Rejoice – the rich are getting poorer!

    Alastair Heath has recently drawn attention to the collapse in net income of the top earners in the UK under the Coalition. The top 1% took home 11.2% of the nation’s net income under unequal Labour in 2009-10, and a much lower 7% this year under the much more equal Coalition. This fall goes all the way down through the top half of earners. The top 50% received  75% of total net income in 2009-10, and only 60% this year. Meanwhile the bottom half receives a bigger share of the income than at any time this century.

          All those who wanted a more equal society should rejoice. Indeed, they should be voting for Coalition parties out of gratitude. The Coalition has done something Labour was quite unable to do during its period in office, when the UK became less equal.

          Not everyone, however, is rejoicing. Getting inequality down by moving rich people offshore or out of the country altogether is no great success. It is easy making the top half of earners worse off, but doing so does not help the economy to improve, grow, change for the better. We need economic growth to raise all living standards. We need more jobs to rauise the living standards of those currently living on benefits.

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  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    I like the tone of this article.
    The rich are in it to win it. If you change the rules, they will still win. And so will the people who they live and work with.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Indeed if you transfer wealth from those who make it, invest and use it well, to the feckless and those who drink, inject or waste it hand over fist, like the government – how will it make the country richer?

      • Disaffected
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Not everyone is becoming poorer. Think of the green windfarm drivel it provides politicians and their extended family a fortune- even at the expense of those in fuel poverty and the elderly who worry where the money is going to come from.

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          True much of government is about controlling the tap flowing with mu taxpayer’s money and diverting it to family and friends of the powerful. As we see clearly both in the EU, Westminster, the regions and local levels even in the NHS.

      • Alte Fritz
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        So there are no rich kids who are feckless drug crazed drunkards?

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          Certainly there are – but those who have made money and kept it are surely rather less likely to be alcoholics, wasteful or drug addicts as it might have impeded them somewhat in acquiring the wealth.

        • Disaffected
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          Cameron is probably best positioned to answer your question. As are his friends in the Bullingdon Club.

        • bigneil
          Posted February 8, 2013 at 1:37 am | Permalink

          – -what about the millionaire celebrities who “disappear” for a few month at a time – in the clinic having treatment – -they can afford expensive lawyers to try and keep it out of the public eye!

      • Wilko
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        Financial wealth is solely one dimension of better living standards. Some citizens lack monetary value, yet their lives are imbued with a wealth of high standards. Good manners, honesty, wisdom, fitness, altruism and cleanliness are among many more.

        Most of the finest things in life are freely available. Money can help. Some people waste. Others may overvalue its importance. Price see-sawing on the ability to accept or reject it, balances a beautifully simple pivot, empowering everyone who is presented with a choice, to control. However, from money’s own fickle point of view, filthy rich people and ugly fraudsters can be more attractive than the deserving.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Ah Yes, done at a stroke by increasing benefits by 5.2% tax free, whilst huge numbers are on a pay freeze or have taken a significant pay cut.

    Assume the figures you have are for this same period.

    Thus to improve the situation further, just raise benefits again, simples !.

    No matter that because those who are paying high levels of tax are deciding not to work too hard because it is not worth it any more, or have decided that pastures anew have rather better options, just increase the borrowing and debt, as has been done so far to pay for it all.
    Then print some more money, so the debt is devalued, no matter that it screws savers and annuity rates in the process.

    Time for the long grass to be cut John, we need to encourage those who pay for all of this, not hammer them into the ground.

  3. livelogic
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Indeed almost the only part of the economy that is booming is the arrival of rich non domiciles to Chelsea and Knightsbridge with their special nondom tax arrangements. The lesson to be learnt is to get the rest of the tax system more similar in effect. Get rid of IHT completely, get top rates down to 30% or so and raise more tax as a result. Introduce a tax cap at say £250,000 why on earth should anyone pay more than that for so very little, in return, from the state sector. A few hospital like Stafford for example, where patients are not even fed properly.

    Personally I will not be returning anyway but is might stop others from leaving and attract some others back. Some uplifting can do vision would help. But we have soak the rich Cameron and Miliband to follow for 2-3 terms – no much uplifting about that.

    As I have said before 50%/45% income tax, 40% IHT, 20% vat, 23% NIs combined, 24% corporation tax, up to 15% stamp duty, 28% CGT not even on real gains, fuel duty and all the rest can all combine to steal 80% of your wealth over just a few years.

