No Politics is Local

by craig on May 2, 2013 11:21 am in Uncategorized

Two friends of mine, one a Conservative and one a Liberal Democrat, both of whom live in London, were last weekend each volunteering for their parties, telephoning unfortunate voters in Cornwall, asking them to vote in today’s county council elections for their respective parties. The cordial hatred between the coalition partners seems focused particularly today on who controls Cornwall.

Whether this frenetic telephone activity does any good, or rather whether it achieves the desired end for the party, seems to me open to doubt. I am bemused by the apparent widespread concern on the Indian subcontinent for the state of my glazing. I think if I started getting phone calls from political parties, I would rip my phone out. Perhaps they do it more as a team building exercise to keep up morale among their own fast dwindling memberships, than for its effect on voters.

I suspect the days when local issues really effected local elections are in general behind us, sadly. What we have here is the same tired old national choice between three parties, whose policy differences are minute. All of them supported giving all your money to the rich bankers, and enabling them to play casino with it all over again. All of them support war and massive military spending. UKIP supporters probably want even more of the latter: less foreigners here, and more killing them elsewhere.

I suspect this will be a good day for Mr Farage. That will help still more people in Scotland to understand that Scotland is an entirely different type of body politic, has absolutely separate community values, from England. As I have opined before, in the medium term Scotland should leave the United Kingdom, in order to stay in the European Union.

I shall be speaking at the Edinburgh South launch of the Yes Scotland campaign on May 24th.

My very, very best wishes to Ingo the Independent in Norfolk!

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  1. Having stood in many local elections as well as fighting the national elections, I can assure you , it is all a dog and pony show.

    The local, and national issues in the fast flowing information society no longer apply, however the notions of keeping the locals busy through rearranging the days that rubbish is to be collected and or which street is to be anointed with the residents pass for parking their vehicles is designed to give the impression of a modicum of “independence”, that can be drawn upon at the right junctures and absolve the central planners from their crimes and misdemeanour’s.

    So far as the national elections go, the parties are the holders of the order of the trough, that in turn appoint which nose is to be allowed near the trough and in it. Needless to point out; the nose that is the most expedient and adheres to the story lines fed to the punters 24/365 is the nose that stands a chance of getting near the trough.

    There is no democracy, in fact it is dead, and the charade is designed to convince the hopefuls (the great unwashed); they too can make a difference! Yeah right, I am still buying the lottery tickets to win it some day too.

    PS. Before anyone gets on their high horse, and starts, can they tell us what percentage of the eligible population in fact have voted, minus the postal ballots that make a banana republic look a credible “democracy”.

  2. Uzbek in the UK

    2 May, 2013 - 11:41 am

    This is something that is called vertical power. At the end of the day, well being of people who live in Liverpool, Leeds or even Aberdeen depend more on London (politicians in London) than on their local councillors. Central government has more resources and their policy has much greater affect. This is unitary system that is not specific to the UK. Even if Scots chose independence they will still have vertical power but coming from Edinburgh rather than London.

  3. Uzbek in the UK

    2 May, 2013 - 11:44 am


    As I have not lived here for most of my live, can you please enlighten me when there was a ‘democracy’ here and when it had died?

  4. I hope Ingo can disprove some of that, Passerby. If he gets in, I’m sure he will. We certainly need to get away from the party system.

  5. Hi Craig

    Thanks for the notice regarding your Edinburgh appearance. Do you have a time and venue for this event?

  6. An awful warning re. Independents. Tom Darwood is standing for Barking:

    I leave you to judge whether he is standing for the ward or the mental condition of that name. Or maybe he is Britain’s most iconic e-comedian?

  7. Haemoglobin,

    No, I will post it as soon as I do. It was originally scheduled for the 17th, but had to be changed due to a cock-up by me, I am afraid. Margo MacDonald was also going to be speaking on the 17th – am very much hoping she’ll still be able to do it on the 24th.

  8. It constantly amazes me how few people either give a toss or even know who they’re voting for or why. Ho hum.

    I quite like the Farage band-wagon, if only to make Cameron look like an absolute twat, which he is. I say this as a card carrying member of the Conservative Party but….what’s the phrase…ah, yes, fuck him sideways with a pineapple and call him Marjorie. Tosser.

  9. Komodo,

    I hope Ingo can disprove some of that, Passerby. If he gets in, I’m sure he will. We certainly need to get away from the party system.

    Ingo is an honourable man , and for certain he will give it his best shot. However, given the constraints, and the imperatives of the local gauleiters he may end up with disappointing results. I wish him luck but my experience proves otherwise.

