Free enterprise offers hope, socialism is negative

Free enterprise offers us the hope of a better tomorrow. Conservatives like me want more people to succeed, more people to enjoy rising living standards, more people to own homes and shares and other items of value. My opponents’ caricature that Conservatives promote low pay for the many and greater inequality for the few is the opposite of the truth. Conservatives want greater prosperity for all, but accept there will continue to be inequalities in a free society.

Many socialists, in contrast, want to make us more equal by taxing those who are successful more heavily. They wish to regulate the private sector more, take more of its profits away, and punish those who work hard and pioneer new ways of doing and making things. The price of greater equality is far less freedom. They think this a price worth paying. When taken to extremes you end up in a world like communist eastern Europe prior to 1990. Even in such egalitarian societies the powerul political elite make sure they escape the privations of the many, with a privileged lifestyle that money could not buy.

I am not a natural legislator. I think we have too many laws, not too few. I am happier repealing laws than inventing new ones. MPs have in boxes full of lobby inspired campaigns to tax people and companies more, to stop them doing things, or to make them do things they are reluctant to do. The friendly socialist responds to these pressures by offering more tax breaks, subsidies and public spending programmes to move the world in the direction they want. The unfriendly socialist prefers to do it by criminalising more conduct and taxing more revenue.

One of the most pleasant surprises I have had doing the job of an MP is to discover that jealousy is not such a popular or universal emotion as many socialists seem to believe. Voters did not queue up to abolish by ballot the remaining grammar schools, even though most of them knewtheir children would not benefit. Many voters accept that a good entrepreneur who has worked hard and taken risks to make his or her money should be able to enjoy a decent proportion of the fruits of their labours. Most voters want to be able to pass some money on to the next generation, rather than wishing to make each generation start again with the state pocketing the gains of the dying. Most people want to own their own home and are pleased if it goes up in value. There is no desire for more people to be tenants of the state.

It is true that jealousy can come into some popular views, allied sometimes to a sense of fairness. Many share my view that state employees, whether in a subsidised bank or a great quango, should not be rewarded as if they were in the private sector on a performance bonus taking big risks with private money and subject to sudden loss of job if they get it wrong. Others dislike high pay however it is earned and whoever pays for it. Some dislike high pay selectively, condemning it for bankers but accepting it for footballers or the Governor of the Bank of England.

As a believer in free enterprise I am an optimist. During my life so far I have seen many people and whole societies become much richer and better served by the power of innovation and by the energy of the marketplace. We have been liberated from washday by the washing machine, from long walks to work and play by the car, from loneliness and boredom by the tv and the internet. Many more people now have better paid jobs, and no longer have the back breaking physical work of their grandparents.

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116 Comments

  1. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Did I really read that 0.1% contribute 14%? That sounds preposterous and maybe I dreamt it. If true it adds weight to the worry that tax payers will move abroad; it sounds as if a mere handful deciding to up sticks could have huge effect. I can never understand, and I have asked this before, why you and others do not say “even more tax” instead of just “more tax”, which I think is a very fair way of putting it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Indeed taxes are hugely dependent on the rich. I left nearly six years ago as taxation, government interference and regulation meant it was no longer that best place to be. I am certainly glad I did.

      The taxes combined IHT, Income tax, vat, CGT, NI ………….. can easily tax 80% of your wealth off you over say 20 years. Then the government just wasted it on green grants, the feckless, counter productive wars and HS2.

      People on average wages with children at state school & tax credits are often a net cost on the state.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        The rich do not create wealth in a demand economy any more than squirrels created evolution. Like that one livelogic? You should as it is entirely within you Boris Johnston type views.

      • Hoped
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        We still have the benefit cap giving people the equivalent to £35,000 per year and yet people who earn over £40,000 are classed as Richard no pay the 40 percent in one tax rate plus NI so stbe state takes a lager get proportion of your salary. Now the savvy welfare lifers only work 16 hours a week so they receive all the working tax credits, housing benefits, child benefit etc. it still does not pay to work in the UK and the lady from the EU was correct, for once, the UK has an over generous welfare system. No wonder immigrants come here in their droves.
        Now we hear MPs undeservingly getting a 11 percent pay rise for a part time job, and it does not matter whether they attend or not. The only other part time job to pay better is the chair of the BBC Trust. Quite appalling considering Osborne’s autumn statement. No wonder the polls show the public think he does nothing for their living standards and Balls is correct that he is in denial. Out of touch posh boys who have not changed.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

          To qualify for this level of benefits you would need to have a large number of dependent children a point that you do not mention for some reason. Do you seriously thing anyone could get 40k out of the state by being on welfare? Only the rich and their companies can get this level of money out of the state via tax cuts and being benefit cheats.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      Given that the top 0.1% possess about 14% of the wealth, while the bottom 50% possess 10% of the wealth it’s no surprise that the richest pay more in taxes. Of course such a high level of income disparity isn’t good for the UK in the long run.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        I think you are conflating the terms wealth with income. They aren’t necessarily directly related. Taxes aren’t normally levied on wealth, per se, (except maybe death duties) but rather on income derived from that wealth.

        Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is a political question which isn’t often discussed.

  2. Barry
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    The problem seems to be that the number of people in Parliament who do believe in free enterprise, less regulation etc seem to be a miniscule minority (probably in single figures) whose voice is never heard. There may be those who talk a good game in this respect but actions speak louder than words. All we seem to get are tidal waves of petty rules and regulations, restrictions of one sort or another and taxes by the bucketload. When I listen to the news as I drive around it is just as bad now as it was under Labour, always of new restrictions, spying, criminalising us for the most petty of things. I haven’t noticed any difference between Cameron being in charge and when Blair was there. Even the state advertising is back to the same levels it was at under Blair with advice and edicts being pumped out at us 24/7, always with a threat should we dare not to comply.

    I used to be an optimist but I’m not any longer simply because there is no real choice to be had here. It is just more of the same regardless of who is in charge. Perhaps if we had PR it might help, when I visit other Northern EU countries it certainly doesn’t seem to have done them any harm and none of them bully, spy upon and regulate their populations like we do here. Nor do they seem to have the corruption, obscene public sector salaries, total lack of accountability and massive social divide we have here. The fact of the matter is that it won’t make a blind bit of difference if Labour win the next election, the rules and regulations will keep flowing out of Westminster and ever more of our money will flow in. It would take some sort of fundamental reset to change things now, so embedded is the desire to tax, regulate and employ idiots on mega salaries to oversee it all. You might as well give up or emigrate if you do not agree with it all because it seems that nothing will change it.

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    After over 70 years of life, I have worked for some diabolical bosses. I have also had the privilege of working for some saints. And some in the middle. My children, now at the top of their careers, are having the same experience. And some, too, are in very responsible positions themselves.

    Socialists, on the whole, depend on the wickedness of humanity and it is there, believe me.

    Me, however, I am an optimist and therefore naturally conservative. The problem as everyone knows is that all our laws, all those “tidal waves of petty rules and regulations, restrictions of one sort or another and taxes by the bucketload” come straight to us, through statutory instruments and Directives, from Brussels.

    And the Kommisars there are, by definition, Socialist. Because of the “democratic deficit” we will never get rid of them or change them either, will we.

    • Barry
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure that all the rules and regulations do come from Brussels. Or even if they do, other countries take no notice of them. If you are in Germany or Holland you have the choice of going to a pub where you can smoke. You will not be spied upon every time you make a move and you won’t be fined for the slightest transgression of some petty law and you will generally be left to your own devices. I think that the big difference is that other EU governments govern for the people whereas ours seems to constantly work against us. They don’t have public sector workers on £500,000 +++ salaries and all the corruption with fake charities etc which we have here. Perhaps the secret is to have a smaller public sector as they seem to without all the extravagance and corruption which we have to pay for. Can you see the Germans paying £300,000 for some bloke to sub out the bin collections at the Town Hall? It wouldn’t happen there but it is endemic here.

