Why many feel threatened by the state


           The State is threatening to many people who work hard, try to provde for their own families, and wish to keep out of the way of officialdom.

            The motorist is hounded by an avalanche of official rules and regulations. If a driver fails to notice, misunderstands or fails  to comply with some minor part of the enormous encyclopaedia of rules, he or she will be fined. There are very complex rules on how and where to park, how much to pay for parking, how to display tickets, how to proceded in a box junction, endlessly varying speed limits in apparently similar conditions, varying rules on access to bus lanes.  The motorist feels the state is out to stop him getting to work or going to the shops. Often it appears that unworkable  requirements have been introduced just to increase the fines revenue.

            The government lectures the motorist not to use the car so much. It forces up the taxes on motoring, from Vehicle Excise Duty, to new car taxes, to petrol and diesel duty and VAT. The state is reluctant to explain how many of us can do other than go by car for many of the journeys we wish to make, given the inadequacies of  public transport outside central London.

          The worker is hounded by the tax system  which always want more of  the money he earns to pay for the ever rising public spending. The homebuyer faces higher Stamp duties, the family has to pay higher VAT on the things it needs for living, more and more people are dragged into the 40% tax band, whilst anyone who dares to earn a six figure salary is regularly pilloried by politicians and required to pay more one way or another.

           The owners and managers of small and medium sized enterprises are constantly forced to read and understand more regulations. Their attention is often diverted from their customers and managing their output and sales, to managing a wide range of matters that the state thinks are more  important. Business owners are often attacked for failures to live up to standards on a wide range of issues which the public sector often does not achieve. Businesses are accused of paying too little tax, of paying low wages, and of charging too much.

            Many people who pay their own way in the world and who work hard think they get a rotten deal from the state. They think the state takes too much money off them in tax, wastes too much of their tax revenue, and imposes far too many rules on them.  They feel the state is not there for them. If their home is broken into, or if they need hospital treatment, they are often disappointed with the level and speed of service on offer for them.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Indeed exactly the position.

    In relation to motorists do they want the driver to watch the road, cyclists, pedestrians and safety or spend most of their time working out if they are allowed in the bus lane or not at this time/day and what the speed limit has been reduced to just before the down hill bit and the speed camera? What is the point of largely empty bus lanes anyway?

    In relation to taxes too it is an absurdly complex game of mugging they have devised, yet they cannot even answer the phone or simple questions on the system – as I attempt my many tax returns again this years. Not to mention the cost of the accountants. Why on earth have all of them due on the same day in Jan with a sudden fine – so the system, tax office and accountants cannot cope.

    Why not £1 for each week late? Also why a fine when no tax was even ever due?

    Taxes are one thing and can be justified at 20% of GDP but state muggings like this never can be. They are “morally repugnant” as Osborne might put it?

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      I think that about 30% of my productive time is wasted with tax matters and pointless bureaucracy and this is without all the damage done by the taxes actually extracted from my businesses.

      I could easily be 20% more efficient and employ 50% more staff if the state sector just got out or the way and stopped wasting my time and my money. Start with employment laws, tax laws, and planning laws.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Well I’m sure that if you halved salaries you could employ 50% more people but would they be willing to work for such low wages?

        • zorro
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          Groan……(throw back head)…..uanime5, you just don’t understand the costs and time involved in this regulation, and how it inhibits job creation and economic activity, do you?


          • uanime5
            Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            I understand that companies complain about it but are never able to quantify it. I’ve never seen any company claim X regulation costs amount Y and without this cost they could employ Z number of people.

        • Ajay
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          What a particularly irrelevant and stupid comment!

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

          More jobs, so more demand, so higher wages, not lower! And more efficiency, so companies could afford them too.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            More jobs don’t always equal higher demand due to market saturation and competition. Also more demand doesn’t result in higher wages for non-managers.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        As a landlord you would want this. Serfs do not. You are conveniently forgetting that all these regulations and state interference in housing from the state allow you by fortune of being a property owner to mug every tenant for ever increasing money often for the only reason of being in the position of holding the asset. The state does all the work and you as a parasite take out this wealth from the economy. It’s not as if landlords really do a lot of wealth producing is it? They do? Like banks? What do they produce? They mainly rely on the inflation of property prices that rides on the back of the economy. Hence your extreme right wing views on the market and the indifference to the workforces conditions and employment rights. It costs money in the sense of the market and in the maintenance of the property. All this is tempered by the financial markets crashing and biting you, wanting some regulation now it suits as the property prices have fallen reducing assets values.. Not rental prices though. Thy have risen The tax extracted from landlords is well justified and all the bureaucracy is in fact their real work. Ram it.

        • APL
          Posted January 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          Bazman: “You are conveniently forgetting that all these regulations and state interference in housing from the state .. ”

          And you are forgetting the impact that unfettered immigration has is having on the infrastructure of the country – be it housing, water supply, electricity supply, roads and so on.

          The demand for property driven by the explosion of the population which originates with the politicians – allowing free movement of people regardless of wealth or prosperity. It’s not as if we don’t have enough of our own home grown poor – we don’t need those from the rest of the world.

          Bazman: “The state does all the work and you as a parasite take out this wealth from the economy.”

          Yea! the state has done all the work expanding the demand for housing above what it should be and consequently raising the cost of renting and the cost of property in general too.

          The state is not the solution to the problem, it is the cause

    • Single Acts
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      ” they cannot even answer the phone or simple questions on the system”

      You too? My personal bete noir; comply with a system that our own employees don’t understand if you can ever speak to them, or be fined. Total madness.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, exactly the position so very often.

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

      It is greedy to take money from someone without their consent who has worked hard for it.

      What is a fair share of what someone else has had to work hard for and to be given away wastefully without any regard from those from whom it is taken?

      Cameron and chums need to wake up and stop following Labour policies particularly social engineering, Clegg and chums are out of the ball park all together, no rational person could believe a word they say and Labour demonstrate the most evil form of socialism.

      The Westminster clique needs to realise that we are fed up being squeezed for every penny of tax and have our living standard reduced (which we have worked for) to be wastefully given away. There are quangos and ministries that could be culled overnight without any detrimental effect to our society whatsoever ie Culture Media Sports, Department for Overseas Development, Equality minster, DECC etc. The list is endless. Why duplicate EU ministries (equivalent) and claim the UK is not part of it when it funds the EU?

      Perhaps when it is claimed benefits for the elderly or their care should be means rested or dispensed with by the people (MPs) who have subsidised food and alcohol at our expense in their place of work when they are paid handsomely and can afford to buy both. Perhaps that is the most distasteful greed of all and demonstrates the state is out of control.

      • Timaction
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        ……….The state is out of control……….
        When you have Cameron, Milliband and Clegg who have NEVER had a proper job between them. Moreover, two of the three are first generation immigrants. Why should we expect them to understand patriotism, nationhood, national interest, commonsense, values or culture? They don’t. From a life of the “silver spoon” all three whilst privately educated could probably calculate the number of molecules in a jam jar but be unable to get the lid off! All three are out of their depth, with no knowledge or experience of the world as WE out here see and live it and experience the consequences of their crass stupidity!
        Its really time for a clean sweep, root and branch reform of our unrepresentative parliamentary system. We know who and the Party who can deliver it whilst that change is achieved.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        Subsidised catering of £100 a day per MP was it? Something like that I think.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          How much is lunch in London these days? They should eat a sandwich made by their wives?

