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Direct Democracy: you makes your choice and you pays your money…

by Marrick on June 7, 2012

HM-TreasuryimageDirect democracy. What a wonderful phrase. Just roll it around on your tongue for a little while and savour the warm, juicy flavours of the brew. Direct democracy. Mmmm, if Nescafé could capture that aroma, they’d make a mint.

So, what is this heady mixture? Here’s what Wikipedia says:

Direct democracy (or pure democracy) is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. Depending on the particular system in use, it might entail passing executive decisions, making laws, directly electing or dismissing officials and conducting trials. Two leading forms of direct democracy are participatory democracy and deliberative democracy.

Without going into the technicalities of how and why, let’s think about Britain, which has a system of representative democracy, and how it would benefit us as a nation.

Representative democracy is a fudge: it happened because we couldn’t implement direct democracy and because the men – and they were men – at the top wanted to retain some measure of control. Perhaps they thought they knew better than the average punter, so their wisdom was needed to keep things going.

Since then, they have been screwing everything up royally. Okay, there’s the argument that the present economic system has within it the seeds of its own destruction, and there’s probably some truth to that, but managing capitalism is not the most difficult of tasks. It boils down to three things:

1) Make sure people buy stuff

2) To do that, you have to make sure people have money

3) Make sure people make stuff that other people want to buy

It couldn’t be easier really. So, what to the masters of the universe do? They make sure only a tiny number of people have money, they stop making stuff and get people doing financial transactions and selling insurance, and they make the stuff that people want to buy too expensive to buy by taxing it to death and giving that to the people who already have money. Expletive alert: FFS… Are these people brain dead?

So, I think we need to show them how it’s done. Direct democracy. We, the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland do solemnly resolve to sort out the mess made by the bankers, politicians, aristocrats and billionaires, because we just can’t trust you anymore.

Let’s have a pilot scheme and take control of an aspect of government, because those we entrust with our money are just doing it wrong. Let us take control of the purse strings and vote on how the government is going to tax us.

I don’t want to tell them how to spend the money (yet), or how much they need to generate to run the country (yet), we can carry on electing them on the basis that they carry out a programme contained in their manifestos, obviously adjusting it to meet circumstances and allowing for “interpretation” – see me after school Brown and Blair, we need to talk about a referendum we didn’t have. However, I’d quite like the opportunity to recall those naughty ministers who make whopping big promises that turn out to be whopping big fibs. Yes, you young Clegg, I’m looking at you. But that’s another argument and another blog post, as well as being another promise Cameron and Clegg never lived up to.

Suffice to say, I’m proposing that Parliament puts to the people a series of tax proposals and we vote on them. Every year.

The criteria would be, the Government would lay out its programme, the Treasury, or an independent body would assess the cost of the programme and then we would be offered various ways of funding it.

I did think of hard coding it, so that we would have something like four or five proposals that were fixed in nature, something like:

  1. A fixed, flat rate of tax for everyone, and a VAT rate that would top it up
  2. Two tax bands, one for low earners, one for high earners and a VAT rate to top it up
  3. Three tax bands of a,b and c plus a VAT rate that tops up the requirement
  4. Three tax bands of d,e and f plus a VAT rate that tops up the requirement
  5. Three tax bands of g,h and i plus a VAT rate that tops up the requirement

The last three proposals would place different emphasis on each of the bands – in other words, someone is going to pay, so it may as well be the other fellah.

Then I thought, maybe a good alternative way would be to have a matrix of choices to increase or decrease bands and VAT by a set amount. This would be doable electronically, so if you decrease one band by a per cent or two, you have to increase one or more of the others. The various rates could be determined by each of the parties with more than x number of MPs, with each proposal having to pass the Treasury##Q##s estimate of the yield needed.
Obviously, if there is a shortfall, the government would have to run a deficit, but make it up next time around, if there##Q##s a surplus, that would have to be factored into the following year##Q##s calc.

Then I thought, this is all getting too complicated for trial run, we need to simplify it and so I had to lean on our representatives again – a bit of fudge, I know, but hear me out.

It did occur to me that for the Chancellor to do this would be an abrogation of his constitutional duty. Not only that, but there would be difficulties in interpretation. With all those options do you assess the answer on first past the post, or some weighted system?

