Taming the market?

I have received many phone calls from media and newspaper outlets wanting me to criticise the Conservative leadership for proposing some curbs on big business in areas like energy to help consumers. There is growing frustration by these people,often pro Remain commentators desperate to create a split in the pro Brexit Conservatives. Let me explain why they are wasting their time.

Many Conservatives regard delivering Brexit as the most important thing the next government has to do. We want strong and stable leadership able to get through the legislation needed. Together we seek a mandate to show the Lords the public are behind the Commons on this matter. The legislation to remove the power of the EU will be a Manifesto Bill, which by convention the Lords allow to pass. If we deliver Brexit well, then the UK can embrace free trade with non EU countries. The Uk can be more outward looking and enterprising, to be able to pursue our own path to prosperity. We can choose our own taxes, spend our own money and amend our own laws.

Conservatives including the Prime Minister of course regard markets as the important source of choice,jobs and prosperity.Together we are against renationalising the railways, the water companies and the Postal service. Together we seek to create a climate favourable to business in the UK, and are pleased that so far Conservative led governments since 2010 have created conditions which have led to a big surge in investment and jobs. Together we want lower taxes, with proper rewards for work and venturing. Together we want to see more challenger businesses and more innovative small companies rise and flourish as signs of a healthy enterprise economy.

Belief in the importance of markets and competition is not the same as belief in a free for all. I and others of like mind have always accepted that Parliament and government needs to set out a clear legal framework to control business and ensure fair competition. We have always accepted the need for redistribution through taxes and benefits. We seek lower tax rates, but not lower tax revenues. One of the reasons we want lower tax rates on work and profit is to encourage more growth and prosperity. We support a legal framework to protect employees from any bad employer that might be out there.

Like the Prime Minister, I am all in favour of imposing requirements on large companies that have an overmighty market position, and especially intervening against monopolies and cartels that act against the customer interest. No Conservative supports large corporations tax cheating, overcharging or abusing their market power. Large corporations who distort markets or let their customers down or get out of line with the mood of the public they serve should not expect Conservative candidates and future MPs to turn against their Leader if she wishes to curb their abuses. The UK under the Conservatives should be a great place to do business for all those with competitive goods and services who wish to serve UK customers in all their diversity.

Published and promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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80 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    I too am against large companies abusing their market power and the government or competition authority sometimes needs to intervene (sensibly) to ensure fair competition. I am however also against the vastly unfair competition and rigged markets by government which is a far worse problem. Only the governments (or criminals perhaps) can force you to pay for things under threat of violence or imprisonment.

    We have virtual monopolies in health and education, entirely due to the way the government funds these through taxation – killing nearly all the far more efficient and better competition, killing choice for the consumer who gets what is given or often is not given in the case of the NHS.

    In housing developers have to provide social housing (or are unfairly taxed in a discriminating way) this pushes up the costs for buyers and kills many sensible projects.

    As does the absurdly restrictive planning system and the over the top, greencrap building regulations.

    In energy the government hugely distorts the market with the climate alarmism religon and the bankers climate change act.

    What does the Tory manifesto say on these rather more important issues?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      @Lifelogic

      You wrote “In energy the government hugely distorts the market with the climate alarmism religion and the bankers climate change act.

      You then ask “What does the Tory manifesto say on these rather more important issues?”

      Read this and weep. http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3010347/conservative-manifesto-wind-farms

      The Tories are to continue to support green technology and onshore wind in Scotland. They are not going to repeal the climate change act and are in fact going to aim to be the greenest government in the world leading from the front. Where have we heard this before? Smack of Miliband and his merry men.

      I was furious last night after being sent this. The ‘green’ businesses are rubbing their hands with glee for more payouts. Meanwhile SSE have tripled their profits this year mostly through earnings from the massive wind farms they have and are still building in Scotland. The subsidies for onshore wind may be stopping but they are now making just as much money for switching off because in Scotland often there are too many turbines operating for the grid to accommodate.

      When you say they are distorting the market you are completely right.

