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While I am not so vindictive as to resent Prince Philip’s longevity, it would be refreshing to see our venerated queen show genuine empathy towards her most impoverished and downtrodden subjects. She might consider relinquishing just a little of the funding that bloats her royal privilege in order to rescue the destitute homeless who, on average, won’t survive beyond half the age of her dear husband! But Corporate Feudalism is driven from the very top with ‘the will of the people’ now inextricably subjugated by this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship; we still grovel to the monarch, jingoistically waving that blood-soaked flag of past empire in the desperate hope that Britania will once again ‘rule the waves,’ despite our pathetic drift into the stormy seas of the icy north Atlantic. How long before Boris Johnson’s ‘sunny uplands’ Brexit myth is shattered, his obscene corruption and relentless squandering of public funds exposed? That will depend on our courageous mass protests, legal challenges and Investigation of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election.
Our ageing Windsor is unlikely to yell ‘off with his head’ while Johnson remains firmly committed to her opulence. Royal compliance is paid for by loyal subjects, but the right to a political opinion is one of the small sacrifices the Queen must make in order to cling to her current lifestyle. Sorry if my failure to have sympathy for her majesty offends you, but this Tory Government just authorized the top-up of her profit margin millions to negate the impact Covid had on her unbridled wealth. The ‘Golden Ratchet’ prevailed while our NHS Nurses will be offered, well, rat-shit! Our long history of fealty to the Royals, noble gentry and the wealthy ruling elite persists despite centuries of exploitation as fundamentally nothing has changed: the robber Barrons will relentlessly steal from the poor! In the Byline Times Article entitled “Brexit has Revived the Power of the Unelected Aristocracy,” Sam Bright contends “David Frost’s latest promotion shows how the ‘democratic’ Brexit project has in fact emboldened unaccountable, hereditary power.”
Bright reminds us of that oft-repeated Brexit gripe: “The European Parliament is a Democratic Facade Dominated by Unelected Bureaucrats’. This was a headline carried by the influential Brexit Central blog on 7 May 2019, neatly capturing the attitude of Brexiters towards the European Union. Clogged with grey-faced public servants and disgraced former European leaders, the institutions of the EU are invisible and undemocratic” they claimed. “So a national endeavour was launched to liberate Britain from the yoke of European oppression and return power over ‘money, laws and borders’ to our national Parliament. Yet, in the infinity circle of irony that has consumed British politics, Brexit was forced through by Boris Johnson, a Prime Minister who ruled for months without winning an election, other than a Conservative leadership contest involving fewer than 150,000 people.”
Bright points out that “In office, Johnson’s agenda has largely been dictated by an unelected bureaucrat, Dominic Cummings, who lurked behind the pen name ‘senior Number 10 source’ for the 16 months that he served as a chief aide.” I am not convinced that Cummings was genuinely ousted from power when he very publically flounced out the front door of Number 10 carrying an empty cardboard box to face the barrage of press photographers. Who would be that keen to promote their own demise without cast-iron knowledge that the idiot ploy to fool the public would not be permitted to stymie excentric unfettered control of Government from a distance while maintaining a massive undeserved salary hike? I sincerely doubt that Cummings is gone; he’s just a less obvious presence among the unelected team of corrupt scoundrels dragging the UK into the gutter. He prides himself in accomplishing the theft of our votes with weapons-grade PsyOps and more; Cummings is still the grenade, oust him for real and we will pull that pin!
According to Bright “Even now that Brexit has been implemented, the future of the UK’s relationship is not in the hands of an elected representative of the people. On Wednesday, Johnson announced that David Frost, the bureaucrat who led the final stages of the UK’s negotiations with the EU, will be anointed as a Cabinet Minister and given responsibility for future arbitrations with Brussels.” He explains how “The quirk in the UK parliamentary system that has allowed Frost to become one of the most powerful people in Government, despite never having received a single vote, is the ability of House of Lords members to be appointed as ministers. Usually this is an anomaly, very occasionally the Government anoints someone to the House of Lords in order to make them a minister, leading to a swift media backlash. Yet Johnson’s administration has been uniquely enthusiastic about tasking unelected peers with running the country.” Sadly, the biased BBC and compliant Media have provided an obliging silence on this!
Bright claims that “This began after the 2019 General Election, when former Conservative MP Nicky Morgan was rapidly elevated to the red benches so that she could stay on as Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Secretary, while Johnson identified a replacement. At the same time, a peerage was given to Zac Goldsmith, who resoundingly lost his Richmond Park Commons seat at the same election. Goldsmith is a close ally of Johnson and his partner, Carrie Symonds, and has since taken up two ministerial roles.” He says “So this process has multiplied. There are currently 19 unelected ministers in the Government, spanning 17 departments. While it is common for House of Lords members to be appointed to Government departments, this is not universally the case, and the number of Lords ministers has increased in recent years.”
