Simple rules are best


             Those of us who want government to do less with less, and those who want government to do more with less, have a common interest. We want a more efficient and effective government.

             The best way to provide impetus and discipline for such an approach is to have a small number of simple rules which departments of government just have to accept. The government has promised some of them, and talked about others. Now would be a good time to reaffirm and reinforce these precepts:

1. Any job vacancy in the public sector should normally be filled from applicants within the public sector. Any job falling vacant has to be reappraised to see if it is still needed, or can best be combined with some other post.

2. Departments and quangos cannot add any more floorspace to their property portfolio. If they want a new building, it has to replace larger and dearer space, with a profit on the switch for taxpayers.

3. Any new regulation should only be permitted when regulations of greater or equal burden have been identified for repeal, concurrently with the passage of the new one. This should include all regulations resulting from EU legislation.

4. Every budget should entail scrapping at least one tax, to start to simplify the complex tax system.

5. Every time the EU takes more power UK regulators and government departments in that area should shed staff and controls to compensate. We have two governments for the price of three in many areas today.

          We are chronically overgoverned. The advent of a huge EU government has acted as an overlay to UK administration, and as a kind of misplaced spur to more UK government as well. As this Parliament wishes to remain in the EU, the least it could do is to put in some rules that mean there is a cost to UK government of signing up to so much EU government. They should be seen as alternatives, not as mutual reinforcers.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Exactly but nothing will happen under socialist, happy index, gender neutral insurance, every bigger state sector Cameron will it?

    We are indeed chronically over governed and very badly governed too. The advent of a huge EU government and the devolution has acted as an overlay and underlay to UK administration and created endless confusion and conflict. No one can do anything without consulting endless lawyers and then they are told not to as their would be difficulties/conflicts.

    Look at the EU absurdities over University (and Scottish University) Place funding and the EU loans, many never to be repaid. So free for Scotland and the EU but not England yet paid for by the English in the main.

    I note that the BBC radio 4, hotbed of lefty, pro the global warming exaggeration/hoaxes and
    not very funny at all comedy slot – The Now Show coyly says (on the podcast page): NB This show has had one clip removed to comply with “sports” rights.

    I can only assume that we cannot even joke about the Olympics by law now and have to even say “sports” rights rather than the Olyp***.

    It will not belong before saying anything that might upset or scare a member of say the “Catastrophic global warming religion” or a state sector employee will be an offence too.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

      Not that the BBC, nowadays, says anything much beyond these six things:

      The science is settled 99.9% of scientists in the field agree (it is just that we cannot find the right thermometers/tree rings to get the reading to manipulate to agree with our computer projections of late but we are working on it have no fear).

      Everyone loves the EU and more government, more enforced equality, more uncontrolled immigration, the wonderful EURO and more endless regulations, lawyers and legal knots please to “protect” people.

      Everyone should read the “Spirit Level” and similar absurd books and hold hand and be happy and smile just like they all do in Sweden. If you are rich you are evil and making people unhappy – even if they do not know you are rich it just seeps into their brains by magic.

      The Olympics are wonderful aren’t they.

      We would like to pay more taxes wouldn’t we, children, but I here at the BBC do not because I have one of the nearly 500 BBC personal services companies and cannot be bothered but you should.

      Yes the state sector are paid and pensioned about 50% more than the private sector workers but that is because the state sector are better qualified and so much cleverer than you are. How much Latin and Greek do you know – see what I mean.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        What is all this ranting about? Blah! Blah! Blah! Mad right wing rant with absolutely no point and no basis other than a collection of right wing male thoughts.

        • Single Acts
          Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

          And in the new world order men aren’t allowed to think, much less actually vocalise such thoughts, right?

        • Jerry
          Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          Bazman, blog entries are bit like art installations, one either understands it or not, but just because one fails to understand doesn’t mean that it’s rubbish. Like with art, one sometimes has to stand back from ones pre-conceived ideas/opinions to understand the point being made by a blog/reply.

          • uanime5
            Posted August 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            Bazman clearly understands that lifelogic is ranting about everything he doesn’t like, as he does in almost every post, and is proposing nonsensical solutions.

        • DS
          Posted August 2, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          I thought he made many pertinent points, Unlike you who gave the game away with a gratuitous criticism for being male. Fail.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            I could make many pertinent points after drinking a bottle of vodka and call it expressing an opinion, freedom of expression and vocalising my thoughts. The judge might have a more sober conservative view. Purple faced colonels drunk on port on the whole do tend to be males ranting on about the system and society today. Maybe you could defend them from a non comical point of view. At least lifelogic gives us a laugh DS. Unlike you. Try to name any funny right wing comedian. Clarkson? Have to try harder I’m afraid.

        • zorro
          Posted August 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          I guess that he’s just expressing his views as one might expect. I am sure that you can deal with them as we have to deal with your ‘Ram It’ views…..or perhaps are you exhibiting that left liberal intolerance of anyone who does not have approved BBC views as noted above…..?


          • Bazman
            Posted August 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            Ranting to the lowest level might be funny in the pub and we all love Clarkson’s one trick show, but self centred, humourless and thickness with a tendency to avoid the subject by pointing out flaws might get you far in school or when talking to the aged, but when dealing with forty somethings who have been round the block you are onto a looser. I often wonder how these people hold down the jobs they do and then remember the middle class social security system.
            That is what I am intolerant of.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          I am not sure what is right wing. I am simply a northern grammar school boy who started with no money but with a sound science education and now have much experience running businesses. All I want to see a system that delivers for all. One that stops some politicians, the state sector, the EU, very many lawyers, insurance people and some bankers from living off the others backs. One based on real science not a green (or any other religion), some real economics and civil liberties and some semblance democracy – to protect people from oppression by the state. Also one that does not have counter productive & pointless wars especially when entered in to on clear deliberate lies.

          Is that right wing?

          • zorro
            Posted August 4, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            As you know, ‘right wing’ is anyone who doesn’t agree with PC tosh, and dares to express it.


        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 4, 2012 at 2:06 am | Permalink

          The point is – and females appreciate this too – that the state is still running an annual deficit of £126 billion, roughly 4 times the size of a zero inflation deficit. It has to be steadily reduced somehow.

          So, Bazman, the floor is yours. You now have the chance to present your very own well though out, well argued multi-point plan, for a steady reduction in the annual state deficit. If it’s any good, you won’t have to read any more right wing rants. We will all be falling at your feet.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 4, 2012 at 2:11 am | Permalink

            PS You might get uanime5 to help you. Muddle your muddled thoughts together, so to speak.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

            It ain’t going to be reduced by Osborne’s fantasy of cutting. I think that has unfortunately been proven. He was told.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

            Look below. Presented with a clear opportunity, Bazman has funked it. He has NO well thought plan for reducing public expenditure even as a % of GDP, let alone in absolute terms. Don’t worry, he’s in good company. Ed Milliband and Ed Balls funk the self same opportunity just about every time.

            If the country were to have continued with a fiscal deficit of the size it was when they left office, we would be on a bankers ramp. The total public sector debt would increase year by year and so would the annual interest on it. That’s not useful expenditure; it’s money FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET. So, too, are repayments on old, extortionate PFI contracts that have led to the bankruptcy of some NHS Trusts. So, too, will be the payments to Post Office pensioners once the government has grabbed the PO pension fund for a short term gain in their cash flow.

            The legitimate critism of Mr Osborne is not that he has cut but that he hasn’t cut nearly hard enough. Plan B is tougher than plan A, and it will have to start with recognition that the UK Welfare State is simply not affordable.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 5, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

            Nay, look above.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 6, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

            You are putting the blame for the financial crisis on the welfare state? In effect you propose to cut payments to the very people who have been effected by the banking crisis and Osborne’s cutting and this the acceptable? It’s all standard Tory stuff. Blaming minorities for the financial problems. Maybe it was all the fault of single mothers?

