Category Archives: Political
Apr 20, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: I live in a liberal democracy and wonder why others who do support the undemocratic relentless advance of a meritocracy to govern them, or at least a soi-disant version of it. Even in the unlikely event of an electorate choosing to vote for the most meritorious representative, they are still not a privy to their elected representative’s selection by any political system as a representative of any public administration. Both meritocracy and democracy are used as abstractions in political philosophy, it is clear that both words depend on the political system of the State. Whether it is modelled on a Chinese meritocracy, a liberal democracy, the emerging European Union as a political unit, or some other form of political system, they all claim to be democratic.
The world today is divided territorially into more than 190 countries, in each of which a national government claims to exercise sovereignty—or the power of final authority—and seeks to compel obedience to its will by its citizens. Britannica: Political Systems
Apr 13, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: I add this as part of my 2019 April posts on political and economic themes, in which there are two reprises that are not quite the same as the originals. However, in this post, both the article on Friday and Ian Buckley’s essay Learning from Adam Smith quote the following caution from economic historian John Kenneth Galbraith.
Corporate executives and their spokesmen who cite Smith today as the source of all sanction and truth without the inconvenience of having read him would be astonished and depressed to know he would not have allowed their companies to exist.
Apr 6, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: Perfidious Albion¹ was a phrase much used by Napoléon Bonaparte, who would know the epithet as La Perfide Albion. There has been an enmity between Britain and France at least since the loss of the Angevin Empire by the English (or should that be the Norman invaders) and the 100 years war. It may even be the English insistence on calling themselves Anglo-Saxons, a term used by the French in a pejorative way.
I am sure that the French teach their history as proof of perfidious Albion, with the Fashoda Incident added for good measure. The Fashoda Incident was not taught when I was at school. If it was a mentioned at all would have been overshadowed by General Gordon and Churchill (that hero of the English right and enemy of the British left) participating in the last cavalry charge at the Battle of Omdurman.
The English view of the French is hardly helped by those other Anglo-Saxons during World War I saying, “Lafayette, nous voilà“. Those other Anglo-Saxons who consistently fail to acknowledge the French contribution to the American Revolution. Something the British (or should that be English) also choose to deliberately ignore, even when teaching Cornwallis’s surrender at Yorktown.
Perhaps, joyously received by the French and resentfully by the British (including the English), was General de Gaulle’s now famous “Non“ to the British application to join the EU. De Gaulle was probably right about one thing (see cartoon below) and that was the English thwarting of European dominance by France — except Charlemagne who may (contrary to popular belief) not have spoken french. The English at this time were real Anglo-Saxons and had their own problems which, had he chose to, Charlemagne could have probably resolved. There are many claims that de Gaulle was the prophet of Brexit ensuring the recognition of the Anglo-Saxon intentions to the EU and the perfidy of Albion was understood by all.
Mar 30, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: Last weeks post prompted me to research secession¹, whereupon I was surprised by the increase in the desire of various factions within States to secede (although living with the vestiges of the British Empire, I shouldn’t have been). There are as many and varied reasons for secession as there are methods of seceding, equally there are many are arguments for and against secession. Secessionist sentiments are in all of the major and minor political ideologies, with some having successfully seceded in the past 250 years or so and some failing to do so.
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Mar 23, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: Following a defeat (yet again) of Theresa May’s Brexit plan by the UK parliament, the following may be of interest. They are articles on Brexit provided by the USA (European Union), Al-Jazeera (European Union News), Germany (European Union), and a video (7min) providing a good description of how the EU actually works.
It’s impossible to discuss the European Union¹ (EU) without mentioning Brexit and I have written a lot about the EU — often with a somewhat cynical view about Brexit. It has been my assumption (wrongly as it turns out) that people knew what the EU was, what it had become and where it was heading! Where the EU is heading is a difficult question to answer and one that only provides hypothetical answers, especially when the question is asked in the context, “What is the EU?”. Read more of this post
Mar 16, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: Interpretation of the rule of law brought about the English Civil Wars, vexation over it created fertile ground for the American Revolution and it is (probably) the main cause of the present split between the UK and the EU (Brexit). Last week I posted about ‘The Rule of Law‘, and on the Sunday before posted an article from the Oxford Human Rights Hub (OHRH)¹. The OHRH compared the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) support for the ‘Rule by Law’ and its meritocratic abuse with the democratic ‘Rule of Law’ espoused by governments in the West.
To my mind there is a very fine line between the two with personal wealth and influence being the key to justice under both, with the OHRH claiming that the distinction between the two is more than semantics. While both police law’s rules, the OHRH states that the formulation of the rules have quite different intentions. The human rights element is considered intrinsic to the ‘Rule of Law’, however the OHRH states that in China — ‘Rule by Law’ is less about ensuring compliance with the law than about ensuring the top leadership’s control over its bureaucracy in the CCP.
Peter Oborne wrote in his 2008 book that politicians now despise the values of traditional institutions that once acted as restraints on the power of the state — the independence of the judiciary, the neutrality of the Civil Service and the accountability of ministers to the Commons. Decades earlier in 1979 James Anderton stated that from the police point of view, what will be the matter of greatest concern will be the covert and ultimately overt attempts to overthrow democracy, to subvert the authority of the state.
Both point to a desire by politicians to increase the authority of the State and by the police to enforce the laws that do so. Increasingly the State in UK is introducing laws that increases its authority while purporting to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of its citizens. In doing so, the public administration of the UK State moves inexorably closer to that of a supreme authority who ‘Rule by Law’.
Mar 9, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: Last week the case of Shamima Begum caused me to consider the Rule of Law, this led me to the rule of law as being a modern concept, despite the connection with Aristotle (1). The rule of law is regarded as being fundamental to the governance of the UK and is taken by some to be included in the Magna Carta, or implied by it (2). What Magna Carta (the document) actually proscribes is entirely different from that which it is generally proscribed to it (3).
The significance of Magna Carta lay not only in what it actually said but, perhaps to an even greater extent, in what later generations claimed and believed it had said. Sometimes the myth is more important than the actuality. (Lord) Tom Bingham — The Rule of Law (p19)
Feb 2, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: My own views on Brexit are perhaps summed in a previous blog¹, what follows are yet more videos (no not on any psychosexual innuendos associated with Asparagus à la Brexit). Rather on my innate cynicism over whole Brexit affair that to my mind has more to do with political opportunism than democracy. In yet another previous blog² I claimed that any perceived democratic deficit was not simply Anglo-Saxon angst, the German constitutional court did not recognise the European parliament as a genuine legislature. It did not represent the will of a single European people, but was a representative body of member states³.
Unfortunately the United Kingdom has no written constitution, it is a simple democracy in which the ‘supremacy of parliament‘ prevails. While a democratic deficit may well exist in the form of the EU commission, this parliamentary supremacy represents a far greater democratic deficit for the United Kingdom. Peter
Jan 26, 2019Posted by on
This week on Facebook: In France tax inspectors claimed that the EU pensions of a married couple (Michel Bourges-Maunoury and Marie-Louise Heinz) should be taken into account in calculating their tax liability. The couple took their case to the Court of Justice, which ruled that income paid by the EU and subject to EU tax could not be taxed “either directly or indirectly by a member state”. It also ruled that recipients were exempt from declaring the amount to national tax authorities. Read more of this post