    The party system is a sure shot way of terrain control, that sifts out any kind of undesirable individual whom may wish to rock the boat, and or has any ideas above his station (aspirations beyond a serf). The local party activists, normally some of the most irritating and dysfunctional individuals around, tend to be the gatekeepers of their masters, and will ensure the demise of any upstart.

    Added to this are the petty rivalries that start from the little lies to big lies to be spread around regards the individuals deemed unfit because these individuals have not been arse kissing hard enough and or are a credible alternative to the bunch of showers running the show.

    The whole notion is to destroy any possibility of any change, and ensure the retreat of the agents of change, to maintain the status quo. Fact is some of the corrupt practices that I have witnessed contemporaneously, will horrify some of the stary eyed voters to distraction.

    There is too much to write on this subject, alas I have not the time, but you get the drift.

    Uzbek in the UK

    When you stop being a condescending prick and start interacting in a more civilised manner, perhaps I will be compelled to respond, as it stands, just make of it what you will. What difference does a foreigner make, whom has zero influence on the outcomes taking place here in UK? Given he/she is fully informed of the finer points of the UK electoral system.

  10. DtP/Usbek In The UK

    Anything above parish councils has long since devolved into voting on tribal lines with very little regard for any of the individual candidates, or indeed the policies of the parties they represent.

    I recently moved from living in a city to a small village. Its quite a novelty being able to chat to the people on the parish council informally about things of interest. Of course the scope of their powers and budget is limited, but that aside it is refreshing.

    Democracy on a countrywide scale, in the terms of the representatives actually representing the wishes of the people, doesn’t work. The scale factors mean that the politicians and parties dictate the landscape and the voting system ensures that only a few actually have to worry about what the electorate think.

  11. Marktheguitar

    2 May, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    Hi Craig, keep up the good work.I always enjoy your posts. Your observation that the 3 “main” parties are pretty much the same is spot on. I do however disagree with your comments about Ukip supporters. Whilst there may be some in Ukip (and the other parties too) who are for “less foreigners here, and more killing them elsewhere” as you put it, the majority just want to
    be able to control their own destiny and are sick of being mislead. The EU may have its pro’s but the cons far outweigh them. Also real democracy has been thrown away and no govt. party in power ever put transference of sovereignty and governance in their manifesto’s. I really do think the big 3 need a massive kicking at the ballot box. Also I cannot see how Scotland being independent AND being in the EU is actually being independent at all. All the best.

  12. Thanks, I’m merely trying to be part of something that changes the equation at county hall, what flattering post, there are more of us and I’ll be happy if the local Tory loses, regardless of whether I get anywhere or not.

    No telling what voters will do, but the lack of trust is so palpable when you talk to them, gently trying to tease out what makes them tick.

    I have to say that there was not one of them rude or abusive, but full of venom for the established political parties, housing, incineration and lack of services, whilst cuts and bedroom tax also were seen as OTT and callous to the extreme.

    It is heart rendering what has been done to this clapped out, fundamentally undemocratic and fraudulent system and how little regulatory powers the electoral society really has. And the political parties have perpetuated this apathy, because it favours them, guaranteeing that getting their own voters out will have an impact.

    Bring on lottocracy, were voting is random and all take part, draw the reps out of a hat and forbid re-elections, something that would happen only very rarely, give the pulled/selected a choice of whether they want to do the job, if not pull a new name.

    At the second election, balance could be guaranteed as one draws a candidate from the opposite gender.


    Votes get counted tomorrow morning 9am and I shall let you all know how Ingo has done….;)

  13. Hague in Dodgy Mail today asks what an Independant Scotland would do to fund and form a Secret Service as well as open Embassies around the world…well fuck me, who says we need a Secret Service ? I am sure the people of Scotland, if needed, would channel more millions to world dictators through MI6 as per usual. Prick !

  14. April Showers

    2 May, 2013 - 1:40 pm

    Yes Mick S I agree. And parish councillors, as a general rule, declare any financial or vested interest in a matter under discussion, so unlike most of the troughers in Westminster and in the county HQs.

  15. “Desperately Seeking $11.2 Trillion In Collateral, Or How “Modern Money” Really Works”

  16. April Showers

    2 May, 2013 - 1:57 pm

    Craig speaks of Cornwall. I watched Mrs Hodge and her Public Affairs committee in action the other day on the scandal of Serco’s Out of Hours Doctor Service in Cornwall where records had been altered to gloss what they have been doing.

    Some links here on a note I made at the time.

