Charles John Huffam Dickens
born on Portsea Island in 1812
Portsea Island Post
County of Hampshire, England
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
born on Portsea Island in 1806
|Portsea Island Post
Portsea Island, Hampshire
LeaderThe current economic circumstances and slowness in achieving positive outcomes from government policies is resulting in an increasing number of people losing work. They can then face a serious challenge in meeting financial commitments; they face serious debt problems. They also need to get back to work within as short a period as possible.
On the debt issue we are introducing a section that provides some advice but more importantly links to those who can assist families to manage their debt.
Click to access this section
On the issue of identifying employment opportunities many readers have mentioned the difficulties in identifying suitable employment on and around Portsea Island. Those using, for example, the Job Centre website and the Universal Jobmatch service have expressed frustration with its poor performace. We have therefore decided to provide two new services.
One is essentially links to existing web sites where general employment opportnities are announced.
The other is a PIP site that is being designed so as to provide information on jobs on and around Portsea Island. If we discover someone already doing this we will provide the appropriate links
We hope these initiatives prove to be a useful service for the people living on and around Portsea Island
Portsea Island Post was established in April 2008 as part of Agence Presse Européenne Media to provide an independent coverage of events of importance to communities living on Portsea Island and surrounding areas.
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
How constitutional principles saved a nationLike all politicians facing the challenges of demands being made by owners of assets of failed private banks, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland, faced pressure from creditors for the government to bail out private banks with government revenue or loans and to compensate deposit holders. Rather than panic under the immense pressure of the extra-constitutional pressures brought about by the IMF, banks and media, Ólafur Grímsson took time to reflect upon and to analyze the issue. In completing his decision analysis he had to take into account the direct pressure from Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling.
President Grímsson did not react in a knee-jerk fashion as Gordon Brown and the US Governments had done. The solution of these so-called "democracies" was to force normal people, including farmers, nurses, doctors, factory workers and fishermen pay for the mistakes made by the management of big banks. He recognized immediately that such a "solution" was completely unconstitutional; the demands of the "financial system" posed a threat to democracy. Indeed, President Grímsson was one of the first politicians to openly express this problem of the undermining of democracy through an unfair imposition of taxes, levies and other forms of financial sequestration on innocent citizens engineered by the IMF and governments in countries who themselves had succumbed to the extra-constitutional pressures from banks.
Ólafur Grímsson refused to sign the IMF and other agreements the British government tried to impose leading to the UK branding Iceland in the same category as Al Quaeda and other terrorist organizations. In face of this disgraceful attempts at intimidation Ólafur Grímsson proposed a referendum so that the people of Iceland could decide whether or not they were willing to pay for the bail out of the private banks. Naturally the people of Iceland, given the opportunity to express their preferences, refused to support such a bail out when the referendum was held. Since then Iceland has recovered while countries who succumbed to the extra-constitional pressures face increasingly difficult circumstances as exemplified by the current events in the UK and the disgraceful treatment of the people of Cyprus, Greece, Spain and other countries at the hands of the IMF, ECB and European Commission.
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Parties drawn up slick media deal favouring minority factional interestsIn a clique involving Ed Milliband, Nick Clegg, Oliver Letwin and 4 representatives of the Hacked Off campaign a decision was taken to introduce a Royal Charter to oversee media operations in the UK. The over-sensitivity of the political parties to the Hacked Off campaign has distorted the final product that satisfies a single pressure group but undermines the constitutional principles that strengthen democracy and free the people of Britain from agendas set by factional minority interests.
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The bad precedent set in the Cyprus dealThe current "solutions" to the economic debt crises such as quantitative easing and low interest rates hurt savers and it is important to emphasize that savers are not those creating debt. Savers help banks survive by providing funds to them. However these funds remain the property of savers. The decisions made this weekend include a move to have some of those with current and savings accounts in Cypriot banks pay a levy in excess of 20% as a condition for the bailout, is a disgrace. This undermines the necessary level of confidence in the neutrality of banks enforced through an underlying lack of respect for basic constitutional considerations. This is an act of theft manipulated through the prevention of people accessing their own property in the form of money while the robbery takes place. This solution attacks the very people who have done nothing wrong. This undermines the already shaky European Commission's, and therefore the European Union's legitimacy as democratic institutions. Why is the European Parliament doing nothing? Why do our UK politicians say nothing about this unacceptable abuse but limit themselves to the interests of British servicemen and families in Cyprus?
|The Leveson Report|
PIP is a member of Agence Presse Européene who support the general conclusions of the Leveson Report.