I think we can dismiss first past the post, because we could end up with a tax system favoured by a well organised 17% of the voters. A little bit like our government: which is really a dictatorship of the minority – those floating voters who have decided every government since the year dot.

The other thing is, of course, taxation is not just income tax and VAT. The Treasury##Q##s collections are ranked as follows:

  • 1) Income tax
  • 2) NI
  • 3) VAT
  • 4) Corporation Tax
  • 5) Excise Duties

So, it is a bit more complex than just income tax and VAT. Perhaps though, we can just have a pilot on the two taxes that we notice the most – the first affecting our pay packet, the other affecting our spendies.

Then there’s the question of the government’s constitutional duty. The constitutional argument is one that weighs heavily with me, but I think we are now, finally, in a position where direct democracy is a real possibility, both in terms of the populations’ educational standing and from a technical standpoint. Having said that, I think it needs to be guided, because we currently lack the sophistication to be fully direct, but we’re getting there.

As for deciding how to select the most popular option, I##Q##m pretty sure we could have a transferable vote system, in which the voter orders their preferences. That unfortunately would presuppose fixed positions though, which isn##Q##t as desirable as the guided flexibility I proposed above. I AM leaning towards fixed positions though. Perhaps the largest party could put forward three alternatives, the opposition two positions and the next largest party could suggest one. So we would have six positions validated by the treasury, or an independent body, on which we vote, with the most popular position after all the preferences were transferred being adopted by the treasury for year.

When I first mooted this, it was suggested that this would cause too many annual variations in the tax scheme and it would be expensive to implement. Well voting need not be expensive – we could utilise local libraries and conduct the vote over a period of say two weeks, allowing people plenty of time to discuss the proposals and go to the library, login to a website, present their unique ID (which is surely not beyond the wit of the government to implement) and make their mark online – perhaps with assistance from observers.

As for annual changes costing too much, I think that’s a fallacy, plain and simple. Every year of my life, income tax has changed, either by the rate varying, or the allowances changing. So, no increased costs there, just keep calm and carry on.

VAT hasn’t varied as much as Income Tax, and certainly not annually – here’s a brief history of VAT.

  • VAT started at 10% in 1973 by Anthony Barber.
  • In 1974, Healey dropped the basic rate to 8% and introduced a luxury VAT at 12.5%
  • Later in 1974, Healey increased the luxury VAT to 25%
  • In April 1976 Healey dropped the luxury element down to 12.5%
  • In June 1979 Howe increased the basic rate to 15% and abolished the luxury rate.
  • Norman Lamont increased the basic rate to 17.5% in 1991
  • In 1992 Lamont extended the scope to include domestic fuel and power at 8%
  • In 1995 Lamont tried to increase the rate on fuel and power to 17.5% but lost the vote in Parliament
  • In 1997 Brown reduced the rate of VAT on domestic fuel and power to 5%
  • In 1997 Brown reduce the rate on installation of energy saving materials to 8%
  • In 1998 Brown reduced the VAT on sanitary protection products to 8%
  • In April 2001 Brown reduced the rate on children##Q##s car seats to 8%
  • In May 2001 Brown reduced the rate on conversion and renovation of certain residential properties to 8%
  • In July 2006 Brown reduced the rate on contraceptives to 8%
  • In July 2007 Brown reduced the rate on smoking cessation products to 8%
  • In Nov 2008 Darling reduced the standard rate of VAT to 15% until Jan 2010
  • In January 2011 Osborne increased the standard rate to 20%

Tories increase VAT – nah mate

Now, I am tempted to state the obvious and point out that one party has consistently reduced VAT and one party has consistently increased it. Oh… I just did. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound. The fact is the only party to ever reduce VAT is Labour and the Tories have increased it every time they have been in government, yet the Tories are regarded as the party of low tax. This is as good an example of propaganda working successfully as you will ever see. It’s worse if you look at the Tories promises before each election – “Nooooo. Increase VAT? Perish the thought.” The public buys it every time.

