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I just stumbled upon a YouTube presentation from a group called “Unlock Democracy” who make a bold assertion, with which I wholeheartedly agree, that, “Free and fair elections are fundamental for a healthy democracy. Giving the independent elections watchdog more power, not less, can crack down on attempts to undermine elections.” I intend to contact them regarding our dire concerns over the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and my Petition to fully Investigate the Tories dubious ‘landslide victory’ claim to power. Even for organizations and individuals who remain convinced that nothing untoward occurred in the December Election it’s an undisputed fact that the system is wide open to industrial scale fraud. Did that occur with this last vote; we cannot be certain that it did not and we will never find out if the Tories get their way and prevent us from ever challenging the result. It is in the Tories best interests to preserve the insecure Electoral System and reduce rather than increase the powers of the Electoral Commission.
Add your name to demand a Democratic future and join Unlock Democracy. I explored the Unlock Democracy Website and was able to, “Sign up to support our principles for change.” They say that, “It’s clear the public wants change after the pandemic,” but they admit that, “politicians are pushing the same old meek solutions in an unprecedented situation. We can only ensure politics reflects our hunger for change by transforming our politics.” They appeal for people to, “Add your name: in support today and get involved in shaping the campaign over the summer.” Yes, sadly the summer came and went in a miserable Covid blur of concern and haphazard restrictions, but what now for this grass roots organization?
Unlock Democracy state their, “Principles for a democratic future
1. We demand the right to an accountable government that we can effectively scrutinise. The government’s handling of the pandemic has revealed just how little power we have to hold them to account when they get things wrong. This has to change in the future.
2. We demand the right to decide any big reforms to our political system together, no to politicians doing it on our behalf. In the past major changes to our political system have been decided by politicians, not those of us affected by them. In the future, no major changes should be made on our behalf. Instead we must be active participants in these decisions.
3. We demand the right to exert accountability over those trying to distort our democracy. From secret lobbying to bankrolling parties, corporate interests have distorted politics by muscling out the public in decision making. We must stop profiteers and corporate interests distorting democracy.
4. We demand the right to define what democracy means to us. The definition of democracy has been narrowed to simply voting for who rules us every few years. Democracy can and should mean much more than this. We need a national conversation to decide what democracy means to us for the 21st century.
5. We must build a political system resilient for the future. The pandemic could be just a taster of the shocks coming our way like the climate crisis. We need to decide how we will ensure a just political system manages those challenges, and will survive them intact.”
Unlock Democracy outline the following, “What We Want: We want a democratic society that centres equality and justice for all, and a political system that reflects and upholds the values we collectively share. We want our democratic society protected by a new and codified constitution that is built and owned by the people.” We should bear in mind that the reason we are so vulnerable right now is that the UK does not have a written constitution; along with Israel and New Zealand it is one of the very few modern democracies in this precarious position. The system of gentlemen’s agreements and archaic conventions has only survived this long because those in power were prepared to play by an unwritten set of rules. However the current Tory Government have demonstrated that they are not to be trusted as they are prepared to run roughshod over such conventions and ever bend or break the law if it suits their purposes and keeps them in power: consequently the UK is careening towards fascist Dictatorship.
Elaborating on the faults and failings of the UK system Unlock Democracy state the following, “We Believe: The government is overpowerful and overcentralised. A small handful of people are empowered by an archaic unwritten constitution that lets them do whatever they want. We have a pay-to-play political system. Access and influence can be purchased, meaning the more money you have the more power you wield.” They remind us that, “Our electoral system is unfair,” as “First past the post disenfranchises millions of people from having power in the voting booth. It produces politicians that don’t represent us and aren’t accountable to us. The status quo benefits those who currently hold power. Politicians aren’t willing to change the system because they benefit from it.” The stolen majority of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election has gifted the Tories with unstoppable power to strip away every last vestige of accountability and right now the weakened Electoral Commission is under attack: we must “Rescue our Watchdog!”