          • APL
            Posted January 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “a sandwich made by their wives?”

            (Attack on a senior Labour figure-ed)
            What that says about female judgment is probably best left for another forum.

    • Alison
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      I always read your comments and frequently agree with you but why do you and many other people think that any rate of tax can be justified? Theft is theft. Do you say a mugger is justified if he only steals 20% of your money?
      All interactions should be voluntary and peaceful. Interaction of any kind with the state is rarely voluntary and always backed by the threat of violence should you resist it’s diktats. There is nothing it does that couldn’t be done better, cheaper and more peacefully by individuals and organisations in the private (productive) sector. Step back and look at what the state really is and who it serves and you may start to question the assumptions commonly made about it.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        Infrastructure and education used to obtain this money needs to be paid for. This fantasy of stealing is just that. Should anyone be allowed to plunder the state? The idea that the gap could be filled by private companies should the state be wound up is your naive fantasy too. No doubt you nice middle class lifestyle and education is entirely down to your families hard work was produced out of thin air. Your lack of reply is telling.

      • Alan Radford
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        A good summary of the Zombie state, Alison.

      • Ajay
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Yes Alison, I always say ‘Welfare is compassion, redistribution is theft!’

        • Bazman
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

          Not if it was redistributed to those who it was stolen from. Who are you the sheriff of Nottingham?

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        The state need to do a few things as they are better done by the state – and some forcible taxation can be justified but 20% of GDP is more than enough. Cameron’s nearly 50% is absurd.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          Where do you get 20% from and what if this is not enough to fund the infrastructure and social care? Here’s your healthcare and roads. Not good enough? To bad? Lets see how you would react to anything that personally effects you Mr 20%? Would it be some sort of special case then for Mr 20%’s only? Ram it.

    • zorro
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      As I have said before, I believe that even the essential public services are being deliberately dumbed down so that they no longer run efficiently. A lot of this is assisted by the quality of education being provided to children to prepare them to enter the market place for jobs. Data control within the public services is often dire. Managers who know nothing about these functions skimp on training and that is why you get embarrassing data flops in HMRC and UKBA. These are functions which need to be done effectively by the state – taxation and regulation of immigration control/border security…..


  2. colliemum
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    I am sure we all can find more examples of how ordinary people are being hemmed in and robbed by the state. The semi-nationalised railways and their exorbitant prices for cattle service is just one of them.

    I am tired of watching the ever increasing take-over of bureaucracy, of regulations and faceless ‘rulers’ whose attitude towards us is one of deepest mistrust if one is a taxpayer, while these same people display a naive belief that people who ‘need’ state support are truthful in their claims.

    I can’t see how this state of affairs can ever be changed – this country has imbued far too much of the bureaucratic attitudes of the continental way of life, which is ‘enhanced’ by our naive belief that rules are rules and must be followed to the last comma – exactly as the top bureaucrats are following the rulz from Brussels to the last comma.

    I can’t see anything that we can do – except to try and keep out of the glare of the bureaucrats for as long and as much as is humanely possible.

    • Chris
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      I agree entirely with your sentiments. Regarding the last paragraph, I think there is hope if we can free ourselves from the stranglehold of the EU bureaucracy and way of thinking, and become independent and free thinking, outward looking to the rest of the world (it is passing us, the EU, by in terms of competitiveness, education, wealth), and enterprising. I believe that is the only way that growth will come to the economy, and that motivation to strive and prosper will once again set in. There is so much waste of talent/resources and built in inertia, due to dumbing down and bureaucracy, that it will be a long hard struggle, but the UK has it within itself to do it. However, as long as we are saddled with the out of date, bureaucratic and inward looking EU we will not prosper.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Erm I think you need to open your eyes a bit more and see that the EU is not really the problem in itself its just another symptom of it. If the UK was out of the EU you would still have a political class that would be fully subscribed to the Davos mindset. Listen to Obamas inaugural speech of yesterday and see how similar it is to Cameron’s view of the world e.g. more gay rights but no prosecutions for the spivs who caused this economic mess, more foreign aid etc

        • zorro
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

          Obama said no more wars after 10 years…..We shall see…….The Western powers are looking for an excuse to interfere in mineral rich Africa and exploit their natural resources – and of course, to counter Chinese influence….


  3. Sue
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I no longer recognise the authority of the British Government. I consider it my duty to stay off grid, to ignore and disrupt their shenanigans as much as possible. You will not deprive me of my God given right to a life of freedom if I can help it and I would gladly go to prison to stand by my principles.

    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!

    And that’s just 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 once convicted or charged.

    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 as far as I’m concerned. We have a Government that has no legitimate mandate to take anymore decisions until THEY HAVE OUR CONSENT on a myriad of laws, treaties and regulations that have mysteriously appeared behind our backs.

    • Single Acts
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Sue, this is remarkable stuff, do you have a source for the comments about the MP’s criminality?

    • APL
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      sue: “71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit ”

      £64,000 per year and they need credit? These people are running the country!!!

      sue: “The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line”

      But they don’t even do that, they have delegated the authority to another layer of government, so what do they do with their spare time ???

      sue: “8 have been arrested for shoplifting,”

    • APL
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      “Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless or corrupt.”

      I wonder what he’d say about India today?

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

      Be assured that my general opinion of MPs is far from positive in most cases, but even so, I have seen this quote doing the rounds for quite some time without seeing the source…….


      You really don’t know how much it hurts me to have said that…….but we can console ourselves with the 2009 investigation into expenses….those shenanigans tells you all you need to know about honourable MPs…..


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

        Can’t be more fair minded than that I think John…..?


  4. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    All that is very true. Cameron was elected in part on the promise to do something about it. In actuality, no bonfire of the QUANGOS, increased legislation through backdoor methods to avoid parliamentary scrutiny, A green power policy which hammers the poorest while well-placed people make vast, undeserved profits in the worst case of institutional cronyism ever seen in the UK, and the continued destruction of the nuclear family started by Labour using regressive taxation and the doubly-damned Homosexual Marriage Act. I have been a Conservative for 45 years but I can no longer vote conservative while Cameron remains in office.

  5. Ruud Lee Awoken
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    This is all correct Mr. R. However as one of the 650 people in any position at all to do something about the increasingly malfunctional state, what do you propose? The rest of us can do nothing if those we elect will not act.