We have analysed the Report and hereby provide our response entitled: The protection of constituents under a regime of freedom of expression
To access click on the pdf button above.
Cameron appears to be making yet another grave error of judgement
It is reported that David Cameron has called off all party talks concerning press regulation.
This is something we predicted some time back as the articles in this medium confirm. We have left the access link to our report on the Leveson enquiry on the right. In this we explain why to introduce an extra-constitutional royal charter is wrong and why the full force of the law, involving the community conscience, in the form of a jury, needs to be applied to protect people from abuse.
Freedom of the press in Britain means a restriction on the free flow of information and the replacement of this with opinion-shaping bias moulded by factional minorities. The factional minorities who manipulate this system are the corporations and banks who support the media and the political parties whose total membership is less than 1% of the UK electorate. This represents and attack on freedom from abusive reporting. It confuses press freedom with the free flow of information. This is not in the interests of upholding democracy in the UK.
David Cameron's predictable stand reflects poorly on his fundamental appreciation of the need for a transparent constitutional protection of the people of this country founded in law and not on the basis of extra-constitutional royal charters manipulated by corporate and party interests.
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Standing on principle can undermine freedom and democracy
The publication of the Leveson Report has resulted in the anti-regulatory agenda described in a previous article "An anti-regulatory agenda" predictably moving into high gear. A combination of positions taken by the Prime Minister during the last weeks are troubling and reflect a lack of awareness or, at least, a lack of consistency camouflaged as matters of "principle".
Coffee Tasting & Evaluation
The product coming first in terms of best value for money, taste, strength, body & aroma was Tesco's Café Blend.
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An important step in providing legal protection for the freedom of the press
In a court case in 1670 a jury remained resistant to cruel pressure to change their decision, William Penn a leading Quaker and eventual founder of Pennsylvania State in the USA, was finally acquitted and released from jail. This set the precedent that juries can nullify the law and also cannot be considered to bring a wrong verdict. The not guilty verdict destroyed the Act making the Church of England the only legal religion and thereby gave an impulse to increased religious freedom in England. It also re-established freedom of speech, the right to peaceful assembly and use of habeas corpus. (for further details on this case click here) Several years later, the provision of trial by jury within the colonies in North America, resulted in many jurors not enforcing the acts of Parliament but instead protecting the freedom of individuals. In the context of establishing press freedom a notable example was the case of John Peter Zenger (1697 - 1746) who was born in Germany and who was the publisher of a newspaper in New York, the New York Weekly Journal. Editions of the newspaper contained criticisms of Sir William Cosby (1690–1736) who was born in Ireland and who was serving as the British royal governor of New York. Zenger was accused of seditious libel and put in jail in 1734. In order to ensure prejudice against him without his having been tried, his bail was set far too high for his friends to be able to afford to release him. This punishment continued 9 months to 1735 when the trial started.
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Juries - the freedom of each to defend the freedom of the other...
Where is the community conscience?
Legislative decisions create laws. The application of the law is the responsibility of the judiciary working through a court system. Judges have to take decisions concerning cases through their interpretation of the law and yet much legislation is not well conceived and is open to abuse resulting from arbitrary decisions creating unjustified prejudice for innocents. In Britain the jury system embodies an approach to legal decisions which above all is designed to permit freely formed decisions by a group of citizens to defend the freedom of the innocent and prevent arbitrary decisions. This system has had a seminal role in establishing critical human rights now enjoyed by populations throughout the world. And yet political British parties have worked over the centuries to get rid of juries.
PIP considers this to be a serious mistake. Indeed, the role of juries has become of current significance arising from their potential role in bringing the rule of law to be applied more effectively to abuse by the media as well as financial institutions. Such organizations failed to manage their own oversight through extra-constitutional means. Proposed solutions remain extra-constitutional when there is an urgent need to bring oversight under constitutional provisions. A central function is the role of juries in defending the interests of the community who have been prejudiced by irresponsible bank management decisions. With no one being above the law, the culpability of politicians, with no mandate, taking very high risk policy decisions that have exacerbated the economic and financial circumstances of the country is an issue requiring constitutional provisions. Policy decision analysis needs to be forced to navigate constitutional checks and balances and where such procedures are ignored legal sanctions should be applicable especially when the majority suffers from enforced decisions taken by factional minorities.