Anyway, here’s my idea – each of the three main parties, whoever they might be, puts together a tax proposal, which is audited by the Treasury, or an independent body, simply to verify that the proposal would generate sufficient income to meet the Government’s spending plans. IF, the treasury gets it wrong, then the government can run a deficit budget and make an adjustment the following year. No biggie, the so called deficit cutters are running deficit budgets every year and building up our debt mountain year on year. If there’s a surplus, then happy days – we all get a bank holiday and day on a barge sailing down the Thames, or the Taff or around the lakes, whatever.

Once the tax proposals are finalised, we vote on them – they need to be simple, easy to read proposals that can’t be subject to obfuscation. Now here’s the critical bit. The press are banned from commenting on the Tax Proposals FULL STOP. Not a bloody word from you Kelvin McKenzie. That way, people can make up their own minds, not have them made up for them. The Sun says… FA.

We vote on the six proposals and mark each of them according to our preference. Once the first preferences are counted, then the bottom one drops out and the second preferences are counted. These would be weighted according to the arcane principles only some little old lady at the Electoral Reform Society knows how to calculate, and then redistributed. This would go on until we have a winner. The winner would be the tax proposal that is liked the most by most people.

Hopefully this would solve the problem of the very rich getting away with blue murder, because the Labour Party and perhaps the Lib-Dems would put forward at least one proposal that has a higher rate for the wealthy and lots less for the rest of us. We would vote for it in droves.

At least we would decide how we’re going to pay the government, or as my nan used to say: “You pays your money, you takes your choice.” Just the other way around.

12 thoughts on “Direct Democracy: you makes your choice and you pays your money…

  1. Dorothy says:

    A brilliant idea and a way forwad, a move away from representaive democracy, give the people a real voice, by the vote, to decided on national issues such as Tax, it could be also extened to major issues concerning, National Security and Immigration, also our Forces such as the Navy, Army, Air Force, the Police and Prison Servies and the NHS. National and Public enterprises that the people pay for, let the people have their say in how they are run and what they want. For certain they wont do any worse than the motley crew we have had over the years via representative democracy, that haven’t in real terms actually ‘represented’ the mojority of us.

    • Mike says:

      Not wanting to poo poo your support for change that is sorely needed dorothy but as “nice” as your ideas are theyre really not practical at all

      One of the reasons we have a representative government to begin with is because people are selfish, selfinterested and self absorbed. And because the majority of people in a country really dont have the knowledge or common sense to make decisions on a national scale to begin with

      So it would be a bit like asking a group of chimps to try and beat a human at monopoly really

      Admittedly anyone CAN make a choice and tick a box on a topic like immigration. But most people really dont know anything like enough to be able to make what could be considered an “informed” decision. And without that their point of view is realistically completely worthless

      In a “perfect” world everyone would be able to take a stab at making every decision

      But we dont live in this fairy tale perfect world do we? We live in the REAL world where most people wouldnt know the first thing about budgetary constraints and even if they did would still use emotions to decide rather than common sense of logic

      So yes our votes do need to be recorded more effectively with some kind of workable and effective proportional representation approach

      But we also STILL need elected representatives, but they just need to be made to realise that THEY work for US as they seem of late to be labouring (or torying lol) under the delusion that we infact work for them and that the laws dont apply to them and its THAT which needs to change

      I do however think that for a democracy to function effectively voting should be compulsory for the electorate and that votes in parliament should also need ALL MPs to vote and that they should be able to do that remotely

      People whinge and whine about politics and the government and tax etc but only around 30% of the people can be bothered to vote WTF????

      And in parliament many things have far less of a percentage of the MPs voting on them than that also WTF

      MPs should vote on EVERYTHING, its their job, its what their constituents voted for them to do and if they cant be bothered they should resign

      BUT

      The population of this country taking advantage of the fact this is a democratic country (well its an oligarchy actually but lets not split hairs) ALSO have a responsibility to take part in that process so IMO voting should be compulsory for everyone

      But with one addition, there should be a “none of the above” tick box, and if that has the majority then the parties go back to the drawing board and make new offers and we have another election

      Because its that “you HAVE to have one of the choices on offer” system that has led to us having less and less in terms of fairness and representation over the years.

