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David Porter » Entries tagged with "politics"

Masterful Inactivity – the Solution Everybody Runs Round in Circles to Find

Inactivity, masterful inactivity – time for a return to the concept? Published in 2013 on Suite 101, this is republished to complete the transfer across of material from that site. It is out of date with some details, but not the main thrust. Less is more should perhaps become the mantra as governments run round like headless chickens trying to do something in a crisis. Whenever anything goes wrong in the country, as it invariably does many times a week, it isn’t long before somebody somewhere starts the cry that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!! MPs, under pressure from constituents fed by 24/7 news, start clamouring for something, anything. We may then get an inquiry chaired by some bigwig, a task force, a major relaunch/revamp/rethink, a public consultation, a Government Tsar, a White … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

The Art of Riding Roughshod Over the Views of Voters and Taxpayers

This article was first published on Suite 101, 5 January 2013. It is reprinted here as I transfer material from Suite 101. As the argument continues about how elected representatives in a democracy balance special pleading and pushing through their own solutions, we pose some further questions. Is Democracy Always a Compromise Between Caving In to Special Interests or Riding Roughshod Over Them? People opposed to onshore wind farms should not have their views ridden over roughshod. This pearl of masterful wisdom is reported by the Daily Telegraph (4 January 2012) as coming from planning minister Nick Boles to fellow MP John Hayes in a private letter.The report by Christopher Hope, Senior Political Correspondent confirms that Boles told Hayes, local people have genuine concerns. Other Issues Equally Deserving He shouldn’t stop there. There are dozens … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Reading Between the Lines of the Party Leaders’ New Year Messages

Originally published on Suite 101 for New Year 2013, it is republished here as I bring articles across from that site to this one. While details have often passed now, the point is still valid about reading between politician’s lines. It’s always sensible to look for the hidden messages behind Party leaders’ annual New Year greetings to the electorate. This year is no exception.   The end of one old tired year and the welcoming of a shiny new one is a golden publicity opportunity for politicos to put out best wishes to one and all and to say how brilliantly his or her party has done and how marvellously bright the future is under their auspices. Or how badly the government has done and how much better it would have been/will be under … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Revisiting ‘Time for Darwin Awards for MPs Who Contribute to People’s Amazement, Anger, Jollity and Disbelief?

No more relevant today than it was a year ago when I published it on Suite 101, but also no less relevant. I am gradually republishing all my material from Suite 101. So … the Darwin Awards for politicians: Everybody contributes to life, the human gene pool and the entertainment of others. It may be that some politicos should be rewarded with an accolade for how they have affected voters and taxpayers. The Darwin Awards are a tongue-in-cheek celebration that salute the improvement of the human genome by honouring those who accidentally remove themselves from it… Its awarded to people who die through incredible, jaw-dropping acts of stupidity. Recent winners include the 22 year old, annoyed how slowly her boyfriend was driving, who declared itll be quicker to walk as she stepped from … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Political ‘Silly’ Season Could Herald the End of the Coalition

Will Tensions Split the Coalition, Autumn 2012? This article was first published on the old Suite 101 suite on 2 September 2012. Now, a year on, with the autumn season upon us it is timely to republish, bearing in mind that Parliament has been recalled and the rows about Syria and war, the internal squabbles of the Labour opposition and the strengthening economy render some of this out of date, the fact is that the Coalition is far from rock solid. British politics’ ‘silly season’ falls between July and party conferences in September/October. It’s when news famine leads to exaggeration to make a story. In July, as the summer recess begins, inhabitants of the Westminster village disperse to constituencies and sunny climes. The repairers move into the Palaces of Parliament and the media … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

100 Acts of Minor Dissent

Mark Thomas at the Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 15 June 2013 Political activist and comedian Mark Thomas’ one man stand-up show, 100 Acts of Minor Dissent is touring before the Edinburgh Festival. It’s timely, sharp, keenly observed and sends the thrill of the possible down the spines of people becoming numbed by the way life is. He makes his dissent sound reasonable. The little acts of rebellion against authority are frequently subversive, anarchic, mainly legal and invariably cleverly funny. He labels himself ‘normal’, married with children and 50 years old. His self-imposed task is 100 actions to highlight stupidities, loss of individualism and corporatism in a year. His targets are tax-light companies like Amazon, shops like Harrods and Selfridges, misleading brands, bankers, pornography and politicians. Rapid-fire one-liners are followed by a tale … Read entire article »

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Ancient Parliamentary Privilege Still Vital in Modern Democracy

Periodically ‘Parliamentary privilege’ is a term thrown into the spotlight by events. Now it’s on the agenda again with a big consultation exercise. This article was first published on Suite 101, 27 April 2012. It is republished now, as the question is still outstanding. In May 2011, Lib Dem MP John Hemming named aloud in Parliament Ryan Giggs as the footballing celebrity who had been granted a High Court ‘super injunction’ to gag anybody from speaking about or reporting his alleged affair with a former reality TV star. The order was so powerful that it could not even be acknowledged as existing. Coming as part of a stream of big public names employing the same tactics to keep their lives private, the question of what the media should and could report was … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Personal Privacy: The Next Big Debate the UK Should Have?

Not since times of war and national crisis has personal privacy been such a live issue. In times of rapid technological development, the concept of personal privacy is being consigned to history. Is a debate worth having before it’s too late? Or is it too late already? This article was first published on Suite 101, 3 April 2012. It is republished with more recent links below. Politically, it could be that Coalition Government problems about an ill-judged Budget, about handling a potential fuel crisis and about changing the definition of marriage will fade with time. However, these difficulties will probably pale into insignificance when set alongside the head of steam building against proposals to increase ‘official snooping’ into almost every corner of every citizen’s life. In a democracy it’s generally a given that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

The Governing Compact Is Itself the Danger for UK Coalition

Published on Suite 101 a year ago on 8 March 2012, it is even more pertinent now as the Coalition faces some strains, any one of which could prove fatal. The recent Eastleigh byelection has upturned the normal views about the Liberal-Democrats being the impotent minor partners. Received wisdom says in coalitions, junior parties get swallowed up, are blamed and rarely praised. Is the UK ruling coalition about to fall apart? In politics it’s often enough to merely talk something up for it to become fact. It’s variously known as political wishful thinking or ‘flying a flag up the pole to see if anyone salutes it’. It appears to be so with the future of the governing Coalition. Some are muttering (with just a few actually speaking aloud) the thought that its days … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

The Party May Soon Be Over for the Political Broadcast

  The BBC could call time on the well-established tradition of political parties broadcasting their views – free – on radio and TV. This article first published on Suite 101, 7 December 2011. After the poor interest in the badly timed elections in November for Police and Crime Commissioners, this article could be even more relevant. The phrase, ‘there now follows a party political broadcast on behalf of the …. Party’ was often sufficient to send millions of viewers scurrying to make tea or search for the remote. When there was only BBC and ITV on screens, both showed the broadcast simultaneously. Now, next Budget Day, around March, is when listeners and viewers will no longer get a 5 minute statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer explaining the fiscal and tax plans … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101