Thursday, May 27, 2010

Direct Democracy - power to the people


Yesterday, Douglas Carswell MP and Dan Hannnan MEP launched a movement to push for localism, direct elections, referenda and the decentralisation of power. They want it to be a mass movement that will put pressure on all the political parties.

His Grace is delighted to support Direct Democracy, not least because it coheres with the essentially Protestant notion of bottom-up accountability. Mssrs Carswell and Hannan are Whigs concerned with liberty, and this has a quite distinct theological lineage, not only from sin and the power of evil, but also in the Calvinist understanding of church governance – liberty from Romish and Tory hierarchies. According to Burke, 'To preserve that liberty inviolate, is the peculiar duty and proper trust of a member of the House of Commons’.

As laid out in the localist papers, Direct Democracy, and The Plan, Direct Democracy promotes the idea of localism and participatory democracy within the United Kingdom.

On their website, they announce the first steps in renewing Britain would be the following:

•Scrapping all MPs’ expenses except those relating to running an office and travel from the constituency

•Selecting candidates through open primaries

•Local and national referendums

•“People’s Bills”, to be placed before Parliament if they attract a certain number of signatures

•Placing the police under locally elected Sheriffs, who would also set local sentencing guidelines

•Appointing heads of quangos, senior judges and ambassadors through open hearings rather than prime ministerial patronage

•Devolving to English counties and cities all the powers which were devolved to Edinburgh under the 1998 Scotland Act

•Placing social security, too, under local authorities

•Making councils self-financing by scrapping VAT and replacing it with a Local Sales Tax

•Allowing people to pay their contributions into personal healthcare accounts, with a mandatory insurance component

•Letting parents opt out of their Local Education Authority, carrying to any school the financial allocation that would have been spent on their child

•Replacing EU membership with a Swiss-style bilateral free trade accord

•Requiring all foreign treaties to be ratified by Parliament

•Scrapping the Human Rights Act withdrawing from the ECHR and guaranteeing parliamentary legislation against judicial activism

•A “Great Repeal Bill” to annul unnecessary and burdensome laws

'By allowing more say in the governance of their own country and their own community, citizens would be empowered to make the decisions important to their own lives. And by creating more accountability, the sitting parliament and the government would be required to act responsibly and in the best interests of their citizens.'

They desire to restore power to the individual, and, where this is impractical, to the lowest feasible level of government. This is the subsidiarity principle which is supposed to be at the heart of the functioning of the EU, but which has never been exercised. There was a hope that David Cameron would begin a process of repatriation, but... well, there you go.

There is already broad agreement across the parties that power rests with ‘the lowest feasible level of government’; the problem is that not everyone agrees what this level should be. Even as David Cameron talked of restoring authority to local councils, he simultaneously announced the restoration of weekly refuse collection and capped council tax for two years. He talked of scrapping the Human Rights Act, but has decided on a commission of enquiry instead. He talked of a wholesale shift in power ‘from the state to the citizen, from Whitehall to elected councillors, from Brussels to Westminster’.

He has five years.

After that, Douglas Carswell and Dan Hannan might just have their day.

36 Comments:

Blogger D. Singh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 May 2010 at 08:14  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

This is a good initiative and worthy of support: it will undermine the ‘Command and Control’ values that the Socialists have imposed during the last 13 years through the central and local state apparatus.

I do hope that Judaeo-Christians will take advantage of the Free Schools programme so that we can teach our children not only reading, writing and arithmetic (and exclude sex education) but also about the genesis of life.

Thus, overturning the teaching of left-liberal values since the sixties.

27 May 2010 at 08:16  
Anonymous photo ex machina said...

I'm disappointed to see that tribalism is alive and well here.

Save it Cranmer, that's the Old Politics...

27 May 2010 at 08:54  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

I fully support the idea, but I have been unable to find any case historically where a government has relinquished any major powers to the people without a bloody revolution.

That being so, what makes you think they are likely to do it now. They always have reasons for hanging onto power, usually for very fine sounding reasons, and are past masters at keeping some reserve powers so that they can take control again "in an emergency".

I live in hope, but not expectation.

27 May 2010 at 09:10  
Blogger Gnostic said...

The Carswell/Hannan day can't come soon enough. However, I'm not naive enough to believe it ever will. Common sense government, if such a beast exists, tends to be suffocated at birth.