      Friends around our dinner table last night (and some are Labour supporters) all said that at the moment there is nobody to vote for that has anything sensible to say. I am only voting Conservative again because of Brexit and after that is out of the way unless May gets real I won’t ever be voting Conservative again. The party as

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        Meant to say in my last sentence that the party has complete lost its way and is trying to be all things to all people. Sad or what?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Oh for some sensible engineers and physicists, and fewer greencrap priests and daft or evil politicians.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      @LL; Fortunately most people living and paying income tax in the UK (that is England, Wakes, Scotland and NI) do not agree with you, what is more almost all political parties understand that your ideas -especially on health- would consign them to the ballot box of history should they adopt your ideas (although I fear that Mrs may might be getting rather to close for comfort)…

    • Bob
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      @lifelogic

      “What does the Tory manifesto say on these rather more important issues?”

      It says we want to have all female short lists and gender and racist quotas on the boards of footsie companies, and we want to continue borrowing millions upon millions of pounds in order to pour it into countries that have nuclear weapons, space programs, their own foreign aid programs and more vibrant economies than ours.

      I expect that before too long there will be LGBT and non binary quotas too.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      “Like the Prime Minister, I am all in favour of imposing requirements on large state-owned organisations that have an overmighty market position, and especially intervening against monopolies and cartels that act against the customer interest. No Conservative supports large state-owned organisations tax cheating, overcharging or abusing their market power. Large state-owned organisations who distort markets or let their customers down or get out of line with the mood of the public they serve should not expect Conservative candidates and future MPs to turn against their Leader if she wishes to curb their abuses.”

      Would be nice to see

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    I wholly support the Conservative economic and social management objectives; however I do not think these will be achieved until you acknowledge that government needs to be a smaller proportion of total economic activity. Please look at the example of other western economies that are stagnant or worse. These will be ones with the highest government spending to GDP ratio. A conservative objective should be to reduce UK government economic activity to below 35% of GDP.

  3. Mark B
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Price controls do not work. And neither does subsidising so called green technology over cheaper and more reliable energy sources.

    The problem is that neither parliament or the government cwn admit to the fact that they voted for legislation that is causing high energy prices and subsidising rich land owners with poor people’s money.

    It has beem reported elsewhere that the Conservative (sic) manifesto leans more to the Left than ever before and puts the rights of the State above that of the individual. As we have seen elsewhere and throughout history when this happens we set ourselves down the path of totalitarianism.

    I did not vote to leave one State monster only to have another imposed on me on a more local level.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Quite, it would have been reassuring to have read about the areas of influence from which a Conservative government would withdraw while hearing about the increased authoritarian and interventionist approach.

      Where was the aim to encourage business to use the disabled rather than immigrants. The costs to the taxpayer of adjustments to make this happen would be less.

    • Nig l
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Unfortunately the Tories hammered Milliband for suggesting price caps (also known as distorting the market) on the big energy producers for all the right economic reasons and are now proposing to do the same to get a cheap political advantage. They are pushing out balancing the deficit again so dumping that and the almost doubled overall liability on next generations. We now know they ‘lied’ about being serious on inward migration and again dissembled on increasing inheritance allowances, again to get a cheap political hit on Gordon Brown. Prudent people who have saved with shares because rates are low are being hit with dividend taxes and now we see a proposed ‘dementia’ tax plus stealth inheritance tax to fund care. Credibility nil. Believability nil!

    • Jerry
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; Sorry but price controls for essentials (such as with the utilities) do work, even more so when all suppliers have basically the same costs (such as with energy), “green crap” policies are an extra problem not the cause of the original problem.

      Usually, for most, there only needs to be three tariffs for gas and electricity; Domestic, Commercial and Industrial. The energy companies can then make money via the add-ons, boiler maintenance contracts or home repair insurance for example, because that is were the true free market competition exists.

      • Bob
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        @Jerry,

        “price controls for essentials (such as with the utilities) do work”

        how about food petrol & diesel ?

      • stred
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Jerry. It is annoying when energy companies sign customers onto a low price tariff and change it to a higher price after a year, relying on customers to be too busy to keep changing, and now losing their smart meter function.

        If they all had to keep to one tariff it would produce genuine competition instead of smoke and mirrors from marketing experts. Maybe the big foreign companies would then give up when they can no longer conceal their profits. It would also help customers if companies had to show the costs of renewable subsidies, carbon tax, the modifications to the grid and renewing of the gas pipelines.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Jerry

        No ! Only competition drives down costs. If you impose a cap then that is the new minimum / maximum. ie That is what they will charge irrespective of true cost, because they will make savings elsewhere (eg job cuts) to maximise profits. It will also drive out smaller producers and kill competition. Again works well for large corporate’s. I take it you are a big fan of Hinkley Point (the most expensive energy contract EVER) and paying rich landlords to have wind turbines on their land producing next to no energy at the expense of the poor ?