So we might ask, who are these UK Government’s unelected Ministers? Bright has presented us with a list of their names and where they are assigned starting with “Lord Frost’s powerful Brexit role. The rest of the formidable list includes: Baroness Evans – Cabinet Office & Lords; Lord Agnew – Cabinet Office & Treasury; Lord True – Cabinet Office; Lord Callanan ¬– Business; Lord Grimstone – Business & Transport; Baroness Barran – DCMS; Baroness Berridge – Education & Trade; Lord Gardiner – Environment; Lord Goldsmith – Environment & Foreign Office; Baroness Vere – Transport; Baroness Stedman-Scott – Work and Pensions; Lord Bethell – Health and Social Care; Lord Ahmad – Foreign Office; Baroness Williams – Home Office; Lord Greenhalgh – Home Office & Communities; Baroness Goldie – Defence; Lord Wolfson – Justice; Lord Stewart – Advocate General for Scotland.” All are unelected, entirely beholden to Boris Johnson and dedicated to supporting his Tory Sovereign Dictatorship.
Bright reports that “Most of these ministers hold peripheral positions on paper, only Frost (when he is formally appointed) and Evans are invited to Cabinet meetings, yet they are tasked with carrying out duties of great national importance. This guarantees anonymity for the ministers, who glide unnoticed along the corridors of power while the media’s gaze is fixed on the House of Commons. Take Lord Bethell. If you presented Bethell’s portrait to an ordinary punter, they would likely shrug. Yet, in March 2020, he was appointed as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, responsible for the supply of COVID-19 medicines and testing equipment, overseeing the Test and Trace system, international health diplomacy, NHS cyber security, and a long list of other jobs. It is also not as though he has entirely escaped the controversies of the Coronavirus pandemic, either.” Why does opposition outrage demanding more scrutiny and greater accountability amount to barely a whimper?
Bright reminds us that “As revealed by Byline Times, Bethell met with David Meller, a serial Conservative Party donor, just a month before his firm, Meller Designs, was awarded a number of Government contracts worth more than £150 million. Bethell was joined at the meeting by Lord Andrew Feldman, the former chairman of the Conservative Party, who has reportedly been advising the Government on private sector procurement. Yet Bethell operates under the radar, almost entirely immune from public scrutiny or accountability. He has no constituents and is rarely questioned by the media. He answers only to the Prime Minister and the Health and Social Care Secretary, and his performance is checked by a small number of parliamentarians who know and care about his work. The irony is startling and the policy does not seem to be a coincidence.” Opposition MPs must demand full transparency!
Bright says that “Speaking in 2014, Cummings made a speech in which he called for the Prime Minister to recruit ministers ‘from wherever’ and ‘whack ‘em in the House of Lords’ so that they could assume Government jobs. Incapable of hearing an idea from Cummings without fawning at its brilliance, Johnson seems to have dutifully followed this playbook. An old Etonian who embodies the blissful nostalgia of a country guarded by the sword of a hereditary ruling class, Johnson has a predisposition to the idea of aristocratic governance and has applied the Cummings mantra. Brexit, which promised to reinvigorate national democracy, has thus fuelled the creeping revival of unelected, unaccountable power in Britain. Manifesting through the Coronavirus pandemic, this philosophy has seen huge public contracts awarded to chums of the regime, dispensing with the conviction, even if it was insincere, that our country is a meritocracy. ‘Global Britain’ is starting to look a lot like Victorian Britain.”
Theresa May had already appointed John Mann ‘anti-Semitism Tzar’ to head a government inquiry on an issue being manipulated to destroy the Labour Party. In the 2019 Dissolution Honours Boris Johnson appointed four of the most toxic former Labour MPs to join the ‘Vermin in Ermine’ in the House of Lords, essentially rewarding them with life peerages for their treachery towards Jeremy Corbyn! Kate Hoey became Baroness Hoey, of Lylehill and Rathlin in the County of Antrim; Ian Austin – Baron Austin of Dudley, of Dudley in the County of West Midlands; Rt. Hon. Gisela Stuart – Baroness Stuart of Edgbaston, of Edgbaston in the City of Birmingham and John Woodcock – Baron Walney, of the Isle of Walney in the County of Cumbria. All four Labour MPs had backed Johnson’s Brexit deal or endorsed the Tory Party in the election. Woodcock will not only sit as a ‘so-called’ non-affiliated life Peer in the Lords he has also been appointed to investigate ‘progressive extremism’ specifically targeting the progressive Labour left!
