Saturday, 31 August 2019

Those who support a Republic should refuse to take Oath of Allegiance.

This Blog has often called for an end to the Oath of Allegiance and the recent events that Mrs Windsor agreed to Boris Johnson's "request" that she prorogue parliament to my mind means that she has broken the contract that she has with the people.

It is true that Prime Minister Johnson has laced her in this position even if she refused, but she has agreed to close our elected and unelected(HOL) legislatures at Westminster a move not taken since her predecessor Charles 1 prompted a Civil War by doing so albeit for a longer period.

By doing so she has has arguably removed any obstacle to MPs refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance.

If we take the low estimate that 20% of the population were republicans then even if you were to remove all the Tories and their DUP allies then at least 60-70 current MPs are republicans and lie when they swear

I... swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.

Members who object to swearing the oath are permitted to make a solemn affirmation under the terms of the Oaths Act 1978:

I... do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.

Imagine if a large number of candidates standing in the next election announced that if elected they would refuse to swear allegiance to the current Head of State but even more so her heirs and successors.

If they were honest then maybe 60- 100 could do so and be not allowed to take their seats.

There is a sort of precedent . The National Secular Society, founded in 1866 by politician Charles Bradlaugh, spearheaded the advocacy for freeing citizens from absolute government requirements involving religious observances; the Leicester Secular Society was founded in 1851. Bradlaugh's 1880 election to Parliament brought on a decade-long dispute over the demanded right to affirm declarations of office rather than swear oaths, as he was denied his seat for five years by a ruling that he had no right to affirm and resolutions preventing him from swearing an oath. When Bradlaugh was ultimately admitted in 1886, he took up the issue and saw the Oaths Act 1888 passed, which confirmed the right to optionally affirm declarations for inaugurations to office and offering testimony to government bodies.[

If this was to be repeated with a large number of avowed republicans refusing to take the oath of allegiance , then surely it would be braking the Human Rights Act ?

One note of caution.

Advocacy of the replacement of the monarchy with a republic has been an imprisonable offence in law. The Treason Felony Act 1848 prohibits the advocacy of a republic in print. The penalty for such advocacy, even if the republic is to be set up by peaceful means, is lifetime imprisonment. This Act remains in force in the United Kingdom.[27] However, under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Law Lords have held that although the Treason Felony Act remains on the statute books it must be interpreted so as to be compatible with the Human Rights Act, and therefore no longer prohibits peaceful republican activity.

In part some supporters of Brexit would like to do away with the Human Rights Act and it , and it is that fraction who are in power in Westminster and it would come as no surprise if they would seek to abolish or replace it.

Indeed  this could be the last chance National Left has to advocate republic, before he is thrown in the tower . I wonder who would join me/

Friday, 30 August 2019

Lib Dems hold Shetland but SNP obtain significent swing

The Lib Dem candidate Beatrice Wishart may have fought off a strong challenge from the SNP to hold Shetland in a Holyrood by-election.
However it was quite an achievement for the SNP to obtain a 14% swing despite being the incumbent government  in Holyrood  for over 12 years
She succeeds Tavish Scott, who had been MSP for the constituency since 1999 in what was Scotland's safest seat.
Ms Wishart polled 5,659 votes, ahead of SNP candidate Tom Wills on 3,827, a majority of 1,837.
The Lib Dems saw their majority more than halved from 4,895 in 2016 as the SNP benefitted from a 14.4% swing.
With 11,835 votes cast, the turnout was 66.5%, up from 62% in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.
2019 Shetland by-election[6]
LabourJohan Adamson1521.28-4.6
ConservativeBrydon Goodlad4253.59-0.1
UKIPStuart Martin600.51+0.51
Scottish GreenDebra Nicolson1891.59+1.59
No descriptionIan Scott660.56+0.56
IndependentMichael Stout1341.13+1.13
IndependentPeter Tait310.26+0.26
IndependentRyan Thomson126610.69+10.9
SNPTom Wills382232.29+9.3
Liberal DemocratsBeatrice Wishart565946.81-19.5
[[|N/A]] holdSwing

Previous Result[edit]

2016 Scottish Parliament election: Shetland
Liberal DemocratsTavish Scott7,44067.4+19.9
SNPDanus Skene2,54523.1+11.0
LabourRobina Barton6515.9-0.7
ConservativeCameron Smith4053.7+0.2
Liberal Democrats holdSwing

This was one of the safest seats in the  Scottish Parliament and clearly although they poured resources into but  they didn't win to achieve a 14.4% a seat , that has been been part of the Liberal stronghold of Orkney and Shetland  with only a few blips since we had any form of universal franchise.
1873 by-electionSamuel LaingLiberal
1885Leonard LyellLiberal
1900Cathcart WasonLiberal Unionist
1902 by-electionIndependent Liberal
1918Coalition Liberal
1921 by-electionMalcolm SmithCoalition Liberal
1922Robert HamiltonLiberal
1935Basil Neven-SpenceConservative
1950Jo GrimondLiberal
1983Jim WallaceLiberal
1987Liberal Democrat
2001Alistair CarmichaelLiberal Democrat

Ms Wishart said she was honoured "to make a little bit of history by becoming the first female parliamentarian in Shetland" after a "roller-coaster" campaign.
"Shetland has once again rejected Scottish nationalism and shown that it has not been taken in by the bullying tactics," she said.
"My work will start on Monday to get the Scottish government to take action on its empty promises for fair ferry funding, to improve nursery provision, mental health care, broadband - the key strands of my positive campaign for Shetland."
I am not sure what she means by broadband as its not a devolved issue in my understanding.
Not sure about positive campaign as well
Lib Dem  MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton was criticised for a tweet about a conversation between SNP youth activists which he "overheard" in Lerwick. 