        • Jerry
          Posted May 19, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          @Mark B; So why have prices gone only one way in 25 plus years of “competition”, and that way is up, this before any price hiking green crap schemes have to be subsidised by the end users.

          I am no fan of Hinckley point, because it is in effect another PFI project and thus (as we have been warned) prices will
          be higher than otherwise would be the case. It would have been cheaper if UK state had borrowed the money its self (even used QE…) and formed a state owned “Hinckley Point C” development corporation or what ever to over see its construction.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        @Jerry

        There are already price controls. It is called shopping around and is so simple I manage it every year.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          @NS; You do not get the cheapest (possible), you just get the lowest of the highest at the time you sign the contract.

          • ian wragg
            Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            That is the same with any product. I have just bought a tumble dryer on line which may very well be cheaper next week.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            My energy bill has declined year on year of late.

            The lowest price at the time I shop is what I expect from competition. An entrant into the market usually offers a great deal and I take it.

            I expect companies to make a profit but to serve me well.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            @ian Wragg; Indeed but most people can live without a tumble dryer…

            @NS; You could be paying far less was it not for your beloved free market, and what about those who have no IT access, those who are IT illiterate, what chance do they have of accessing price comparison sites, yes they could try phoning around the energy companies (assuming they are not stone deaf), but then they are exposed to pressure selling. The whole market is dysfunctional.

  4. eeyore
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    JR will have written this post in the weary expectation of howls of protest. For myself, I’m grateful for a clear, concise and intellectually coherent summary of the philosophy behind the Tory manifesto.

    We all understand that Mrs May is putting together a mighty coalition of voters in the highest of national interests, and no doubt most will give her loyal support. Nonetheless, when a Conservative PM raises the red flag of equality, as she did the other day, her natural followers are entitled to feel alarm and dismay.

    The politics of Napoleon the Pig have no resonance with Tories, who understand that the biggest, most aggressive and most dangerous monopoly by far is government itself.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Hear hear.

  5. Turboterrier.
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    especially intervening against monopolies and cartels that act against the customer interest

    Do you really mean this John?

    You have SSE profits going into the billions all down to renewable energy and the ridiculous subsidies and constraint payments all on the back of the millions in the UK that are in fuel debt and poverty. SSE 6.9% rise in price despite losing 200,000 customers and profits from £593m to £1.8bn. How can those advising the PM even begin to justify carrying on with the Climate Change Act as stated in the manifesto? Do they not realise the real impact they have on industry and business. Is it because of their fear of the Greens in taking away their vote? I will support the party one last time only because of the Brexit issue but with manifestos like this last one I will be seriously thinking about who i will vote for on future occasions.

    • Disgruntled
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      I feel sorry for those who work for SSE.
      ( Their plaintive customer surveys and occasional posts to this blog are my only civic contributions )
      The latest was -Please comment on this letter we are thinking of sending out and ended along the lines PLEASE , PLEASE any suggestions or help.
      Some poor young sods who haven’t the faintest idea of how to keep their customers for their masters.
      Next time I get one, am going to suggest they give me 50 quid off my next electric bill for my sage advice.
      Am not bothered about winter fuel allowance, as since my state pension age was raised twice, I won’t be getting it for x number of years.
      Was planning to be enjoying a quiet life of contemplation at this stage but have decided to go out raging.

  6. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    John: If you and your Conservative colleagues think that price caps on energy suppliers are such a good idea why did you noisily oppose Ed Milliband when he proposed exactly that in the last election ? Puzzling.

    reply I do not recall being noisy this topic.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      My apologies if you weren’t, certainly Boris, and Cameron, and Osborne, and Eric Pickles, and Michael Fallon were very vocal, even claiming it was a Marxist policy. I assumed you might agree with them.

      I think train fares for commuters are far too high – I assume you’d support price capping those too ? Also mobile phone contracts ?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply. A lot of us do John.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      But do you recall opposing it ?