In an electoralreform.org Website Article entitled “Revealed: The true cost of Britain’s silent peer,” Jon Narcross points out that “There are many perks to being a member of the House of Lords. While many peers do work hard, it seems one of the perks is being able to claim expenses for doing very little. New research from the New Statesman has found that unelected peers are guilty of ‘expensive inaction’ by claiming thousands of pounds of taxpayers money to attend the Lords whilst barely contributing to votes or debates in the chamber. Analysis by the outlet, which builds on ERS research conducted in 2017, found that on average life peers claimed £20,935 from April 2019 to February 2020, while contributing to an average of just 12 debates and seven written questions. Despite claiming over £20,000 in allowances for attending the parliament, the average life peer voted just 23 times.”
Narcross highlights the fact that “The figures for hereditary peers, of which there are still over 90, shockingly, are similar. The average unelected aristocrat claims £20,604 over the 113-day period while speaking in an average of 10 or fewer debates, submitting six or fewer written questions, and voting just 22 times. Meanwhile, 140 eligible peers took part in no debates at all during this period, while voting less than 20% of divisions. For a third of the 140, there is no record of them voting at all. In total, 120 out of nearly 800 unelected Lords voted five times or fewer in this time period. Sadly, these statistics come as no surprise. In the 2016/17 session, the ERS found that 115 Lords, one in seven of the total, failed to speak at all, despite claiming an average of £11,091 each, while 18 peers failed to vote but still claimed £93,162.”
Narcross notes that “These new figures suggest the problem of ‘silent peers’ is only getting worse. The ERS has long highlighted the something-for-nothing culture in Britain’s upper house that leaves unelected Lords able to do as much or as little as they like, free from democratic scrutiny of voters who are unable to kick them out. Our supposed revising chamber is sinking with dead weight, and zero accountability, giving a bad name to those peers who the public might support. These figures suggest that Britain’s super-sized second chamber needs to be made far leaner, with dedicated scrutineers replacing the current expenses free-for-all. As it stands, the House of Lords is the biggest parliamentary chamber of any democracy and the world’s second-largest after the Chinese People’s Congress.” This obscenity makes an absolute mockery of our claim to an established democracy.
Narcross reports that “This year the Lords will swell to over 800 members with the creation of 36 new peerages announced by Boris Johnson on 31 July. The PM’s latest appointments have not come without controversy. The elevation of friends, supporters and political cronies, including his brother Jo Johnson, Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev, former cricketer Ian Botham, and ex-Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox, are among the second-highest number of new peers created in over twenty years. Crucially, the move undoes all but undo the progress made to slim down the chamber to a more manageable size. The ERS estimates that these new peers alone are likely to cost taxpayers an additional £1.1m a year. Worse still, there could be more to come later this year, according to reports in Private Eye.” The public need to express their outrage over this massive waste of taxpayer funds.
Narcross insists that “At a time when there is plenty to scrutinise, ostensibly the upper chamber’s role, the time for piecemeal reform is long over. Voters deserve a revising chamber that is fit for purpose. We cannot again sit through another round of Lords appointees and see the already bloated chamber continue to be stuffed with political cronies and party donors. We need action now. Let’s move to a slimmed-down, elected chamber for the nations and regions. With proportional representation and a clear remit, we can get the scrutiny body we need. Only once we’ve done that can we finally get this house in order.” I wrote of my input on this “Peers should be put forward for nomination based on their service to the community and valued specialist knowledge, but not necessarily tagged to a particular constituency. Philanthropy should be judged relevant only as a major percentage of personal wealth, but excluding political party donations. You might see Lord Jamie Oliver and Lord Marcus Rashford voted in by the people!”
In a piece “based on the introduction to a new book from Open Labour and Politics for the Many,” Tessa Milligan & Nancy Platts contribute to the Labour List Article entitled “Democracy is in retreat here in the UK. How should Labour respond?” They say that “The past year has shown the state’s capacity to swing towards the kind of cronyism beloved of authoritarian regimes. We have a government club with a VIP guest list, used as the basis for handing out contracts, favours and honours. Public procurement becomes a fast-tracked operation for friends, family and donors. We see clampdowns on protest, and plans to warp the voting system for police and crime commissioners and mayors. While Dominic Raab warns that ‘democracy is in retreat worldwide’, we need to look closer to home.” UK democracy has been obliterated by this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship: we must act now!
