This week: Examining the Cameron-Clegg austerity package:
I think it’s worth watching how the new Conservative-Lib Dem government in Britain handle the crisis left to it by Gorgon Brown’s grasping and totally corrupt Labour administration. In the past 24 hours, the Queen delivered the new government’s plans on what it plans to do about the debt and productivity crises that threaten to consign the United Kingdom to the naughty corner along with Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, i.e., the PIIGS. [UPDATE: “The worst deficit on the east side of the Atlantic is not in Greece. It's in England. And the worst household debt is not in Spain; it's in England too…”]
The Daily Telegraph for one examined the details of the Queen’s Speech point by point. I believe these bear examination, and if David Cameron can follow through with some of them Britain will be a lot better off. Already the new PM has put a stop to most of the chauffer-driven cars and luxury train travel for the 650 House of Commons trough-dwellers.
Points with which I can mostly agree (my comments in italics):
- A 'significant acceleration' in the reduction of the UK's state deficit, delivered mainly by cutting spending rather than increasing tax.
- Abolition of ID cards and National Identity Register.
A victory for privacy rights.
- Reversal of the bulk of the former Labour administration's planned rise in employers' National Insurance contributions.
That makes it easier to employ people.
- Referendums on any future EU treaty.
Not sure if that’s the correct plural form of referendum [no, it ain’t – Ed.] , but if that aids the disintegration of the EU, the demise of the euro and the return of the gold standard, it’s got to be good.
- A review which could bring forward the date when the state pension age increases to 66.
That will give people incentives to make provision for their own retirement. Never mind a “review,” however: Retirement age should be ratcheted up steadily so that pensions are essentially privatised.
- A 'significant increase' in personal allowances for income tax in next month's Budget, with a long-term goal of taking the first £10,000 out of tax.
As long as it results in less tax overall. Note Libz want to first $50k of income left in the hands of those New Zealanders who earned it.
- Full strategic defence and security review.
Necessary with every change of government, but worrisome with the pacifist Lib-Dems involved.
- Maintenance of Britain's nuclear deterrent, with continued scrutiny to ensure that the renewal of Trident is value for money.
Yes, the nuclear deterrent is a proven peacekeeper.
- New restrictions on the authorities' use of CCTV cameras and DNA data and a ban on the storage of internet and email records without good reason.
Bravo – I assume this applies to state surveillance and record keeping. Ideally, there should be no snooping into people’s e-mail and internet records.
- Directly-elected individuals to hold the police to account. Yes, the police have to be accountable and their powers strictly limited.
- Redrawing parliamentary constituency maps to reduce numbers of MPs and make seats a similar size.
Yes. Reduce the size of the trough and the number of entities who frequent it.
- Power for voters to 'recall' errant MPs with a petition signed by 10% of electors in a constituency.
That’s good – keep the bastards terrified of stepping out of line by the constant reminder they are servants of the people, not the other way around.
- Establishment of an independent Office of Budget Responsibility, taking the power to set economic forecasts out of the hands of politicians; and an Office of Tax Simplification, to suggest reforms to the tax system.
There should be a requirement to run budget surpluses and to simplify taxation before phasing it out.
- Simplification of benefits system to improve the incentive to work.
I’d suggest the ultimate simplification--abolition.
- Plans to reduce and simplify corporation tax rates over five years.
- Creation of a Public Health Service to encourage people to take greater responsibility for their own health.
As long as this reduces the overall size of the NHS.
- Independent commission on how to fund long-term care for the elderly and disabled.
Yes, as long as the long-term emphasis is on privatisation and devolution.
- Relaxation of health and safely laws to allow 'commonsense policing.’
Yes, put an end to the PC nonsense that is taking all the fun out of life for children.
- Measures to allow social enterprises, charities and co-operatives a greater role in public service provision.
Yes, the state could delegate most of its functions to the private sector.
- A cut in the number of quangos and cost of bureaucracy.
Absolutely. A savage cut.
- Devolution of powers over planning and housing to local councils and communities, scrapping the Infrastructure Planning Commission.
Less central planning = good. More local “planning” = not so good.
- New rights for communities to take over state-run services.
Hopefully this means recognition of old rights, and individuals (or voluntary co-operatives) taking over state-run services, but I fear this is simply a foreshadowing of Cameron’s promised “citizen committees.”
- Requirement for public bodies to publish salaries and expenses of senior officials online.
Quantify just how much these parasites take from the British taxpayer.
