Friday 19 November 2010

Dell Streak and Alter Bridge

I dropped my Dell Streak and the screen is all cracked! Yes, it's insured but I have to pay £60 excess to get it replaced! Yuk!

Barbara Lanik interviewing Scott Phillips and Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge for "On the Mike with Mike Sherman" in the VIP bar at the Hammersmith Apollo, London - 22 Oct 2010

Alter Bridge in concert at the Hammersmith Apollo, London - 22 Oct 2010

Alter Bridge in concert at the Hammersmith Apollo, London - 22 Oct 2010

Scott Phillips, Barbara Lanik and Myles Kennedy after the show, Hammersmith Apollo, London - 22 Oct 2010

Alter Bridge in concert, O2 Academy, Birmingham - 26 Oct 2010

Been so busy! My new Dell Streak and going to see Alter Bridge live, twice, were 2 things I had every intention of blogging about. Just found time to add these photos - gotta go! Rush, rush, rush!

Saturday 25 September 2010

Spamalot Woking - my 7th time

We eat ham and jam and Spamalot!
Marcus Brigstocke and King Arthur and Hayley Tamaddon as the Lady of the Lake
I took some friends to see Spamalot. Needless to say, it was hilarious and we had a rip-roaringly wonderful evening! Eric Idle, you are a genius!

Sunday 29 August 2010

World Premiere of 13HRS

What a great time I had yesterday at the World Premiere of the horror movie, 13 Hrs, by the same production company that brought you Dog Soldiers.

The movie was directed by Jonathan Glendening, and stars Isabella Calthorpe, Gemma Atkinson, Tom Felton, Peter Gadiot, Simon MacCorkindale, Gabriel Thomson, Joshua Bowman and Antony De Liseo.

Jonathan Glendening, Gemma Atkinson, Antony De Liseo and Isabella Calthorpe

Jonathan Glendening

Gemma Atkinson

Antony De Liseo

Isabella Calthorpe

Here's a video of Jonathan Glendening, Isabella Calthorpe, Gemma Atkinson and Antony De Liseo doing non-stop media interviews after the showing of 13HRS at its World Premiere. Here's what you can just about hear Jonathan saying: "... Peter Gadiot .... my car battery light, and he's just going insane in his mind and it's just this one short .... that's my favourite bit! it's nothing much but .... he's so strange and 'out there' ....really really like it.

I really enjoyed 13 Hrs! I was as tense as hell as soon as it started getting spooky and 100% absorbed. To think the whole thing was shot in only 18 days! The acting was great, and really amazing editing and score.

I've been thinking through the ending a lot today - I like movies that make you think. You know you've seen a good movie if you find yourself still thinking about it the next day!

More photos here (if you have a Facebook account):

Saturday 10 July 2010

I'm a (step) grandpa!

I know what you're thinking. At only 50, that's far too young!

George Tilley and Jeni Ali are the proud parents of

Madison Georgie Tilley

born at 4.04pm, 28th June 2010 at the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath weighing 8lbs 12oz (think nearly 2 bags of potatoes!).

For the benefit of those of us not on Facebook, here are some of her first photos:

Isn't she a cutie?

Thursday 24 June 2010

Spamalot comes to Brighton

I found myself in Brighton last night, so I thought I'd pop over to the Theatre Royal since Spamalot is playing there this week.

I took a few photos:

And on my way to Brighton, I passed a sign to the A272. Someone's even written a book about it!


Michael Palin: "Well this is a truly remarkable occasion as it's the first time that a modern artist of such stature... has taken the A272."

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Geothermal Energy Installations Global Round Up (EGS)

Latest Enhanced Geothermal Energy (EGS) Installations, Worldwide

"Geothermal Energy: International Market Update," issued May 25, found that between 2005 and 2010 the United States retained its global leadership in production with most megawatts installed, while Germany was the fastest growing geothermal power producer.

The countries with the greatest increase in installed capacity between 2005 and 2010 were: (1) United States - 530 megawatts, (2) Indonesia - 400 MW, (3) Iceland - 373 MW, (4) New Zealand - 193 MW, and (5) Turkey - 62 MW.

In terms of percentage increase the top five countries were: (1) Germany - 2,774 percent, (2) Papua-New Guinea - 833 percent, (3) Australia - 633 percent, (4) Turkey - 308 percent, and (5) Iceland - 184 percent.

Seventy nations currently have projects under development, a 52 percent increase in just the past three years. Projects under development grew the most in Europe and Africa.