Cameron knows how to talk the talk but when it comes to walking the walk he's got two left feet and his shoelaces are tied together in a Gordidan knot.

27 May 2010 at 09:22  
Anonymous Voyager said...

It is hardy worthwhile trotting down to the polling station to put one cross on a piece of paper when just 33% council seats are up for election.

A Long Ballot is needed with voting on School Boards, Burial Boards, Police Boards, Hospital Boards, and local referenda....it is amazing how political parties came to appropriate all these posts for party patronage and disenfranchise the voters

27 May 2010 at 09:22  
Blogger Gnostic said...

PS Cameron is no Alexander and hasn't got the gumption or the Eds to cut through the knot of EU entanglement.

27 May 2010 at 09:26  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Scrapping all MPs’ expenses except those relating to running an office and travel from the constituency
Fine.

Selecting candidates through open primaries
As most people cannot even name their own MP persuading them to get involved in primaries is a non starter.

Local and national referendums
Nonsense! Every cottage hospital will be “saved” and Post Offices with 3 customers will stay open.

“People’s Bills”, to be placed before Parliament if they attract a certain number of signatures
Lowest common denominator is no way for an enlightened society to proceed.

Placing the police under locally elected Sheriffs, who would also set local sentencing guidelines
Like the US? No thanks.

Appointing heads of quangos, senior judges and ambassadors through open hearings rather than prime ministerial patronage
Yes please.

Devolving to English counties and cities all the powers which were devolved to Edinburgh under the 1998 Scotland Act
Yes please.

Placing social security, too, under local authorities
Yes please.

Making councils self-financing by scrapping VAT and replacing it with a Local Sales Tax
Yes please

Allowing people to pay their contributions into personal healthcare accounts, with a mandatory insurance component
No thanks, sounds like privatisation of health care, US style.

Letting parents opt out of their Local Education Authority, carrying to any school the financial allocation that would have been spent on their child
Possible but the implications to State education are unclear.

Replacing EU membership with a Swiss-style bilateral free trade accord
Yes please.

Requiring all foreign treaties to be ratified by Parliament
Yes please

Scrapping the Human Rights Act withdrawing from the ECHR and guaranteeing parliamentary legislation against judicial activism
Probably not. Human Rights should be universal, having our own national ones probably will not result in much change.

A “Great Repeal Bill” to annul unnecessary and burdensome laws
Depends which ones.

27 May 2010 at 09:43  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Davis says:

‘Human rights should be universal.’

If persons are simply the chance result of materialist processes in a random and meaningless universe, all bets are off regarding our ability to claim any intrinsic value, dignity, or rights. What we call “postmodern” notions of radically subjective and “located” narratives of meaning offer no better hope for preserving the value of persons.

Got that Glovy?

27 May 2010 at 10:34  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

D Singh said...

If persons are simply the chance result of materialist processes in a random and meaningless universe, all bets are off regarding our ability to claim any intrinsic value, dignity, or rights.

What a preposterous assertion!

Human rights are what a secular society accords to all who live within it. The universe and all life within it has no meaning but as evolved human beings but we recognise human dignity and intrinsic value are important in order to protect each one of us from abuse and exploitation.

You don’t need your invisible friend to tell you that.

27 May 2010 at 10:52  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Davis

‘Human rights are what a secular society accords to all who live within it.’

That explains the holocaust then.

At least you are being consistent as to why, then, the holocaust took place:

‘The universe and all life within it has no meaning…’

Hence, human beings are disposable in accord with the Davis scheme-of-things.

You go on to state:

‘…we recognise human dignity and intrinsic value are important…’

There is no logical reason why you or men should.

That is comic.

CS Lewis was right: atheism is a boys philosophy.

27 May 2010 at 10:59  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

D. Singh

Hitler was a Catholic!

27 May 2010 at 11:01  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

D. Singh

You must do better than C S Lewis....

As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth."
Michael Bakunin
[God and the State]

G.K. Chesterton:
I always like a dog so long as he isn't spelled backward.

Ludwig Feuerbach
"Man first creates God in his own image, and after this God creates man in his own image"
[Abridged from The Essence of Christianity]

Galileo
The intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how heaven goes.

