The State – friend or foe?


           UK and US politics is increasingly polarised between those who see the state as a threat and those who see it as a lifeline or ally. This week I want to explore why some people think the state is the answer to most of their problems, and why some think more or less anything the state does is harmful to their interests or undertaken for cynical reasons.

            In the Commons a majority of MPs are optimists about state activity. They tend to the view that the state is there to right wrongs, create  greater  equality, provide important  services and look after people. They therefore tend to like more state activity rather than less, and regularly support governments which like to raise spending and take on more tasks for people. In every year I have been in the Commons so far state current spending has gone up in cash terms, and usually has gone up in real terms as well.

             Those who see the state as a friend say that it is thanks to the state that people with little or no income have money to spend, that everyone gets access to health care regardless of means, that we are kept safe in our communities thanks to the plolice and criminal justice system, we are provided with free schooling, pensioners recieve a range of additional benefits, and money is taken from the rich to help pay for it all so there is greater equality.

           They often go further, and see private sector companies as potential exploiters or  bullies. In their view  the state has to tax, regulate and check them to stop them abusing their customers, employees and local environments. Only the state can make people and companies respond to the threat of global warming, the dangers of unregulated motoring, and much else which defenders of the state fret about.

           I will look at just how frustrated the advocates of freedom and free enterprise are by the ever growing modern state tomorrow. They respond to these arguments for a larger and more powerful state by pointing out the large gap that often opens up between the aims of the state actions, and the outcomes.  When the state took over large industries with a view to running them in the better interests of the customers and employees, they found instead that nationalised industries topped the lists for sacking people, losing business, and putting up prices. The more the state tries to tax people into equality, the more the rich go offshore or hire better accountants to avoid the taxes the state seeks to impose. Inequality rose under Labour despite all their efforts to bring it down. With the demise of grammar schools in most parts of England, the gifted child from a low income household now finds it more difficult to advance than previous generations who had access to selective schools as the rich continue to enjoy. The more money that is put into the less successful parts of the country, the less successful they remain. All my time in Parliament has had a similar list of places that need special treatment.

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  1. James Munro
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Interesting article Mr Redwood. Conservatives have stopped talking about freedom from the overburdening state. It now appears easier to roll out its frontiers. We live in a time where every issue a d e wry person claims special case status. Our expectations are that somebody ‘ must do something’ . Good luck to you.

    • Single Acts
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Might I suggest the abolition of the ministry of culture and the ministry of overseas aid?

      Those who wish to support either famine relief, development projects or certain athletes can do so by direct subscription. The state plays no useful role here. It merely spends money on itself and encourages rent seeking.

      Seriously, can we not abolish these departments then everyone can do as they please and everyone would be happy (except those who like to coerce money out of people and play the great Panjandrum to people seeking largesse of course).

      • APL
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “Might I suggest the abolition of the ministry of culture and the ministry of overseas aid?”

        Might I add, abolish the department for the destruction of trade and industry too.

        JR: “The State – friend or foe?”

        I’d say, it depends. Largely on the size of the state. But other considerations should be taken into account too.

        • APL
          Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          Recognising the success of it’s brief the DTI has changed its name to the “Department for Business Innovation & Skills”.

          Presumably following on from the success of eradicating trade and industry in the UK, this government department will do its best to stamp out innovation and Skills next.

          The thought of it – a government department, skillful and innovative, let alone being able to recognize the same. It is just so funny.

      • rd
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        I’d like to see the overseas aid budget used to support British business’s that invest abroad, particularly in resources. As they are investing abroad, where the raw materials are, the foreign nation gets ‘aid’ – real aid in terms of jobs etc. If the British taxpayer has a stake in such ventures the tax payer stands to profit and as more resources are produced the real price falls.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          What happens if a UK company has operations abroad but the majority of its staff are UK citizens, rather than the local population? An example would be a mine that mainly used UK citizens rather than training local people.

      • REPay
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Good idea – 50% tax relief up to 10k for donations to charities – let them be regulated by standards agencies not the state.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Up to about 20% of GDP defence, law and order , property rights and a few other things it is clearly the friend. At Cameron/Brown levels pushing 50% most of it is the enemy of the people. Especially when so much is spent on transfers to the feckless, daft religions like the renewable one and HS2 types of nonsense.

        It is alas inherent in the system that Socialists will try to buy votes with other people’s taxes and pay people to do nothing useful. No good comes of it. Even the recipients always think it is not enough.

      • Jon
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        Interesting and quite now, the idea of deconstructing the outward identity of a nation. A Facebook, Twitter influenced action which has to be said has a footprint. On the other hand the collective action of a democratic country brings influence and identity and the resulting collective defence of that identity.

        I’m not defending the UK’s current political aid spend but the concept of collective action on behalf of a democratic country to further its influence and the resulting ability to foster a defence of its identity through that same collective action.

        By deconstructing collective state action do you let in the EU Globalists through the back door?

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      No the Tory party have not. Last April the Tory led Coalition gave welfare lifers a 5.2% pay rise. More than any striver, worker squeezed middle employed person.

      Lib Dems and Labour fought to oppose a £26,000 cap on welfare (Net figure. No tax or NI to pay, so it is worth much more). In contrast the Tory led coalition are reducing the pay, savings and pensions of many people hard working people. For example, the Tories (Teresa May and the WIndsor report) think it is perfectly satisfactory to reduce the pay of police officers, by £4,000. Why would anyone want to be a police officer on £19,000 and pay tax and NI when a welfare lifer can get much more (about £12,000 and a free house) by doing nothing?

      Why does the Tory led coalition think young people will strive to achieve when all obstacles are placed in their way by the Tory led coalition? It does not pay to work hard at school, to do so is to be given less of a chance to go to the best universities? Why go to university and get a life time of debt when Lib Dem MPs like Menzies Campbell (also chancellor of a university) awards degrees to EU students who do not pay any tuition fees while their English counter parts in the same queue to receive a degree from Menzies Campbell do? Additionally, a further insult based on the hypocrisy by the Lib Dems position before the last election that they would resist any attempt to increase fees and it would take a parliament to abolish them altogether because of the economic mess! We read in the paper today an EU migrant on welfare for 11 years with three children one of whom is also on welfare, under the headline soft touch.

      I recommend everyone read Richard North’s blog about the EU. It is apparent the false narratives being created about the likes of Norway (Cameron is either badly advised or misleading the public). They have more say as an independent country at the world table than the UK does about car manufacturing even though the UK sells 1.58 million cars abroad and it does not. The EU gets one vote the same as Norway. The UK view is hidden as one of the 27 in the EU and with QMV is a voice that will never be heard at the often quoted “top table”. The EU bureaucratic big state decision making will suffocate the competitiveness from all European nations. Stay in the EU and big state will get worse.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        The 5.2% benefit increase was a 0% increase in real terms because inflation was at 5.2%. Also this did benefit strivers, many of whom do claim benefits.

        The £26,000 cap on welfare was opposed because it would punish strivers in low paid jobs in high cost areas (such as cleaners in Chelsea).

        EU students do pay tuition fees, which is why the trebling of tuition fees reduced the number of EU students in the UK.

        Norway’s say on the world stage is minor, which is why Richard North can’t find any laws or policies created by Norway. Even if the UK left the EU it would still be one country that could be outvoted by all the others at the “top table”.

        Given the success of the Germany economy it’s clear that the EU isn’t suffocating competitiveness. But don’t let facts get in the way of your rant.

    • Bob
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      From Douglas Carswell’s blog:

      From global greatness to backwater

      This weekend, I almost finished reading John Julian Norwich’s masterful History of Venice.

      It tells the story of how a small island nation, with a tradition of independence and dispersed political power, rises to greatness. Little more than a mud bank off the coast of Italy, she grows rich through trade and by making things.

      Then gradually a self-serving oligarchy takes over. Power is centralised.

      Commerce and trade are regulated and nationalised. Those who produce wealth must seek the permission of a parasitic elite. Attempts at reform are defeated by a lazy assumption that things were always done a certain way. A once mighty navy dwindles into nothingness.

      Sound familiar? The need for political reform is urgent.


      • uanime5
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Well it’s clear that Douglas Carswell doesn’t know a thing about Venice.

        Firstly Venice, like most of northern Italy, benefited from the wealth of the Roman Empire. Thus is started out in one of the more prosperous places in the world.

        Secondly it became rich through the trade monopolies it had between Europe and Levant. They also controlled a large number of ports and islands to tighten their grip on trade. Finally they often when to war with other city states to preserve their trade routes.

        Thirdly political power wasn’t dispersed, it was held by the Doge. Though he was elected by the Council of Ten, who were elected by the Great Council, which was composed of the wealthy. So at the height of Venice’s power it was ruled by a centralised plutocracy.

