For the last 2/3 months I have been authoring @the_harrogate Twitter feed on behalf of The Harrogate Agenda (the account is now deleted for reasons which will follow). Whilst ‘managing’ the account an attempt was made to ensure that the word ‘I’ was never used, instead using the word ‘We’ when suggesting changes that were needed to our form of democracy. The reason for attempting to keep my identity ‘secret’ was to ensure that no opening was made for people to infer my views, on my own twitter account (@scribblinseaham), were those of The Harrogate Agenda. In that regard I can but hope that I was successful.
Some of my readers may have already seen the following on Facebook, but as it made me chuckle I thought I would repeat it.
A young Arab boy asks his Father: What is that strange hat you are wearing?
Father: It protects our heads from the intense heat of the sun.
Son: And what is that long flowing robe you are wearing?
Father: My son, it is very simple. This is a ‘djbellah’, In the desert it is very hot and the sand is always blowing. The djbellah protects my entire body.
Son: But what are those shoes you have on your feet?
Father: These are ‘babouches’. While the desert sands are very beautiful, they are extremely hot and they keep my feet from burning.
Son: So tell me then,
Father: Yes my Son?
Son: Why are you living in Bradford and still wearing all this f***ing shite?
The question is asked in view of a statement attributed to Edmund Burke, namely:
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion. Another quote attributed to Edmund Burke is: By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.
In answer to the first statement attributed to Edmund Burke perhaps they are not ‘Burkes’ in that they have not, where Brexit is concerned, applied their ‘industry’ to the greatest advantage where our country is concerned; and their judgement cannot be considered as such because they haven’t a clue about the subject matter with which they are dealing.
When one reflects on the events last night in Parliament it is logical to consider the question: what was accomplished?
Amendment i (Caroline Spelman) was carried by 8 votes, but is not binding on the government; so its purpose was what, bearing in mind ‘no deal’ is the legal default position if the Withdrawal Agreement is not accepted.
Amendment n (Graham Brady) was carried by 16 votes and called for the Backstop to be replaced with ‘alternative arrangements’, but without specifying what the ‘alternative arrangements’ would be.
Sadly, today, the death was announced of Michel Legrand who, among music lovers, will be sorely missed.
This news reminded me of an article I wrote in June 2017 which I thought worth another airing.
Without accusing anyone of plagiarism I have to repeat the original suggestion of who ‘nicked’ what from whom; did Schubert ‘nick’ from Mozart or did Legrand ‘nick’ from Mozart or Schubert? Consider, when Liszt ‘transcribed’ the work of Schubert due credit was given to the original composer – not that I imply anything.
Readers will be aware that I am an advocate of FlexCit and direct democracy (including the ideas encapsulated in The Harrogate Agenda.
Unfortunately I am unable to accept the proposal that referendums should be only advisory (paragraph 4: http://harrogateagenda.org.uk/blogview.aspx?blogno=83222).
If we are to adopt the principles of direct democracy then referendums are the only means whereby we, the people, can instruct our government to enact the will of the people; and as such they, if accepted, must be binding.
During 1962 and 1963 a programme was screened on Saturday evenings by the BBC entitled That Was The Week That Was (affectionately known as TW3). This programme comprised a satirical/pertinent review of the events among ‘the establishment’ and politicians.
In the same vein I thought it might be worthwhile to revive this idea, especially at the start of what may well be a momentous year for our nation. At the outset I must state that I do this with due acknowledgements to the reputed sayings of Thomas Sowell, P.J. O’Rourke and H.L. Mencken – said statements having been ‘tweaked’ in some instances to make them more UK relevant.
Having listened to and read the Hansard record of the Brexit debate, all I have heard is that of the title to this article.
It becomes obvious – and will no doubt be made even more obvious during the final two days – that our politicians haven’t a clue about that which they say. The only thing that is obvious is that they enjoy the sound of their own voices.
We have had reference to the fact the referendum in 2016 was ‘advisory’ – no it was not: were we not told by David Cameron that it was our choice, our decision and that there would be no ‘going back’ on that decision?
Discussing the need that withdrawal from the European Union also affords an opportunity to undertake a series of domestic reforms (FlexCit page 364), states at the outset:
Specifically, this stage confronts the idea that there is little point in recovering
powers from the EU, only to hand them back to the same institutions that gave
them away in the first place. Further, even without EU influence, the UK is an
overly centralised state, so the repatriation of powers from Brussels only for
them to reside in London or one of the other devolved capitals affords fewer
benefits to individual citizens than might be imagined. To a certain extent, the
effect of restoring a degree of “independence” would simply be to swap one
ruling class for another, with very little by way of beneficial effects for ordinary
About a month ago I posted a short poem about knowledge:
He who knows not, but knows not that he knows not, is a fool – shun him;
He who knows not, but knows that he knows not, is simple – teach him;
He who knows, but knows not that he knows, is asleep – wake him;
He who knows and knows that he knows, is a wise man – follow him.
We elect Members of Parliament who would have us believe they are endowed with the wisdom and ability to guide our nation to ‘Utopia’, a state in which all is well in the world and, consequently, those they profess to serve need fear no evil.