    Watching Valerie Michie MD Serco, Dr Louis Warren Contract Director Serco, Jeremy Stafford CEO Serco, answering Mrs Hodge’s Public Accounts Committee on the Out of Hours Service in Cornwall. Jargon prominent. It’s all about statistics, technology, resources quality measurement etc. Care of the patient does not seem to be a concern. Andrew George LD MP blew the whistle on Serco. Serco are getting £32million for this abysmal ‘service’.

    The actors KPMG is there in the biography of course ex BT Government Services !! Offshoring is now a verb.
    Chief Executive UK&Europe at Serco Plc
    Location Milton Keynes, UK Industry Outsourcing/Offshoring Minutes of the hearing

    Dr Warren: I was and I worked for the service clinically. I worked both as a self-employed doctor and I came on as an employed doctor in the middle of last year, and now run the service as a GP and still work.


    Dr Warren: The first thing I would say is that, as a clinician and a GP, I work for the service as well as having the director role. The importance of medical management has been recognised-it was part of the reason why I was offered the position. There are good processes in place on whistleblowing, which have been verified by our unions, which have recommended them and guaranteed how good they are in terms of policy and in terms of the processes that our staff can use.

    What is more important is that the ethos and culture within the contract has improved significantly. I meet staff daily. I get e-mails and phone calls, and from the bottom to the top, we have an employee communication forum for staff members to put their views forward. There are several different mechanisms that have been made more robust to ensure that relationship with our staff. We are delivering care and it is easy to lose sight, with the events and challenges of the past year-you mentioned NHS Pathways-of the fact that we are delivering very good care. While there have been issues with the contract, our patient surveys in the past six months have shown that 95% plus of people rate the service as fair or satisfactory. That is way above the national average. We benchmark in the top quartile.

    Chair: We are talking about whistleblowing, Dr Warren.


    Followed by Sir Ian Carruthers, Acting CE Strategic Health Authority. Also Steve Moore Chief Exec Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT. Both made rather pathetic contributions especially when challenged by Mrs Hodge’s sharp tongue.

    Plus this non-entity Joy Youart who is now chair of the Cornwall Clinical Commissioning Group. CCGs already to your area btw.

    Q231 Chair: So are you getting out of the contract? Did you work for the PCT before?
    Joy Youart: No, I worked in NHS London, and I was the chief development officer for the clinical commissioning group.
    Q232 Chair: Had you written this national contract then?
    Joy Youart: No.

    Appalling and Serco are being paid with our taxes. How many lives were lost in Cornwall because of Serco’s shortcomings?

  17. Marktheguitar: As a supporter of Independence for Scotland (and for England and Wales etc. too, Independence from London’s misrule), I agree with you on the seeming deficiency of incomplete Independence resulting from the membership of the EU as it is presently constituted. Membership of the EU does however remove one of the unfortunate circumstances that existed pre-union and that was the difficulties placed on and resulting collapse of thriving trade between mainland Europe and Scotland due to the conditions of terror and blockade that England’s Westminster government placed Scotland under, relief of such siege conditions that existed and resumption of such mutually beneficial trade with continental Europe (and with England itself too) being the only benefit of the 1707 union. Scotland is acutely aware of that beneficial aspect of the EU as a result of that unfortunate history; if England left the EU and wickedly, treacherously blocked or interfered with free exchange between Scotland and mainland Europe again, England could see itself isolated, widely condemned and challenged in international law by Scotland the UN and the EU. It does have to be considered however that protection (as opposed to free trade) of home industries is one certain method of growing the capacity and profitability of those industries free of fair and unfair competition such as the dumping of low cost or subsidised imports on markets to destroy indigenous producers and manufacturers.

    In the long run Scotland will assuredly move towards more of a participatory democracy, rather then an entirely representative one, due to the all too apparent gross deficiencies of the party system, political parties being effectively conspiracies to undermine the proper operation of democracy, empowering a clique all too easily subsceptible to and inviting corruption. UKIP are treacherous and ugly, but New Labour is actually closer to them than the Tories; they are a trojan horse in much the same way as the SDP/Liberals, except instead of poaching from and splitting the left and centre-left vote as the LibDems once did (though always a thoroughly right-wing party in sheeps-clothing), UKIP are splitting the right and further right vote, from which the Labour Party, now to the right of even some elements of the long extinct traditional Tories, can only stand to gain. In as much then as Steele and Owen had Thatcher’s hand up their backside, today’s UKIP is the answer to the fevered wet dreams of Miliband, Balls & Co. A pox on all their houses.