Ten countries in Europe were listed as having geothermal projects under development in 2007, but in 2010 this more than doubled to 24 nations.

Six countries in Africa were identified as having geothermal projects under development in 2007, compared to 11 now working to produce geothermal power.


Wednesday 2 June 2010

Neil Innes live at the Half Moon, Putney - 1 June 2010

Me with Neil Innes. (Photo taken by bassist Tom Fry)

Well I've finally met Neil Innes! The 7th Python, as he's often called, who appeared in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian and Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl as well as many projects of individual Pythons. And what a lovely chap he is! I had very little time to chat after the show though because I had to rush to catch the last train home. But I did manage to talk to him about @Paula_Python who lives in Buenos Aires with whom he has exchanged tweets (the magic of Twitter!), and yes, he did remember her!

@paula_python I'm there! on Twitpic
Neil Innes at the Half Moon

I really enjoyed the show too which comprised material from Bonzo Dog and The Rutles; the Python-related songs he played were:

Dedicated Monty Python fans

It was good to see Lynda-Louise again. I bumped into her many times at Spamalot and I also saw her at Not the Messiah. Shuji Tohyama was there too - I wrote about him in my Not the Messiah blog post. We three must be the most dedicated Monty Python fans in the land. Anyone else feel they deserve to be included in that title? If so, please speak up and be counted and tell us your story.

Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers, 13 Apr 10

Back in April, my son Harry took me to see Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers. It was quite an evening - not because of the football (I don't think Chelsea played at all well - but they still won), but because it was the first football match I had ever attended, this lifetime. It was nice to share the experience with Harry but I think we might have to wait another 50 years before I go again.

Sunday 25 April 2010

The British General Election 2010

As I See It……………

by L. Berney


The British General Election will take place in May 2010. It will NOT be an election for voters to choose the candidates who will best represent in Parliament the interests of the people living in the constituency. It will, to only a limited extent, be concerned with the ideologies of the various political parties. The election will simply and only be to decide which one of three men, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, is going to be the next Prime Minister.

As I see it, the political classes have finally succeeded in shifting the form of government in Britain from the Parliamentary Democracy that it is supposed to be, to an Autocracy: a form of government in which one person, a Ruler, possesses unlimited power. The only bit of democracy left is for voters to choose which of the three contenders is to be their next Autocratic Ruler / Prime Minister.

And how will that choice be made? It will be made on which of the three contenders has the best TV personality!


Before voting, voters should consider the motivation of the men who want to be the Prime Ministers.

On the face of it, the job of being Prime Minister has many serious disadvantages.
  • It is potentially dangerous. There is a constant risk of an attempted assassination.
  • Considering the responsibility, he is paid less than comparable jobs in industry and commerce.
  • Everything he does or says is minutely scrutinized. Every opportunity is taken by the media, the opposition, even by some members of his own party to criticize him.
  • It is impossible, at best very difficult, for him or his family to enjoy a private life.
  • The work schedule and pressure must be tremendous.
If Brown, Cameron and Clegg were asked, “WHY do you want to undertake such a job? WHY are you fighting tooth and nail to get it?”, their answer would probably be something like this:

“I firmly believe that my policies are absolutely right for our country -- for all classes of society, for the young, the students, for families, for the elderly. My policies will ensure financial stability and economic growth, for this generation and for generations to come”.

“I vow to strive for the good of all, and I will devote the whole of my abilities for the welfare of our people. I believe I am the right person to lead the Country”.

If they were to speak the truth, the real reason why they want the job would go something like this:

“Many years ago, I had to decide what career I would follow; I liked the Power and Status that professional politicians have. Their work-load seemed to be not too onerous; they have long holidays, the pay is quite good and there is a generous expense allowance”.

“I reckoned I was good at making speeches and convincing people. I decided to become a Career Politician, a Member of Parliament. I wasn’t too concerned about which party I would join.”

“My ambition, having become a MP, was to be Prime Minister. Think of it! I would be The Most Powerful Person in the Whole Country! I knew that, in addition to the six-figure salary, there would be considerable additional income from writing newspaper articles and the like. And, of course, while in office, a luxury all-expenses-paid life-style, for me and my family. At the end there would be substantial incomes from memoirs and lectures, and an appointment to the board of one or more of the major private sector companies I had been able to ‘help’ while I was in office -- with the appropriate financial reward. And, no doubt, a Knighthood for services rendered”.

“That is what I want -- I will fight very hard for it”!