Labour List report that “We face all manner of disasters that force us to re-examine the role of the state and whether it is fit for purpose. From a deadly pandemic to financial turmoil and the brutal effects of climate change, we have become increasingly aware of the power of our communities in rising to the challenge, taking action and protecting each other, and the limitations of the state in its current form to do the same. The political project of the right in recent years has been about exploiting the feeling of a lack of control over our lives and using it to usher in sweeping ideological changes which exacerbate these concerns rather than address them, using a rhetoric that puts the blame on ‘others’. For the left, the response must be about giving a voice to the diverse communities which make up our society, empowering people in their places of work, addressing inequality and strengthening rights and freedoms to give all of us greater personal stability.”
Labour List say “That means a progressive government needs to reimagine the role of the modern state. Central to what we are about is shaking off the dead hands and drag anchors keeping us down and holding us back as individuals, as communities, and as the nations and regions which make up the UK. The task is to take control from warped institutions of government today, and unleash personal and political empowerment built on inclusion, equality, democracy and accountability. The labour and trade union movement has always led demands for greater democracy, empowering working people and communities, and offering a different vision of society. Today, a reimagined state is central to revitalising and rebuilding our country, and it is an urgent task.” Sadly this grand vision is sabotaged by Captain of Capitulation Keir Starmer whose gross manipulations of leadership control undermines our solidarity and has provided a Trojan horse for the Tories in their quest to destroy the Progressive Socialist Left in British politics.
I think the Labour Party is stymied until it removes Starmer! According to Labour List “Young people in the UK see too many old institutions that were not fit for the last century never mind this century. Instead, the state exists in a transformed world with huge technological advancements, but it is built upon a creaking democratic structure, and institutions that are only marginally tweaked from their 18th-century versions. This argument is at the core of The New Foundations, a book released for free this Sunday from Open Labour and Politics for the Many: we have democratic, financial and state institutions that are not fit for purpose. The inequality and exclusions which come with them are not unfortunate and unavoidable flaws, they are hard-wired in. The effort to undo them, to open up, will be an uphill struggle. A quick makeover or replacing a few bricks in the crumbling edifice won’t do. To build a better society, we will need wide-ranging and fundamental change, not just defending democracy but transforming it.”
Labour List warn “There will be opposition. Just as the flaws are built-in, so are the defensive barriers, because these institutions were not designed to represent everybody fairly. Instead, they were built to defend a particular group or groups of interests and they will fight like hell to keep doing so, as we’ve only too clearly this month. Real democracy and electoral reform should be a breath of fresh air to tired state institutions: shifting the culture towards bridge-building, rather than divide-and-conquer tactics. As Jess Garland and Willie Sullivan observe in their contribution to this volume, Westminster’s minority-rule electoral system is simply not designed to govern the kind of diverse, and over recent years, increasingly divided, country that the UK has become. As a result, Westminster is increasingly incapable of producing governments underpinned by genuine electoral legitimacy.”
Labour List rightly point out that “The divide between the government and the governed is getting starker by the day. Parliament’s own legitimacy was battered by years of Brexit stalemate, revealing the vulnerability and weaknesses of our largely unwritten constitution and making the foundations of our politics look ever more fragile. Growing mistrust of politics and politicians is opening the door to a resurgent authoritarian right and this poses a huge problem for a Labour Party trying to enthuse voters with a positive vision for change. This is the context for this collection of new essays. Its primary focus is not on the nuts and bolts of an agenda for democratic reform, although the authors put forward many ideas. Instead, it shows how this agenda is inseparable from Labour’s wider aspirations to transform the country. Sign up to receive The New Foundations for free. The book will be launched at Open Labour conference on Sunday at 7pm. LabourList readers can use the discount code LabourlistOL21.”
The very highest priority for the Labour Party right now is to replace their toxic Leadership ASAP before the progressive Socialist Left of the party is completely annihilated, by the dysfunctional, undemocratic, interventions of Trojan horse Keir Starmer. The damage started with not just accepting the unfathomable result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election unchallenged, but bending over backwards to try to construct a valid reason for this blatantly corrupt result. This was accomplished by demonizing Jeremy Corbyn and crediting the working poor with total idiocy in support the Tories after having suffered a decade of austerity knowing they were voting to have their children starve. This is simply not credible and we should demand a full Investigation into the fraudulent result and the multiple instances of corruption and squandering of public funds that have ensued since. Authoritarian regimes endure for decades so we must take to the streets on mass to protest loudly now to derail and remove this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. DO NOT MOVE ON