Back in 2009, in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal and a profound crisis in the British political system, David Cameron made a speech that electrified the Conservative Party and promised to usher in a revival of democracy. With great rhetorical flourish, he expounded his core conviction like an article of faith:
“I believe the central objective of the new politics we need should be a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power: from the state to citizens; from the government to parliament; from Whitehall to communities; from the EU to Britain; from judges to the people; from bureaucracy to democracy. Through decentralisation, transparency and accountability we must take power from the elite and hand it to the man and woman in the street.”
It was wonderful Whiggish stuff, which is no real surprise as it echoed (indeed, lifted almost verbatim) the words of self-professed Whig Daniel Hannan MEP and his Roundhead compatriot Douglas Carswell MP, who had co-written just months before: Continue reading →
The House of Commons has inched closer toward legislation that will, at long last, give the British people an In-Out referendum on our troubled membership of the European Union.
The whipped private member’s bill proposed by Conservative MP James Wharton may be an irregular use of a technical parliamentary process; it may not have much cross-party support; it may be a cynical device to stem the rising tide of Ukip; and it may not be binding on a future parliament. But there is no doubt that if this Bill were to become law and the Conservatives were to win an outright Commons majority at the next General Election, it would be political suicide for David Cameron (or any Conservative leader) to repeal this particular sovereign Act of Parliament. Continue reading →
If Douglas Carswell had been born 400 years ago, he’d have been burned at the stake. There’s a touch of superstitious wizardry about his unnerving prophecy heralding the end of politics, and a fin de siècle inevitability about his sceptical doom and gloom. His problem is that he’s a Roundhead in a party of Cavaliers; a radical Whig in a sea of resolute Tories. He’s not just an irritating nonconformist; he’s a theo-political heretic. And we all know what happens to them.
But before they meet their grisly end, they tend to preach subversive sermons and write revolutionary tracts in the hope of winning a few souls to salvation. Carswell’s fiery homilies eventually brought down Speaker Martin – the first to be ejected from the Chair of the House of Commons since Sir John Trevor was forced to resign in 1695. Carswell now blogs profusely and incisively about how the oligarchical elite feed like parasites on the people, and how a corrupt and compromised Parliament is incapable of holding the Executive to account. ‘The End of Politics and the birth of iDemocracy’ is an analysis of the murky political morass into which we’ve sunk, and an observation of the emerging technological solutions. Continue reading →