      Because successive governments have realised that they can offer less and less as long as all parties do and that even if elected they dont even have to do anything they promised anyway

      So until we change that we arent in a positon to demand what we deserve and have to make do with the best of the crap that the elite offer us

  2. Mike says:

    Some of your ideas whilst “nice” in principle are I feel too cumbersome, impractical and even perhaps dangerous in practise

    An example being the tax system and voting on it. Not only do papers quite heavily brainwash, trick and nudge people with great effect into voting for the policies that suit them worst but they have also spent decades flea training the majority into just phasing out when any detailed political discussion is afoot and into seeing any important political decision as painfully and mind numbingly boring which is then aided by living in such a tax heavy society with ever increasing draconian systems and rapidly increasing fear levels for peoples individual futures making the average person more inclined to want to put their head in the sand and hope for the best nowadays than take interest and fight for fairness when they get the chance to relax

    Even your idea of checking the validity of a budget by an independant body is flawed in that the government already has “independant” bodies in droves, there are also totally and wholly independant committees and panels and various internal bodies that all voice opinions on or weild some power over various aspects of government or policy

    Problem though is that money is an equalising factor to everyone, and human nature sadly dictates that pretty much everyone WILL put personal financial gain above doing the right thing

    How infact did we get the fractional reserve banking system in the first place? How did we end up paying massive amounts of compounded interest to jewish private international bankers instead of generating our own state controlled currency with a fixed rate or even zero rate of interest?

    Those things happened because the people we elected to do what was best for US did what was best for THEM and which was also the absolute worst and most unforgiveable thing any government could do for its population

    But they did it anyway and that same self serving greed based decision making has introduced the rothschild banking system into practically every country in the world bar about a dozen if i rec all correctly

    Most of the dozen that dont already have it are (Were) countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, northern Korea

    Anyone see a pattern?

    So my point is this. Create practically any “independant” body of people and eiither by promise of super pensions, pay rises or whatever they could be discretely influenced to “ok” proposals that were far from ok, which would then open the door for interim measures to bridge the “unexpected gap” anyway

    I am a big believer in the concept that a party manifesto SHOULD be a legally binding contract though and always have done. And that if a government fails to achieve what it proposed then we should then count the contract and null and void and have another election and they should have to then pay a forfiet for either failing or being misleading about what they thought they could achieve

    A fine basically for promising more than they could deliver

    I think that after a few years of that system not only would parties have to become more honest and realistic in what they offer to voters. But we would have more being done in one year of that system than gets done now in an entire term as we seem to have a system where each government either does very little, or just lots of things 99% of the population would totally hate and THEN in the last year/six months leading up to the next election they do SOME stuff and go on and on and on and on about it as a platform for re election

    Where is their clear job description. outline of duties and expectations, contract outlining what they will do, what their terms for dismissal are and what happens in a breach of the contract by EITHER party?

    I would also like to see MPs salaries and expenses means tested, they seem to think its a BRILLIANT idea for everyone else so why not them too?

    Why do we pay millionaires child benefit? Fair point

    So why also do we pay millionaires and perhaps even the odd billionaire their MPs salaries and expenses when their personal interest on their wealth is more per week than what theyre paid or defraud via expenses

    we also need to massively overhaul the confict of interest things and stop at ALL levels people giving overquoted contracts to personal friends or family members companies or awarding contracts to companies where they get a well paid token chairmanship from one of their sister companies etc

    That kind of stuff, personal financial interests in a business sector someone is creating policy on and various other forms of conflict of interests should be treated as criminal offenses, mainly fraud and then prosecuted fully in EVER instance due to the severity of someone in that position doing that kind of thing as its far more serious than someone who isnt in the public eye or even in a private company doing it as they arent representing millions of electors

    So the most important change needed in government at ALL levels is the eradication or more realistically the lessening of the opportunities for personal gain and acting in the best interests of the few rather than the many and those are far more likely to be accomplished than changing a taxation system

    Plus by removing the corruption and self interest from politics, policing it and therefore getting a better class of person into politics rather than the current lord of the manor peasant beaters we are seeing many of the other things like crippling taxation, lack of support for industry, siding with the people rather than the companies etc would be dealt with anyway once fairer and less self serving people started to have a say in politics

