Wednesday, 1 February 2012

UK Political leaders as youth icons and celebrities

Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child” - Ecclesiastes 10-16.

When will the current and unfortunately all too enduring obsession with modernism and youth be concluded? It is sheer madness to promote an inexperienced politician as leader, or anyone for any reason other than the interest of the country and its people. This rule of error has continued too long.

At some point in the future Cameron, Milliband and Clegg will become competent experienced politicians able to withstand external pressures and serve their country well, but not yet.

The present situation is too serious to carry on playing party political games. Too much talent and experience has been ignored and wasted in Britain that might otherwise have saved Her.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

So, a government advisor suggests that the Portcullis symbol of the UK Parliament should be replaced as it may exclude members of the public from visiting who could regard it as a 'closed' gate. Doesn't anyone in Parliament know anything about its history? The Portcullis is not some old parliamentary PR logo, it was an old Beaufort badge used by Henry Tudor, which came to be used extensively in the Palace of Westminster. It is easily recognisable and is symbolic of stability and security, not exclusivity. There could be a new badge of Parliament to be used on stationary, subject to the approval of Her Majesty (there have been others), but why change? Is it to be another victim of (outmoded) modernism? The public access to Parliament could be called the open portcullis and similarly a public/parliamentary communications group, an Open Portcullis Association, could use the same symbol to demonstrate inclusivity.

Friday, 6 January 2012

The House of Lords and what’s left of our noble Constitution

Nick Clegg seems intent on his type of reform of the House of Lords, which means a wholly elected and party dominated house – we could no longer call it the Lords. He appears to want to bully the members of the Upper House into accepting this model, but I was not aware that the reduced vote of the Lib Dems entitled him to lecture anyone else about democracy.

In 1967, in a speech in London, Otto von Habsburg warned that there was an imminent danger of the rise of political castes in the form of, 'the undue influence of political parties, bureaucratic communities and economic power concentrations' replacing the political influence of social classes. As a solution Dr von Habsburg suggested the re-establishing of the authority of the state against undue private influences and to secure individual freedom, 'Which can be achieved,' he said, 'only if institutions are created which are a mixed form of government, that is to say, where the sources of authority are dispersed and permit a more effective system of checks and balances that the one devised by Montesquieu. Here the role of the monarchy, as a factor of community, stability, independence of the State, and as a judicial power in defence of basic rights, assumed a new importance.' In the modern world of globalization and polyglot political economies the need for the checks and balances provided by extra-democratic systems is even more urgent.

Although it may be regarded as heresy to say so, democracy is not sufficient, on its own, to adequately represent the fundamental interests of this nation and the land it occupies.

However, democracy in principle and a fairish method of representation is not questioned, only when it is applied exclusively. The dogma of democratic dominance strangles true representation of the needs, wellbeing and aspiration of the people. Parliamentary democracy is currently expressed through an adversarial system both in parliament and in the hustings, more suited to the ambitious political pugilist and party sycophant than the imaginative public servant with experience of the wider world.

Prime ministers and their cabinets have in the past claimed to have vision, but few have had imagination. When it comes to change or reform, the same old ideas (and sometimes mistakes) are repackaged and repeated. It is easy to change, smash and replace and re-reform later, more difficult and better to improve with imaginative solutions that can contain and be benefited by as much of the past as of novel elements. Tradition represents the endurance of efficient and beneficial utility whether or not this is at first apparent. Ill-thought out party-political-driven modernist interventions tend to be in more need of reform than their more ancient counterparts, which only require adaptation to the age in which they are applied. A cult of mediocrity does not have to be replaced by one of elites but by selfless aspiration, effort and service.

The colour has been drained out of our country. Behaviourism and social models have dominated Britain’s public services and influenced its politicians and civil servants. We are, therefore, treated like rats running around mazes. If you put us in a maze we may start to behave like rats, but we are not rats and we do not belong in a maze. Britain has thrown away all its advantages and given away its innovative designs. Paradoxically, democracy is an obsession while representation is a very low priority. The search for secular redemption, leaving many victims by the wayside, has included: scientific positivism, aggressive nationalism, social Darwinism, modernism, post-modernism, structuralism, post structuralism and behaviourism. Our fragmenting society is the victim of those who believe in non-belief and a random chaotic existence without meaning or direction or discernable truth, where people are only motivated by self-interest.

Our individuality is defined by our physical, social and psychological category and sub-categories. As a consequence our identity is constructed, determined and owned by others or, more specifically, the system. It should still be possible to reclaim ourselves, not just for ourselves but also for the sake of (not at the expense of) others. The system has taken over from those who ran it. We are still at its mercy - not so much of the establishment in the form of authority figures, but the system itself.

Individuality is fundamental to the state, it is its lifeblood and means of advancement and reform, without that principal the state cannot function as it should. We are not the masses, proletariat, plebeians, public, units of production and consumption - we are not our ethnicicity, gender, neither physiological nor psychological anomalies - we are people. In all our rare, raw and naked innocence, we as unique beings are the indispensible constituents of the universe.

