Boris (Boaty McBoatface) Johnson has a great deal to learn from Peterloo

mcboatfaceThree days ago we all had a chance to acknowledge the Bicentenary of the Peterloo massacre which took place when ordinary people in a vital part of our nation went onto the streets of Manchester to demand that their voices and views would be responded to by giving them a vote in what was our nations rather privileged democracy at that time. Along with the tragic deaths and injuries that took place on the 16th August, it took 99 years before a really meaningful change took place and 129 years before a more complete change had taken place. There is of course another change that is needed now which is that our 17 and 16 year old citizens need to be given an opportunity to vote in future elections. This will adopt the change adopted by the Scottish Parliament over their Independence referendum 5 years ago and also the Tory party arrangements over their election for Boris Johnson a few weeks ago. However there are also some more changes that are needed. It is clear from the way in which our current Government operates that wealthy individuals and powerful trade unionists are listened to in a way that individuals who choose not to fund the Conservative Party or who are not part of Trade Unions are ignored. The nature of a true democracy has to be made much more transparent than it currently is. The way in which this change will take place seems very hard to anticipate but it is evident that the collaboration amongst smaller and more accessible political parties which is currently emerging may help to take some steps in the right direction. It is clear that around the edges of the two largest parties that some individuals are willing to move away from the centre and find new ways of representing their constituents. Let us also hope that when the next General Election takes place that many of us are willing to lay down the traditional ways in which we vote and instead look at the people we are faced with and vote for the best candidate, irrespective of which party or lack of a party they stand for. The way in which Boris and his team are carrying out policy U turns from the way they voted previously under David and Theresa, without any acknowledgement and indeed under arrogant claims of them having radical and fresh ideas should make it clear that we need a new type of democracy.

It is of course clear that the existing members of the new Government structure are not willing to admit what is happening. The day before the Peterloo Anniversary was the day when some of our young people who should have been able to vote at the last General Election were receiving their A level results. Nick Gibb, the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton spoke on the Radio 4 Today programme about the hard work that A level students had carried out and he may do so again later this week when GCSE results are published. At the end of his comments about students and Universities, Nick was asked about the offer that Corbyn has made to try to resolve the Brexit chaos and the criticisms by Johnson of MPs who he claims were collaborating with the EU. Nick stated very clearly “All MPs have to take very seriously how we vote…you can’t just pick and choose which public votes you are going to abide by and which you are not going to abide by” It is of course clear that Nick’s Government has reversed its own decisions in a number of areas over the last 9 years without explaining what has changed or what they got wrong and certainly without returning to the electorate with a request for a confirmation. They of course completely failed to adopt the name of Boaty McBoatface for the ship now known as RRS Sir David Attenborough despite our votes being clearly in favour of the more amusing name. Given that there was no credible reason for changing this, then there is a clear case for taking a more effective decision over our relationship with the EU. It is certain that if we leave the EU without a deal, our nation will be deeply damaged and no one voted for a departure date of 31st October which the Government only introduced when it failed to deliver on the two previous dates. Perhaps now is the time when we need a new form of Government that involves a different set of ideas to those now being proposed by Nick and Boris and that involves some fresh faces and opinions.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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