  3. Dorothy says:

    Though you have some very good ideas I have to strongly disagree with your excuse and defence as to why we have a Representative Democracy. It is not the good people of Britain that have shown themselves to be selfish. What you say is an insult to the intelligence of the people. Democracy has been slowly eroded over many years, power and our voice have been systematically taken away from us, and more and more of it given to those that have been elected to represent us and not doing what they was elected to do. The result being that so many people have lost confidence in our politicians and ruling class so refuse to vote. We that is the British people have no real representation in Parliment; when push comes to a shove we are abandoned for representatives that are motivated by their own selfish interests. The only way to combat this is give power and a voice back to the people, let them vote on major national and public issue. I for one have faith in the British people, its a great shame that those that supposedly represent them do not, that itself is not good! I can assure you, had our voices been listened to more often, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now. You can’t blame the public and call them selfish because our representatives not doing what they should. They are not only disloyal to the people they supposedly represent, but also to the UK as a whole.
    Yes there are many outstanding problems in Britain today, the rot starts at the very top, and that is where change needs to start first, our leaders need to lead by a good example and not rule by greed nor selfish motives. The scum at the top co exists with the scum at the bottom and everyone else is sandwich in the middle with no protection and no life line.
    Do you think it is fair and just that a poor man should pay more tax than a rich man? The Robin Hood Tax Campaign high-lights the need for a change in our tax system. Martyn has given a very good idea, one that the people would give some consideration to, like all first ideas it needs to be debated not dismissed, maybe needs some tweaking and polishing here and there, but you for some reason abject without putting forward your own proposal. The way things are at present we have an unacceptable system of legalised crime amongst the richest people in society they are a law unto themselves. It has become common practice for tax avoidance on a huge scale by the wealthiest of people and industry in Britain, cheating Britain out of its dues and demand; whilst greatly contributing to the ever growing plight of suffering and poverty today, they should hang their heads in shame. Are you opposed to this practice? If so what is your proposal to help correct and put right this grave wrong?

  4. Dorothy says:

    haha talk about blaming the people, just read todays article 1oth June on Nobody like a Tory, even Eric Picles is blameing the poorest of Britain and lets face it there is a lot of us now an ever growing number, there is no shorage of poor peope in Britain to pass the blame on to for failers in government. What a joke they are they should be in the circus haha Oh I forgot presant day Britiash politec has become a circus and the laughing stock of the world

  5. Mike says:

    I think you are massively and I do mean absolutely epicly massively OVERestimating the abilities and mental skills of the average person in the world, not just the UK

    Ordinary people on average dont have the conceptual ability to intrinsically understand in a useful way the complexities of even one major national subject like taxation as an example so to labour under the delusion that semi illiterate manual workers with no qualifications will be able to not only understand but wisely vote on or tweak someting as complex as tax law just beggars belief

    Its a “nice” ideal to believe everyon is equal, and that everyone would either have the time, the inclination or the ability to grasp not just ONE complex national issue but hundreds of them day in and day out whilst also still fitting in their social and family commitments AND managing to earn a living at work

    Back here in reality though that stuff IS infact a full time job, thats why we have found it makes sense to actually create jobs and pay people to do it as try as you might but you cant put more than 24 hours into a day nor could a country where everyne spent 10 hours a day being a politician actually manage to do ANYTHING else

    And rather than objecting and not offering alternatives I think you will find I offered several alternatives that could far more readily and far more realistically be employed than your “make everyone a politician” idea which is wholly unworkable and impractical even with modern technology to overcome the communication barrier

    because no amount of communication can iovercome the lack of interest, intellect, conceptual ability, freetime or understanding gaps that would still be in place

    And without being able to overcome ALL of those (not just one or two) you would be no better off than if you just let a load of chimps randomly press voting buttons

    What you are actually talking about is change like that seen in some african countries where the “public” siezed power. And as seen in what was formerly zimbabwe they floundered miserably due to lack of conceptual ability, intellect, expertise, planning ability and have been running the country into the ground ever since due to not having the required skill sets

    Theres a HUGE gap between thinking you can do something and actually being able to

    And where politics is concerned 100% of people think they can do it, but maybe 5% max actually could to any reasonable degree, and only a fraction of those could do it well