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 7, 2012 at 2:58 am | Permalink

            The year that UK’s economy started to go wrong – in terms of a relentless rise in annual public expenditure – was 2001, the first of Labour’s second term. So one aim must be to get total puplic expenditure (as a % of GDP) back to where it was. In addition, we should especially look at areas of expenditure that have risen as a % of total public expenditure between 2001 and 2011. Included are:

            Health 15.0% in 2001, 17.8% in 2011
            Education 12.8% in 2001, 13.5% in 2011
            Welfare 15.9% in 2001, 16.5% in 2011

            Those 3 categories of public expenditure have been a rising proportion of a rising percentage of GDP, and some of the increase needs to be reversed. It’s not a question of blaming anyone; it’s a question of looking for what can be cut.

      • Bob
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink


        If I were a foreign power intent on overthrowing the UK, the BBC would be the way to go.

        And the beauty of it is that the citizens pay for their own brainwashing. What more could you want?

        The nation has been dumbed down to the point that we have to call in the army to man the doors for an athletics event.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Why don’t you have rant about the blacklisting of workers in the building industry an attack on the population that makes phone hacking look like joke. The deciding factor being that the peole it attacked where working class and not rich and famous. The building companies should be taken to the cleaners for this.

      • DS
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Very poor grammar – no punctuation.What does this mean:

        ‘The deciding factor being that the peole it attacked where working class and not rich and famous. ‘

        Illiterate drivel.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          Poor grammar little punctuation? Is this some how related to my points. If I wanted lessons in written English and typos I would not be on this site. Where are your opinions on this subject? You do not have any as they would be wrong and you know it.
          What about the building workers blacklisted? My point being as this injustice happened to the average Joe it has received little media attention. Is is is the truth that upsets you or is it someone actually complaining about this fact. The real problem is I suspect a person like me talking to you. You are being talked to. Make no mistake in that DS good or bad written English. Thanks for you one post anyway.

          • Max Dunbar
            Posted August 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

            Yes, grammar is related to your points because otherwise we do not have a clue what you are talking about. You can still buy grammar books at second-hand book shops. It is not too late for you to catch up with us.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            Nice one Max. Still do not understand what it has to do with the blacklisting of tradesmen. Must be the grammar.

      • zorro
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Blacklisting is self defeating in the end, particularly if you are blacklisting the better builders.


      • Jerry
        Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Bazman, hard working, polite, sensible builders are very rarely out of work, I wonder why…

        • Bazman
          Posted August 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          Only the cowboy tradesman are ever out of work? If only this was true. Best you can do?

          • Jerry
            Posted August 5, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

            Bazman, that is not what I said. Does it need to be spelt out?

            If there are “Blacklists” [1] within the building industry, and I suspect that it is a big if, then there will be a reason why respectable building companies and sole traders would engage in such practices, it won’t be because -as I said- these tradesmen are hard working, polite and sensible.

            [1] opposed to simple ‘reputation’, that can spread faster than a bush fire

        • Bazman
          Posted August 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

          McAlpine did help to build the Olympics an have made large donations to the Tory party. What they need to do is Ram it.

    • Disaffected
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately all politicians who appear against the EU dream are neutered when elected to office. The people in the dark corners who run the country will only allow puppets to fulfil their EU dream. When there is a glimmer of hope in true Eurosceptics they are either silenced by personal failing or got rid of.

      It almost reminds me of of a time when our establishment was infiltrated by foreign bodies through the Oxbridge university spy scandal in the sixties. Good plan to infiltrate the UK establishment was it ever stopped? Coups in Greece and Italy saw governments changed if they failed to comply and Ireland do what they are told by the masters in Brussels.

      It was said in a blog yesterday: Cameron has proven to be a wet liberal socialist. His priorities are gay marriage, staying in the EU at all costs, no reform of the Human Rights Act, mass immigration including wanting more form Turkey, foreign aid, Lords reform, no leaving the European Court of Human Rights, tax rises and big Government, paying for lawyers to stop Christians wearing crosses in the workplace…….need I go on?

      We could go on. Our military sacrificed instead of back room support staff who made appalling decisions with defence budgets and procurement. Our military sacrificed in unnecessary overseas wars. After going beyond the UN resolution for Libya, can there is little doubt why Russia or China would not believe the west over Syria?

      Most of these things Cameron promised to change, under the Obama mantra for change, before the election. The majority of Eurosceptics silenced or got rid from the Tory party in government. One thing is for sure the people of this country want a change from the LibLabCon EU pact. The only way this will happen is if the UK leaves the EU and that will only happen if there is a form of Arab spring and everyone votes UKIP.

    • Disaffected
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, it worse than you might think. Scottish universities also make unconditional offers university places to Scots and international students at AS level, yet English have conditional offers based on final A level grades. It is discrimination against English students in their own country. Then the insult of having to pay tuition fees when their foreign counter parts do not!!

      Only in the UK under a Tory government when Cameron proclaims equality babble and continues to discriminate against the Christian religion with gay marriage and wearing a crucifix in the work place.

  2. Sue
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    “As this Parliament wishes to remain in the EU” – WHAT ABOUT US VOTERS?

    Reply. Voters elected a federalist Parliament and decisively rejected the pull out party

    • APL
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      JR: “Voters elected a federalist Parliament and decisively rejected the pull out party”

      Here we go again. The voters, those that bothered to vote, voted in the main for parties that have colluded to not give them a choice on the EU.

      If the UKIP remains a fringe party it is because (a) its own incompetence, (b) the media, largely state run; BBC local radio, BBC National, BBC News 24, and largely ignores the EU except to slavisly regurgitate any old pre digested tat the EUrocrats produce.

      But the most important factor, ignored by Mr Redwood is that a very large fraction of those eligable to vote don’t bother to do so.

      The politicians are content to ignore this damning statistic because then can blather on about the voters not wanting a EUrosceptic parliament.

      40% of us recognise that that is not on offer by the main parties and have withdrawn from the political process.

      That is a failur of your party system!

      • ChrisXP
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        It is true that the people voted for a federalist Parliament, mainly because many don’t really have a clue what they are voting for when they go to the polling station. Certainly people where I live have said that they vote for the same person time after time, and don’t seem to bother to read what that person’s policies are; nor do they seem to engage with what the policies are at a national level.
        Quite a lot now believe the propaganda that absorption into the EU is “inevitable” and have pretty much given up any thought of trying to change things…..including not bothering to vote. The media’s hatchet-job on UKIP was deliberate, trying to portray them as fools; this is the usual way to attack any organisation that speaks truth, to smear them and encourage people to steer clear and “stay in the fold”.

        As a result, people considered UKIP to be idiots and continued to vote tribally, resulting in the type of government that was desired all along……a federalist one. Until voters realise they’ve been manipulated and start thinking for themselves (for once), they will always vote and deliver what the BigWigs want.

        • Disaffected
          Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          Spot on. This is the establishment dark arts at work. However, it does not always succeed as we saw when Galloway was elected to everyones surprise. Vote UKIP for change.

          This is another reason why the BBC propaganda unit continues in its current form. Brainwashing the masses at public expense.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        There’s certainly a lot of genuine incompetence within UKIP, but not necessarily much more than in other parties.

        The difference is that the larger and longer established parties can better afford their incompetence.

        Some of what appears to be incompetence in UKIP is in fact competent sabotage by people infiltrated for that purpose.

        Still with an average of only about 30 members per constituency, most of whom will be passive rather than active members, there are many places in the country where it’s impossible for UKIP to maintain any effective local organisation; and if a constituency branch does grow to the point that it starts to become a significant nuisance then it’s not difficult for another party to get somebody in ostensibly to provide their enthusiastic help but really to disrupt it and nip it in the bud.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      As to us voters and the EU:
      1. We got no choice. The EU was hardly mentioned. All the three parties seemed to be in favour of it just as it is.
      2. You know, I know and everyone else who has the least inkling of the EU and its little ways knows that the current EU policies are not going to change. UK is anyway seen as a peripheral eeyore and nobody is listening to us. The EU project will steam on in the same direction because the Commission and the people in Berlaymont who give us the Directives are not elected or accountable to anyone except — the Commissioners themselves!
      3. Yours are not bad rules. But they are not going to come about while the current Coalition is in power.

      • Disaffected
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Spot on.