The Edinburgh Western MSP posted: "Overheard conversation yesterday in Lerwick: @theSNP youth activists out canvassing, resting on a wall and looking at 3 blocks of flats. 'F this, can’t be bothered, let’s just mark them all as SNP and head back the office.' Memo to SNP: don’t rely on your data #Shetland".

Overheard conversation yesterday in Lerwick: @theSNP youth activists out canvassing, resting on a wall and looking at 3 blocks of flats.

“F this, can’t be bothered, let’s just mark them all as SNP and head back the office.”

Memo to SNP: don’t rely on your data 🙊😂

1,250 people are talking about this

In response, SNP staffer Chris Jones called the post an "awful smear" and said the activists weren't in Lerwick yesterday.

The Holyrood by-election was sparked by the resignation of Mr Scott, who quit politics in July to take a job with Scottish Rugby.

Mr Scott, a former leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, had held the seat since the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.
Finally the poor old conservative saw his main plank taken away from him when his leader resigned on the day of the elction
Stil at least it didn't have Boris Johnson on it.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Democracy didn't die in the UK yesterday it was never alive .

“Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.”
― Terry Pratchett, Mort

 Those who claim that yesterdays  events  saw the death of democracy in the UK  are wrong , we do not  live in a democracy but in a state which pretends to enfranchise the people , whilst making sure that it is either ignored or prevented from knowing the truth.

Consider this..

  • We have a hereditary head of state, a monarch who by right of birth who is supposed to be a constitutional monarch, but as was proved yesterday can actually stop our parliament from sitting. It seems any Head of state who faced election may think twice about that , but should they have such powers anyway?

  • We have an unelected chambre which consists of peers (some of who are hereditary), who are there for life what other Western Democracy  would even consider such a thing.

  • Two of the last three Prime Ministers went to Eton an exclusive public school and MPs educated at comprehensive schools now make up 51 per cent of the Commons - the highest number since Sutton Trust began recording figures.  
The report by the social mobility think-tank found 29 per cent of MPs in 2017’s Parliament were privately educated, while 18 per cent attended grammar schools.

While the figures reveal undeniable progress in equal opportunities, the report also found one in ten MPs had attended Eton, one of the UK’s most exclusive public schools.
Conservative MPs were disproportionately privately educated, with 45 per cent attending private schools, compared to 14 per cent of their Labour counterparts. 

The data found 86 per cent of MPs to be university graduates, with 23 per cent attending Oxford or Cambridge. 

  • We have an electoral system  of First Past the Post , which is a winner take all system   which allows one party , with less than 40% of the vote to have a majority and despite over 60% not voting for them could be in power for five years. It is even more stark that if those who did not vote are taken into account  then you could claim a mandate with les than 30% of those eligible to vote supporting it.

Take the the 2015 election
Of totalOf total
Conservative PartyDavid Cameron33050.8%
330 / 650
Labour PartyEd Miliband23235.7%
232 / 650
Scottish National PartyNicola Sturgeon568.6%
56 / 650
Liberal DemocratsNick Clegg81.2%
8 / 650
Democratic Unionist PartyPeter Robinson81.2%
8 / 650
Sinn FéinGerry Adams40.6%
4 / 650
Plaid CymruLeanne Wood30.5%
3 / 650

  • The First Past the Post System can as in the 1992 election,
  • see four parties were separated by only 3.41%, 

General election 1992: Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber[5][6]
Liberal DemocratRussell Johnston13,25826.0−10.8
LabourDavid Stewart12,80025.1−0.2
SNPFergus Ewing12,56224.7+9.9
ConservativeJohn Scott11,51722.6−0.4
Scottish GreenJohn Martin7661.5N/A
Liberal Democrat holdSwing−5.3

It also means for those living in parts of the country where one party is dominant  then if they do not support that party it actually means that voting in a General Election means nothing.
Even in marginal seats you may be forced to abandon your prefered party for another . Under  proportional representation you can at least o some degree se your vote count even if it is your second choice.

  • We have a completely biased media , which almost solely supports the right.
Various newspapers, organisations and individuals endorsed parties for the 2015 election, nearly al for the Tories or Non-Labour

NewspaperMain endorsementSecondary endorsement(s)NotesLink
Daily ExpressUK Independence PartyConservative PartyEndorsed the UK Independence Party.[1]
Daily MailConservative PartyUK Independence PartySupported a Conservative government. Encouraged anti-Labour tactical voting.[2][3]
Liberal Democrats
Daily MirrorLabour PartyLiberal DemocratsEndorsed a Labour government. Supported tactically voting LibDem against the Conservatives in marginal seats.[4][5]
Daily TelegraphConservative PartyNone[6]
Financial TimesConservative PartyLiberal DemocratsEndorsed a Conservative-led coalition.[7]
The GuardianLabour PartyGreen Parties in the United KingdomEndorsed the Labour Party. Also supported Green and Liberal Democrat candidates where they were the main opposition to the Conservatives.[8]
Liberal Democrats
The IndependentLiberal DemocratsConservative PartyEndorsed a second term of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.[9][10]
The SunConservative PartyLiberal DemocratsSupported voting for the Liberal Democrats in 14 Labour/LibDem marginals.[11][12]
The TimesConservative PartyLiberal DemocratsEndorsed a second term of Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

Who can forget  this the day after the 1992 election.
However  it is the daily right wing rhetoric  from the media which endorses xenophobia, racists  and  simply lie without impunity

Daily Mail () Newspaper Front Page for 27 July 2013

Democracy didn't die in the UK yesterday it was never alive .