  7. Richard1
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Ok lets focus on brexit and win the election. But let’s also recognise that it is radical free Market policies which actually work and deliver real improvements in peoples’ lives. Privatisation, tax cuts and curbs on union power achieved such improvements under thatcher and major. The education and welfare reforms have achieved real improvements for people under David Cameron. Post brexit the UK will not be able to afford fatuous gesture policies like energy price caps, workers on boards and ethnic and gender pay reporting. There needs to be a relentless focus on competitiveness and ensuring the best environment for investment.

    reply the Manifesto confirms the target for rising the 40% tax threshold to50000 and the starting point for income tax to 12500, and two out for one in on regs

    • Nig l
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Ps. I have just read that under Theresa May, the tax take will rise to nearly 35% GDP, the highest since Harold Wilson in 1969. So much for lower taxes and accusing Labour of being a tax and spend Party.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Funnily enough so long as spending exceeds tax receipts I can accept the need for an increase in tax/GDP – after all borrowing is just deferred tax. The real question is should the govt spend so much? I would like to see the govt resolve to spend no more than say 30% of GDP. I can then accept that all of that needs to come from tax, with borrowing only in exceptional circs.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Will the increase in the hold to 50K be funded by increasing the upper earnings limit for NI by more than the rise in tax threshold like this year’s was Mr Redwood?

      £300 left in my pay packet while £200 was taken out with a different tax.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: please could you and other independent minded Comservative MPs monitor the two out for one in pledge on regs. It’s the sort of area where we see backsliding. Eg Mr Osborne even set up an office of tax simplification, and proceeded with Bownite tax complication.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Is this not a ‘turning the tanker’ kind of manifesto? Plus the fixed-term parliament act would be scrapped should the Conservatives win a majority, so a new manifesto reflecting the values you advocate could be produced once we have safely left the EU and are in control of our destiny once again.

  8. Jerry
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “Together we want lower taxes, with proper rewards for work and venturing. Together we want to see more challenger businesses and more innovative small companies rise and flourish as signs of a healthy enterprise economy.”

    The usual political gobbledygook, translated we had all that and more back in the 1950s and ’60s, and with far less red tape then even under the rather hard left, union dominated Labour government of the 1970s – the hoops any start-up needs to jump through these days is far worse, from planning, UBR [1] to unnecessary (if not outright silly) environmental/climate protection laws.

    Now the Tories assault the very people who took Thatcher’s 1980s message to heart, “buy your own home, its an investment” we were told, “pass it on to your children” we were told, not any more, no all it is now is a down payment on our future health care costs and needs, even though such people have paid all they were asked for in way of taxes and Ni contributions – what next, scrap state retirement pension, work until you die (or are to frail to work, at which time the state steals your house in effect).

    The (right wing?) media seem to think that Mrs May’s manifesto is the end of Thatcherism, sorry but I suspect that many will consider it Thatcherism Mk2, even more radical but better packaged – I take it that Mrs May doesn’t actually want to win, she doesn’t deserve to…

    [1] yes there is relief but the paperwork involved is stupid, hours spent filling in or attending meeting rather than running the business

    • Know-dice
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      ” I take it that Mrs May doesn’t actually want to win, she doesn’t deserve to…”

      Agreed again Jerry!!! – It must be Friday :->

  9. Ian Wragg
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The distortions in the energy market are entirely of the governments making.
    Carbon taxes on fossil fuel generation and obscene subsidy for wind and Pv
    We pay subsidies for CCGT plants to run at part load making excess CO2 cancelling any savings from ineffective wind.
    Until the government gets out of the energy market prices will continue to rise.
    When you impose a price cap it will be Ofgem explaining the rises when wholesale prices are dropping.
    Giving the USA and Germany a competitive advantage.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Spot on Ian!! Crazy actions from a government which says it wants to be competitive in the world. It doesn’t make sense. They are running from the Greens who would see this country sink. Oh well, it’s a green light for all those wealthy enough to install some of this technology to make more money on the backs of the poor and for this country to go down the pan with high energy prices for industry. Not to mention the fact that the very environment we are supposed to be ‘protecting’ is being harmed in a disgraceful fashion and nobody seems to care. RSPB are fighting 4 offshore wind farms in Scotland at this very moment. They have calculated that thousands of protected birds will be slaughtered every year and yet the judges have overturned the ruling that went in favour of the RSPB. Any lawful protection afforded to these birds and indeed mammals is overridden in the favour of greed and ideology.

