There are a few big ideas around in British politics

Richard Littlejohn says today there are no great issues and big ideas in UK politics.

Please Richard, read Hansard for this week. We are battling to try to keep a Parliamentary democracy in these islands, against a government which wishes to give what remains of our important powers of self government away.

We are battling to preserve and extend our civil liberties, damaged by this government’s surveillance society.

We are battling to try to deregulate the UK, to cut through the jungle of red tape, quangos and political correctness.

And yes, some of us are battling for lower taxes as well.

I would have thought that might count as some big ideas!

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11 Comments

  1. Letters From A Tory
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I could be wrong, but he may be referring to philosophical ideas rather than policies. No-one talks about the free market or socialism these days because everyone is so afraid being labelled an extremist. Even 'centre-right' is seen as fairly radical by some people.
    http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

  2. Ian Evans
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Battle for parliamentary democracy?

    Sorry, that's been lost quite a while ago! The government regularly opposes what it knows to be the will of the people, regularly breaks manifesto promises (aren't they supposed to help us decide how to cast our once-in-four/five year votes – in my life I have voted in 8 or 9 general elections and in no guess has my vote come close to influencing even the local result) and regularly whips its MPs so there is no chance of voting based on their consciences! Where is the democracy in any of that {not to mention the use of Scottish MPs to force through bills that only affect England}.

    Somebody once said that democracy was government of fools by liars – I wish that had been a cynical remark!

  3. Ian Evans
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Whoops! See my previous message – 'in no guess' should of course read 'in no case'.

  4. Tony Makara
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    John, your proposals for deregulation are great and keep up the fight for lower taxation, particularly the punitive taxation that is heaped onto business. We need business to grow if we are to create jobs, so let these entrepreneurs make healthy profits so they can expand. In fact all new business should be exempt from taxation completely and allowed to build up a good infrastructure before being brought into the tax regime.

  5. Elizabeth Elliot-Pyl
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    I agree with you that great events are occurring, but no one would think so from reading the newspapers or watching the news on TV.
    This whole Lisbon treaty debate is just not being reported. It is very difficult to find out what is going on.
    Even on BBC parliament, there is no indication of when the debates are being held.
    It is also heartbreaking to watch the intelligent speeches from the opposition benches, knowing that they have NO CHANCE of winning the vote.

  6. David Hannah
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Nobody doubts that there are good ideas in Britain. It

  7. Richard Clarke
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    John, with all due respect, you are fighting for these things but you are one of a mere handful and it's completely futile. You argued very eloquently against the government's cutting debate on the Lisbon treaty, but what was the point even of the debate which was allowed, because the treaty had already been signed and parliament could not change one dot or comma in it.

    People know that even if the Conservatives do win in 2009, their history has shown them to be as pro-EU as Labour. Therefore, the hollowing out and marginalisation of parliament, and the end of "pure representative democracy", signalled by Peter Mandelson, will continue.

    Reply: The point of debate is to alert people to the importance of these events, and one day to re-establish Parliament's right to decide.

  8. David Eyles
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    The idea of small government is a really big idea and is an offshoot of Free Market Economics. If carried out, it would actually improve the links between the electorate and the politicians because the politicians would become more accountable. This, in turn, would improve election turnouts and make our democracy stronger.

    It could be used to reduce central control over local government, again making local politicans more accountable to their electorate.

    It could be used in all sorts of ways to reduce waste, expenditure and taxation. Officials would also be expected to show genuine efficiency and would have to mark their career progress, not with how much they spend, but with how much they actually acheive with their spending.

    But it runs into direct conflict with the EU and all that monster stands for.

    So, here is my Big Idea for David Cameron: Find the clear political courage to run the principle of Small Government to its logical conclusion. Take the EU problem (words left out) and squeeze it – publicly. The mood is changing in the country and more and more people that I speak to are whingeing about the effects of the EU upon our lives and our businesses, to say nothing of our freedom and democracy. Does this really need to split the Tories? No, not at all, because the answer is to resort to the biggest democratic process we have seen for many years.

    Conduct a national inquiry. Subject each aspect of our lives: business; the economy; social policy; criminal and civil law; foreign policy; deployment and equipment of the armed forces; law making and every aspect of our democracy. Subject them to the examination of the effects of the EU upon them and list the pros and cons.

    Then let the people decide, in a referendum, whether they wish to maintain our relationship as it is; or whether they wish to modify it with a negotiated withdrawal to maintain trading contacts as in Norway or Switzerland; or a complete unambiguous withdrawal.

  9. APL
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Letters from a Tory: "No-one talks about the free market or socialism these days because everyone is so afraid being labelled an extremist. Even

  10. Stuart Fairney
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    John

    Much of their work will be off topic for a UK based party, but do you ever peruse the views of the US based think tank, the Cato institute?

    Much of their work makes sense, to me anyway?

    Reply: yes, they do do some good things.

  11. John Broughton
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    John, earlier on you replied:

    Reply: The point of debate is to alert people to the importance of these events, and one day to re-establish Parliament

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    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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