  6. Credible
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    So you don’t think there should be lower speed limits in urban areas or near to schools? So you think we should all park on box junctions? So you don’t want access to bus lanes when there are no busses around? Which road safety rules would you like taken away?
    Personally, I don’t sit and fret about whether I should use my car or not because of views of the state. I don’t think anyone else does either. Driving is expensive, true. But many in this governemnt seem to want to build privately owned roads that we will be charged to use. Do you agree with that?
    The worker is hounded by the taxpayer. But the big corporate organisations get away with paying very little tax which puts an extra burden on the rest of us and this government does nothing, in fact they seem to encourage it apart from a bit of minor scolding to keep the public happy. You actually defend the behaviour of big business in this respect!
    It’s a shame that in a time of hardship and worry for many, people like you, who live very comfortably indeed, feel the need to moan so much.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      There is a lot of money wasted in the name of road safety. The rules road users are required comply with have increased and become less effective. There is too much of the wrong thing and not enough of measures that would make an improvement. But those making the rules show scant understanding of the issues.

      It does not help that the DfT seem, by their actions, to be institutionally biased against the road user and for rail.

      • Chris
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        I believe they (who show scant understanding) may well simply be moving to bring us into line with EU policy e.g. 20 mph in certain urban areas, as part of the harmonisation goal within the EU.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

          I think the “scant understanding” is home grown. Such scant understanding makes it more likely that other peoples initiatives will be copied rather than evaluated on their merits, and adopted appropriately or not. Assuming, of course, the UK has any say in the matter!

      • Bob
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        I think people could bump along together pretty well given half a chance.

        There is a clip on youtube called
        Experiment Town in England turns off traffic lights surprising results

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          I do not understand your point. Is there an underlying subtlety to your use of the word “bump”?

          I think almost all road users do their best to avoid collisions. They are not helped by ineffective so-called road safety measures, nor are they help by measures that would help but are not taken. Some measures implemented in the name of road safety are actually counter-productive.

      • Credible
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Alan, how much is a human life worth?

        • Jon
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          Depends how you measure it, about £40,000 in debt one way or about £70,000 plus in debt if you count up the interest payments over time.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          My point is not about the value of a human life, nor of injuries and material loss arising from collisions on the road. My point is about the best means of minimising such occurrences.

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Credible –
      Do you need 20mph limited after 1600 or 1630 or before 0800 in those school areas. Those are usually the times people can do more than 20mph as parked parents dropping off their children usually slow passing traffic.

      Some of these box junctions have traffic lights set in such a way to catch motorists out and in London you have people overtaking and you move off when your exit is clear and they speed into your gap (have you never had anything like that happen to you?)

      Some of the road safety signs are over done and distract drivers and some simple road engineering could reduce dangerous accidents points better than a sign.

      “people like you… who live very comfortably indeed”, I think that pretty well sums up the point Mr Redwood was making about people who work hard, and in his case represent the people who elected him groans and gripes, getting pilloried for their point of view or for raising issues and are ridiculed for being successful in life. If you want a life like his then get yourself elected to parliament.

      • Credible
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink


        Is it really so much of a problem to drive at 20mph past a school? I’d have thought that childrens’ safety is more important than the slight inconvenience of a local speed retriction.

        I am certainly not ridiculing anyone for being financially successful (which is only one way success can be measured). Sometimes it is the people who have the most that moan the most.

        You seem to assume that everyone who works hard is financially successful – well that is not the case. Many work hard on low pay and struggle to pay the bills. They aren’t very bothered about extra road signs.

        I have experienced bad driving at box junctions. It is exactly that, bad driving – and selfishness. It is not a conspiracy by the state.

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          I see around the schools where I live and those my children attended that the vast majority of people travel much slower than 20mph when there are children around, but not at the weekend and in the evening when there are no children present. Driving at 20mph on an empty road on a Saturday morning and abiding by the regulations in Manchester caused the same people that would be speeding anyway to overtake me and take crazy manoeuvres, so they don’t stop the occasional bad and dangerous driving.
          Perhaps it’s because the people that earn or make the most are constantly being asked to put more and more in to support schemes and projects that aren’t working. Poorer hard working people should be also bothered about how their taxes are spent. If the money saved was used to reduce the tax burden it is the poorest who would see the biggest gain as the percentage saving to them would be greater.
          I know plenty about working hard for low pay. I know many low earners that are bothered by unnecessary road signs. Conspiracy? Do some Councils set traps with expensive fines for drivers in their areas to raise revenues, with roads that people have safely parked on for years suddenly having double yellows and an expensive car park opened up nearby. Poor road planning yes, inadequate time to keep the flow of traffic by poorly timed traffic lights – yes. Unwillingness by the State to sort it out – yes.

    • Graham
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink


      I think you are mistaken if you believe that any tax from corporations would reduce the nurden of taxpayers. It would only be used to increase expenditure – most likely on the foreign and undeserving in our new society – and exacerbate the problem.

      • Credible
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        I could well be naïve about the way the money would be used. Nevertheless big companies should pay the tax they are supposed to, like the rest of use who are honest have to. Judging by previous articles Mr Redwood doesn’t think there is anything wrong with their (legal) tax avoidance though.

  7. Mike Kingscott
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Very true; now, what are you going to do about it? I know what I’ll be doing about it in the next general election, but I don’t see much change before then, and probably not much after.

  8. Alex Roebuck
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    That about sums it up, John. What are we going to do about it?

    The Conservatives used to believe in a small state, but that doesn’t seem to be true any more.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      Indeed a small state is all we need – but Cameron thinks 50% of GDP mainly wasted is just fine?

  9. Tim Hall
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Thanks for articulating so much of what should be obvious to our elected representatives, but apparently, isn’t.
    This Blog rarely fails to produce common sense, and forms a daily reminder of how very useless my own M.P. is

  10. Michael Evans
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Bravo! It is not just “many people” who think this; it is the vast majority of law-abiding members of society. If you work for your living, pay your taxes and save for a future you belong to the new criminal classes. The State knows they are sitting ducks because they can be made to pay. Only politicians, both national and local, fail to understand this as they continue to make life harder and more complex by introducing senseless rules and unfair taxation. Your summary is a first-class assessment of our current situation.

  11. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    “They feel the state is not there for them.”
    It isn’t.
    It is there for the people who live off it. And they form about half the population of this country. I am one of them as an OAP. I get a bit too!
    And then there are the people who run the EU. Read Marta Andreasen who worked there. Look at the clip on Dan Hannan’s blog when M. Verhofstadt speaks. Look at the faces. Draw your own conclusion.

    Mr Redwood: A question.
    When did you personally exchange even a greeting with either Mr Osborne or the Prime Minister? when did you sit down with either of them for a chat over a cup/glass of tea/coffee/beer/wine?

    Reply: I talked to Mr Osborne last week.

    • Single Acts
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink


      Only drink with people you respect.

    • Nicol Sinclair
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: And what, prey was the topic of discussion and what was the result? Zilch, I suspect…

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      I don’t suppose he told you that his borrowing rose last month to £15.4bn from £14.8bn a year earlier, as spending grew faster than income? Or that
      borrowing amounted to £106.5bn in the first nine months of financial year 2012/13, which was 7.3pc up from £99.3bn in the corresponding period in 2011/12? How can you bear to actively support this failure?