  6. Dorothy says:

    There was a time when the unions paid to educate those that represnted, us and represent us they did! Now we have career politicians that have no real life skills and are tottaly out of touch with the people. That WILLl change, there is a vacant position waiting to be filled, for a leader for a Direct Democracy, I can say that with certainty, ‘ I AM’ in touch with the people, and know the mass of support for it, it is only a matter of time before that vacant position is filled. The LP is corrupted with tory blaiites, they block every move for a better and fairer life for the people, they have not represented the ordinary person since Tony Blair lead th party. He is not a like man amongst the peope. The LP have forsaken its roots. If the LP doesn’t sort it self out before now and then, the centre and right if they don’t lean back to the left and serv the people then the left will either have to seperate or be abandond when the people find a honourable and loyal politican to lead, that is not an easy task in this preasnt world of British politics that is soley motivated by personal greed for wealth and power.But it will happen, make no mistake just like the LP once had a beginning the time is ripe and people are wanting a new party. Your line of thinking is a perfect example of a politican tha is out of touch, one that thinks too highly of himself. There is nothing I can really add to that because you have said it all, you speak very much for YOUR SELF and those that do not stand for the people. Your words and thoughts show you to be a tory which ever part you rised in or not.

    You didn’t directly answer my question: Are you against unacceptable practices of the wealthist people in Britain that have cheated us and virtually bankruted the ‘public’ purse?
    I say you didn’t directly answer my question because I can see your line of thinking is not with the people nor for a fairer and better Britian for ALL. Thinking along that line would I be right in assuming that you DO NOT have a proposel for a fairer tax reform?

    You would do yourself and your fellow man a great justice my remembering you are only dust and water the same as the rest of us. By your out spoken insults toward the intellegence of the ordinary man and women, you show yourself to be the lessor one. Isnt is so the eductaion sytem has been attacked and starved of resources over they years! Why? We all know why it’s because those who think too much of themselvs don’t like it that the ordinery people have many talents and is as much as if not more intellegent and capablity than the career politicians we have dictating over us. We are seen as a threat to status quo rather than an assest.

    Do you have a proposal for a fairer tax refom system or not? Or do you just like to object and tear down in the same like manner that Blairites and torys do? It would be nice to read something from you that is suportive towards helping the people. The only time a person should look down upon aonther is when they are reaching out to them to give them a hand up.

    • Mike says:

      There are various ways to make tax “fairer” but that isnt what this discussion is about, and you have already run off on eroneous tangents far too much to have any form of decent discussion as it is without adding to the bedlam

      As for bankrupting the country you REALLY need to look at labour policy as niether labour NOR tories are a workable idealogy and that IS by design

      Socialist parties in short “allegedly” claim to think the answers to all problems are

      1. Throw money at it
      2. Talk about being more and more understanding towards it and alter the law to reflect that
      and
      3. To introduce ANYTHING, no matter how pointless, obviously unlikely to make a difference or totally out of touch with the problem it is and then make as much noise about it as they can

      The tories on the other hand tout

      1. Starve as much money from it as possible then sell it off to your friends
      2. Talk about being more responsible (if youre poor) and tighten policies to make people responsible not only for their own deeds but also the deeds of anyone nearby
      3. Try as hard as possible to introduce martial law on the poor whether by actual law or just by taxing them till they cant afford to go anywhere

      Niether is workable as an entire ideology, and both would if left unchecked lead to oppression and eventually revolt.

      But what youre totally missing is that the problem here and all around the world ISNT with politicians, its with political SYSTEMS and also that politicians dont run countries and havent done since well into the last century. Once a country has the fractional reserve banking system installed and its currency controlled by a private bank then its government no matter which flavour it might be is entirely under their control

      As for insulting “the people” (give my regards to stalin). What I said is both factual and acurate

      “ordinary people” NEED to eat, so they need to work, they also need sleep, time to eat and time for a social life and family contact

      Politics IS a fulltime job, so even where someone DOES have the mental agility to sufficiently grasp a concept where theyre not doing it for a job they simply dont have the time to fully get that knowledge and then keep up with it as its also a full time job in many instances to just track alll the changes AFTER you grasp the concept at hand

      That is simply logistics and the limitation of how many hours are in the day AND the time that everyday life, a job and sleeping takes out of that number