Based on the Platonic model over many generations this country cultivated an incorruptible ruling class to serve its essential interests. The hereditary house of Lords was a good approximation of this model, being constrained by duty and honour and being relatively well provided for via (initially) their inherited lands. This may have been a happy accident, but the result was constitutional stability and a fuller representation of the national interest than then available through the elective process. The aristocracy may not have been invented to be the servants of the wider community of the realm, but they fulfilled the role successfully. 'Without the aristocratic ideal,’ wrote Carl G. Jung, ‘there is no stability. You in England owe it to the 'gentlemen' that you possess the world'.

It is not for the state to enslave nor empower the people, only to serve them. Service and duty should be the defining virtues of political life – they are not ideals but essentials; add love into the mix and representation of the people and their wellbeing is complete.

Representation is not confined to a single expression. We have had a succession of Representation of the People acts, but they have exclusively been concerned with parliamentary democracy. This is forgivable among members of the Lower House as this is the worthy sea in which they swim, but to apply the standards of one world to another in all cases is a mistake. The only person who can truly say they represent every man, woman and child in this country, and the country itself, is Her Majesty the Queen; not elected but appointed by God and acclaimed by her people. Parliamentary democracy on its own does not and cannot represent all of the people all of the time. It is true that through our system of constituencies MPs serve the interests of their constituents reasonably well (we shouldn't tinker with that), but otherwise many feel helpless in the path of the steamroller of big government. We had in the past a chamber called the House of Lords, which had faults and equally it had virtues. During the 'rule of error' of the last government its faults continued to be represented when it was packed with persons of party political bias for party political reasons rather than for their expertise and their potential contribution in the service of their country. It had a party bias prior to 'reform', but also many cross-benchers and those prepared to vote against party policy; now it has a (different) party bias and no promise of retaining its independence and quasi-neutrality. Its virtues survived the house's hanging and disemboweling - just. The law lords have served us well; it is right that those who serve justice and attend the Lord Chancellor should serve us where law is made and should be returned from the lowly place to which they have been dispatched. The bishops have served us well; we are represented by their dedication to high moral values, the presence of which is essential in Parliament. As to whether the spiritual leaders of other denominations and faiths should be included should be based on and around the existing established church. Perhaps the more cardinals, priests, rabbis and immans the better for the moral guidance of those involved in the affairs of state? The hereditary peers have served us well. Often spurred by a deep sense of duty rather than material gain or political ambition, they have contributed a great deal to the wellbeing and development of our country and the surviving rump continues so to do. Some peers would stand no chance in an election, if they had the ambition to stand in one, but far more difficult to replace. Yes, there were more Conservative hereditary peers and Leb-Dems than Labour, but reform didn't have to mean abolition. These good men and women have been victims of the politics of envy and empty meaningless mantras such as ‘accident of birth’ However, anyone who has a faith must admit that birth is no accident, but the working of Divine providence.

Voting by any peer should be based on attendance. The remaining hereditary peers should be retained and even augmented. An elected element of the Upper House could be introduced whereby representatives of every walk of life (e.g. farmers, builders, physicians, accountants, the unemployed) could be introduced. It is the life peers that need the reform. They should be strictly limited. They should all be stripped of their rights to sit until an independent body chooses those with the most expertise and who have done the most work, which should include those who hold or have held ministerial rank. So, a house of several parts to best represent the interests of the people and the country (land as well as state) without reform automatically having to mean a purely democratic or appointed/democratic arrangement, which would not be properly representative, not even more representative as it was in earlier times. The possibilities have not all been fully explored. Party democracy is not a god but a means of representation - there are other means by which it could (and should) be augmented. If we are to have a substantially elected House of Lords (or whatever it may be called) the other portion should comprise the hereditary peers rather than appointed element.

The cross-party committee determining Lords reform is not discussing ‘first principles’ but only the form a wholly or substantially elected second chamber should take. Surely first principles should remain on the table until the best system is devised and the committee should not just consist of persons with a vested party interest? If the previous system was peculiar to Britain it was because we are British and this is Britain with its own political and cultural heritage; changing to a foreign system is more of a risk than is generally realized.

It is the duty of authority to preserve and protect the freedom and well-being of the individual whose duty in return is to serve the interests of the nation and homeland, humanity and world in general. The individual has a local, national, international and universal context, whereas in the context of globalisation, modernism and post-modernism he is nothing.