David Hume
"One may safely affirm that all popular theology as a kind of appetite for absurdity and contradiction....while their gloomy apprehensions make them ascribe to Him measures of conduct which in human creatures would be blamed, they must still affect to praise and admire that conduct in the object of their devotional addresses."
[The Natural History of Religion]

Thomas Jefferson:
The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.

Karl Marx
"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."
[A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right]

Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu
"If triangles had a god, he would have three sides."
[Lettres Persanes, no 59]

Michel de Montaigne
"Man is certainly crazy. He could not make a mite, and he makes gods by the dozen."
[Essays, bk II, ch. 12]

Thomas Paine
"The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called religion.
[Abridged from The Age of Reason]

Blaise Pascal
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."
[Pensees]

Bertrand Russell
"I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world."
[Abridged Why I Am Not A Christian]

Jonathan Swift:
We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love.

Mark Twain:
In religion people's beliefs and convictions are gotten second-hand, and without examination.
Abridged

Voltaire
"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
[Letters]

27 May 2010 at 11:09  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Davis

You have stated publicly:

‘The universe and all life within it has no meaning…’

Why then are you quoting mere collections of molecules (in accord with your world-view)?

What you now wish to do, inconsistent with your world-view (meaningless), is attribute meaning to mere sets of marks on the screen.

27 May 2010 at 11:21  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Indeed, how can two sets of meaningless molecules [D. Singh and G. Davis] have any chance of meaningful communication in a meaningless universe?

27 May 2010 at 11:24  
Blogger English Viking said...

Your Grace,


'He (Cameron) has got five years'.

Would you like to put money on that?


Graham Davis,

If you spent more time thinking for yourself and less time cribbing nonsense from atheist websites you would either be more convincing to others in your atheism, else you might finally realise what rot you spout and arrive at the truth.

It is a constant source of amusement that atheists claim that 'organised religion' came about to control the people, when they cannot see that atheism is just another form of organisation that achieves exactly the same thing.

PS Quoting GK Chesterton as evidence of an informed mind rejecting Christianity won't cut it, as he is one of the 19th and 20th Centuries' greatest Christian apologists, as you would know if you had ever read any of his work first hand.

27 May 2010 at 11:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect to your Grace, tribal politics is alive and well and in the process of plunging Spain into a crisis of unimaginable depths together with the rest of Europe and maybe, beyond.
The devolution of power to the 19 different local governments has totally destroyed the education and health system and created the most expensive administration the country has had in its history. Civil Servants, who are not civil at all, count up to 30% in some provinces, not to mention the expense of local politicians.
Your Grace should think again, one thing is control and accountability, quite another local politicians running amok with the peoples money. As the movement of the middle class here in Spain has said; “not with my money”. You are about to find out what a parasite political class is really like with this nonsense.

27 May 2010 at 11:48  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

D Singh

A rock has no meaning it exists because of the geological forces that created it. A man has no meaning. He has evolved to be what he is now with various attributes one of which is empathy another intelligence. Put those together and it is not hard to see why man is not simply a brute animal (although very close to being just that). He recognises that simply grabbing what he wants renders him liable to the same treatment.

Man is also a father and a son, he sees that within his own family he is valued and cared for. He recognises empathy in others and has the same feelings himself. Although this is a simple biological necessity it is rewarded within the family group and strengthens the bonds between family members.

Yes man is just a collection of molecules but so what?

What you are looking for is purpose, for some reason you cannot accept that there is no purpose to your existence so you invent (as many others have) a God that reflects all your anxieties ("If triangles had a god, he would have three sides.").

27 May 2010 at 11:57  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Davis does appear to have lifted the GK Chesterton quote from an atheists’ website:

‘"YES," said Father Brown, "I always like a dog, so long as he isn't spelt backwards."’

Indeed, many Christians are asking on the Internet from which context it comes from and what Chesterton meant by it.

It comes from one of the Father Brown mysteries: The Oracle of the Dog.

Within the mystery Chesterton explains through the speech of Father Brown, what Father Brown meant:

"The dog had everything to do with it," said Father Brown, "as you'd have found out if you'd only treated the dog as a dog and not as God Almighty judging the souls of men."

27 May 2010 at 12:18  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Anon said...

Your Grace should think again, one thing is control and accountability, quite another local politicians running amok with the peoples money.

