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Saturday, October 09, 2010


For several years I used to do reviews of the motions put up at the ScotLibDim Conference for debate. Nominally such conference votes made party policy since the conference legally the party's sovereign body. "Years ago I fisked their policy motions in some detail long in advance of the conference, but then they stopped publishing them long in advance. Then I fisked them after they had been passed, but they stopped publishing the full motion, just the title. Then I reviewed the titles. This year they haven't even published the titles of the policy motions they are supposed to be debating." That was 2008.

This year even the concept of the members being allowed to have polict debates seems to have been dropped. There are no policy debates. How this squares with the constitution I have no idea.

Today the closest the membership have to any role in the party is to watch a few very carefully selected politically correct apparatchiks get a
Policy Pitch Breakfast

We are giving you the opportunity to start the day with your agenda. Open to all organisations booking a fringe or exhibition and included in the price, you will have the opportunity to make your pitch to our policy people. You will have 2 minutes to outline the one policy you would like to see included in the Scottish Liberal Democrats manifesto for 2011. Spaces are limited so it is first come, first served.

I very much doubt if it is first come first served. If the first arrival was a supporter of free market liberalism I am quite certain they would be disallowed. A small number of carefully chosen people get a few minutes of some freedom to speak & then go away.

The LDs used to be the only one of the main parties where the membership actually had a role in deciding on policy. When David Cameron unilaterally reverses the party's "cast iron" EU referendum guarantee, against the clear wishes of the overwhelming majority of members the new party line became party policy just because he said so.

Who would be a member of such a party? This is not just about the LudDims - our entire ruling political class have become completely divorced from any responsibility to the people. This is why membership of all the "official" parties is dropping through the floor. This remark from Jerry Pournelle, although written about the American political class seems very apposite. I have read Machiavelli's book several times but this particular comparison had not occurred & is a good one.
Machiavelli said that if Republics rely on mercenaries for their defense, they take great risks; better to have citizen soldiers. Today the danger is not from our Legions... but from our hired political class. We have opted to entrust our political lives to mercenaries: career politicians, political managers, paid operatives and organizers; what we used to call political machines.
At the time wars in Italy were notorious for being drawn out affairs in which nothing much of importance happened, casualties were slight, the competing armies would arrange the show in advance & the mercenaries kept going back to demand more money from the people. This is a consequence of it being in the hands of mercenaries who have no belief in the causes they nominally serve & wish as cushy a life as possible. Britain & even moreso Scotland is now run almost exclusively by professional politicians. Anyone with any actual beliefs is excluded by the main parties (Brian Monteith, Ivor Tiefenbrun & on the "left" Jim Sillars). Such "battles" as there are are "fought" around purely spurious issues (like when or if to hold an independence referendum) in which no professional politician on either side is acting from conviction but simply to see which position will gain some slight electoral advantage.


I have also previously discussed the sponsors the LD Conference get. This year the ones admited to are:

Royal National Institute for the Blind
Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland
Alliance of Sector Skills Councils

The last 2 of those are government funded fakecharities. So once agian this nominally independent political party is actually a state funded front.


An interesting contrast is the way some people on the blogsphere have been saying that the recent court action to force the BNP to accept black members means that lots of BNP opponents should now join & vote themselves & their multiculturalist agenda into control. That is saying that the BNP are now infinitely more under the control of their members than the LibDim, Labour & conservative parties. I'm not 100% sure that is true but it certainly seems a strange thing for opponents favouring these parties to proclaim.

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Short of the obvious cushy life, I wonder why outsiders even bother being MP's these days. It seems like team Cameron and team Ed decide policy and everyone is expected to play follow the leader (witness Harriet Harman applauding a crticism of the policy she supported in cabinet only weeks before).
In life, and science, there are some problems that at first glance would seem to be readily solvable, but prove far from easy or possibly impossible. The three body problem is one example. Newtonian dynamics can compute the exact gravitational effect of one body in space on another, but if just one more body is added to the scenario, precision is lost.In large societies the governance is divided between paid officials who have a career structure and elected politicians who are supposed to act as a check against misuse of power and authority by the officials. When both are well paid and have a career prospect they can and do act in a manner that does not limit their power, but strips away the responsibility that should be it's natural restraint. It is a bit like the case where there are two suspects in a murder and each blames the other, thus preventing the justice system from reaching a true verdict in the absence of other evidence. The career politician is thus a dangerous concept and many of the present day woes in western countries are made worse because of it. Most of the personel in large organisations are employees,even at the board room level, and as such do not have to pay for their mistakes beyond loss of job and ambitions. Someone else is expected to pay the cost of clearing up the mess they have made. That someone else is often society as a whole and any scapegoats to whom money was owed but they lack the legal muscle to successfully fight for.
Politicians at all levels should be time limited to the length they can be in consecutive prominence. It works , to an extent, with the president of the USA, and should be more generally applied.
There are a few, well ok there are Carswell & Redwood, who will pretty much say what they think. However those who want preferment above everything don't & the fact there are so few proves Pournelle's point about us having let politics fall into the hands of the mercenaries.
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