  4. Andyvan
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    “Free enterprise offers hope, socialism is negative” Very true. So why, Mr Redwood, do you consistently blog about what social or economic policy the government should follow. A real believer in free markets would not ask what more the government could do but, instead, what less they could do. The free market thrives best and most beneficially in the absence of artificial privilege granted by the violent bullying of the state yet you constantly support regulation and interference by that state. The welfare system is the most socialist policy imaginable yet every single MP supports it’s continued existence. Likewise the massive intervention in the banking system- a master stroke that Lenin would be proud of. Could it be that these policies are the cornerstones of government power in this country? The key to the continuing of the gravy train that the public sector rides on? Mr Redwood, you support and encourage the big government socialism in this country yet try to claim that you and your party are free marketeers. Please, pull the other one.

    Reply I am usually urging the government to spend less, regulate less and do less!

    • Bazman
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      What would you replace the welfare system with. Tax cuts? Peasantry? Nothing? What would have happened to the ordinary persons money had the banks collapsed. they would have just took any losses and carried on would they? The private sector in this case utterly failed and was bailed out by the state. Don’t forget that fact and not due to to much government interference either,

      • libertarian
        Posted December 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Dear Bazman

        Socialism isn’t the same as the State. No one mentioned removing welfare.

        If we had far far less state and government and far far less taxes we would still want our government to support those in need.

        You also seem to lack knowledge of history, most of the social infrastructure of the UK was put in place by the private free market sector long before the state took an interest in using taxpayers money to put in place social programmes.

        Now turning to the banks.

        No free market person I know is in favour of the state bailing out banks.

        The Socialist Labour Party under Gordon Brown CHANGED the regulation of banks to a quango that completely failed to monitor or regulate, that’s a state failure not free market. The UK banks that failed did so because despite the regulations forbidding it they were allowed by Gordon Brown and your socialist government to grow way in excess of what they could manage effectively.

        Not content with that Gordon Brown and your socialist government then stepped in and took a very very sound and safe bank LloydsTSB and forced them to acquire 2 failing banks thereby crashing the whole banking group. Another socialist financial success.

        So most ( not all but most) of the UK banking failures were caused by incompetent regulation by the socialists and a failure to manage the outcome of that.

        (Some ed) banking institutions have been long term supporters of the Labour party in the UK and the Democrats in the US. Its called corporatism and Blair and Brown and now Cameron have pioneered the act of marrying socialism with corporate cronyism to take as much money as they can from working people and use it to buy votes and to pay for a supportive underclass. And people like you Bazman are the useful idiots that support this.

        Way to go comrade. Ram it.

      • Bob
        Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        @Baz

        What would have happened to the ordinary persons money had the banks collapsed.

        The deposit guarantee would have covered the “ordinary persons money”.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

          This would have been swamped. According to the Bank of England, total bank deposits of ‘individuals and individual trusts’ were £989.6 billion at May 2012. The FSCS’s funding cap is £4.03 billion (unchanged despite the recent increase in its maximum payout to £85,000). It is informative to compare this amount to the deposits held by a small UK bank which failed during the latest crisis. The UK’s Office of Fair Trading states Northern Rock’s retail deposits in November 2008 were £17.31 billion, and in December 2007, after a run on the bank, £9.39 billion.
          You seriously think that there would not have been civil unrest has millions lost their entire savings and wages defaulted on whilst the banks that caused this where still demanding money and these people should actually pay as the bankers left with million in bonuses blaming everyone else except themselves. Not real. They utterly failed and the state has no choice but to bail them out or face the consequences of a possible revolution and certain riots. Some on this site laughably blame the customers for choosing the wrong bank even after such scandals as the Libor and other insider dealings which where caused by to much regulation. Retarded thinking from right wing simpletons. Who would have cried the most has they lost even a penny.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

            But your doomsday scenario would not have happened Baz.
            There were several successful and profitable banks waiting to take over the failed banks.
            With reassurance from Government and new owners that all deposits were perfectly safe, few would have rushed to take out their cash.
            Your figures for total bank deposits is irrelevant because only a small amount was held in accounts of bad banks.

            Brown acted precipitously. He had a nationalising instinct and listened too much to the banking establishment rushing to bail out rich shareholders and wealthy bankers which I find surprising you seem to support Baz.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted December 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      @anyvan,
      You ask “So why, Mr Redwood, do you consistently blog about what social or economic policy the government should follow. ” The economy exists to serve the community and not the other way around. Mr Redwood would lose votes if he did not have the welfare of his constituents at heart. That’s not socialism. It’s democracy.
      @baz,
      ” What would have happened to the ordinary persons money had the banks collapsed’. Yes , without government intervention depositors would have lost their money – just like they did in the Icelandic banks.
      What people see in their bank accounts isn’t money as they think it is. They see IOUs of the RBS or whatever. They are a sort of sub-currency which is pegged to the main currency. If the bank is financially healthy, and well capitalised, the bank’s IOU is, in effect, the equivalent of a government IOU. You put your bank card into the ATM, your bank deducts its own IOUs from your account and out pop government IOUs from the machine.
      But if its isn’t healthy and that peg is broken…………………

  5. Mark b
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    A very good Article. With much that I agree with.

    I see for you Mr. Redwood MP sir, that you have two problems:

    1) You are what I call a ‘Modern Conservative’. You believe in free trade, low tax and low spend, and equality of opportunity. ie Freedom of choice and having to take personal responsibility for those choices.

    2) You are part of a system that simply cannot be reformed. No matter how many people believe in your cause, no matter what policies you put in place, you are going to be undone, either at the ballot box or via the Civil Service. It is not in the interests of the Civil Services to have, and maintain, a small state, quite the opposite in fact.

    Currently, we have in place, and in power, what I term ‘Traditional/Old Conservatives’. More Liberals in truth. They tend to be the Harold MacMillan’s of this world. Upper Class, landed gentry with a strong sense of entitlement and duty. It is ‘they’ who must lead the nation and the people, by right of birth. The nearest modern equivalent is the old Soviet Nomenclature.

    The current leadership and many of its supporters’ tend to fall into this latter category. They are ‘Soft Socialists’, like Blair. This I think helps to explain why there is so little difference between politicians and political parties.

    As I am sure many will agree. When there is little choice, you do tend to get served up to you that which you would rather not have. Whether this be railways, utilities or politics. If we cannot simply go elsewhere, or have the presence of mind to choose another option, we will get served up the same old dross, just wrapped in packaging of a different colour.

    Solving many of our problems will not come by using the same tools that we have always used. The ‘system’ is designed they way it is for a reason, and is not actually broke. What I believe we need to do, is to think of alternatives, real out of the box thinking that will liberate both politicians’ and the electorate from the shackles of the state.

    Our so called democracy has always evolved. What we have now, has had to be fought for with the blood, sweat and toil of others. I think when people come to realise that many of the problems we face cannot be solved by the current means of governance, alternatives then must be looked at.

  6. JoeSoap
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    So in a nutshell
    Progress through technology
    Promote this by lower taxes – a flat tax?
    Bring back Grammar schools

    There is only one party likely to deliver any of these, which is why it is now more popular in the polls than the Conservative party.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed Grammar school but perhaps with an open system of transfer where justified from 11 to 18.