    • Jon
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      Interesting, I read today that Mr Osborne is driving through a load more cuts.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink

      Did you mention the “moral repugnance” of “tax, borrow and waste” and how much more moral it is to leave the money with those who earn it and clearly spend it so much better than he does? Did you ask whey the IHT threshold increase he promised to £1M will arrive?

      Is he please with his borrowing figures?

  12. mike
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Whilst financial and regulatory constraints come into it I think the primary area in which people feel threatened by the state is their own personal freedoms.

    Specifically freedom of speech and privacy.

    I think many are affronted not by immigration itself, there is a widespread admiration for the hardworking chaps and chapesses who travel to work here, but by the attempt to close down any debate on immigration by constantly attempting to paint any complaints as racist, bigoted or xenophobic. It is also widely believed that the police are not even handed when dealing with matters relating to free speech.

    As far as privacy goes I doubt you could find anyone in the country who trusts the government to snoop on their communications or internet use, yet laws continued to be pressed for and implemented.

    Going back to free speech the common attitude is that their own personal freedoms have been subsumed in an act of coercion to prevent debate. The people have no choice, complain and be branded or shut and and simper.

    It is this, applied across many areas, which UKIP feeds on. A fundamentally libertarian party which distrusts and rejects coercion by the state, or it’s supranational masters.

    Frankly the main parties see coercion in this form as ‘good governance’, it is ingrained and instinctive, both with regard to the electorate and their own MPs. Particularly bad however with our present tories who add arrogance and willful ignorance to the act.

    I suspect you will find that the plebs have had enough.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Well put. We are not racists.

      We see the madness of (inviting in-ed) people to do unskilled work while so many are idle. The failure to give our young useful apprenticeships and the chance to earn decent incomes.

  13. Gary
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    The state is the biggest threat to lives and livelihood. The state is a violent looting machine, and one day, when we are civilized, we will dispense with it.

    • David Jarman
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Here, Here!

    • Vanessa
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Oh, I wish !!!

    • Jon
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      A double entendre.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    ‘Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.’ – Ronald Reagan
    Some of us thought that if we elected the Conservatives then we would have a government that would sort out the economy and believed in a smaller state. How wrong we were. Please don’t tell me you are in coalition, I am aware of that. I am also aware that Cameron instigated a the coalition and shows himself to be much happier with your Lib Dem coalition partners than with most of his parliamentary party and the millions of erstwhile Conservative voters.

  15. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    People encouraged by the State to invest in a private pension scheme under one set of rules find the rules changed and not in a position to move their money elsewhere. Labour started the rot, but as other parties acquiesced it is indeed “the State” that is to be feared.

    • Bob
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      “it is indeed “the State” that is to be feared.”
      it is indeed “the State” that is to be feared. not to be trusted.

      • Bob
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        “Fear defeats more men than any other one thing in the world”
        Ralph Waldo Emerson

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        It the state is threatening the citizen (the theme of the of this blog) then the citizen is consequentially fearful of the state.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Alan Wheatley ,

      State workers and MP’s will never have to face the choice of investing money themselves or entrusting a fund manager to do it .

      Instead the state has decided to make many (but not all) of it’s workers a special case and insulate them from the difficulties faced by ordinary people .

      If this was not bad enough the same people make laws and decisions about these areas which affect ordinary peoples lives but not those who work for the state .

      It’s not surprising that MP’s and civil servants decisions are frequently suspect when they have no skin in the game .

      Just look at Gordon Brown announcing his intentions to sell the nations gold and also Osborne who thinks the AIM market needs steroids when anyone who has invested in AIM shares themselves knows corruption is rife and that it needs to clean it’s act up .

      It’s ignorance born out of being cossetted .

      Another consequence of making state vocational pensions so generous is that the state primary pension has to be made pitiful .

    • Jon
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      Me thinks you must have done pretty well out of it then.

  16. English Pensioner
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I have friends who run a small family business, Husband, wife, son and a couple of part time employees.
    The wife does all the paperwork, accounts, etc. She tells me that she spends about 4 days a week dealing with officialdon and its paperwork – tax, VAT, local council officials, pensions, health & safety, etc. She receives a heap of government leaflets every day, all of which have to be read in case they affect the business, even though most don’t. That leaves one day a week to deal with suppliers and the real business needs, accounts, etc.
    The officialdom load is a totally disproportionate of the business overheads and as a result it is likely that the business will close when the older generation decide to retire.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      ‘The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ – Ronald Reagan.

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Absoulutely correct Brian. Where is our Reagan equivalent?
        We seem to have an unhealthy number of Obama copycats damaging this country!

    • Jon
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      If you were a regulator would you want the job of regulating 50,000 firms or just say 5 big ones with lots of money to take from?

      The last thing a regulator wants is some little delinquent thinking they can enter a market because they have a business idea, that would create an extra file and a complication to the regulations.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        If you were a regulator you’d want the 50,000 firms to justify hiring more regulators. You don’t need a lot of staff to monitor 5 big firms.

        • Jon
          Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          I accept the logic to your thinking but the reality here and abroad with regulators is the opposite. That doesn’t stop them creating large empires even though they work to reduce new entrants and market participants. They don’t want the small business. I heard on a select committee meeting that just to put a new bank proposal to the FSA would cost a minimum of near £1m to write the documents.

  17. David Jarman
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Completely agree!

  18. Bob
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you have described the problem to a tee.

    As an example, there was a burst water mains pipe at Waterworks Corner on the A406 this morning causing a huge traffic problem in the local area.

    The local authority placed a camera car strategically in a position to catch motorists trying to escape the tailbacks by turning right on a junction with a rush hour “no right turn” rule, which is designed to improve the traffic flow on a normal day.

    Local residents just drove further along and U turned back to avoid being fined, but unwary drivers from outside of the area will no doubt be fined for using their common sense.

    If the LA thought it so crucial to prevent people making the manoeuvre they could have positioned a traffic warden there to direct the cars appropriately rather than waiting for them to turn and then fining them for doing so. It’s obvious that it’s about the money and serves no other useful purpose.

    This is the kind of thing a competent government would stamp on, but then we do not have a competent government, do we?

    • JimS
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Near me is an exit junction from a dual-carriageway that has existed for around 60 years. The highway authority recently added a new junction further along the dual-carriageway.

      Drivers taking the original route now find that around the blind bend there are new signs that prohibit right-turns as that movement ‘should’ now use the new junction.

      Unfortunately there are no signs indicating the new arrangements so drivers not familiar with the area, relying on SatNav or earlier journeys, have no reason to know about the new junction and cannot see the new restriction until it is too late. As a result about 50% of the turns here are illegal and some of those doing the ‘right’ thing can be seen making U or three-point turns further up the road.

      The highway authority’s response on being told this? “It is a policing matter.”

    • Acorn
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps a better question Bob would be, why do they hate us so much, to do such things. Freud defined hate as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness. The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines hate as a “deep, enduring, intense emotion expressing animosity, anger, and hostility towards a person, group, or object.” Because hatred is believed to be long-lasting, many psychologists consider it to be more of an attitude or disposition than a temporary emotional state. [WIKI]

      Remember that old joke about a plane-load of Poms landing at Botany Bay? “The engines are switched off but you can still hear the whining.” A one liner that is apparently still used in the EU Commission for the UK.

