It is not an awful long time ago that MPs in Parliament were not paid. They received generous expenses, but no actual salary. They were expected to be either earning a living or have independent means. Parliament as such met fairly irregularly and in the evenings. A person standing for election as an MP was expected to accept that he was doing a ‘public service’, and that the reward was the satisfaction of ‘doing good’.
The point is that MPs were not expected to actually ‘GOVERN’. They existed to subject ‘Government’ to scrutiny.
So who actually Governed?
There is a morass of uncertainty. As we have seen in the USA, some judge in a lower court has said that President Trump’s block on travellers from seven countries to the USA is illegal. Here in the UK, a judge has said that the current Government cannot abrogate a Treaty without Parliamentary approval, even though the current Government can make Treaties without Parliamentary approval. Gordon Brown did exactly that when he signed the UK up to the Lisbon Treaty, and the Foreign Office did the same thing when it signed the UK up to the FCTC. Soubry MP signed the UK up to the EU tobacco product directive without even knowing what was in it.
It is easy to talk about ‘powers behind the throne’, but in the present situation, there is no throne.
There is chaos.
When there was a King, there was permanence, and the fact that he ‘arose’ by birth rather than election, despite the system’s failings, meant that there was only one source of authority, and that it was permanent. Well, it was permanent until the King was beheaded or overthrown or the Kingdom was invaded.
Not for a minute am I saying that we need to revert to a King. I am saying that the existence of the ‘Deep State’ must be acknowledged. In theory, the key ruling body in the UK is The Cabinet, and not the Prime Minister alone. But there is a problem – the Cabinet is a group of individuals who are not especially competent. They may be clever and intelligent, and even wise, but they are generally ignorant about what they have to decide upon.
So they have to take advice. And that is where the ‘Deep State’ comes in. Who recommends what ‘experts’ should be consulted? The ‘Deep State’ comprises of the those who recommend ‘the experts’, and not ‘the experts’ themselves.
And that is how we came to have the general smoking ban, and the swingeing penalties on any publican who dared NOT TO physically attack a person who lit up in his pub. I experienced it myself. When the ‘Sisters’ (?) gave up the pub, on their last night, I lit up. I was assailed by them physically to snatch the cig from my mouth. But I only lit up because I was about to leave anyway. Another incident occurred when an Australian took over the pub. We all got along very well, except that there was an underlying current of bossiness. One night, I lit a cig and they physically threw me out of the pub and banned me. A couple of months later, immediately after New Year, they shot off back to Australia leaving all the debts behind them. Which ‘offence’ was worse?
It is no use going on and on and on, decade after decade, with the ‘Deep State’ in control. What we should notice is that the ‘Deep State’ is unaccountable. It can bugger things up with impunity. It can persecute smokers with impunity. It can persecute drinkers with impunity, and fatties. And it can destroy our fishing fleet and our coal industry.
What is the answer? The answer is that the ‘Deep State’ must be exposed to the light of day. The Heads of Departments in the Civil Service must be named and made accountable. It is no longer acceptable that those ‘powers behind the throne’ should be anonymous.