As I see it, the motivation of the three men currently fighting for the Prime Minister’s job is solely SELF-INTEREST, LUST FOR POWER, STATUS AND PERSONAL ENRICHMENT. It is NOT what they claim it to be: the welfare of the people. Is this the ultimate in hypocrisy?

The question about these would-be Prime Ministers that every citizen must, or should, ask is this:

Since a mentally well-balanced normal person would not want the job, and as these men are so clearly desperate to get the job, they must, to some degree, be unbalanced, not normal. Moreover, since their basic motives are egotistical and self-seeking, their motives are not, as they claim to be: ‘for the good of all’.

Question: Is any one of these men a fit and proper person to govern Britain?

Answer: Almost certainly NO!


Democracy was best defined by Abraham Lincoln, one of the founders of Democratic Government as, “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people”.

A True Democratic Government creates laws in a Parliament consisting of people’s Representatives (Members of Parliament, “MPs”). Proposed laws, including tax laws, are debated by the Representatives who cast their votes, for or against, based purely on their considered opinion of the wishes of their constituents and of what is best for the nation as a whole. All MPs votes are “free votes”. The country’s laws are applied impartially by administrators (civil servants). The activity of the administrators is monitored by committees formed from the representatives.

In a True Democratic Government there is no need for an individual Ruler, a “Prime Minister”, no need for the Ruler’s personally appointed politically motivated “Ministers”, no need for a closed door “Cabinet”.

There would be no Political Parties. Political Parties aim to achieve a benefit for their members at the expense of the rest of the population. By definition Political Parties are anti-Democratic.

In a True Democratic Government system the voters choose their Representatives purely on the basis of his/her potential ability to represent their interests in Parliament. A Representative’s ONLY allegiance is to the constituents and to the well-being of the country as a whole – it is specifically NOT to any political party or other vested interest.


In a time of emergency and danger, there is a case for the country needing a charismatic Leader – a Winston Churchill in World War II. But in this 21st Century, as I see it, the people of Britain do not need a one man all powerful Ruler, a Prime Minister.

For its government, Britain needs a Parliamentary Democracy. In a Parliamentary Democracy there is no Ruler -- government of the people is by the people and for the people through Parliament.


In the present system of government there is a ‘Ruling Party’ and one or more ‘Opposition Parties’. The party Rulers and their lieutenants take every possible opportunity to score points off of and to belittle the other party’s Rulers and lieutenants. We have ‘Punch and Judy’ debates (Cameron v Brown v Clegg). The only objective of the Ruler and the party in power is to stay in power – the only objective of the parties in opposition and their Rulers is to oust the current ruling party and to take power themselves. The Democratic concept of the ‘welfare of the people’ and ‘the good of all’ is not even on the menu!

Given the way under the present Party Political system the House of Commons conducts itself – the absurd spectacle of the point-scoring and school-boy slanging matches between the opposing parties – the animal howls and cat-calls more appropriate to a zoo than a Parliament -- the Party Leaders’ very obvious obsession for Personal Power -- important issues being debated with only a few MPs attending – the scandal of the ‘loans’ and ‘donations’ made to political parties in the hope of a financial benefit in the future – the scandal of ‘cash for honours’ – and the many other shortcomings – this can’t be the best way to run the country! It is amazing how the nation’s tax-paying citizens continue to put up with the current Autocratic Political Party form of Government, and to accept the behavior of Politicians whose incomes and expenses they pay.

In any case, with the system as it is now, the peoples’ Representatives, the MPs, have little or no say in government; Parliament is virtually impotent. Decisions about new legislation, the economy, taxation, foreign policy, education, health and in fact all the decisions to do with the government of the country are made personally by the Ruler, the Prime Minister.


Could a True Democratic British Government operating without a Ruler / Prime Minister and without Political Parties succeed? I believe it could; not only could it succeed but in the Britain of the 21st Century a True Democratic Government would succeed far better than the pseudo-Democracy system in use today.

For an outline of how a True Democratic non-partisan Government would work, please see: Democratic Government.

April 2010

(The opinions expressed are, of course, purely those of L. Berney)

Monday 12 April 2010

Democratic Government

British General Election 2010

By L Berney

With UK elections in the offing, I looked again at the papers I wrote in 2008 for my “As I See It...” series concerning the system of government in the UK.

As I see it, the system is very far from the principles of Democratic Government as it was envisaged by Abraham Lincoln and others when they overturned the monarchy system (for the American Colonies) and installed what they named a Representative Democracy system in its place. At the time, Political Parties and the concept of a “Party in Power”, and an “Opposition”, “Winning” and “Losing”, had not been invented, or even considered.

