Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Lobbying”

Manipulation and EU Elections – twilight of Democracy?

I worry about whether the forthcoming EU Elections can be truly “free and fair”. Outside forces seem to have the ability and desire to over-ride the wishes of the people.

Read more…

Unwitted Consequences

Single man meets single woman on dating site – nothing salacious, no story even for the gutter press.

The man is a cabinet minister – again no story just sympathy for someone in the public eye trying to form a relationship.

The woman has a chequered professional past – again no real story; dating websites are said to be full of profiles that don’t exactly tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Relationship ends – again no story just sympathy for someone in the public eye trying to form a relationship.

So why are we abuzz with stories of hypocrisy, lack of transparency and conflicts of interest? Read more…

Who is Kidding who?

The BBC reports today that Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has today (six months on) criticised the charity’s trustees and the Charity Commission.

But how much is the actual business model – of using charities to deliver what would otherwise be government services – examined and criticised? Read more…

The Crisis of Indirect Democracy and its Consequences

Indirect democracy is a fragile child. In effect we say we (“democratically”) elect representatives to a body that then “does governing for us”. This is in stark contrast to direct democracy – which in its most extreme state has everybody having a vote on everything.

Parliaments should be shining examples of indirect democracy at work. They consist of “representatives”, not mandated delegates, who collectively form a body that should be recognised as “representative”. Their legitimacy depends, I believe, on three factors.

  • Whether elections to the parliament are recognised as “free and fair”
  • Whether the resulting parliament is recognised as “representative”
  • Whether the parliament through its collective actions and the actions of its members retains the “respect of the people”.

In the UK, I think we are, to a degree, failing on all three of the above. Read more…

Water water everywhere

Do we get the environment we deserve? I fear we do. So many public utterances – initially by the public but repeated echo-like by our Lords and masters – seem to illustrate a wilful refusal to engage with science. (And that last word has probably lost me half those who read this blog – and the other half probably know what is coming and will agree anyway!)

So how do I make the accusation of a “wilful refusal” stand up? Read more…

Nudge Taxes

For a couple of months we (in England, UK) have had a “plastic bag tax” of 5p per bag. It is actually a compulsory levy as the proceeds do not go to the exchequer but to good causes.

What is remarkable is the impact this tax has had and how this compares to the uproar in certain areas about the idea of a sugar tax.

Read more…

Trident as a job sustaining scheme

So Labour is not going to even discuss Trident renewal.

Some trade unions are against scrapping Trident because it will cost jobs but Mr Corbyn says Britain should ditch its “weapons of mass destruction”.
BBC News Website, 27 September 2015 : Labour conference: Delegates will not debate Trident

This unfortunately speaks volumes about Labour and the Unions. Read more…

Do you trust the Polls

The BBC has an interesting post-mortem item on the polls and why they (the pollsters) got it wrong.

So I wonder: Read more…

Bigger than the BBC

The BBC seems damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t.

Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson initiated the BBC investigation which prompted his suspension, after he informed BBC bosses of the alleged “fracas”.
BBC News Website 13 March 2015 : Jeremy Clarkson approached BBC bosses about ‘fracas’

This is a man who it is widely reported was on a “final warning” following a number of instances when he “pushed the limits”. But then we see:

An online petition calling for the star’s reinstatement – set up by political blogger Guido Fawkes – has accrued almost one million signatures since the presenter’s suspension.
BBC News Website 20 March 2015 : Jeremy Clarkson alludes to ‘BBC sacking’ at charity event

So Clarkson knew he had probably over-stepped the mark and initiated a process that he knew might well lead to his sacking. Possibly he was getting bored and wanted an exit – albeit a rather arrogant one.

Or he thought that he was such a big star that he could create a situation where the BBC would have to back down. He probably holds employment disciplinary practices in the same contempt as he holds “elf ‘n safety”.

Where before have we seen a situation where the BBC believes that someone is such a big star that indiscretions and complaints should be ignored? Read more…

Sordid and rather Sad

Two more MPs have been caught behaving, shall we say, “injudiciously” by a sting team working for Channel 4 Despatches. This time they snared “big beasts”, Jack Straw – former Labour Foreign Secretary and Sir Malcolm Rifkind – former Conservative Foreign Secretary and (until this morning) chairman of the Security Select Committee.

Sir Malcolm has now decided to join Jack Straw in retiring at the election in a few weeks time. They say political careers tend to end in death or failure and for both these politicians it is rather sad that well-respected careers should end on this note.

It is also slightly sordid. Read more…

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