      • SecretPeople
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        I read the manifesto and the message I was left with was: decommissioning North sea oil – thus becoming innovators in decommissioning and opening us up to contracts to do similar elsewhere; fracking everywhere (which I happen to mistrust), under central control if NIMBYs protest too much; and creating the conditions for alternative energy innovations – presumably so that we can in future be self-sufficient market leaders in who knows what from of energy production.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      And do not forget STOR. We are paying rich people to have diesel, yes diesel generators, to sit in a field doing nothing just in case we need them, because no government has ever thought about building new power stations.

      Madness

  10. Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I have no problem with anything I have heard about the next Conservative programme.

    It is plainly the case that the only way to eliminate poverty is through a vibrant economy.
    However, if the policies succeed and quality jobs are created, the government has to be equally tough on those that wish to opt out of the bargain and live off the state.

    At present, there are areas of the country where there is full employment but there is still an underclass who choose not to work. This is not acceptable and ensures taxes remain far too high. This must be tackled with a more aggressive policy of removing benefits.

    Businesses too should be required to do more. It is far too easy to employ migrants on zero hours contracts on minimum pay rather than invest in technology, modernise and become more efficient. Similarly, it is also too easy to search for skilled workers abroad or steal them from other businesses than train up their own employees. Industry needs to provide many more graduate-level apprenticeship schemes.

    The educational establishment and industry will require a lot of pressure from the Government to move away from the ludicrous policy of sending 50% of youngsters to University. In large companies, HR departments largely recruit in their own image, jobs specs are written in a way that requires graduate recruitment when this is not necessary.
    You don’t need a degree to work in a call centre !

    Some work has being done in these areas but nowhere near enough.

  11. Bert Young
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    If statements and policies came from Downing Street according to John’s blog today , I would be delighted . I do not have faith in the present combination of the Cabinet and I wish to see several changes to bring about the type of Governance that will invigorate industry and commerce and , at the same time , provide encouragement and initiative .

    There is a great opportunity ahead of us now and the restoration of our dignity and independence is at the root of it . Brexit will be accomplished and we will establish links with the world where we can exploit our diplomacy as well as our products and services . We have the supply of talent for this and , once the doors are properly opened , the stimulus to our young will result in a more focused education and determination .

  12. JimS
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I fear we are seeing the re-birth of New Labour and using the same methods as Tony Blair, i.e. ignoring the core supporters ‘as they will vote for us anyway’.

    Once Brexit is delivered Mrs. May’s days are numbered. But can she be trusted to deliver Brexit or will we get the EU but without a seat?

  13. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    If Theresa May achieves the paramount objective of getting us out of the EU with a reasonably satisfactory new deal then she will have achieved enough to go down in history. Thereafter there will be effectively an infinity of time to argue about other issues and sort them out, and I include in that for example the issues of the European Convention on Human Rights and the associated Court. The indispensable task for this coming Parliament is Brexit, once that has been completed we can give more attention to the other matters.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Agreed.

  14. mick
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Watched the new muppet show last night “the leaders debate” no wonder Mrs May & Mr Corbyn didn`t want any part of it, but saying that it was the best comedy programme i have seen for a while :))

  15. alan jutson
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Mrs May has now decided to betray the Social Care Safety net for millions who own their own home.

    Many of these people are perhaps property rich, but still very cash poor, but will get no help now.

    “If you own your home, you are on your own” a simple fact.

    Governments advised us to invest in our own homes. Because it was sensible.

    Governments advised us to save a bit, because of the downwards cascade of wealth. Because it would be good for the next generation.

    Governments advised us to improve our homes. Because that would be good and wise.

    Governments advised us to invest in a pension. Because that would be wise.

    Governments advised us to purchase shares in Banks and Utilities. Because that would be wise.

    Governments advised us to purchase diesel cars. because that would save the environment.

    Governments advise the use of Smart meters. Because that will save energy.

    Many people believed some of them at the time.

    Their reward, betrayal because all the government really wants is your money by any means, so they can spend it how they want, even if it means you have to mortgage your house to them so they can take its value when you die.

    Did not think a Conservative Party would act in such a manner that I heard yesterday, clearly I was wrong.

    I really do hope you will do your best to stop this Social betrayal John if the Conservatives win and you are re-elected.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      What of kids who do the right thing by looking after their parents and sacrificing their careers but at the last knockings – like my father – cannot be looked after at home any longer because of a critical condition ?