  18. Solution –

    1. Agitate for the introduction of preferential voting,

    2. After ensuring #1, vote for a minor party, not one of the two majors,

    3. If you do nothing, don’t complain.

  19. Again Craig, why should the working and middle classes that work pay in taxes for those that are not working and paying taxes in a system.

    We are nurturing a work ethic, for some its easy to work others simply can’t.

    How much we help them is questionable.

    Craig UKIP supporters are concerned, at least address these and use your heart to build alliances.

    Come on-we are Liberal!

  20. I have met some really pleasant UKIP supporters. But the party’s decision to push an anti-immigrant bandwagon is not something I can forgive. Immigrants in general are actually very hard working. I support a rather old-fashioned work-ethic myself. The tragedy is, the lack of available work for many who genuinely want it. That worries me a great deal more than the perversely indolent, who are a very small minority.

  21. Again Craig, why should the working and middle classes that work pay in taxes for those that are not working and paying taxes in a system. (? -K)

    Possibly because the system isn’t providing jobs for all? Because they might not want people to starve on the streets?

    I’d have more sympathy for this very Daily Mail question if I hadn’t spent two years on benefits trying – hard- to get a job before getting the one I’m in, and if I saw any sign of moderation in the cost of housing. Thank you, taxpayers. I’ve paid you back now. You didn’t lose out. I appreciate not having to live under a railway bridge – and possibly die there.
    A taxpayer (working – never mind the class.)

  22. You beat me to it, Craig.

  23. Uzbek in the UK

    2 May, 2013 - 3:01 pm


    Here you go again. I did not mean to insult you. It was just curiosity in its purest form. You said that democracy here is dead and I was wondering if studying the last few hundred years of british history (including decades I have not lived here) I missed out spells of pure democracy. And I also wanted to know what do you mean by democracy?

  24. Uzbek in the UK

    2 May, 2013 - 3:13 pm

    History teaches that in terms of economic hardship extreme (right or left) ideas prevail. It had always been a case of blaming outsiders for the evils rather than looking at the problems deep in their roots. At the time of high unemployment it is much easier to point on immigrant Pole or Pakistani than demanding change of legislation that prevents casino banking and speculation that led to economic collapse in the first place.

  25. Alan Campbell

    2 May, 2013 - 3:42 pm

    Careful, Craig. You’re the electoral kiss of death. Hilarious that you’re campaigning in favor of the EU.

  26. Jay: In the unlikely event of UKIP ever having some day a small number of Westminster seats, comparable say to that of the Lib/Dems, a Labour-UKIP coalition is far more likely than a Tory-UKIP one, and hung parliaments inevitably more frequent than not.

    Your work-ethic, it sounds more like a workhouse ethic, and it is nothing new at all it is no different from the position of both Labour and Tories (the LibDems extinct), but people aren’t actually a resource to farmed, exhausted, worn out, their health destroyed and then lives discarded, all for some Hooray Henry’s coke dealer’s enrichment. Most people in work in this country, the jobs they do might as well be left undone, they contribute nothing, cause more harm than good; from the pointlessness of sales and marketing and PR, to professional sports or gambling, keeping up with the Jones’s, consumerism, and service sector boutiques; even where a tangible end-product results fickle fashion and built-in obsolescence, unserviceability or shoddy short-lived goods: consumer-indurables, means much ‘work’ done contributes nothing but pollution and runs-down, sickens people, they transfer wealth around from the many to the few, contributing or adding no value. Talk of worth ethic, or even the ‘deserving poor’ as distinct from any other form is simply elitism born of privilege, aided by unearned wealth and temporary good luck -divide, exploit and rule, one-upmanship, pulling the ladder up behind you. UKIP have failed to make race or nationality as divisive as they would hope and like, the people are inoculated and immune, UKIP now present themselves as errant class warriors, recastacting on behalf of an asocial aging-Thatcherite parasitic caste, the BNP/NF in suits – for once not for a court appearance – scared now of tasting for once the poisionous snake-oil they once dished out wholesale, selling their own fear like some gangland villains hoping to diminish and dilute it, demonising and excluding the victims of an economic system that by design must fail.

  27. Sophie Habbercake

    2 May, 2013 - 3:52 pm

    If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times.
    – Mark Twain

    Dad! That Blair Ad you posted (on the Toils of the Historian thread) and the absence of any abuse or smartness, if it wasn’t a stupid prank, it was the nicest thing you ever did on this blog. Now people can draw their own conclusions and we can have a discourse. Was that a mistake or are you starting to use your brain?​

    And Dad I don’t know where you are but I don’t think you should come home just yet cos I’m just back from school and Haycroft Road’s like a car show with all flashy vans and SUVs all the way to Hook Rd Dad and I don’t think you should be anywhere round here, and there’s police aswel. They’re the only ones who come to the door, and that’s reassuring in a scary sort of way.