      I would also push more maths, physics, engineering, real economics and business and fewer hobby subjects. People should perhaps pay for their own hobbies. Also more practical jobs skills leading to much needed practical skills and on to apprenticeships.

      Perhaps also anyone choosing to read PPE at Oxford should be banned from public life. This due to them having shown themselves to be totally unsuitable by virtue of this desire.

      Some method of stopping socialists buying votes with others money would be welcome too.

      • zorro
        Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, PPE Oxford types need to be moved to another socially useful function like refuse collection or cleaning the parks, because they have made a pig’s ear of it whenever let loose in the corridors of power…..

        zorro

      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        Actually there is not many science teaches of any quality about. In most state schools the sciences are put into one subject as science rather than three they used to be in my day. Then there is no discipline and it is difficult to know who is in charge the pupils or teachers, more of a collective body where anything goes.

  7. Arschloch
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Who said socialism died in 1989? In many ways the UK sort of just changed into the GDR, consider the following:

    - We have a parliament just like the Volkskammer. It has lots of different parties represented inside it but they all believe in the same thing

    - MPs are part of a nomenklatura who have access to all sorts of goodies that we do not have e.g. final salary scheme, cheap booze etc. The nomenklatura selects from itself i.e. the number of MPs who are the kids/spouses of sitting/former MPs. When they leave the HoC another well paying job is usually found for them in the bureaucracy. If it had not been seen as so obvious they nearly ended up with their own ZiL lane to the Olympics too.

    - Just like the GDR the UK sees prowess at sport as being some sort of symbol of national
    greatness

    - The UK always has to do its fraternal duty to the USA, just like the GDR did for the USSR by acting as its Gurkhas and getting involved in all sorts of small wars of which it had no natural interest.

    Oh and we will not mention MI5 and GCHQ having access to technology and a remit that the STASI could only dream of

    • zorro
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      I doubt that the GDR had the repressive legislation that we have on our books either….. We certainly were going that way with biometric ID cards etc before 2010 but give this lot a bit more time and we’ll see…..

      zorro

  8. Richard1
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    With the transformation of the world economy over the last 30 years due to globalization and the collapse of communism it is amazing that there are still any socialists. 3 billion people have been lifted out of poverty by international capitalism and trade. Socialists know they will never win a straight intellectual or free electoral fight given the weight of evidence and experience against them. So we have to be vigilant against the proxy wars they fight against capitalism – the constant calls for extra regulation and taxes, the whole global warming hysteria and associated green policies etc.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Richard

      “Socialists know they will never win” ?

      That is why they dress it up as something else, that is how Blair came to power.
      That and the fact that the useless Major led Government did not deserve to be returned.

      Just look at the social engineering attempted by a certain Mr Brown!

      Millions of lives funded by the State with working tax credits and high Benefits.

      The aim, to make sure enough people relied upon the State for their income, so that the Labour Party would remain in power for as long as possible with ever more control being taken each and every year..

      Thus we had people being bribed by the State, with other peoples money to continue to vote for those who gave them the cash.

      It only just failed as a policy !

      Sad fact is, we do not have much of an alternative to vote for that has a realistic chance of forming a sensible government.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Plenty of socialism and communism for the rich and support for it via fantasists such as yourself.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        “Plenty of socialism and communism for the rich . . . ”

        True ! Just look at both Government and Opposition Front Benches.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 7, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        “Plenty of socialism and communism for the rich” what on earth are you talking about?

        • Bazman
          Posted December 8, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          I forgot to mention the middle class sociable security system too. The MCSSS. This has been scaled back in recent years, but is still a massive cost to the state and ordinary person.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Bazman, could you explain what your post means?

        • Bazman
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

          No. You and liglogic can stay pig ignorant.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

            You old teaser Baz.

          • libertarian
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

            Its alright Baz doesn’t understand his own post either .

            He just cuts and pastes random cliches from the Dave Spart book of socialist philosophy

    • uanime5
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      3 billion people have been lifted out of poverty by international capitalism and trade.

      And billion still live in poverty because of it. That’s why despite being the richest country in the world the USA still has high levels of homelessness.

      Socialists know they will never win a straight intellectual or free electoral fight given the weight of evidence and experience against them.

      Then why do socialist parties in Sweden and Germany keep getting elected? It seems that your hatred of socialism doesn’t make it unpopular.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        The Social Democratic Parties of Germany and Sweden aren’t anti-capitalist. The ideology of, particularly the German SPD, in the post war period has been directed towards forming a partnership between the forces of labour and capital.

        It is also a concept enshrined in “One nation” conservatism but which is somewhat out of fashion in today’s conservative party.

        There does not have to be constant conflict between the employed and the employers and often there is a large measure of agreement on both political and economic questions . The recent crash has been a disaster for both those businesses which have been forced into bankruptcy and the employees of those businesses who have lost their jobs. A better management of the economy to prevent this re-occurring in future is in the interests of all.

        The choice of society isn’t either rigid Soviet style socialism on the one hand or unfettered laissez-faire capitalism on the other. The electorate already know that of course. They will always choose a middle way. No party would have a hope of being elected if they veered too far one way or the other from the middle ground.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5

        I’ll give you one thing, you are consistently and unwaveringly wrong.

        Angela Merkels governing party in Germany is Conservative in Sweden they have a collegiate government which is appointed. The PM is from the moderate party and the DPM and over 2 thirds of the cabinet are from the Liberal Peoples Party which is in fact a centre right party

        See here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_Sweden

        By the way you do know that the vast majority of homelessness in the West is cause not by poverty but by alcohol and drug addiction .

        Blimey you socialists are just so out of touch with reality

      • Richard1
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        No Uanime5, there is poverty in spite, not because of, of the liberalisation of the world economy and the collapse of socialism. That’s partly because it is taking time for the benefits of capitalism to come through – hundreds of millions of Chinese are now out of poverty but there is still more work to do. Also there remain many residual socialist impediments to a total eradication of poverty – the continuation of the EU’s CAP and CFP for example, or of socialist regimes such as those in North Korea, Cuba and Zimbabwe.

        One great success of capitalism over the last 30 years is that those social democrat parties in countries such as Sweden and Germany (which by the way haven’t been elected any time recently contrary to your assertion) do not any longer put forward socialist policies. Both the last social democrat govts in Sweden and Germany ran supply side reforms (including balanced budgets, tax cuts and simplification, labour market reforms and privatisation) of which libertarian conservatives would be proud.

        It is socialists such as you who are looking lonely as you scour the world for the few remaining residual pockets of Marxist-inspired government.

      • Hope
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        Smoke and mirrors if you really did not know. And the many who are envious, always are resentful of those who try to get on in life whether self made or not.

  9. lifelogic
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    So why does the Tory party currently have essentially socialist, fake green, tax borrow and waste leadership?

    You say “jealousy is not such a popular or universal emotion as many socialists seem to believe”. Indeed it is not. People may be superficially jealous of all sort of things someones looks, their girlfriend/boyfriend, Beckham’s football skills, someones house or wealth, but most realise that if you are fed, healthy and have somewhere to live (it helps if it is warm note Cameron) you are doing quite well in the scheme of things.

    I am not sure socialists even believe this themselves. They just work on the basis of incubating envy, enforced fake “equality” and jealousy for political reasons and the buying of votes – using others money they have legally robbed off them.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted December 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      @lifelong I don’t agree with many of your posts but I do agree with your second paragraph. It is fear that seems uppermost in peoples’ minds at the moment. As you say, if you have a warm house, and food to eat, and you are reasonably healthy and have a job, and if you are of working age, most people in that position will keep their heads down.