  19. Alte Fritz
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    This post is quite right because the state serves itself; a little like most large corporations which serve the interests of their employees rather than the shareholders, the state cares nothing for the public.

    Public respect for public institutions is much eroded as those institutions shed their legitimacy.

  20. rick hamilton
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood.

    You are telling us what we know already. We are sick of this state of affairs.

    A lot of people blame it on the EU but I suspect the source of it is Whitehall. My parents’ generation who endured WW2 would have laughed at the pathetic box-ticking jobsworths who now order us around without courtesy or good humour.

    You are an MP, representing voters who probably agree with every word you have written. Is there nothing you can do about it but complain on your blog?

  21. Acorn
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Would you say that the comments on this site are basically from the middle class? Assume they are.

    I think the state machine is gradually killing us off. Our share of the gross national income is gradually dropping as more and more of the nations GNI goes to profits and benefits and away from salaries and wages. The middle class are the ones who basically create the demand for goods and services in the economy. The problem is the middle class have stopped doing it; hence the economy contracts, investment in production stops because producers can’t see those middle class customers coming.

    I came across this in the IHT last week. Yes it is from the left side of macroeconomics, but all the stuff I read on the right side is the same old same old, which the last five years has proved not to work. In fact it may have proved that the 1% can fool the 99% for 100% of the time. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/19/inequality-is-holding-back-the-recovery/#more-139023 .

  22. Mark B
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I believe we are moving from a free market economy to a Keynesian style command economy.

    There will be no place for SME’s, just large, partly subsidized, corporates and state run monopolies.

    To get access, we will either have to pay through the nose, or be heavily means tested.

    All wealth, and the means of creating wealth outside the state/corporate monopolies will be taken through taxation and other means such as quantitative easing.

    Access to such services will be controlled, rationed and given only to those that the ‘system’ deem worthy.

    Welcome to a New Euro-topia.

    Please abandon all hope upon entering.

    Thank you.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    This is all very true. The fact is that the role of the state has expanded from the provision of protection from external threats to that of a domineering nanny. This “Do this!” or “Don`t do that!” approach by the organs of government, or those funded by it, has succeeded in infantilising much of the electorate who expect the state to provide for their every need. Indeed some believe they are their “rights”, and encouraged to think this way by politicians seeking re-election. It is unsustainable because it is unaffordable.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      As a supplement to my comment, Allister Heath comments this am that US 30 year bonds have lost 16% of their value in the past six months alone. The big risk is that this presages a collapse in the government debt market – causing wealth destruction on a massive scale. It will affect everyone because so many banks and insurance companies are compelled, by law, to hold such bonds by their governments. If these worst fears are realised it will make the Madoff scam look like a chicken feed operation.

  24. PlumedHat
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    The taxation system has lost its noble purpose and become a mechanism by which one half of the population steals from the other half.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:08 am | Permalink

      Pretty much right.

  25. Roger Farmer
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I would advise anyone with a useful qualification, and particularly the newly graduated to get out of the UK and join a more forward thinking culture where talent is appreciated and rewarded.
    The UK has placed itself on a path to self destruction by:-
    Failing to educate it’s intelligence base, prefering to make it a political football.
    Overtaxing those with enterprise so that a client state can be bought.
    Theft of pensions by both the industry and government.
    (Inviting in many migrants from overseas -ed).
    Taking us into a corrupt, undemocratic, totalitarian Europe against our will.
    Treating our retired countrymen like rubbish while spreading largesse around a corrupt world.
    Creating an over regulated state that impinges on every action a citizen may wish to undertake. This done not to improve the life of the citizen but largely to further extract income from him or her to further ever more profligate spending.
    Allowing Members of Parliament financially advantageous arrangements not open to the population as a whole. They vote their own pay rises, pensions and expense arrangements.(ed – IPSA, an independent body, decides these things)
    Their gravy train is only overshadowed by that of Brussels.
    One could go on and on. If you have a profession or useful skill, get out before it is made illegal by this ever failing grasping state.

    • Roger Farmer
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      I got the impression that your dear conservative Speaker had just emasculated IPSA, and even in their original state, did they remove the privileges already created. I think not. Camerons’ short war on trusts came to an abrupt end and silence when he realised that most of his front bench probably enjoyed such arrangements.
      Istill maintain that many imigrants are totally alien to the British way of life.

  26. David John Wilson
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    There are many journeys that can be made using public transport outside the metropolitan areas. The availability would also improve if more use was made of what is already available.

    For example for those living within a mile of Wokingham station it is cheaper once parking costs are taken into account and often quicker to take the train to Reading that to go by car.

  27. mike
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    On another note, and off topic, something that I have alluded to before..

    Prince Harry’s comments about being an Apache helicopter gunner being similar to playing a computer game could possibly be the best recruitment message the Taliban could have hoped for.

    Having experience as an infantry private in Afghanistan I have always been uneasy about the use of sophisticated weapons such as the Apache. Almost immune to the weapons fielded by the Taliban and similar to weapons used indiscriminately by the Soviets they represent technological dominance in a country whose sense of pride and bravery stem from facing up to massive odds.

    His comments are indeed naive and unhelpful.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      One does not have a great knowledge of Afghan politics, but lets as our American friends say. Get. It. On.. Gosh!

    • zorro
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      I have to admit that his comments churned my stomach….


    • APL
      Posted January 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      mike: “Prince Harry’s comments about being an Apache helicopter gunner being similar to playing a computer game .. ”

      He is right, it’s not as if he is stumbling around in the dark with the potential to find himself at any moment in hand to hand mortal combat.

      mike: “could possibly be the best recruitment message the Taliban could have hoped for.”

      We are (rightly or wrongly) engaged in a war, the job of our armed forces is to (use force when needed at least risk to our armed forces?-ed).

  28. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Too true: however this article feels incomplete. What is the solution so that the state can roll back much of what it provides while actually providing sufficient?

    Personally I advocate pay as you go with the amount to be paid determined by wage band.

    ie If I want to access a school for my children I would pay for their education an amount based upon my income in the previous financial year. I suspect I wouls be in band e of 8 bands. Similarly I would also pay for healthcare.

    Police and defence could be paid for from my much reduced income tax and pensions from my reduced NI contributions.

    Road and rail would be maintained from direct taxes upon use.

    The safety net (based upon true disability or the amount paid in) would be provided by increased corporation tax as would universities and the balance of the education budget.

    In my world corporations would bear more of the cost of the infrastructure provided for them to do business within, possibly with a non-reclaimable sales tax for transactions not involving the end user.

    All government departments could be much reduced or abolished and we wouls not need as many legislators or the infrastructure to support them.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Still awaiting moderation the following morning?

      Not that contentious surely

  29. forthurst
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Many feel threatened by the state because they are fully aware of how the power of the state has been used to advance the interests of some uniquely selfish and self-absorbed people against those of the decent majority.