      As for actually having the mental agility, that also is simply observing facts

      To be good at politics somebody has to be excellent at not just reading people but predicting their reaction patterns, they need to have a very good level of spatial awareness and be able to rationally and in a proportionate manner link together a MASSIVE amount of related tangents and interactions with intuition and knowledge based on whatever system is being examined to the point of being above average at predicting the outcome and THEN they have to also have the abiliity to plan and predict with some level of acuracy over not just weeks and months but over years and decades extrapolating interactive curves to that extent to get some idea of possible trending

      I know most people think politics is easy peasy and involves just deciding isolated yes no type questions over lunch at posh hotels but that isnt the crux of it

      And the type of thought processes involved can and regularly DO require mental agility that is best compared to somethjing like a very VERY good chess player

      Whereas sticking with that analogy the majority of people could “learn” chess, but very very few people can ever develop an above average or even fairly good ability at the game becauese of its mental complexity to play and predict well

      But people and many political issues are as complex as playing a dozen games of chess side by side

      So no I wasnt “insulting” ordinary people, I was simply highlighting that despite what socialism and communism MIGHT claim all people ARENT equal, some are taller, shorter, stronger, more artistic and some are just more intelligent, Thats a fact of life and genetics and no amount of legislation nor campaigning will change that

      But failing to accept it does more harm than any flavour of politics though as it negates seeing who is and isnt best suited for a task

      Re the rich though, re read my post. I ONLY referred to intelligence not wealth. It was you that linked those two together showing that your own biases stop you being able to read what is ACTUALLY written in favour of what you THINK is written

      And the fact of the matter IS that most people in the country wouldnt be upto the complexity of politics or even running a large company which isnt AS complex as politics and that is no different to the fact that an equal “most” people wouldnt be good at trapeeze, painting and anything else that requires any level of skill

      So my point is simply that “everyone” isnt up to the task, just SOME people, and as many of those work anyway and just dont have the time to understand a problem fully your “everyone” democracy would mean that msot people DONT have a clue what on earth theyre voting on so the system is as worthless as a bunch of chimps voting

      You might as well just give people an A and B button and not even tell them what it is theyre voting on.

      Based on statistical probability that has JUST as much chance of arriving at the correct choice as getting people with no real understanding of the question to vote on it

  7. Dorothy says:

    How many times I have heard it said that the politicians don’t run the country, how quick some are at passing the blame, saying its the political system, its the puclic servants, its the bankers, its the oil companies the list goes on, it like saying the Chairman of RBS Stephen Hestler doesn’t have ANY control over how RBS it is run or the bonuses the bankers scoop, or that the Queen isn’t political. The Politicans make the laws and they decide who gets what and who pays how much in what tax and the Queens she passes them. The buck does stop there.
    You still havn’t posted your proposal for what you would consider an acceptable and a workable tax system that doesn’t disavange the people!
    If I was able to I would make my own proposal if I disagreed with what has been proposed by Martyn, but even if I wanted to I would not know were to start. But suprisingly enough my daughter is a Tax Accountant, how did that happen her being of working class stock, maybe the masses do produce children that are intelligent people after all! She quite likes Martyn’s proposel and thinks it shouldn’t be so easily is dismissed but accepted for debate. In a democracy all political party’s should be open to suggestions, what ever prosposels are put before them and not be dismissed without consideration; this is where we come back to our ellected representatives not doing their job nor
    standing for the people they suposedly represent. Also my brother-in-law he is a grad 1 University Lecture in Tax, Accounts and Business, he sees no objection with Martyn’s proposel being accepted for consideration. He too is open to new proposals, same again like the many he sees a need for change and an end to the exploitation and bad behaiviour in politics and big buisness, the two do walk hand in hand that is no big secret.
    Do you have a propsal to match Martyn’s ? The country needs some good ideas our carear poitiicans don’t do well in that erea, they are well trainded and tunnel visioned.
    Or are you quite happy with the system as it is, I asked you if you apose the bad practice of tax avoidance in politics and big buisness, for all your words you don’t actually say, you skirt around the edges and sit on the fence, you don’t say if you are ‘for’ or ‘against’! You cannot and will not directly speak out in defense of the people. Your loyalties are not with the people of the UK

    • Mike says:

      Why on earth would it be surprising that a “working class” person has the intellect to work in tax?