    So why would anyone sane take wealth and live in the UK unless one has some special advantaged scheme like the nondom one?

    Osborne has shot himself and the economy in the foot with his 50% Income Tax and failure to keep his IHT promise. The message is if you are rich leave or do not come to the UK. Unless you are nondom that is. If you have money invest it somewhere else where you might be allowed to keep some of the return.

    He has not even raised more tax in doing so.

    • Edward
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Lifelogic, I agree with you, no wonder everyone feels worse off or lacks confidence and is therefore spending less.
      In addition, think what it must be like for a Director of a big multi national PLC pondering where to set up a business venture, to see all the complex planning laws, expensive insurances, high business rates, high commercial rents and freehold values, and anti wealth and anti big business rhetoric in the UK

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Indeed and more drivel arrive by the day -some new packaging tax I see, new PAYE reporting rules, the gender neutral insurance nonsense.

        Join a few trade associations and you will see more nonsense from government every single day. It will certainly put you off setting up a business.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Where are you living? France? What does that say about your fantasy?

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        France? – with 75% income taxes and wealth taxes of 1.5% of assets held PA – you must be joking.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          Quite Mr Bond.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      How will getting more rich people raise more in taxes when you want to put a cap of £250,000 on the amount of taxes they pay?

  4. Ben Kelly
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The figures quoted in your blog have less meaning without the totals and mean being also quoted. Are the rich truly getting poorer or are there just fewer of them? Are the poor getting richer or are the rich earning less? These figures can only be gleaned with more information.

    I would guess that there are fewer rich but that they are each taking more. The poor are probably slightly better off but the middle, government’s favourite cash cow is earning the same but contributing more.

    Left of centre politics as practiced by your coalition kills aspiration while leaving the margins better off. Please take your foot off our throats and stop spending our money.

    • Deborah
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      I’m so glad someone else has noticed that the figures John has provided are not sufficient to justify his analysis. It is worrying that so many people seem to have just accepted the explanation given…and then extrapolated. No doubt John’s analysis is correct, but from the data he has presented we could equally conclude that everyone has got richer and the poor have seen their incomes rise fastest of all. Do readers always believe what they are told?

      Early this morning I asked John to provide some more details about total income levels so we can get a better view. Perhaps he will do that now?

  5. Andyvan
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Typical response of failing governments. Blame the rich, increase taxation for everybody but shout about the top rate’s to make the poorer feel better. Next we’ll probably see moves towards capital controls (for the good of the country of course). This has already happened in Italy, Greece, Argentina and starting in the USA. They’ll get tighter as inflation increases and people try to move their money out of whatever currency their governments are ruining.
    Clearly Dave and George have no idea how to run a successful economy and will simply use the tried and tested methods of every banana republic that has bankrupted itself and it’s people.

    • Single Acts
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Mr Ed’s boys (the 2015 government) like price controls if their policy document on the private rented sector is anything to go by.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Ted Heath all over again clearly they have taken leave of their senses. They already want to fix car insurance with a political “gender” agenda.

  6. David in Kent
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    JR, I was getting worried as read the first half of your post as it seemed you were pleased that Britons, even if it was only the despised rich, were getting poorer.
    Thank goodness the third paragraph exhibited your usual sense.

  7. lifelogic
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The question really is, do we want surplus wealth left with the rich – who tend by definition to know have to use and invest it well producing returns for all. Or do you want the state to confiscate it, push the rich out of the country, or discourage them from working and then waste it all on wind farms, counter productive wars, overpaid paper pushers, jumped up sports days and white elephant stadia, HS2, Stafford hospital and the dis-functional NHS, transfers to the feckless, buying votes, paying off supporter lobby groups/unions or indoctrinating the public on the warming religion or the need for ever more taxes and state sector.

    Rich people do not live for ever and can only eat a similar number of meals, after all they invest surplus wealth, give it away, do good works (as Bill Gates/Warren Buffet) or spend it to the benefit of everyone in general. Government on the other hand rather rather tends to waste it. As we see with this government’s green tosh subsidies, wars, pigis loans, eu contributions, the bloated state sector, transfers to the feckless, indoctrination, PR and Spin, ………..