      Not a very healthy situation really whatever ones political views.

  10. lifelogic
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Indeed far too many laws, many totally daft and far too many parasitic lawyers, court levels, bureaucrats, tax experts, bureaucrats, HR experts, HSE legal experts, quangos, fake “charities”, politicians ………….

    If we want to get richer and more prosperous we surely need more people doing useful things, not endless people stopping, deterring and taxing them for doing useful things. Is this not fairly obvious to everyone?

    • zorro
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Clearly not, parasites need to feed off the strong and healthy…….

      zorro

    • Bob
      Posted December 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      @lifelogic

      parasitic lawyers, court levels, bureaucrats, tax experts, bureaucrats, HR experts, HSE legal experts, quangos, fake “charities”, politicians

      otherwise known as the non-productive sector.

  11. JoolsB
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    “Conservatives like me want more people to succeed, more people to enjoy rising living standards, more people to own homes and shares and other items of value.”

    Right, so that’s why the Tory led coalition have decreed that ENGLAND’s young, and only ENGLAND’s young, will have to pay an extra 9p in income tax out of every pound they earn for the next thirty years if they go to university. They will be starting out their working lives with huge debts hanging over them and that’s before they can even dream of buying their own homes and starting a family. And then when they get to the end of their lives, they can look forward to handing it all back over to the state to pay for their care homes fees but again only if they are ENGLISH of course.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted December 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes that’s a good point. It wasn’t always like that of course. At one time the Conservative Party were in favour of free education for all students, even to the extent of offering grants -not loans- to those from a less privileged background.

      There was no requirement to pay extra income tax after graduation. Graduates of course would have paid extra tax as they earned more than average and the country has probably come out ahead overall on the deal.

      It may not come out ahead if they go through with the graduate tax. It will just encourage the brightest and the best to seek employment overseas.

  12. David Hope
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I agree with all this. As I often say though on replies here, all who believe in free markets, freedom and capitalism must be careful in accepting the status quo in equality as fine because it has an outward appearance of capitalism.

    The left is sometimes right about the problems of living standards or growing inequality, it just utterly wrong on the remedies and causes. You mention state subsidised banks and tax breaks and regulation. These are but a small number of ways that government helps those at the top earn more and cement advantage.

    I would like to see those on the right talk more about inequality and how socialist policies in tax regulation and banking can cause it. Capitalism right now is being given a very bad name and those on the right must do more to defend pure capitalism, and emphasise how that isn’t what we have in this very regulated economy backed by loose central money.

  13. Neil Craig
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I don’t think socialism is inherently anti-progress.

    When the Soviets captured Russia, Lenin said “socialism will be achieved by soviet power and the electrification of the whole country”. That was a positive vision even if it didn’t exactly work.

    The early socialists had no truck with the anti-progress Luddites. I believe that what happened is that when centralised socialism failed in the manner described by Aesop in the sour grapes fable, “socialists” decided human progress wasn’t that good anyway.

    This shows the intellectual bankruptcy of the movement. Had it had intellectuals of the rank of Marx & Trotsky they would have done the hard thinking required to come up with a better model. Instead Milibands are what pass for socialist intellectual now.

  14. alan jutson
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I simply agree with your headline, as we need more people who can, to be more self reliant.

    That in turn means we need a Government who understands such, and will bring out policies which make that a sensible option for those who wish this to be the case.

  15. Atlas
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Aaah, John, you are still a dreamer – keep it up please ! Your front bench rather fails on the points you mention.

  16. forthurst
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I support the market economy; I invest my savings in companies that I believe create genuine added value. They may create more efficient ways to turn natural resources into products, design products that are better, cheaper, more efficient to satisfy the market. I usually do not bother to check how much their senior managers are earning because I know they are very clever, very hardworking and dedicated to ensuring the success of their enterprises. However, when I see a group of people who earn a lot of money, whose customers, investors and the country at large often appear to be worse off as a result of their actvities, I find it very hard to believe such people are adding value, or providing a useful service, or worth what they pay themselves or indeed are worth anything at all.

    I agree that we have too many laws and too many regulations. What we need are simple laws against such activities as thieving, extortion and fraud which are also rigorouly enforced against banksters as much as neighbourhood predators.

  17. libertarian
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with you John. I’m living proof of the ability to rise from nothing due to free enterprise and hard work.

    In the first decades of this 21st Century the opportunities opening up before us are immense, there are so many new things that can be done, new opportunities for all to grasp. Trouble is we have loads of socialists and antis as well as ignorant media perpetuating myths about employment and business. Its why we are becoming a less innovative nation year after year and that is a worry that so many people are missing out on ways to vastly improve their lives because they would rather sit at home behind a keyboard and whine its not fair, I have to start at the bottom and I want to start at the top or trotting out excuses as to why other peoples success supposedly is the thing that makes them less successful

    • uanime5
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Its why we are becoming a less innovative nation year after year and that is a worry that so many people are missing out on ways to vastly improve their lives because they would rather sit at home behind a keyboard and whine its not fair, I have to start at the bottom and I want to start at the top or trotting out excuses as to why other peoples success supposedly is the thing that makes them less successful

      Actually most young people complain about one of the following:

      1) Not being able to get a job.
      2) Not being able to get a job that pays them any money (such as an unpaid internship).
      3) Not being able to get a job that provide sick pay, holiday pay, or regular working hours (zero hours contracts).
      4) Not being able to get a job that pays more than minimum wage.

      It’s truly a sign that something is wrong with society when many young people, including those in employment, are in a worse off than someone who flips burgers. Unfortunately too many people would rather demonize the young and unemployed because this system is currently benefiting them.

      Reply Who wishes to “demonize the young”?

      • Edward2
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        I suspect that instead of the phrase “most young people” we should substitute the word “I” in Uni’s
        It is difficult to find a good job.
        It always has been in my lifetime.
        It is not very easy in your fifties either.

        It comes as a shock to lots of young people when they first encounter the competitive world of work after the cosy protected world of education.
        My advice is to take any job that gets you into a company in an area you like, whilst continuing your training and education perhaps at night school.

        You may need to either move to another area or even nation to get work, as many do or give up your current ambitions and try another different avenue.
        There are many jobs out there all the ones you list whilst second best at least gets you in the door.
        The rest is up to you.
        Two examples which with your cynical attitude to the world of work you will probably ridicule:-
        Terry Leahy started work at Tescos stacking shelves and become chief executive and Simon Cowell’s first job was post boy at EMI for two years before he rose up the company and stated out on his own.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 8, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

          I suspect that instead of the phrase “most young people” we should substitute the word “I” in Uni’s

          Of the 2.5 million 18-24 year olds 1 million are unemployed and many of those in employment are either doing unpaid internships, apprenticeships (which pay less than minimum wage), or are working in minimum wage jobs. So “most young people” is the correct term.

          It is difficult to find a good job.
          It always has been in my lifetime.
          It is not very easy in your fifties either.

          Given how youth employment keeps rising it seems that it’s more difficult now for young people to get a job than in the past.

          Though unemployment among those between 50 and retirement age is also high.

          It comes as a shock to lots of young people when they first encounter the competitive world of work after the cosy protected world of education.

          In what way is it cosy? In education you’re expected to absorb new information and write essays. In work you’re expected to add numbers to a database.

          My advice is to take any job that gets you into a company in an area you like, whilst continuing your training and education perhaps at night school.

          That’s good advice if you’ve just finished mandatory schooling but not so useful if you’ve been to university.

          There are many jobs out there all the ones you list whilst second best at least gets you in the door.

