- "Our Fight for Democracy"
- Index of book
- Preface of "Our Fight for Democracy"
- Book - Order Form
- Introduction - The Meaning of Democracy
- Roman Britain to Magna Carta - 1215
- Parliament to the Divine Right of Kings 1216 to 1603
- Monarchy to a Republic and back 1603-1685
- Bill of Rights to the American War of Independence - 1685 to 1780
- Pitt the Younger to Catholic Emancipation - 1780 to 1830
- The Great Reform Act and its aftermath - 1830 to 1860
- The Second Reform Act to the end of the Century 1860 to 1900
- The Twentieth Century - Votes for women at last - 1900 to 1928
- Constitutional Crisis to the present - 1929 to date
Monday, September 23, 2019
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
14th September 2019
Dear Mr Cleverly,
We, the undersigned, have serious concerns regarding the selection of the Party’s parliamentary candidates.
The Prime Minister is rightly in election mode and CCHQ should follow suit by selecting candidates as soon as possible. However, it is important that the Party learns the mistakes of the past, and selects the right candidates.
Under the Cameron and May regimes, CCHQ pushed for and approved many candidates who were entirely devoid of conservative credentials and beliefs. The result has been the infiltration of the Conservative Party by people who would be far better suited to representing Labour or the Liberal Democrats. The behaviour of twenty plus former Conservative parliamentarians - many of whom entered politics under the Cameron or May tenure - demonstrates this. The removal of the Whip was the right thing to do and we urge you to ensure that it is never reinstated.
We also urge you to change the way the Conservative Party selects its candidates, so that the Party is once again represented by conservatives. CCHQ must abandon its unhealthy obsession with identity politics, and ensure that merit is the only acceptable criterion. Continuation of the patronising and ill-thought out quota system will prevent the best and brightest from representing our Party.
It is no secret that relations between CCHQ and associations are at an all-time low. CCHQ can fix this by returning the power they took away from associations to decide who their Conservative candidate is and making sure the process is more transparent and democratic, instead of imposing CCHQ’s favoured candidates on them. Sam Gyimah, Rory Stewart, Sarah Wollaston, and Heidi Allen are examples of people who have been promoted and pushed by CCHQ, despite their lack of conservative beliefs; look at where that has left us.
The Conservative Party has been at its most successful when we have trusted the members to choose the candidates who represent us. It is worth noting that CCHQ took control of candidates in 1998. Prior to this, local associations had control. In the five General Elections since 1998 the Conservatives won one with an overall majority. In the five General Elections prior to 1998 the Conservatives won four.
Unless we learn the mistakes of the past, our members will leave, and the Party’s fortunes will decline again.
Cllr Bob Perry, Deputy Chairman, Hornchurch & Upminster Conservatives
John Strafford, Chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy and former Chairman, Beaconsfield Constituency
Dinah Glover, Chair of London East Conservatives
Paul Diamond, Chairman of Comberton Branch, Member Executive Committee
Steve Marsden, Member, Bolton West
Keith Wells, President, Hornchurch & Upminster Conservatives
Alan Chapman, Shipley, former Conservative Metro Councillor, Constituency Officer, local election agent
Commander Derek Beesley, Former President of Aberconwy Conservatives
John Thorne, Taunton Deane, Executive Council Member, Somerset County Councillor
Ken Worthy, Chairman, Claygate, Hinchley Wood and Weston Green Branch, Esher and Walton
Grant MacMaster, Hornchurch and Upminster Conservative Association, Association Data Analyst
John Carpenter, Sleaford and North Hykeham
Roger Duckworth, Isle of Wight
Linda Beal, Monmouth Conservatives
Brian Seage, South East Cornwall Conservative Association
Richard Mackenzie, Kingston upon Hull North
John Jarrett, Southport Conservatives.