On re-reading these papers, two years later, I see no reason to change my opinion. I still think it is time to move forward to a true, non-partisan Democracy.

L Berney - April 2010


Note – Throughout this paper read ‘he’, ‘him’ and ‘his’ as ‘he/she’, ‘him/her’ and ‘his/hers’.


From the beginnings of human civilization, some 10,000 years ago, mankind has formed communities, then states, then nations. For a civilization to exist, there has to be some form of government. From the beginning, the form of government has been the one person Ruler, (a King, Pharaoh, Caesar, Mogul, Kaiser, Tsar, a Dictator). The Ruler laid down the rules (laws) that the people over whom he ruled must obey. The Ruler gathers around him a group of barons to enforce his rules. The barons appoint their own enforcers.

The objective of all rulers is the attainment of personal POWER and WEALTH. Power to enforce other people to obey his laws and to punish them if they don’t. Wealth to enjoy a high standard of living for himself and his family, and to accumulate personal enrichment. The objective of the barons and enforcers is, likewise, attaining their own Power and Wealth.

Throughout history, the people being governed have wanted to have some say in the rules they have to obey and in the taxes they have to pay and on how that money is used. To appease this pressure, rulers have allowed the existence of advisers, councils, parliaments etc., but the rulers always maintained their ultimate and overall power.

Again, throughout history, there have always been individuals who strive to take the place of the ruler and to become the ruler themselves. The objective of these would-be usurpers is the same -- to acquire for themselves the ruler’s Power and Wealth.


From the beginnings of civilization, this ‘one person ruler’ form of government was universal. It was virtually the only known form of government until the latter part of the 19th Century when a new form of government, named “Democracy”, started to take root. In 1775 13 British colonies in North America declared themselves independent of the rule of the British Crown (then King George III) and formed the ‘United States of America’. A Congress (a National Government) was formed consisting of 65 Representatives. This was the first Government by Representative Democracy. Representative Democracy is a system of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule through freely elected representatives. “Democracy” was defined by Abraham Lincoln as, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.

In this new democratic USA, a Constitution and a Bill of Rights to protect minority and individual rights were drawn up and agreed. There was to be no one-person Ruler -- the rules/laws were to be enacted by the Congress, and were to be arrived at by majority voting “for the general good”. All men were to be equal under the law.

Over the next decades, the concept of government by Representative Democracy in place of a one person Ruler, the Monarch, spread through Europe. First was France – the French Revolution in the 1789 replaced King Louis XVI. In Britain, during the 19th Century, the Monarchy gradually and finally handed over its legislative powers to a democratically elected parliament. In Europe democracy gradually replaced Monarchy. Elected parliaments made and amended the laws and decided on taxes; the Monarchs either became Constitutional Monarchs or the Monarchy was abolished.

Today, the majority of countries of the world claim to be Democratic although there are, in fact, many ways in which Democracy is interpreted. For example, the British (Westminster) style of government is very different to the US style; there are major differences between the French and the German style. Even the dictatorial style of government in North Korea calls itself “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”!

However, as the following paragraphs will show, none of the present-day Democracies are True Democracies; none are truly “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Present-day democracies are, in fact, virtually the same as the autocracies they were supposed to replace. The main difference being that the Ruler was succeeded by heredity succession and only ousted by violent overthrow; in a democracy the people have an opportunity to change one Ruler for another every few years by a system of voting.


In America, France, Britain and in virtually all of the countries converting to the new form of government, Democracy, people soon realized that, in future, the laws would be made by the representatives in the newly empowered parliaments, no longer by a one-person Ruler. Associations were formed by people with common vested interests; these became Political Parties. A Political Party is a group of people who share the same ideas about the way the country should be governed. They work together to introduce new laws, to alter old laws and to attempt to control what happens in Parliament. In general, their objective is to further the interests of the members of their party at the expense of the interests of the rest of the population. In the main two types of Party emerged: property owners (the ‘haves’ – the ‘Right’) and those who did not own property (the ‘have-nots’ – the ‘Left’).

Some individuals were quick to realize that the members of a Political Party could be persuaded to appoint a salaried Ruler (a ‘Party Leader’). The Ruler needed a group of salaried lieutenants (the committee) to control the activities of the party and its members. The creation of Political Parties gave birth to a new lucrative career – the Career Politician. The objective of Career Politicians and their lieutenants is SELF-SERVING PERSONAL POWER and WEALTH. It has very little or nothing to do with the political objectives of the members of the party; even less with the welfare of the population of the country. It has everything to do with the Power and Wealth of the Career Politician himself.