          Unless these jobs are unpaid, then you have to work in them while somehow not needing to eat. Which is why so many people prefer benefits to unpaid work.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

            Stay as you are then Uni, complaining and discontented with life, moaning about how unfair and competitive modern society is.

            Wait for someone to ring you and offer you that high paid perfect job your university education deserves.
            Ignore all advice to the contrary that has worked for many.
            I would guess your your attitudes and opinions would come soon across in any job application or interview and this would be a big negative to any prospective employer

          • libertarian
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            Uanime5 & Bazman

            One last try at acquainting you too with some reality and facts.

            Here’s a report

            Wages are rising at an unprecedented level on a 6 year growth high

            There are growing skills shortages we have the highest number of unfilled vacancies since 1998

            Read it, then get back to me with your lame excuses

            http://www.markit.com/assets/en/docs/commentary/markit-economics/2013/dec/UK_recruitment_13_12_09.pdf

          • Bazman
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            In what industries in this survey of lunchtime drinking? Tell it to the skint millions struggling with rising prices and bills. Its like telling us tractor production is up only worse as this information is from agencies who talk anything up. It’s their job. Most of them are a complete waste of time wasting everyone elses time. An absolute crock.

          • libertarian
            Posted December 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            Baz

            As always when faced with facts, data and information that prove you to be totally wrong, your response is to make up an unrelated argument and post some abuse. The more you do this the more people become convinced that socialists (twist the truth or are ignorant ed). keep up the good work. Its people like you that will get the Tories elected.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            You have to look where the facts data and information and any from agencies in some obscure survey is bound to be fantasy and lies. Always seem to from these sort of sources from you does it not and often the information is misrepresented. The CO2 one being a prime example and a complete crock.

          • libertarian
            Posted December 11, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

            Baz

            See you just cant help yourself. You’ve done it again. I’ve showed you data and reports from various and many sources ALL saying the same thing. I’ve NEVER showed you reports from employment agencies or mentioned CO2 in relation to jobs. The data was COLLECTED from agencies because job agencies advertise the bulk of vacancies on behalf of employers.

            Job vacancies are up, salaries are up. Post Office workers have just been offered a 9% increase and still you want to carry on believing your fantasist nonsense.

            If you are so clever and knowledge and you told us job agencies earn money for old rope why do you continue to work via an agency, why not find your own job, or start your own ethical agency or even another business so that you can show us how its done.

            Oh you cant because you’re lazy and lack the intellectual capacity to do it. You just trot out the same old guff over and over with no evidence of any kind and no solutions other than someone else should pay. Truly pathetic.

            The only Co2 report I’ve linked you to was a scientific report from the United Nations World Health Organisation, you a scrap metal basher think you know more chemistry than them and they are talking a crock, ha ha ha keep it up you’re doing a fabulous job for the cause of socialism.

            There are more people in work in the UK than EVER before

            There are more vacancies for full time , well paid jobs than ever before

            Salaries are rising at the fastest rate since 1998

            You can keep believing the rubbish you spout meanwhile in the real world unemployment is falling month on month and more private sector jobs are being created than ever before.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5

        As I’ve relentlessly shown you, your post about the lack of jobs is drivel. I can find work that is good quality well paid work for any young person that wants it.

        There are 2 main problems with youngsters finding work

        1) They have no idea at all how to go about the job search and application process properly

        2) Too many especially those with degrees and educational qualifications expect to start at the top well you cant without experience you start at the bottom and learn and develop and increase your earning power

        NO ONE NOT A SINGLE young person in work is worse off than someone who flips burgers.

        I spend most of my voluntary free time helping young people get work. Its one of my biggest frustrations that people like you, Bazman and the socialist hangers on keep perpetuating the myth there’s no work. There’s tons of work. you just have to apply for it correctly and be prepared to start at the bottom and learn just like everyone else had too.

        I can even find you a job Uanime5 , would you like me to find you a well paid full time non agency job?

        • Bazman
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          You also have to have some experience in that work which is a problem for the young. Many the jobs require specific skills and the ones that do not have to be within a commutable distance. In geologically isolated towns this can be a real problem with travel costs outstripping the wages and higher paid jobs further away requiring accommodation costs something employers are less willing to pay for these days making the work not viable in many cases. Who works for free?

          • libertarian
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

            Bazman

            So in order to gain experience what do you think people need to do? Come on think it through you can do it

          • Bazman
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            Should I become surgeon or take to the stage?

          • libertarian
            Posted December 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            Baz

            Once again a failure to think isn’t a response. We weren’t talking about you remember but young unskilled unemployed. So go back have another think and see if you can work out what THEY need to do.

            As to your career dilemma, more chance on the stage as you would be well suited to pantomime.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

            Don’t be surgeon. No one is denying what they need to do, but laying the blame entirely with them and the unemployed for their circumstances is for the birds.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

            This is closer to the truth and uses the governments own statistics.
            http://www.tuc.org.uk/economic-issues/labour-market/job-quality-close-20-year-low-despite-rising-employment-rates
            Lower quality jobs and underemployment at record levels despite more employment and pay rises. KPMG? Weren’t these the banks auditors among other things. Zero credibility.

          • libertarian
            Posted December 11, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

            Baz

            Still no answer from you then, can’t think of anything?

            A Trade Union report……ha ha ha no biased then?

            Underemployment ha ha socialists make up a new category so the TUC don’t think their workers are working hard enough thats a laugh

            Have you ever thought that maybe politics is the problem and it may be better if you joined us in reality?

        • petermartin2001
          Posted December 10, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

          Libertarian,

          So are saying there are jobs for everyone if only they were willing to work ? And unemployment levels rise and fall, not because of the state of the economy but because there is somehow a decrease, or increase, from time to time, in everyone’s willingness to work? There’s a sort of laziness virus which causes epidemics of unemployment to suddenly break out?

          And, unemployment levels are higher in Middlesborough, than Reading , say, because the Reading population are naturally more capable than the Middlesborough population? And they have a better understanding of how to correctly punctuate their letters of application and don’t, unlike the Middlesborough population have quite so many useless degrees which leads them to think they ought to start at the top?

          OK That’s an interesting theory!

          Having said that, there is something in what you are driving at. The sad truth is that the longer a person is unemployed the more unemployable they become. The unemployed don’t act, in total as a reserve army of labour as some would allege. Unemployment can lead individuals astray, into crime, drugs etc. They lose the concept that they need to get up in the morning and make a contribution to society and become unemployable.

          And so when the economy does pick up after a period of recession , employers are suspicious of hiring anyone who has been out of work for an extended period of time. They would rather pay extra for someone who has had some sort of employment history.

          To that end I would suggest it would be very much more advantageous, and more economical, to look at providing some kind of Job Guarantee to those who do genuinely want work. These jobs would involve working for the community (there’s plenty to do!) and not private employers who are well capable of hiring their own staff. The pay would be minimum wages. But they would pay NI contributions and even a small amount of tax. I’m not talking about ‘workfare’.

          It would not cost much to set up a pilot scheme in an area of high unemployment. The results could be analysed to see how cost effective it all was. Yes the taxpayer would have to foot the wages bill. On the other hand they would not have to pay unemployment benefit and would receive tax and NI back into the system. The unemployed person would be in a much better position to prove to his next employer that he was capable of holding down a job and so the benefits would extend well into the future too.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        Reply Who wishes to “demonize the young”?

        Richard1. I even quoted the part of his post I was replying it.

        • Richard1
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

          I can’t see why I am accused of that?! Are you running out of actual arguments Unanime5?

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted December 8, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Actually I don’t think we are becoming less innovative.