    How can we trust the state when we know the government deliberately loosened border conrols to make us more vibrant and multicultural, in order to spite the English, and of course artificially increase the proportion of leftwing voters? How can we trust the state when a succeeding government fails to turn off the tap?

    How can we trust the government when it must have been known that with the accession of the ex-Bolshevik Empire to the EU, there would be a considerable pull to access our superior benefits system? How can we trust the government when they are squabbling over how many Bulgarians or Romanians might come here but not how they might control the migration?

    How can we trust the state when we find ourselves continuously embroiled in foreign adventures when there is never any credible evidence given for why the states we attack were a threat to us? Why are we fighting an enemy, al Qaeda, which has no credible existence?

    How can we trust the state when it has deliberately destroyed the free grammar schools, with selection on merit, whilst ensuring that the childen of banksters can enjoy a superlative private education, but only if they can pass the entrance examinations?

    How can we trust the state whose monopoly health care system is unwilling or unable to ensure that all those that practice in it can perform up to the highest standards of professional excellence?

    How can we trust the police when we know they have deliberately reduced the entry requirements in order to accomodate more from minorities?

    Is there a future for this country with a continuence of the Lib/Lab/Con rule that has so far achieved the subjugation of this country to a spurious foreign power whilst destroying a cultural identity that has exists for hundreds if not thousands of years?

  30. Martin
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Of course we also have UKBA that stops Chinese visitors or foreign students getting into Britain without a complex paper chase. Not nice for folk who work in the Hotel Industry or Universities.

  31. David Saunders
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    JR’s speech should be condensed to form the next Conservative manifesto. It has much resonance with voters.

  32. Bernard Juby
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    People expect the State to secure the defense of the Realm, to keep law & order and to provide some sort of safety-net for the weak. For this they don’t mind paying tax.
    When they see the profligate dishing out of their hard-earned and over-taxed money to unworthy causes then they object.
    Just do what they are supposed to do and remove the waste and people would start to respect politicians again.
    Assuming that they are “worth” £20,000 a year more just goes to show how much MPs have lost touch with the electorate.

  33. Stephen Southworth
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    When you marked the cross against a Conservative candidate, you always knew what you were voting for was essentially a vote for “small government” as opposed to “big government”. In modern times, it seems that however we vote for, we get “big government” and this trend continues with a big government “you will have gay marriage”, big government interfering via the EU rules and regulations, and big government being maintained rather than reduced (where was that bonfire of the quangos again?).

    Can you give any hope that any of this big government can be tackled rather than just fiddling at the margins?

  34. Stirling English
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    You mustn’t forget local government and their role in harrasing the blameless citizen.

    Some time back – I think it may be about the time when Town Clerks miraculously became ‘Chief Execs’, and Councillors became ‘Cabinet Members’, the councils stopped seeing themselves as being providers of services to their residents and started believing that their mission was to make us all ‘good’ And that the way to achieve this was to punish us all for transgressions of their ever more stringent rules – parking, recycling, planning. Or even for having the wrong lifestyle or politics or beliefs – remember the Rotherham UKIP furore? Or the Sunderland metrication fiasco?

    Maybe it is just a throwback to their origins as ‘vestries’ of the parish church, but we need to find a way to get them back to emptying the bins, sweeping the streets and keeping the place going without treating all their residents as mortal enemies deserving eternal chastisement.

  35. Tad Davison
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Interesting comment from the Labour MP, ‘Where is the work?’

    Plenty of Eastern Europeans seem to find jobs. Perhaps we need to look back at Britain’s education policy, which failed to equip our young people with the skills and work ethic our employers need. And just wait until next year when another of Labours chickens come home to roost with over 30 million more given the right of residency in the UK, thanks to their infamous and inane open doors policy!

    Which ever way we look at Labour policy, especially where it relates to the economy, taxation, Europe, law and order, health, and a host of others, we can sum it up with just two words, ‘dishonest’ and ‘incompetent’.

    It suited Labour to inherit a bouyant economy, because it gave them licence to go on an unfettered spending spree to comply with their now discredited doctrine. Best the present government does all those things the people are calling for, and thus prevent Labour getting anywhere near power ever again. And of course, that means devorcing ourselves from that constant millstone, the EU.

    I see on open Europe this morning, that in five years time, the European market will only be 60% of what it was in 1990. Clearly then, the EU is a diminishing market so Britain’s future lies elsewhere, and I hope Mr Cameron takes heed of that projection when he makes his long anticipated speech.

    Tad Davison


    • uanime5
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Many Eastern Europeans have the skills because companies in their country are willing to train their employees, unlike companies in the UK which expect everyone to automatically have the skills of someone who had done the job for 3 years.

      The EU is diminishing due to the industrialisation of many countries that in the 1990’s were developing countries. The problem isn’t that the EU is declining but that everyone else is catching up.

  36. Muddyman
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    We now have a chat line running around which states that there is a movement afoot to instigate civil unrest. This is, it seems , under the control of the Common Purpose organisation (which we subsidise). The aim is it seems, to use such unrest as a means to initiate clampdown measures on the general public.
    Anyone else heard this ?.

    • zorro
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Some of these ideas tend to be pejoratively dismissed as ‘conspiracy theories’…. However, it is important to look at what is happening…..What type of people are now leading these critical public services? Are they leading successful organisations, or do they continue to bring continual never ending change which never achieves better service but rather disorientates the core aims of the organisations. Why do these people get appointed when they have often failed elsewhere and have no background whatsoever in the organisations they aspire to lead? Are they members of Common Purpose? A lot of dedicated and experienced employees are thoroughly perplexed at the continual change which always seems to weaken performance.


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

        There are a lot of people in the USA who worry about the massive increase in Executive Order use by the President, the unconstitutional wars, the Patriot Act, the never ending ‘War on Terror’, the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), the massive debauching of the currency, the massive increase in defence spending and building of FEMA institutions, the attempts to chip away at the 2nd Amendment, and attempts to chip away at the 1st Amendment….the list goes on……


  37. Atlas
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Yes John, your critique is on the nail. It is pity that MPs are so in the thrall of the PM’s patronage that they don’t rock the boat.

  38. uanime5
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    There are very complex rules on how and where to park, how much to pay for parking, how to display tickets, how to proceded in a box junction, endlessly varying speed limits in apparently similar conditions, varying rules on access to bus lanes.

    – You park in the marked bays (parking spaces).
    – You pay based on how long you’ve been parked.
    – The signs in the car park say where to display your ticket (usually the windscreen or the dashboard).
    – You don’t enter a box junction unless you exit is clear.
    – The signs tell you what the speed limits are (they’re usually lower in residential areas).
    – Don’t drive in a bus lane unless you’re driving a bus.

    Not that complex really.

    more and more people are dragged into the 40% tax band

    That was done by the Conservatives so that most people wouldn’t benefit from the Lib Dems’ rise in personal allowances.

    whilst anyone who dares to earn a six figure salary is regularly pilloried by politicians and required to pay more one way or another.

    Well you are earning about 10 times the salary of someone on minimum wage and nearly 4 times the average wage.