The original concept of Democratic Government is that each representative in parliament casts his vote on proposed laws, ‘for’ or ‘against’, in accordance with his opinion of what is best for the constituency he represents and for ‘the general good’. The introduction of Party Politics soon put an end to that! The original concept of Democratic Government was hijacked by the vested interests of the Political Parties.

The Political Parties and their rulers saw that the way to impose their own will on parliament was for the parties themselves to appoint their own candidates at the constituency elections; candidates who would ‘toe the party line’. Those ‘adopted’ candidates would receive money and support from the Party. This meant that candidates who were not adopted by one or other of the Parties, ‘independent candidates’, stand very little chance of winning an election and becoming a Member of Parliament.

We see the fight for Personal Power shamelessly exposed at elections. Elections descend into individuals fighting each other; it is about ‘winning’ and ‘losing’, about ‘victory’ and ‘defeat’ (for example, in America, first Obama v. Clinton, then Obama v. McLain; in the UK, Brown v. Cameron). Politicians' public speeches and statements are entirely hypocritical; promises are made with impunity, many of which are forgotten as soon as the individual achieves power. The ‘campaign’ is designed entirely and solely to get the concerned candidate elected and to get his Party and its politicians into power.

In the parliament itself there is a ‘Ruling Party’ and one or more ‘Opposition Parties’. In all parliaments, the party rulers and their lieutenants take every possible opportunity to score points off of and to belittle the other party’s rulers and lieutenants. We have ‘Punch and Judy’ debates (for example, Cameron v Brown). The only objective of the Ruler and the Party in power is to stay in power – the only objective of the Party in opposition and its Ruler is to oust the current ruling Party and to take power themselves. The original Democratic concept, the ‘welfare of the people’ and ‘the good of all’, is not even on the menu!


Democratic Government, as it is practiced today, is far removed from its original concept: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Democracy as practiced today has reverted (almost) to the same form of government, autocracy, it was meant to replace. We again have the all-powerful one person Ruler (the President or the Prime Minister) and the Ruler’s barons (Ministers). The people’s representatives, once elected, become impotent, if not redundant. The only function of the representatives of the party in power is to ‘rubber stamp’ the laws their Party Ruler dictates. The representatives of the parties in opposition vote as the Ruler of their own Party dictates. To ensure that representatives do not step out of line, each party employs ‘Party Whips’ – MPs who do not ‘toe the party line’ and don't vote as they are told, run the risk of being ‘de-selected’ at the next election.

What is clearly apparent is this:

The objective of a Political Party is to subvert rather than to uphold the original concept of a Representative Democracy.

The objective is for that party to achieve Power at all costs.

Given the way the House of Commons conducts the nation’s business – the absurd spectacle of point-scoring and slanging matches between the opposing parties – the Party Leaders’ very obvious lust for Power -- important debates with all but a few MPs attending – the scandal of campaign ‘donations’, MPs ‘expenses’ and ‘cash for honours’ -- and the many other shortcomings -- it is amazing how the nation’s tax-paying citizens accept the behavior of Politics and Politicians as an inevitable fact of life!

It has been said that what we have now is NOT “Government of the people, by the people, for the people. What we have is, “Government of the people, by the Party, for the Party Leaders!

Since the current Party Political form of government is clearly un-democratic, and since the majority of the people in Democracies are discontent with the status quo, why, then, do the people allow it to continue on the way it is? The only answer I can find is that, “It has always been that way”! But, as far as I am aware, there is no serious movement or body pressing for a change.

Perhaps, one day, tax-paying citizens will rebel and demand that the system by which they are governed is reformed to a truly democratic one; a system of government that is truly by the people and for the people.


A True Democracy would have no Political Parties, no one-person Ruler, President or Prime Minister.

Is Government without Political Parties and Rulers possible?

I believe it is. Not only possible but would provide a vastly better form of government than the pseudo-Democracy that we have now.

An outline of how a True Democracy Government might function is set out in the next paper.


May 2008


The objective and basic underlying principle of a Democracy is:

“Government of the people by the people for the people”, and the Rule of Law.

The form of government in United Kingdom is, or is supposed to be, a “Representative Democracy”. In fact, the nation is governed by the Ruler of one or other of the two main Political Parties; a form of Autocracy rather than Democracy. The following is a proposal for how a Non-Partisan Representative Democracy Government would be conducted.