        John, can recycle as many old themes on his blog as he wishes and people will rightly agree with him. But what substantive EU change has John brought about??

        The veto that never was. As far as I can recollect, Cameron was not going to vote AND would stop the EU institutions being used. This was not an “or” it was an “and”. Cameron never prevented the EU institutions being used they are rumbling along as ever and the German ministers smirked and laughed at the prospect of what he said. Therefore it was never a veto as he did not fulfil both parts of his claim and the word would suggest it stopped something- it did not.

      • Bryan
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        My local MP espouses anti EU thoughts on his web site and clearly wishes to be seen as a eurosceptic. Yet, when the votes were counted in Parliament on the ‘peoples’ wish for a referendum on the EU, he voted with Mr Cameron and against the proposition. One can only assume that a yearning for ‘recognition’ overcame those principles which encouraged people like me to vote for him.

        Regardless, goodbye Charlie in 2015!

      • Dan H.
        Posted August 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        I am now wondering if the current Euro crisis was not only predicted to happen, but was actually a planned consequence of setting up the Euro. The general thrust of the EU planning is to unify Europe. Setting up a Eurozone in a manner whereby small, profligate countries will dig themselves into debt holes ought to result in these countries giving up political power to the centre in order to get out of debt, but this will only occur if the crisis happens slowly and develops slowly.

        If this Cunning Plan was thought up in the 1970s and 80s, then it would not take into account the huge amount of computing power we use in finance these days, nor the many and devious ways City traders have to hide away debt. The original plan may have been to allow a debt crisis to occur, but under the original plan politicians would have gotten worried far sooner than they did here in reality, and the crisis would have blossomed much more gradually.

        As things turned out, Greece, Spain and their ilk have been much, much better at digging themselves into a hole than could have been predicted, and the bankers have been much, much better at sharing the risk around between themselves than was predicted. Europe is getting its useful crisis alright, just way too fast to do any good, and with far, far too much risk to every be a safe way to push reforms.

        Simply put, never trust either Baldrick or a Eurocrat to come up with a Cunning Plan. At least with Baldrick you get a laugh…

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      I am afraid the complacent JR reply is an example why we are in this EU mess and why UKIP is worrying many Conservative MPs and seeing the collapse of Conservative Party membership. I do not remember the Conservative or Labour manifestos supporting a federalist policy, maybe the Libdems did, but who voted for a coalition, not many Conservative voters. Nobody thought twenty years ago Scotland would largely be governed by the SNP, similarly with power sharing in Northern Ireland. The EU is a vaguely democratic and peaceful version of the USSR, which will implode and you are for it or against it and those MPs in the latter category should be vigorously canvassing and promoting our withdrawal . There is no halfway house.

      • Atlas
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think John is complacent, rather he is just telling those who contribute to his blog the reality of the present Parliament. I’m certain John would like a different Commons makeup, however that will only happen when us, the voters, elect MPs having those policies.

        Clearly John has his doubts over UKIP as a viable alternative. It is up to UKIP to come up to the mark to show the electorate what is at stake.

        John, I suspect, would like most of the Conservative Party to experience a ‘ road to Damascus’ event – however that only happened to one individual. BTW, is there anybody named Saul in the Party? The original ended up being a very effective advocate! (but met a sticky end at the hands of the EU Mark I )

      • Disaffected
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Daniel Hannan in the DT makes the comparison between the USSR and EU and how it took 70 years for national identity to prevail over the USSR. This creepy dictatorship has infiltrated the UK establishment and in particular the political elite.

        Lib Dems did promise a better in/out EU referendum than the Tories- but who would believe a word Clegg says?

    • Lord Blagger
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink


      John is just one of the dictators.

      At no point do you or I get a say bar who the next trougher is in Westminster. Even then there are 850 of them over whom we have no say at all.

      The flip side, you aren’t responsible for the mess.

    • bob webster
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Let’s not forget how Cameron conned the electorate in the run up to the last election, with his “cast iron” commitment to a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, plus all the sounding-off about repatriating powers from Brussels and introducing a British Bill of Rights. The voters will not be conned again. I can’t see UKIP gaining any seats in 2015 under first past the post, but they will take 10-12% of the vote and inflict massive damage in Tory marginals.

      Reply Unfortunately Mr Cameron did not promise an EU referendum in the election or manifesto

      • Jerry
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Reply to JR: Cameron didn’t mention a coalition either, stuff happens!

      • Disaffected
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        John, I understood Bob Webster stated a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty not EU- watch Cameron’s video clip on Youtube and you will see what Cameron says and the dangers of the Lisbon Treaty he warned us about. It appears your reply misrepresents his comment. Cameron made a U turn on the Lisbon Treaty without any shadow of a doubt.

        Reply. No he did not. He promised a referendum on Lisbon before it was ratified, tabled one in the Commons and put Conservative MPs on a 3 line whip to vote for it. Labour voted us down.

        • Disaffected
          Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

          The ratified part came after he changed his mind on the Lisbon Treaty. He made a U turn.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          [JR] Reply. No he did not. He promised a referendum on Lisbon before it was ratified

          Then the only thing that changed is what question to ask, if there should have been a referendum before the treaty was ratified (given the nature of the document) why shouldn’t there be a referendum after?

          Anyway, it doesn’t matter one jot what Mr Cameron said at some point in history, what matters is what (members of the Tory party and) the electors think now.

          Reply: As someone who wanted a referendum before Lisbon was ratified and voted for it, and someone who said at the General Election I wanted a referendum on the EU and voted for it recently, it does matter what Mr Cameron said as he still commands more votes than any other Leader in the Commons. Mr C clearly stated he wanted a referendum pre ratification and voted for one. He then, to my disappointment as well as yours, made it clear before the General Election that now Lisbon was ratified he no longer supported a referendum. You may well diagree with him, but he was straightforward about it – indeed I suspect his view on the referendum lost him some votes.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 4, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        To reply:- alas not, had he done so and offered a proper Tory agenda he would clearly have won against sitting duck brown outright. Then we would not be saddled with the “anti democratic, ever bigger state, quack green religion, party” or LibDems as they ironically call themselves.

    • Single Acts
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Reply. Voters elected a federalist Parliament and decisively rejected the pull out party

      In the same way that Soviet ‘voters’ rejected anti-communist options in the 1980’s

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Cameron however did mislead voters and MPs into believing that he was not the Heath/Major types of Europhile socialist that he clearly is.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      JR: Voters elected a federalist Parliament and decisively rejected the pull out party

      They also voted for Cameron’s cast iron promise (and Cleggs wish to have a once and for all decision about our EU membership) of a referendum, of course once into power… Had that ‘promise’ not been given I suspect that the total number of votes cast for UKIP would have been far greater with all the knock-on effects that would have had. One needs to look at the trends, not just the seats won.

      Anyway, if Cameron is so certain that his party back his own apparent support for the EU why does he have any vote in the commons about our EU membership “whipped”, why not a totally free vote?…

    • Timaction
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      I am in my 50’s and have always voted for the Conservative Party. However, I will never vote for the Tories again whilst Messrs Cameron/Osborne are in charge. Moreover, I will not vote for the Tories again until we are promised an In/Out referendum or we withdraw completely from the EU (Article 50 Lisbon Treaty). Renegotiation is never going to happen or not to our satisfaction and we will be lied to as always. It is simply not allowed for under any treaty and the others in the EU have no appetite for a reduction in our £11 billion net and rising contribution. We only need trade and friendship not the rest of the meddling. The 650 in Westminster are way out of touch with the public mood and sentiment and it will only get worse after November 2014 when the majority of competancies go to qualified majority voting. We will have just over 8% of the vote and our Parliament will be pointless. This is the date that sovereign democracy is finished in the UK and UKIP will be the only answer. Everyone out here is saying the same.

    • matthu
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Voters ALL elected a party that promised us a referendum on EU. Not to be confused with a whipped vote.

  3. Julian
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    6. If recruitment is required, the job shall be advertised prominently in a section of the department or quango’s web site. All departments and quangos will use the same format for job advertisements so that these can be aggregated to a single web site showing all government jobs. No commercial organisation, newspaper etc. shall be paid to advertise jobs, although they may assist with pre-screening applicants.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Indeed and this should apply to the BBC and all similar state hangers on so they do now pay hundreds of thousands to head hunters just then to promote internally – from there endless tank of tame toe the BBC line “Guardian Think” arts graduates I assume.

