Monday, March 09, 2009

Jury Team – restoring democracy and accountability to politics

Sir Paul Judge is following in the steps of Sir James Goldsmith in founding a new political party with the simple objective of promoting independent thought and open governance. He says: “These days the party selection processes of candidates are about as undemocratic as it gets. We think independent people can make good decisions. We use that model for juries. If you put a group of sensible people together and show them the facts, they’ll make good decisions.”

Hence his name for the new party: the Jury Team.

Sir James Goldsmith was worth around £3 billion. He poured £20 million into his Referendum Party, and although it polled over 800,000 votes in the 1997 general election, it achieved little and died with him. Sir Paul Judge is worth a paltry £30 million, and his Jury Team is about to achieve even less and go exactly the same way.

The Jury Team website explains its objectives:

‘We are an umbrella organisation for Independent candidates who want to run for public office. We’re a group of people who are sick of the way politics is conducted in this country - where politicians show greater loyalty to the party whip and climbing the greasy pole than voting in line with their constituents’ needs and priorities.

‘We think the whole system is becoming rotten - that the expenses scandals aren’t just a case of ‘a few bad apples’ but that the barrel itself might be contaminated. The recent ‘cash for amendments’, the second homes fandango, claiming for nannies, hiring relatives - all of this points to a system that is lacking in accountability. Senior party figures are not reprimanded, because it would be harmful to the parties to lose them. There is collusion across the parties on this, and as a result, there seems to be little fear of reprisal.

‘We think Parliament would be better if it had some representation chosen as directly as possible by the voters, without the parties getting in the way. We think that Independents, winners of an Open Primary election, would be more accountable to their constituents and thus would be more transparent in their dealings.’

It is not that Cranmer does not support the objectives, for they are noble. Any initiative which seeks to reinvigorate democracy and enfranchise the alienated is to be welcomed. But by fielding a full complement of 72 candidates in the European elections in June as a prelude to the next general election, Jury Team risks perpetuating this appalling Labour government and damaging the only political force which can remove it and repair the damage it has inflicted upon the nation.

And the party scene is becoming a little over-crowded, with many now professing the same objectives of anti-sleaze, openness, accountability, transparency, Libertas UK launches this week, and then there is UKIP, the Libertarian Party UK, and the New Britain Party. Not to mention the Christian Party.

But at least they all have a mission statement to which all aspiring candidates must subscribe. Even the Libertarian Party has developed a method of herding cats.

But the Jury Team ‘party’ has no specific policies and no manifesto, for is not a party: it is a platform.

The theory is historical and sound. Prior to the 19th century there were individual MPs with either ‘Whig’ or ‘Tory’ leanings, but there was no clear-cut division in Parliament and no comprehensive party organisation. Jury Team candidates will attempt to be selected by local people who have concerns over local issues. But these are usually called councillors. To elevate dustbin collection in Grantham or the neighbour’s plans to build in his back yard to the principal criterion for a path to Westminster will diminish democracy by bringing it further into disrepute. Each candidate will be a unique ego, persuaded of the infallibility of the rightness of their own cause and dedicated to achieving what they set out to achieve, however antithetical such objectives may be to the other 645 members of Parliament. Each voice will be isolated, each hope dashed, each objective frustrated by mutually exclusive and diametrically-opposing forces. Ultimately, no-one will be heard and nothing achieved, leaving the supranational European Union to continue along its merry way. This is the ever-fracturing postmodern politics of post-democracy.

The era embodies a shift from the muffled majesty of grand narratives to the splintered autonomy of micro-narratives. Society is splintering into hundreds of sub-cultures and designer cults, each with its own language, code and life style. Postmodernity evidences a willingness to combine symbols from disparate codes or frameworks of meaning, even at the cost of disjunctions and eclecticism. It embraces spontaneity, fragmentation, superficiality and irony. It is pessimistic wishful thinking or nihilism with a smile.

We live in an age of market dominance and media branding. People may despise Labour, Conservative, Nike and Coca Cola, but the brand heightens awareness and symbolise an ethos. The brand is the incarnation of something less tangible. Of course, definitions become blurred and philosophies become indistinct, but that does not negate the power of the brand.