        Fourthly it declined because the Ottoman Empire conquered large parts of their trade empire and Portuguese trade routes with India made it possible to get foreign good from somewhere other than Levant. The resurgences of the bubonic plague and the invasions of Italy by France and Spain also weakened it.

        Fifthly centralisation has always strengthened countries, not weakened them. Also regulation of trade doesn’t stop people from trading.

        In conclusion Douglas Carswell has no idea why Venice rose or fell, so he invented a bunch of reasons which are easily shown as nonsense when compared to the actual historical evidence.

  2. colliemum
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Generally, ideologies blinds those who cling to them to what is actually happens.
    Your description of the beliefs held by those who see the state as friend shows this in exemplary fashion – especially that we’re kept safe thanks to the police, which many people unfortunately know not to be the case any longer.
    In the end it is not simply about the money taken from most, if not all (VAT) in the form of taxation, it is about the patronising attitude of politicians who institute programmes distributing ‘largesse’ which is of course not their own, to tell us what we must do or who we must be to receive these ‘helpings’ of other people’s money.
    It is about the fact that politicians, driven by the prevailing assumption that people generally are stupid, and wouldn’t be able to tie their own shoelaces if not told by them and by government how to do it properly, are actually in love with this self-perceived role.
    It is not by chance that the most egregious representatives of this attitude are the female Labour politicians!
    Add to this that it is human nature to make one’s life as easy as possible, that ‘free stuff’ is always more agreeable than having to work for stuff, and that a benefit once received is quickly seen a right – and any politician who advocates freedom to work and keep most of what that work earns will lose in an election.
    Seeing how hard the ‘benevolence of the state’ has made it for people to stand on their own feet, especially when so much of their hard-earned money is taken away to ‘help’ more and more of the allegedly poor, it cannot be surprising that there will come a time where even the most rugged individualists ask if their effort is actually worth it.

    Sorry about the glum thoughts – blame it on the icy cold weather …

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      any politician who advocates freedom to work and keep most of what that work earns will lose in an election.

      That’s because of three reasons:

      1) Those who work for a low income receive more from the state than they pay in taxes, so this won’t benefit them.

      2) Those who work for a high income receive less from the state than they pay in taxes, so this will benefit them.

      3) Group 1 is many times larger than group 2, so any politicians who tries to appeal only to group 2 will not get enough votes to be elected.

      But that’s what happens in a country where benefits are used to maintain low wages.

      • APL
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        uanime5: ” But that’s what happens in a country where benefits are used to maintain low wages. ”

        So, you sound like you approve of low wages?

        Wouldn’t it be better if we had a skilled workforce that could demand and expect higher wages of which they keep 90% but don’t need handouts from the state?

        • uanime5
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          I don’t approve of low wages, however they are a by product of capitalism and a drive to greater profitability.

          Your idea won’t work unless the unskilled workforce can demand and expect higher wages (if they can’t then they’ll still need benefits). I believe that unions are very productive in this area, perhaps they should be encouraged.

          • Edward
            Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

            Why are wages so low in Cuba and North Korea and were always very low in China and USSR?
            Just to name a few states claiming they are workers paradises.
            Its not just capitalism that has low wage economies.
            And before you have a rant I do know the difference between socialism and communism.
            Its all in the different standards of the gulags

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Fortunately some people vote for what is right rather than what is in their personal interests. Many unemployed know full well the system is absurd.

        You are right however that democracy has the inherent problem that one group can gang up on and rob a rich minority. It rarely benefits them but benefits a few over paid in the state sector. This particularly happens in Labour run councils, only kept partly in check by central government restrictions on the levels of (taxing and charging-ed) they can get away with.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

          You’ve clearly never spoken to anyone who is unemployed. If you had they’d tell you that the system barely pays them enough to live on.

    • David
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:05 am | Permalink

      Very well put!

  3. Nina Andreeva
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    There is nothing wrong with the state, under normal conditions it keeps out of the country people that we do not think will make a useful contribution and keeps those that do not want to behave themselves under control. It also provides useful services such as health, education etc.

    The problem that we have at the moment are the people who are in control of it. On the Conservative and Liberal side we have the trust fund kids who are presumably doing politics at the moment because it helps pass the day. While on the Labour side, for those of us who went to a state school you have the worst stereotypes of those who got into Oxford on a scholarship i.e. never to study a hard subject like maths or the sciences its always arts or a social science, they were never good at sport etc . Out in the real world they cannot function practically (Ed Milliband) and as for their superior intellectual skills they are questionable too when they come up with unintelligible baloney like Balls’s “post-neoclassical endogenous growth theory”

    • zorro
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      ‘Under normal conditions’ being very much the operative phrase…….Over the last 10 years certainly and more the state has been pretty hopeless at controlling immigration. The main reason being that the CEOs in charge of the successor organisations of UK Immigration Service and HM C&E have systematically destroyed the effectiveness of these organisations, often getting rid of things that worked in pursuit of some new untried ‘solution’ which is ditched two years later. They have got rid of experienced operatives and introduced never ending change to disorientate employees from what their main task should be. It is no coincidence that these ‘senior managers’ had no experience whatsoever in these relative fields and have often come from local government backgrounds. But, of course, they do all have a Common Purpose….


    • Jon
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Brown was one for coming up with ridiculous and pious phrases also. Its a tactic to used to cover a non rational logic thinking. An astro physicist can explain in relatively simple terms what a theory is or what happened to a star, just like all the other professions. When it doesn’t make sense you get these bizarre phrases to deflect the reality that it doesn’t make sense.

      Jon Denham describes his thinking as an parallel pluralist and an abstract democrat. Of course its too complex for him to explain what it means to mere mortals or perhaps to us mortals, he can’t reconcile his view with logic and so comes up with a fantasy ideology to wish all the awkward questions away.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      The certainly seems to be a lot of “clever” young lawyers around often being charged out by the big firms at £300 per hour +yet they seem to lack so much in the way of common sense or basic commercial judgement. Perhaps just good at memory and exams I suppose. Also good at trotting out phrases like “this is a very notty problem” or “it is very hard to say how the judge might view this case on the one hand …………”.

      It all seems a bit of a racket to me. Especially when top Cambridge engineers in engineering only seem to start on only about £35K and are far more use. Excellent ones in India and China far cheaper too.

  4. Steve Cox
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    It should be clear by now that the Western ideal of the beneficent and magnanimous state is unaffordable and so finished. It’s only a matter of time before it collapses under the weight of its own inefficiency and greed. In Britain I see this happening quite soon, probably as the result of an inflationary avalanche caused by QE and other extreme (and extremely stupid) measures introduced by the next Governor of the BoE. When such events have wrecked countries in the past, they have been able to recover in time because their problems were isolated. But now Europe is in an even worse mess in many ways with an unaffordable social model, and the US is rapidly heading down the same path. China and the other developing nations will not be able to bail us out of the coming disaster, and to be fair why should they? Why should a country with a virtually non-existent social welfare system pay to help a raft of once-rich countries that have ruined themselves by being unaffordably generous to their citizens? We are heading for a very different world, and most of us are not going to feel very comfortable in it.

    • P O Taxpayer
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      It will be the 21st century version of “the fall of the Roman Empire” and Europe will become the basket case of the World. The European and US economies have become unsustainable in their present form and one day the people lending the money will say – No More!

      Many Politicians would appear to be afraid to tell the truth to the electorate because there are votes to be lost. So we have the nonsense that people like Clegg, Milliband and Balls spew out to give the impression that there are other ways to cut the overspend and borrowing without any pain.

      Those of us who run businesses know that if we make a loss we either sustain the business by tapping into reserves, selling assets or borrowing. When all of those options have been exhausted we probably go bust.

      When the crash finally comes in Europe it is going to be horrendous and a return to the dark ages.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      It hasn’t collapsed in any of the Scandinavian countries and is unlikely to do so.

      The problems in the UK don’t stem from giving welfare to the poorest in society but due to poor leadership in the government and some major companies.

      • Auror
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Depends what you mean by collapsed. Sweden has reformed considerably in terms of expenditure and taxation over the last 20 years (not just in the post-’08 period). The direction has been towards less taxation and spending. That does not sound like they are clinging to a welfare-oriented model, and it doesn’t suggest that further reform wont happen either.

        Now its certainly true that spending as a proportion of GDP in Sweden is higher, but its at 51.2% there vs 48.6% here in the UK. And Germany is lower still than the UK (by a bit at least). On this basis its hard to conclude that we aren’t throwing enough money at the problem. I would certainly agree that there are problems in leadership, but I think the differences between the UK and Sweden actually highlight the problems that Steve pointed out, namely inefficiency and poor spending by the State, and this is a bigger problem than any flaws in leadership.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Steve Cox.