Alan Jones, North Thanet Conservatives
Steve Bodger, Tunbridge Wells Conservatives
Peter Roffey, Rutland and Melton Conservative Association
Ron Barker, West Worcestershire Conservative Association
Roger Baggott, North Cotswold Conservative Association
David J. Tyler, Stalybridge & Hyde
John Roche, Harrogate Conservatives
David J Dodd, Grantham and Stamford
Robert Johnson, Warwick and Leamington Conservative Association
Mrs Sheila Perry, Central Devon Conservative Association
Michael Perry, Central Devon Conservative Association
John Roche, Harrogate conservatives
J. J. D. Knapp, South Suffolk Association
Margot Shimmin, Torbay Conservatives
Cynthia Beesley, Aberconwy
Peter Hole, Halifax Constituency Association
Robin Morris, Taunton Conservatives
John G. Fifield
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Friday, May 31, 2019
Message to all Conservative Party Leadership Candidates
by John Strafford
We are perhaps witnessing the greatest betrayal of democracy in the history of the United Kingdom. Democracy is the process by which you determine the will of a majority of the people. The will of a majority of the people was determined in the referendum on the European Union in 2016. The majority - 17.4 million people voted to leave.
The grass roots membership of the Conservative party has been betrayed. But this betrayal is not a recent phenomenon. It has been going on steadily for 20 years, as the party hierarchy has become increasingly unaccountable to the members it appears to despise.
It is time for ordinary Conservatives to fight back and reassert control of their party – or very soon there won't be a Conservative party at all. It is on the point of imploding.
There is now a gulf between the Westminster elite and the rank-and-file. Brexit brought that to a head: while 70 per cent of the members wanted to leave the European Union, 60 per cent of the parliamentary party were solidly in favour of remaining. This contradiction was always going to be insupportable in the long term.
If we don't leave the EU, or if we end up with a broken Brexit, I feel sadly certain, that large numbers of members will cut up their cards and quit.
It is happening already. There is widespread disillusionment over Brexit. As the party bigwigs flounder around, desperate to sign up for any sort of Brexit that can win a parliamentary majority, the views of the membership are hardening. A growing number back No Deal, and they don't see their opinions reflected anywhere in the high echelons of their own party.
The situation has become dire. The membership stands at around 160,000 nationwide, with half the constituencies in the UK made up of fewer than 100 people. That is not workable. We can't fight a general election with so few workers on the ground. What is for sure is that once this Leadership election is over we will probably lose a third of our members, be they Remainers or Leavers, depending on who is elected the Leader of the Party.
Traditional conservatism was about a small state, low taxes and being strong on law and order and defence. These values have been badly eroded. Instead, we have a surveillance state of regulations upon regulations, where we're told what we can eat, drink, do, say and think. That's a path that leads to a totalitarian state, to tyranny and dictatorship.
The problem is that none of the senior party functionaries – not the chairman, the deputy chairman, the treasurer or any of the rest of them – is elected. And because they are unelected, they are unaccountable to members. The root of the crisis goes back to 1998, when Central Office took over total control of the list of parliamentary candidates, stripping local constituencies of their power.
In many cases, candidates are now simply imposed on local parties, who are told they have no choice but to support the prospective MP they've been given.
And what's the result? Before 1998, the Tories won four out of the previous five general elections. Since 1998, we have failed to win four out of five general elections – with two Labour wins and two hung parliaments. There could be no more damning indictment.
I've been a member of the Beaconsfield constituency for 46 years, and served as its chairman for five. Our current MP is Dominic Grieve, who lost a vote of no confidence quite overwhelmingly at the recent AGM. In a blatant display of contempt for the voters, the party chairman came out and backed Grieve – as though the constituency members had no right to their own opinion. Would a party chairman elected by and accountable to party members have done so? I doubt it!
Worse was to come. Grieve failed to resign, though 30 years ago the idea of an MP defying a vote of no confidence would have been unthinkable. Instead, he and his supporters claimed that UKIP infiltrators were responsible for his embarrassment.
That's simply a distortion of the truth. The result was not rigged, and to pretend otherwise is yet another insult to ordinary members.
The principle we are fighting for is that party members have the right to determine their parliamentary candidate.
The only hope for the Conservatives now is in radical reform. We urgently need the following radical reforms:
Five Essential Reforms
1) The National Convention should be replaced by an Annual General Meeting to which all Party members are invited.
2) The Chairman of the Party Board, Deputy Chairman, Treasurer, Chairman of the Candidates Committee and Chairman of the Policy Forum should be elected by and accountable to Party members and present Annual reports to the Annual General Meeting.
