Waiting for treatment

No-one should have to wait a long time for NHS treatment. Our hearts reach out to any child and parents who have had a bad experience. It is not what any of us wants. The government has rightly pledged more money and more staff. It is important this is well managed to prevent these unacceptable incidents in future.

Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Responses

Labour knows how to borrow too much to bring on an economic collapse

Some younger voters may not have studied UK economic history. There has been a depressing pattern to it all.

The 1964-70 Labour government borrowed and spent too much. It was forced into a devaluation and had to impose austerity policies to try to rally the currency.

The 1974-9 Labour government overspent and overborrowed to such an extent that they ran out of money and had to go to the IMF for a loan. There was further devaluation. The IMF imposed tough austerity conditions on the loan  which then governed Labour policy.

The 1997-2010 Labour government lasted longer because for the first few years it followed inherited Conservative spending and tax plans which worked.  Then it cranked up the spending and borrowing – particularly through the private finance initiative lumbering public services with large debts- and presided over the crash of 2008-9.

The last two Labour governments both raised unemployment by around half a million people. Indeed every Labour government apart from the first short lived minority one has left office with unemployment up on where it started.

A sensible amount of credit, and borrowing for worthwhile investment, can help an economy. Excessive state credit and excessive state spending with high taxes is always a ruinous combination. It makes people worse off, leads to job losses and recession, and leave the Treasury short of tax revenues to pay the bills. The huge spending and taxing plans of the current Labour party would bring on an early crisis.

Posted in Uncategorized | 96 Responses

Lib Dems would let Corbyn in

Jo Swinson this morning on Radio 4 confirmed her preference to just cancel Brexit by a vote in Parliament, but conceded she did not think there would be enough MPs in the next Parliament who would do that. She no longer believes there will be a Lib Dem majority government by Friday.

This is an interesting development. Every time I see her on tv in various constituencies around the country she is flanked by Lib Dem posters setting out their catch phrase, “Winning here”. It’s an odd and self serving slogan. Normally parties and candidates have slogans about what they want to do for the voters.

This Lib Dem slogan asserts that they  uniquely know what voters are going to do in each place as if they have some special prescience the rest of us do not share about how people will vote. It now appears that in many of these places the Lib Dem leader thinks they are not winning after all. The slogan was apparently misleading or simply a lie.  It would have been more modest and sensible if their posters said “Trying to win here” or “Keen to win  here”. “Unlikely to win here” would be a bit of a turn off even where it was an honest assessment.

What was more bizarre was what she said about their fall back position, the wish to hold a second referendum on the EU issue. She vacillated about supporting a Labour government offering one and  appeared to want to move straight to a second General election.

She would be under great pressure to accept a Labour minority government offering a second referendum.  Her message of vote Lib Dem to get a hung Parliament, so we can then have a second General election to try for a different Parliament again  is absurd. Why would anyone vote for a result which required another election immediately? It also looks like an attempt to cover up a likely deal with Labour were they to get their hung Parliament.  No wonder her slogan is not “Vote for a hung Parliament so you can have a second General election”

She has consistently said there are no circumstances in which she would support a Conservative government seeking to implement the result of the referendum, so that only leaves one realistic option in a hung Parliament, a Labour led government.

Posted in Uncategorized | 67 Responses

Getting Brexit done

I do want the next Parliament to complete our exit from the EU  so we can move on. The uncertainty deliberately generated by the Remain majority in the last Parliament was harmful . Too many MPs pushed out negative views about the result of simply taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders. Too many MPs elected on a ticket of supporting Brexit spent the whole of the last Parliament trying to delay or stop it altogether.