Unlock Democracy’s, “Purpose and Constitution regulates how we operate and sets out principles behind our work. The purpose of the organisation, as laid out in the constitution, is as follows: Unlock Democracy argues and campaigns for a vibrant, inclusive democracy that puts power in the hands of the people.” Their ambition is noble and long overdue, but is this achievable without exposing the rampant corruption of this current Tory Government to remove them from power? They goal is to, “seek a democratic participative process resulting in a written constitution that serves and protects the people. That constitution would define the roles of, and relationships between, the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. It would determine how, and to what extent, power is shared between representatives at local, national and United Kingdom levels, and with international organisations. It would enshrine basic liberties and human rights for all.”
What do they stand for? “Unlock Democracy Campaign:
• For fair and open elections
• For transparency in public decision making
• To ensure that power is exercised as close to people as is practicable
• To empower individuals and their communities to have a greater say over the decisions that affect them
• For democratic accountability of all elected representatives, government and public bodies
• For universal human rights for all
Unlock Democracy Promote:
• A new culture of informed political interest and responsibility, paving the way for increased enthusiastic public participation
• A pluralist democracy that is responsive to the problems and aspirations of all people, valuing and accommodating difference, diversity and universal human rights. Everyone has the right to live their life in dignity under the law, and free from fear.”
Unlock Democracy declare themselves, “A non-aligned organisation, committed to working inclusively across the political spectrum. We seek to understand how democracy works in practice and to use evidence-based research to inform and develop policies. We stand against cynicism and disengagement, and for a living democracy with the people, all the people, at its heart. We want a democratic society: Right now, politics doesn’t work for most of us. Decisions are made for people and communities by the small handful of people that have political power. At elections we replace politicians, but the same corrupt system remains. Instead of Westminster handing down instructions, communities should have a say over their futures. Instead of serving the interests of corporations and the super-rich, politicians could work in the public’s interest.” Their Constitution can be downloaded from their Website.
Unlock Democracy claim to be, “Building a movement of people from all corners of the UK who will demand a democratic society that centres equality and justice for all. We demand that the values we collectively share are enshrined in a new constitution that is built and owned by all of us.” This will provide a vital protection that cannot be stripped away by an election victory as our basic Human Rights are in grave danger of being ‘redefined’ or dismantled right now. They state that, “The new constitution will set out what rights and freedoms should be protected, and what the government can and can’t do in our name. This new constitution will be written by and for the people as part of an inclusive, deliberative, and above-all democratic process, including a constitutional convention. We demand that the new constitution permanently rebalances and decentralises power. If we want a democratic society, we need to start with a democratic political system. Together, we want to rewrite the UK’s entire political system.”
Unlock Democracy say that, “Today, it’s hard to make our voices heard in politics. If we’re united, we can win change.” In stating what they hope to achieve they say, “We want a new constitution for the UK that replaces the unwritten, Westminster system of gentlemen’s agreements.” In defining the new Constitution they sat it, “would:
• Set out the rules for how our government works.
• Sets limits on what elected representatives can and can’t do.
• Set out how Westminster deals with the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
• Secure citizens rights so that they can’t be overruled by the government of the day with a majority of one.
The details would be decided by a citizen-led constitutional convention, and be put to the public to endorse. We believe this process is critical to rebuilding trust in our politics, and permanently rebalancing power so all of us have more say.”
Unlock Democracy pose the question, “How do we get there?” They propose, “A constitutional convention,” and go on to explain what this entails. They state that, “A constitutional convention is where a group of people meet with the express purpose of writing a new constitution or revising an existing one. They have met in Iceland after the financial crash, and recently in Ireland to consider big changes such as legalising abortion. Unlock Democracy wants to see a citizen-led convention, given the access to experts and the resources needed to do the job.” This is a bold undertaking, but it has a strong track record of success as shown in the two examples cited.
Unlock Democracy explain how this is set up, who contributes and how it works saying, “Members of the convention should be randomly selected citizens and be representative of the UK’s population. Public debate, discussion and consultation should be widespread. There needs to be a maximum of 200 people in the convention. It should provide ample opportunities for individuals or groups to present their perspective and/or provide evidence throughout the process. Any proposals about the future of the UK must also have a majority of each national group within the convention. Once the process has finished, we want to see the new constitution put to a referendum.” That would need to be a free and fair referendum as opposed to one warped by the toxic intervention of powerful lobby groups, Giant Corporations, wealthy donors buying influence or dangerous manipulators like Dominic Cummings using weapons grade PsyOps!
