A new image for a new year? A new approach for a new decade?

New Year’s resolutions are often made to be broken. They may be said to satisfy a friend, or indulged in to make us feel better about ourselves. Later in January the New Year does not seem that different to the old. It can seem like too much effort to follow the good intentions of the bank holiday. There can be the same bills, the same problems at work, the same constraints on life, the same job, the same family rows.

Will power can overcome this if you really want things to change for the better. I often talk to young people about their life prospects. There is too much fatalism. There are too many adults willing to write off large numbers of young people. They come from the wrong home backgrounds we are told. They go to the wrong schools. They come from families on low incomes. How can they expect to succeed? The answer is the same as for the sons and daughters of the rich and famous. They can succeed if they really really want to. Being born the son of a celebrity does not automatically make you either happy or capable. Success in most walks of life is 90% perspiration. I get luckier at what I do , the more I practise it. You can start your training to be a great cricketer in back yard. You can practise the main skills to be a good footballer on any old field. You can aspire to an elite university by reading books from any free local library or by tapping into the world of the web.

It is important we are not fatalistic about our chances or careless about our resolutions as we work out how we play this new decade as a country. We do need some New Year’s resolutions that are going to stick. We need change desperately.We will first have to vote for that change in a General Election. We will then need to hold our new government to the task, keeping its feet to the flames of change if our country is to be rescued and to have a good future.

Our first resolution has to be to borrow less. The world does not owe us a living, and it does not have to lend us as much as we want to spend. One day it will tell us so, if we do not wake up soon.

Our second resolution must be to make and supply more. We should be ashamed as well as astounded to see just how many of the goods that make up our consumer good life now come from China.
We have just enjoyed several days off for Christmas. Everything from the crackers to the clothes we wore, from the toys to the mechanical items we gave as presents likely came with “Made in China” on them. This year Christmas came in boxes from China. They were made by people working for a fraction of our incomes in conditions we would not accept. To pay the bills, we have to make things and supply services on a bigger scale, paying ourselves appropriately, and earning our better standard and style of living.
One day China will decide our credit has run out. They may decide they do not have to package up our preferred lifestyle and send it by container vessel, whilst listening to our lectures on how they are using too much oil and coal in the process.

Our third resolution must be to value enterprise and success more, and government less. If we are to pay our way and maintain our lifestyle, we need more entrepreneurs and more businesses. Instead of monstering business people and regulating businesses to death, we need to encourage and stimulate them by having a competitive business tax and regulatory climate.

Our fourth resolution should be to strengthen and improve our main public services. To do so requires reform. The benign forces of choice and greater managerial freedom in the surgery, in the school and in the hospital need to be unleashed. We need to preserve the right of everyone to free treatment and free education where needed, but to extend more of the quality and choice of the private sector throughout public service at the same time.

Our fifth resolution must be to make substantial savings in wasteful, inefficient and undesirable public spending. This website has often set out proposals for how and where this can be done. Cutting 10% from public budgets seems large if handled in the conventional way, but is a modest goal if achieved as the private manufacturing sector has achieved it without cutting what they do or lowering quality. It is made easier by the long list of things many do not want, including regional government, some quangos and ID cards.

Our sixth resolution should be to trust people more and government less. We need to roll back much of the surveillance society created in the last few years. Britain is best when we are a bastion of liberty. Our forbears who pioneered our evolving constitution and battled for our liberties before the law and through Parliament, must be turning in their graves at what now passes for democracy here.

Our seventh resolution should be to demand – or help create – a Parliament which works again. We need a proud Parliament which can hold government to account, a Parliament which can insists on value for money in spending, a Parliament which defends our liberties.


  1. Stuart Fairney
    January 1, 2010

    Thank you and bravo to all that. The "Austrian" in me wants to make resolution one more intense, so not "we should borrow less" but "We should repay our debt and stop borrowing at all which only ever funds ultimately inflationary state spending"

    I cannot help but wonder if such things are even possible given our current relationship with the EU?

