The Nature of Politics
The art of government at work in Modern Britain as R.M. Lamb sees it.
Although I have been a lawyer from 1975- 2013 I have studied politics and modern history from 1970-73 at Manchester University (Professor Sammy Finer). My father was a leading Liberal Light from 1959 to 1966 and later in a lesser role under both Grimond and Thorpe. Politics is the science of government I learned at university, not the bickering reported in the House of Commons. We observe the democratic form of politics and government begun in the Greek City States (Polis) where each citizen chooses the government by voting.
2. How does democratic politics work in practice?
Firstly governments frequently are not democratic (e.g. President Assad of Syria unelected and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – both States who exert real power in the Arab world). Increasingly in the modern world countries feel obliged to go democratic to avoid pariah state status. The old Coup d’état and military hand in the political glove is less common. Even Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan and Pakistan in Central Asia are scaling the heights of democracy and good luck to them I say. China will be the last man to go and a big one at that – their philosophy is very anti-democratic. Essentially when the voters have had their say it is very much for the elected politicians to form the government. Presently party manifestos that are put to the electorate in the run up to our general elections are toothless and contain no proper policies upon which a mandate from the electors may be obtained. In the 1945 election (Labour landslide) Attlee campaigned for a Welfare State to be introduced and coal and steel nationalisation. The mandate came emphatically back in favour of those policies by the electorate. That is how elections should be fought as Grimond (Liberal leader) did in 1964 and 1966. If the electioneering process becomes a way of winning power at all costs the true message of politics disappears and government becomes not a science but a matter of machination á la Machiavelli: to pursue and woo the electors on grounds of true policy is the honourable way forward (see my conscience essay of 15/10/13, para 4). Once the government and Cabinet is formed the programme of legislation and administration may ensue. It is a matter of the governing party obtaining their electoral mandate but not being “dictated” to by the voters. The governing parliamentary party must always be the final arbiter of policy decisions or politics would become a mockery – yet for a party to be elected on a powerful policy mandate and then not to act on that mandate without good reason would be a serious breach of trust with the voters who elected that governing party. As such that party’s chances of being re-elected would be gravely weakened and its leadership would be called into question. Government is for the politicians not for the voters yet I stand by all I have said in this paragraph 2 of this essay. I do not favour government by referendum – that is capitulation by parliamentary government to single standalone votes by the public that will not stand the test of time. Politicians make policy not the public and absenteeism in the modern age is disabling the electoral process. The whole system needs a shakeup built upon general elections with real mandates pro and con to enliven the public’s mind and our debate. The voters’ “stupor” presently is painfully visible and a very regrettable comment on modern British Politics. Our leaders must take the blame.
3. The way forward
Reintroduce real political debate structured on measures, not men and be prepared to call a snap election as Wilson did in 1966 to surprise his political circle and opponents. Even his resignation as Prime Minister in the mid 1970’s was very unexpected. Politics has been so mundane it has been starved of the unlikely. Politics has become dreary – that is no way to govern England and Wales. Scotland after several attempts has been devolved. That may not be reversed unless the Scots demand it which SNP popularity puts in question. Wales will not be devolved any further – it is not viable. The SNP may take Scotland out of the UK altogether and we cannot stop them having, let the cat out of the bag. It is measures that surprise but men who sparkle with ideas. Let us have the measures announced and the men will come to the fore to pioneer these policies through parliament. My views are well read and understood. I support secession from the EU (see my post-war Germany essay, released 30/10/13), Repeal of the Rights Act and Restoration of the death penalty for murder itself. The Public support these policies as anecdotal evidence reflects. The political, journalistic, legal (not the Judiciary who remain neutral) and Christian elites shy away from the Capital Punishment for murder issue on the so called grounds of conscience. Thus the last mentioned issue is not properly discussed and debated openly. Essentially these elites are hiding and these three issues will all come back to haunt them, especially if they are not properly argued and debate is stifled. The EU secession issue leads directly to HR Act repeal and then to restoration of the death penalty for murder alone. The logic is inescapable – you either accept the whole menu (all three planks) or decline the whole menu. You may not go á la carte as Cardinal Basil Hume said in a different context and select from the menu what you like. The three tenets stand or fall together I say – the time for prevarication is over. We must all be put to this choice between supporting the full gamut or tearing the tripartite policy I enunciate down.
These are very serious and radical policies whether you are for or against them. They go to the root of our constitution, legal system and criminal justice process. You are free to support the status quo but if you do so you should unhesitatingly put your back behind the EU and its workings in England and Europe. There can be no half-heartedness. I am not optimistic for the success of your endeavours if you choose that option. We cannot permit Britain’s politics to be so weak and timid as to have no real power in the EU by staying in that Union. As we all know Germany and France settle EU matters not Britain because we have become so lukewarm on the EU and those two countries for some reasons (Iraq war and Bush/ Blair) have doubts unspoken about our intent and foreign policy. Don’t kid yourself Germany and France do not want us at the heart of Europe and what is at the heart of Europe anyway? A soulless, heretical denial of the history of Christendom in Western Europe since the time of Constantine. That is no heart of Europe. I for my part want nothing to do with such an EU. It has lost its way badly. We continue in the EU on German sufferance and her delicate distaste for things English. They do not relish the influence of the British. Germany wants to head up the EU “uber alles”. The body language speaks volumes. Here again it appears the English people may be moving to support for seceding from the EU. If secession comes logically repeal of the HR Act should ensue. The Human Rights Act ties us to the European Human Rights Court’s jurisdiction and its power over our own High Court. We cannot put up with that if we secede. We should not be partly in “Europe” and partly “outside”. Britain in all honesty and honour would have to go the full hog and sever all legal links with the European Judicial system – upon secession from the Union. The way is then made clear for restoration of Capital Punishment for murder alone in England and Wales. We joined the EU after the death penalty had been abolished under Labour in 1965. Heath (Con) took us into the Union by the European Communities Act 1972-73. Clearly the understanding then was we would not restore the death penalty for murder. It is a big “if” but parliament may lead us through “the way” I have outlined, to restoration. I have in mind the inspiration of the radical Prime Ministers in our past who have lead us righteously and bravely with varying degrees of success, all members of the House of Commons:
Macmillan – Conservative
Attlee – Labour
Churchill – Conservative
Asquith – Liberal
Gladstone – Liberal
If we are to go for the full “menu” we will need their moral support without doubt.