3) Constituency Associations should have the right to determine who their Parliamentary Candidate should be with due process and minimum interference by CCHQ, with safeguards for Constituencies where the membership is below a certain level.
4) Motions for debate should be re-instated at the Party Conference and/or at the Spring Forum.
5) The Party Constitution should be capable of being changed at a General Meeting of the Party by Party members on the basis of One Member One Vote with a 60% majority. The present minor changes to the Constitution have been under discussion for four years and nothing has happened.
Some good, honest MPs, such as Priti Patel, Steve Baker and Liz Truss, recognise the urgent need for change. But the party has been discussing proposed changes to its constitution for the past four years... and nothing has happened.
Change must come soon. We are running out of time. Without change the Conservative Party will slowly drain away down the plug hole of history.
Leadership candidates must support these radical reforms Now!
John Strafford is chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
????? DID YOU KNOW ?????
The Remainers Essential Check List
A FEW BASIC FACTS ABOUT THE EUROPEAN UNION
WHICH MAYBE YOU HAD NOT CONSIDERED
READ – THEN DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH – DECIDE
A CHANCE TO CHALLENGE ASSUMPTIONS
1) The people who instigate the laws are not elected by anyone.
The European Commission is effectively the EU’s government and the only ones that can propose legislation. The 28 commissioners (one from each country) are not elected.
The UK’s commissioner is Sir Julian King (be honest had you ever heard of him???). Of course he is pro Europe but to be fair even if there is a new law proposed which in his opinion does not suit the UK - he is but one voice amongst twenty eight –
Good for the UK???
28 non-elected people are the only ones allowed to propose laws for 512,600,000 people. Democracy????
2) The Council of Ministers – part of the legislative process - headed by President Donald Tusk meets in secret and is not obliged to publish their discussions. Tusk, another appointment that the UK had very little if any input into.
BTW re this arrangement NO political grouping or country in the Free World (those not Communist or Dictatorships) would allow this way of working particularly as this select group sets the strategic direction of the Block. Yes the good news is that UK has one voice out of 29.
But is that Democracy – is it in the best interests of the UK??
3) All MEPs from all countries have to be members of one of the
E U’s (currently nine) political parties - loose groupings of people with a similar political stance.
Within these parties the British MEPs nit in the majority except with the EEFD - 41 members with 18 Brits. EPP (the biggest) has a total of 217 members. With the majority of parties British interests are unlikely ever to to be the full focus of that grouping.
4) Mostly British MEPs are members of EU political parties that are not the ones with most members – so less block votes. British interests therefore are further watered down or can easily be ignored.
5) The EPP - by far the largest party in the EU Parliament with 217 members - got their candidate Jean Claude Juncker appointed President of the EU Commission. Yes after the decision was made there was a perfunctory vote in the EU Parliament - but as always smaller countries and/or newer members tended to “go with the flow” so as not to be seen to be “rocking the boat” – particularly if their country was a nett recipient of EU funding.
The UK PM objected as did Hungary’s but once again the UK’s views were overruled.
Had anyone in the UK heard of J C J before the appointment - was anyone in the UK given a choice – Democracy??
Voting for MEPs across EU countries varies & is therefore not democratic.
a) Each vote is not of equal value
– A vote per person in Luxembourg (J C J’s home country) is nine times the value of each person’s vote in the UK.
- A vote in Malta is twelve times the value of a vote in the UK.
Malta by the way is a nett recipient of EU funding.
The UK of course is a massive nett cash contributor.
There are several other examples across the EU of this imbalance.
Calculation based on the number of MEPs per country as a proportion of the national population.
b) In the UK for EU elections we use a Closed List System - you cannot vote for a person only a party. This is not so in other countries. In a UK General Election you can vote for the person you wish to represent you – not so in the EU election.
c) The age a person can vote is determined by each country based on each country’s National Parliamentary criteria. Considerable variations.
ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL??