  2. Lola
    January 1, 2010

    Happy New Year, Mr R.

    Couple of small points.

    Whilst I fully agree that we need more widgets made here, this must not be achieved by subsidy and protectionism, as will be very tempting and argued for by all sorts of pressure groups spanning from political lefties, through mercantilist employers to prejudicial and totalitarian tending labour unions.

    Of course this implies a lowering in our own living standards to compete with, say China.

    To minimise this potential dislocation we need to work very hard to maintain free trade and to pressure the likes of the Chinese mercantilist society to change its ways.

    1. Mike Stallard
      January 1, 2010

      Do you know what? I think we might actually have to go for protectionism. OK, so it sits very badly with our history. But on the other hand, it might stop the slide into Britons becoming slaves. What with the Victorian Indian industrial system and the Chinese attitude to their own citizenry, in order to compete, we will have two choices: reduce our own workers’ salaries/terms and conditions to their level or introduce protectionism.
      The Chinese and the Indians will not change their ways for us. Why should they? The people who are in charge are doing very nicely thank you and they have absolutely no reason to care about their supportive means of production any more than people care here about the scandal of the immigrants or the unemployment figures in this country when they transfer the means of production to China.
      There is a huge case for some kind of protectionism.

      1. no one
        January 2, 2010

        I regard India as much if not more of a problem as China

        I regard the way countries such as the UK and the USA compete with these countries in serious need of a rethink

        The leaders of the Indian and Chinese companies and countries are not playing fair and by the rules of a decent society, we are being stupid in the extreme allowing them to take advantage of our naivity

        We need to consider the way we react to these countries much more like the fight for life it is

      2. David Price
        January 2, 2010

        I have to agree with Mike, free trade is all very well as long as it is mutual. My view is that the West spent time, effort and money on R&D and developing markets for advanced technologies. Inept and greedy execs then gave away this IP to India and China in return for cheaper manufactured goods that they could "trade".

        The problem is that if you want trade and services based on engineering and technology you can't do it sustainably if you keep giving away the intellectual property.

        If China and India refuse to abide by the rules around IP then we can only respond in a couple of ways; protectionist tariffs and practices, and not giving them the technology, or even licencing it, in the first place.

        We are not in a moderate situation and need to adopt radical approaches if we are ever to get back to a level of security and confidence that can perhaps justify the niaive level of generosity we showed with our skills and innovation in the past. Until then we need to be far more canny than we have been.

        Another big part of the game though is resources. I think we need to become more sophisticated in recovery and recycling. Certainly send the low grade material such as plastics, steel etc offshore but we should extract the higher value material such as Copper, Nickel etc and build up holdings locally. Gold is all very well but there is not a lot you can use it for, better for a high technology country to have reserves of strategic metals and materials especially if you want to re-enter manufacturing.

  3. Stephen
    January 1, 2010


    It's hard to argue with a single issue you raise.

    Here's hoping Mr Cameron & Co read your blog.

    Happy New Year,


  4. A.Sedgwick
    January 1, 2010

    Happy New Year and thank you for a great deal of common sense in 2009.

    I agree with your comments and that there are many fine young people whose future has been affected by largely useless government.

    I have to repeat that I am very dubious about David Cameron as a leader and PM. He has been LOTO for four years and I regard myself as a keen follower of politics and current affairs and I haven’t a clue what he stands for. Conversely as your message above shows you have vision, clear thoughts and a plan.

    This election and its consequences may be far reaching in the way we are governed or it maybe another “let’s not make a fuss” British affair. Currently there are 100+ smaller party MPs, if this increases a minority government/hung parliament is almost a certainty. Labour, reinforced by its client state, has about 30% of the vote and DC is well below where he should be in the polls. Whether he can Blair it in the coming months and TV debates remains to be seen. Alternatively if UKIP and BNP win seats and influence marginals, politics being a very “pragmatic” business it would not be difficult to forsee the Libdems joing Brown with PR as the ultimate carrot.