Let us be clear about the Conservative Manifesto and my views on Brexit. I have not signed any secret deal as some here suggest. I do  support  the national Conservative Manifesto as  it states

  1. There will be no extension to the Implementation period
  2. We will take back control of our laws and our money
  3. We will be out of the single market and customs union, with our own trade policy
  4. We will have full control of our fishing waters
  5. We will introduce a UK immigration policy

The public now have the opportunity to elect a  new Parliament that will carry out their wish to leave the EU. Nigel Farage made a difficult decision for him not to stand in  seats which the Conservatives won the last time. The revised Political Declaration sets out how we will leave and base our future relationship on a Free Trade Agreement, not a customs partnership or surrogate single market membership.

The Conservative MPs who last time broke their promises on Brexit have now joined the Lib Dems, or retired, or are standing as Independents in favour of overturning Brexit or pressing for a much closer relationship with the EU than Leavers want.

The Conservative party would have liked the Brexit party to also stand down in all those seats which the Conservatives have the best chance of winning from other parties. Just winning the 317 seats Conservatives  won last time is not sufficient to form a majority government.  The Conservatives did not feel as a national party with a realistic chance of winning a majority they could stand down candidates in various parts of the country. As a result the Brexit party felt there was  no reciprocation, whilst the Conservatives are keen to avoid the  Brexit party splitting the Leave vote in some important cases.

All this is made much more complicated by the fact that this is a General election and Jeremy Corbyn is widely assumed to  be the alternative Prime Minister to Boris Johnson as the polls indicate. The General election is not a re run of the EU referendum though some people will cast their vote  on the basis of their  views of Brexit. The Conservatives are the only party which can prevent a Labour government led by Mr Corbyn from winning and taking over. The Greens, Lib Dem’s, SNP and Plaid are all in favour of stopping or delaying Brexit so only a Conservative Government with a Commons majority can deliver taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders. The Lib Dems and SNP  have stated that in a hung Parliament they would not allow Conservatives to form a government.

That is why many Brexit party members decided it was best to settle for Mr Johnson’s approach to Brexit and to back him. To lose Brexit and end up with Mr Corbyn as PM would be a double blow which many are not prepared to risk. That is why Nigel Farage decided it best not to stand in 317 seats. In these seats it would have been very difficult for Brexit to win, but in some marginal seats  easy to allow a pro Remain candidate to win from another party by splitting the Brexit vote.

Posted in Uncategorized | 171 Responses

The choice in this election is simple – Corbyn or Conservatives in government?

Elections are said to be about many things. At election time lobby groups abound each with their own Manifesto trying to get prominence for their cause. A range of parties offer competing visions of what government could  be like if they were allowed to change it. The public becomes engaged, with many voters seeing it as a chance to get more political attention to their worries.

This election has debated the NHS, the economy, taxes, spending plans, Brexit, trade policy, green issues, homes, planning and many other concerns. A lot of old soundbites and a few new ideas have come to greater public attention.

In  the end, however, it comes down a simple choice. Do you want a Conservative government, or do you want a government led by Mr Corbyn and Labour?  The polls all indicate by a large margin that these are the two most likely outcomes. The media and commentariat agree. It was right that  we had  two debates between the two men who could  be Prime Minister this Friday.

No-one can deny that is a genuine and big choice. The Conservatives offer affordable increases in spending on priorities in education, healthcare and law and order, and sustainable tax cuts for the many. Labour offer large increases in public spending on most things, along with a very expensive nationalisation programme. They say they will merely tax the rich to pay for it, but confirm they will take away the married allowance. They would end up having to tax the many to pay for some of the long list of items of increased spending. Last time Labour tried taxing the rich hard we had a brain drain so many of them paid less or nothing at all.

The Labour government of the 1960s ended with a devaluation crisis and its aftermath. The Labour government of the 1970s effectively bankrupted us, forcing us to borrow from the IMF to pay the bills they ran up. The Labour government 1997-2010 created a nasty great recession and left us with no money. Each Labour government put up unemployment.

The difference with the Corbyn plans is they are so extreme we would get to the economic crisis more quickly were his programme to be attempted.