    Their attention is often diverted from their customers and managing their output and sales, to managing a wide range of matters that the state thinks are more important.

    Such as employee rights, employee working conditions, and ensuring that these products are safe for their customers to use. Just because something prevents companies from making more money doesn’t make it wrong.

    In other news the growth figures from the last quarter of 2012 are going to be announced on Friday and are expected to be negative. If the growth for the first quarter of this year is also negative then the UK will enter a triple dip recession. The likely outcome of this is a downgrading of the UK’s credit ratings and higher borrowing costs.


    Reply Some bus lanes have variable hours of operation, many car parks do not make clear if they are free on Bank holidays as well as Sundays, some on street parking do not define hours and days of availability thoroughly, you may follow a moving vehicle in to a box junction only to find the person in front stops without warning or reason, built up areas have 20, 30 and 40 mph speed limits with no great logic to which and where etc etc

    • Auror
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      “Well you are earning about 10 times the salary of someone on minimum wage and nearly 4 times the average wage.”

      I don’t think that gives the government the right to attack or pillory anyone. The only reason the government should act against people is if they are denying the freedom of others. I don’t think any other reason is acceptable. At any rate, given that some of these people provide employment and produce goods and services, it is not sensible to attack a group that overall makes a very big positive contribution to the country.

      “Such as employee rights, employee working conditions, and ensuring that these products are safe for their customers to use. ”

      I think the emphasis in JR’s statement falls on the ‘often’. Sure these things are important, but its not clear that the current level of regulation and bureaucracy actually improves matters. The real beneficiaries may well be lawyers, accountants, and compliance officers, when it should be workers who actually produce goods and services.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        What happens if those who earn high salaries do so by paying their employees low salaries? Are those people really making a positive contribution to the economy by keeping wages low to ensure their wages remain high?

        • Auror
          Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          Suppose some do? Does this still make it productive overall to pillory the wealthy, when the rest do contribute positively to society?

          Trying to under-pay people (below what is on offer elsewhere) is just plain stupid. You deserve it when your business suffers. There are good incentives to pay the market rate. Furthermore, I think this is a problem that has been getting better, e.g. shareholder’s rejecting corporate renumeration reports in the last 2 years and trends in the pay of US CEOs (Kaplan’s study).

          Granted, there are folks who may suffer from low wages. This is probably because there too many people going for those jobs. Therefore, the real answer to this has to be education and skills, so that people can get on and not get stuck in a low paid job. I can’t see punishing the rich as helping much there.

    • Credible
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      You are a clever man. I can’t believe you struggle so much with these things.

    • Adam5x5
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      whilst anyone who dares to earn a six figure salary is regularly pilloried by politicians and required to pay more one way or another.

      Well you are earning about 10 times the salary of someone on minimum wage and nearly 4 times the average wage.

      And this is bad because?

      What is wrong with giving large renumerations to people who work hard and have high stress jobs?

      • uanime5
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Well often these people don’t work hard or have high stress jobs. I doubt many people earning 10 times the salary of someone on minimum wage work 10 times as hard.

        • Edward
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Its not about hard work any more uni, its about the scarcity of your skills and how much added value you can input into the business that defines the pay rate for the job.
          If you think you are paid too little, then apply for a job that pays more or develop a skill that is as highly rewarded as you think you are worth.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:12 am | Permalink

      To reply the “great logic” is clearly to intentionally mug people by tricking them with the complexity and ambiguity of the system.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      I went on a speed awareness course last year. 89 in a 70 since you ask. Suzuki Hayabusa on a dead straight road in Norfolk. Could have been much worse. The speed limits are if not obvious to most who have forgot their highway code, quite straightforward in any British road situation, with or without sign posts or road markings. Ignorance is no defence in the law John as you well know. Mine was not ignorance just unlucky and lucky that I saw the speed camera van in time.

  39. Vanessa
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I agree. But that is exactly as the EU likes it. So many rules and regulations that because none of us know all the regulations we must obey we inevitably break some and so are fined.
    In the olden days there were so few laws (which we all knew about) and so if you wanted to do something and knew about a law getting in the way you used your nous and moved around it – making for a very innovative and creative people.
    Now, unless there IS a law you cannot do it, whereas in the olden days you could do anything unless there was a law forbidding it.
    EU-speak for control and keeping us in ignorance and victimising us all so we think we cannot do without the E f……ing U.

  40. Barbara
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Its obvious we can’t do without the state and it can’t do without us. We are combined as citizens, and we have to have a ‘state’ to fuction in the world. The state has to be paid for, and that’s by its citizens. We have created a state where, those who are less well off are supported by those who are well blessed. Many, are not happy with this, and we must look to other countries to see how this system operates. The USA gives only minor support to those out of work, for a short time only. What do we see? People living in tents, through all weather, children included. Getting food stamps or old food no one wants. Is this really what we want to come down to? While the rich or those in good jobs shout, ‘why should we help them, not our problem’, poor people die of cold and lack of proper housing etc. NO this is not the way a modern country should operate, a moderately rich one, although we have debts. The debts not run up by the poor, but the rich from greed, and bad management. However, we all have to take responsiblity for our own country, and we are, by taking the cuts where they hit with compassion and understanding. Bullying, and hard talk, solves nothing. Until the bullies themselves are thrown onto the same pile. Good management is what we need, sensible policies, and it’s whom we elect, and trust to give us that which as been our problem. To much time spent on foreign wars, foreign aid, foreign shores, and ignoring our own. If we alliminated all these we would have plenty to feed and keep for our own. Benefits should therefore be for British citizens only who have paid NI for at least 10 years, including use of our NHS. Getting MPs to realise this is our beggest problem

  41. Bazman
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Where does allowing companies to have monopolistic powers to impose taxes on the population by price of services they can not do without or find elsewhere to artificially boost profits and pay for an elite at the expanse the many. Transport, supermarkets, fuel, utilities, banking and other agents for communism for the rich. Where does this fit in?

    • Edward
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Where does it fit in Baz?
      Well it fits in to a UK and EU political model of making life difficult for the the self employed and the small businesses and making life easier for the PLC’s, the multi national corporations and as a by product increasing the powers of the monopolies.
      It is wierd that we have an growing alliance of left wingers and mulit national big business who are in favour of this continuing.
      Once they were enemies now they are working together to reduce the voice of the citizen.

    • Adam5x5
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Transport, supermarkets, fuel, utilities, banking

      All these are open to competition (with the exception of water).

      • Bazman
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Then why are they private companies and where are the profits going whilst they practice? Over to you John.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Have you been to the main supermarkets lately? The prices are identical on many products, so what competition will that be then? There is none. The prices of everything and I mean everything is high, even the discount supermarkets are getting expensive.

  42. James Stanfield
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Is this a wind-up? Too much whining going on here. Not sure whether the Reagan legacy has much to recommend it – isn’t it his free market deregulation that has created this mess? Don’t forget if you don’t like it you are free to leave the country.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Reagan gave billions in tax cuts for the rich costing America a fortune and what did they get in return?