      I read this today. Says a lot of what you are saying and much more besides.

  5. Ian Hills
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Blanket grant-aid doesn’t just leave depressed areas as they are, in worsens local inflation. Dearer properties get dearer as the bureaucratic elite find that they can afford better homes and offices. Moreover the discretion they exercise in passing grants on to other organisations is an open invitation to corruption.

    You will remember the Major government’s brownfield reclamation grants, as you were a member of that administration. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall that Commissar Monti banned them because they worked – they were giving UK manufacturing an “unfair advantage” by helping to revive it. (It’s nice to know that Monti is now as despised in Italy as he was in Britain).

    Once out of the EU I think such grants should be reinstated. But a land value tax would also help, by forcing commercial property speculators like Mike Nattrass MEP – who pushed zero rating on empty properties into the UKIP manifesto – to redevelop. The resulting glut would make rents more affordable for new, expanding and relocating businesses in the depressed areas.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Yep ,

      I am torn over the issue of private ownership of land .

      Ownership of land is essentially a right of conquest . Someone got their first and put a fence around it or staked it out , or they bought it off the person who did or they threw them off it .

      Whilst property is man made , man didn’t make the land . Mineral rights are communally owned , part of me thinks that surface rights should be too with a land value tax levies for the right to exclusive use part of the commons .

      The other part of me is concerned that the state couldn’t be trusted to administrate this because the state is currently the only game in town .

      Seems like we need a national organisation independent from the state , a national wealth fund to own UK assets with elected trustees beyond the reach of politicians of the day and council of the day which unlike MP’s and councils will not be tempted to flog off public assets (usually at the bottom of the market) to fund current spending .

      The national trust would not be a good example of such an organisation .

    • Jon
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      I seem to remember an area in South Wales being given advantageous sweeteners to new companies to set up. My vague memory was that for a time it was successful and vibrant for some time. That is what is needed now. I suspect at first glance it would fall foul of an EU directive. I also suspect a good lawyer and accountant could put the appropriate pegs in the right holes.

  6. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    We all want a good State. We need Police, a successful Defence, fair and uncorrupt Law Courts and Her Majesty the Queen as our ruler.

    What has gone so terribly wrong is the distance between the government’s decisions and us, the plebs.
    Mr Cameron sits in Downing Street (according to Steve Hilton who should know) signing off EU directives and listening to his team. He very rarely goes into the tea rooms and has a pleasant chat. The local Conservative parties are in full decay with membership dropping off like snow in a thaw. The Cabinet (Daily Telegraph) is informed of “No 10” decisions only hours before they are implemented. Major announcements (the EU speech) are arbitrarily done in Bruges not, of course, in Parliament where they face opposition and discussion.
    Even when the decisions are made, they are craftily watered down by the Civil Service which is so huge it is frankly out of control anyway. I know this through bitter experience with Free Schools. But Mr Andrew Lansley and Michael Gove and IDS probably know it even better than I do.
    Finally, unless you are clubbable, you are dumped. David Davis went first. The Labour Party were totally right about Tory Toffs in their pre election publicity.

    This government is right out of touch with us, with life, with the world we live in, sitting in a little bubble of incomprehension. And that (ask the Algerian hostages’ families) is terribly dangerous.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Free schools (schools without qualified teachers) failed because parents didn’t want them, they wanted more investment in the existing schools. It’s not the Civil Services fault that politician’s pet projects aren’t popular.

    • REPay
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      I am afraid that in the style of government Mr. Cameron is truly heir to Blair. Leaks and a concern with presentation seem to trump substance. Unfortunately, Mr Blair was much better at PR.

  7. Andyvan
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    How can the state be a friend when it is entirely based on coercion? Is a gangster that takes your money at the point of a gun your friend because he gives some of it back as bribes? The state is not your friend ever. It sucks in wealth and spits out dependency. Every interference, regulation or pound spent by a bureaucrat is an attack on liberty and prosperity. The free market cannot make you buy a product, it cannot take your money, it cannot use force. What statists don’t see is that when a private company gains unfair advantage over somebody it is because of the state and it’s laws and manufactured monopolies.
    The state is force and violence masquerading as a protector and people have been so brainwashed that they suffer from Stockholm Syndrome and are unable to see that they are prisoners and victims of it.
    Once you begin to question the nature of government you start to see what it really is.

    • Single Acts
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Very nicely said.

    • Gary
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Excellent. I quoted Bastiat and Mencken on the state, but you said it even better.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Given the choice between the Victorian state you’re promoting with it’s lack of welfare, education, healthcare, and high levels of crime; and the modern state with welfare, education, healthcare, and lower levels of crime the latter is far better.

      The free market is a monster that rewards the greedy by taking from everyone else. The 1929 stock market crash even shows that the free market is a danger to itself. A fettered free state means sustainable growth, rather than the boom and bust favoured by neoconservatives.

      Finally you’ve ignored that the one thing that prevents monopolies and cartels is the state. Nothing else has the power to defeat them.

    • zorro
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      As the saying goes, the government takes 50%, and the mafia 10%…..but at least the mafia can provide effective protection.


      • zorro
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        I see that Cameron fancies launching another ‘quest’ into North Africa….I wonder what mineral deposits lie there….. Pity these African countries. It’s funny how these ‘Islamist rebels’ always turn up in certain places where the West fancies a bit of strategic chess…..Oh well, we can print some more money.


        • forthurst
          Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          “we can print some more money”

          No, that’s the job of the private secret Fed. There’s a simple choice on offer: “hand over your resources for bits of paper produced by a crime syndicate and sold the American peole, or we will give you destabilisation, destruction and death for free.”

          • APL
            Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

            forthurst: “or we will give you destabilisation, destruction and death for free.”

            That may be the options, but I don’t think tptb nor/or the banking cartel want that scenario, they won’t benefit from it as we saw in Egypt.

            They are simply perusing the free stuff agenda because in the short term it is the least onerous alternative.

          • zorro
            Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            Indeed, no chance of them using debt free money……but APH, there’s lots of nice gold and minerals in Africa……


        • zorro
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink
    • R.T.G.
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Andyvan, at first sight, state and people seem to have a symbiotic relationship – the people pay for protection from external invaders, internal ne’er do wells, ill health and ignorance, and the state maintains the comfortable status quo.

      The problem arises when, as it always will, the state with all its powers becomes less symbiotic and more hubristic and parasitic.

      In previous times, wiser heads realised the necessity of all those inconvenient and boring checks and balances. And, always, erstwhile empires tossed them aside.

      When the people pay more than half of what they earn in taxes, they cross into servitude, and, regrettably, there can never be a comfortable retreat from that bind.

  8. iain gill
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    free schooling?

    state schools cost me a fortune

    • Bob
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      “The more money that is put into the less successful parts of the country, the less successful they remain. “

      May I suggest you replace “country” with “world”?

    • Timaction
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Until we are unable to move on our roads, or build anymore houses the Government will do nothing about mass migration and its accompanying costs. We just got to love the diversity imposed on our health, housing, education and other public services. Little has been done about non EU immigration and NOTHING about the EU, so expect a couple more million starting next year from you know where. You couldn’t make up the incompetence of successive Governments, it has to be deliberate. If we want more of the same, keep voting LibLabCON, or we could be radical and vote for the common sense party who cares about the indigenous population above foreigners!
      Can’t wait for the big speach about the non referendum that won’t occur until after the next election, when it can’t, as the Tories won’t be in power!

      • zorro
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        It clearly is deliberate…elites planning to make slaves of you all.


      • bigneil
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        at last – – think i have found a lost twin in timaction – -i too believe that all the “screw ups” done by governments – -any party – is deliberate – -we simply cannot have this many successive idiots in charge by sheer chance – -the worst in my opinion was a certain mr blair – signing of the human rights act – -what a joke – (dislikes certain foreigners coming here and committing crimes-ed)
        the human rights farce has cost us a fortune – -(personal attacks on the Blairs-ed)
        and what have MPs done recently – get caught on expenses claims – -then tax evasion – -so their reaction is to go for a big pay award to counteract being caught – –

        as we now have the worlds highest concentration of cctv per person – also an order on the basis of terrorism for every email and text to be recorded -and an apparent complete government of people who are totally financially self obsessed – -would we actually be better off in the old version of russia??

        also believe that the MPs dont want to be out of the EU – they are ALL hoping to get a “superjob” in the united states of europe parliament. – –

        nose and trough spring to mind

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Actually I think it is the other way round. Private schools cost the country a fortune – they are socially and unnecessarily divisive, and all that skill energy and talent in the private school sector would be hugely beneficial in the state sector. Likewise the private sector could learn a thing or two from the state sector.