The United Kingdom Government has three branches:

Legislative: The Houses of Parliament, comprising the House of Commons and the House of Lords, are responsible for enacting new laws, and amending old laws.

Executive: Responsible for applying and enforcing the laws as enacted by Parliament: the Laws of the Land.

The Executive branch currently comprises 16 Government Departments (Ministries) and under them many central and local Government bodies. A Departmental Select Committee composed of about 12 MPs scrutinizes the working of each of the Departments.

Judicial: The ‘Courts of Law’, Judges and Magistrates are responsible to adjudicate the cases of persons accused of infringing the law and to settle disputes between citizens. The Judiciary is independent of both the Legislative and Executive branches.

Thus, every requirement for a Democratic Government and the Rule of Law is in place. Legislation is the responsibility of the Houses of Parliament – laws are debated and enacted or rejected by majority vote of the democratically elected MPs and by the Lords. The Executive applies the laws, and manages the day-to-day business of the country -- its work is monitored by several Select Committee of MPs. Justice is administered by the independent Judiciary.

In this 21st Century, there is no place for autocracy of any kind. Laws should no longer be imposed on the nation, as they are now, by a Political Party. There is no longer any need for Political Parties or for Party Politics. There is no longer any need for a one-person Ruler or Leader, the “Prime Minister”, or for any ruler-appointed “Departmental Ministers”.

This proposal sets out the major changes that would be made to the UK’s existing Political Party system of government to install a True Representative Democracy Government.

Political Parties aim to advantage members of that party and its committee to the disadvantage of the rest of the population. Political Parties are, by definition, non-democratic. All Political Parties will be abolished.

The Government will be non-partisan. All MPs will be “independent”. Since there will be no Political Parties, there will be no Political Party in Power, there will be no Prime Minister in power, and no Departmental Ministers in power. The Rule of Law will be in power.

The composition of the House of Lords, the legislation review body, will be reformed – see below.

National and International situations are constantly changing, necessitating the legislation of new laws and the revision the existing laws. It will be for the appropriate Select Committee in conjunction with the heads of the Ministry concerned to be sensitive to the need for new legislation as and when required. The Ministries will draft new/amended “bills” which would then be put before Parliament by the chairmen of the Select Committees.

All new bills, and amendments to existing laws, will be debated, enacted or rejected by Members of Parliament (MPs) by ‘free majority vote’.

The Executive Branch, i.e. the appropriate Government Department, supervised by its Select Committee (not by a Minister as previously), will ensure that the nation’s laws are applied and enforced.

A written Constitution, including Citizens’ Rights, will be drawn up and enshrined in law.

Requirements for a True Representative Democracy Government would include:


As at present, any registered voter may put himself forward as a Candidate for a Constituency.

To receive recognition, a Candidate must obtain the endorsement of 20 voters of the constituency.

Candidates will have no political or party loyalties. Their function, if elected, will be to represent the views of all the citizens of their constituencies in Parliament to the best of their ability.


As at present, there will be approximately 650 constituencies each of approximately 70,000 voters, each returning one Member of Parliament (MP). Voters will choose the Candidate (not the Political Party) who they think will best represent in Parliament their own interests and the interests of the constituency and the country as a whole.

An MP’s term of membership of the House of Commons will be approximately two years. An Election will be held in each constituency every approximately two years. Retiring MPs will be able to stand for re-election.

Constituency election days will be spread approximately evenly over a two-year cycle.

There will be no country-wide election day.


The electioneering expenses of all recognized Candidates will be funded by the State up to a maximum of £5,000 per candidate per election.

Those electioneering expenses e.g. for printed matter, hire of meeting halls, etc. will be paid by the Town Hall (not paid to the Candidates themselves). It will be illegal for a sum greater than £5,000 to be spent on any one Candidate’s behalf.


Casting their votes will be made as easy and simple for voters as is possible -- by postal vote, or by the internet, or by personal attendance at a Polling Station.

Voting will be obligatory (fines for those failing to vote).


The House of Commons will, as now, comprise approximately 650 constituency Members of Parliament. MPs will be obliged to attend the House without absence for all the hours the House is in session. (Permission for essential absence to be granted only by application to the Speaker.)

The House of Lords will have approximately 500 Members representing the majority of Professional and Special Interest bodies of the nation, and will be appointed by those bodies themselves. E.g. Architects, Construction Industry, Nurses, Police, the Aged, Child welfare, Trade Unions, major Religions, the CBI, etc.