David Cameron has spent three years ‘decontaminating’ the Conservative brand. Whatever people may think of his efforts, they have worked. The Conservative Party is once again a credible electoral force, and one dedicated to cleaning up British politics and eradicating ‘sleaze’. The swift action taken against Derek Conway and certain MEPs is evidence of David Cameron’s intolerance of anything which brings politics into disrepute and of his desire to purge Parliament of corruption.

There is, of course, nothing to stop members of the BNP applying to Jury Team and using the platform for their odious message. This will do for Jury Team what the extremists did for UKIP. The moment there is one headline juxtaposing ‘Jury Team’ with those who wish to legalise paedophilia, throw homosexuals off a cliff or repatriate the Asians (for all of these personal manifestos would be permissible), the brand would be contaminated beyond repair. Jury Team will not survive the pathological leftward obsessions of the media.

The only restriction on potential candidates is that they must be ‘committed to the principles of good governance, including selflessness, integrity, openness and honesty’.

It is not clear who will scrutinise this ‘selflessness’, and all of these restrictions certainly permit Hizb-ut-Tahrir to use the platform for its religio-political objectives.

Jury Team says it hopes to attract some big names as candidates – those who are identified with a particular cause like Shami Chakrabarti, head of the human rights group Liberty, who has campaigned against the introduction of ID cards. But the fate of independent MP Martin Bell ought to sound a warning. He only entered Parliament on his anti-sleaze ticket because both Labour and the Liberal Democrats stood down to give him a clear run against Neil Hamilton. When he stood at the following general election against Eric Pickles, he lost.

Political parties need vision and coherence, for the modern electorate is attracted by unity and purpose. A ragbag of independents may sound laudable, but it is the politics of Cloud Cuckoo Land. Now is not the time for a new party, or even a new non-party. Now is the time for a new government.

According to a YouGov poll commissioned by Sir Ian, 55 per cent of people said they would vote for an independent if they thought the person stood a reasonable chance of being elected.

Aye, there’s the rub.


Anonymous mckenzie said...

In order to manage human nature, we can not afford to take a liberal hand. I agree that now is the time for vision and coherence and a firm party line.

One of my favourite books is Till We Have Faces by C.S Lewis. The idea behind the title is that God cannot speak directly with mankind until he has a 'face' to meet with. I believe this is why God does not always, if ever, directly intervene in each individual case of human suffering, because it is human nature which has to change. If time is relative to God, who sees all, then consider the possibility of nuclear destruction being a reality in the future. If this is destined to happen, then even when Neanderthal man first appeared, it was already too late. What needs to change is human nature.

Even though I believe in God, in my mind the word miracle, by its own definition is void. If something has happened then that means that it can happen, it is a valid possibility and truth. Our ideas about what can and cannot happen are limited by our cerebral understanding: we perceive only a fraction of what exists.

If we are to one day meet God with our own face, it will be when human nature has achieved this level of understanding and behaviour which can demonstrate unequivocally that we have arrived. In order for human nature to make this progress, it will mean the adoption of a consensus about central ideology, not a mish-mash of individual concerns. Human nature changes by learning, a very slow process indeed to our cerebral understanding, but there is no denying that it is happening. We have a long, long way to go: one step forward, two steps back.

Now is not the time for the young liberal ego, imprinted with ideological theory, trying to accelerate its superficial ideas ahead of what experience comes from history: history has, and will show this to be foolishness. Having taken the two steps backwards, now is the time to pause for breath, ready to take the important one step forward into real progress, to make that important and crucial change in human nature, a miracle in the making.

9 March 2009 at 09:23  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

One step forward, two steps back, is he best way that I have to describe our journey back to God, while at the same time taking progressive and forward steps with human development.

9 March 2009 at 09:41  
Blogger Bert Rustle said...

Archbishop Cranmer wrote ... There is, of course, nothing to stop members of the BNP applying to Jury Team ...

According to

... 5. The Nomination Form

... In order to ensure that no fascist or similarly extreme people can be considered for selection, the form also requires all candidates to confirm that they agree not to support any policies discriminating on the basis of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, disability or religious or other belief. ...