      Having experienced both (see my post below) having two sectors is a tragedy for the country – not least because they are so removed from each other. Never the twain shall meet – and the country loses out enormously.

  9. Lord Blagger
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    And yet, even you, an advocate of a smaller state refuse to tell us just how large the liabilities are for the state pensions.

    You made a promise, you would get the treasury to publish the full numbers.

    When asked you said, we’ve published them, but refuse to tell us where the numbers are. Apparently its “not the way it works”

    You’ve not able either to tell us the way it works.

    Let me tell you how it works, and you can contract any part for factual inaccuracy.

    1. You take money from us for a pension
    2. You refuse to acknowledge that you owe us money in return
    3. You spend the money.
    4. Now the sums owe are so large, you can’t admit to the debt, because people would find out that they are being defrauded. It’s too difficult politically for people in favour of the state to admit to harming people.
    5. How much harm? For a 26K a year (median wage earner), they have been defrauded to the extent of 430,000 pounds, so far.

    Why’s it fraud?

    Well, section 2, 2006 fraud act applies.

    1. You don’t publish a full set of accounts. That’s the first condition met.
    2. People made voluntary contributions.
    3. You cut the payouts. You accepted the money whilst you were planing on cuts.

    All the conditions for fraud by misrepresentation are met.

    Reply: I wrote a blog setting out all the figures.

    • Nicol Sinclair
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      Dear Mr Redwood,

      Please reset out the figures for those of us who may have missed them first time round…

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      In case you missed it here are the figures again from the ONS giving the headline figures for Government pension obligations as at end December 2010:

      · Social security pension schemes (i.e. unfunded state pension scheme obligations): £3.843 trillion, being 263 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) (£3.497 trillion at end of December 2009)

      · Centrally – administered unfunded pension schemes for public sector employees (i.e. unfunded public service pension scheme obligations): £852 billion, being 58 per cent of GDP (£915 billion at end of December 2009)

      · Funded DB pension schemes for which government is responsible: £313 billion, being 21 per cent of GDP (£332 billion at end of December 2009).

      In summary, the estimates in the new supplementary table indicate a total Government pension obligation, at the end of December 2010, of £5.01 trillion, or 342 per cent of GDP, of which around £4.7 trillion relates to unfunded obligations.

      IDS should have got a Bob Maxwell lookalike to launch his new flat rate pension the other week being that the chances of getting a payout at retirement from the state are just as slim as they were with him

      Reply: Thanks for reminding us – perhaps now we could have an apology for Lord Blagger constantly tell us this information is witheld.

      • Jon
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        Like the comment Nina.
        A few other stats, the private sector pensions industry has 147% of GDP funded. What Labour concentrate on is the net 2.7% of GDP being the cost of the tax relief but the UK financial services sector contributed 11% of GDP in tax receips. An overall gain of 8.3% (accepted thats Fin Sevs overall) plus funded private sector pensions taxed as earned income not included in that 2.7% figure.

        It provides investment to companies as well as sadly the buyers for our bonds we frequently peddle, a surplus to the taxpayer and a funded pension. Why does Labour but also Conservative MPs feel the need to hammer it.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Is it not the case that most politicians think that what is ours is theirs, that they can spend our money better than we can and that they think they can bribe us to vote for them? Currently the three main parties in Parliament are all minor variants of the tax and spend philosophy. Who in their right mind would want the state to run the supermarkets or food production? If the answer to that seems obvious, why on earth would you want the state to take your money and run anything? We now have more and more politicians interfering in our lives and with our liberties thanks to our membership of the EU. As Ronald Reagan said: ‘No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!’ We thought the Conservatives were offering a smaller state but that was merely an illusion.

    • REPay
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Gordon Brown regularly used to speak about letting people keep money…as though it was the state’s. This always went unchallenged on the BBC.

      • Dr Dan Holdsworth
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        This is an important cultural point: the Tories speak of the economy as being the total amount of wealth generated in the country, whereas the Labour party speak instead of the amount of money that the Government can get its hands on as being the economy.

        This is a very important viewpoint difference; Tories seem to see the government as less important than the country; Labourites think the government is the most important bit. This perhaps explains why economic troubles seem to follow Labour governments.

  11. Sidney Falco
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The closure of grammar schools is the perfect example of well meaning action leading to a detrimental outcome for the working class in this country.

    Yes, many secondary modern schools were bad.

    The answer was to rethink secondary moderns and not the closure of grammar schools.

    Social mobility has declined since the 1970s even though public policy – now advocated by all parties – was intended to increase social mobility.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes we need to do better for kids of all ability ranges, not just the great academically

      Secondary moderns were truly bad, but then many modern state schools are just as bad.

      In the old days a clever working class kid could escape through a grammar school or one of the better comprehensives that was originally a grammar and streamed the pupils well AND other working class kids could escape with access to brilliant apprentiships that really did create world leading talents and a route into the world of work but sadly their modern day equivalents are dumbed down extraordinarily.

      As a nation we prefer to import cheap labour from (overseas ed), there is no incentive for an employer to train a Brit when they can (invite in several overseas employees-ed) for the same price.


    • Bob
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      @Sidney Falco
      “The answer was to rethink secondary moderns and not the closure of grammar schools.”

      Also there should have been more effort to give a second or third chance to the kids that failed eleven+ by a whisker.

      It was the secondary moderns that were letting the kids down not the grammars.

    • REPay
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Equality demands levelling down, dressed in the rhetoric of opportunity.

  12. Gary
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    “All government, in its essence, is organized exploitation, and in virtually all of its existing forms it is the implacable enemy of every industrious and well-disposed man.”
    -H.L. Mencken

    “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”
    ― Frédéric Bastiat

    “But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”
    ― Frédéric Bastiat

    • Bob
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      “If you give the government power they will abuse it.”
       David Davis MP

      • Wonky Moral Compass
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

        “I need to say this – you shouldn’t trust any government, actually including this one. You should not trust government – full stop. The natural inclination of government is to hoard power and information; to accrue power to itself in the name of the public good.”
        Nick Clegg

        And seeing as it’s Orwell Day:
        “If we want to stop the state controlling us, we must confront this surveillance state.” David Cameron

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      “We are imperfect. We cannot expect perfect government.”
      ~William Howard Taft

      “A government, for protecting business only, is but a carcass, and soon falls by its own corruption and decay.”
      ~Amos Bronson Alcott

      “The greatest of all evils is a weak government”
      ~Benjamin Disraeli

      “Government exists to defend the weak and the poor and the injured party; the rich and the strong can better take care of themselves.”
      ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

      • Bob
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
        Vince Lombardi

  13. John B
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    So the logic is, the State provides things that people cannot afford for themselves because the State takes away the money that otherwise the individual could use to provide for themselves.

    Since the State uses about 25% of the money it takes to fund its taking and distributing, it costs the taxpayer more to have the State provide for them, than to provide for themselves.

    Got it.

    Oh, nearly forgot, ‘the poor’: we need all this State provision for the poor people (poorer of course after the State has finished taking from them) otherwise they would not have access to a World Class health service, etc.

    But if you meet a poor, hungry man on the street, it is possible to feed him without feeding everyone else on the street. So whilst we may want to socialise the cost of providing for those who cannot provide for themselves, we do not have to provide for everybody.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      So the logic is, the State provides things that people cannot afford for themselves because the State takes away the money that otherwise the individual could use to provide for themselves.

      Wrong. The poor wouldn’t be able to provide these things for themselves without taxes because they’re net tax recipients.

      But if you meet a poor, hungry man on the street, it is possible to feed him without feeding everyone else on the street. So whilst we may want to socialise the cost of providing for those who cannot provide for themselves, we do not have to provide for everybody.

      I suspect it you were in charge the poor wouldn’t be given any food so that the rich could have more food.

  14. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    It is not just the demise of the grammar school that has a detrimental impact: “the gifted child from a low income household now finds it more difficult to advance than previous generations who had access to selective schools”.

    At Secondary Modern school in the sixties it was possible to study both woodwork and metal work to O-Level, thus giving the academically less able but skilled child a chance to shine, and a sound foundation for a future career.

    • Edward
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Alan,
      I studied technical drawing, woodwork and metalwork at O level, together with other more purely academic subjects in the seventies and found a good career in engineering as a result.
      The current national curriculum does not suit all students requirements and is inflexible for those with more practical skills.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    “… they found instead that nationalised industries topped the lists for sacking people, losing business, and putting up prices.”

    To be fair, some of those industries were only nationalised because they were in long term decline or heading for bankruptcy through mismanagement but it was thought necessary to keep them going for longer than might otherwise have been the case.

    • forthurst
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Apart from deep pit mining of coal which had become obsolete, the decline was as a result of the chronic failure of politicians to address the issue of industrial relations; by their failure and the palliative of nationalisation, all they ensured was that the consequent decline would be far more expensive for the taxpayer.

