Sunday, 8 March 2009

Jury Team

It is a lovely bright, crisp Sunday morning and my e-mail inbox currently contains 245 unopened messages. It actually contains almost 500 messages in total as I leave them in the inbox until I deal with them. Messages with senders I don’t recognise or subjects that don’t catch my eye can quite honestly wait ages before I open them. As for checking my spam box well that’s a regular job, NOT. I emptied it at 10.00pm last night and this morning it already it has over 200 entries. That’s a spam mail every 15 minutes through out the night!

The number of incoming e-mails has dropped recently since new government regulations (well that's what they said and quite frankly I haven’t time to check) means that the “bounce” from my Councillor’s e-mail address to my personal address has been stopped. I now have to log onto the Council system to access a separate e-mail account to check my Councillors E-mails. So far I'm keeping on top of those but the number is creeping up slowly

Anyway, there is a point to this rant. When I can’t face the inbox any more I check a couple of my favourite websites. I am a huge fan of and it is one I like to visit regularly and this morning there was a post by “The Jury Team”

This was written by Sir Paul Judge (and printed in today's Sunday Times). I don’t intend to repeat the article here but his summary was very succinct:

“Everybody knows that the (political) system is broken, everyone agrees that reform is required. However turkeys do not vote for Christmas. It seems that if we want to change the system we have to change the turkeys".

He continues "Parliament is a closed shop. To become a member, you need to be one of the less than 1% of the electorate who are active members of a political party. You must demonstrate loyalty to a party machine: leader, manifesto and press release. You need to travel around the country seeking a seat and impress local panels that still prefer not to select women and ethnic minority candidates or indeed anyone with an independent mind. It is not surprising that so few people put themselves forward.

Once elected, the MPs and MEPs find that they have little freedom. Today, the whipping of elected politicians is so strong that rebellion is newsworthy and a ground for the ending of political careers. With dreams of high office and six-figure salaries and expenses at risk, few of our MPs seem willing to apply their own political judgment. As Christopher Hollis MP said in 1946: “On most votes it would be simpler and more economic to keep a flock of tame sheep and from time to time to drive them through the division lobbies in the appropriate number.”

When I saw a list of the Jury Team's principle policies I was very tempted to sign up then and there. With one exception they are everything I believe in! I particularly support 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9. I think 11 is already happening, 5 and 10 are a bit esoteric for a popular manifesto. Which leaves 6, Oh dear!

1. An end to Party Whips,
2. Transparent Pay for MPs and MEPs,
3. An independent Politicians Complaints Commission,
4. Capping donations to political parties,
5. Elected Select Committees,
6. European Legislation applied appropriately,
7. Term limits for MPs and MEPs,
8. General elections every five years,
9. Referendums as requested by 5% of the electorate,
10. Government departments run by a Board and
11. Independent publication of Government statistics.

I suppose 10/11 isn’t bad. Just a shame that the 1/11 is bigger than the other 10 combined, because without a free and sovereign parliament everything else is just irrelevant.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Stephen,

    Just had a read through your post - have a read of what the proposal you don't like actually means.

    Essentially, for as long as we are in the EU, it says that we should only implement the minimum standards that are legally required by the directive.

    The purpose isn't to embrace EU directives - it's to stop them from being used to pass much more stringent legislation than other countries in the EU.

    The Jury Team takes no position on the EU, but being in favour of withdrawing completely (whilst it would render that proposal defunct) is not beyond what we stand for.

    The proposals simply address the situation at present - overimplementation of EU directoves compared to other EU nations is madness, and should be stopped.

    Take a look at this, and the pdf download, if you have time.


    The Jury Team