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Written by David

December 2, 2012 at 6:06 pm

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Written by David

December 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm

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About Marielle O’Neill

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Written by David

September 26, 2012 at 11:43 am

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The Elections in the USA

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Although I live (and work at home for most of the time) in Furzton, Milton Keynes – my interests are spread widely. In geographic terms that includes France – but, especially, the USA. I am currently in the final stages of completing my Ph.D. which focuses on the workings of the British Parliament and the US Congress.

For the last two Presidential Elections I have commentated for BBC Radio Northampton (and occasionally for BBC Three Counties) on the progress of the campaigns. Last week I did a live interview (from my home here in Furzton) with my friend Bob Carr (a former Congressman – who has visited Milton Keynes) who was speaking from his home in Washington DC (it was 03-25am for him!).

Milton Keynes 30-11-11

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Written by David

November 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm

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Euroscepticism

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Like the Conservative Right in the USA (who we now know is a funder of British Eurosceptics) – Euroscepticism flourishs where myths and misunderstandings abound. In fact it has been a tactic of Eurosceptics and their mouthpieces (I’m talking about you – the Daily Mail!) to spread distortions and fear.

I came across a post by Tim Montgomerie, “The Tory Diary” on which he calls on the Right to learn the lessons of the No to AV Campaign, which he says “was to follow the research when fighting a campaign and not the establishment wisdom.”

So what arguments should Eurosceptics use?

He argues that they should use the results from answers given by the public to (what I regard as very loaded) questions about their objections to the EU.

He lists them – and adds – “We also found that 20% of respondents identified “European human rights laws” as the least attractive feature of the EU.”

Sadly this results not from fact – but a confusion between the EU (27 Members – founded in mid 1950s – we joined in 1973) and the European Convention on Human Rights (part of the Council of Europe – set up in the late 1940s – 47 members – we were members from the start and played a key role in writing the Convention). The media has its responsibility – for often referring to “the European Court” failing to say whether a decision is of the EU’s court in Luxembourg or the European Court of Human Rights, which is in Strasbourg.

As a law lecturer – I am aware of the disturbingly high number of law students who don’t know the difference – if we are to tackle the Conservative Right – we need to tackle the myths and misunderstandings which their campaigns rest upon.

Written by David

October 24, 2011 at 9:47 am

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Anti-Government claims challenged

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It is worth reflecting on Lord Acton’s comment that “power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely”. It is not a problem confined to those in public service. All power – including economic power, can corrupt those who enjoy it. One of the roles of a government can be to hold to account those who have power.

That’s why I believe in active and strong legislative bodies – they can limit the accumulation of unaccountable power – through anti-trust (competition) laws; can regulate against activities which involve the deception; exploitation and endangering the health and life of others (consumer protection laws) they can bring those who abuse power to account for their actions (Congressional and, though weaker British parliamentary Select, committees).

Much has been achieved through progressive use of political power. Consider the exploitation of people in the 19th Century. We no longer permit child labour; there is a minimum wage; in most countries there are safety nets to protect people from the misfortunes of chance (and I’m very proud of the British National Health Service).

If you don’t trust your politicians, hold them to account – I have little sympathy for those whose motives in denigrating politicians and public servants is to allow the holders of economic wealth to escape accountability; to enable them to expand their unjust exploitation of fellow humans; animals and the planet on which we live. I’m very suspicious of those who are always calling for a “bonfire of regulations” and “getting government off their backs” – because I’ve found that in practice they mean they want to be free to kill off competition; pay others little while making a grossly unfair profit off other people’s labour; stop accountability through Parliament/Congress or the Courts (like so called “Tort Reform”).

[This was a response to an attack by one of the anti-government/progressive rants I received from the likes of a tea partier to my recent video]

Written by David

October 19, 2011 at 6:25 am