Democracy – yes please

How democratic is our democracy?

What changes would I like to see?
1. Proportional representation
2. An elected upper house.
3. Meaningful Manifesto
4. Civilised debates.
5. Modernised debating chamber
6. MP’s attending parliament.

Without PR a government can hold the majority of votes in parliament on a minority of electoral votes. If the unelected House of Lords has any power it should not, but if it has no power it’s a waste of space (and money). A government is basically elected on its manifesto so deviation without a referendum or general election is undemocratic. Debates currently are a disgrace, more like a class of delinquents when the teacher is out of the room. They are held in a chamber more appropriate to the 18th century, where are the computers you see in modern parliaments? Our MP’s skive off work by mutual arrangement with another member from the other side and still get paid.

My answer is not very, in my opinion ‘The Mother of all Parliaments’ is a ‘Mother of all ….’ Something very different.


SNAFU – why vote

I have always voted, never missed, returned from a holiday just to vote, voted by post when unable to vote in person. Why? I used to think it was important, I used to think it mattered. Now for the first time I am tempted to join the massed ranks of those who don’t vote, why – because of the ‘first past the post’ system. My one desire is to be rid of this immoral Tory government, but without PR my vote will not count so why bother.  For the first time I can now view the non-voters in a different light. Their non-votes should be counted as a protest against the status quo, an equivalent to a ‘none of the above’ vote. Of course that won’t happen and, as always, I will turn out to vote so sadly it’s SNAFU


Who needs the Mafia

Supply and demand is a fundamental concept of economics in a free market economy. In a capitalist economy most buying and selling is governed by ‘market forces’ including non-luxury items such as a house to live in – we have a ‘housing market’. If your house is very desirable to others and exists in a unique location the price you can ask will be relatively high unless, of course, this house finds itself in the path of a proposed runway extension or a new high speed railway system, then the rules change. The buyer then sets the price in the form of ‘compensation’, known by the Mafia as an ‘offer you cant refuse’.
The reason you have to accept, we are told, is that the runway, high speed train, motorway etc. needs to be built for the benefit of the country, for its economy, for its infrastructure etc. etc., society benefits as a whole. Suddenly capitalism and the free market has to be put aside for more altruistic, socialist, ‘for the common good’ reasons. Except, of course, that this is not true because the runway, railway, motorway, whatever will be owned by a private profit making company who will then own what you once owned, who you were forced to sell to at a price you had to accept and who will then charge you for using at a price they set.
Who needs the Mafia.

Beware of sound-bites

The first person to discuss Zionism with me was strongly anti, true he was also politically left wing but it was also a fact that he was Jewish.
Much can be found on social media etc. to explain the obvious difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, no more need be said by me. What is obvious to me is that the slur of anti-Semitism is in reality an attempt to blacken the character of any left-wing supporter with an anti-Zionist point of view and has nothing whatever to do with anti-Semitism per se.
The argument over the rights and wrongs of Zionism deserve more consideration than sound bites and prejudices. The whole region of Israel/Palestine has a complex history. From Wikipedia it states:
The Palestine region or parts of it have been controlled by numerous different peoples and regional powers, including the Canaanites, Amorites,[2] Ancient Egyptians, Israelites, Moabites, Ammonites, Tjeker, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, different dynasties of the Early Muslim period (Umayads, Abbasids, Seljuqs, Fatimids), Crusaders, Late Muslim dynasties (Ayyubids, Mamluks, Ottoman Turks), the British, Jordanians (1948–1967, on the “West Bank”) and Egyptians (in Gaza), and modern Israelis and Palestinians.”
But complexity does not suit those with an axe to grind, simple sound bites to enforce prejudices are much the preferred option. It’s a cheap trick and we should recognise it as such.

Stranger Danger

From my experience there appears to be a line that crosses England from West to East. We have lived half a lifetime south of the line and half north. We travel north to south regularly to visit family and have walked extensively in both halves. When walking north of the line, those we meet coming towards us share eye contact and a word or two of greeting, a ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’ and perhaps a comment on the weather. Those we meet south of the line avoid eye contact and any attempt at a friendly word is studiously ignored.
I think this will change. I have noticed that the younger generation north of the line are now copying the ways of the south folk and hence the line will disappear and the country will uniformly adopt the stranger-danger attitude and studiously look away in tight lipped silence.

Perhaps an app could be developed that allows users to detect someone approaching and a word of greeting typed, or selected from an appropriate icon, thereby allowing stranger interaction without raising an eye from the screen.