      They see their inheritance stripped away with great rapidity despite all the effort.

      I see a new round of equity releasing and funny-money coming into the economy on the back of the notional value of housing.

      I have no sympathy with neglectful kids but those like me and my siblings (who are more typical) could be left with nothing after the sacrifice of careers, life and (sometimes) marriage over parental care.

      House equity has just become a huge target.

      Why is it the only choices we are offered are all socialist ?

  16. David L
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Being “against re-nationalising the railways” makes me smile. A large part of the railway system is government owned…foreign governments that is.
    And I see that Abellio, who have a couple of franchises, are proclaiming that profits from these are helping subsidise the Dutch network that they run.
    Our railway system is a mess and we are paying the most expensive fares in Europe for the benefit of foreign owners. How do you sort that out without taking the whole system into state ownership first?

    • forthurst
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      The Tory Party has created a most monstrous rentier economy which would put the predators of the WTO to shame in its venality. That is why we are the ‘fifth largest economy’ but our GDP (PPP) per capita is 25ish; of course the latter would be even lower were it not to for the City. What will they do when there is nothing left to flog off to foreigners to cover the current account deficit and all that is left is a stream of earnings pouring out of the country? Sadly, the Tories are not patriotic because that would be racist and no one wants io be accused of that, do they?

      • SecretPeople
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        This might be out of date now, but:

        EDF – French-state-owned (purchased London Energy)
        nPower (German)
        ScottishPower (Spanish since 2006)
        E.ON, formerly Powergen (German since 2002)
        update: ‘London-based’ Premier Oil has swooped on the UK North Sea assets of German energy giant Eon in a deal worth £120m. 13/01/16

      • forthurst
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        WTO? IMF

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      David L – How do you take the railway back into national ownership without huge and unproductive compensation to foreign investors ? Confiscation ?

      An act of economic war.

      • SecretPeople
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        I think Labour said ‘when contracts end’ or something.

  17. agricola
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Much rhetoric and aspiration in your manifesto. While I have no objection to inspiring the troops, I do take issue with some of the points the manifesto makes and it’s omissions.

    PROTECTING PRIVATE PENSIONS.
    Having systematically destroyed them with financial raids and dismal annuity rates, the regulators do not have much left to protect.

    NATURAL GAS FROM SHALE.
    You have it all wrong or are confused. It is necessary to frack to release the maximum of natural gas. Fracking should be treated as permitted development when you change the law. You need to embark on a programme of education for Nimbies on the subject of directional drilling and fracking. A plan to bribe the Nimbies is crass. The gas could originate ten kilometres at least from where it surfaces. Get yourselves down to Wytch Farm and learn what it is about. Better create a national welfare fund, ring fenced from government, a la Norway. Long term it could fund the NHS and Care for the Elderly. Your communities bribery plan will create a turf war. Where is the vision among politicians to replace this sticking plaster politics.

    INVESTING IN TRANSPORT.
    You never really have, hence the third world situation we suffer at present. You have never been short of ideas as to how to screw the users of rail and road however. Related to the money you take the result has been totally inadequate.

    YOUR PRECIOUS UNION.
    Quite disgracefully you have failed to give parliamentary voice on matters pertaining to the English by the English alone. We are the key member in numbers and financial clout in this union but you see fit to gag us.

    CONTROLLING IMMIGRATION.
    This is an outright con. Nett immigration of 273,000PA is in reality about 600,000 migrants PA. The impression is only created in nett by the number of talented Brits seeking a better life elsewhere. Aspiring to tens of thousands is fine if you are in La La Land.

    FAIR MARKETS FOR CONSUMERS.
    The fairest thing you could do for home buyers would be to remove Stamp Duty. In energy you need to remove all the green crap as Lifelogic oft describes it. Then industry and jo citizen could enjoy much lower bills. You could also prevent people getting into problem debt so easily by closing down the pay day loan companies.

    THE AGEING SOCIETY.
    Think of the lost opportunity in a modest set aside from North Sea Oil that could now be funding the ageing society Why were the Norwegians so visionary and UK politicians so short term dumb. Put it right if you ever get around to fracking for cheap energy.