      • Bob
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink


        That would cause the Guardian’s losses to escalate.
        Half the people that buy it are just interested in the BBC jobs page.

        Surely you cannot expect the BBC to advertise their vacancies through their website, TV or radio channels.

        Can you imagine, a weekly five minute job spot,
        *** “Wanted hideously white arts graduate, generous package, must have own service company. Labour membership card essential” ***.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Surely you cannot expect the BBC to advertise their vacancies through their website, TV or radio channels.

          Why ever not! After all they already advertise their own and others services, either overtly (own services) or softly by recommendation or endorsement for outside services (such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. etc.). These endorsements are almost certainly against the BBC’s Charter and probably amount to product placement.

        • lifelogic
          Posted August 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          What – people actually buy the Guardian! I though it was just given out for free at Universities and other lefty institutions and or on aeroplanes.

  4. Pete the Bike
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Trouble is, Mr Redwood, Sir Humphrey will not let any of your excellent ideas happen. The civil service ratchet only works one way. Up. More staff, more money, more waste. If you want any of your ideas to happen you’ll have to put the fear of God into all the mandarins. A Great Purge. One Monday morning call in 75% of the senior civil service and sack them, there and then. Redundancy papers on the table, say Goodbye and they’re out within 5 minutes. Then do the same with middle grades. The rest will either walk out on strike, in which case lock the doors and turn out the lights after them, or they’ll be putty in your hands. Result – less government, more freedom, some chance of growth.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink


      Whilst I have some sympathy with what you are suggesting it will never happen in your or my lifetime.

      I certainly agree that a limited modified version of what you suggest needs to take place, perhaps even on a regular review basis, but first you need to change the redundancy entitlement rules (for government employees), and then the employment law.

      Then and only then, will it start to have the effect you wish for.

      In a recent local NHS Trust, a number of staff were asked if they would take voluntary redundancy, the list was oversubscribed, why, because they were being offered 2 years salary as a redundancy payment for 20 years or more of service.

      Aged 64 looking to retire ? fantastic !!!!

      • Disaffected
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        Change civil servants back to their previous status so that they are employees of the Crown and employment law does not apply to them. Then do as Pete says.

    • Bob
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Music to my ears.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Everything you’re proposing is illegal so the Government will end up being sued by the entire civil service. Also given how much the Government relies on the Civil Service to run the country antagonising them will lead to disaster very quickly.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink


        Nothing illegal about making people redundant, if the job no longer exists.

        It happens to thousands of people each week !

        • uanime5
          Posted August 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          You do realise that you have to give them redundancy pay based on how long they’ve worked at their job. There are a lot of rules regarding what constitutes a redundancy and what people are entitled to.

          Also it is illegal to fire people for being on strike.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

            No, it’s not – reference a certain Ronald Reagan and the striking Air Traffic Controllers. “These people have dismissed themselves.” Just like that. Said out loud. B____y rude.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        If it is illegal then they should change the law so it is not illegal. Three months pay off is fine for all – if they are any good they can get another job.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 3, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          Rather depends on personal circumstances age and where they live. Another factor being that redundancy for many can be less than three months wages and if the person is entitled to more is for the reason that they have served the company for many years and if you think they should not be compensated for this you are wrong. If this were the case then they would be self employed and much more expensive. You will b not get hire and fire without contract via the back door.

      • Bob
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink


        The government have assumed the power to change tax legislation retrospectively, so why stop there?

        • uanime5
          Posted August 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          1) Under the human rights act retrospective changes to the law are illegal.

          2) Regarding the tax law after the court ruled that this method of avoiding taxes was illegal the companies argued that they shouldn’t have to pay back any taxes they avoided before this judgement. However another court ruled that it had never been legal to avoid taxes using this method, so they had to pay this amount in full.

          Illegal actions that are undetected are always illegal, not legal until you’re prosecuted.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 6, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

            What can we get away with? How long can we get away with it? And what will be the consequences of being caught? How can we get out of it when caught? Will we come out on top either way?

    • Bazman
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      What if this fails what will you say then? It was not enough? Silly middle aged middle class political wet dream from someone who believes it will not effect them in any way.

  5. Bazman
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Many jobs are advertised by private companies when the applicant has already been chosen. Is see one health trust has got nurses doing cleaning. Usual shoestring nonsense you would expect from a private company. No cleaners no cleaning. The nurses are just making the problem worse. You try to get any manager to do any other job other than his own. They guard their often pointless jobs very closely. Demarcation? You are having a laugh.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      When I go on Labour List, I get the constant refrain that it is all the fault of the rich people who cannot be trusted.
      When I go on the right wing (as you call them) blogs, I get the fact that the poor people cannot be trusted.
      Do you know what? I know some really horrible rich people who, frankly, deserve to be jailed many times over. I also know some really horrible poor people too who are playing the system.
      And then again, I know some really lovely rich people and some really wonderful poor people (like my next door neighbours) too.

      Maybe it is time to return to the story of the garden of Eden. We are a strange mixture we humans don’t you think?

      • Bazman
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        I’m not taking seriously any multi millionaires telling me the poor should not be trusted and it is their fault as they should work harder. Bleating that they add to the economy whilst in many cases are just rich by circumstances. They are right though in the fact that poor people cannot be trusted to be happy with their lot and should be. What we are seeing is a small elite being serviced by a middle class with the rest of the population expected to work for minimal money and living standards. Am I to trust the rich to provide for me and my family when they often not spend a penny more than they have to and often not even in this country.
        I watched a documentary on the rise of New York today. The rich and corrupt elite would do nothing until the issues effected them. Sewers, refuse diseases linked to them from the slums and businesses they owned and even then expected the state to fund them from taxes they were stealing. Same old same old.

      • Bob
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        @Mike Stallard

        As you say, the distinction should not be between rich and poor, it’s about good and evil, cruel and kind.

        One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson
        about a battle that goes on inside all people.

        He said, “My son, the battle is between two
        wolves that dwell inside each and everyone of us.

        “One is Evil.
        It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed,
        arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority,
        lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

        The other is Good.
        It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
        kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity,
        truth, compassion and faith.”

        The grandson thought about it for
        a minute, and then asked his grandfather:

        “Which wolf will win?”

        The old Cherokee simply replied:
        “The one you feed.”

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 6, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        The garden of Eden is fictitious. Mike would do better thinking about what qualities are needed in those that govern us – hard headed and hard hearted – that’s what. Ain’t no apples to pluck right now but serpants are everywhere.

  6. zorro
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    John, Why do you insist on saying that people voted for a federalist Parliament….? You know full well that people vote on a range of issues at General Elections and have to hold their noses and make a choice. Only in a referendum can you focus on whether people want a federalist Parliament…..


    Reply Because as an anti federalist MP I find it extremely frustrating to be in a Parliament where only around 100 MPs can be relied on to vote for a referendum and against more EU laws

    • Lord Blagger
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink


      1. You have to vote on a package – the manifesto – and in the hope the MP will follow it through.

      2. Once elected its ignored.

      3. Huge amounts of legislation isn’t in manifestos.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      That’s because all three main parties do their best to weed out any anti-federalists during the pre-selection and final selection of their official parliamentary candidates.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink


        You have hit the nail on the head.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      To Zorro:

      There is always a choice in British general elections. The non-mainstream candidates may be a waste of space but until enough of us vote for them, the mainstream parties will continue on their merry way. Just vote for anyone except Lab/LibDem/Cons.

      • Bob
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        Roger. Wilco.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      It’s no good taking that reproachful attitude with us. The fact is that your party is filled with people who are not conservative but as with, in particular, some of your financial backers, are English-hating globalists who wish (change the face of the UK – ed)so that they can take total control of our country. It’s not up to the man in the street to sort this out; they see the uniform and assume that they will not be shot in the back.

      You need to work with your colleagues to take the party back otherwise your party and this country are finished.