      But I do think that none of the political parties recognise how hard it is for some one to set up their business from nothing and make it a success. I did this so I speak from experience.

      But for me the obstacles are not political – they are personal. Its about working really hard all the time with high levels of mental and physical energy and determination and giving your customers what they want. And taking risks.

      I think the “plodding business men” (to quote Charles Dickens) are too busy to be political.

  18. S. Donald
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Wise words Mr Redwood but are the rest of the party thinking along the same lines?
    Can I draw your attention to a speech given by David Cameron in 2009, as reported in this article.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1187577/Me-Now-Brown-backs-voter-recall-powers-pledges-reforms-political-system.html
    He said he ” sought to channel what he called the terrible but impotent anger voters feel when confronted by nanny state officials who are self serving, not serving us”
    Mr Cameron said ” we rage that as we are picked on and poked and bossed around, annoyed and irritated and endlessly harassed by public and private sector officialdom that treat us like children, with rules and regulation and directives and laws that nobody voted for, no one supports, but no one ever seems to be able to do the slightest thing about it”
    I think that pretty much sums up exactly how many people feel, but how hollow those words sound now.
    What happened to the bonfire of the quangos?
    We, the drinkers, the smokers, the motorists, the overweight, ( feel free to add to this list ) are heartily sick of the continuous bombardment of petty restrictions foisted upon us by unelected nobodies.
    The government talks a lot about free enterprise yet how many small businesses are struggling against a tide of piddling and unnecessary red tape?
    Look at the pub trade? Why are the government sitting by and watching the total distruction of our once envied and much loved social venues?
    Please, please practice what you preach.

  19. Posted December 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if a lot of arguments are lost in translation and lost in myths, ghouls and dragons.

    What I find is that socialists often assume that a free market results in excessive riches for the few when in a true free market the opposite is the case. I’m sure I get many socialist philosophies and systems wrong as well!

    What I find offensive is the suggestion that those on the Right want to make bad things happen to others.

    Despite the fact that previous Labour governments have severely damaged our country and thrown many out of work, I do not think for a second that they meant to be nasty. I don’t believe that M. Hollande is a nasty person despite what he and his government are doing to the people of France.

    We all mean well. It’s a pity we can’t get the childishness and myths out of the way so that we can argue it out in an adult way.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      What I find is that socialists often assume that a free market results in excessive riches for the few when in a true free market the opposite is the case. I’m sure I get many socialist philosophies and systems wrong as well!

      Care to elaborate on how this is meant to work. I trust you’re not going to claim that this is due to increased incomes, while ignoring that in real terms incomes for the poor have been declining.

      • Posted December 8, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        In a nutshell, if we run socialist policies the poor are bound to get poorer as they did in the Soviet Union, as they are in France right now and as they have done in the UK for the past few years.

        We are still running what is basically a socialist model and we have ended up with large cartels making the rich richer, with very little free enterprise in sight.

        The left wing answer is to pile on yet more taxes and regulations making things worse still. The right wing answer is to lower taxes and regulations and free up the economy allowing the market to increase employment and working conditions while curtailing excessive pay and capital.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          The problem is that society is being divided into two societies. The haves and have nots by over reliance on capital. As technology advances this will become worse as there will be even less jobs. The question being of what to do with all these people surplus to industries requirement. Becoming a peasant in the UK is not an option so they will have to be paid to do nothing whether anyone likes it or not. The wealth will have to be shared one way or another or there will be no country or two separate ones keep apart by a very expensive army of police ,because who says the poor should accept nothing due to their circumstances of birth. It’s how revolutions begin.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

            You are assuming Baz, a society that never changes never innovates and never invents anything new ever again.
            Im excited about a future of technology that will give people more opportunities to create jobs, start new businesses and make a fortune for themselves and this country.
            The Government just needs to help create the environment where this can happen.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            The wealth has to be in some way shared whether you like it or not.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 9, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

            I already share about 50% of what I earn.
            If it goes up any more my view as to what is fair will change.

      • Bob
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        If you look into any communist country you will struggle to find a poor communist party official.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5

        The incomes of UK poor have been declining? Have they really? Don’t think so. Show me some evidence for that.

        Meanwhile wages are RISING at a 6 year HIGH

        http://www.markit.com/assets/en/docs/commentary/markit-economics/2013/dec/UK_recruitment_13_12_09.pdf

        • Bazman
          Posted December 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          As if. In some areas there may well be a rise, such as finance or IT which this no doubt focuses on, but everyone else has less money than ever before. You are seriously telling us we are better off than 10 years ago given the massive inflation of everyday goods and services. Get real.

          • libertarian
            Posted December 12, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

            Baz

            I know you struggle with reality, so I’ll try again

            Wages across the board are rising ( post office workers have just been offered 9%, they aren’t IT or Finance )

            I didn’t say anyone was better off, we aren’t better off because our socialist politicians keep taking more and more money from the workers in order to squander it on their hare brained schemes. Most of the rise in inflation and erosion of earnings is due to profligate borrow and spend of the politicians.

            There are loads of well paid full time jobs in manufacturing, engineering, teaching, driving and logistics, health care, service industries, construction as well as IT and finance. The only area of employment that is declining at the moment is High street retail.

  20. Bazman
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    How about the jealousy that exist between the rich and the super rich. The latter thinking that they are in some way hard done by. This is the most common jealousy and strangely not mentioned on this site.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      “How about the jealousy that exist between the rich and the super rich. The latter thinking that they are in some way hard done by. This is the most common jealousy and strangely not mentioned on this site”

      There’s a really good reason its not mentioned and thats because it doesn’t exist its a figment of your inadequate imagination.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        As if. You think like many Tories that if you pretend something does not exist it does not. Like poverty and unemployment in the UK and the rise of food banks being just free food. A fantasy and fools paradise.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

          Have you examples of the rich being more envious of the super rich than the poor are of the rich Baz because Im struggling to think of some.

        • libertarian
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Bazman

          As ive told you many times I’m not a Tory

          Show me one scrap of evidence that the rich are jealous of the super rich. You really are a parody

          Your argument always boils down to childish statements about what you think I ought to think and as always you’re wrong.

          Try coming up with something better than that. The mental exercise will do you good

    • Alte Fritz
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Many of the super rich are former apparatchiks of the old Soviet system who were expertly trained to engage in a spot of rape and pillage when opportunity presented itself. A lesson there?

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    “Most voters want to be able to pass some money on to the next generation, rather than wishing to make each generation start again with the state pocketing the gains of the dying.”

    I’m not sure that “most” voters do think like that, given that a substantial chunk of the population will have little or nothing to pass on to the next generation, and some of those who do have significant wealth to pass on are correctly cautious about making it too easy for their children and think that it is important for each of them to make their own way in life and not rely on inherited wealth.

    There is in fact a good theoretical case for making each generation start again, with the state using the wealth no longer needed by the dead to ensure a level playing field for the living; on the other hand, there are strong arguments that in its purest form that kind of system would negate some of the best features of human nature, and it is notorious that when it comes to the upbringing and education and advancement of their own children many of those who claim to be socialists will ditch the theory.

    However when Mark b writes above about:

    “… ‘they’ who must lead the nation and the people, by right of birth”

    of course there is a lot in that; look at those now in the senior positions in the three old political parties, and ask how many of those people have worked their way up from the bottom of society on their own merits, and how many are there through the accident of their birth into already privileged families?

