The Wokingham Times

Last week some asked why 400,000 people left the UK last year to live and work elsewhere last year. I would have thought the answer was obvious.

They’ve had enough.

We live in a country where anyone who has gained some qualifications, who tries to pay their own way and to live a decent life feels targeted by this government. We have our identity assaulted, our democratic views ignored, our pockets and purses rifled by the state, our opinions criticised or banned and the public services we do wish to use run incompetently or rationed for us.

We, the English, are told our country is the one part of the Union that cannot have devolved power. Instead our country is to be split into Euro regions. We are told we have to love the EU and accept its constitution, after the promise of a referendum in order to win a General election. Many of us see the EU as a hostile bureaucracy. We are not xenophobes – most of us like our continent and appreciate its range of cultures, languages and cuisines. We just do not want to be governed by a bunch of bureaucrats who think they have to regulate every aspect of our increasingly complex lives and who we cannot sack via an election.

We are told by the government that our lifestyles are wrong. As the Health Service grapples with its inability to keep hospitals clean and infection free the government blames us for being ill in the first place. People are told they are too fat, they eat the wrong foods, and they drink too much. The government encourages a debate criticising middle class? lifestyles. Maybe it’s a prelude to a crisps tax or a further increase in alcohol duty.

If we dare to drive our cars we are treated like criminals. The government has put through so many new laws that most drivers I see on the roads daily are breaking one or other law. Motorists do not accept the government’s demonisation of speed in all circumstances and want to see instead proper policing operating against the minority who are driving stolen vehicles and uninsured cars, and those who are driving dangerously for the conditions. Motorists feel picked on when they are just trying to get to work or to the shops to buy the family food.

If we are foolish enough to make some honest money then the tax collectors descend. The Revenue and Customs have become much more aggressive and in some cases unfair, as this greedy government raids us time and again to pay for their army of helpers and advisers, to swell their drinks cabinets and pay their first class airline tickets as they fly round the world lecturing the rest of us on the need to travel less.

They use the war on terror? as an excuse to whittle away our civil liberties. I can scarcely believe that under a Labour government people can now be arrested and held without charge for a month, and the government wishes to be able to do this for two months.

If Ministers cannot understand why people are leaving, I have this advice for them. Leave the Ministerial car at home next week, and try getting yourself to the office for 9 am each day. Work out what it is like paying the mortgage, buying the petrol, paying the Council Tax and the family food on average earnings in this country, and ask yourself if people really are paying too little tax when you’ve done those sums.

If you still can’t figure out why so many people are leaving, then you are not cut out to be a politician. You are simply, hopelessly and comprehensively out of touch. If you can, then do something about it.

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  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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