      Again youre responding to what you THINK might have been written rather than to what WAS actually written. Infact to highlight that one very specific example that highlights that is my mention of people who COULD understand complex systems not having the time to learn enough about them becaue of the constraints of having to actually work for a living so they can eat and pay their bills

      As for minimising taxation, taking back national assets like oil and gas as well as utilities would be a pretty good start as increasing amounts of the countries wealth is being absorbed by basic needs

      Many arab countries veiw their oil and gas as being owned by “the people” so the state extracts it and sells it and then shares out a percentage of the profits with all natural citizens.

      But the fact still remains that “ideas” are worthless until the people who would veto them are removed

      So the existing system WILL continue to approve only that which suits the financial benefits of the current system and those that are in it and until that is changed then its unlikely any proposals that dont favour big business would be impremented

      hell, even ringfencing of taxation so that central government cant spend tax before it gets to where it was suposedly collected for can get it still hasnt been and is unlikely to be introduced anytime soon so if something thats as much of a no brainer cant be introduced then good luck trying to get something far more complex introduced

      What was actually missing from the initial post is an examination of aims

      The fact that current moves stiffle capitalistic consumer led business is ONLY a bad move if a bustling and thriving economy is the aim. Whereas I dont think that has been the aim for quite a while now and the next stage of the process is the opposite and will require the collapse of ALL major monitary units that can be collapsed including the US dollar and british pound and that requires a stiffled and over taxed economy with limited growth

      So with that in mind what we have currently is a HUGE success nor a failure or mistake. As you can only guage the success of an approach when you know what the actual aims are. And the header here assumes the aim to be the growth of a bustling economy, not a collapsing one that all assets would be far cheaper to acquire in which HAS been the process for each of the economic collapses so far that the banks cause a collapse then buy up competitors, resources, assets and secure a revenue stream from national debt acquired during the process each time emergingstronger than they went in with more of the wealth being with fewer of the people

      The main difference now is that we are much closer to a global currency and with maybe one or two more financial collapses that will probably be accomplished

      So the UK doesnt need a bustling economy anymore and isnt that much more significant now in a global sense than anywhere else

      Why when people have spent over a century introducing the current banking system and the concept of debt slavery would they have any reason to want to do a compete u turn on all that hard work and distribute the wealth more fairly?

      And if by some slim chance a group of renegades did get into politics and try to shake things up the same people who control our currency just need to reset the nations credit rating and our currency would hyper inflate and become worthless leaving us open to being bought up lock stock and barrel for pittance as they attempted to do to germany after WW1

      The path we are traversing currently is one that more closely resembles the start of the last century with little to no welfare, work houses and the like or as seen in poor countries like india where the majority barely survive

      Eventually that will be the case across the entire globe if nothing changes and it IS an actual process I believe and one that governments are just lowly pawns in implementing as seen regularly whenever the best interests of a company conflict with the best interest of the natiion and the company wins more often than not

  8. Keith says:

    I can feel that Dorothy is passionate about “the people” but you have to understand that they have the vote, they have disenfranchised themselves, nobody has taken it away from them. What do you think will make them vote again, having more complex issues than choosing between three parties, I don’t think so.

    Who are “the people”, until I read these arguments I thought that I was one of them, but it seems that I’m not as I make use of my vote at every possible opportunity. Do you have any interaction with “the people” as I get the feeling that you don’t, go into a town centre on a Saturday night and discuss the issues of taxation with them, I’m sure they’ll freely enter into that debate. Or go into an estate where the parents are sitting at home watching reality TV while the kids are outside causing havoc until the early hours of the morning. There are decent honest people who are having their lives ruined by “the people” who live by these values and I wouldn’t want them deciding my taxation system.

    Come into the real world, these people don’t vote because they can’t be bothered, they have given up hope since Thatcher broke the will of the system and Blair decided to continue it. 40 years ago I might have stuck my head over the parapet to fight the good cause but now we have two lost generations and a third on it’s way. I would suggest going to a town centre, in any part of the country, on a Saturday night and meeting “the people” then decide if they should hold the fiscal future of this country in their hands. And before I get accused of being elitist, I am out on a Saturday night drinking with “the people” they are my mates and neighbours, but as soon as I start to discuss politics I’m told in no uncertain terms that they are proud that they don’t vote as it changes nothing and they don’t understand it anyway.

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