    Gary told me I was an idiot (but in a cool way and he was smiling) cos it’s not a lizard that changes anything except it’s skin and I knew it was a Leopard but I was so cross with Mr Komodo that the wrong word came out and then I didn’t know how to stop without looking stupid. And I’m dropping the “Cagna Pazza”cos it was only to scare April S off Komodo and I can’t quite square it with trying to practice compassion.

    You know if that Buddha had sat under a tree in Surbiton trying to work stuff out I bet he’d probably have been arrested, or at least stopped and searched for being foreign looking.

  28. Talking of fairness- let’s say I can’t afford to buy a house, or even pay the deposit. I have to rent. Chances are I will be renting from someone who has bought the property, on a mortgage, specifically to let it. To make economic sense (for him), I will be paying him, monthly, the full mortgage on that property, probably plus a little something, and plus the parasitical letting agent’s fee. Result: he winds up with ownership of the entire property, having paid damn-all for it. I end up out on my ear without any equity at all.

    So why are working taxpayers subsidising rich bastards who have somewhere else to live? Riddle me that.

  29. So what’s Stoyan Georgiev doing with himself these days, Sophie? I see the business has closed. I really hope your dad isn’t the wrong side of him…

  30. Its’s gone beyond family, why does the state do what the family should do.

    Why does the daughter of the wealthy man get a council house?

    Komodo the system is set up wrong and backed wholesale.

    Thanks Cryptonm great points I agree, the business with fishing is you sit there all day doubting your bait on your hook. You pull it out to check.

  31. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    2 May, 2013 - 5:29 pm

    Fully agre with what Uzbek in the Uk said about ‘vertical power’ at 11h41 and that things are unlikely to be different in an independent Scotland.

    Passerby’s reaction (at 12h46) was vulgar and intemperate, but Uzbek in the UK’s later response saw him off quite nicely; I now also await Passerby’s answer to the question of how he defines democracy and whether he thinks there have been any periods of pure democracy in the UK in the past.

    Still on the egregious Passerby : he wrote

    “Ingo is an honourable man , and for certain he will give it his best shot. However, given the constraints, and the imperatives of the local gauleiters he may end up with disappointing results”

    and thus obviously belongs to that category of commenter who prepares his excuses for failure in advance. Nevermind will get a derisory vote, but this will not be because he failed to convince the voters with the brilliance and pertinence of his ideas but because of the machinations of the ‘gauleiters’ and the mysterious and unidentified ‘constraints’

    On to Cryptonym at 14h1O, who assures us that

    “In the long run Scotland will assuredly move towards more of a participatory democracy, rather then an entirely representative one, due to the all too apparent gross deficiencies of the party system,…”.

    Cryptonym is himself perhaps not too sure of his claim, as he talks about moving towards “more” of a participatory democracy. I wonder if Cryptonym would care to speculate a little on what that “more” might be – Swiss-style, the occasional referendum? or something else?
    I suspect, personally, that his certainty – inter alia for the reason mentioned by Uzbek in the UK – will prove unfounded.
    As unfounded, indeed, as Craig’s touching belief that

    “Scotland is an entirely different type of body politic…from England”.

    Not unless you believe that UK politicians of the stripe of Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown, Douglas Alexander, Dr John Reid, Adam Ingram, Malcol Rifkind,,etc, etc, would have behaved any differently had they been politicians in an independent Scottish entity or, indeed, that they acted any differntly from ‘English’ politicians. Do you believe that, Craig?

  32. John Polton

    2 May, 2013 - 5:36 pm

    Oh Here we go again!!! Once more your comenters on this blog reveal themselves as conspiracy nuts, disseminating ludicrous explanations for anything that occurs. Nosey and others assert that the reason for Habbercake’s continued postings, while on the run, is that he is in fact non other than Vadic Zabolotny, a known FBD asset, whose literary talents are being used to discredit the official narrative by posting blatent and obvious garbage in the guise of attacks on this blog’s nutters.

    Zabolotny’s Death was recorded in the autumn of 1996 in an orchard near Novokhopyorsk following an argument with a moose that was, according to eye-witnesses, “мертвецки пьяный” after comsumming rotten wind-fall apples all weekend. Even if this was not the case it is well known that Zabolotny, while lecturing at Volgograd’s elite State Institute of International Relations (VGIMO), once bored two students literally to death and caused the hospitalization of a further thirteen. It is outrageous and deeply offensive to claim this could be the same person who writes so with such passion and genius on this blog. If they took a few moments to consider Habbercake’s postings they would be forced by the sheer power of his irrefutable logic to abandon their irrational delusions.