6) A UK MEPs vote does not count for much. UK MEPs represent only 13% of all the votes possible in the EU parliament - that’s if all UK MEPs vote the same way (no guarantees on that one). In reality it only needs 16 countries - or a few countries representing 65% of the EU population getting together to get a “qualified majority vote” to go against the best option for the UK. There is the very occasional possibility of a Veto on some very limited issues such as national defence but if one reads the small print the EU hierarchy want to further eliminate the current opportunities to use the Veto. Since 2009 up until 2017 (more recent records not found) the UK has always been the country with the highest number of losses overall when analysing the results of votes in the EU parliament. Nearly double the percentage of any other country
– Are the UK views always so wrong or are there EU priorities that are just not suitable or beneficial for our country?
7) Voting by MEPs anyway can be perfunctory as the laws decided by the unelected European Commission are what get voted on. Each MEP can have a maximum of two minutes only to voice a point of view. That’s their only input on the whole process except for ineffectual conversations amongst themselves. Again many non UK MEPs will vote for a given law anyway as it either does not affect their country directly and/or does not “rock the boat” and put them in a bad light with the senior Brussels bureaucrats.
A dependency culture seems to have developed among those countries which have endured prolonged periods of austerity and recession and are nett recipients of EU funding (leading to an increasing sense of dependency and reliance on the EU and sense of requirement to comply with its strictures). Not in any way some planned deviation or corruption just the reality.
Is this true democracy and does it help the UK?
8) The EU parliament (the MEPs) has no power to initiate or repeal legislation. Effectively the Parliament is there to rubber stamp decisions/laws handed down to them. Laws are imposed without a democratic mandate - it appears to some to suit the few at the expense of the many so as not to go against the master federalist plan.
9) The UK has paid in circa 9 billion pounds sterling NETT to the EU in each of the last two years (Nett = after deducting our rebate and EU payments back to us to their selected UK organisations/enterprises).
10) The gross figure our EU bill comes to is circa £18.5 billion. We get a rebate on this to partially “even out” the huge concessions to French agriculture – thank you Maggi. Then the EU give us back some of our money for certain enterprises - approximately £4.5 - £5.5 billion PA (figs vary depending on source of info). The EU decides who in the UK gets what & when. Then the recipent can put up a Blue plaque so everyone is lead to believe the money came exclusively from the EU. This is of course fake by any definition. The money may have been routed via Brussels but the original source was from UK tax payers.
11) Many of these UK taxpayer payments routed via the Brussels bank go to extremely important and worthwhile causes and organisations. I would however like you to consider one very small personal experience which reinforces the lack of control and honesty on this allocation of our money once it gets to the EU.
A friend of mine who is single and owns several houses which he rents out (let’s say he is “comfortably off”) wanted with one large 1930’s property which he lived in to make certain structural changes to enable him to rent it out more easily when he moved on. His financial adviser told him not to bother financing it himself as due to the area in Wales this house was located in he could get the money from the EU. He did and of course is very happy about it. On a much larger scale one reads about the huge scams for EU money in Sicily Hungary and many other places I don’t have details or personal experience but I ask you to consider this morally corrupt way of operating. Are there not better things our UK taxes could be spent on?
12) In the period 2014 – 2016 there were 17 of the 28 countries who were NETT recipients of EU funding. Apparently the targeting for 2019 is to reduce the number of countries who will be nett recipients of EU funding (no guarantees). By definition therefore after allowing for our contribution to run the Brussels and Strasbourg set ups - the UK has been and will continue to subsidise many countries in the EU. Is this a good way to spend our money? Particularly when there is evidence that at least one country in Europe has used their EU regional subsidy to make it attractive for UK business to relocate there. So we are paying money to incentivise companies to take jobs away from the UK. This money is of course over and above the .07% of GDP we use to help countries around the World.
13) Many reliable independent sources and indeed the EU’s own records demonstrate their inability or unwillingness to adapt or be flexible in a crisis or an unforeseen event. One significant illustration of this is the “DO IT OUR WAY” approach with the euro. By not allowing countries to restructure or return to their own currencies and devalue to attract inward investment and activity contributed towards distress, high unemployment & social unrest amongst the poorer countries in Southern Europe. This is a clear illustration the “one size fits all” does not work when applied to such a diverse group of countries. It has become clear the EU’s Federalist plan is more important to them than the destruction of individual countries well-being and that of their populations. The EU one size fits all always fails for many – unless you are the wealthy so called “partner”.