    • Credible
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, have you written a random phrase generator or do you have to type this every time?

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        No I have to work hard at it!

        • Credible
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          Doesn’t seem very efficient!

    • Bazman
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      The first part is right the wealth cannot be spent by the wealthy after this they just hoard it. The tax system should be progressive and limit rather than exacerbate inequality. Warren Buffet underlined the unfairness of a tax system that allows him on an income of $46m (£28m) to pay only 17.7% in tax. His secretary, still on an above-average income of $60,000, is taxed at 30%.
      Even when they are asked to pay tax, the extremely wealthy can use tax havens and financial secrecy to put their money where it cannot be taxed. It’s estimated that a quarter of all global wealth as much as $32tn is held offshore, and is untaxed.
      How this concentration of offshore wealth is good for the country us lifelogics bone headed aristocracy worshiping fantasy that he cannot back up. Right wing free market religion. Inequality of income and wealth are not good for anyone. The consolidation of wealth and capital in so few hands is economically inefficient because it depresses demand, a point made famous by Henry Ford. It is also socially divisive. If you are born poor in a very unequal society, you are much more likely to end your life in poverty.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        You say wealth cannot be spent by the wealthy they just hoard it.

        Well no they deposit it at the bank where it is lent out, invest in shares, bonds, property, businesses etc. ………….either way it is used. Even if they put it under their beds that is just a free loan to the government!

        • Bazman
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          All evidence points against this they are hoarding trillions in offshore accounts and building financial moats and when they do put some in the bank, the banks do lend they speculate and do not invest in business that creates jobs. I’ll give you a clue. The housing bubble.
          However we have seen that no amount of evidence will change your religious views on the wealthy elite and the free markets. These are blind beliefs and not unlike the BBC green PPE guff you so despise. Yours is Daily Mail, Telegraph and dubious websites guff apologist stance that when challenged just goes silent. A Communism for the rich apparatchik no less. So what keeps you believing this nonsense? Should the vast majority in any society just bow down the elite and have nothing and be happy with it this being their own fault. Ram it.

          • Edward
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            Baz, for me its about deciding how you best achieve prosperity for all, full employment, have a responsive democracy and personal freedoms under the rule of law, which includes the right for individualsto own property and to be able to decide for themselves where they want to live and how they want to earn a living.
            My observations during my lifetime is that socialism and left wing state dictatorships have failed on all counts.

            The mixed democratic modelof Governmnet as seen in Europe and USA has given us, post 1945, huge improvements in standards of living.
            We have a long way to go and I agree with you that this system does bring about excesses of wealth for a few and poverty for some, but that is for the State to deal with by incentives and tax policies which are currently reasonably successful in transferring money from rich to poor
            You have to decide (maybe you already have) if attacking and eliminating the rich in a desire for equality will actually make the poor any better off.

            I would prefer to live in the nation with the most millionaires rather than a nation with none.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            We are not talking about millionaires and the wealthy. We are talking about billionaires undermining democracy by political pressure and contributions whilst receiving knighthoods for tax evasion, telling us how poor they are and how the populations living standards need to be cut by giving them further tax cuts to help improve them.

  8. Deborah
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    You have stated that the net income of top earners has collapsed but only given figures for relative incomes. Can you tell us the value of that 11.2% in 2009-10 and 7% this year?

  9. Richard1
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    It is time for more honesty that equality and prosperity are often mutually contradictory. No-one queued up from unequal West Germany to emigrate to equal East Germany. They preferred prosperous but unequal West Germany.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      @Richard1: You are getting confused between political/personal freedom, equality and prosperity.

      • Edward
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        East Germany had none of these elements except for equality but that was really only an equality of poverty.
        Whereas, West Germany had all the elements except for equality because there were some very rich , some rich and some not so rich.
        But I know where I would have preferred to live after 1945 to the current date

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        No, there is nothing confusing about what Richard1 has said. It could not be clearer.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          @Edward and Max: Because you both seem to have quite strong free-market, right-wing political opinions, to others there is great confusion, the fact that you can’t see any confusion just proves your own political opinions, nothing else!

          What is freedom, what is equality, what is prosperity, there was all three in the GDR but it was not what anyone from the west would have accepted or understood because we live in a quite different economic and political bubble with different values.

