This week is the 750th Anniversary of the dissolution of the De Montfort Parliament which was the first English Parliament that was made up of local representatives from across the Nation. It followed on from the Battle of Lewes and the inability of Simon De Montfort to govern the country alone. Although the Parliament was in theory the first Parliament to reflect the nation as a whole, it was dissolved when Simon De Monfort lost the support of one of his most powerful supporters, the Earl of Gloucester. This idea of powerful individuals acting as restrictors to what should otherwise be an open and inclusive form of Governance has clear resonance with our Parliament. We don’t have powerful individuals who could force the end of a Parliament as the Earl of Gloucester did 750 years ago but our Political Parties do have that sort of power, they are the modern Earls, dominating society even though their interests really only reflect the views of 1% of the population. This week we have heard 3 parties telling us lies regarding their plans for the next 5 years and as things stand at least one of them will dominate our nations ‘democratically elected’ government. This is a form of democracy where these parties decide who will participate in leaders debates that we are allowed to listen to and also similar debates between the Chancellor and his opposite numbers. Even at a local level these parties get to set the basis on which local hustings will be organised, who is included and who is excluded. They may not do it openly but behind the scenes they make their views clear and local organisers have no choice but to dance to their. The three lies we have been told this week show just how stupid the Parties think we are. Sadly though, unless we do something such as electing a meaningful number of candidates from other parties and those who are Independent of all Parties we will simply reinforce the power of these modern day Earls. The lies relate to the Budget and the impact that the decisions announced on Wednesday will have on you and I.
First of the liars was George Osborne telling us that all was on track and if we trust him he will ensure that the cuts to local services are no worse than we have experienced so far, and that by trusting him the Nations credit card will have been paid off well before the election in 2020. This is despite the fact that he made exactly that promise 5 years ago promising us that we would be out of debt by 2015! The idea that things will be no worse simply because the cuts are of the same order as over the last 5 years ignores the extent to which local public services are all drastically reduced when compared to 5 years ago and the impact is already being felt by all residents except those who are most isolated from such services. Further cuts will simply cut deeper into desperately needed services which benefit all of us.
Second up was Danny Alexander, explaining to his colleagues that although he had worked with George Osborne on the budget, and that the Lib Dems support the Conservative party on the announcements made by Mr Osborne, that 24 hours later he had decided that the proposals within the budget were not something he would agree to in May, even though the budget is for a year, and his plans for the next 5 years will seem very different to those of the current Government of which he is one of the most powerful Ministers.
Finally we have had several interventions by the Labour Party who are claiming that things will be very different in the next 5 years if they are elected. This is despite the fact that they have already made it clear that their cuts to public services will be of a similar order to those of the Conservative Party and the Lib Dems.
Who will free us from these lying Earls? Based on this mornings news perhaps we need to also eliminate UKIP from the possible alternatives!