Posted in Uncategorized | 168 Responses

The election in Wokingham

Over the last few weeks I have re-visited every town, village and small settlement in the constituency. I have talked to people, canvassed and delivered leaflets as a candidate does. From Parkers Corner to Norreys, from Riseley to Winnersh, from Aldermaston Wharf to Evendons I have walked and driven round  the area. I have just thrown away a pair of shoes which fell to bits  under the effort.

I have sent out two different  leaflets by free post to every two person household, and with my team hand delivered a longer four sided leaflet setting out what I and the Conservatives would like to do if elected with a  majority.

It has been a frustrating election as half the other candidates refuse to join debates. One of them has sent out a leaflet attacking me with lies about my views, with no content about what she would do if elected.

I have decided to continue with my positive campaign, explaining what I have been doing and what I want to see through and do next to make the Wokingham constituency an even better place to live in. I am also stressing how we can have a more prosperous country if we get that Conservative majority with the public service boosting and tax cutting budget we now need.

Posted in Uncategorized | 50 Responses

Second referendums are not a good idea

When the UK Parliament rightly granted Scotland a referendum on whether to stay or leave the UK I asked the SNP to tell me if they agreed the result should  be binding and would settle the matter for at least a generation., They said  they did. I agreed.

Had my side of the referendum lost, I would have kept my word. I would not have demanded a second vote, but would have helped get on with the task of organising Scotland’s departure. That was the deal. I have always said we only want volunteers in the UK Union, and if a significant bloc of voters in one part or country demand a referendum on exit it is right to arrange that. It is  not right to question the verdict of a referendum, or to create a neverendum, with successive votes on the same thing until  the losing side get a win. These constitutional referendums do create uncertainty and divert attention from the important day to day management of the public sector and economic policy.

The SNP seem to love referendums but they keep losing them. They lost both the Independence referendum and the EU referendum. They now want re runs of both. The Lib Dems helped win  the Independence referendum but lost the EU referendum. Surprise , surprise, they just want a re run of the one they lost. They want that so much, however, they would doubtless do a deal to put Corbyn into power with SNP support to get a second EU referendum. That could  include having to accept a second Scottish  Independence  referendum.

Such a development would make a laughing stock of our democracy, create substantial  business uncertainty and weaken our position in foreign negotiations. Jo Swinson did let slip that she would not accept another Leave vote anyway, so she only wants a second EU referendum if it gives her the result she wants. Ironic they still have the word Democrat in their title.

The main reason second referendums do not work is they undermine the point of the first one and so undermine the whole idea of a referendum. If Parliament will not implement the decision once taken despite promises that the people will decide, what is the point of them? If we had a second Indy or EU referendum and it came to the same answer the losers would still complain. If either came to a different answer the new losers would have every  right to ask for  a third to have the best of three.

I just hope the public want there to be an end to all this  in this General election. A majority for a government that will implement the wishes of the first EU referendum and resist a second Scottish referendum is what is needed. More referendums on the same subject would undermine our democracy and good government at home and abroad.

Posted in Uncategorized | 143 Responses

Trade deals – again

Labour, Lib Dems and Greens continue with their mantra – EU trade deal good, US trade deal bad. It is so silly.

We trade successfully with the USA, China and others today without the benefit of a specific Free Trade deal. Were we to be able to negotiate a Free Trade Deal with countries like them we would be able to improve a bit on the current strong trade flows by cutting tariffs and removing some other barriers.

There would be no need to sign a deal with any third country that did damage to the UK. We trade perfectly well now, so we should only sign a deal which improved on current trading. It is absurd to say we would have to privatise the NHS to have a FTA with the USA. No UK government or Parliament would accept such a proposition, and the President of the USA has already said he understands that.

This silly attack has now transmuted into some convoluted argument about the terms for importing and exporting drugs. Again, no UK government would sign a deal which harmed our exports of drugs to the USA, or which forced up the prices of imports from the USA. An FTA is only worth doing if things are better afterwards. The idea is to bring prices down by scrapping tariffs where goods currently attract these and where the tariff can be removed with no countervailing negative.

