Saturday, April 29, 2006

Brainstorming a solution

There are about 257 political bloggers in Britain according to the Power Report, an "Independent Inquiry into British Democracy" sponsored by the Rowntree Trust. Most of us bitch and moan and generally go on like grumpy old men. Few, including me, often propose practical solutions. I exempt Devil's Kitchen from that criticism, but as his practical solutions usually involve some variation of a lampost, a length of stout rope and a politician twisting gently in the wind, they are - at this stage of our "struggle" - rather impractical.

Can I ask every reader to suggest one practical step that we could all take to make a difference to Britain, particularly with regard to defending and restoring our liberties? Please don't suggest "A Written Constitution with entrenched liberties" as - while you would be absolutely right - it's just not something each of us could achieve here and now.

What about, for example, raising money for a private prosecution of the Prime Minister? It seems that not only has he - through his intermediaries - accepted bribes to grant honours, he has also - through the Whips - given bribes to and/or intimidated MP's into voting against their beliefs. The fact that it has gone on for decades does not affect that. However, when a Whip offers a trip abroad or the prospect of promotion in return for a vote, that's corruption - it's a bribe. When a Whip threatens an MP's political future if a vote is not cast as directed, that's intimidation. I suspect blackmail also sometimes comes into play.

Electors vote for MP's to represent them in Parliament; not to enlist in a political army. If I am right, crimes have been routinely committed in Parliament by the Whips on the orders of the Prime Minister. Allegedly, there have even been instances of physical assault. Could not bringing such a case send a shock through the political system; maybe even begin to change our sick political culture? Even if it were not successful, it would lead to a detailed discussion of the role of the Whips in Parliament - something not understood by the average voter (although God knows, the title speaks for itself).

A more controversial idea would be a private prosecution against the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes. That would not involve complex legal issues, just a subpoena to get details of the "shoot to kill" policy and a judge deciding if it were legal. I am pretty confident it was not, as it was never approved by Parliament. Unless and until the Legislative & Regulatory Reform Bill is passed, it still needs Parliament to introduce a new defence to a charge of murder.

I suppose you might expect a lawyer to suggest legal solutions. I am sure there are others; perhaps better. The key, surely, is to raise public awareness and motivate people to vote, join political parties and be politically active. The present dossers are in power mainly because the people are too disillusioned to support or build alternatives. Some evidence that there is real accountability - that politicians are responsible for their actions - might change that.

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