  16. yulwaymartyn
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    For a non-scientific comparison of state and private education read this:

    My two children have attended private schools and now state schools. We switched because I didn’t like them.

    Switching has been a fascinating experience and one, it seems, that very few directly experience.

    At private schools the parents are driven and always in a hurry. Almost without exception. The cheque book comes out, everybody is polite and well dressed. Everybody drives and the parents are there everyday. Everybody uses mobile phones not email. Lots of quite penetrating voices however. They are great at socialising with lots of boozy nights out. Very few real conversations however; a few jokes, sport, fashion and nothing political or foreign. The latest restaurant. Holidays are usually in Barbados, South Africa, Australia. School meals are hot and with two courses and no choice. School ends at 4.30.

    Very few (one in my son’s year) has been to university. Fund raising nights raises masses of money – £13,000 in one night alone. Big houses – well kept and a 4 x 4 is standard.

    The state school is somewhat different. Very few come to the fund raising committees. Last time we had 13 out of a potential 3400 parents. The highest we have ever raised is £1900. The teachers are fantastic, properly qualified and the buildings are modern and far more suitable than the Victorian era building that the private school had. the facilities are vastly better than at the private school. However we have a school canteen that seats 60 out of 1700 children. Nobody uses it. Its a disaster.

    The children emerge at 3.10. Some use the after school clubs. Some go home. Others roam the streets. There is a lot of walking and no parents. Parents are discouraged from entering school premises because they are disruptive. Email is king.

    We have £40950.00 per annum in our bank account by not sending our two children to private school.

    The two sectors never meet or mix. The head teacher at the private school did not know the location of the comprehensive school although they are placed three miles apart in the same city.

    Most of the parents at the state school that I have met would send their kids to the private school if they had the money. They just want the best for their kids.

    We are now trying to raise £15,000 for a new exernal seating area to increase the size of the canteen seating area. We currently have £2000. We estimate it will take a year to raise at best. If only those parents at the private school knew……….

  17. Winston Smith
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Look how the State and the EU is destroying our oil rig industry. We have just awarded contracts to build new rigs to South Korea, potentially costing 10,000 jobs. Norway, who are not binded by EU laws, award drilling contracts with restrictive covenants to ensure rigs or much of their compenents are developed by domestic companies. LibLabCon can only say their hands are tied. Its time to break the political elites hold on Government.

    Glad to see you promoting UKIP’s Grammar School policy.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Contracts go to South Korea because they’ll build the rigs cheaper than UK companies. Are you campaigning for the Government to increase the cost of their projects (paid for by the taxpayers) to ensure that UK companies get contracts?

      • Winston Smith
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Yes, because the alternative is to pay benefits to 10,000 families. Keeping the money flowign within the domestic economy benefits us all. It allows the workforce to develop their skills and gain future work. Also, it is better for the environment and more efficient use of resources to build oil rigs where they are to be used, rather than transport tehm around the World.

        What do you advocate?

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, I noticed this in the Observer yesterday:

    “The idea of the UK demanding a short-term reopening of the EU treaties is understood to have been ruled out when the other EU states are preoccupied with creating an effective fiscal union.”

    For several years we were repeatedly assured that the problems of the eurozone would soon make it necessary for other EU states to demand major treaty changes, and that would create the opportunity for the UK to demand a quid pro quo in the form of other treaty changes to repatriate powers, but then that course of action is ruled out on the grounds that we don’t want to distract the other EU states?

    But then this is only to be expected, given that back in 2010 Cameron had an opportunity to negotiate a quid pro quo for the EU treaty change then being demanded by Merkel but he declined to make use of that opportunity.

    As the Tory MP Mark Reckless pointed out to him in October 2011, at Column 36 here:

    “The Prime Minister tells The Daily Telegraph today that we should use any treaty change to shore up the euro to get powers over employment and social policy back, yet on 25 March, he agreed to precisely such a treaty change, but did not ask for anything in return.”

    • Winston Smith
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      As Hilton has explained, Cameron is not in control. He discovers Govt policy “on the breakfast news”. Some people say he is a Euphile. Some say he’s a sceptic. He is neither. He is just a ‘yes man’, out to form a career at the top, create a legacy for himself and his family. Just like Blair. He is a tool of the elite. JR understands this. Yet, he is also part of the problem, always circumventing the the real issues and the facts which you so eloquently highlight on his blog. Instead he somewhat duplicitly offers lingering hope to waivering Conservative voters that change is impossible within. It is not. Nothing will change whilst LibLabCon hold onto power.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      We know that Cameron is trying to fool us all just as Wilson did in 1975. It didn’t work with me then and it won’t work this time. I don’t want to be governed in any way by the EU and I want this trading nation to trade with the whole world.

  19. Martin
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    The ultimate beneficiaries of this system are state employees. Their wages, pensions etc have been relatively unscathed despite the poor performance of the British economy. Private sector workers have taken a fair old hit as have out of work benefits. What is being created is a sort of dual society. The public sector workers sail on while the rest toil on. Communism perhaps?

    • Bazman
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Communism for the rich maybe. Profits as a share of GDP in almost all western countries are at record highs, along with executive pay. Meanwhile, real wages for the majority are stagnating, if not falling. The state workers have taken a hit in the number of them laid off.

    • REPay
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      This is why no one can reform healthcare. The core principle was “free at the point of delivery”. This has now been perverted to no private contractors.

  20. Liz
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    The state is not very good at putting its own house in order when things go wrong or even admitting that there is anything wrong. Look at the contrast between the treatment of those responsible for hundreds of premature deaths at Stafford hospital – no one held responsible, most gliding onto other highly paid jobs in the state sector, to the owners of a private mine who are being charged with manslaughter over an accident there.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Regarding the Gleision Colliery mining accident the manager was actually in the mine when the disaster happened, so he would have been more aware of any problems. The same cannot be said for the managers of Stafford hospital, who weren’t in the wards when people were mistreated.

      The larger an organisation the harder it is to bring corporate manslaughter charges.

      • Edward
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

        You are confusing the responsibility of management with the size of an organisation.
        The laws on health and safety and corporate manslaughter makes no such distinction.
        Additionally, public bodies often excuse themselves from the same legal requirements they place on private industry.
        For example it is against the law to have any standing passengers on a coach and you have to provide seat belts for all passengers, but if you are on a bus or a train or tube train this is not the law.

  21. oldtimer
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    The European welfare model is unaffordable in the 21st century. The UK is one of the best examples of this because it is in one of the worst places of all the European economies, gieven its debt burden and continuing debt financing via QE. There are no easy solutions, only painful solutions. The state, or rather the ruling political class, must take primary responsibility for this dire situation. More state intervention and regulation is not the answer.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Germany and most Scandinavian countries seem to be able to afford the European welfare model, so it’s not as unaffordable as you claim it is.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Germany spend less than us on Welfare and there are as many recipients of benefits in the UK than there are people in the biggest country in Scandanavia. Germany has huge debts, just like us. Also, the likes of Norway, Denmark and Germany have severe restrictions on the availability of benefits to foreigners. Unlike us. Would you prefer that?

      • oldtimer
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        If you check the data you will discover that Germany and Sweden are in much better financial shape than the UK. Apart from that it is clear that, once again, you have dodged the issue of the implications of the European welfare model and how unsustainable it is.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          You claim that the European welfare model is unsustainable yet have to admit that it is sustainable in Germany and Sweden. Care to explain this contradiction.

          • Winston Smith
            Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            No, he does not. He says ” Germany and Sweden are in much better financial shape than the UK”, which is true. However, both have large debts. Germany’s debts are particularly unsustainable.

  22. Neil Craig
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Humaqn beings, neing what they are, almost inevitably come to believe that what they are doing is right. Consequently it is unsurprising that MPs, civil servants, “journalists” for the state broadcaster, quangoists and those employed by fakecharities come to believe in a bigger state (even where getting such jobs and preferment does not depend on them expressing such views).

    The fact is that there is a strong correlation between free markets, individual freedom and economic success. This has been statistically demonstrated acroos the world and the centuries & the fact cannot reasonably be disputed.

    • Edward
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I agree wth you Neil, but I predict that you may have a couple of people replying saying “race to the bottom” , or “right wing delusion/fantasy” and that “you want to make people work for slave wages, without job security on one day contracts, without any health and safety legislation to protect them” as you have dared to mention the hate phrase of all left wingers:- “free markets”
      You and I know that this isn’t what is meant by a “free market” in a mixed economy like the UK, and that this would be the best way to improve the standard of living of the poorest in our society.
      The continued doses of socialism in Europe over the last few decades has left us all much worse off.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        A “free market” isn’t a mixed a economy, it’s one where employees have as few rights as possible so companies can make greater profits. A free market only benefits the wealthy who can dictate terms to the poor, it never benefits the poor.