  5. Mike Stallard
    January 1, 2010

    These excellent resolutions are quite fitting for an MP. And, believe me, I support all of them.
    Down here at local level, my new year resolution is to start up a new little school on traditional lines at secondary level.
    But until Michael Gove is made Minister of Education (or whatever) it is out of the question.
    We just need two things from the government:
    1. A voucher system which will cost nothing, because the other schools would lose the responsibility and cost. £5,000 per pupil per year would do nicely. People do say there is to be a grant of about £1,500 per pupil for buildings too: nice but not necessary.
    2. We need someone who will handbag any government person/jobsworth/nelly know-all/paper factory/adjudicator who stands, or who is pushed, into our way to prevent us. (Ofsted, CRB check both welcome).
    I look forward to further developments……..
    In case you think I am just dreaming, there are, apparently no less than 2-300 people just like me with the same resolution in mind.

    1. Amanda
      January 1, 2010

      Of which I am another. Just give me the chance, and I will enhance as many young lives as I possibly can, and do it until well into my old age – which I wil need to after Brown et al have finished with my retirement planning.

      I do rather think we need to start with number 7.

      My new year’s resolution is decided, as I am in a Labour held seat, I WILL vote Conservative to get rid of Labour, and, to at least get a Government that is more likely to be ‘on my side’ as a British subject: BUT I am not enthusiastic. I will make it clear to my PPC (hopefully future MP) the things in the Conservative manifesto my vote does not mandate, and the things I want to see, including:-
      standing up for British interests in the EU
      a vote on the EU,
      a full and frank examination of climate change, and climategate
      a proper plan for the UK population.

      If I were in a Conservative held seat, I might well decided to vote tactically, depending on who was standing, which is what others of my family will do. And if I was in Buckingham, I would definately vote for Nigel Farage.

      1. Stuart Fairney
        January 2, 2010

        I agree with you entirely but expect none of the clear needs you cite. I might add a fifth; an emergency power station building program because if not, the lights are going out as a the energy gap opens. This will be a disaster with very widespread consequences that are simply not appreciated at the moment (more or less all computers down, as well as alarm and heating systems etc) . Mr Cameron I fear, is too fond of being photographed next to windmills (useless) and polar bears (not so "under threat" as we are asked to believe) to do this.

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    January 1, 2010

    Your absence from Cameron's frontbench team sends a message to me that you are going to have to work very hard "to hold our new government to the task", if the outcome is a Conservative victory. You may well find being a government supporter, but not a member, less agreeable than being in opposition where you had a shared adversary. I hope that you have a personal resolution to refuse to become "lobby fodder" and that you maintain your critical analysis of government, whatever its complexion. We shall certainly need it.

  7. Y Rhyfelwr Dewr
    January 1, 2010

    You're up early, Mr Redwood! I take you weren't celebrating last night.

    Nor me — but even I wasn't prepared to be up and blogging at 6.40!

    reply: I wrote the piece yesterday and placed in auto post! I did celebrate the New Year last night.

  8. oldtimer
    January 1, 2010

    I agree with your analysis and resolutions. But it is not yet clear to me if there is enough desire, nationally, for the changes you seek or the motivation to vote for them. Too many seem to believe they can continue to live on the never never in the fools paradise that is the UK today. The political challenge to alter this mindset is truly formidable.

  9. alan jutson
    January 1, 2010

    What more can one say.

    If only our Party Leaders would be so honest, instead of giving pages and pages of spin in their own little, we know best kind of Dream World where others always pay.

  10. bill
    January 1, 2010

    I would like to wish you a happy new year. I have always been a firm admirer of your’s. Whilst I expect to agree with them, your analyses are always a pleasure to read as they are so clear and succinct.