    • zorro
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Indeed, I can see your frustration….This is why it would surely be important for the Conservatives to have more effective policies on dealing with the EU, and really pushing the advantages of the UK being outside the EU (or negotiating a new relationship from a position of strength instead of the puny negotiating hand which has been delivered so far).

      It would be better to work on your fellow Tory MPs (those who you can’t carry, and some of them might be beginning to sweat…) to facilitate this, and point to the obstacle in the way which is preventing this happening……the obstacle which could have pushed this agenda more effectively at the 2010 election and easily won a majority, but instead failed to beat possibly the worst PM in living memory who had a huge part in causing our economy to be ill prepared to cope with the economic catastrophe.

      I think that you might be able to guess about who I am talking….


      • lifelogic
        Posted August 4, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        Indeed a stuffed teddy bear should have been enough to beat Brown.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr Redwood,

      In reply to your reply, You are honourably 1 in a 100 or so. Do the remainderof your colleagues, apart from the Limp Dems, not understand the feeling that seems to be pervasive in the country at large that perhaps a majority of the voting age inhabitants of this country would demand at least a referendum on continued or change in membership of the wretched EU.

      Like the USSR, it will eventually fail as it runs out of cash from us cash cows.

    • Bob
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      The voting public are ignorant of the issues.
      And that’s the way the Liblabtories want it to stay.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Most MPs are career politicians and follow the party as they are told, they do not really care much, I suspect. So long as someone pays and pensions them well and they do not lose the whip. They just say what they feel will get them elected then ignore it all if it suits the party later.

      Then make up new cast plastic promises for the next election.

  7. zorro
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    If you want to see incompetence, look at UKBA/BF and how they got rid of 500 staff and are now having to recruit 500 new staff, having lost the experienced staff and paid redundancy costs. This is politicians insisting on cuts on essential roles and forgetting that they were holding the Olympics! They then had to train up other civil servants for a couple of days. Totally inadequate to ensure adequate border security…..and inept.


    • alan jutson
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink


      What you say is absolutely correct, one of our family members has recently seen the exact situation you describe occur in their government (taxpayer) funded organisation.

      Experienced staff have left (with large pay offs), and now they are recruiting new people (from outside the organisation) because they cannot cope, indeed it now looks like some of the originals may come back as temporary staff, until the situation is resolved, if ever.

      They get away with it simply because the money comes from a variety of different budgets.

      Cuts, yes they are going through the motions, but its a revolving door process.

      Only the dim or incompetent cannot see what is happening.

      I leave it to you to work out who is dim and incompetent, and who are working the system.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I should think most contributors to this site would agree with your proposals but know that nothing will happen under government of any major political persuasion. The problem is that the three main parties are all variants of the same doctrine which actually believes in giving powers to an unelected EU and spending money with abandon whether they can raise it through taxation or not. Just like their masters in the EU they have no concern for the views of those they purport to serve but rather see the role as reversed and that they are the masters whom we must serve as they dictate.

  9. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I accept that we, the voters, got ourselves where we are now, sadly there are a lot of sheep in the electorate, a lot of unprincipled politicians and a shortage of alternative parties. Those that do exist, especially those which are nationalist in sentiment ( ie. English nationalist, as opposed to Scottish nationalist which seems perfectly acceptable ) – are lied about by the mainstream, labelled as extreme etc. by the others and the BBC in particular. I would urge those who are in parliament and oppose where we are now in respect to the EU, raise your game, speak out stridently and forcibly and relentlessly against present policies, ally yourselves with the voice of the protestors, gain some honour and credibility. Thinking about weak compromise and tinkering will change no minds, it is an acceptance that nothing of substance can be changed. It is not the way. We need more rejectionist revolutionaries, each will gain another, followers will gather, and eventually the edifice will fall. Look to your history books.

    • Lord Blagger
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      I accept that we, the voters, got ourselves where we are now,


      Really? When did you have a vote on any of the messes?

      You’ve just been allowed to select the people making the mess

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        What did you think of the rest of what I said? Do you think we need more rejectionist revolutionaries, for example? Should there not be more support for and exposure of the minor parties in the mainstream media?

    • Mick Anderson
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      I accept that we, the voters, got ourselves where we are now

      I don’t accept that premise. The political parties have sewn things up for themselves so that they can ignore the silent majority who don’t believe they are worth voting for. Card-carrying Party membership represents less than 2% of the population – hardly fulsome support.

      An honest voting system would default to including those who didn’t chose to vote by assuming that they are voting against all those up for election in that constituancy. The variations of AV and PR that some are in favour of still doesn’t allow for this.

      Politicians would claim that an uncast ballot is a wasted vote, but I say that this is more honest than voting for someone who you disagree with. At the last election I couldn’t agree with enough of any of the candidates policies, so didn’t vote. Unfortunately none of those asking for my support were sufficiently Redwoodian! It doesn’t help that I live in a “Safe Seat” – there have been only five different MPs since 1920, and all wore the blue rosette.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Indeed the vote on a basket of issues, once every five years, for someone who usually cannot remotely be trusted like Cameron is almost worthless. No real choice at all in many safe seats.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Whilst I appreciate your list John, we really do need to go further than this, much further if we are to reduce government spending.

    Given the huge funding to support all of these government departments and government employees, it is about time we had a sensible and intelligent debate about what core services the government should be responsible for, and which peripheral areas of control should be removed completely from any government interference.

    Defence, Law and order for sure are things which governments should be responsible.

    Taxation is also a must, to pay for the above and any basic government services, but the system needs a complete overhaul, and needs to be simple and fair to all.

    Education and Health, possible, but perhaps not on the scale as is.

    Pensions, Benefits and Welfare, again possible to a degree, but certainly not in the complex manner or scale we have at the moment.

    So what else ?

    Yes we perhaps need some very basic rules for conducting business, and yes perhaps we need some very basic employment rules, but then ………..

    We (some of us) pride ourselves on being a developed democratic Nation, but in fact we are now on the down side of the curve, we are over governed, over regulated, over taxed, overspent, and above all, over ruled.

    Until we claw back increasing government control and interference we will continue to slip further on the downward curve, until we are well and truly at a point of no return.

    History shows all communist states have failed, we are at the point now where the government spends more than half of the Nations GDP.

    Work it out for yourselfs.

    Time to think the unthinkable…….. again. !

  11. Lord Blagger
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    1. Any job vacancy in the public sector should normally be filled from applicants within the public sector. Any job falling vacant has to be reappraised to see if it is still needed, or can best be combined with some other post.


    Aren’t you advocating illegal behaviour?

    Should be the best candidate, not a closed shop.

  12. Lord Blagger
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    The biggest thing you can do is to publish the debt figures as promised. All of them.

    Then people get their personal statement as to their share.

    Will they support more spending when they find out MPs have got them into 230,000 pounds of debt?

    I doubt it.

    Still waiting on those figures John. No link to where to find the numbers for how much you owe on the State Pension as an example. I’ve paid up front for my state pension, you owe it to me. That’s a debt.

    Reply I published the figures in full on this site as you well know

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I read that the cabinet has been considering spending £5 billion (money they don’t have) to fully nationalise RBS. The excuse for this is to boost bank lending to British businesses! The fact that this is even considered shows just how far away from this government’s thinking what you propose is. As each day goes by Cameron is morphing into Heath and we know how calamitous his government was.

  14. Chris
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I think option 5 would set a very dangerous precedent. By removing our own administration and accepting the EU administration in that particular field demonstrates open acceptance and approval. That is not the direction we should be going. We should be strengthening our own administration and taking great care not to goldplate EU Directives by ever strengthening the mechanisms to do this. I am really concerned by this suggestion as to me it demonstrates to me again that there is a resignation within the Tory party to accept the status quo, something that so many in the electorate are trying hard to counter. We do not have the luxury of an election at the moment, so we have to resort to writing to MPs and the blogosphere. When the Conservatives lose in 2015, or earlier, which I greatly fear they will do if David Cameron and his europhile policies are still in place, the Party may eventually wake up, but the damage wrought to the Party before then may well be terminal. I feel this is is an absolute tragedy, and so avoidable. If only the Party listened to grassroots and took a very bold stand with regard to the EU and abandoned the crusade to get rid of the “nasty party” image, then it would stand a good chance of being in government next time. However, that would require a change of leader and pdq.