As far as I having a MEP elected, this principally excludes those who largely approve of the British National Party Manifesto. If they desire electoral success for themselves, rather than electoral failure for others, this appears nonsensical, as 'Most Britons actually support BNP policies'

I would hazard a guess that the highest profile JuryTeam candidates will be overly represented in those constituencies where the British National Party are most likely to be elected.

I would further hazard a guess that JuryTeam will be heralded by the Drive-By Media as the real alternative to the Establishment Party and that they will be associated with some of: Jon Gaunt, Richard Littlejohn, Peter Hitchens, ...

9 March 2009 at 10:33  
Blogger Gnostic said...

The Jury Party is a joke. The idea of a party united against sleaze but pulling 72 different ways simply isn't feasible. MPs and Ministers fiddling expenses is the least of this country's problems. Yes, sleaze is endemic. Yes, sleaze needs stamping out. But should it be at the top of the political agenda? No. There are far bigger things to worry about.

Your Grace, I'm afraid that I do not share your optimism about Cameron and the Conservative party.

The Tories have squandered every single opportunity to halt Labour in its tracks or at least rein in their excesses. It seems the Tory Opposition's main function these days is to save Labour from its own revolting back-benchers. That isn't opposition, that's collusion.

So Cameron can put on a good show during PMQs. So what? Witty rhetoric isn't politics, it's grandstanding. To what end? To reassure anyone tuning in that what they are witnessing is healthy politics in action? The fact is all three main parties have turned Parliament into an Euro-whore. There simply isn't enough to choose between them anymore.

Back in 1979 Margaret Thatcher grabbed this country by the scruff of its neck, dragged it to its feet and dusted it off. She made a lot of tough, highly unpopular decisions. Necessary decisions. She wasn't into the cult of popularity, she was into doing the job she was given. And, by God, that's what she gave us.

Flash forward to 2009 and once again the UK is measuring it's length in the dirt. Can anyone honestly stand up and tell me that Cameron has the same strength of character as Thatcher? Mr Inoffensive Nice Guy isn't going to dig us out of the hole Blair and Brown have kicked us into. He can't even stand up and protect our freedom of speech so how is he going to protect any other UK interests?

We still have no clear idea where he stands on important issues. We already know he's bought into the AGW school of thought despite the fact there's no REAL science behind it. He says that he is a Euro-sceptic but he doesn't convince, is even willing to vote for the partial sell off of the Royal Mail, a policy that is EU inspired no matter how loud the denials. What use is he going to be in Number Ten?

The Tories will probably win the next general election because everyone is sick of Labour. However, calling Labour names isn't a political manifesto. We want our long promised referendum on the EU. We want hard-nosed policies and common sense. We want a party that can govern, that will make the hard decisions needed to put this country back on its feet. We need someone to clean house because it's twenty years overdue. I don't believe Cameron can do this. He's too bloody nice.

9 March 2009 at 11:04  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

I am white and working class, if any party, or individual politician would argue that I am not being discriminated against in my own country, then therein lies your stumbling block. This will be you undoing. When this stops, or, when a party that gets elected is willing to address this, then the BNP will melt like ice-cream in a child's lap.

I am for equality, but as yet, it is not here. My favourite quote, seen down the side of Cranmer's blog, is:

I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many or the prejudices of the few.

Benjamin Disraeli KG, PC, FRS, Earl of Beaconsfield.
(Prime Minister 1868, 1874-1880)

9 March 2009 at 11:09  
Anonymous Cockney Rebel said...

Once Labour have slid below the Liberals there will be loads of room for new blood at the next election, I'm sorry but if I remember rightly Blair & co were elected on the crest of an anti sleaze, pro euro referendum promise, the last ten years speak for themselves. IF David Cameron can deliver what he promises, all well & good, but he must walk the walk not just talk the talk. Perhaps a coalition government would be the answer, I don't know, but if this new group comes up with a viable policy in the interim before the next election I for one would certainly give them a go, the members of the Raving Loony party would be better than Blair & Browns Circus.

9 March 2009 at 11:29  
Blogger YaTz said...

Helpful idea which would all but end the present party dictatorship:

introduce secret ballot in the Houses of Parliament.