    Please do not complain at the length of this response to what is an eighty eight page manifesto. You will get away with it because the political alternatives are so abysmal that you could have written almost anything. Screw up real delivery over the next five years and you will open the door to the abysmal. Then watch the nett migration figures rocket.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      @agricola; They might not get away with it. Many areas north of Watford Gap (even just Watford…) might think that two or three years of Corbyn is a pill worth taking, even five years might still be a bitter pill worth taking. Short of a Tory rout, a ‘Portillo moment’ and more, a vote for any pother party is a wasted vote in my party of England so might as well not vote, but that is not true for many constituencies.

      Note to our host, I don’t think I have read so much anger in just two of your dairy entries at the Tory party ever, and that it is coming from certain people that must tell you something about the anger, I hope you make CCHQ aware.

      • stred
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        Jerry. You should have seen some of the ones he left out.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Agricola. Well said. We are indeed disgracefully served in all these things.

      And Mr Redwood will be judged in future even more by the company he keeps. Just how will he reconcile his fanatical loyalty to his unionist party with his claimed belief in free markets and English identity. He will look like a fraud if he is not careful.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      A long response that I am – for once – pleased to read.

      Excellent !

  18. james Neill
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    “we want strong and stable leadership able to get through the legislation needed” – well Mrs May will not have to worry, she will have it all and more when this election is over- she’ll even have the Tory right-wing marginalised- so that’s the type of stable leadership that awaits us and all thanks to the feeble leadership of Corbyn with his dream- naval gazing economics- saw him out and about last month wearing his Lenin style cap- Jeez what a disgrace!

  19. Antisthenes
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I have no argument with your wish list but I do have with how the Conservative party wishes to achieve it. Under Theresa May we have seen the Conservative party lurch even more to the left than it did under David Cameron and he was bad enough. Now what has been until recently an anathema to Conservatives; big government and overburdening regulation is now being enthusiastically embraced. Big government and over regulation is the cause of the problems that you now advocate should be addressed. That is the mantra of the left “government/socialism is not working so lets have more of it”.

    Crony capitalism, poor productivity, imperfect markets, higher than necessary taxes and lots more are all a result of government and bureaucratic interference. Reduce that considerably and you will find the economy and society will fix itself. Brexit is a major start in reducing the size and role of government. However we will fair even better if we also cut away domestic bureaucratic deadwood. We have far to many departments and agencies all poking their officious noses in our business and ordering our lives to their liking not ours with impunity.

  20. The PrangWizard
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    It seems to me if anyone wants Labour party policies and socialist thinking, they should vote Tory.

    The manifesto refers to strengthening the hand of regulators to force businesses to work for the benefit of consumers, not themselves.

    That the group is more important than the individual.

    Anyone who is successful has incurred a debt to others and must by Tory government diktat make this good later.

    Maybe someone could explain the difference between draconian state regulation and state ownership. Does the Tory party still believe in the freedom to own property?

    Yesterday I commented that Labour seems under Corbyn to be saying they would diminish the value of the National Grid by excessive regulation prior to buying the then cheaper asset. The Tories seem to be planning to do the same with other ‘utilities’. I put that in quotes as the definition may change. They might just fall short of buying, as might Labour of course.

  21. Kenneth
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    We need to get a grip on artificial markets whose companies work to the regulations rather then compete naturally.

    It is easy to identify them. Just phone them and you will hear “You are held in a queue….”

  22. JM
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    The problem we have to cure is getting rid of the business model that says it is OK to rip off the long-standing and loyal customer. It is a model that prevails only in the insurance, savings and energy sectors. All other suppliers of goods and services reward loyalty. I am not sure how this can be done, but there has to be a way.

    As to the energy sector, I think that the best thing to do to increase transparency is to force them to quote and bill in a manner that is compatible with the meter installed in the customer’s premises. Then a customer can see readily how much they are using and what they are paying for it and compare any new quote. At present they seem to quote on one basis of unit and bill on another, which makes it difficult to work out what is going on.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      >>The problem we have to cure is getting rid of the business model that says it is OK to rip off the long-standing and loyal customer. It is a model that prevails only in the insurance, savings and energy sectors.

      ..the model also prevails in respect of the hard-working, law-abiding taxpayer generally. The manifesto fails to address those who take and do not give, do not pay in but take out. I really can’t blame people who are upset that ‘British Aid’ is untouched.