Unlock Democracy ask, “What difference would it make? Protecting our rights MPs can take away our fundamental rights at any time with a majority of one, and there’s no real limit to what the government can do in our name.
• In 2016, MPs passed the Investigatory Powers Act, “The most intrusive surveillance law ever introduced in a democratic country” according to Liberty.
• In 2018, a small majority of MPs voted to scrap a swathe of our rights in the EU Withdrawal Act. Politics isn’t done with us, it’s done to us.”
Unlock Democracy say that, “It’s time for us as a nation to decide what our fundamental rights should be, and protect them from overzealous governments. Letting communities decide local services The UK is one of the most centralised countries in the developed world. Councils and communities have very little say in how much money they raise to spend on local services. For the last 8 years, Westminster has forced Councils to impose enormous cuts to local services. Without proper powers to raise money from elsewhere, local government increasingly has few genuine choices to make. Libraries have been closing across the UK, while schools and social services are under unprecedented pressure. We want to see a system where instead of Westminster passing down orders, communities and citizens have a genuine conversation about local needs, with the powers needed to deliver.”
Unlock Democracy cite a striking example with the decisions over Fracking, saying, “Over the past few years, Westminster’s attitude towards fracking has ridden roughshod over local democracy. This highly controversial practice has been rejected repeatedly by local councils. But the government kept changing the rules to help the industry get around local wishes. Although the government has now put fracking on hold, central government shouldn’t be able to change the rules of the game. A new constitution could give councils protection from interference Westminster from interference.”
Unlock Democracy tout important, “Campaign Wins
• We won our campaign for tough new rules for lobbying in Scotland: It goes much further than Westminster’s bogus lobbying register. Virtually all lobbyists have to register, disclose who they are talking to and what about.
• We helped push the Electoral Commission to investigate a ‘dark money’ trust in Scotland: We wrote to Westminster’s Commissioner for Standards, requesting an investigation after inconsistencies in Conservative MPs reporting of donations from the Scottish Unionist Association Trust.
• We saw off attempts to rig party funding in favour of the Conservatives: Changes to funding rules would have meant draconian a crackdown on trade union donations, with millionaires left free to carry on funding their favoured politicians.”
Unlock Democracy appeal to the public to, “Transform democracy – sign up for updates! Stand with us to transform democracy – sign up for email updates today! We’re building a community united by our belief in achieving equality and justice, through the empowerment of all people in the UK. This health and economic crisis has shaken the foundations of our political system. Threats and opportunities are emerging rapidly, and we need to ensure society’s response to these is democratic to their core. We need people like you to stand with us. Get updates from the campaign today!”
Nothing illustrates the urgent need got this better than understanding the intention of this Tory Government concerning the future of the Electoral Commission (EC). As I have said before, “A Watchdog that cannot watch is just a dog,” but, not content with hobbling the EC to the point where it is a virtually worthless regulatory body, they now want to abolish it altogether! In a Canary Article entitled, “We face a quiet threat to the independence of our elections. We must be vigilant,” they elaborate on the Governments plans. They report that, “The Electoral Commission (EC) is soon to be reviewed by the Committee on Standards in Public Life. Its independence could be under threat’.” The Canary warns that, “this means our democracy is also threatened. The last decade has seen Britain’s electoral landscape move from the cash for honours scandal, various expenses scandals, to the recent flurry of elections and referendums that have come under scrutiny with accusations of electoral fraud and dodgy campaign finances.”
The Canary claim that, “It’s little wonder that public confidence in politicians and the election process is so low. But removing the independence of the EC will not instil greater confidence” and further say, “The electoral commission needs reform, not abolition.” While I concur with the Canary that the answer to the defences warrants radical reform including greater empowerment rather than abolition, I believe the problems are far greater than the Canary cite in this article as they failed to mention the rapid increase in the privatization of Electoral services. The EC have openly admitted that they have no power of scrutiny over these private companies like Idox who ‘manage’ huge numbers of postal votes entirely unregulated. Idox, the exact same company that has your name and address, your date of birth and an electronic copy of your signature, deciding when your ballot will be mailed to you and if it will be accepted, have also created a special App for canvassers so Idox know exactly how you will vote!