- Residents' referendums on local issues - including the power to veto excessive council tax rises.
Including the power to veto any tax rises, and right to opt out of receiving council services where possible.
- Abolition of Home Information Packs.
Not sure what these were, but sound very Nanny Statish. [Yes, they were - Ed.]
- Restoration of rights to non-violent protest.
Whoever removed these rights (Gorgon?) should be broken on the wheel.
- Commitment to work towards an 'ambitious' global climate change deal.
This is far too important to be supervised by anyone except Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.
- Continued commitment to working with the Afghan government to deliver lasting security and stability in the country.
That may include a troop withdrawal and encouraging free trade with the people of Afghanistan. [But not before the obliteration of the Taliban – Ed.]
- Commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, particularly in relation to Iran's suspected weapons programme.
Best if we keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of theocracies. And best we seek specifics as to how that is being done.
- Aid spending to reach 0.7% of national income by 2013.
By keeping charity voluntary. Stop all foreign aid from state coffers.
- Enhanced measures to freeze terrorist assets.
And freeze the terrorists themselves: imprison them in Antarctica.
- A pledge to support 'market-led' investment in high-speed broadband.
Which will happen when the state and the economy are separated.
- Opportunity for more schools to take up academy status.
If this means cutting state funding and setting them free from party political influence.
- Independent commission on how to fund long-term care for the elderly and disabled.
Just as long as free-market solutions are seriously considered.
Stuff I’m not so keen on:
- · Legislation for fixed-term five-year parliaments, with a requirement for 55% Commons support to seek an earlier dissolution.
Not sure how this differs from the status quo. I thought a no-confidence vote was enough to roll the gummint currently. [At present, the govt can call an election any time within that five-year period they see a bolter’s chance of maintaining or enhancing their majority – Ed.]
- Annual limit 'in the tens of thousands' on non-EU migrants allowed to live and work in the UK.
As long as it’s made clear they have no claim on the welfare system and must make provision for their own needs, I say “let them come.”
- Creation of new Border Police Force.
Depends what the function of this force is – if its aim is to uphold individual rights, I’d be for it. But we know it won’t be.
- Transfer of City supervision powers to the Bank of England.
The BoE should be abolished, and all private banks allowed to print their own money—just as they did in Scotland over a hundred-years ago.
- Proposals by the end of this year for a 'wholly or mainly elected' Upper House of Parliament elected by proportional representation.
I see nothing wrong with hereditary peers, the proposed change is just a replication of the Commons. There should be a limitation of the politically appointed peers that were endemic under Blair and Brown. Non-political peers would be vastly preferable to party hacks. But the most important change would be to make the Lords’ veto power immune from being overruled.
- Restoration of pensions link to earnings in April 2011.
Pensions should be privatised.
- Capital gains tax on non-business assets to be imposed at rates close to income tax.
No, no no!
- Support for the development of a high-speed rail network. Not if it’s state-funded, which sounds like what’s on the table.
- Part-privatisation of the Royal Mail, while retaining the network of post offices in public ownership.
Just sell them off - lock, stock and barrel.
- Moves to give NHS clinicians more power over care provision and to enable patients to share in decisions over their treatment.
No. The whole system is rotten and this sacred cow must be slaughtered. Partition off the hospital system and sell (or give away) the lot.
- Stronger powers for police and councils to remove licences from problem pubs and clubs.
Well, only if the owners of the clubs are convicted of real crimes.
- National programme of domestic energy efficiency measures, along with plans for a possible ''smart grid'' and Green Investment Bank.
I thought you were rolling back the Nanny State, Dave. “Wind turbines for all!”?
- Promise to pursue agreement on party funding reform 'to remove big money from politics'.
No, let anyone fund political parties to any degree. It’s part of freedom of speech and expression, and right to spend your money in any way you choose. If you don’t want legislators bought and sold, then remove the power of legislators over buying and selling.
- Extension of the right [sic] to request flexible working.
A bogus right; why not just let employers and employees come to an agreement themselves without gummint interference?
I will be interested to see how vigorously the Cameron administration pursue some of their loftier goals. But there are some quite specific plans here, which could hugely benefit the people of the United Kingdom.
Can David Cameron put the ‘Great’ back in Great Britain? Time will tell. But if he seriously sets about the first lot of measures mentioned above, he might at least keep it out of the knacker’s yard with the PIIGS.
“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the government
fear the people, there is liberty.”
- Thomas Jefferson