Guido Fawkes, the Pork-Barrel-mentality, and politicians who view their calling as a career only. What should minimal-statist libertarians do about this?


David Davis

Guido as he says himself is the political blog that we all love and the Enemy Class hates. You can read him with pleasure today, and for some time yet hopefully, about the politician buggers we suffer here.

If politicians stuck to what they did, say, a century and more ago – that is to say, actually serving the electors that put them there, and usually after a life of achievement in some other sphere – then Guido’s blog, other big ones, and even ours, might not be necessary. We could talk about the merits of competing private plans to build orbiting nuclear power stations, or would a Dyson Sphere round Jupiter have as much merit as a larger one round the Sun?

Although I am a minimal-statist and therefore see “war” as primarily a state-directed activity (evinced on account of the large amount of sensless destruction and loss of life usually involved) I do regard the Armed Forces (or at least those of liberal democracies, mostly in the Anglosphere) as basically sound institutions that tend to turn out sound worthwhile people who can serve as goodish politicians, or often teachers, in later life. You have only to review the military obituaries of the Daily telegraph to prove this to yourself. I note with some regret that no member of the front benches of any party in the UK has served in these, with the possible exception of my namesake.

I would not even mind if politicians had previously been members of any other profession or gang – except, possibly, “press relations” advisers, or “political lobbyists”.

So what ought we to think or do? I suggest that  a “politician” can’t exist until he/she has either reached a certain age, or done something worth recording, or both. Then, furthermore, “pay” or “remuneration” ought to be limited to legitimate auditable expenses, plus some small honoraium for turning up when you oculd have been doing something else that you preferred – rather like being a member of a jury. The ability to read and write would be an advantage, plus some good up-to-date knowledge of (real) science, and current affairs, and not the sort gleaned on the Wireless Tele Vision, CNN, or the BBC “news”. Retired Majors and Lieutenant-Commanders (maybe even the odd General,) old ladies who run charity shops, MacDonald’s franchisees, the owner of the local tobacconist/Post Office, Head Masters of the better schools, and most farmers, would make good politicians. I’m not sure anybody else would be of any practical use.

For sure, I’d never allow any “politics” “graduate”, from any University whatsoever, even the Two Ancient Ones, near any “public service” position whatsoever. (Until Terry Eagelton dies – and maybe not even then.)

Oh well, never mind.

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3 responses to “Guido Fawkes, the Pork-Barrel-mentality, and politicians who view their calling as a career only. What should minimal-statist libertarians do about this?

  1. I think we’re looking more at a symptom than a cause. The position of “MP” is evolving from being a useful position into a ceremonial one, without underlying purpose, because the job of Westminster, that being to rule the country in some way, has been handed upstairs to the EU and sideways to all the various EU-style agencies and committees and quangos. It seems a natural thing in human nature that the less real power a position has, the more trappings of power it demands; “you don’t do anything real any more, so here’s more money, a bigger office and a funny hat” kind of thing.

    The parliament will remain, perhaps forever, but as a twee archaic institution performing rituals without purpose, a bit like trooping the colour. Just as the Queen still technically passes legislation on “advice” from the government, but in practise there’d be a constitutional crisis if she refused to sign a bill, the parliament is now taking on the same kind of role. The national parliaments in the EU will have far less actual legislative power than US state legislatures. A “change of government” is just a reshuffle of who passes EU policy.

    The idea of “national leaders” will last for a while, as ministers in the new President’s cabinet. Eventually the question will come up of why these arbitrary groups of EU regions, e.g. the Nine of England, have a representative based on outmoded ideas of national sovereignty, and then the European Council will be removed from the EU constitutional arrangement, thus removing any direct role for the national parliaments. But those national parliaments will probably remain anyway, as quaint ceremonial anachronisms. Tourists will watch the quaint goings on with Black Rod and such, but they’ll serve no other purpose.

    So anyway, the self-aggrandisement of the MPs is IMV simply symptomatic of their awareness that they aren’t really doing the job they claim to do any more.. In future being an MP will be entirely a ceremonial position whose incumbents get a lot of money and patronage, without purpose. Democracy no longer exists in the Eurozone. What use, therefore, for democratic representatives?

  2. Dave, I’ve had about as much as I can take. Isn’t there any chance you can piss off and pasture?

    You’re shite. I mean, I know Sean’s just had a kid, but even if he only updated this once every three months it’d be better than your drivel.

    I mean, I fucking hate Labour, but I’m gonna vote for them because of you!

  3. Ian B. is right that the position of MP is evolving in a ceremonial direction. But it needn’t always evolve in that direction. As long as the national parliament in Westminster remains, there is always the future possibility of an orange / velvet revolution with the parliament being used to legitimise the break with the EU centre. The Scottish parliament, the Welsh, Northern Irish and regional assemblies as subsidiary bodies created by statute without any depth of history attached to them are much less suitable to perform that function. If the people of England in the future strongly want independence then I could see a Westminster parliament carrying out their wishes, as there would be power and status to be gained for the second raters who could only get into Westminster rather than getting good jobs in Brussels. (I say England, as I don’t know whether the UK will continue to exist even in shadow form.) Remember also, how and how quickly the Soviet Union came apart when the attempted coup against Gorbachev failed. There are many historical examples of vestigal or ceremonial institutions playing a significant political role in times of real crisis.