        • Edward
          Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          Rubbish Uni,
          Any examples of a free market in operation in the world currently?

          No thought not, because every nation runs a mixed economy to one extent or another.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Well it’s clear you haven’t studied economics as the market in Germany is less free than the UK, the country has less individual freedoms, yet it has greater economic success.

      The main factors behind economic success are companies being managed by competent directors that are interested in long term success, not directors focused only on short term goals for their own enrichment and ego stroking. Calling for the markets to become more free will not make bad managers into good ones.

      • zorro
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        The first sentence in your second paragraph makes sense, but the fact that Germany is less free than the UK, and has less individual freedoms has little to do with its economic success. Perhaps if it had more freedom, it might do even better….


      • Neil Craig
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Its clear you know nothing of economics. Germany is not, judged over the medium term more or less successful than the UK. Since I have repeatedly pointed out to Uan a large number of economically more successful countries than us (broadly most of the non-EU world, where growth AVERAGES 6%) & he has declined to explain how this is possible, it is clear that Uan is treasuring his ignorance for fear that knowing anything would ruin his cause.

        Since Zimbabwe recently achieced 9.3% gtowth perhaps yan can enlighten us as to how management there is so orientated against profit.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Germany is not, judged over the medium term more or less successful than the UK.

          Based on what evidence? Germany has a higher GDP per capita and is a world leader in technology. Over the medium term Germany is far more successful than the UK.

          I have repeatedly pointed out to Uan a large number of economically more successful countries than us (broadly most of the non-EU world, where growth AVERAGES 6%) & he has declined to explain how this is possible

          You’ve names some developing countries and stated that they have high growth. You’ve never been able to explain why they have high growth because you don’t know.

          You’ve also failed to grasp the difference between developed and developing countries and why the former grow much faster than the latter. This is why you’ve never been able to explain why non-EU countries such as Canada, the USA, Japan, and Australia aren’t growing at 6%.

          Since Zimbabwe recently achieced 9.3% gtowth perhaps yan can enlighten us as to how management there is so orientated against profit.

          The solution is simple, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Allow me to enlighten you regarding how a country growing at 10% can gain less than a country growing at 1%. Take the following example:

          Country A has a GDP of £10 billion and is growing at 10% per year.
          Country B has a GDP of £1000 billion and is growing at 2% per year.

          After 5 year Country A has a GDP of £16.1 billion.
          After 5 year Country B has a GDP of £1140.1 billion.

          However the GDP of country A has increased by 6.1 billion while the GDP has increased in country B by 140.1 billion. So even though Country A is growing 5 times faster Country B received 23 times the amount of money.

          • Edward
            Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

            You fail to allow for population levels uni. The per capita standard of living or income change is the key ingredient.

  23. Wilko
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Imagine the UK as a sole man, attempting to decide where to go. Mr UK seems unable to make a decision without following someone else. Whichever path he takes, he risks becoming dizzy with self-doubt about the hostile response from all directions telling him he is going the wrong way. He is in a state.

    The response to Friend or Foe is: Advance and be recognised.

  24. David
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I know people who live in more expensive housing than me. I would like to live
    in a house like theirs but can’t afford it. Ironically they can’t either but the state pays for this with my money.
    Sounds like an enemy to me.

  25. Wireworm
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting that the rational arguments for a smaller state, such as those listed in your last paragraph, have absolutely no impact on people who prefer a larger state. This suggests that the issue is not amenable to debate. Even when they would personally benefit from lower taxes etc, those people’s attachment to the state is emotional and therefore fairly unshakable. When we compare ourselves with societies with small states, e.g. successful Asian nations, we tend to forget that they still have a strong family loyalty which we have largely lost. We were encouraged to give it up during the process of institution building, that is, our civic institutions have benefited from a transference of emotional loyalty. Until there is some new focus of loyalty, the nation state will continue to command it, whatever the negative consequences apparent to some of us.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Asian states have strong family loyalty because most people live in a rural environment, so family members tend to live near each other. The same was true in the UK until people were able to afford to move away from their home town.

      Your conspiracy theories are laughable. People oppose lower taxes, even when they personally will benefit from them, not because of some emotional attachment to the state but due to an emotional attachment to others. For example most parents will oppose tax cuts that may benefit them but will harm their children.

      • Wonky Moral Compass
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

        Here’s a wild idea. Cut taxes and let “parents” give money directly to “children” without the state skimming off a fat percentage.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Have you travelled outside of your bedroom? Have you been to “successful Asian States” such as Singapore, HK, Japan, S Korea, Taiwan? They are not rural economies. China is rapidly transforming to an urban society. You really must try to learn a bit about the wider World.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          Is family loyalty stronger in urban or rural areas? Evidence indicates the latter.

  26. DP
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood

    The problem of government expansion is due to productivity and the hijacking of government to further the aims of those who recognise how the power of the state can be abused for personal interests of wealth and ideology.

    Human productivity has reached such heights that all essentials and more besides can be supplied by fewer than half the working population, and still falling.

    Government has hijacked the excess to expand the state through ‘employment’ or benefits. Government jobs pay more than average with enhanced pensions, conditions and perquisites. They are also attractive to those who enjoy ordering people how they should live their lives. Benefit recipients are trapped by marginal withdrawal rates around 80%.

    This has distorted society in a radically different direction from that in which it would have developed and divided it between the minority who produce and the majority who live off their production.

    What would society be like without our overactive state?

    There are no examples of a developed society without an engorged state. Further, all are burdened by supranational bodies which appear to form an embryonic world government. Can human society only evolve towards state control of everything? Or did this model randomly appear and be copied around the world?

    How can the slide into totalitarianism be changed towards a society where people are able to develop as they choose instead of being schooled, conditioned and regulated into conformity ordained by a self appointed and self perpetuating elite? Slide too far and anyone suggesting alternatives will be an enemy of the state, and an all powerful one at that.

    Traditionally the state takes over production and is so useless that it collapses. This takes generations and is extremely painful. The cycle begins again.


  27. Bernard Juby
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Fortunately I went to Grammar school and went on to University before Shirley Williams, having I believe safely steered her own offspring though them then closed them down. What an abject failure to realise that NOT all people are equal and in some respects some are better than others.
    The enarches of France & Brussels believe that it is their job to make legislation – whether needed or not. Alas too many UK MPs have the same attitude.

  28. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    You’re right Mr Redwood.

    Fat lot of use an all encompassing state if it bankrupts us.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Regrettably we will see the theory tested to destruction when Labour are elected.

      They’ll manage to blame the Tories for its failure somehow.

      I believe that Mr Cameron has engineered the gay marriage issue to throw the next election whilst being able to say that ‘It wasn’t my fault. It was the nasty element in my party.’

  29. forthurst
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    The state has been been used to advance the agenda of minority groups whose interests are directly opposed to those of the majority. This is why we are now living in a ‘vibrant’ ‘multicultural’ society in which English people are being locked up for engaging in thoughcrime. This is why in order to bounce us into the EU, we were told that we would be joining a free trade area, not a free movement area. This is why we were told that we could revoke our industrial heritage which once made us the most powerful country in the world and replace it with banksterism. This is why we were told that CO2 generation from fossil fuel was causing alarming increases in warming and that therefore we would need to tax our remaining energy intensive industries out of existence and concede them to the Orient, and then plaster our countryside with windmills.

    The most obvious technique used by politicians to advance their malevolent agenda is lying. Some of them are actually so amoral and stupid that they have no insight into the damage they have caused; how the recreation of society so the state takes on the primary role of breadwinner and moral guardian is antipathetic to freedom loving English people and the stability of this country.

  30. Horatio McSherry
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink


    Another excellent post. I have for some time been of the opinion that the state (i.e. national government in this instance) should mainly be there for four reasons. Most importantly to protect the people of that country: from the individual (police, fire, health, destitution) to national security. It should be there for communication between countries to aid business, and again, to protect its citizens abroad. It should be there, in the interests of the country, to educate the people who cannot afford private education. And to a lesser extent it should be there to co-ordinate (not run!) intercity projects – whether it be roads, rail, communication etc.

    However, government has become a quasi-religious organisation; government is now the sole custodian of morals. Government decides what is morally right or morally wrong because it’s hard to argue against morals purely because they’re so subjective. The most used phrase in the last fifteen years has been, “…it’s the right thing to do”. Well I’m sorry, but the problem is my morals don’t seem to be anywhere near the morals of those in parliament (current company excepted, naturally) yet I don’t have the option to stop my support for other people’s morals. It comes down to the old slogan of “no taxation without representation.” and I think a good chunk of the British population are feeling pretty much unrepresented for the amount of taxation they’re forced to pay.