  33. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    2 May, 2013 - 5:38 pm

    April Showers, formerly known as “Mary”, writes at 13h40 :

    “And parish councillors, as a general rule, declare any financial or vested interest in a matter under discussion, so unlike most of the troughers in Westminster and in the county HQs.”

    I should be interested to hear Mary’s evidence for her assertion that only a minority of MPs declare any financial or vested interest in a matter under discussion.

    Can she back up that assertion, or is it merely something she assumes but presents as fact?

  34. If officials are randomly chosen, there is no need for any special procedures to ensure balance. Provided that the officials are actually chosen randomly, every segment of the population — race, sex, political views, whatever — will automatically, by the laws of statistics, be chosen in proportion to its representation in the population. (There can be small deviations from proportionality in single years, but those deviations are reduced the greater the number of people chosen, and any deviations will be balanced out in future years.)

  35. Looky here, a proper ziofuckwit farrago in process. Who gives a flying fuck for the brain farts of any deranged ziofuckwit with delusions of grandeur?

    This resident ziofuckwit suffering from the usual case of sever obsessive compulsive syndrome, has taken upon itself to answer every post, busy reinforcing the corporate media narrative, ought to be using a mighty powerful cream to cure those chapped lips from all this sucking up.

  36. Elections results depend so much on branding, and independent candidate don’t have develop a bran (unless on a single-issue protest vote). Somehow I doubt that the good – conservative (small ‘c’) – folks of Norfolk are going shatter the trend and condemn political analysts to a funk of bewildered confusion. But they really should – especially in this case.

  37. Bah! So much for typing on a mobile phone with no real keyboard. I didn’t mean to talk about “bran”. I meant that independent candidates don’t have a chance to develop a brand. Mind you, I think in general that independents are generally higher in (moral) fibre content.

  38. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    2 May, 2013 - 7:54 pm

    @ Lysias :

    “If officials are randomly chosen….”

    Wouldn’t that mean that people like Komodo, Nevermind, Jives, Fred and so on – and even, God forbid, English Knight, Guano, April Showers (aka Mary) and Cryptonym – might get chosen?

    Going on the quality of their posts, the mind boggles. Shades of Derek Hatton and Tommy Sheridan!

    On the other hand, though, it would mean that they would have to do something concrete instaed of ceaselessly bitching on about this, that and the next thing….

  39. Sophie Habbercake

    2 May, 2013 - 8:20 pm

    Dad! Or should I call you Vadic.

    You always told us your funny accent was cos of a botched-up tonsilitis operation and mum’s stopped humming and all those black SUVs and vans are still waiting in the road.

    Mum says it would have been better than this if you had been mixed up in that Georgiev stuff after all and Adrian thinks Stoyan G’s going to reinvent himself as a half decent defender when he signs with Spartac Varna next season.

  40. Excuse me for being cynical, but maybe the former UK embassadors pro-Independence stance is motivated by the possibility for lucrative regular employment. I cannot think of anybody more qualified for the role of Scottish ambassador than Mr Murray.

  41. Daniel

    Thank you – when the time comes, I shall use you as a reference!

  42. Certainly, if officials are chosen randomly, some objectionable people will be chosen. But, if they serve in boards and legislative bodies with many members, their presence will be diluted by all the other people chosen.

    It was precisely for this reason that most official functions in Ancient Athens were performed by boards with several members. Juries and the upper legislative body, the Council (Boule), had even more members. And the lower legislative body, the Assembly (Ekklesia), could be attended by all adult male citizens, and in practice was attended by several thousand.

  43. Lysias

    Adult male citizens were, however, a highly educated elite. The clue is the word citizen there.

  44. The old Athenian system would be the equivalent of being governed by randomly selected old Etonians today. Oh…

  45. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    2 May, 2013 - 11:14 pm

    @ Lysias :

    “Certainly, if officials are chosen randomly, some objectionable people will be chosen. But, if they serve in boards and legislative bodies with many members, their presence will be diluted by all the other people chosen.”


    Which, in fact, sounds very much like what happens at the moment in Parliament and local authorities elected according to the present system?

  46. “@ Lysias :

    “Certainly, if officials are chosen randomly, some objectionable people will be chosen. But, if they serve in boards and legislative bodies with many members, their presence will be diluted by all the other people chosen.”


    Which, in fact, sounds very much like what happens at the moment in Parliament and local authorities elected according to the present system?”