  15. JoolsB
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Some good ideas but our Liberal Prime Minister and his Liberal chums would never allow most of them.

    As for smaller state, why not start with handing out P45’s to 119 Celtic MPs who sit at Westminster voting on matters which they shouldn’t to justify their existance, ie. English matters because bizarrely with the exception of the few reserved matters, they cannot vote on the same matters for their own constituents, those who voted for them. Imagine the millions which could be saved in salary and expenses in the process, not to mention a little thing called democracy which England might at last be allowed to enjoy. When making decisions on UK matters, the elected AMPs and AMS in the Scots, Welsh & NI parliaments can take the place of the MPs, after all, they make the decisions on everything else.

  16. John Hann
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I cannot see why recruitment, particularly for management roles, should be restricted to the public sector.

    Management involves risk, and to quote a senior civil servant “The public sector is averse to improvement. Improvement of neccessity requires change. Change neccessarily involves risk. The public sector is risk averse”.

    Or as a former cabinet secretary is reported as saying “We don’t do project management”.

    Management by large committees ensures that no one can be held responsible, but it is also ineffective.

  17. MajorFrustration
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Per chance to dream

  18. oldtimer
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    If they can be persuaded to pay attention to and act on these words from Dr Christie, giving evidence to the US Senate Committe on Environment and Public Works hearing on global warming, then it would save us all several £billions. Link here:
    … link courtesy of Mr Anthony Watts.

  19. Jerry
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    1. Any job vacancy in the public sector should normally be filled from applicants within the public sector. Any job falling vacant has to be reappraised to see if it is still needed, or can best be combined with some other post.

    This sounds like a recipe for “Jobs for the Boys (and Girls)” and all that! Just who would decide if the position is still needed, why do these jobs need to be filled with applicants from within the public sector – other than the keep the likes of Sir Humphrey Appleby happy and less stressed.

    5. Every time the EU takes more power UK regulators and government departments in that area should shed staff and controls to compensate. We have two governments for the price of three in many areas today.

    Hmm, so for every new law or power the EU takes our unemployment figure raises, which will mean taxes will have to rise to fund both redundancy and benefit payments! The public sector might well be bloated but if we stopped sending so much money to the EU this country could afford to pay people to dig holes and then fill then back in again if we wished [1]. For how much longer are politicians, especially those supposedly to the right, going to fail to see the wood for the trees?

    [1] or even, to echo an earlier blog, re-nationalise our railways if that is deemed in the best interests of the our nation, something that EU law currently prohibits.

    For every new law/power that the EU tries to take from the democratically elected UK government the UK electorate are asked directly if they wish their government to give-up such control to unelected Eurocrats – the cost for each and every referendum can be taken out of the money sent to the EU by our government. Better still, Cameron should just give us his “cast iron” promise and be done…

  20. John Whitehead
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I’m with you 100% in principle on this (as usual) but have a slight issue with your point 1. Only recruiting from within public sector would close the public sector to young people and gradually age the public sector demographics. Also lack of new blood, new thinking etc. would be counter-productive.

  21. Richard1
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    All excellent ideas. I also think much more transparency on the size and cost of government would help. The US govt publishes each month its total recepits in tax, its total expenditure and the resulting balancing item of total borrowing. The UK Govt should do the same. George Osborne had an excellent idea to let taxpayers know where their money is going – but we havent seen it yet. Another stat which would be of great value would be a summary of the total of public sector employees, broken down by major areas. We need to see all these data simply presented on a monthly basis, so we can see which way things are going.

  22. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Bankers just LOVE to be regulated by complex rules (like those suggested by Vickers). Banks can employ expensive lawyers to get round such rules, or eat away at the rules, bit at a time. After all, politicians and lambs to slaughter in the hands of bankers.

    Here are a couple of simple rules that would solve half our banking problems. They are rules advocated by Profs Laurence Kotlikoff and Richard Werner.

    1. Depositors must decide how much of their money they want to be instant access and 100% safe, and how much they want the bank to risk: i.e. lend on or invest.

    2. “Safe” money stays in safe / current accounts. It ears little or no interest. In contrast “money at risk” goes into “investment” accounts. The latter DOES EARN interest, reflecting the fact that the money is doing something. But there is no instant access: reflecting the fact that the money has been locked up in investments or loans.

    3. Depositors carry the loss (or make a profit) when the investments / loans which their money funds falls or rises in value.

    That way it’s almost impossible for banks to go bust, plus no taxpayer funded subsidies of banks are needed.

  23. Neil Craig
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Every year the government should choose the Ministry that costs most and achieves least (or has highest negative achievement which would probably be Health and Safety Exec or Energy & Catastrophic Warming)) and get rid of it. Any useful bits can hived off to other ministries. Apart from the the immediate effect it would concentrate minds wonderfully in other mionistries.

    Intorduce a referendum at the same time as each election in which the people would be allowed to vary the maximum % of the economy the state is allowed to spend – for stability the choices would be limited to 5% either way from the previous limit.

    Currently the state spends about 50% of HNP but such polls as have been done suggest the median chosen bt the people would be hust under 20%. If a government goes abiove the limit every ministry’s budget would have to be automatically reduced by 4% annually until the limit is reached & ministers who again exceeded the limit be disqualified from public service.

  24. Kenneth
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I agree with all of your post, Mr Redwood. However, despite the fact that I have previously been in a tiny minority of people who feel that MPs are underpaid, perhaps now is the time to consider reducing MP salaries as a recognition that their role and responsibility is now reduced (despite the increased workload).

    If we give away powers to overseas quangoes then we should expect to save money by downgrading our politicians and others. I don’t see how we can have it both ways.

    In fact, I would suggest that every power that is ceded abroad should be accompanied by reduced salaries or job cuts for the equivalent people in the UK. This is not confined to MPs, this also includes:

    Civil Servants

    I believe this should be carried out retrospectively.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Under paid? Well they also get about 50k worth of pension a year and a pay off when booted out, allowances, many tax free “expenses” and can do other jobs too. Many are totally unemployable at anything like the salary they receive – certainly the labour ones and in the regions.

  25. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m definitely one of those who want to do less with less but your proposals can only work for a few years. Subject to that limitation, they will be useful.

    Banning external recruitment shuts out youth and will eventually lead to a loss of morale.

    Your point 5 starts off “Every time the EU takes more power …………….”. That mentality is totally unacceptable. Each and every EU move to take more power should be vetoed, and we should be looking to scrap many of those powers that it does have. This is why the next Conservative manifesto has to spell out the changes that we want.

    Which taxes to scrap? My view is that taxes should be levied only when real wealth is created. Betting taxes, stamp duty on houses and levies on share deals are transaction taxes and should go. It would be OK to levy VAT at some level on house building. Inflation should be deducted from capital gains before computing the tax.

    However, for a long time to come, there needs to be £2 of public expenditure reductions for every £1 of reductions. It’s the red ink, stupid.

  26. Gary
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    The best and only rule : privatise the lot and the threat of bankruptcy and personal liability will urgently sharpen their cost management.

    One caveat : don’t sell them off to the good-old-boys insider network of crony “capitalists” as they did with many others. Give them to their current real owners , the voters.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Personal liability and threat of bankruptcy for peole who are little more than managers is going a bit far and will never be accepted as part of the contract no matter who much they are paid. You presume to think that they are some sort of innovator, inventor or entrepreneurs. When really they are middle managers with a massive sense of entitlement hiding behind a system often their own and claiming it cannot be changed. Look how they just sink into obscurity when they are paid off.

  27. peter davies
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure read the other day that Bob Crow has created an anti EU political party due to the Brussels gravy train which I did a double take.

    On your point 5 “Every time the EU takes more power” – I thought there was a referendum lock for more power transfer or is this another one of those tricks with clauses invented by “call me Dave”?

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      The referendum lock is clearly a con trick with lot of loop holes inserted.