  11. Derek W. Buxton
    January 1, 2010

    Admirable sentiments, sir, to be applauded, unfortunately as we are no longer a free, democratic society it could be difficult. This is especially so as your leader, from what I have seen, does not have the same clear ideas of what is needed I think you missed out of the savings list the enormous sums of money that disapppear into the black hole that is the EU. There is also of course, the fact that we have to pay more for our food over world market prices due to that same EU. Five years ago my pension was adequate now it is getting rather iffy.

    Added to the high national costs, government taxes, high energy prices and so on, we see every day thousands of pounds wasted by "local administration" but the roads are still potholed. Looking at the Stockport scene you would not think that there was a shortage of money, a CEO plus Assistant CEO, one office building pulled down two months ago being replaced by a larger one, no doubt for all the extra staff, you really could not make it up, unfortunately it is true.

  12. James D
    January 1, 2010

    "The world does now owe us a living" — January 1st, and already we have a strong candidate for typo of the year!

    But in all seriousness, this is a great piece, John. I do, however, wonder about the practicality of your second resolution: successive Chancellors of the Exchequer since the 1920s (with the honourable exception of Neville Chamberlain, who is possibly the most under-rated man in political history) have pursued a policy of inflating the value of the Pound against the currencies of those nations that now actually manufacture things. This naturally makes British wages unaffordable on the world stage. There are two real strategies to dealing with this: the one Winston Churchill tried in the 1920s when he reinstituted the Gold Standard at its pre-War value, viz telling employers to cut their employees pay: the result of course being firms going bust as they fail to do so, massive unemployment, and the General Strike; or there's the strategy of devaluation, as was pursued by China, which of course brings its own issues. My feeling is that some sort of devaluation is inevitable: it's an awful policy, but the best way of doing it is to at least do it with honesty and courage so that we are best placed to deal with the consequences. When faced with such a Hobson's choice, it is of course easiest at the time not to make it and tout one's virtuousness, thereby breaking your resolution.

    With your third resolution, the key problem as I see it is that the business (and for that matter the personal) tax system at its most fundamental level penalizes success. This is coupled strongly to the role of unrestrained land speculation in Gordon Brown's boom and bust. The answer is the same as it's ever been: a single tax on the unimproved value of land to replace the insidious success taxes. This would have the natural justice of the entrepreneur running an efficient business paying less and those off-shore tax haven companies whose business model consists of paving fields with asphalt paying their fair share.

    And with your fifth, don't forget the fake charities that underlie much of the problem your fifth and sixth resolutions are trying to address. I am surprised that there has not been more outrage over their role. I would also highlight Local Education Authorities as instances of unmitigated waste: it should be no surprise that independent schools are more successful, and rather than bullying our best universities for making this too obvious in their admissions statistics, we should finish dismantling this profoundly wasteful piece of nanny state control. Whilst the Yes, Prime Minister approach of abolishing the Ministry of Education was of course a joke (although it's difficult to take the Department of Cushions and Soft Furnishings seriously when they waste money on things like the pseudo-scientific Brain Gym nonsense), this is an area where 10% cuts just aren't enough: that should be increased to at least 30% for this one absurd ministry, which would in itself be a sizeable chunk of the entire budget.

  13. Michael Lewis
    January 1, 2010

    Happy new year JR. I think this will be a very interesting year. If governments don't stop printing money then we'll see gold and other commodities continue to appreciate quickly.

    Our economy at present is in terrible shape, bits of the UK are basically state run: Wales, Northern Ireland. On the plus side, I think there is a secular bull market in agriculture, so hopefully, we'll see our agricultural businesses do well in 2010. I hope we see the end of the Labour government most of all, that is critical.

    I hope the EU is exposed: I find it incredible that MEP's like French Green Eva Joly are lecturing the Icelanders that operating their own currency is "dangerous".

  14. Demetrius
    January 1, 2010

    My fear is that the scale of the damage and the extent of the commitments we now have mean that there is just too much to be done, and too little capacity to deal with oncoming problems.