    No. It no longer happens. It happened to great extent in the post war period up until the late 80s early 90s, but today these people are chosen from small pools in which very similar fish swim.

    Much as happened in business. they’re managers whose power derives from and whose primary interest is in the larger shareholders.

  47. Узбек – you are right on the money. They talk about democracy here (the UK) like they know it. LOL!

    Even representative democracy (aka parliamentary rule, etc) could in principle be much more effective and responsive to the will of the people. And perhaps it is elsewhere, but here there exists a little-advertised quirk that renders it all but completely ineffective (no, I do not mean FPTP). UK MPs cannot choose what is debated and what legislation is voted on in Parliament. All such ‘framing’ is done by a small subset at the very top (PM & Cronies). That’s neat you see because they can make themselves look busy with all sorts of worthy discussion whilst carefully avoiding questions that would begin to address the fundamental injustice of absolute property (privatised land rent a la Proudhon and George), private monopoly on money supply, energy supply, etc. To use the word democracy to describe this system is the greatest slight of hand! And I haven’t even touched on the role of the MSM.

    This is the only way you can get around the Executive’s monopoly on debate:'s_bill
    A corruptible system is corrupting and in the end it is always corrupted.

    As for UKIP, any party that promises to “give power back to Westminster and to the people through binding national and local referenda and more effective, locally elected representatives” is patently better than the Consheviks, Labsheviks and Libdemsheviks.

  48. Craig,
    my understanding of the phrase ‘all politics is local’ is that local is not meant in the geographical sense but rather in a ‘that-which-matters-to-the-daily-life’ sense. When most policy that affects me directly is decided in London, I lose interest proportionately in my local parish and district politics. My interest in the politics of Ghana remains unaffected.

    Btw, I suspect ‘effected’ is a typo.

  49. Habbabkuk,

    ‘occasional referendum’ does not characterise Swiss political system well. My understanding is that the ballots take place quarterly and that there are usually several individual proposals to vote on. But that is neither here nor there, perhaps some people would still consider that to be infrequent.

    The important distinction however which is not made here, is that between a plebiscite, a mandatory referendum and an Initiative referendum. The plebiscite is of dubious value in a democracy and has indeed even been used to give legitimacy to despotic regimes. The most recent example of a plebiscite is the Falklands referendum. A mandatory referendum (e.g. triggered by a major change in legislation) is clearly democratic in intent. Initiative is the most democratising type of referenda – that’s when the question and the timing of the ballot originate from the people.

    To conflate plebiscite (the only type of referenda known to UK citizens) with mandatory and initiative referenda is missing a trick, I think. The Swiss Constitution excludes the use of the plebiscite btw.

  50. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    3 May, 2013 - 12:09 pm

    @ Evgeni,

    sorry, on re-reading I see that I drafted in too much of a hurry: what I was trying to say was that “more” could be (1) Swiss style referenda (ie, frequent) or (2) the occasional referendum (France, Ireland..) or (3) something else.

    So I of course agree with your comment.

  51. Although I failed to dislodge the Tory in my ward, the Conservatives have lost overall control over Norfolk CC. Ukip has gone from nothing to becoming nearly the second largest party and the BBC is talking up a coalition between UKIP and the Tory’s.

    Greatest loss was for Andy Gardiner who stood against Joe Mooney, a Tory who persuaded two other candidates to stand as Independent paper candidates. Ukip had the stated goal to rid Wymondham of the Tories, when in effect they saved their seat by standing against an Independent.

    Shall sit back and enjoy the post electoral blues with a little music and more gardening.

    Thanks for the debate, after witnessing 25% of the electorate taking part, only, and the immense costs of elections to the local coffers, demarchy sounds like a great idea.
    Some Tory I discussed this system with today, came back at me saying, ‘all very well, but you can’t opt to not vote with demarchy’.

    So what is so good about not voting, what is the ‘freedom’ part of not voting I’m not getting?

    My heart goes out to Andy Gardiner who was cheated out of a seat by two paper candidates, who then laughed and cajoled at the count, waved at him and goaded him.
    The Tories are still the largest bit of scum floating on the NCC broth, but 3/4 of the voters just can’t be bothered, and that’s on a sunny day.

    Postal voting is fraudulent, because 8 out of 10 people who had their sitting Tory come round hawking postal voting forms, feel obliged to vote for that lovely man who just enabled them to stay at home. Not having to go and vote with the plebs at the polling station is a right old ruse in rural areas.