No man-made political system in incorruptible. Capitalist, socialist or the corporatist system designed to transcend them; each one has its drawbacks however it was first conceived. Each system can be adapted negatively to oppress rather than serve the populace. Lou Tzu said that the best form of government was the one the people did not notice.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Modern Britain - a view

There was a country that no longer believed in itself, I think that it was called Britain

What is this idea called Britain that so many of our fellow citizens are ready to throw away on the scrapheap of petty-nationalism in search of a mythical England, Scotland or Wales (or even regional identity) that never existed, or squander our common heritage in the vain hope that the European camel will fly with all its passengers intact? Whereas only this earth and island of Britannia is a palpable reality. Britain was historically divided by Roman walls and administrative partition, and the limits of Anglo-Saxon centralized administration, but not by any separation of geography or of the inhabitants of this island beyond political expediency. None of Britain’s constituent members could have carved out an empire, been at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution or resisted foreign invasion alone. The reunion of Britain was dreamed of in the Middle Ages by Scots and English alike and is part of our cultural heritage. The union is currently a reality because a Scottish monarch, with Welsh and Irish ancestry, sits on the English throne and is symbolic of every man, women and child from Lands End to John O’Groats, and from Conway to Dover. No one wants Westminster to rule Scotland or Wales, but that Westminster should be ruled as much by Scottish and Welsh as by English interests. That is to say, a union of we British is best for all concerned as long as it is not an unequal one. Oh, but, what a tragedy it would be if the soul of Albion were only discovered, at last, after the dismemberment of the body. Is it too late?

The present has been marred, the future compromised and the lessons of the past ignored by successive generations under the spell of modernism. This is not to say that we should not move forward, strive for improvement or utilize the latest discoveries for the benefit of our people, but we should not make a religion out of modernism, which is the enemy of the future not its friend. Remember that what is most commonly associated with the word ‘modern’, such as plain uncluttered form, abstract art and a belief that technology and genetics will solve all our problems, originated in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century and not the twenty first. The result was eugenics and two world wars and is that we can now efficiently diagnose diseases that we still cannot cure, can kill billions of innocent people in a matter of minutes and can communicate inane nonsense around the whole world almost instantly. Although modernism is outmoded and has had its day, we are all victims of modernism, which has been the curse of civilization for a hundred years and more. Unfortunately, although Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945, fascism had already entered into the soul of western civilization robbing it of its humanity and reason. The victorious powers had already been tainted by a perversion of science and nature that belonged to the first half of the 20th century, and dragged the old new religion of modernism and relativism into the modern age. Without a belief in the absolute we are ruled by the particular. We are divided and so ruled by an illusion of self interest and what we falsely perceive to be the true interests of others.

The world has moved on and we have followed it rather than moved at our own pace in the direction of our own national interest – which can only be the interests of all our people, the land in which we have our home, and all the peoples of the earth regardless of their attitude to us. There is now no British vernacular anything and certainly no Englishness left of which anyone can be proud. No modern architecture that sits comfortably in an English village or Scottish Glen; no accent but that thrown up carelessly where the Thames meets the tide; and no retail outlet, agriculture or industry that speaks the language of its country of birth or adoption. We are no longer governed: we are monitored and managed like so many sheep who cannot remember signing up to join a flock. We have been granted rights (that are in reality privileges), but have lost our fundamental individual liberties that our forebears regarded as their own as a result of birth in ‘this other Eden’. But, what ‘less happier lands’ remain that are democracies? We are told that we live in a peaceful, caring society, but see discourtesy, violence and avarice everywhere. We are no longer taught was caring is. We have institutionalized compassion that takes our humanity from us, and uses guilt to extract money and therefore no real love for our neighbors. Although mountains of legislation and political correctness have been introduced to force our people to be obediently mild - without a supporting morality - violence and disrespect are endemic in our society, especially among those brought up in these enlightened times. If this is a free society (and I doubt that it is), it isn’t cheap. Education is rarely valued for its own sake, but only as a means to acquire a career that it is assumed will pay well. As a consequence, we have a glut of aspiring executives and media consultants, but few young people who know very much or can actually do anything. It is not surprising that the British care so little about Britain if they care so little about each other, the lovely British earth on which they dwell, the flora and fauna with which they share their lives, or even themselves beyond the gratification of only four of their senses.

It is evident that the essentials of British rural community life are disappearing. The post office, the church and the pub have long been the centres of village life and of vital importance to the local community and surrounding area. It is true that not everyone goes regularly to church or the pub, but everyone uses the post office/general store. Rural churches, pubs and post offices have all been closing to the detriment of community life and cohesion. Villages that have lost their church, pub and post office are sad almost desolate places. Where is the focus of a village without these services (for essential services they are) and is a village a village without them? It is not an exaggeration to claim that the closure of more post offices would be an anti-social act the consequences of which cannot be predicted. Surely there is a good case for subsidising these services to ensure the continuance of peaceful community life in rural areas. It might even be an idea to make conversion or closure of these services the subject of fines. Our villages, hamlets, farms and the countryside itself are central to our environmental concerns as they are on our doorstep and currently under threat from satellite suburbs and encroachments on the green belt that threaten not only the natural habitat and our wellbeing, but also threaten to overwhelm infrastructures and burden local services. New houses mean more roads, more traffic, more superstores and garages, infilling with more houses/offices leading to more roads, and so on. The effects on the water table, pollution, etc. can be imagined. The countryside is not just an urban amenity, the bits one goes through to get to another town, it is what’s left of the land itself – the living organs of our little island home.