Putting up with a John Key or a Helen Clark? The Swiss wouldn’t. We need the 100 Days stop on our own politicians.
The recent railing of the otherwise often excellent Spectator columnist Rod Liddle against the public being graciously “allowed” to contribute towards the decision-making facing the UK was out of character. It seems to have been inspired by his objection to the British at last having the chance to tell the basically fascist European Union to butt out of dominating their once much freer country. However, former London Mayor Boris Johnson -(together with UKIP’s Nigel Farage and some high-ranking Conservatives) -is turning on Prime Minister David Cameron, expressing concern felt nationwide by the people of this once proudly independent country. http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/669468/Boris-Johnson-David-Cameron-immigration-Brexit-Vote-Leave-EU-referendum
Few would discount the fact that uncontrolled immigration is threatening Britain. Moreover, the cost of propping up an organisation run by power-hungry bureaucrats, attempting more and more to remove the independence of the countries within its grip, is quite extraordinary. The actual cost to Britain of propping up the EU is estimated to be just under £250 million a week. Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who negotiated a rebate, this is $100 million less than it would otherwise be paying. http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/669690/EU-referendum-row-David-Cameron-Nigel-Farage-ITV-debate-Vote-Leave-Boris-Johnson
So, two cheers for those from the Tory hierarchy rebelling against the independence of the UK’s economic, political and judicial decision-making being held in straitjackets by the EU’s unelected and petty bureaucracy, infamous for its sea of petty restrictions and regulations. (Among the better known is European Commission Regulation Number 1677/88. “Class 1” and “Extra class” cucumbers are allowed a bend of 10 mm per 10 cm of length. “Class II” cucumbers can bend twice as much. Any cucumbers that are curvier may not be bought or sold.”)
But only two cheers, because disgracefully, as so often happens when the power groups band together, the Conservative MPs from the “Leave EU” movement have been doing their best to exclude the one man who led the move to ask the British to speak up for themselves as a people. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36273499 There is no doubt of the debt owed to Nigel Farage with his courageous challenging of the Establishment. And the mean-mindedness of attempts to exclude the man who is owed most should bring home to us the lesson of the corruption of power. Moreover, as we well know, NZ’s power groups also band together.
While it is heartening to see happening in the UK what is well overdue to still come in this country – a revolt among right-wing politicians taking on our now own widely distrusted leader – in other words, standing up to be counted on important issues of the day – we should be asking why we never see this happening in New Zealand. Why does the bunch of yes-men-women who fall into line behind John Key (described by commentator Matthew Hooton as a “serial bullshitter”) never stand up to represent their own constituents – and the whole country? Why no opposition from any at all of the members of a National Party – which once represented the freedom of the individual, rather than state control – against a lightweight, narcissistic PM who is not regarded as prioritising the interests of New Zealanders over those of the money-men with their eye on this country?
Rod Liddle’s article, with its silly title “Whoever invented the referendum deserves a kicking” is challenged by correspondents, including those below.
“Maic: In the matter of referendums I believe that the Swiss have got it right. I’m a little weary of the patronising comments from some self appointed experts that would have you believe that the peasants (that’s us) are too stupid or indifferent to be able to make rational choices affecting the governance of their country.
“The left in particular seem to regard Direct Democracy with horror. They claim to represent the people, to have the support of the people, but shy away from letting the people make some decisions on social and political matters.
“Interestingly enough, you hear loud comments on how the country has a really great progressive education system. One would have thought that the graduates of such a good system would have the intelligence and judgment to at least have an influence on how the country is governed.
“My own country (New Zealand) has only one House of Representatives purportedly representing the citizens, but seemingly more focused on advancing the interests and survival of the major political parties. Deals are done to consolidate power.
“Policies never put to the people are nevertheless imposed on them.
The cry goes up that many citizens are not interested or engaged in politics and that the level of voting when we do have elections is not that great.
Well, why should anyone be surprised?
“I say it is possible to enact a system of Direct Democracy which makes politicians more accountable and at the same time prevents frivolous attempts to undermine the system.”
It’s a pity that this correspondent, making some good points, does not seem to know that our 100 Days – Claiming Back – New Zealand movement is already well underway to produce just this – what the Swiss got right – as he notes. Their great achievement was to insist that a stop for a period of 100 Days was put on all legislation passed by their parliament, during which period of time the country can assess what is happening. This simple, but brilliant, provision enables the Swiss people themselves to control their politicians. It also prevents the kind of legislation deliberately pushed through late at night in this country – on the eve of public holidays such as Easter or Christmas – in the hope New Zealanders will be too busy to object.
Of all the reforms the Swiss undertook to achieve a genuine democracy, this one was the most crucial. Their government understands this, and refers to the people as “sovereign.” Members of their Cabinet of only seven members! (in a country with a population double ours) simply take a turn for a year at being President, before stepping down. For very good reason, as we have learned to appreciate, the Swiss would simply not put up with a John Key or a Helen Clark constantly, and for a period of several years, digging in to dominate the decision-making that affects all New Zealanders.
The contrast between this highly successful country, whose own MPs hold down day jobs (attending parliament only one day a week) and our cash-strapped economy with our government continually passing new legislation – and taking good care to exclude New Zealanders from behind-the-scenes decision-making – such as ill-thought asset sales, and the signing of the TPPA (without consultation with the country) – would scandalise the Swiss. They must wonder why we put up with it. Why do we?
Another Spectator commentator, also disagreeing with Liddle, expresses the hope “for NZ…that the anti-establishment wave sweeping the Western world will boost new parties like NZF into power”.
There is no doubt about the power of individuals, when they have had enough, standing up to the power-groups of the politicians, the bankers, the bureaucrats – and the overpaid CEOs of the corporate world.
GK Chesterton’s belief that – “All men are ordinary men; the extraordinary men are those who know it” – should help us to stop short, and think.
It brings home to us that fact that our political hierarchy in this country, which apparently fancies itself far more qualified, better informed, even (heaven forbid) more intelligent than the people of New Zealand, is well overdue to be reformed. The secret of Donald Trump’s success in the US is widely recognised as the anger of “the ordinary people” against their well-funded and well-entrenched political establishment.
There are obvious lessons for us here. We are overdue to make our own stand against the right-to-rule assumption of whatever political party currently governs the country. None of them can be trusted, although there is no doubt that one, New Zealand First, has constantly repudiated the racist directions in which our country is now heading – with now preferential “rights” disgracefully based on a watered-down ethnicity. NZFirst pledges to not pass any non-mandated legislation without consulting the country.
It’s a first step – but not enough. What we need to be aiming for is to embed the 100 Days requirement in legislation so that this country can begin to work again towards its full potential, and so that New Zealanders themselves, not our political bureaucracy, will be able, like the clever Swiss, to make the decisions that count.
This is undeniably an idea whose time has come. See www.100days.co.nz All it needs is for you to help. We need you.
Quite simply, it’s just up to us. So why would we let New Zealand and its future down?
From Chesterton again, “Everyone on the earth should believe that he has something to give to the world which otherwise cannot be given.”
*Our 100 Days movement needs individuals to contribute what they can – no donation is too small – to help send our message right around the country. Will you?
We can count on no funding to assist coming from political or moneyed power groups with their own vested interests. But we can be proud of this!
Do visit us to see how you can help – www.100days.co.nz and SHARE on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/100daystodemocracy?ref=br_tf
© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available on Kindle, or through www.copypress.co.nz and HATM Publishers.