  15. Mervyn Rosenberg
    January 1, 2010

    And one more resolution – to elect a Conservative Government which adheres to thes few (and a few more) reolutions.

  16. Yarnefromhorsham
    January 1, 2010

    and the final resolution, to find somebody with experience stature and leadership qualities to communicate the failure of Labour and by this means inspire confidence by the voters and thereby take the Tories to victory at the next GE. Yeah right.

  17. Ex Liverpool rioter
    January 1, 2010

    Happy new Year John & all.

    Just finished my end of year accounts, i knew they be bad…..i was right. The last time i made so little was working in a factory in Liverpool packing "Welly boots" in 1983 !

    Being in Architectural engineering i been hit by a number of things:-

    The boom then BUST of house building bubble, yes i did well over the last 5 years, but i rather have do less well over say a 20 year period. I started my bussiness in 94-95 & enjoyed a steady growth to 2001……then the credit fueled maddness began.

    Now 65% of my clinets are bust, gone……two of my best architect freinds are now working overseas, other are following. Its not just the lack of work, violent crimes such as Carjacking (happened to me as well) & just mindless attacks (we know one guy who's Son was killed walking down a street).

    China has not helped either, they mass produced door handles & fittings by the ship full, we can't even buy the Stainless steel to make the parts for that price. Oh yes, "Great bussiness" buy off China @ neo-slave labour costs……

    Back in the 80's i recall a BBC TV Program called "Trouble shooter" it stated the late Sir John Hearvy-jones….lovely guy…great leader ………………he went to visit a toy factory in Brum which he gave advice to 6 months before to see how they where doing………he got there to find a emputy site.

    "Where's the Bloody Factory?"

    "Its gone overseas, they knocked the factory down & are going to build houses here"

    "But where are the people who buy the houses going to work?"

    It would seem Sir John was not aware of the birth of the "F.I.R.E" Econermy. However the rubber band of manufactored credit has now reached breaking point……..i wonder whats next?

    For me?
    Well try to hold things togther, look for new bussiness opps while trying to find new architectual work. I wish Gordon had "cleaed out the dead wood" & we had higher rates….a lot of dead wood will have gone & i could have set about placing ads & taking on new credit worty clients.

    Oh…..Yes the "Joy" of the BOE degrading my savings via money printing & a boat full of Neo-labour Ecom types like Will Hutton or that fool who just left the BOE saying that inflation is a "Good thing!"


  18. Bazman
    January 1, 2010

    They were made by people working for a fraction of our incomes in conditions we would not accept, as John says. In China labour is getting more expensive, especially in the cities, so they in turn will out price themselves and be replaced by other countries.
    We cannot win in a race to the bottom. A point many politicians especially Tories would do well to remember in the next decade.

  19. Javelin
    January 1, 2010

    Thanks for seperating out the concerns.

    Interesting to try to See you write one of these out for how Conseratives would achieve each major Labour policy. It's interesting because if we are to take Labour supporters we need to explain to them how we would better implement their policies. For example child poverty etc. Would you achieve it directly through tax (not) but indirctly through motivation etc.

    Saying how to implement Labour policies wod have more value to the voters than your current list

  20. William Grace
    January 1, 2010

    Hello John,

    You want a New Approach to the new year?

    How about, just for a wild stab in the dark thought. Getting your buddy Dave to admit that when you read…

    I give you the following, directly from the Green Book;

    "The following questions are designed to assist Members in
    coming to a decision about whether or not costs incurred are
    appropriate to be met from the allowances:
    Is this expense genuinely incurred by me in my role as a
    Member of Parliament as opposed to my personal capacity?
    Is this purchase supporting me in carrying out my
    parliamentary duties? Defining parliamentary duties is difficult
    but Members may wish to consider (i) the generally accepted
    parliamentary functions: the legislative role; the oversight
    and accountability role; and the representative role, including
    dealing with constituents’ problems and (ii) obligations they
    may have, for example as a small employer. Anything which is
    done for personal benefit or for electioneering or for the direct
    support of a political party will not be part of a Member’s
    parliamentary duties.
    Does the claim match the purpose of the allowance in question
    as set out later in the Green Book?
    Could the claim in any way damage the reputation of
    Parliament or its Members?
    How comfortable do I feel with the knowledge that my claim
    will be available to the public under Freedom of Information?"

