• Donald Trump: Learning from others.

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    Even accounting for the fact that most people are not “political anoraks” most British people will recognise the gentleman above whose image is superimposed on an image of shattered glass.

    He is of course a certain Donald John Trump from Queens, New York City, New York State, U.SA. According to the latest reports, Mr Trump now has enough delegates to secure the Republican party’s nomination to be the presidential candidate for that party.

    Thus we have a situation where of either side of “the pond” two significant political events have been taking place. One being the aforementioned campaign of Mr Trump to secure what he has now secured. The other a referendum on the formerly sovereign United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s suzerainty to the European Union.

    Last night on BBC 1’s “This Week”, Mr Francis Boulle – a gentleman who has become know to the public through his appearance on the TV series “Made in Chelsea” a structured-reality television series broadcast by E4 – gave his view as to why the UK should quite the EU. Unlike the unfortunate Ms Penelope Mordaunt, Mr Boulle made a Most Helpful contribution to the debate when he referred (in his own words) to a famous quote of Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson (it is not known from which it came): “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    What should be Abundantly Clear to All those registered to vote on Thursday 23rd June 2016 is that this whole referendum demonstrates the British political system has become completely corrupt and broken. What other reasonable and sensible interpretation can be placed where the public are fed such an incessant diet of exaggerations and lies? On both sides!
    This Must surely beg the question: WHY?
    For a proper answer it is necessary to go back over a century. To 1911 in fact. The FACT is that the root cause of this country’s political problems lies in one particular piece of legislation: The Parliament Act 1911 (1 & 2 Geo. 5. c. 13).
    This legislation was introduced by the Liberal Government of Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith due to the House of Lords blocking the so-called “People’s Budget” of 1909. In this Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George proposed the introduction of a land tax based on the ideas of the American tax reformer Henry George. As well as limiting the powers of the Lords (that was AND STILL IS unconstitutional) the Act also introduced other reforms. Importantly the proposal that MP’s should receive a salary. Before then, members of parliament were unpaid as it was assumed they would be able to support themselves. The first regular salary was £400 per year – which in 1911 was a VERY high salary. NB: In 1911, the Editor’s grandfather paid a farm labourer 7/6 (37.5 pence) a week or £19 10s 0d (£19.50) a year!

    As with so many things, the Liberal government acted with good intentions. But as the proverb states; “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”!

    Like the US quote, the proverb’s origin is in doubt. It is either Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who wrote; “L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs” (hell is full of good wishes or desires). Or from Virgil’s Aeneid; “facilis descensus Averno” (the descent to hell is easy).

    What we are witnessing in our county at This Time is the culmination of a long process of Rot and Decay which set in following 1911. As in so many cases, the rot set in very slowly and at first was hardly noticeable. The nature of an untreated fungus, infection or cancer however is to grow and as it grows the symptoms become more pronounced. This political cancer has been growing now for 105 years!

    Over this period a new class of person has come into existence. The professional salaried politician. So complete has been this development that many of these (generally on the centre and the left) are now demanding that MPs should have this as their sole source of income and have no outside sources whatsoever.

    These people view politics as a career. A graduate career. Their first step is of course that of joining a political party. Their second step is to read such as Politics at university. Upon graduating, they then start as a research assistant. Their first rung on the ladder. For many, their first goal is to become an MP, or an MEP, or a member of one of the devolved assemblies now in existence. For others their goal is the easier one of becoming a local councillor. They will seek to gain some form of employment by working for such as a campaign group, research group or “think tank” or a charity or for the Labour Party members, a trades union. Once a local councillor they will seek to follow the route previously mentioned.

    Like many people following a career, the ambitious will look for career progression. The so called “career ladder”. This is why the European Union appears so attractive. It is another ladder to climb.

    An important factor in all of this is the revolution in communications. In 1911 this consisted on the newspapers. Now in 2016 we still have newspapers but also the internet. The MOST important medium however is TV. This is because these career politicians crave the Celebrity Status that frequent TV appearances can give them. This is why they want Parliament televised. This is why they will take every opportunity to put their face in front of a camera.
    So the QUESTION British Gazette asks is this: What is to be done about this?”
    Simply repealing the Parliament Act 1911 and related successor legislation including the Parliament Act of 1949 and the House of Lords Act 1999 is NOT a reasonable or sensible or realistic option.

    The world of 2016 is VERY different to that of 1911.

    Therefore the British Gazette is of the opinion that the reform suggested by the centre and the left should be taken up BUT with some important alterations!

    The British Gazette thinks that there should be TWO types of Parliamentary candidates allowed to stand for election for seats in the Commons: Political Party Candidates and Independent Candidates.

    Different rules and terms of service should apply to these – from the election campaigns through to terms and conditions of employment should a candidate be elected.

    So far as the Political Party Candidates are concerned the British Gazette is of the opinion that the centre and the left desire for full time single role career MPs should be accommodated and what these people want should be delivered to them. This would mean no outside interests or employment. It should also mean controls on what they can spend in their constituencies during an election campaign. It will mean that in addition to a salary their expenses would be covered. They would also have a pension. A further reform – that originates from the Liberal Democrats – is that the deposit scheme should be done away with, for Political Party Candidates. Instead the Lib-Dem proposal for an increased numbers of constituent nominations be implemented.

    So far as Independent Candidates are concerned, the rules and regulations should be different. VERY different!

    Firstly: the Independent Candidate must not be a member of a political party – or an affiliated group to a political party.
    Secondly: the Independent Candidate would not be required to seek Any constituent nomination/s but WOULD have to pay a deposit of £1,000 – which would be refundable should he/she save their deposit by gaining over 5% of the votes.
    Thirdly: the Independent Candidate would not receive ANY salary or pension but WOULD be able to claim legitimate travelling expenses (to and from their UK residence and the Commons [which need not be in their constituency]) but NOT staff expenses.
    Fourthly: the Independent Candidate would not be restricted from benefiting from and continuing with any existing or new business or other occupational interests during their term as an MP.
    Fifthly: the Independent Candidate would not have ANY spending restrictions insofar as their constituency campaign is concerned.
    Sixthly: the Independent Candidate would be restricted from receiving ANY contributions to aid their campaign or “support payments” should they be elected.

    What this reform would do would be allow a rich person with time on their hands and an interest to do so, to put up for Parliament and present a REAL CHOICE to the electorate. They could choose between a number of salaried career politicians or a wealthy independent candidate.

    • With reference to quotes and Thomas Jefferson in particular, the following could be applied to our membership of the EU;

      “If people let the government decide what food they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny”.

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