    It remains my view that a tax on legacies, with each person having a lifetime allowance for the total legacies received before any tax is levied, is one of the least unfair and damaging taxes; better to tax legacies somebody receives purely by accident of birth than tax their own hard work or tax their own prudence.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Denis–What you say amounts to the position one sees at every turn these days of downplaying and actively undermining the traditional family, to everybody’s disbenefit as I see it.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Postscript–So when a parent starts to get old and sees glimpses of the Grim Reaper, what is he or she likely to do with his money if leaving more to his children were not allowed or would be taxed prohibitively (that’s assuming that he would have bothered to put in the effort to accumulate some money in the first place in your desired scenario)? He would blow it of course rather than let the profligate State steal it and no doubt on the dreaded consumption because there would be no point in his investing or even just saving.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Denis–I replied (adversely of course) to these anti-family views of yours but mystifyingly it seems to have been vetoed.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        They are not “anti-family views”; I am simply advocating that there should be a modest tax on legacies to in effect transfer some of the purely inherited wealth from the wealthier families to the poorer families. I could just as well say that your views are “anti-family” as you reject what is an attempt to help the members of poorer families.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 9, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

          Denis–When I go I want what I leave to go to my own family TVM and I doubt one in a hundred would see things the way you say you do.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            “I doubt one in a hundred would see things the way you say you do.”

            I think you’re quite wrong on that.

            Firstly because only a small proportion of the population has any expectation of either bequeathing or inheriting substantial wealth – almost all the indignation about IHT comes from that comparatively wealthy small section, many of whom have traditionally been inclined towards supporting the Tory party.

            And secondly because some of those who do expect to bequeath or inherit substantial wealth would agree with me that it is fairer to tax money that a person inherits without any personal effort rather than tax money that he earns through his own efforts.

            To give some idea how small this vocal minority is as part of the general population:

            http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/inheritance/commentary.pdf

            “There were 259,989 estates in 2010-11 notified for probate which is approximately 47% of all deaths. Of these, 15,584 were taxpaying estates, approximately 3% of all deaths in that year.”

            And in this table:

            http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/inheritance/table12-3.pdf

            even among the estates which went to probate most were too small to attract any tax, ranging from zero to £100k.

    • M.A.N.
      Posted December 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      ‘Wealth no longer needed’? By the dead?????? Who are you to speak for other people’s earnings??? (personal abuse left out ed) Why would anyone ever bother to buy there own house, maintain it, save , or start thier own business if they couldn’t accrue what is legally theirs. Any legislation like yours would just result in nihilistic behaviour by individuals who I think would spend thier money abroad to spite the state. Your socialist anger betrays you, you are obsessed with others of a higher net worth than yourself purely because you are jealous.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Maybe you are unaware that legally a dead person cannot own anything.

        And suggesting that I have “socialist anger” is utterly ludicrous.

        What do you want?

        For wealth to “cascade down the generations”, as Major put it, but only for those families which have wealth to cascade, while for the poor families it is poverty which cascades down the generations? And now he is complaining about a decline in social mobility …

        Perhaps you could explain why you think it is better to tax somebody on the money he has earned through his own efforts than tax somebody else on the money he has simply inherited without having to put in any effort?

        To repeat my last paragraph:

        “It remains my view that a tax on legacies, with each person having a lifetime allowance for the total legacies received before any tax is levied, is one of the least unfair and damaging taxes; better to tax legacies somebody receives purely by accident of birth than tax their own hard work or tax their own prudence.”

        • Edward2
          Posted December 11, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          Well Dennis, I agree with your last paragraph but it depends on how much one should have to pay.
          Inheritance tax already takes a tax of 40% if you die and leave over £325,000 to your loved ones, so there is a transfer from wealthy to poor families already occurring as you require.
          And remember it is wealth that tax has been paid on once already.

          One other problem is having to find the cash to pay a 40% tax on assets like which may have been bought many years ago for very small sums which now are valued very highly for probate purposes.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic: I see in the Telegraph today that a new WTO deal has been agreed:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/indonesia/10502425/Deal-to-boost-global-trade-reached-at-WTO-summit-w.html

    And:

    “The deal could boost global trade by $1 trillion over time”

    That sounds a lot, until it is put in the context of Gross World Product which roughly speaking is around $80 trillion and growing by over $2 trillion a year:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_world_product

    In other words, all the projected benefits of this new trade deal, coming in gradually over some unspecified number of years, will be equivalent to just a few months natural growth of the world economy.

    I think this is another illustration that international trade has already been freed up to such an extent that we are now into diminishing returns: other recent examples being Open Europe thinking that perhaps it might be possible to squeeze an extra few per cent of GDP by completing the EU Single Market in services, and the numbers published for the projected benefits of the planned EU-US trade deal amounting to only 0.7% of GDP, both to be put into the perspective of the long term trend rate for the natural growth of the UK economy being something like 2.5% a year.

    Of course these small economic enhancements through the further freeing up of trade between countries are not to be dismissed out of hand, but they come with disadvantages as well, including the loss of democratic control over our own country.

  23. alan jutson
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Given the fact that the Government says it wants growth, cannot understand why they do not encourage self employment more, as this is usually the first stage in eventually setting up a new company.

    Cannot understand why the signing on and off Job Seekers Allowance cannot also be made far simpler, without the huge delays to the payment of Benefits when people take on temporary work when available, since many temporary jobs lead eventually to secure employment, if the worker proves their worth to the Company.

  24. Bob
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Socialism and communism are always fighting against the forces of nature, and will always fail, and cause untold cause untold misery in the process. The only difference between the two is the time taken to reach bottom.

  25. Dennis
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    “more people to enjoy rising living standards”

    Mr Redwood still cannot tell us how much of the environment this will take. Not a single politician ever costs, environmentally, these growth policies. I think that this consideration never enters their minds or perhaps just propose policies of ‘keep taking’ , to get votes, until the crash comes then let others try to deal with the outcome.

  26. Bert Young
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I lived in Bermuda for 10 years when there was no direct taxation . By saving hard and no holidays for 9 years I was able to accumulate sufficient capital to return to the UK in 1961 and never have to rely on outside finance again . I changed professions , set up my own business and expanded it around Europe , the USA and the Far East . There were constraints of one sort or another wherever my business expanded ; the opportunities were legion in all the markets particularly Europe . By the end of the 80′s things had changed ; Europe clamped down on open business expansion by creating bureaucratic constraints and regulations . It was a disheartening experience compared to the attitudes in the UK , USA and Japan ; previously profitable offices in Brussels , Amsterdam , Paris and Frankfurt , returned nothing to the coffers or to the intellectual base ; the point was reached when it became sensible to hand these locations over to the local Partners who were far more able to deal with local regulations . EU bureaucracy has gone “wild” since I sold out , and there seems to be no end in sight for its desire to impose and to control ; I am very pleased not to have to grapple with it .
    I fully agree with you Dr. JR that taxation and laws are a restraining influence on enterprise and , particularly , entrepreneurs ; the point can be reached when it is better to pull out . Europe is in a mess . It must move away from over centralisation ,restore democracy and allow the culture and nationalism of the member states to express itself again . A free and open market can and should exist ; once in place again , enterprise and entrepreneurs will emerge and thrive .

  27. cosmic
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty much in agreement with you regarding free enterprise.

    However, in recent years we’ve seen something else, which is big companies which are effectively a part of the state, which can lobby to have products banned on dubious H&S or environmental grounds, leaving the way open for their offerings which no one previously wanted to buy. Also, legislation, again on H&S or environmental grounds, is something large companies can deal with quite easily and relatively cheaply, but their smaller competitors can’t. There are also companies whose sole customer is the state, or whose market exists because of state mandated demand.

    Crony capitalism is the term which springs to mind.