    • Edward
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      James, you dont need to encourage people to leave if they dont like it, because several million young professional people have been doing just that over the last few years and leaving for better opportunities in other countries in record numbers.
      Another reason tax take is reducing.

  43. A different Simon
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    People who have dogmatic ideological opposition to the concept of the state or a welfare state are incapable of reforming it .

    They would only end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater .

    I.D.S. has tried with sensitivity to push through proper reforms including raising the state pension to £7,000 and instead of being supported by his colleagues Osborne in the treasury and Cameron as PM try to knife him in the back and replace him with a stooge .

    When campaigning for a new relationship with the EU or exiting , the Conservative party made the politically suicidal decision to make “reduction of Employment Rights” the cornerstone of it’s campaign .

    This action in a stroke managed to i) falsely associate the UK with a race to the bottom ii) alienate a large proportion of the UK who were no fans of the EU iii) hand those shysters in Brussels the high ground on “rights” on a plate .

    The Conservatives chose to define the debate to their maximum disadvantage and do a massive dis-service to those of us who want out of the EU .

    The only way of winning a debate on EU membership is to tell people the truth , which is that they have to decide whether they want to be part of a united states of europe or whether they want England , Scotland and Wales to continue to exist .

  44. Chris Sheldrake
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    We all know this is at the heart of our problems in the UK

    So why is Cameron doing nothing about it ?

    He needs to start by taking a whip hand to the Civil Service.

    Recent articles such as the one in the Times have highlighted the problems. It’s clear that nothing has really changed since the General Election because the same people are implementing their idea of what the country needs and doing every thing they can to thwart any reforms suggested by the Government.

    Why hasn’t he appointed a new Head of the Home Civil Service and some key (no-longer-Permanent ) Secretaries from Industry ?

    The dead hands of Whitehall are grinding Ministers down to a standstill.

  45. Roger Farmer
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    When do you intend publishing my comment that awaits moderation from 11.24 this morning.

  46. Alan Radford
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    There is an unspoken complicity between the State and state beneficiaries (people who receive benefits incudes all state employees) – one pays the other in return for a vote for more of the same. Neither contribute to the productive economy, they merely suck it’s blood. This cancerous phenomenon has allowed O’Bama to be re-elected in the US, and Hollande in France. In two years time the Great British Public will probably elect to stay in the EU and choose a Labour prime minister. Until there is a really proper bust, with the government reneging on pensions and PFI contracts, the beast will not be tamed, let alone slain.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Obama was re-elected because his opponent Mitt Romney claimed that he would reduce the deficit while cutting taxes and increasing spending on the military. He also told people to vote on him based on his economic policy, even though it had no chance of working.

      Though there were other reasons the Republicans were simply not able to offer a credible alternative to Obama’s economic plans.

  47. Jon
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    I particularly liked the second to last paragraph. The cost of regulation is too much and its from people who don’t maintain the standards themselves. They aren’t even qualified or look to achieve those qualifications they set for the industry they regulate.
    They disown responsibility for the direction of a market but through their actions direct the market such as the move to replace asset backed lending to derivatives for the banks.
    A fine etched into my memory was one of near £1m for a genuine loss and subsequent recovery of a laptop yet the FSA lost 41 laptops and blackberries with sensitive information contained on them in 3 years. Its like a zoo keeper being regulated by the inhabitants of the ape house.

    • Jon
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      To get an idea of the direction the state chose to travel

      1991 number of people in occupational pensions
      6.5 million private sector funded
      4.2 public sector largely unfunded

      2.9 million private sector funded
      5.3 million public sector largely unfunded

      1993 personal debt
      £400 million
      Nov 2004 personal debt
      £1,050 million
      Nov 2012
      £1420 million

      For the youngsters they need to add university fees, higher house (flat) price debt ageing population costs.

      Cuts, bring them on there haven’t been enough.

  48. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    ‘Many feel threatened by the state’

    – Police being cut

    – Army being cut

    – Prisons being cut

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      They train elephant calfs by tying them to trees.

      Grown elephants are so conditioned as to be restrained simply by tying them to saplings.

      A weak state that oversteps its powers loses the obedience of its people once they grow tired of its abuses.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        How do they stop the elephant accidentally breaking the sapling?

  49. Adam5x5
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    The large state becomes ever larger as it becomes convinced of its’ own necessity.

    This is especially true when the state traps people onto welfare and offers large amounts in benefits.
    People then come to expect these and complain when they go down or are taken away. Politicians then promise more and more to try and outdo each other to get elected. People then lose their self-reliance as the state does everything for them.

    The end result is where we are headed, with a population unwilling to do any work, expecting to be supported by a state which cannot fund itself. It will all collapse.

    Often it appears that unworkable requirements have been introduced just to increase the fines revenue.

    This is exactly why the councils do this. Fines rise, rules are increasingly complex, enforcement increasingly stringent. All to plug the gap left in their unnecessary spending by cuts by central government. Some councils are now seeking to enforce other motoring infractions to get more revenue.

    The government also does this – see the war on the motorist – “green” cars with low emissions were taxed less to encourage people to buy them, which they did. Then the government decides to put the tax up as they’re not getting as much in as they want.
    The government (local and national) should stay out of people’s lives as much as possible.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      The state is necessary as the weakest in the population would be left behind without it and as this is not acceptable in modern society what do you propose. Also companies without the state could not provide the infrastructure/education or the jobs required and would further plunder what they could and when they could. What can we get away with. For how long and what would be the penalty is the maxim for many. This idea that if you took away welfare the poor would be helped is right wing fantasy and should not go unchecked. Much of the welfare is paid to working people as the companies cannot or refuse to pay living wages due to the pool of unemployed which would be much bigger without the state. Pub/golf club fantasy. Ram it.

  50. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Many of us voted Tory to reverse this trend, but it has become far worse not better. Why would we vote Tory again, we have been badly let down by Mr Cameron who is far more of a Liberal than a Tory.

  51. They Work for Us
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Should we not feel inspired by the Republicans steadfastly resisting Obama’s attempts to build a larger and more socialist state? and should we envy their democracy of checks and balances that stop an elected leader from doing just what he wants with our heritage, assets and the general make up of our country.

    Our “leaders” are after all temporary and transient custodians of the realm, not its personal owners and need to be continually so reminded so.

  52. Paul H
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the timeless wisdom of these words from the Old Testament (except that the “tenth” is now looking hopelessly optimistic):

    1 Samuel 8:10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, ‘This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: he will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plough his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

  53. Derek Emery
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    The public are powerless except every 5 years or so when there is a General Election. Does the Coalition expect to be voted in again with policies that increase the pain for average members of the public who are paying more tax and face increasing personal debt due to the poor prospects in the private sector where the majority work?

    Reply: I do not think the Coalition will be runnign any candidates in the next election, so the answer is “No”. Conservatives will offer solutions we favour, seeking a majority.

  54. cheap christian
    Posted March 9, 2013 at 3:19 am | Permalink

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    articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. But think about if you added some great photos or videos to give your posts more,
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    Reply The blog does include videos where I am filmed making a speech. Look under speeches.

  • 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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