    In the 17th Century people had the choice to head for the New World. It’s getting harder and harder to see where the New World is. To paraphrase P.J. O’ Rouke: “America wasn’t founded so we could all be better. America was founded so we could all be anything we pleased so long as we took the consequences.”

  31. rd
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    It is not that the state is ‘bad’ and the individual is ‘good’ it is about the relative balance between the two. Neither are inherently good or bad as such but when one has preponderance of power relative to the other the system becomes unworkable. In my view ever since the post war Labour Government the State has assumed more authority than it has a right to and those elected to represent us have long ago forgotten the meaning of ‘representation’. Who gave the Brown Government the authority to bail out the banks with my money? Who gave our past Governments the authority to get us into our current position with the EU? Democracy died because the assumed authority of the State and strong re-empowerment of the individual and the electorate is needed.

  32. Barbara
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    All countries have to have some sort of ‘state’. Its how that state is run that is important. MPs are elected to serve parliament and the people, but party dogma gets in the way for most things. That’s the nature of politics. I do believe this, and past governments, have taken this country down a road which is wrong on foreign policy, foreign aid, immigration, and benefits for its people.
    We have become, without consent, an international health service, while people here cannot access important drugs for their particular illness. Far to many taking out without paying for their treatment when they should making the indigenous populas finding it hard to get treatment too.
    We have been engaged in far to many countries which as cost us millions of pounds, while other so called alies have sat back comfortable. Particularly in the European Union. It seems they want freedom but not prepared to fight for it. We cannot do all this and cut back our armed forces, yet, a European armed force is not what we should engage in either. Nato is good enough it as served us well.
    Immigration, is still a thorn in many sides, and so it should do. We have seen our country change beyound what we are used to, and it’s all through immigration, which was again forced upon us by the Labour party. We did make our voices heard but we were ignored. You cannot blame the present government for that, they are trying, but are they trying hard enough? Why not close the doors altogether until the problem is in hand.
    Then there’s the question of Europe. Most of us don’t want it but we are consistantly refused the option of deciding our own destiny. The Falklands can but not us. I expected NO from Labour, as Socialists don’t conferr, but from the Conservatives I’m amazed we have not been given this choice. With their history of traditional views, independance, and self detirmination, this is a hard pill to swallow.
    In all, the EU now makes our laws,taking us into areas we don’t want, our soverignty is going by the day, and we see a PM who keeps making promises he knows he can’t keep, negociation will not take place, not on the scale to suit most people. Let us decide now and settle it once and for all, but most of all, don’t leave us to the mercy of Socialists again, for we all know what it will mean.

  33. peter davies
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Some good points covered there. I particularly agree with the statement that more ‘aid’ in a depressed region often makes things worse. I have seen European development grants time and time again used to start businesses which then close down the minute the funding stops with no recall – what good is the state doing in this instance?

    The role of the state in my opinion should be limited to providing for health, education, policing, justice and defence etc well and leaving the making money bit to those that know how (not civil servant bureaucrats, politicians or Councillors)

    The role of the govt should always be to ensure only appropriate levels of red tape and tax is ever taken/implemented – not like we see these days with the being told how to tie up your shoelaces society.

    The problem is once you give aid and direction it is very difficult to roll it back as were now seeing

    All the conditions have to be made right for manufacturing without any of the outside meddling (EU) so we can make and sell things and sort ourselves out. We will never apart from a select few become well off on the back of govt spending – this model is unaffordable and needs a major trim.

  34. Vanessa
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The trouble with people who love the State is that they are generally of a communist-loving nature; look where that got the USSR? When the State “gives” everything nobody tries very hard as there is no reason to work as you will get the money etc. anyway.
    When the State decreases and leaves us alone people are encouraged to think for themselves, start up businesses and make money for their family.
    At a hustings in 2010 the audience kept asking the platform “if they were elected what were they going to do for them?” The UKIP candidate said “as little as possible…….” and they were shocked !! UKIP does not believe in a large, overpowering State which has grown up despite the EU governing us and making all our laws.

  35. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Comments on the negative impact on social mobility of the closing of grammar schools are well made. It is interesting that many of the leftist critics of grammar schools, for example many Guardian journalists, were privately educated, but we never hear proposals from them or the Labour party to ban private education (it appears that selection by wealth is OK but selection by ability isn’t). They should take a look at how more successful economies and equal societies than ours (eg. Germany) manage their secondary education.

  36. oldtimer
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Dr Green, Director of Civitas, has an excellent piece on Conservative Home here about sovereignty:

    In essence he writes about the fundamental sovereignty of the people, how it has evolved, and how it is now under threat from “ever closer union”. It is relevant because the power of Parliament to exercise its independence has been whittled away and with it the power of the people to exercise their sovereignty by throwing out the government and electing a new one. This, it seems to me, will be the core issue in the coming debate about the EU.

  37. Martin Ryder
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    It is not the machinery of state that is the problem; it just runs on like car engine, consuming fuel but not actually going anywhere, unless ordered to do so. The problem rests with those, both elected and unelected, who put the car in motion and tell it where to go. They are the ones who are tyrannising the public.

    They are the ones who are flooding the country with immigrants, changing long term British institutions (Police, Armed Forces, NHS, Courts, Schools, etc) to meet their desires rather than the needs of the native Britons. Most Britons, I would think, want to see people treated fairly and for jobs, homes, etc to be available on the basis of ability and need, rather than on the colour of their skin or sex. However there are politicians who think differently.

    The Home Secretary seems to believe that the Police hierarchy should have more women and ethnic minorities (who are, of course, globally majorities) in it. British White Males, it appears, are to be discouraged. If getting rid of British White Males was the answer to everything we would have the best Health Service in the world.

    At least politicians do put themselves up for election; using a very flawed system, which only allows the general public to choose between people already chosen by party leaders. The people who I loathe are those members of the new aristocracy who get into positions of power with the help of their friends; and who, in turn, will help them. Staffordshire Hospital springs to mind, as does the NHS Medical Director, who wants to move A&E units as far away from their customers as possible.

    In Afghanistan brave doctors, nurses and aircrew thrust themselves into the jaws of death because they know that minutes can make the difference between life and death; yet this unelected clown wants to increase the time it takes to get a critically ill patients to someone who can treat them. Of course he wants to see nice, shiny A&E units that he can visit and lord it up in but if one of my family is very ill I want them in front a competent doctor as quickly as possible.

    There is no solution to this problem, simply because we are all human and have a different slant on life. Parliament is stuffed full of place-men, who are never going to change anything. We need an Oliver Cromwell who could chase them all out of the place; but what is the betting that we would all be against him within a very short time. There will be no change unless Cameron is given the boot, along with the rest of the No10 set, but this will not happen.

    I am an old man, who I fear has seen the best of Britain; it is all very sad.

  38. Edward
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    There is the modern difficulty of being elected on a paltform suggesting a smaller state ticket, when well over 50% of the population and a large numer of big companies depend on the generouity of the state for their standard of living.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Is anyone in a sane mind going to believe the fantasy of unbridled capitalism providing everything when you look back on the plunder that has gone on of the population by the elite? The massive rewards for failure whilst telling everyone else they need to take on austerity? This idea that private industry will somehow share the rewards with the masses doing the work. The population knows a lie when they see it is it any wonder they expect the state to redistribute some of the wealth. How is billions being sent offshore tax havens helping anyone except the recipients of that wealth? Reinvestment? Get real.

      • Edward
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        I fail to understand how you can go on such a rant in response to a post which simply put forward the difficulty modern politicians have in getting elected on an austerity/small state manifesto, when well over half the population depends on the state for their living in one way or another.

        The current level of deficit spending by the UK Government is not sustainable long term and yet it seems unlikely that the population will vote for any party that proposes reductions in spending.
        That is a real problem and if you do not see it, then it is you who needs to “get real”

        • Bazman
          Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          “Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.” Bertrand Russel.

          • Edward
            Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            For me its all about how you achieve improved standards of living for all and reduce poverty.
            You either go down the socialist path or the capitalist path.
            Russia, Cuba, North Korea North Vietnam is one way.
            South Korea, South Vietnam, USA, Germany, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong and many more are down the other path.

  39. uanime5
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Given that before employment legislation employers did abuse their customers, employees and local environments this view is entirely justified. The difference between Victorian and modern working conditions occurred precisely because employers were forced to treat their employees better, despite repeated claims by employers that it would cause their businesses to become “uncompetitive”.

    When the state took over large industries with a view to running them in the better interests of the customers and employees, they found instead that nationalised industries topped the lists for sacking people, losing business, and putting up prices.