          Don’t get me wrong, the GDR was a brutal political system and no I would not have like to lived under such a system but if I had, I’m sure I would have felt quite equal to the next “comrade” whilst waiting in line for my bread and fresh meat each morning and would have felt quite prosperous had I waited long enough to finally own a Trabaint for myself etc…

          Equality and prosperity are both relative to the political system and as such can not easily be compared to another system or culture (hence my use of the word bubble(, many of the poor or discriminated against people living in the USA do not feel free and thus would likely feel free -in the same way as those who crossed from east to west Germany did) if they were to come and live in the UK, benefiting from our more liberal society and political system. On the flip-side many people in the UK who have strong free-market, political and economic views feel that they would more free if the UK was more like the USA (or indeed they themselves lived in the USA).

          • Edwardf
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

            No nation has yet achieved the prosperity equality political and personal freedom nirvana you desire Jerry.
            The question is how do we best progress towards these goals.

            All my life I have seen the results of state dictatorships mainly by the left wing of politics resulting in the virtual elimination of all of the elements you talk about.
            I suppose had I been brought up in East Germany after the war I would only have known that bubble, and have not known any different.
            However I would prefer to live in a democracy, which tries to eliminate poverty,encourages people to get on and better themselves whilst encouraging wealth creation rather than trying to eliminate it in the name of equality.
            Equality of poverty is no equality at all.
            North Korea is nice at this time of year Jerry, if you are thinking of booking your holidays somewhere!

          • Jerry
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            @Edwardf: “No nation has yet achieved the prosperity equality political and personal freedom nirvana you desire Jerry.

            I don’t think I ever suggested that they had, my point was about perception, with East Germany, even more so in and western border areas and around Berlin, the population of the GDR could often see the differences in living standards of the FDR and GDR. On the other hand the whole world knows that North Korea is in and has extreme poverty but do the people of North Korea know they live in extreme poverty (such are the controls placed in information by the state) – probably not, they are most likely told (by the state miss-information machine) that the rest of the world are those who are live in poverty and thus North Koreans are living in nirvana! Only the party privileged know any different. 🙁

            All things are relative.

          • Edward
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            You have some strange ideas Jerry,
            Do you really believe that a poor, cold, starving, frightened North Korean person doesn’t realise how bad their life is and that they need to experience the life of say a South Korean to be able to understand.
            Humans have an in built sense of what freedom is and what poverty is.
            You can try to keep them in the dark and they will still know and they will struggle to be free.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 8, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

            @Edward: “You have some strange ideas Jerry

            I could say the same about you Edward!

            Humans have an in built sense of what freedom is and what poverty is.
            You can try to keep them in the dark and they will still know and they will struggle to be free.

            Do you really believe that nature is the same as education, that a baby knows what poverty is, that a “wild child” (a Tarzan type person) of which there have been real life cases, indistinctly knew that they do not actually belong living with the wild animals that raised him or her, if so why did they not seek out human company, why did they stay living the life they did?

      • Richard1
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        I am not. Communist countries did (and a few still do) a ‘good’ job at enforcing equality through high levels of state control. But you cant have a command state without also restricting personal freedoms. My point is if you want maximum equality you need collectivism, and experience over many decades shows that isnt compatible with maximising prosperity

        • Jerry
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

          @Richard1: See my reply to Edward and Max.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Just to advise you, the national debt has now risen to £1.141 trillion. Do you really expect the Conservatives to win the next election or Eastleigh come to that? Glad to see that your support for your leader didn’t extend to same-sex marriage legislation for which he has no mandate, except from his masters in Brussels, and for which he couldn’t take the time to attend the debate.

    • Disaffected
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Today it is reported how Mr Cable makes more threats to the banks. So what has Vince Cable actually achieved in his role as minister for business in just under three years? Could anyone name five positive achievements he has made compared to all his reported threats to banks, businesses and the press? Do not include dumbing down universities or the appointment of Mr Ebdon to help him achieve these aims or free university education to EU students in this country so Mr Campbell Lib Dem MP can award degrees to them while at the same time handing a life time of debt to English students.

      If it was not for a free press Cable would not have been captured making threats against News Corps, David Laws not caught for his expense cheating and Huhne for perverting the course of justice. No wonder socialist Mr Cable wants strict press regulation. Perhaps he should have made his leader MR Clegg fulfil his promise of cleaning up parliament and then the press would not be able to report on Lib Dem politicians if they acted properly?