If the whips had no idea how their charges voted, then parliament (both houses) would have to convince people and justify their hare brained schemes. At a stroke, parliaaleorment would be reformed and rational debate would become a necessity.

9 March 2009 at 11:37  
Anonymous ukipwebmaster said...

"will do for Jury Team what the extremists did for UKIP"
Err say what?

9 March 2009 at 12:44  
Anonymous Divide and Conquer said...

Another EU Sponsored party to try to steer votes away from the BNP.

9 March 2009 at 13:52  
Blogger Microcosm said...

"If you put a group of sensible people together and show them the facts"

Britain has many groups of sensible people, its who's facts they are being shown thats the problem.

What he should be seeking is a party that views Truth as Authority and not Authority as Truth. Then have a free for all with groups of sensible people who can deciding what the True Facts are.

9 March 2009 at 13:53  
Anonymous BritishCitizen said...

Good luck to the Jury Team - but how do you change a system which is protected so heavily by the vested interests of existing political parties, the monarchy, the church, the civil service, etc..?
A peaceful revolution would be ideal if that wasn't a contradiction in terms, and anything more radical than that would have the boys in blue sent out with riot shields crying "Treason!".
No doubt anything or anyone which presented even the remotest disagreement - never mind threat - to the current system would be under surveillance by MI5, MI6, the SAS and you'd be banged up for a 25-year stretch in jail before you could say 'proportional representation'.
All this in a 'free society' which is supposed to be the mother of democracies.
The odds against achieving REAL political change would be a joke if it wasn't such a serious and hopeless situation.

Of course, professional political journalists, commentators and bloggers also have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo for obvious reasons, so you're always going to get a sneering response from them to radical change.

Making a real change needs a massive shift in the way ordinary citizens understand - and engage with - politics and their own government. They COULD do it if mobilised and empowered, but it's a big 'if'.
Bankers and politicians have certainly made us very angry and maybe it's a good time to propose change. When the monarchy angered us, Cromwell almost managed to rid us of them for good.

But whether anything short of a real national disaster would stir us enough to get rid of the corrupt and un-democratic governing elite is a matter of debate.

As for Cameron and the Conservatives 'de-contaminating' their brand - Cranmer must be living in cloud-cuckoo land.
The damage is permanent, thank heavens, and while the Tories present us with arrogant fools like George Osborne they will never regain power.

9 March 2009 at 15:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These new parties are just establishment put-up jobs to try to screw the BNP. They will fail miserably or this country will know sharia law.

These are the only two outcomes over the next 25 years that can happen.

The rest is just sharia-apologism.



9 March 2009 at 17:46  
OpenID berenike said...

Problem with a secret ballot in parliament is that it stops not only the whips, but also constituents, from knowing how MPs voted.

9 March 2009 at 18:47  
Blogger Theo said...

The Jury Team is nothing more than a diagnostic indication of how many of us who feel that the Conservative party has betrayed the mainstream Tory viewpoint. It will fail and will not relieve the frustration of those of us who want some representation in parliament.

When your Grace calls the BNP odious, the media's favourite word for them, he does us all a disservice, for it stops us examining seriously their policies, as we feel that there is something about them that you know but we don't. You, along with other commentators, have already made up your minds that we should not give them consideration. Someone has to do something about the threat of Global Jihad and this will not be Dave and his party.

9 March 2009 at 19:11  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

"Someone has to do something about the threat of Global Jihad and this will not be Dave and his party."

The BNP are shit beyond belief, but we'll probably end up voting for them, and later rioting for them as "martyrs" when they are banned because there's no alternative.

9 March 2009 at 20:41  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

We got into this mess because we borrowed too much money, and the solution being put forward is to get credit flowing again, figure that one out. people ask me what I am on, well it clearly isn't the same shit the rest of you are on.

We are screwed beyond belief. We have nothing to sell. That's why 'getting the credit flowing again' is Gordon's only imperative, because it was all we had before the financial toilet was flushed last year.

We are screwed my friends. Be prepared for the very very worse.

9 March 2009 at 21:01  
Blogger Ayrdale said...

Apart from an aside, no one has mentioned proportional voting.
Why is this such an anathema ?
Australia uses it (STV), we in NZ use a bastardised version (MMP, we will eventually grow up and move to STV) and surely it should be considered to thwart this present Goldsmith jack up, and 2 party domination...