The executive government of the country will, as now, be managed by the various Departments of Government (there are currently some 16 Departments) staffed by Civil Servants. As now, for each Department there will be a Select Committee to monitor the workings of that Department. The Select Committees will consist of about 12 MPs selected for their expertise in the remit of each committee’s respective Department. As now, each Select Committee will elect its own Chairman.

The duties of the Select Committees will be enhanced to include, together with the officers of their Government Departments, the formulation of new laws (and the amendment and annulment of existing laws). The Chairman of each Select Committee will propose and introduce such new laws to the House of Commons.

To coordinate the business of the House of Commons, the Chairmen of the Select Committees will form a “Chairmen’s Committee”, which will appoint its own “Chairman of the Chairmen’s Committee”.


Each proposed new law will be put to the Parliament by the chairman of the appropriate Select Committee, debated by the assembled MPs and then voted upon by a ‘Majority Free Vote’. (In a True Democracy Government, ALL votes will be ‘Free Votes’.) Laws approved by majority vote will be sent, as now, to the House of Lords for detailed scrutiny.

Parliamentary time will be set aside for “Select Committees’ Questions” (now Prime Minister’s Questions), giving the opportunity for individual MPs to ask questions of the Chairman of any of the Select Committees on the workings of that Committee’s department.

Additionally, Private Member’s Bills (laws proposed by an individual MP) will be possible.

The House of Lords will, as now, debate each proposed new law and, if deemed necessary, refer it back to the House of Commons for amendment. The House of Commons will, as now, have the power to override the House of Lord’s rejection.


For the International Representative of the nation, the Chairman of the Chairmen’s Committee will act as does the Prime Minister now. The Chairmen of the Select Committees will act as Departmental Ministers do now e.g. the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee will act as does the Foreign Secretary now.


To assist the MPs in their duties, each constituency will have a Constituency Office located within the constituency, with a small permanent ‘civil service’ staff. The cost of the office and the staff will be paid for by the state.


MPs and Lords will receive appropriate salaries. An independent board will be established to set pay scales commensurate with positions of comparable responsibility and out-of-pocket expense costs in commerce and industry.

The costs of accommodation and meals will not be refunded. MPs' legitimate traveling expenses from their constituency to Westminster for the period when Parliament is in session and for essential travelling within their constituency will, as now, be refunded. Lords’ legitimate travelling expenses will re refunded.


MPs will be prohibited from being engaged in any form of paid employment other than performing their parliamentary duties.


Coercion at elections: Payment in cash or kind to, or any form of coercion of, a candidate by any individual or group, will be a criminal offence, both for the party making the payment or attempting coercion, and for the Candidate accepting same.

Coercion of Members of Parliament: Members of both the Houses of Commons and Lords will vote on bills put before them purely on their unbiased assessment of the ‘good of all’. Payment in cash or kind to, or any form of coercion of a Member by any individual or group, will be a criminal offence, both for the party making the payment or attempting coercion, and for the Member accepting same.


Individuals or associations will be permitted to ‘lobby’ MPs – that is to present the case for, or a petition for, new or amended legislation. But strictly subject to the prohibition of coercion described in the previous paragraph.


The ‘True Democracy’ principles as outlined above – i.e. councilors to have no political party affiliations, decisions ‘for the good of all’, free votes etc -- will apply to County Councils and Local Government.


All remaining legislative and executive powers and duties of the Monarchy will be dissolved. E.g. the ‘royal assent’, ‘reserve powers’ ‘opening of parliament’ etc.

The Monarchy will continue, as now, to perform ‘Head of State’ ceremonial and charity-sponsoring functions, both at home and overseas.


The armed forces will swear allegiance to “The Constitution and Government of the UK” in lieu of to “the Crown”.


May 2008

Friday 26 March 2010

Climate Change: Man-Made or Not?


As I See It……………..

A year or two ago, the majority of the public believed that man-made CO2, caused by the burning of fossil fuels, was raising the Earth’s temperature and, consequently, was changing the Earth’s climate, and that if the man-made CO2 emissions were not drastically reduced, there would be disastrous results. Of late. opinions seem to be changing – now more than half the population no longer believes this to be true.

It is a fact that the temperature and the climate of the Earth have always changed over time. These changes are due to “natural causes”, that is, causes which have nothing to do with mankind’s activity.

It is a fact that over the last 100 years, millions of tons of man-made CO2 have been added to the atmosphere that otherwise would not have been there. With the increasing industrialization in the third world, the amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere annually is set to increase, year by year, for the foreseeable future.