      • Jerry
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        @Disaffected: Never mind what Mr Cables has done, what has Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne achieved, was it not Osborne who made direct threats to the banks just the other day?

    • Jerry
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      @Brian Tomkinson: “for which he has no mandate

      Best call an election then…

      The Coalition (nor anyone in it) has no mandate for 99% of what they are doing as neither party actually obtained a majority! Even then, in any ‘normal parliament’, much what is done by the government has not been mentioned item by item in any manifesto – by ho-hum, more straw-man arguments anyone?

      • Edward
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Your last para is a tired old argument Jerry, because even Governments with big majorities have less than half the popular vote.
        All govern with consent until they fail a vote of confidence or until the next election comes around.
        Not straw..its the British consitution

        • Jerry
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

          @Edward: Sorry but complaining that something is not in a manifesto is a straw-man argument. Are you seriously suggesting that if Cameron was to bring a Bill to the floor of the house that would out-law union representation or the full privatisation of the NHS, or that he had decided to unilaterally revoke the UK’s membership of the EU, you and others would not be shouting his praise but rather be denouncing him and complaining that it “wasn’t in the manifesto”?!…

          Reply: I would support neither the full privatisation of the NHS nor the banning of Union membership and would point out it it had not been offered prior to the Election.

          • Edward
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

            Brian correctly said Mr Cameron had no mandate in the country on this issue, because (if I may be allowed to second guess Brians agrunment for him) there have been many polls showing majorities against the propsal and because it was not in the manifesto, so no one who voted Conservative in the last election had any knowledge when they did so, that this was what they had in mind.
            However on a free vote by MP’s there was a good majority and the Bill was carried.
            So be it, this is democracy in action.
            You and I can decide how important it is when we vote at the next election.

            Regarding your hypothetical situation of other radical non manifesto bills being introduced, this is for the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to decide.
            If this legisaltion had a chance of majority support in the House and carried great poplular support in the nation then I suppose it would improve the chances of the party being re elected.
            Again this is simple democratic politics.
            However your examples are not ones that I would support nor would most MP’s.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            Ho-hum, look what I just found in the last Tory Manifesto, so unless people really are suggesting that every single Bill presented to parliament needs to be listed specifically within the manifesto;

            Quote is from page 35, sourced from the PDF version of the manifesto – my emphasis.

            “This vision demands a cultural change across the country. Our success will depend not just on the actions we take but on society’s response. By promoting equality and tackling discrimination, our policies, like recognising civil partnerships as well as marriage in the tax system and helping disabled people live independently, will give everybody the chance to play their part. This way, we can make Britain fairer and safer; a country where opportunity is more equal.”

            The word “like” is clearly being use as a linguistic hedge, what follows is an example, not exclusive.

            More straw-men anyone?…

          • Edward
            Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:12 am | Permalink

            You seem to enjoy arguing more than the actual content.
            I have to say I haven’t a clue what you are on about.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

            @Edward: “You seem to enjoy arguing more than the actual content. I have to say I haven’t a clue what you are on about.”

            Yet you were the one actually arguing with me, one has to ask why if you haven’t a clue as to what!

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Could be worse the US deficit (the increase for this year is) about $1.1 Trillion.

  11. lifelogic
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Reported in the telegraph:

    Medical staff should have a “statutory duty of candour” to disclose any concerns they have following the “shocking” situation that led to the deaths of up to 1,200 patients in two hospitals run by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2009, the report concludes.

    Many were indeed reporting as were patients and relatives but they were constantly ignored and “actively discouraged”. Surely everyone who worked there must have know the situation, many relatives knew within a few hours of arriving that it was dis-functional.

    Anyway if the staff all did report would there any time left for any treatments or food for patients? They would all just be pushing pieces of paper at each other or emails now and trying to ignore them.

    It is the whole system and structure that is rotten.