    Which companies are you referring to? That’s doesn’t sound like the water, energy, or rail industries back when they were nationalised.

    With the demise of grammar schools in most parts of England, the gifted child from a low income household now finds it more difficult to advance than previous generations who had access to selective schools as the rich continue to enjoy.

    Given that to get into most grammar schools you need to prepare for their tests these schools favour middle class children, rather than poor children.

    Also most grammar schools converted into comprehensives by the then education secretary Margaret Thatcher.

    Reply: I suggest you look at the em ployment record of the coal, steel and railway industries under nationalisation. Huge job losses.

    • Edward
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      What a ridiculous comment that before employment legislation employers used to abuse their customers.
      What evidence do you have for saying this nonsense?
      The Sale of Goods Act came in in 1893

      • uanime5
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        And why did Parliament create the Sale of Goods Act? To ensure that companies didn’t produce cheap but dangerous goods in order to make greater profits.

        Let’s not forget all the anti-discrimination laws, such as the Race Relations Act 1965, that were introduced so that companies couldn’t refuse to serve or employ “coloured” people.

        • Edward
          Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          Parliament created the Sale of Goods Act to protect all citizens and encourage a good quality of trade and service between sellers and customers.
          The rule of law, applied to commerce, and it worked well.
          Cheap dangerous goods never make extra profits in the long run as you ruin your reputation.
          Bad news travels fast even in the days before the internet.

          I have no idea why you brought the Race Relations act into this debate, totally irrelevant.

  40. Bruce of Burghfield
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I was born in 1946. I am the perfect represenatative of the Welfare State. I know no other exsistence. I worked for the State and I now receive a pension from the State. I was educated in a State education system and when I was ill or injured I was treated and cured by the State (National) Health Service. I have never received a State benefit but that is because I have never needed one, and in that regard I consider myself fortunate, but then I always knew it was there if it was needed. The State stopped nasty people attacking me and I knew if they did they would be caught (usually) and punished (usually). Before you damn everything attributed to the State just pause for thought. I am okay to pay resonable taxes for all this providing everybody else pays their share, but sadly some do not. Is it not coincidental that those in the US who harp on about reducing “the Big State” are usually the ones who also want the freedom and right of all citizens to own semi-automatic combat weapons?

  41. Vacant Possession
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    That post reads like the introduction to a really interesting essay, where is the rest of it?

    It was like reading ‘The dark tea time of the soul’ with a missing the last page due to a manufacturing error. I spent years thinking what a cruel but clever end by Adams, until I picked one up in a bookstore years later and learned the truth.

  42. Harfield
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I am not surprised that your Parliamentary colleagues feel this way. I believe that 70 % of candidates at the last election had never had a job in the private sector.
    Even MP’s are now part of the Institution . Good luck to you John, perhaps the Conservatives will have more private sector candidates, next time

  43. Antisthenes
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    To the objective observer statism is obviously economically unsound and social gains are pitifully few and in most cases counter to that to that which is desired. Statism has as history has taught us eventually brought a nation that practices it to it’s knees. Free market capitalism and libertarianism has on the hand proved to be the best system available to increase wealth, security and political stability. The non statist approach always seems to be ditched in developed countries when prosperity and stability reach a certain level on the grounds that it is not a fair system and there are many who are losing out. This is a false assumption everybody does in fact gain but they do not do so equally. An hypothetical example is a country that is growing in prosperity even those at the bottom of the social pile the garbage pickers are finding richer pickings. Statism is not the answer to this inequality because it only fixes the problem by retardation and therefore impoverishes all financially, socially and politically and inevitably will destroy all that has been achieved. Inequality cannot be completely eradicated that is a genetic fact; we have different capacities, capabilities and functions. We can eradicate inequality of opportunity with relative ease but statism even makes that more difficult. To me statism is dangerous and is very harmful to a societies well being and those who think differently are seriously deluded. (I hope this comment passes the censor as a couple haven’t of late, perhaps understandably so)

    • uanime5
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Free market capitalism and libertarianism have been proven to enrich the wealthy and make the poor poorer. They also don’t increase political stability as there are often riots in the poor areas, where people are unemployed and disillusioned.

      Most Scandinavian countries seem to have reduced inequality without their society collapsing. It seems that the main problem is that Statism prevents the greedy from hording wealth.

      • Edward
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Its the job of the State to use the proceeds of libertarianism and “free market” capitalism via taxation and careful investment in infrastructure to improve the standards of living of those who need help and to iron out inequality.
        Just how rich are those living in socialist states now and in the past?

  44. Acorn
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Having spent the last week in the Middle East, you get to hear and read what the locals think of the UK. Apart from, will “Brexit” cause the pound to drop and devalue their Pound denominated pension funds, they seem to think we should be joining the Euro-zone. They are realizing that having income in a currency that is going down and your spending in a currency that is going up, is not a sustainable plan.

    Anyway, to cut a long story short, even my Arab contacts are using the “WTF” acronym, and have come to the conclusion that the UK has lost the plot. Frankly, it was a little embarrassing; and then, William Hague is on the telly trying to do a Hillary Clinton. “Is he the Prime Minister” says the guy with the German car dealership; sipping his tea that smells like Old Spice. I come home having not taken up an offer to purchase an apartment at 50% off its 2007 price and now needs a 50% deposit.

    For those that still haven’t got it; Google: Our Leaders Are Mistaking the Modern Money System for a Fistful of Dollar . It’s in two parts.

  45. David Langley
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Do you think Parliament is good value for money JR? I mean democracy is not served really as most MPs do as they are told by the cabinet at best. I watch PM,s q time each week and am always dismayed by the obsequious questions from the Tories, not much from the Libs and massive catch questions from Labour. The committees with some sort of railing brief try and catch out their victims and listen to rhetoric from the more able. To be fair sometimes they score a bulls eye but seem astonished because they then realise “so what” is the usual response.
    It must be time for the whole shooting match to be reorganised so that the electorate can really gets its moneys worth.
    Just ignore all the EU stuff that we dont want, dont make a fuss about it just do it. Sling out all the foreign criminals in our jails eating their heads off. Refuse entry to anyone without proper documentation and hand them over to the carrier they came in or ship them out anyway.
    Reorganise the constituencies into half the current crowd, no one cares who opens the manky local fair, sorry but an MP is cheaper than a Eastenders character. Lastly for now, we need more referendums on a host of issues, Electronic voting for those who care?

    Reply: No, I do not think Parliament is good value – that is why I and my colleagues are trying to reduce the number of MPs, but Labour and the Lib Dems look as if they will vote that down.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Put it to a referendum.

      What do you have to lose?

  46. Jon
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Ferdinand Mount in the Evening Standard today had a relevant comment piece with the header “Companies not the state, must now top up low wages”. He pointed out that under Gordon Brown workers receiving state benefits rose from 734,000 to 4,750,000.

    I also find it interesting from how the editorial has changed on this subject from a few years ago. Almost on a monthly basis there would be an editorial that would promote low wage immigrants and state help for the reason that it meant home help for the London resident successful journalists to afford home help, nannies and cleaners.
    It irked as I saw it as taxpayer subsidy of wage expenditure of the better off.

  47. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 21, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Obama made a great speech today. His delivery focused on equality We are all born equal is the stance that the majority desire, although in reality privilege gives some the silver spoon.

    I believe in the state as a concept, but not necessarily the people who run it. The idea that the nations interests are taken into consideration and every single person has a right to be fed , housed , clothed and receive fairness and justice is the most superior of all principles.

    If moral validity was to underpin those who have governing positions in the state , including and with clauses to allow development where it aids companies to grow and employ more, then all could work together. I cannot see the need to polarise state and non state, but I can see the need to protect my homeland.

  48. Sue
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Can you imagine working for a company that only has a little more than 635 employees, but has the following Employee Statistics?

    29 have been accused of spouse abuse,
    7 have been arrested for fraud,
    9 have been accused of writing bad cheques,
    17 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses,
    3 have done time for assault,
    71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit,
    14 have been arrested on drug-related charges,
    8 have been arrested for shoplifting,
    21 are currently defendants in lawsuits,
    84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year,

    And collectively, this year alone, they have cost the British tax payer £92,993,748 in expenses!

    Which organisation is this?

    It’s the 635 members of the House of Commons.

    The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line. Name any other organisation that would give a disgraced employee another job within the company.

    Taxation is legalised theft. The UK Govt is no better than the Mafia. Gandhi said “Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless or corrupt.”

    And that’s where we are. We have a Government that has no legitimate mandate to take anymore decisions until THEY HAVE OUR CONSENT on a myriad of laws that have appeared behind our backs.

  49. Robert Taggart
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    For Moi the state be very much our foe at the moment – the silence from their abject apparatchiks be deafening !

  • 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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