Leaving aside such issues as misleading “hockey stick” graphs, Al Gore’s motives, tampering with meteorological data, bribing of scientists, vested interests of both the fossil fuel and the renewables industries, ice core samples and tree rings, flawed computer models, biased interpretation of data, etc, we are, as I see it, left with one question with two possible answers.

The question is, over and above changes in the Earth’s temperature and climate due to natural causes, will this additional man-made CO2 --
  • have a significant effect on the temperature and climate of the planet and is very likely to bring about catastrophic results for mankind, and that urgent action needs to be taken? (The Activist’s case)
  • have no effect, or only an insignificant effect, on the temperature and climate of the planet? (The Skeptic’s case)
Which case do you believe is right – the Activist’s or the Skeptic’s?

The way you answer the question leads on to other issues.

If you believe the former choice that the threat is real and urgent, then the question is what do you think should be done about it? What actions should be taken to cut down CO2 emissions and how drastic should those actions be? How is the inevitable detrimental effect that cutting CO2 emissions will have on the World’s economy to be handled? With this choice, you accept the risk that the Skeptics were right after all.

If you believe the latter choice, that there will be no, or only an insignificant amount of warming and climate change, then the quite considerable measures that have already been taken by governments to limit CO2 emissions should be dismantled forthwith. With this choice you accept the risk that the Activists were right after all.

My own personal opinion is the latter; that the additional man-made CO2 will have only an insignificant effect on the temperature and climate of the planet. (The Skeptic’s case). I believe that all CO2 emission reduction measures should be dismantled forthwith.

However, for an entirely different, non-CO2, reason, I believe that all countries should be taking urgent steps to secure their energy needs from sources other than fossil fuels.

March 2010

Not the Messiah in the cinema


My mate Larry and I went to see Not the Messiah in the cinema in Crawley last night - the very performance I was at last October at the Royal Albert Hall.

The trouble was, I didn't have a very good view; I was right at the top and right at the back. I was too far away to properly see any detail on stage and the sound quality, from where I was standing, was awful so I couldn't hear very well either.

So it was wonderful, last night, to have seen everything I had missed, with close ups of every nuance of each of the performers who, I can see now, exude professionalism out of every pore. Respect! to Shannon Mercer, William Fergusson, Rosalind Plowright and Christopher Purves - and, of course, John Du Prez and Eric Idle.

It was interesting to see how they had edited it - but I think I'm going to have to write a letter about how much was lost from the scene where Gilliam is 'over amorous' to Carol Cleveland during "Find Your Dream". It was almost edited out for goodness sake!

Really enjoyed the show and had a wonderful time, so thanks again Eric!

Saturday 13 February 2010 Top Tips and Simple Tricks gives you free resources to promote your business online, but are you taking full advantage of it?

#1. Go deep, not wide

How do search engines find the pages on the internet where your business is featured? It used to be sufficient simply to have 'a presence', but these days, with so much more competition from web-savvy business owners, you need to go a little deeper. What do you think is most likely to rank well for user searches: a listing featuring just your business name and contact details, or a listing with a raft of additional rich text and media content? (No prizes here... it's the latter.)

If you've claimed your business listing on, you'll notice the Business Toolbox near the top of your business page - use that to customize your business page with extra text, logos, photos, videos, even your Facebook or LinkedIn profiles and more. Take a look here at all the amazing (and free) things you can do with your business page: NEW – Add Widgets to your Business Page

#2. Don't be a stranger

Search engines like current content. This means that regularly updated pages get found more often. Regularly refresh your web presences to keep that feeling of freshness that the search engines love. Your listing is easy to update and it's instant. Update your business tags (keywords) regularly and use the customizable business page to keep text and other content current.

Added bonus: each time you update your listing, it appears on Brownbook's home page in the 'Latest edits' section.

by Dave & Marc, co-founders of

Thursday 21 January 2010

A Snowy East Grinstead

Here are a few shots of round our way in the snow last week:

Tuesday 19 January 2010

10 tools I couldn't live without

In no particular order:

Skype - free calls to anywhere and IM too
Maximizer - the best contact management system there is - the best online business directory available and FREE too!

Digsby - where all my IMs live (apart from Skype) - tagged bookmarks and files (bye bye folders). Heaven! - it updates 50 sites in one go!
HootSuite - is there any other way to use Twitter (I think not)

Picasa - astounding face recognition software

Spotify - instant music without the fuss or adverts (almost) - backup without the worry

Which tools could you not live without and why? Please comment or tweet me at @uptone