    • stred
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      And who better to run the NHS than the ex- communist manager who organised Mid Staffs, with all the targets and sacking then gagging of any staff that dared to complain. If the reorganisation is about changing the control of the system from one set of employees to another, whilst still allowing the user no choice, then who better than a commissar to set up a similar control structure under a different name. Redundancy payoffs and new jobs all round comrades.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        @stred Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:27 am: “And who better to run the NHS than the ex- communist manager who organised Mid Staffs

        Nice rant, especially as it seems to have been made before the official release of the report. 🙁

        It was the regulation and the targets that was wrong, not so much that any single person was to fault, but “stred” if you want to make this a political issue … who introduced the systems that failed in Mid-Staffordshire, the internal markets and NHS Trusts that brought about this culture of ‘corporate self-interest and cost control’ that were put ahead of the patients and their safety – yes, capitalist supporting, right wing politicians and advisor’s. Ho-hum.

        • Bob
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          “It was the regulation and the targets that was wrong, not so much that any single person was to fault,”

          It’s about basic human decency and individual responsibility.
          No decent person would ignore patients basic needs like these nurses did.

          You should pray that you never find yourself in a situation like that, gasping for water and the nurse says, “too bad, I’m busy filling out my o/t claim”.

          • Credible
            Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

            Bob – fair point but Jerry was correct to say that a large part is to do with “this culture of ‘corporate self-interest and cost control’ that were put ahead of the patients and their safety”

          • Jerry
            Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

            Bob: “Wrong

            Indeed you are Bob, and you have obviously not bothered to either read the report or listen to the statement in the Commons, no surprises there though…

            Might I suggest Bob that, rather than making wild and baseless allegations, you download the inquiries executive summary (PDF) and read it.

          • Bob
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            “It was the regulation and the targets that was wrong, not so much that any single person was to fault” (sic)

            So Jerry do you think that
            “Staff treated patients and those close to them with what appeared to be callous indifference.”

            …because of regulation and targets?

            Each person has to take responsibility for their own actions (or lack of), and “I was just following orders” doesn’t wash anymore.

            Callous people should have no place in the caring profession.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            @Bob: Stop trying to cherry pick, all you are doing is showing that you are simply biased against the NHS like you are the BBC…

            But heck if we want to start playing a game of “Cherry Picking” (sorry John);

            * Whistleblowing – It is clear that a staff nurse’s report in 2007 made a serious and substantial allegation about the leadership of A&E. This was not resolved by Trust management. These issues were not made known by the Trust at the time to any external agency, but they were known to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) because of its involvement with the personnel involved.”

            Negative culture
            1.6 While it is clear that, in spite of the warning signs, the wider system did not react to the constant flow of information signalling cause for concern, those with the most clear and close responsibility for ensuring that a safe and good standard care was provided to patients in Stafford, namely the Board and other leaders within the Trust, failed to appreciate the enormity of what was happening, reacted too slowly, if at all, to some matters of concern of which they were aware, and downplayed the significance of others. In the first report, this was attributed in a large part to an engrained culture of tolerance of poor standards, a focus on finance and targets, denial of concerns, and an isolation from practice elsewhere. Nothing I have heard in this Inquiry suggests that this analysis was wrong. Indeed the evidence has only reinforced it.

            1.7 The Trust’s culture was one of self promotion rather than critical analysis and openness. This can be seen from the way the Trust approached its FT application, its approach to high Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMRs) and its inaccurate self declaration of its own performance. It took false assurance from good news, and yet tolerated or sought to explain away bad news.

          • Bob
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink


            Are you being deliberately obtuse?
            Or are you some kind of public sector automaton?

            You can cut and paste as much official waffle as you like, but it doesn’t change the fact that front line medical staff allowed sick people to die in pain in soiled beds. No decent human being would stand by and watch that happen.

            You remind me of Mary Beard the other week on Question Time, telling the people of Boston all about Boston, because she had read an official report about Boston.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 8, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

            @Bob: “You can cut and paste as much official waffle as you [../cut/..]

            Well you would know Bob, after all you can “waffle” for England. The rest of us live and learn, you seem to live by sticking your head in the sand!

        • David Price
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          @Jerry: Are you sure you are not maligning the wrong group entirely? The Telegraph (4th and 6th Feb) and Guardian (6th Feb) have it that the Francis enquiry which started in 2010 was covering the 400 – 1200 deaths during the 2005 – 2009 period of the Labour administration. I believe the mid-Staffs investigations themselves started in 2008 and that doesn’t include the atrocious treatment of patients from 2002 at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch (Telegraph 22-12-2012). So it rather looks like it was actually the socialist supporting, left-wing politicians and fellow travellers who introduced the failing systems and incentivies which encouraged the managers to adopt the wrong priorities.

