Banbury Constituency Labour Party

A Lack of Accountability is Bad for Democracy

Bicester people already know that having no Labour opposition on the Town Council and no Cherwell Councillors is bad for the town. A one party government at whatever level of organisation means that councils and government are accountable to no one but themselves with no public scrutiny.

Bicester has a chance to change this at the next Town and District elections but on a national level the Tories are doing their best to ensure they gag critics and silence dissent with the clear objective of neutering any opposition.
The Tories have already passed legislation in the form of the Lobbying Act which is being used to silence critics in organisations such as charities, trade unions and third sector voluntary organisations in the run up to an election having a significant impact on free speech.

Their legislation though does not affect in-house lobbying by big companies. The law is clearly designed to tilt any public debate away from the ordinary voter and in favour of the established government and its big money backers.

As part of this chilling approach to restricting public accountability David Cameron has also ordered a review of the current Freedom of Information Act with the specific aim of allowing Ministers to veto requests for information they think may cause them problems. The current Act has opened up the accountability of government and specific MP’s and exposed issues such as MP’s expenses and the truth about what is happening to the NHS.

This government doesn’t want us to know the truth. Instead their style is to publish briefings which are pure propaganda for their own objectives and avoid being questioned on the real facts.

We know the Tories absolutely hated that the House of Lords recently rejected their proposals for abolishing Tax Credits and as a direct result of that rejection David Cameron has ordered a review of the powers of the Second Chamber. Some believe we should have an elected second chamber instead of the current arrangement but whatever the constitution of the second chamber a system which provides checks and balances is healthier than allowing governments to pass laws as Statutory Instruments which require no review and no real accountability.

Neutering the Second Chamber will be bad for our ability to question any Government.

Add to this the current proposals for curtailing the activities of Trade Unions in supporting their members who disagree with their employer and in reducing funding to the official opposition and we start to see a pattern of arrogant and near totalitarian government emerging.

This becomes even clearer when we consider the actions taken by this government to wipe millions of people from the Electoral Register PLUS recent announcements to cut what is known as “short money” designed many years ago to assist political parties in opposition to hold the governing party to account together with expected proposals to make boundary changes in a large number of constituencies which are aimed at reducing there being fewer Labour MP’s to challenge their decisions.

Not content with restricting free speech and open criticism the Tories are setting out a plan to ensure Labour can never win an election again.

But their plans don’t take account of the will of the people.

The vast majority of the electorate whether traditionally right or left know that this all smacks of unfairness; injustice and actions to stop us expressing our opinions and views.

The electorate has a real chance at future elections to say “oh no you don’t – you are not putting us in a strait jacket so that you can do whatever you want to our NHS; our Children’s Centres; our other Public Services and our Communities”


Only Labour can deliver a fairer and more open society

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