Meanwhile they also say we could not trade successfully or even at all if we do not have a specific agreement with the EU. This is another lie, ignoring the Political declaration signed by the EU which states our future relationship will be based around a Free Trade Agreement. The EU and all its members are also members of the WTO as we are. Our trade will continue to be primarily regulated by WTO controls against trade friction under the Facilitation of Trade Agreement and the tariff agreement that is central to the WTO with its most favoured nation basis. The EU signed the Political declaration for an FTA because it wants one. It is not some gift to the UK that we have to pay more for.

Posted in Uncategorized | 143 Responses

Lack of trust stifles debate

Listening to the interviews on the main media is a frustrating experience. The interviewers assume all politicians are telling fibs, so they keep asking the same questions over and over again. The politicians expecting to be on trial usually play safe and stick to a few sound bites their party wants to get across. No-one is allowed to explain the complexity or nuances of many topics, because to do so would be seen as a weakness, or undermining the clarity of the approved soundbite.

The introduction of so called professional fact checkers is particularly corrosive. These people are often said to be experts. They are also people with their own political views, party preferences and biases, but we are not told about those. They may be an expert in their chosen field, but the point at issue may be one where different experts have different views. They are allowed to present as if their expert view is the only one possible. An expert economist for example is allowed to assert a future growth rate, without having to admit his or her attitude to future political events affecting the growth rate, and without having to explain that many other economists have different forecasts.

It is true that some parties and individuals in election debate wander well from the truth, whilst others believe in their view of the truth knowing they will have to deliver on it if elected. This has always been true, and used to be dealt with by the free flow of debate between the parties. When Labour lie that the Conservatives are going to privatise the NHS, past experience of Conservative governments and united voices saying No we will not should be sufficient to persuade many voters that this is simply a false accusation. I’m not expecting a BBC Fact checker to clear up that one.

Many of the issues in dispute are matters of judgement more than matters of fact. Many of them relate to the future, so they cannot be a matter of proven fact. Listening to a debate recently  about the NHS and trade deals showed what a stupid position the media have got us into. There was no background understanding that the fundamental principle of free at the point of use with health care delivered on the basis of need is shared territory between all the main parties. Nor was there much permitted understanding that for profit companies supply drugs, cleaning, catering and a range of services where that makes sense, and did so under Labour governments. No one is proposing harming the NHS in anyway by a trade deal so why dont the fact checkers guide us on that one?

Posted in Uncategorized | 222 Responses

The future of NATO

Mr Trump has always been sceptical of multi national bodies. His disagreement with Nato has been primarily the feeling that the USA makes a disproportionate financial and military contribution. He points out correctly that most of the European members fail to meet even the minimum 2% of GDP spend on their armed forces that NATO asks members to make. The UK does meet the obligation and agrees with the USA on this matter

There is also a disagreement with Turkey that is getting bigger. Turkey has bought a Russian anti missile system, which has led the USA to deny it US planes given the way Turkey is likely to release security information to Russia. Turkey wishes all of NATO to join its battle against Kurds, when NATO has been in alliance with Kurdish forces in Syria.

The UK as host to this week’s 70th anniversary meeting had important work to do. NATO is central to the defence of the West and to our own security. The UK needs to help secure proper financing of the defence capabilities we need from all our allies, and to work to get our allies in more agreement about the importance and aims of NATO. For the last 70 years acceptance of NATO as a central pillar of our defence has been common ground between the main political parties.

Today Labour is unreliable on defence and hostile to the USA which continues to provide the bulk of the military capability of this alliance. Mr Corbyn has in the past been sceptical of NATO, often expressing more support for groups and countries which oppose us. Above all now we need to form a common position on China, on the threats from Iran, and how to respond to the cyber attacks which are now a regular feature of our lives.

Posted in Uncategorized | 119 Responses
  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

    Promoted by David Edmonds on behalf of John Redwood both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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