Why not review the reasons why juries need to be preserved and even extended in application by visiting the Leading Issues section on juries by clicking on the link below?:
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Police Commissioner elections - an exercise in deficient democracy...
15th November witnessed an "election" of police commissioners for some 41 police authorities. The imposition of these individuals through legislation and the lack of support for an open and transparent electoral process has been a disgrace. A large proportion of voters do not appear to have information on who the candidates were.
The political parties, in a demonstration of arrogance, appeared to consider that pinning their party brand on largely unknown individuals to be a sufficient condition to compete in an "election" of individuals whose persons and plans had a completely inadequate discourse. The Labour party, somewhat hypocritically, criticise the process and yet they put up candidates to attempt to gain influence. The government attempts to put a good face on this fiasco by using the lamentable explanation that "next time the turn out will be larger when "people understand what commissioners do!". This sickening paternalism fails to address the fact few ever voted for this legislation, another "bright idea" imported from the USA where police authorities are highly politicised. American observers feel that those in the UK who championed this development have not fully understood how the US system works in that in the US systems there are more checks and balances against the commissioner exceeding his brief. This really was not a good idea at all.
The British electorate asks, "How much further do we need to pull this hulk?"
"Burlaks on the Volga", Ilya Yefimovich Repin, 1870-73
Bibliotheque Des Arts Decoratifs, Paris
It is reported that this has resulted in some polling stations ending up with empty ballot boxes. Where there was activity elected commissioners scraped up less that 10% of the electorate's support and in one case just 6% even counting second ballots. In the case of Hampshire the total turnout was just 14.6% that is 211,886 people voting out of a constituency of 1.45 million. The winner was an independent Simon Hayes with more second preference votes than the main challenger Michael Mates. In the first round Michael Mates gained 3.62% of the electorate's support and Simon Hayes 3.29% and on the second ballot Simon Hayes gained a total of 8% of the electorate's support and Michael Mates 6.55%. As an expression of constituency preference these results are totally ridiculous.
In general, people appear to have rejected this process as having nothing to do with democracy. Indeed, the Coalition, in its increasingly paternalistic fashion, continues to take decisions for "the good of the country" even where they have no mandate. In the case of the two parties making up the coalition "government" MPs amassed less than 39% of the electorate's support. With the government majority in Parliament representing a factional minority and its insistence in imposing its will on the majority the question of a serious democratic deficit is more than evident. The manner in which the police commissioner elections have been managed raises the profile and highlights the ills of this democratic deficit. There comes a point where mandateless legislation and impositions by a factional minority gain so little support by the majority that they should be declared null and void.
An encouraging aspect to the result is that those who voted sensed that this was not a party political issue so 12 of the 41 (29.27%) elected commissioners were independents. This proportion might have been far higher if many independents had not retired from the race feeling it was tilted in favour of party candidates. The significant message, given the general disillusion of the public with all political parties, is that independents, as substantive individuals able to represent the will of their constituents, may hopefully begin to gain ground in our political landscape.
We continue to trudge on under the yoke of government actions implementing legislation on matters which have no obvious support on the part of the majority of the electorate. Intellectually-shackled MPs toe the party line according to the command of their whips irrespective of the will of their constituencies. Participatory democracy is supposed to be a constitutional provision aimed to create a national representation of the will of the people. British political parties have, for too long, served their own myopic party interests at the expense of the country and it is time that political parties be held to account.
How UK citizens can take direct action to lower their financial risks
It is a daunting task for the Government to really curb the excesses we have witnessed as a result of incompetence of bank management where interbank and financial corporation transactions have brought the economy to ruin. The sheer size of the "financial trade and derivatives" dealings in comparison with "normal retail" banking means that the lobbies that are trying to avoid more financial regulation are well-funded.
However, the underlying banking model is flawed because it is less geared to client fund performance and more geared to shareholder and management income, irrespective of performance. Thus recently, banks that have continued to have poor performance have continued to pay their managers millions in salaries and bonuses.
Your money can go further...
