur MP were to fail to understand why the PM doesn't answer the questions properly at PMQs? The pros all swallow this without any problem. They have got used to it, and to all the other ways of riding roughshod over our constitution and liberties.


Agree partly ... not knowing the "rules" helps you think outside the box - sometimes you come up with whacky, unrealistic ideas - other times you hit the nail on the head. However, I think the point I'm trying to make is that change (or the pressure for change) comes from without - not within. If you buy into the system, you abide by the rules of that system and, if the system is corrupt, it eventually corrupts you.

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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:49 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:59 pm
Posts: 1862
Quote:
Crucially though, the dominant experience is that of frustration. MPs are constantly up against the brick wall of a system that has robbed parliament of its powers and is unresponsive to the needs of a democratic society.

One has to ask, therefore, that if the "professionals" find being an MP such hard going – and find it so difficult to achieve anything – why it is people think that rank amateurs would be any better?

The system robbed politicians of nothing - whatever powers they think they have lost they merrily gave away but could repatriate in an instant. We saw a brief flash of Parliamentary sovereignty with the motion of no confidence in Speaker Martin. It came far too late but at least it came. Too many incumbents do not realise they still have a great deal of authority because we lend it to them. The system that now operates in Westminster encourages undue deferrence, the power of whips and for Parliament to be subordinate to Government. Those aren't problems with that system though, they're problems with the politicians who are keen to abide by it when they do not have to.


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 Post subject: Re: A citizens' revolt?
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 10:09 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:11 am
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Precisely. This Nation can be sorted out from Parliament without buggering about with the Constitution. It is unwritten precisely so we can hang whatever conventions are useful for the day on it, and so outmoded conventions can roll into the long grass of yesteryear.
I am convinced that the Monarch is considerably more in tune with the moods in Her Nation than many give Her credit for so including Her in the "Sovereignty of Parliament" would be sensible as well as required by Dicey's own definition.
Remove the honey-pot of ministerial power from the HoC and maybe we'll get MPs whose interest is the Nation.

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