  23. Phlox
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Confusion reigns in the Remoaner Camp. Have we not noticed they suddenly criticise Brexiteers for NOT curbing immigration when they are and were in favour of unfettered immigration? Also they now fight for Rich People having a fuel allowance. The dear little moaning minnies have lost their way. They are confused about just who of our people to hate.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      They seem to be on the same side as the corporates. Strange.

  24. Newmania
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    First we get Nationalism and now socialism ..well what could possibly go wrong wit that

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Socialism is very EU. I smell the soft Brexit you wanted.

  25. Fetid Toryism
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I read full bore but with passing interest the Tory Party Manifesto. Market Taming, Market Interventionalism,, State Capitalism, Corporate Capitalism, Conservative Values, are rotting roses which by any other name including the proper name Nationalisation smell just as vile.

  26. Party Time
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I have never bought into the idea of unfettered free enterprise though I am open to change my mind. Now,- the idea that if you let rip with a completely free market, as a number of certain American libertarians have it, then everything will magically fall into place does not strike me as likely.But it is a honestly presented view by and large.
    What is definitely not honest, as most participants are too intelligent to think otherwise, is that “Nationalisation” gives control to “the workers” or “the people”.
    Similarly, it is not intellectually honest to proclaim “Home Ownership” as practical for the vast majority of “the people”or “the workers”. Nor is it honest to proclaim such an economic system based essentially on home ownership is economically stable, sustainable and has anything in common with capitalism except making a use of the letters “m”and “i”.

    A political party gets elected by at least seemingly attempting to pander to the beliefs, prejudices and desires of their electorates. The Labour Party feeds on envy, jealousy, relative poverty, and genuine heartfelt desires that we should all live beautifully together once we’ve nicked the rich man’s dinner and sent his insufferable posh kids to work on a whelk stall.
    The Conservative Party goes for enslaving people into debt way above their heads as it knows the masses want their own little box to live in as a smaller version of a mansion with servants, footmen and with a dainty underparlour maid for the nightshift.

    The LibDem Party members will tell us what lie they perpetrate once they get round to it etc ed

  27. fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    On a different subject John. I have just read your piece on what you did in the last parliament.

    Can I say that I know many of us are full of criticism over many things but I think we would all agree that if there were more MP’s like yourself it would be a far better world. It is obvious to many of us that you put in long hours and throw yourself into your work which you are obviously enthusiastic about.. Well done and thank you for giving us the opportunity to complain and make our voices heard.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear. I admire the fact John manages to post at least one erudite piece a day and try always to read his blog. I have never even voted Conservative, but empathise with John’s values and his expansive knowledge. I also really value the fact he comes across as unfailingly polite, balanced and calm.

  28. PaulDirac
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    There are several initiatives in the manifesto which leave a sour taste and may well be counterproductive (energy cap).
    Some others (end of triple lock, winter payments) I fully agree with, but doubt the wisdom of putting them front and center.
    However all this is completely irrelevant to the coming elections, which are about one subject – BREXIT, nothing else really matters.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      What I took from reading the manifesto was that there would be a cap on energy prices – to prevent exploitation of consumers and to increase competitiveness; and that energy efficiency would reduce energy usage (plus supporting innovation in alternatives, home-grown shale etc).. seeing as though most, if not all, energy providers are EU based, isn’t this part of the negotiation stance?

  29. Local Lad
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I am not a Remainer; in fact I was FOR Brexit before the term was invented. However, I am, or have been a Conservative voter. Now, under Mrs May, that party is taking a sharp left turn and I will find it difficult to vote for this creeping Socialism. Whatever happened to the proposed bonfire of red tape? Business is to be burdened with even more regulations.

    Reply The Manifesto promises two out for every new reg.

  30. fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just managed to secure a fixed tariff until August 2019 for my electricity with British Gas. I thought I’d get in quick before all the offers go. This tariff is very similar to what I am already on.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      @fedupsoutherner; I hope you read the small print, like what happens should the wholesale price drop markedly and what get out clause the company has should the wholesale price rise markedly…

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 20, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Jerry

        I am not stupid. Of course I read the small print and there is nothing sinister in it. Nothing about price rises or anything similar. The only talk about an exit fee of £40. That is unlikely for us as we have been with BG for over 25 years now. My husband worked for them and we are still loyal to them even though much has changed. I have heard such nightmare stories from other who have changed I can’t be doing with it all.

  • About John Redwood


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

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