Since shareholders rely upon returns to justify their investment in banks they are loathe to draw too much attention to excessive bonuses in the hope that their own share in profits might benefit. Evidence of the shareholder and management income bias in such organizations can be seen in the awarding of triple A ratings to sub prime mortgages to the bankruptcies of many public authorities in the USA and Europe who entered into complex derivative related deals with major banks. Another major scandal has been the manipulation of LIBOR by the banks leading to £ billions in additional interest rate paid in financial contracts, worldwide, as a means of enhancing "income capture" by banks. The basement level of bank leverage of funds held, starts with the deposits made by members of the public in current and/or savings accounts. However, the orientation of banks is to capture such funds as well as sell services to those who make such deposits with a view to maximizing shareholder and management income as opposed to customer value. Recent scandals that reflect the lack of diligence by banks in handling their customer affairs can be seen in the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.Read more ...
The Party Convention season...
The Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party and the Conservatives have completed their conferences where the three organizations with a membership of less than 0.6% of the country's electorate have indulged in processes of self-adulation and of their leaders. The country's media has provided a channel of communication of more of the same. Commentary has dwelt upon individuals and events with little serious analysis of the challenges facing Britain. This has been yet another repetition these largely irrelevant theatres. At least the Conservatives had a stand up comic in the form of Boris.
It is time to reflect upon the incapacity of such small organizations to come up with the identification of issues that gel with the concerns of the constituency and to admit that they have, for a long time now, demonstrated, as a result of their decaying membership, a serious deficit in intellectual critical mass to come up with useful solutions. This makes our constitutional settlement increasingly alarming for within it these tiny private organizations can lever their insignificance into a factional government holding a minority of electoral support into a parliamentary majority permitting the faction to impose their policies on the majority.
This absurdity, facilitated by first past the post electoral system, has no ability to represent the will of the people for such factions impose their decisions through the whip and corruption based upon favours of government roles for MPs, to be lost by those who do not follow the party whip. Parliament is supposed to represent the will of the people and yet the denial of expression of that will by MPs, intellectually-shackled to their party dictats, openly and unashamedly undermines due participatory processes. Whereas Parliament is supposed to hold government to account, so many MPs are have government roles that these people legislate away from Parliament and then go to Parliament to vote in their own legislation. This farcical electoral process passes for no more than an elaborate parlour game. However, this parlour game controls Britain's future as long as the constiutuency is willing to tolerate this outrage. On the other hand, proportional representation only spreads the participation between parties, whose legitimacy in terms of representation is in doubt, a little further. The problem with British democracy, is that tiny private factions dominate the electoral process to manipulate their actual insignificance and lack of representation into an image of representation of the majority. This has done untold damage to the image of the people of Britain since it appears that foreign aggression, the murder of innocent civilians, the death of military in unwarranted actions and an ineffective management of economic affairs are all somehow reflecting the will of the people.
We hope to launch the PIP Jazz Club next month. At the moment we are in discussions with musicians and we will report back later on progress.
These shameful and continuing errors were and are caused by the unabashed pursuit for power by these tiny factions organized as "political parties" who see their survival as more important than the freedom and happiness of the people of Britain.
Presidential Campaign debates...
So far the debates that have occurred in this year's presidential campaign in the United States have been extremely disappointing. None of them has been a debate at all. They have been testy exchanges of positions presented by candidates and their vice's all of which seem to lack conviction. Assertion with inadequate explanation substitutes for reasoned statements and explanations. This reflects an underlying lack of respect for the intelligence of the American constituency through what seems to be an assumption that the American people will take a leap of faith based upon such assertions.
Eastney sunset, Portsea Island, 31st October, 2012.
Given the millions of dollars spent by the private super pacs the deficient level of exchanges and poor intellectual content is shocking. Neither candidate has addressed the fundamentals of the economic crisis because they have not faced up to the fact that much of the current economic crisis is the result of fraudulent activities by financial intermediaries. Obama has done nothing to stem this activity and Romney wants more of the same. Like all politicians they avoid intervening in the interests of those who fund their campaigns.
Following the 3rd debate on 22nd October between Romney & Obama there was a debate on 23rd October involving the alternative presidential candidates that included: Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party. The standard of this debate rose well above the "debates" between Romney and Obama by tackling a wider range of vital issues that the main candidates did not want to mention.
We will post a comparative analysis on the issues raised in this latest alternative debate and those of the "main" candidates i.e. Obama and Romney.
It is notable that the alternative debate which was far more transparent was provided with almost no coverage by the US media including Television. So much for participatory democracy and free expression in a country that considers itself to be a shining example of "democracy" to the world.Read more ...
