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Gordon Brown and the Elections
Publication date: 2010-03-11

The Lessons of the Iraq War Inquiry So Far, and their Impact on the Looming British Elections

The main witnesses in the Iraq War Inquiry Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have given their evidence. Now it is for the Inquiry Team to decide whether the statements of the witnesses that they believed that Iraq War was justified, because Saddam Hussain was a threat, the precise nature of which was not stated by either of the witnesses, was a valid reason for the war. The Inquiry Team will now study the evidence and will produce a report after the forthcoming British General Elections. And until this report is produced it is premature to condemn the Iraq War Inquiry as a “whitewash” or a “cover‐up”.

But while the Iraq War is something that has already taken place and cannot be undone, the evidence given at the Iraq War Inquiry has revealed some facts about the current state of the British Government that should become the main issue of the current elections, or indeed of any elections. And this is the level of competence of government officials.

The most fundamental principle of British Government is that government officials do not govern as they please, but perform a set of duties of their office. And from this it follows that no government decision can be made without valid reasons, and these reasons must be precise, specific, and relevant to the decision.

The evidence given by T. Blair and G. Brown has clearly revealed that these two government officials at the very top of the British Government do not even understand what it means to give reasons for decisions of government officials. And this is a level of incompetence of such astounding proportions, that it raises the issue “whether people who lack the most elementary understanding of the duties of their office should be allowed to stand for government elections”.

And Gordon Brown, as the Prime Minister, has duty to address the issue of competence of government officials even before the elections, and to make this issue the centre of his elections campaign.

To help him in this task we propose that he make a pre‐electoral “pledge” to enact the following Acts of Parliament as soon as he is re‐elected:

  1. The Honesty in Government Act
  2. The Formalisation of Government Communications Act
  3. The Prohibition of Government Borrowing Act

And while the need for these acts should be obvious to any grown up person, we shall proceed to explain what they are and why they are necessary.

1. The Honesty in Government Act will stipulate that making of false and/or logically invalid statements by persons holding a public office is a crime punishable by a minimum of 5 years imprisonment and disqualification from holding a public office for life.

Reason: This is the only way to ensure honesty in government.

2. The Formalisation of Government Communications Act will stipulate that all government communications be in writing and comply with a statutory format. One of the main requirements of this format will be the formal statement of reasons for any government action.

Reason: Formalisation of government communications is necessary to help government officials to make competent decisions and to provide efficient means for public scrutiny and validation of these decisions. It will also make it easier to find errors and will help to prevent abuses of government powers.

3. The Prohibition of Government Borrowing Act will prohibit borrowing by government.

Reason: All government spending ultimately comes from taxes. And, government borrowing is just deferred taxation. And, as government can be changed before a loan is repaid, it can avoid their own responsibility for paying the loan, and make others liable for it.

Thus, a government can bribe a section of the electorate with borrowed money to make themselves “popular”, and leave the “unpopular” task of raising taxes to repay the loan to its opponents.

Also government borrowing can be used to cover up the costs of unpopular policies, as it was done to finance the unpopular recent wars. While raising taxes makes the costs of government policies more difficult to hide, and thus makes the government more accountable, and more honest.

The main issues of the current British elections is dishonesty and incompetence in government. And providing solutions to these problems by enacting laws which will make government more honest and competent will help those who enact these laws towards a landslide victory.

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