• Dr Hugh Willbourn

#11 The Omnibus Party


The Lockdown Sceptics website recently asked its readers to propose a name for a new political party which would act in the interests of the people as a whole, their livelihoods, welfare, employment and their freedom to go about their everyday business.

I responded with this document.


THE NAME

The name needs to be easy to pronounce and remember, and congruent with the aims of the party. “Liberty”, “Liberal”, “Rights” and other such words are already freighted with far too much associational baggage. I propose that the name of the party should be:

The Omnibus Party

Omnibus means “By, with, or for, everyone”. The political meaning is not immediately obvious and hence not easily dismissed, yet both liberties and rights are strongly present within the meaning and associations of the word ‘Omnibus’.

· An Omnibus is a public service for ordinary people - those who are at present grossly under-represented in the media, online and political worlds which are dominated by loudmouths, virtue-signallers, bureaucrats and extremists

· Omnibus is inclusive. Anyone who buys a ticket is welcome on board

· There is no first class on an omnibus

· We all sit together: there is no social distancing on a busy bus

· Omnibus over-arches and evades the traditional left / right distinction and points beyond divisive arguments towards something for us all

· Omnibus places ‘everyone,’ and by association all our ancient rights, at the centre of its meaning

· The meaning is broad enough to reference our basic rights and services and cover all other elements of the common good

· It is purposeful: a bus is means of transporting many people to their desired destination

· Particularly powerful is the association with “The man on the Clapham omnibus:”

a hypothetical ordinary and reasonable person, used by the courts in English law where it is necessary to decide whether a party has acted as a reasonable person would. The man on the Clapham omnibus is a reasonably educated, intelligent but nondescript person.

Further positive attributes include:

· Easy to say

· Memorable

· Strong visual aspect and associated imagery

· Evokes positive, mainstream, traditional associations

· The acronym for The Omnibus Party is TOP.


DISCUSSION

“There should be a new political party oriented to protecting our liberties and acting in the interests of the people as a whole. That is, people’s livelihoods, welfare, employment and freedom to go about their everyday business.”

From Lockdownsceptics.org 11th September

BACKGROUND

The UK Government has severely limited our freedoms with the Coronavirus Act, and over the last few decades by other ostensibly well-intentioned legislation with perverse outcomes.

Other powerful forces are constraining free speech by oligarchal control of social media, by no-platforming, by ferocious social media attacks and by pressure on venue owners and academic institutions.

Public discourse is grossly distorted by the intrinsic biases of internet-based media.

AN EXIT STRATEGY

Any way out from the current clusterfuck will require action on many fronts. We cannot rely on our fellow citizens to exercise common sense or on our Government to behave sensibly. We will suffer from obsessive mask-wearers and other righteously blinkered crusaders for decades. We must find ways to stop them dragging us all into pointless misery, poverty and isolation.

PERSONAL DISCERNMENT AND COLLECTIVE DUTY

We thus have to navigate the destruction and madness wreaked by our paranoid fellows with dexterity and discernment. This will entail using our discernment and taking more responsibility for our lives.

However this will not be enough. The lockdown and other idiocies may inconvenience the wealthy middle class, but they are life-threatening for the sick, the disempowered and the poor, especially the poor in the developing world. We must do more than look after ourselves.

We have get stuck in and sort out the mess that is our current Government. From politicians to civil servants the whole system is out-of-touch, self-serving, self-righteous, staggeringly inefficient and wilfully ignores the evidence of its incompetence. Yes there are a few good politicians and a few good civil servants – but we have allowed a system to flourish that brings out the worst in many of them. So those people who could, and should, do a decent job for us are actively encouraged to be inefficient, foolish, unthinking, doctrinaire and autocratic.

All those of us who have very sensibly avoided the largely uninspiring company of politicians and bureaucrats must roll up our sleeves and get stuck in. We must stick together, and to do so we have to form our own movement: the Omnibus Party.

AIMS OF THE OMNIBUS PARTY

The aims are simple:

v To act in the interests of the people as a whole, their livelihoods, welfare, employment and freedom to go about their everyday business

v To restore Common Law rights (such as our right to free speech) to United Kingdom citizens including those that have been gradually eroded since the Second World War

v To offer a “Positive Vision” in lieu of the negativity of other parties.

I offer below further points for consideration.

1. The Omnibus Party needs to persuade many good people who have very sensibly avoided the largely toxic company of politicians to step up and get involved. If they do so the Omnibus Party should offer good company and a practical ongoing approach to Government.

2. We need a Government that is more than a night-watchman, but along with stealing our liberties our Government has grown fat and self-serving. There are many unnecessary quangos and gratuitously complicated initiatives that should go. The taxation system, for example, is absurdly over-complicated. The Party should embrace Ockham’s Razor not just philosophically but in practice.

3. The liberties of citizens are also imperilled by multi-national internet traders such as Google and Amazon. The Omnibus Party must find a way to constrain internet-based oligopolies and encourage the creation and existence of small businesses.

4. The party will benefit if it avoids being nailed down on the Left – Right axis.

5. I propose most strongly that a Party which embraces pragmatism and principles rather than policies and ideologies would be free to offer sane, timely and context-relevant solutions and avoid much of the idiocy that bedevils current parties.

6. A Government does not need to have a policy on everything. (For a little more exploration of this point see https://www.hughwillbourn.com/post/cc4-lss2-we-can-do-better-than-follow-the-science & scroll down to para. “Is there hope?”)

7. The first challenge is to fashion a Government that is fit for purpose – that organises public services for the public good, that constrains the excesses of monopolies and rent-seekers and otherwise leaves people free to live as they see fit.

8. A real challenge for this party and this country is to find genuinely valuable and meaningful work for people currently employed in the pointless and bureaucratic activities which limit our freedoms.



Who is on the bus?


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