"By pretending that procedure will get rid of corruption, we have succeeded only in humiliating honest people and provided a cover of darkness and complexity for the bad people." - Phillip K. Howard, U.S. lawyer & writer.
Brexit, contrary to what some may say, is not over. In fact it is not a single event, it is a process that that will go on at least until Britain signs its final bilateral trade deal.
It is also, to my mind, not the final battle. Because, quite frankly, the gang who took us into the whole mess in the first place, or at least their sons and heirs, are still in charge. This is the real challenge Britain faces.
I find that any criticism I make of Boris Johnson is likely to be met with cries of "would you rather Jeremy Corbyn was in Downing Street?" Well, no actually. "Neither Tweedledum nor Tweedledee" is my usual response. The government and the opposition are, and have been for more years than I have been on this Earth, two sides of the same coin; in this case, the proverbial "bad penny".
There are many good men and women in every political party, and I am glad that circumstances have allowed me to meet, talk to, and even work with so many: but one lesson I have learned is that politics corrupts, and it is my belief that the party system we have in the UK provides the ideal conditions for the current state of affairs to continue unchecked.
I can honestly say that those I have known who have had the strength and will to position themselves outside of the established party system are the ones who have stuck to their principles and actually stood out from the rest because of it. Scruples, however, do tend to cut political careers short.
We British are proud of our parliamentary history, but can we really declare ourselves to be proud of our parliament?
When we think of our great past we hear in our minds the words of Churchill whose speeches many of us know by heart, having grown up in his shadow.
But if I think of our leaders of today I hear Tony Blair's “A day like today is not a day for soundbites, we can leave those at home, but I feel the hand of history upon our shoulder...”. I can also remember well David Cameron's "cast-iron guarantee" of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, a promise that was quickly and quietly forgotten within days of him winning, largely on the basis of that fake promise, the 2010 general election.
As for Boris Johnson, currently doing a splendid impression of H.G. Wells Invisible Man, stating that he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than go and ask Brussels for a delay to Brexit - just three weeks before going to ask Brussels for a delay to Brexit - I think you might understand me when I urge you not to trust these clowns any further than you could throw them.
I think it is time to put them out of our misery.
Our bicameral system is creaking, not because of how it is structured, but because of who sits in the chambers.
We have in the UK what is known as a competitive elitist model of liberal democracy. In simple terms this means that the most charismatic member of the ruling elite gets elected to run the country for a term of up to five years. I am arguing that this is outdated not least because, to be blunt, those who currently make up the so-called ruling elite are simply not up to the job anymore. In fact, they are not up to much at all.
The alternative model is the pluralist one. This model, rooted in Marxism, has been seen in action in such political and economic basket-cases as the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, Cambodia, and is currently enjoying extended runs in Vietnam and North Korea. The weakness with this one is that once "the people" achieve power, those at the head of - yes, you guessed it, The Party - find their own scruples disappear with the wind. This one we don't even want to try.
As for the now dubiously named "upper chamber", the House of Lords, there have been efforts to reform; notably the 1999 act that abolished the right of hereditary peers to sit in the House.
However, under the auspices of the aforementioned Tony Blair - who once declared at a Labour Party conference that "Marx is dead" - the house was "democratised" in true Marxian fashion, and opened to all manner of hobbledehoys, ne'er do wells, and wannabe Arthur Daleys whose main contribution to public life had been - again you guessed it - contributions to the political party of their choice, which always works so long as the contributions are substantial, and they are made to a party with a 50/50 chance of getting into power. Again, whilst a second chamber is, I would argue, vital, I think we would be much better off without what we have today.
This brings me to the subject of the Monarchy. Monarchism is an outdated concept, but one which suits the British people well, and unlike the parliamentary system, appears to continue to work. Oliver Cromwell's warning was obviously well heeded.
Unlike the parliamentary and party systems, the British people trust the Monarchy. I would argue that this loyalty is engendered by a genuine admiration, indeed love, for one person, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Indeed, most of us have lived our entire lives to date during her reign, and could not imagine it any other way.
But one day, not too soon we hope, this will change, and it will be painful. Is Britain ready, or indeed strong enough, to handle that change? I would argue that no, with the way we allow ourselves to be governed it is not ready, and may not even survive in its current form.
In a future post I may well write about a lobbyist, a former MEP who used to annoy me by knocking on my office door in Brussels to bring to my attention certain amendments that I had absolutely no interest in, who was then re-elected as an MEP, only to call for rules to prevent lobbyists knocking on office doors in Brussels. The person concerned has, as is the tradition, been well looked after by her party in a subsequent New Year's honours list....