    As I live in Australia, I like to post the odd comment with an Oz angle. Here’s an interesting little tale from Sydney. Premier backs CCTV, no surprise. There clearly was a brief panic when a tribunal made a privacy ruling, but Premier BOF will doubtless legislate to ensure that privacy is made redundant again. I myself have slowly become horrified by how much of our lives are on camera. Literally, I’m on camera pretty much all day, unless I’m in my house. When CCTV was introduced, we’d get snippets of grainy black and white, and were were reassured it was only in hotspots. Now, of course, it’s everywhere, and I assure you (I’ve seen clips in my work) it’s colour, and a good definition, too.

    BOF of course won’t listen to the tribunal, because he doesn’t have to. And the council will be forced to switch CCTV back on, even as they were forced to switch if off in the first place, which is relevant to thread topic.

    BOF has form. Immediately on becoming Premier, he threatened to sack a council leader, a Green from Marickville. The council, you see, had threatened to boycott Israel. Whether BOF could sack the leader – who bear in mind was a green, not a liberal – was never challenged. I suspect that he couldn’t, and he knew it. But he got his way, and everyone caved. Interestingly, this issue was raised not long after BOF had met PM Gillard. I believe that the subject was raised, though this is not certain. The conspiracy minded might raise an eyebrow, for sure.

    Just 2 petty examples of how centralised power is. One might argue that this is as it should be, because councils are small fry, not responsible for the decisions of state. This may be true, of course, but Premiers and PM’s everywhere routinely talk the talk of local power, and localisation – until they actually do something naughty, at which point, well, it’s time for threats, isn’t it? Democracy is only respected insofar as it chimes with the interests of powerful people, and perhaps it was ever thus.

    An interesting side note. Assange as you know is running for Senator in Victoria. Early polls suggest that his Wikileaks party has a very good chance indeed. Which means, of course, that he has no chance at all. He’ll get screwed over; he always gets screwed over. I suspect other independent candidates will suddenly be ‘found’, or perhaps it’ll just be blatant vote rigging, maybe even the thought of Senator Assange will be the final straw and Hague will be allowed to say a few things by his handlers, and the embassy will mysteriously burn down. Who knows? I may get out and about and join the Wikileaks party, could be a laugh.

  53. April Showers

    4 May, 2013 - 9:07 am

    Brendan I see that O’Farrell launched Liberal Friends of Israel.

    The equivalent here is one Monroe Palmer, recently ennobled as Lord Palmer of Childs Hill.

    He is now carrying the Israel flag in the Lords and compares Palestine to Wales. I did not know that Wales was under occupation!’-anti-israel-bias-shocks-liberal-democrats-peer

    He and his wife are also councillors in Barnet Council in NW London. One of his fellow councillors, Brian Coleman, who ‘is a former Chairman of the Finchley Friends of Israel and remains a member of Conservative Friends of Israel’, was found guilty yesterday of assaulting a woman who was filming him parking illegally!

    He is a former member of the Greater London Authority. His type always seem to be able to work their way into local and national politics.

  54. Richard Hancock

    7 May, 2013 - 9:56 am

    Dear Craig,

    I would have voted U.K.I.P. in the local election were it not for the fact that only “Labour” and “Consevative” candidates stood. Thus I felt obliged to spoil my ballot paper. I understand that U.K.I.P. support(ed?) the banning of the burka, a move to which I am wholly opposed, but my main purpose in wishing to vote for them is the “closet racist”-type lingo launched against them by the political incumbents. I would vote for Atilla the Hun if I thought it would get up the nose of MilliClegEron. But I just wanted to assure you that I am certainly not in favour of military intervention in other people’s civil wars or in starting wars of our own. I wouldn’t have thought that all U.K.I.P. supporters were. Some may be, but them some probably drink their own bathwater and torture kittens in the cellar; who knows?

  55. John Macadam

    8 May, 2013 - 10:23 am

    Apropos the YesScotland meeting, I think you will find it is to be at the Columcille Centre [just down from the Dominion Cinema, Newbattle Terrace, Holy Corner, Edinburgh at 7.30 but doors open about 7

  56. Lysias and Craig :

    „Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo of the University of Catania, Italy, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.“

    – winners of the 2010 Ig Nobel Prize in management science

    Ig Nobel Prizes are given each year for ten achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.”

    They used an agent-based model computer simulation for the promotion of employees and tested alternative strategies. “[W]e find, counterintuitively, that in order to avoid such an effect the best ways for improving the efficiency of a given organization are either to promote each time an
    agent at random or to promote randomly the best and the worst members in terms of competence.”


    Here is the link for the Columcille talk on Friday 24th

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