The Leveson Enquiry & Press Freedom
Lord Justice Leveson was appointed to enquire into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press on 13th July, 2011. This public enquiry was prompted by the provisional findings of investigations about the News of the World phone hacking affair. Sir Brian Leveson PC QC is an English Judge, a Lord Justice of Appeal of England and Wales and, since 2010, head of the Sentencing Council for England and Wales.
Lord Justice Leveson
The enquiry and parallel investigations into the media have uncovered a large range of unsavoury facts concerning the attitudes and behaviour of some newspaper proprietors and some of the people they employ. A self-centred approach to society on the part of those with positions of leadership, so-called, exacerbates discord when there are so many who are prepared to abandon duties of care and honourable considerations for individuals in exchange for money. Although it is, of course, not fair to assume that all can be painted with the same tainted brush it is possible to admit that as a society we all have tolerated, conciously or unconciously, deplorable standards of transparency and freedom of expression. On a daily basis, Lord Leveson's enquiry holds up a mirror reflecting some of the values of some in our society and it is of importance to understand how these relate to our general constitutional set up.
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Is the Economy on the right track?
The state of the economy remains a cause for concern.
This is no so much related to the precarious status of the Eurozone but rather in the persistence of the Government in trying to convince the constituency that what it is doing is appropriate.
George Obsorne at the CBI
First of all it is not easy to understand the theoretical basis and therefore the likely practical outcomes of the current policies. The first flaw in the "system" is that the Government has convinced itself that the problem is to get "lending going" by trying to encourage banks, rich with government-donated funds, to lend to business.
In addition to the additional debt generated by the bank bail out the Government is trying to identify initiatives that will encourage growth. Paradoxically, the growth solutions appear to be Keynesian in that they are designed to increase aggregate demand in the economy. The problem is that the current levels of quantitative easing provide a backdrop where increased demand could transition towards inflation, switching the state of the economy from recession to stagflation. The global circumstances suggest this would be the likely outcome. The maintenance of low interest rates and quantitative easing only result in a devaluation and change in exchange rates that encourage currency conflicts with other nations resulting from a relative devaluation of the pound. As a result most other trading nations contribute to the currency conflict by carrying out similar policies to devalue their currencies. As a result, no one really ends up with the degree of "export led growth", if any, they dreamt about.
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Industrial Policy & Growth
Recently, Vince Cable wrote a letter to David Cameron concerning industrial policy essentially lamenting the fact that there was no overall vision.
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Many media interpreted this as criticism and evidence of a split in the "coalition", but Dr. Cable was simply stating facts. The facts are that industrial policy has always been an ad hockery tagged on to general macroeconomic monetary and/or fiscal policies.
The reason for this is a fundamental flaw in macroeconomics (Keynesianism and Monetarism) in that it has no microeconomic foundations. Certainly a thorough reading of the classic texts in Keynesianism and Monetarism will seldom, if ever, refer to technology, technique, learning, practice initiatives and innovation and as a result these essential microeconomic management imperatives are not built in to macroeconomic policy.
The crude policy instruments of aggregate demand or money volume, taxation and interest rates lack any accommodation of the amazing diversity of agents and conditions in the social and economic constituencies. As a result, macreconomic policies result in the creation of winners, losers and those who seem to be in a policy impact neutral state. This is why when attempts are made to base policy on Keynesianism and/or Monetarism, policy traction is weak and dies out rapidly. This is also why ministers responsible for Business's are invariably frustrated by the fact that whereas they handle a very important portfolio its weight is invariably under-represented in the content of overall government economic strategies. This is less a failure in vision as it is a flaw in macroeconomic theory and therefore macroeconomic policy seldom embodies adequate provisions.Read more ...
An anti-regulatory agenda?
The current financial crisis and the revelations of press behaviour following the phone hacking investigations see a disgruntled British constituency and commercial interests on the defensive. However, the banking and financial intermediation interests, and those of the press, are merging to create a common interest with politicians who also see these same commercial interests as sources of support for political parties in financial terms as well as channels of communication of their messages.
Here there are the ingredients, not of a "conspiracy" but rather as a foundation for an agenda driven by common interests, on the part of the Government, the press and the banks to slowly undermine processes aimed at bringing the excesses of all three into check.