    That purchasing Candy Bars and DVDs, then claiming back the few pence/pounds, is just a little petty, and in short stupid, regardless of it being "within the rules." Because when you read the Green Book, of which I have a PDF copy, anyone with a small streak of honesty wouldn't claim for half the stuff they have claimed for.

    Also, since earning 3 times the average wage, and people on the average wage seem to have nice TVs and DVDs, and some how they also manage to eat, then maybe MPs should be able to get by with buying their own DVDs and candy bars?

    How about, spelling it out, ratting out those you know who are in it for the money.

    I spell it out on my Blog. You want New, then actually be Honest! Speak Plain english, short and sweet and direct and to the point, answer questions with a yes and no, not a long bubble of this and that….

    That would be new…

  21. Colin R
    January 1, 2010

    I agree with much of what you say. As a nation our aim should be not only to reduce our yearly deficit, (balance the books!) but we also have to reduce our overall debt. This will be extremely difficult to do as it will take many years if not decades to achieve.To be successful, It will almost certainly require cross party support.

    To put this in some prespective, I believe that over the past 150 years the lowest that the UK Debt has been was in the late 1980's, where it still stood at about 28% of GDP.

    Hopefully the next Conservative Government will be brave enough to take on those organisations with a vested interest in the staus quo. The reduction in waste and the cancelling of unnecessary projects will go some of the way. However,over the next 4/5 years they will do well to simple rduce the deficit and balance the books. It is unlikely, that the next parliament will start to reduce our overall debt.

    What really worries me is that if the country is to seriously reduce our debt then we have to create more wealth. If North Sea Oil is running out and the financial sector is reduced where is the wealth going to come from?

    Over the last 12 years Britian's manufacturing base has been halved. We need to encourage our young people to study science and engineering degrees. We have to invest in research and development. Are we as a nation going to be the best in world at using renewable energy? or are we going to be world leaders in the engineering of renewable energy?

  22. brian kelly
    January 1, 2010

    Thank you, John Redwood, for writing such intelligent common sense throughout 2009 and bringing some much needed down to earth conservative realism into play. And you have hosted a community of thoughtful fellow conservative voices of, more or less, like minds. My fervent wish is that Cameron and his team chart out the right course for a very swift recovery – which means very difficult decisions and a steely resolve – and then to have a plan to recover this country's economic, military and political/diplomatic strengths and broad world view. To stand independent and alone, if necessary. There is too much thought that we sacrifice our independence and sovereignty and that it is necessary to do this and to do that if we are to survive in this new world reality of China and large groupings such as the EU. I say we don't do that but relentlessly follow our own course. We have been a beacon and have stood alone throughout much of our history and now it is needed possibly more than ever if we are to prosper in this dangerous world – but a world full of opportunities for a resilient, resourceful and flexible country. It can be done – how do we harness the strength and resolve to start on that path? One step would be if you played a part in a government dedicated to this course.

  23. Phil C
    January 1, 2010

    'Cutting 10% from public budgets seems large if handled in the conventional way, but is a modest goal if achieved as the private manufacturing sector has achieved it without cutting what they do or lowering quality.'

    The problem with the public services is that so much of it does not have quantifiable output like the manufacturing sector, so you would never know if shaving off 10% of costs has affecting the output or its quality. The development of measures which would demonstrate that public services have improved, become cheaper or got more efficient, which started under the Conservative administration, produced little of value. Just statistics useful to the spin merchants.