  28. Bob
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Fine words Mr. Redwood.

    Do you think that Dave Cameron is listening to you, or are his ears too finely tuned to the Lib Dems?

  29. Bert Young
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Dr. JR – your blog is spot on ! Of course we would all like to see these basic rules in place as soon as possible . Times have moved on substantially since the last election and a much tougher mood exists . If Nigel Farage stood again my hunch is he would be elected . MP’s such as yourself need to think seriously about this and decide how to realign to the public sentiment , get rid of Cameron and , take UKIP on board . Boris may not be the right man , but , he does attract a great deal of support . You would be my first choice as Chancellor .

  30. Leslie Singleton
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Changes to laws and public sector headcount etc should not be made in accordance with the approach in this blog but based on the merits or otherwise of the newly created position that will go forward. Surprised at you Mr Redwood that you should apparently not see it this way.

    Changing gear, this morning as ever Mr Farage’s words rang true. Viva UKIP.

  31. Caterpillar
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    “1. Any job vacancy in the public sector should normally be filled from applicants within the public sector.”

    I see no reason for maintaining ‘jobs for the boys’, if there are better potential employees that are unemployed or in the private sector then they should be allowed to apply.

    If the above when combined with “Any job falling vacant has to be reappraised to see if it is still needed, or can best be combined with some other post” is simply a process to identify which of the existing public sector employees should be in which roles and which roles should be dumped, well it seems neither direct nor fair. Is there not a more direct approach?

  32. uanime5
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Only allowing new regulations if you scrap old regulations won’t work because because it will be impossible to regulate new industries, technologies, or drugs.

    Also it’s standard practice to scrap existing regulations when you replace them with new ones so what you’re calling for usually happens.

    • Richard
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      My experience of over 25 years of running a small business is that the amount of laws and regulations went up and up with more being layered on top of the existing ones .
      In the criminal law field it has been said that there has been more new laws introduced in the last 20 years as in the previous 120
      Take the complexities of VAT introduced as a simple single figure tax or employment law tribunals which were introduced as a way of simple arbitration between employer and employee.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        I believe employment tribunals were created so that disputed between employers and employees didn’t have to go to the high court, which was expensive and clogged up the high court.

        • Richard
          Posted August 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          Yes, thats what was originally planned, but lots of additional legislation and applied case law has made it a very complex court for both sides in any dispute.
          The feeling that politicians have that “something must be done” usually translates into a new piece of legislation.
          No surprise to note that a most common profession for politicians is the legal profession.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Indeed an absurd exponential growth in mad regulations which continues under “bonfire of red tape” “gender neutral insurance” Cameron.

  33. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Is was very ‘simple’ to shut down all the expert bodies in education such as becta which could have created intelligent policy in the future use of technology in the infrastructure of UK education. Did commentators on this blog believe the murdoch press wheni it taught them that all the people who worked on such bodies were stupid and self interested or did they spot that news corp may have been pursuing its own agenda when it chose to present this image and that we might have been wiser to retain some national expertise in this field? Simpler is not always wiser.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted August 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      It seems to me that commentators on this blog don’t subscribe to the “Murdoch” press as you call it; nor to the idea that vast numbers of quangocrats and civil servants know best.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        🙂 certainly this government is passionate about it’s vision that civil servants know nothing. Indeed in education it is so passionate about this vision that it appears to have brutally removed all civil servants with ability or experience in education and replaced them hundreds of people who ‘fit their criteria’. I suspect some of you are unaware of quite how blindingly bright and brilliant most of the people who have been removed were and how convicingly they could command the respect of the education community. If you are in any doubt about this as all please do get in touch with meand i can put you in touch with a few until reality dawns.

        • Rebecca Hanson
          Posted August 3, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          Having said that i’m hearing through all sorts of sources that the new breed of civil servants in education do have to be expert at firing people who are critical of the views of the SoS even in a mild and gently humorous way. And of course the old ignorant and self interested lot need to be discredited, ostracised and financially compromised by finding that their invoices for work alredy carried out are not paid. But soon we wont need civil servants with even this level of skill as all those who show signs of being able to think or not be sufficiently brutal can be culled just before they’ve been employed for 24 months using another of this government’s simple rules.

          As ever, anyone feeling they need to hear the evidence to believe what i’m saying is warmly invited to get in touch.

          • waramess
            Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            Rebecca, I have seeen this sort of tactic used very successfully in business.
            The idea is to geet rid of the “experts” who have very fixed ideas and often very hidden agenda and to replace them with people who have relatively few fixed ideas and little time to establish hidden agenda.
            New broom and all that which upsets a lot of people and it takes a tough boss to see it through.
            In the end there are significant benefits, not the least of which is that the end result is not a predictable one

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            Waramess i would advise any business leader considerining such a strategy to evaluate their hr asset base before cimpletely removing it on the advice of someone who has a massive business interest in seeing that asset removed as well as the media control to falsely represent that hr asset as being ignorant and self interested. But then the comp
            arison really falls apart before it’s even begun, doesn’t it – because who on earth would appoint Mr Gove to run a business?

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

            Apologies for the typos – I’m back on my keyboard now.

        • backofanenvelope
          Posted August 3, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          And where have these “blindingly bright and brilliant” people got us to? The government, parliament and media are stuffed with people who went to private schools. It seems that about a third of our olympic team are also from private schools.

          To those of us who are not “bb & b” the solution seems obvious. Nationalise private schools or scrap the state sector. Mr Gove seems to have chosen to reform the state sector, with little help from your “bb&b” people.

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

            Some are just gone from the system – retired. Others have scrambled back in to academia, running PGCE courses and education departments and so on – but of course these position are hard to get as these course are being so rapidly contracted.

            Others have gone back to their roots and are working in the schools and areas where they are still known and respected.

            Many of them have linkedin profiles and there is some high quality discussion going on in some of the linkedin forums.

            I agree with your comment that Mr Gove is reforming the state education all on his own. Why the heck anyone in their right mind this the application of anarchic libertarianism to education to state education is a good thing is completely beyond me. Perhaps you could explain you thing anarchic libertarinism which contradicts the advice of everyone with is a wise way forward and is favourable to pragmatic liberalism backofanenvelope?

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 4, 2012 at 1:24 am | Permalink

      It would be nice if I found some evidence that you don’t believe the world stops at the white cliffs of Dover. What about your talented civil servants?

      There are research papers that compare educational achievement in South Korea and the USA. South Korea has class sizes of 36 and upwards. USA schools typically have class sizes between 22 and 25 (UK is similar). South Korea’s average achievement in mathematics exceeds that in the USA by a considerable margin. What other difference is there? South Korean children do 10 hours more homework each week; that might explain it.

      Of course, if children in the UK did 10 hours more homework each week, their teachers would have to find the time to mark it. Therein may lie the problem.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted August 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Of course they understand international evidence. That’s the problem. They actually understand it. Therefore they can’t pretend what Michael Gove is saying actually makes sense. Therefore they are a threat and have to go.

        If you find my linkedin profile and follow the link to my maths education blog you’ll begin to have some insight into what it is to understand the international evidence and these guys always did that far better than I do. Civil servants now have to ‘know’ that the international evidence says whatever Gove wants it today. Understanding it is a barrier to having a job.

        So for example in maths education the evidence from China shows that structural and axiomatic teaching on maths is essential (see for example ‘Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics’ by LiPing Ma while the evidence from the other top achieving country, Finland, indicates the child centred approach with formal education starting at 7 delivers outstanding results. Michael Gove is ‘using this evidence’ to’ justify’ a new national primary curriculum with a huge amount of rote learning (not structural or axiomatic learning) at KS1 (< age 7). There are many more examples like this Lindsay. As I said – if you think i'm not telling the truth just request to link on linkedin and we can chat and I can send you the links to what ever evidence you need to properly being to understand quite how ludicrous Gove's thinking is.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

          You haven’t addressed the core point in my blog, that doing a significant of extra homework achieves a better outcome than smaller class sizes, all other things being equal.