9 March 2009 at 22:20  
Anonymous Maturecheese said...

The politicians and bankers that brought this disaster down upon us need bringing to account. The bailout of the wholesale lenders needs reversing. Our borders need to be protected from the calamity of the mass immigration that has been inflicted upon us. Islam in this country needs to be de-politicised and not pandered to. The right to vote needs to be something that you earn when you have been in this country a long time and proved your loyalty to Queen and country. Our indigenous people need to get meaningful work and training. Our military needs to be brought back from wars that do not directly affect this country and put to use here protecting us. Free speech needs to be protected from political correctness. We need some protectionist policies to try and build up a manufacturing base again. We definitely need law and order restored. I could go on and on, but the point I am trying to make is the conservatives aren't going to save us as they are not much different to Labour. They are also pandering to the immigrant vote. Remember Dave's comment about "it being us that should adapt to Islam and not Islam adapting to us" It looks like the BNP is all we have left to vote for if we want change and I,like others, am not happy that we are in this dilemma but they will be getting my vote.

9 March 2009 at 22:31  
Anonymous There is always said...

A coup, or a mixture of Military and BNP being the only two groups who genuinely wish to preserve all that was good.
Bad as things are, the NWO is still a house of cards.
It can be brought down even at this late hour.

9 March 2009 at 22:44  
Blogger Theresa said...

Hi Ayrdale,

Glad someone agrees with me about PR. I think it's the only way forward for politics in Britain and the only way of breaking the endless pendulum swing between left and right. I also think that if the Jury party had any sense, they would put their money into independent council candidates first, before attempting to do the same with Westminster. People who wont vote for an independent MP, will vote for a councillor, and it is actually a far more powerful position than people realise. A councillor controls planning, housing,licensing and business in an area and having some independent voices who are not in the pockets of developers would be very welcome. We have managed it here in Scotland with PR, as people grow to understand the system and ideas move faster up here than they do in England.

9 March 2009 at 23:35  
Blogger Bert Rustle said...

mckenzie 09 March 2009 21:01 wrote ... We got into this mess because we borrowed too much money, and the solution being put forward is to get credit flowing again, figure that one out. ...

Mike Shedlock has a succinct summary, Is Debt the Lifeblood of the Economy?

... [they say] “Credit is the Lifeblood of the Economy” ... The flip side of credit is debt. Is debt the lifeblood of the economy?

Surely not! It’s not that debt is bad in and of itself. Debt is fine as long as it is going to productive uses or as long as the lending is backed up by savings somewhere. No one can argue that savings should not be lent.

However, the problem is that credit has been extended without savings backing it up to those who had no possible means of paying it back, with leverage, and with “no money down”.

Were it not for fractional reserve lending, this could never have occurred.

Clearly debt is not the lifeblood of the economy. By extension, credit is not the lifeblood of the economy either. Rather it is savings that is the lifeblood of the economy, because without adequate savings, extending credit is nothing but a pyramid scheme that eventually implodes, which is of course what happened.

Amazingly, the “solution” in Congress is to encourage more reckless lending even though there is no savings to lend. This Ponzi financing scheme can’t possibly work, which by definition means it won’t.

Now let’s turn our attention to various proposals to solve the problem by rewriting the books on “Mark To Market” accounting.

Such proposals make for good sound bites. However, they miss the boat entirely. Had banks not lent with leverage and instead put those loans on the books in a hold to maturity portfolio (they could have done that), then the banks would not be in trouble.

The reason banks purposely put those assets into a mark to market portfolio is that allowed them to increase leverage (the number of loans with nothing backing them up). With leverage comes increased profit potential and increased risk. Banks were speculating pure and simple.

Without that excessive leverage banks would have had losses but they would still have been solvent, and we would not be in this mess. It was the excessive leverage that destroyed Bear Stearns, Lehman, Citigroup, AIG, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, etc., not mark to market rules, evil short sellers, or hedge fund bets via Credit Default Swaps.

Suspending mark to market accounting does nothing to reduce the leverage so suspending mark to market accounting cannot fix the underlying problem. Instead, such games may further enhance the already huge mistrust in the system.