    A new direction is needed, in which the normal mechanism of customer satisfaction is allowed to take proper effect. Instead of using GCSEs and league tables as a surrogate for it, allow parents and students to take their Treasury funding to the schools and colleges of their choice. Ditto, health and elderly care; and allow them to be 'topped up' by personal contributions. Give tax allowances to encourage such contributions, effectively cutting taxes and relieving the pressure on public spending. In short, bring personal public services into the private sector, not by CCT, PFI or PPP, in which the private sector's involvement lacked the essential element of its customers passing judgement but which instead tied management in contractual knots for the sake of accessing private capital. Much better to state-subsidise the personal use of a private provision than the other way round.

    1. Mike Stallard
      January 2, 2010


  24. David
    January 1, 2010

    "Our seventh resolution should be to demand – or help create – a Parliament which works again. We need a proud Parliament which can hold government to account, a Parliament which can insists on value for money in spending, a Parliament which defends our liberties."

    I agree. We will have to leave the EU.

  25. Adam Collyer
    January 2, 2010

    A very happy and successful New Year to you, John. All your resolutions make perfect sense.

    If we want to rejuvenate British manufacturing, we need to change our whole attitude to the idea of making things. After all, the Germans seem able to compete with the Chinese at making things without any problems. And German wages and conditions are better than ours! Our Victorian forebears did not make Britain the manufacturing heart of the world by paying lower wages and offering worse conditions than elsewhere.

    Too many school teachers look down on, or are ignorant of, manufacturing; too many civil servants and politicians did "arts" degrees at university and think making things is uncivilised; even the media are at fault – lots of articles about how wonderful science is, but almost never any about engineering. Perhaps our schools should teach kids about Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Richard Trevithick and James Watt rather than Henry 8 and his wives. The kids might even start to find history interesting.

  26. Ex Liverpool rioter
    January 2, 2010

    Ah……more spending, the "Green bubble" to replace the house bubble, that replaced the Tec bubble that replaced the stock bubble.


    Notice how they know they are tapped out money wise for this "Project" thus they going to "Talk to pension funds".

    Suspect that they get the "PF" to "Loan" them the cash, so we have YET another off the balance sheet debt.


  27. Norman
    January 2, 2010

    Not a great New Year's outlook from me, I'm afraid.

    I agree with each point you raise, my fear is that we are in an ever decreasing minority.

    I honestly don't know how we still assume our relative position in the world. We don't seem to be world leaders in anything and we provide/produce nothing that can't be had elsewhere for less. There must be some reason for us being one of the strongest economies on the planet but it totally escapes me. To me it seems as though we are resting on past laurels without justifying it in the here and now.

    Not a very optimistic outlook for the decade ahead and one I hope to be disabused of in the coming years.

    Although maybe I've just had too much mulled wine and am maudlin!

  28. William Grace
    January 2, 2010

    Cloward–Piven strategy – Just a little light bed time reading for those of you who are interested. Its made me sit up and think, and not in a good way.

    Yes I know it is all US focused, but just think about the words that have been used here, by some of the people we "trust" to guide us and run our country, and you know. I think they might be, well, you know.. Thinking this might not be such a bad idea.

    Read well….

  29. Derek W. Buxton
    January 2, 2010

    I am constantly surprised at the number of people on this and other sites, ConHome for example, who ask Cameron to push British interest at the EU. Just two problems there, He doesn't want to and the EU would take no notice anyway.

    Mr. Stallard, we already have protectionism, the EU is a protectionist organisation and always has been. What we need is free trade, we have always been a global trading nation but are now restricted by EU rules and regulations. We competed by our skills and adapting, pity the skills base has been erroded so much.

    There is also the problem so illuminated by the Redcar debacle, TATA mothball the plant so keeping the carbon credits to use in India. They then use the money plus aid from the EU for renewables to build a new steel plant in India, net cost to India zero. The latter is of course the result of the carbon scam! So we are now in the position that it is "heads we lose, tails we lose".

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