    We’ve also seen companies, most obviously banks, deemed too big to fail. So we have private profits and socialised losses.

    So while I’m in basic agreement with you, what we have now is often much less straightforward and not at all healthy.

  28. petermartin2001
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t this free enterprise vs socialism argument something of a false dichotomy, if you’ll pardon the cliche?

    All democratic countries, including America, have economies which are a mixture of capitalism and socialism. The Conservative Party believes in: the provision of free education for children, the provision of unemployment and other social welfare benefits, the provision of health care under the NHS, the intervention (when necessary) of the State in the economy. So does that make it a Socialist Party? No. But it is not a Libertarian party either.

    The question is where the balance should lie. The Conservative party would like to to be pushed one way and the Labour Party would like it pushed the other. The Lib Dems maybe don’t care providing it leads to greater integration in the EU:-)

    All democracies have parties of the right and left, in this sense, and that is as it should be. The UK may have its problems, but the standard of living is now, or at least just before the crash, was its highest ever. Sensible policies should rectify that it the next few years so there is no need for undue pessimism about the current system.

  29. uanime5
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Many socialists, in contrast, want to make us more equal by taxing those who are successful more heavily.

    Being paid a high salary doesn’t mean you’re successful. Especially if you got your job due to your connections rather than ability.

    They wish to regulate the private sector more, take more of its profits away, and punish those who work hard and pioneer new ways of doing and making things.

    Well when companies try to make more money by using zero hours contracts, which means employers don’t have to provide holiday or sick pay, is it any wonder that employees oppose these practises.

    Let’s not forget that there are now fewer jobs available because the Government created several schemes where people are forced to work in private companies for free (mandatory work activity, traineeships, etc). Perhaps we should examine the social cost of doing things in a different way, rather than just the monetary cost.

    When taken to extremes you end up in a world like communist eastern Europe prior to 1990.

    When done moderately you end up with countries such as Germany and Sweden.

    The friendly socialist responds to these pressures by offering more tax breaks, subsidies and public spending programmes to move the world in the direction they want.

    Isn’t this what Osborne promised in his Autumn speech? I seem to recall tax breaks for married couples. The Government has also given fracking huge subsidies while spending millions on programmes to hide the level of unemployment (Work Programme and workfare).

    Many share my view that state employees, whether in a subsidised bank or a great quango, should not be rewarded as if they were in the private sector on a performance bonus taking big risks with private money and subject to sudden loss of job if they get it wrong.

    You’d be surprised how wrong you have to get it before you’re forced to resign. Especially if you’re the CEO in a country with weak shareholder controls.

    Some dislike high pay selectively, condemning it for bankers but accepting it for footballers or the Governor of the Bank of England.

    Well footballers didn’t cause the 2008 financial crisis and won’t require a bailout if their club goes bankrupt.

    John the reason why people are siding with socialists is that socialists will guarantee them benefits if they cannot find a job which will allow them to buy food and rent housing. By contrast the Conservatives seem to be hell bent on cutting benefits, even if it means people (including children) starve or are thrown onto the streets. So it’s no surprise that while living standards and wages fall, making more people more reliant on benefits, that more and more people are siding with socialists who are offering to help them rather than Conservatives who take every opportunity to harm them.

    The Conservatives will not win another election as long as they go around making the poor poorer, then punishing the poor for being poor.

    Reply The Coalition has put benefits up for most people and has no wish to deny people food and shelter. Do try and write some sense.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      He does write some sense here, but he always forgets that the Labour party got us into the position where the government was having to borrow a quarter of all the money it was spending, and could only save itself by inducing the Bank of England to print £198 billion of new money to help pay its bills.

    • Hope
      Posted December 8, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Well said JR. I have not heard so much socialist drivel without any evidence or fact to substantiate it. You are deluded Uni or live somewhere completely different from me.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Reply The Coalition has put benefits up for most people and has no wish to deny people food and shelter. Do try and write some sense.

      That’s a lie and you know it.

      The most the Conservatives have raised benefits by is the rate of inflation, meaning they stayed the same in real terms. Last year they raised benefits by 1%, which in real terms is a 2% cut.

      Given that there’s been a huge increase in the number of people needing to use food banks it seems that the Conservatives do wish to deny people food (for example using 3 year long benefit sanctions). The bedroom tax is also going to deny many people shelter.

      Perhaps you should take a look at the consequences of your party’s policies.

      Reply The benefits bill has gone up in real terms and the numbers out of work has fallen! No evidence there of your gloomy statements. The authorities encourage the use of food banks to supplement family budgets for those in financial trouble as a way of helping on top of the benefit payments which have gone up.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 9, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Why is IDS not sacked yet and what does he have to to to be sacked?

  30. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 8, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Bob had it when he remarked that socialism is fighting against the forces of nature, however superimposed on that underpinning fight for survival is a civilizing rather superior realization that care for our ‘ others ‘in society is a gentler and more rounded motive.

    I myself cut the two opposing poles in half , yet am not sure where the half way mark is, and understand that desire for a generous society where all will benefit equally collides against with the will of the self survivor in it’s vilest self serving forms.

    We need to be free, but embarrassed to say this.. not everybody, not those whose freedom is used to make others captive and slaves, make workaholics for the controlling market forces. Where is freedom without human generosity?

  31. Matt
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The underlying problem with the Tories’ notion of equality of opportunity is that it is simply non-existent in the U.K. If you have the misfortune of being brought up in a Council estate in Greater Manchester you are far less likely to become a doctor or lawyer than if you are privately educated, for example.

    As a young person it is very difficult to get on in life without the necessary experience in a tough jobs market. You either have to do another degree (which unless you have rich parents you can’t afford) or take advantage of nepotism if you have the necessary contacts.

    To suggest that jealousy is behind socialism is one of the most ludicrous statements I have ever heard. The primary goal of socialism is fairness, but unfortunately the right wing brigade constantly use their financial might in the media (Murdoch and BSkyB) to create an image of people less unfortunate than yourself as ‘scroungers’, despite the fact the level of benefit fraud is very low. In fact, benefit fraud is a much smaller problem than tax evasion assisted by large organisations such as Deloitte and KPMG who helped craft the country’s tax rules.

    I guess having an DPhil from Oxford has made Mr Redwood’s life very comfortable. For the 99.9% of the population who are either not rich enough to attend a school that is good enough to help them get to Oxford or who are not academically gifted, studying at Oxford is just a distant dream. It seems to educated onlookers like myself that the ruling class of the Conservative Party is mostly Oxbridge educated and exist not to improve quality of opportunity, but market conditions that improve their own position and not for the greater good.

    I believe politics should be about improving the majority of people’s lives, something which the growing wealth gap proves is not happening. To argue that free enterprise alone will do this is misguided and fundamentally flawed. As Capital takes over, we in society only have a value when we are needed and that can be devalued in an instant if it suits.

    It is particularly clear in America what the social impact is of unchecked free enterprise. Huge environmental destruction and an underclass who do not even have basic access to free healthcare and survive only on food-bank hand outs due to large corporations such as Walmart putting a trivial value on labour.

    Is this what we want from society? The Conservative Party does. In the not too distant future, the wealth gap will continue to increase if Mr Redwood’s party and the right wing establishment continue. When more and more people’s labour and time is no longer deemed to have a monetary value by big business, whether through technological advance or excess supply in the labour market, this free market contradiction will be exposed.

    Reply I won a free place at a Direct Grant School (abolished by Labour to stop people like me getting on ), followed by an Open Scholarship to Oxford. I spent my early years in a Council hosue, and went to a state primary school. I want more young people from modest backgrounds like mine to have better educational opportunity.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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