Idox, the company with the lion’s share of this critical industry, are well and truly in-bed with the Tory Party and we have every right to question their unhealthy influence regarding this process especially given the totally unanticipated highly questionable result after the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. The solitary reason this astounding result was accepted was the propaganda that ensued from the BBC and news outlets determined to sell the fake Tory win. The Canary say they “will be keeping a keen eye on the progress of this review in our mission to hold truth to power. This article is, therefore, the first in a series that will investigate this issue from all angles. We’ll keep pressure on political parties who could threaten the democratic process at a time when public confidence in politics is at an all-time low. The review is not expected until June 2021. The public consultation, however, has already been carried out and there are a number of issues to explore that hold politicians across the spectrum to account.”
The Canary report on the threat, saying that, “The EC has been an independent body since 2001. It monitors elections and helps the election process happen. The EC was formed from the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA). The Committee on Standards in Public Life has announced a review of electoral regulation in the UK. And there are significant concerns that the Conservative government is looking to severely restrict or abolish the EC altogether.” They say, “Co-chair of the Conservative Party Amanda Milling warned that if the EC did not accept further scrutiny and reforms: and do the job it was set up to do then the only option would be to abolish it.”
According to the Canary, “Fair Vote UK countered Milling’s comments by stating: Fair Vote UK agrees that the Commission needs to change – and we stressed this in our own submission to the review – but Milling’s main protests are disingenuous and circular in logic. Firstly, The Electoral Commission is accountable to Parliament, not Government. This is designed to ensure its non-partisan political independence. It reports to the Speaker of the House of Commons, is governed by the rule of law and is answerable to the Courts. Independent regulatory bodies of this type are a common part of the UK constitution.” The Canary verbalize the telling question, “Ask yourself, would an electoral regulator directly answerable to No. 10 be trusted as independent?” I think we all know what the answer would be…
The Canary are keen to spell out the path forward, stating that, “The EC could well do with reform that hands them greater investigative powers. It is, for example, currently restricted by outdated election laws that don’t account for digital advertising from election and referendum campaigns. This is further compounded by low fines (something the Scottish government tried to remedy by increasing the maximum fine from £10,000 to £500,000 for campaigns that break rules during referendums). An inefficient relationship to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) also means that EC investigations run under massive delays.” In reality, no matter how powerful the evidence an investigation is automatically sidelined by the CPS. Clearly, there is room for careful reform of the EC in order to provide accountability for campaigning tactics during elections and referendums.
In this article the Canary tries to offer a balanced picture by presenting information on the systems used overseas. They say, “In the West, there is a mixture of electoral models. Countries such as Germany, and Spain use a mixed model where independent regulators monitor elections. These recommendations are put into action by governments and monitored. Others, such as the US and Sweden use an executive model whereby branches of local government act on behalf of a central body. While the mixed model could be an option in the UK, are we really going to trust this government to carry that out? Discrepancies from Vote Leave and the Tory government itself during election seasons have shown that we cannot.” That has to be the understatement of the century! We must increase the powers of our Electoral Commission, remove the private companies with vested interests and fix our broken system, need to have another Election, with foreign observers to insure that this time around the process is fair.
The Canary report, “A call to vigilance.” They say, “!Independent regulation is a deeply important part of a functioning democracy. The Conservative government’s slow privatisation of the NHS, its abject failure to implement an effective Test and Trace system, and the continuation of a hostile environment has shown that it cannot be trusted to hold the values of integrity and decency in its actions. Democracy is not a singular and stable entity unchanged by political upheaval. Democracy is a process that is vulnerable to manipulation and erosion. Democracy is something that we do. The suggestion of potentially abolishing the EC is a dangerous threat to democracy in the UK. It must be closely watched and resisted.” Under this Tory Government we are in imminent danger if seeing one of the oldest continuous democracies in the world, the so called mother of all Parliaments, destroyed, dragged down by a corrupt cabal of ruthless crooks determined to rule by Dictate. We cannot allow this to happen; we must Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!