If devolution is no good and centralisation is no good what are we left with?

27 May 2010 at 12:20  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Via media?

;o)

27 May 2010 at 12:22  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

15 quotations that are critical or religion and you single out one. Typical, I would ask you to address the others, Tom Paine for example, but we are getting off topic again.

27 May 2010 at 12:27  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Davis

It is not worth the effort. As I have shown to the readers you are liable to be quoting out of context.

As I have written before: there are serious doubts over your intellectual integrity.

27 May 2010 at 12:54  
Blogger John R said...

If the Conservative Party was still conservative we wouldn't need Dan and Doug's Most Excellent Adventure

27 May 2010 at 12:55  
Blogger English Viking said...

Graham Davis,

I did not critisise all of your pro-atheist quotes for fear of making you look even less like you know what you are talking about than you already do, but if you insist.

Jonathan Swift was the Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. He is remembered in Christian circles not so much for his famous 'Gulliver's Travels' , but for 'An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity', an essay defending Christianity, and in particular, Anglicanism, against contemporary assaults by its various opponents, including freethinkers, Deists, Antitrinitarians, Atheists, Socinians, and other so-called "Dissenters."

Mark Twain was a comitted Presbyterian who, although at times outspoken in his criticism of religion and occasionally even God, never renounced his faith and regularly attended gatherings of the saints.

Galileo was a member of the Roman Church and never refuted the authority of scripture. The quote you attribute to him is entirely consistent with orthodox opinion on the matter today.

Thomas Paine was in early life a lay-preacher who applied to become an ordained minister. Later in life he diluted/corrupted his view into Deism, but nevertheless he could hardly be called a proponent for atheism.

That makes a total of 5 out 15 sources that are either quoted directly and completely out of context, never opposed Christianity, spoke fervently in favour of it or who opposed atheism.

By my reckoning, that means that at least (and probably a lot more) 33% of your claims are untrustworthy, false, mendacious or misleading - rather like Atheism.

If you must quote this kind of thing, have the good grace to have read it first, instead of taking Dawkins' word for it.

27 May 2010 at 13:24  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"You don’t need your invisible friend to tell you that."

Ah, the invisible friend again. Always a sign of shoddy thinking.

People who go on and on about the existence or otherwise of God presumably do not realize how boring it is for other people to have their discussion hijacked in this way.

27 May 2010 at 15:18  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

P.S.
"Sky Fairy" is another one.

27 May 2010 at 15:19  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Look chaps:

I am also partly responsible for distracting posters from the main discussion topic.

The truth is I know my heavenly Father loves me.

And I love Jesus, the King who died for me in my place.

So when someone constantly denigrates the one you love: would you not react?

27 May 2010 at 15:37  
Anonymous Oswin said...

English Viking at 13.24 - well done that man!

For once it seems that it is God, and not the Devil, that is in the detail!

27 May 2010 at 15:51  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

"There is already broad agreement across the parties that power rests with ‘the lowest feasible level of government"

Mens regnum bona possidet - An honest heart is a kingdom in itself. (Seneca)

27 May 2010 at 17:00  
Anonymous len said...

I think we should humour the Atheists they are doing their best!

27 May 2010 at 20:40  
Blogger brundlefly said...

Introducing referenda and scrapping the human rights act and withdrawing from the ECHR is a combination that will bring democracies only real flaw "tyranny of the majority" to painful reality.

For example, although there would be no votes for it, without a Human Rights act or other such protections, one could make Christianity illegal with a referendum. It would be utterly wrong, unlikely, but unfortunately possible. Similar oppressions would be possible and more likely, and also wrong.

28 May 2010 at 04:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An immediate end to, and reversal of, mass immigration is not on the list. How strange.

28 May 2010 at 09:24  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Why not Len, your beliefs have been humoured for the past 1700 years, give someone else a turn eh?

1 June 2010 at 13:47  
Anonymous len said...

Mr Glovner, If you can come up with a solution to all mankind`s ills with one single act I would be very keen to give you a chance to explain it. .
Has it occurred to you that atheists have been around longer than Christians and they haven`t come up with a solution yet?

4 June 2010 at 19:02  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Is there any life/space left on Cranmer...anywhere?

3 July 2010 at 13:19  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older