14) The EU is increasingly more focused on its own political project and its own powerbase, than it is in the interests of the peoples of Europe. This - as everyone who follows the news will realise - has led to a rise of tensions and greater Euroscepticism across the Continent.
15) There is a view from respected well-meaning people about “Changing the EU from the inside”. The record however going back many years confirms that the EU is focused on its Federalist plan and real change will not happen; many placating words but never any fundamental changes of direction or flexibility. An obvious example is David Cameron who wanted very modest changes - all were rebuffed.
16) The EU structure is purposely geared to promote the wellbeing and growth of multinational companies at the expense of small and medium size operators. Easier to control and monitor one big player v 100 medium sized organisations; OK not a written policy as such - however looking at the facts over recent years this is the only conclusion. Multinational companies spend millions of euros lobbying the EU to gain advantages over their competitors and help market domination. A few names in this category are Google - Microsoft – Gen. Electric - Deutsche Bank - Siemens – Huawei (where have we heard that name before?) Volkswagen (they got found out recently re their testing regime without too much downside) plus many others. As you will be aware, Lobbying at this level means personnel employed to present/push involvement in EU projects, to increase their own domination and market share. These techniques also include a certain amount of entertaining. Yes lobbying goes on with all governments including the UK but the comparative levels of money spent and overall effort and results pales into insignificance. Yes business is business BUT where does this leave the UK’s SMEs?
17) The number of EU laws that come automatically into UK law or where UK laws originate from EU is very high and rising. Difficult to put an exact figure on this with claims as high as 70% down to 40% (appears to be a case of interpretation and the slant the particular source wants to put on the subject)Of course many of these laws are improvements and well meant. BUT what about full UK parliamentary scrutiny??? Or is Westminster to end up as a regional council office only?
18) Once every month for four days only the whole EU parliament – personnel and paperwork – moves south from Brussels to Strasbourg in France about 5 hours travelling time. Then on the fifth day moves back again. Cost per year is estimated at between £150mil - £170mil. That’s without a calculation of the work output and efficiency lost on 24/30 days lost every year through travel. Full salaries and expenses are of course paid during this move.
Why??? The only rationale I can find in my research is a quote that “its historic and it was to keep the French happy when the EU was set up” –
Efficient & cost effective????
To me it’s like moving the Westminster parliament to Newcastle for four days once a month. Would we Brits stand for that??
Source of above Information.
Mainly EU’s own website - Europa.eu
- Institutions and bodies
- Europa.eu/European-union index.en
- How the EU works – EEAS – Europe-eu
- Europa.eu/European – union index _ en
Info direct from the EU was accepted as fact - Doesn’t need to be checked – does it?
All other sources were cross checked
Other reference points
- Politics.stackexchange.com – how – is – the - EU – governed
- Congressional Research Service – EU questions and answers.
- Wikipedia (various sections)
- The UK in a changing Europe
- Who pays what – BBC news website
(Any info used from this BBC source was thoroughly cross checked
To confirm neutrality.)
- reddit.com - givers and takers
- Full fact-org/Europe – UK’s fact checking charity.
Eighteen random facts above: some of the reasons why 17.4million people voted to leave the European Union.
Test me! – Please check them all out with some in depth unbiased research.
If you take this seriously - during your research also look at other factors such as:
- The very low income tax 330,000 people directly employed by the EU pay. None of this tax by the way goes back to the person’s home country but back into the Brussels coffers. Plus generous pensions at age 63
(What’s the UK starting age for pensions going up to?)
SO What’s the justification for this income comfort zone?
- The fact that the EU’s own internal auditors (No not external unbiased auditors which are used by all companies or organisations across Europe) have not fully signed off the EU’s accounts for many years.
Why? “Significant errors found” is their feedback - Refer back to point 11 above.
- People have said “why do you want to leave Europe” - giving the impression the EU is Europe – This is a common mistake we don’t want to leave Europe Just the Political grouping called the European Union.
If after reading all the above and you do your own independent research and cross checking and still feel the UK should remain in the EU I will be very surprised. Of course if any of the above information you feel is not accurate please send me details with the cross reference of your legitimate source.