The initial forays appear to have already started as the following piece in this publication explains. It would seem that issue of the ability to abuse members of the public or, indeed, the whole social constituency, reeling a major economic crisis resulting from irresponsible financial decisions, are being equated with freedom of speech and freedom of expression. So the logic, as far as it goes, is that abusive but profitable behaviour is something to be tolerated as part of the cost of upholding basic freedoms. Since in Britain such basic freedoms are valued, this argument is applied to discourage any more detailed consideration of the ills of abuse exercised under the mantle of "liberty". Thus, people fall into a logic trap of thinking tightening up on such excesses would constrain our basic freedoms. The key phrase is that "no one wants over-regulation" and yet the most that has been asked for is no more than appropriate regulations.
A parliamentary Enquiry?
In the context of the article, "An anti-regulatory Agenda", the announcement of a Parliamentary Enquiry into the LIBOR manipulation scandal is an example of the anti-regulatory agenda. The conclusion is explained in a box within that article.
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Inappropriate pressure on the Enquiry
In his appearance before the Leveson Enquiry Michael Gove suggested that freedom of speech counted for nothing unless some people were offended some of the time. This is probably a statement of fact but the focus of Leveson is on whether new laws and regulation will be needed to prevent abuse carried out in the name of free speech. It seems that Mr. Gove has made public statements that the Leveson Enquiry could have a "chilling" effect on press freedoms. His alleged view is that the case for liberty could be drowned out by the anger over phone hacking. Perhaps he overlooked where press freedom came from in the first place. It was from an extension of English Common law, as practiced in the British Colony of America
( read about the case in question ).
The Imperative of exposing the truth
The process of maintaining a free and happy society relies upon confidence and trust. The social transactions built upon trust rely upon an imperative to expose the truth as a basis for making objective assessments and decisions. The process of exposing the truth to clarify circumstances is an important value to all constituents in a society.
The growth of the World Wide Web has brought about the concept of the Global Village where information is distributed more quickly to a larger proportion of the world's population. This facilitates the upholding of the value of exposing the truth as long as the information transferred is factual. Of vital importance to stable societies is to have representatives who are at ease with the full range of facts facing society and who do not attempt to hide information from the very people they represent. Access to information that helps determine the significance of decisions affecting society can be considered to be a constitutional right.
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In response to a question to David Cameron as to whether Gove's comment represent a government position,
the Prime Minister did not help matters by not answering the question directly. The Mail newspaper also apparently carried an article alleging that Lord Leveson had requested that some form of gag be applied to errant members of the government. The failure of the Mail to send in requested explanations left the situation with respect to the Government position unclear. Therefore Lord Leveson was justifiably moved to make his own position of impartiality known in a statement to the Enquiry on 25th June 2012.
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On the other side of this discussion it is important to recall that Michael Gove was a Times journalist for 10 years so his specific position is entirely predictable and alongside David Cameron's willingness to use an "ex" News International editor, together with the associative baggage, as his press secretary, reflecting a poor standard of political judgement. The downside risk of all of this is that perhaps because of their relative youth and inexperience, Cameron, Gove and some others confuse their status within their micro-political party bubble with a form of "leadership" that in the macro-public domain demonstrates a capacity to remain completely out of touch with the current levels of public awareness. The outcome is an increasingly serious presentational problem in the form of individuals who are so full of themselves they appear not to weigh up and respond effectively to questions from others but repeat parrot-fashion their own pre-conceived ideas. This works against the sentiment and moral sense of the British public.
It is a blessing that the wider issue in question is being assessed by the English Judge and a dedicated team.
Community participation matters
The last government seemed to consider the direct participation of local communities to be best limited to wheelie-bin democracy where decisions are limited to unimportant issues whilst the party maintained full control over national policy decisions and large centralised budgets. At the local level, so-called cabinet government continues to be used to keep the public at a distance through the removal of open committees. Rather than fight against this move towards less democratic accountability the main political parties acquiesced and even welcomed this basis for decision-making because it helped the interests of the parties including helping obscure deals between parties. The national membership of the main political parties does not surpass 1% of the electorate and many local councillors are elected gaining less than 10% electorate support, although the last elections distorted this with even some less popular councillors receiving a higher vote although, as always, representing a minority of the electorate. With such little, and indeed, waning public support it is an affront that such people seek to distance the people of the City from the decisions they take. Decisions continue to be taken in an ad hoc manner and in ways which ignore the valid concerns of residents. The justification for decisions is quite often that they are implementing or upholding central government statutes even when these affect local residents in a negative fashion. This is a lamentable state of affairs which undermines participatory democracy, reducing dialogue and hiding many better options for the people of Portsmouth. Read more ... Secrecy & corruption masquerading as efficiency ...