          Nor is Gove’s central idea being addressed. We need to make academic exams more difficult so that employers can sort out the sheep from the goats. It’s quite ludicrous to have the same exam to cater for geniuses and ‘duffers’. It was a Conservative, Sir Keith Joseph, who was responsible for this and it’s the worst day’s work he ever did.

          You will be aware that a large vocabulary goes with intellectual ability. If you put difficult questions in exam papers the poor ‘duffers’ would not even be able to understand them, let alone answer them. People with vocational abilities who are not academically bright should have separate exams to test those abilities.

          Another reform: the exam marks and the course work marks should both be published so that employers can weight them and not the educational establishment. In some jobs, a lazy genius is what is needed. In others, a good plodder who ‘works well at an average level’ is what is needed. It should be an employer’s decision, based on full information.

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted August 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

            It is debatable whether we need to make exams more difficult or not. There are clear and coherent arguments that we need more urgently to develop the personal skills of students – in particular their ability to apply their knowledge and think through practical problems.

            I would be concerned about making exams more difficult if doing so would make this issue worse but would support moves to make exams more difficult if the increased difficulty included aspects such as synoptic and applied questions or other strategies which clearly respond to the most pressing issues we face.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 7, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

            And your comments on extra homework vs class sizes?
            And your comments on supplying exam marks and course work marks separately so that employers can judge?

            “……….. but would support moves to make exams more difficult if the increased difficuly included aspects such as synoptic and applied questions or other strategies ……………”

            But these aspects are likely to be in a political area. Let’s take two hypothetical examples:
            Q1 How important is it to reduce the UK’s annual public sector deficit rapidly?
            Q2 There may be causes of climate change but it will probably be cheaper to let symptoms develop and deal with the problems rather than pay for expensive preventative measures that may not work. Discuss.

            Q1 would be marked differently by Ed Balls and John Redwood (let alone me). Q2 would be marked differently by Lord Lawson and just about any LibDem.

            It’s actually happened. My wife took a course in French and German with economics at the Central London Polytechic in the seventies. If you trotted out the standard dirigiste pro-European gobbledygook that the Lecturer taught, you got good marks for economics. If you didn’t, you didn’t. Seemple!

            And please don’t tell me that civil servants and teachers would be neutral and attention only to the quality of the arguement. I simply wouldn’t believe you.

  34. Richard
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Agree with all your 5 points Mr Redwood, my only additional one would be to try to change Government budgeting rules which currently encourage overspending.
    So Number 6:-
    Any overspend will come out of the Department budget for the following year and will not be made up by the Treasury, but any budget underspends by the Department can be kept.

  35. Barbara
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    The pr0blem the Conservative party have is that it is slowly disintergrating. They have lower members, no activists, and ignore the main stream voters wants. Who can not understand why they in such dire straits. Whatever, MPs shout about, nothing will change, for many are to lazy to realise the danger the EU represents for this country. We have the few die hards who speak out loud and clear, but they are voices in the wilderness. I shall vote UKIP and hope many do the same thing. All need a good kick up the back side to make them realise what’s going on, and the anger what we the working lot suffer with their mistakes.

  36. outsider
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    You are right. Simple rules are best because they should be harder to avoid or fudge. But I have two queries.
    Rule 3) If the one-for one rule on regulations includes unavoidable EU ones, surely this would just mean that only UK-specific regulations are axed, more of which people actually wanted in the first place. Great if the EU applied your simple rule – one for a re-negotiation perhaps.
    Rule 4) Is it not far more important to cut tax rates than to abolish taxes? Axing, say, air passenger duty but raising petrol duty or stamp duty by the same amount would cause more economic distortion, not less.

  37. John Orchard
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    As 80% of our laws are dictated by the Eu why do we need so many MP’s. I know boundary changes are in the offing which will see 60 or so going but in local Government they have a Cabinet system apart from other Councillors why for example should Croydon a London Borough have three MP’s. It costs over one and a half million pound each year for the Coucillors and who knows for the three MP’s. Surely the Councillors should be doing more work and lose a couple of MP’s.

  38. Martyn
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Interesting blog comments – if we focus on those elements discussing the poor/uncaring/discouraged/lied to voters, what would happen if it were to be made a statutory duty of all people of voting age to vote?

    Heavy fines, of course, being used to beat those who fail to comply!

  39. Chris
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    I think option 5 would be most unwise and set a dangerous precedent. By removing our own administration and accepting the EU administration in that particular field demonstrates open acceptance and approval. That is not the direction we should be going. We should be strengthening our own administration and taking great care not to goldplate EU Directives by ever strengthening the mechanisms to do this. I am really concerned by this suggestion as to me it demonstrates to me again that there is a resignation within the Tory party to accept the status quo, something that so many in the electorate are trying hard to counter. We do not have the luxury of an election at the moment, so we have to resort to writing to MPs and the blogosphere. When the Conservatives lose in 2015, or earlier, which I greatly fear they will do if David Cameron and his europhile policies are still in place, the Party may eventually wake up, but the damage wrought to the Party before then may well be terminal. I feel this is is an absolute tragedy, and so avoidable. If only the Party listened to grassroots and took a very bold stand with regard to the EU and abandoned the crusade to get rid of the “nasty party” image, then it would stand a good chance of being in government next time.

  40. Bazman
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    We will be needing your contribution to funny right wing comedians DM.

  41. Max Dunbar
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood could start with the regional governments in Scotland and Wales. Glaring examples of duplication and waste. Would he like to scrap these institutions? He would have very little to lose by saying so.
    Scotland is rapidly heading towards being a totalitarian socialist state. The evidence is there to see and the political establishment of “modern” Scotland is determined to stamp out conservative thought and freedom of expression here. The main driver appears to be the Greens/SNP/SSP alliance.

  42. David Langley
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Just moving the chairs wont do it John. Its easy to see why Politicians dont really make good business men. You are too far away from the profit motive.
    Points to comment on.
    Job vacancies should be offered to those best placed to add value to the role and job description. Not a sinecure once you are in. Get rid of the slackers and jobsworths by all means.
    Departments and quangos should be culled when they are no longer adding value. They can have a skyscraper if they are outperforming by profit standards.
    All regulations should be culled when they are not adding value and they require public funding to enforce.
    To comment on budgets is impossible without a clear understanding of commitments. However if no value is added then lets take a scythe to them and when the pain is killing the patient leak money in.
    EU must go in its present form, the speed you lot are moving, it will be dead anyway before you pull your fingers out and then no doubt you will praise the governments performance and masterful position in hanging back. To keep things comradely no doubt.
    I believe in local government, National government should have a light touch and remain dealing with National interests. You have no real power to move things along locally and I wish my MP would have more guts to do the above rather than worry about weekly bin collections.
    Thats my view anyway but who am I, just another UKIP voter.

  43. Martin
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Re Point 1 – I’d like public sector to hire people who are out of work. If the the salaries were say 25% less than the private sector it would help move people into the private sector from the public sector and the vacancies could be used to reducing the numbers out of work.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      How will you decide the salaries for MPs, councillors, the police, judges, and fire fighters how have no private sector equivalent?

      • Richard
        Posted August 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Put an advert in the paper at lower than current salary rates and see if any decent candidates apply.
        If there are no takers then you are right.
        With some of the salaries and conditions offered in the public sector I think you would get a queue round the corner of capable applicants.

  44. waramess
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    “We are chronically overgoverned.” Of course you are right but not necessarily to the extent you say. Redistribution of money to the regions, planning, Defra activities, overseas aid, NHS and state education are all examples of overgovernment and all entirely unnecessary.

    Of course there are arguments for the “overgovernment” and the socialists make them very successfully but that does not make them right; simply successfull in winning the argument.

    The entire system has now drifted to the left with even the so called right wingers providing grist to the socialist mill.

    There is little point in complaining about relative overgovernment because one mans overgovernment is anothers ample government and the argument then gets submerged in the detail.

    Only answer then is to start arguing for the dismantling of the structure of government just to show you mean business and putting up some sound arguments for the alternative free market solution.

    Or is all that just old fashioned nonsense?

  45. iain gill
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Massive mistake to hire mainly ex public sector folk onto a big public sector project it always leads to failure

  • About John Redwood

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

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