To fix the problem, one must go to the root cause. That root cause is fractional reserve lending that allowed banks, brokerages, and insurance companies to lever up to insane levels. Sadly, not a single peep has come from the Fed, the Treasury, or the Administration about addressing the real problem. Instead we hear complete nonsense on how to "get credit flowing again". ...

10 March 2009 at 08:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The good `ole U S A finances the Ira much in the same way as Iran finances the palestinians.
Funny old world isn`t it?

10 March 2009 at 17:45  
Blogger Andromeda said...

I was was disqualified as Jury Team candidate on Wednesday 15 April on grounds of contravening the following rule:

"I agree not to support any policies discriminating on the basis of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, disability or religious or other belief."

The full text can found at

It came to the notice of Dillon Sharp the Press Officer that I was proposing to strike a bargain with the BNP. If they voted for me in sufficient numbers to secure me the nomination, I would vote for a BNP MEP on 4 June, I said.

This is all on record at the British Democracy Forum at

where you will find my comments.

You may also be interested to know that Bob Bailey, the BNP MEP in question, in fact agreed to ask his members to support me and said he voted for me.

If I am guilty of anything, it is of horse-trading, which is not in fact prohibited.

Re-read the term that I am alleged to have contravened, and you would see that "other belief" could include National Socialism, voodoo, human sacrifice, etc.

The person who drafted this term is clearly not a lawyer, or unfit to practice law. Sir Paul was obviously not paying attention when he approved that clause.

I have received neither an answer or an apology from Sir Paul after bringing this to his attention, only a guilty silence.

A request from one of my supporters to have his 25p returned to him after my unjust and unwarranted exclusion has so far not been acceded to.

Someone who declined to vote for me declared that it was probably a telephone scam.

Perhaps it is.

If you wish to acquaint Sir Paul with your views, his email is paul at and his website is at

Dillon Sharp, the Press Officer who disqualified me may be contacted at

call 07538 280 041 (24 hours a day)

Such high-handed and disgraceful treatment has made me even more determined to do business with the BNP, whom I believe would have an interest in promoting direct democracy, unlike the sham movement of Sir Paul, who which only allows Direct Democracy for those who do not contravene his incoherent and nonsensical rule.

Direct Democracy is also something that would be in the interests of Muslims too, even if they do not as yet know this.

I have requested two fatwas on whether Direct Democracy could ever be unIslamic, but perhaps they are unfamiliar with the concept and unused to such a comprehensive question. I have asked for Tim Winter's but he is neither saying yes nor no. Perhaps he means maybe.

It is worth remembering that the most despised groups in the country, ie the Muslims and the BNP, who were against the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, were right on this all along.

In fact, it would be in all our interests, if only enough people understood the concept through exploring it at

For those still worried about letting the loonies in by voting BNP, may I point out that the loonies are already in charge.

Michael White of The Guardian even agrees with me, bless him, and he was right all along that the Jury Team are a complete waste of time.

Apparently, MPs expect at least 4 or 5 BNP MEPs.

He also says that it would be a good thing for the country if the BNP do well. If the BNP are analogous to a stick, then the use of this stick to protest against the policies of the Lib-Lab-Con is the only option we have now of making our feelings known, whatever our race or religion.

Call it entering the British National Suicide Voting Pact if you must, but sometimes, suicide is the only honourable option.

I thank Sir Paul and his sham movement for making this ringingly clear to me.

Vote BNP. You know you want to.

17 April 2009 at 22:53  
Blogger kindredSeeker said...

I think Cranmer has lost the point.

The whole point of the Jury Team "party" is do away with parties and indeed eventually all elected representatives through a type or direct democracy that new technologies make possible.

Unfortunately in order to do this it has to play "the game" initially, in order to dismantle it.

Yes, we will end up individually spending more time micor-managing government... but with real freedom comes more responsibility, and more work.

Those parties promising "freedom" without an increased governance burden on the individual, are clearly not planning on actually giving their power away.

Of course whether the majority of the population is capable of making "sensible decisions", even given the full "true" facts is debateable.

But things have got to the point where we at least have to try.

23 May 2009 at 11:23  

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