          As Lifelogic said it was the socialists which caused the NHS to rot – meeting targets is no excuse for unethical behaviour particularly where vulnerable people are concerned.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            @David Price: Sorry but the management culture and systems was basically that brought in under the Tory government in the period 1989-90, with internal markets, so called competition and Trusts, was Labour to blame, yes – for not sorting out the mess left by the Tories.

            The report makes it quite clear that it was the managements wish to get FT status that was one of the prime causes.

          • David Price
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

            “Sorry but the management culture and systems was basically that brought in under the Tory government in the period 1989-90,”

            @Jerry: That is the lamest excuse I have ever heard. You expect people to believe that Labour had 14 years of uninterrupted control over the NHS and couldn’t change the management structure or priorities? You generally prefer to attempt to deflect blame or fact when it doesn’t suite your socialist fantasy but this takes the biscuit.

            So which is it – either Labour policies and administration were responsible for the breakdown in ethical behaviour, or they were incompetent and unable to manage the situation affectively despite the enormous and increasing funds they poured in to the NHS. Either way they can never be trusted to provide a proper and effective national health services.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            @David Price: Go read the report (and what I actually said, in the comment to which you replied) again, you might then realise that, unlike your ‘capitalist fantasy’, not everything can or does work best with a profit/reward motive.

            The report makes it very clear that the main problem was the way the management were running the Trust and more to the point, the way in which they were attempting to gain foundation trust status (that would have given these Trust managers an even greater managerial and financial freedom).

          • David Price
            Posted February 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry: There you go assuming things again. My observation was on your crass attempt to make political capital out of a truly dire situation by casting blame on the wrong group, not whether the approach was intrinsically good or bad. You should be very careful how you go about labelling people based on very limited data, it keeps leading you to jump to the wrong conclusions and blame the wrong people

            In this case the group responsible was Labour, and their corporatist approach included Andy Burnham setting up NHS Global, no sign of any other party’s hand there. Or is “Right Wing” your code for Labour capitalists?

            The issue is how to make sure the situation is resolved and doesn’t happen again. Instead of the customary promotions I would favour simple punishment – sacking and loss of all pension rights regardless of what role those responsible now have would be a start.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

            @David Price: “You should be very careful how you go about labelling people based on very limited data

            Oh right, so I quote directly from the report yet that is making political capital or blaming the wrong group of people in your mind, in your dreams -or as Bazman would say, Ran It! Better still take your concerned of bias up with Robert Francis QC.

            The issue is how to make sure the situation is resolved and doesn’t happen again.

            Indeed, and one only ever does that if one accepts the current failing, and all the failings that went before, not as some like you would do, cherry pick the failings that do not fit your political dogma. You seem to want the highways agency to fix your punctured car tyre but totally ignore the spilt nails littering the highway…

            The REPORT makes it clear, the fault lies with the way the NHS Trust was being run by the trust managers, by extension if the NHS did not have such Trusts they would not have been able to have been run in such a fashion].

            So, as I keep asking people like you, unless you care to cite a similar case of abuse and neglect from a pre 1989 period, this date being the introduction of the Trust management system and which all subsequent NHS management systems have followed – oh and I have made it very clear that Labour were also to blame in this respect, or are you really suggesting that had either Foot or Kinnock been PM in 1989 they would have introduced the Trusts and internal markets etc?

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

          Wrong – almost everyone who worked there was clearly to blame.

        • stered
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          It’s the commissar/top civil servant mindset that does it. If we had a continental system they are just redundant. The customer sorts out where they think their best chances and costs are.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

            @stered: People admitted to hospital are normally ill and often very ill, they are more interested on getting treatment rather than the whys and wherefores of costs vs. service, nor should they be expected to. But yes what you say is very true, assuming that one is wanting a “Nose Job” or some such ‘vocational’ or cosmetic treatment.

        • stred
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          Jerry. Everything in the expensive and time consuming report could be found in old copies of Private Eye. The most amazing fact is that one top manager has been promoted to head the whole NHS and another to head the Care Commission. The point is that monolithic management systems are the same as communistic systems. Both parties supported it. Large bureaucracies look after their own interests and grow as they try to allocate resources to satisfy growing demand, while draining resources to pay high salaries and equipment costs. They punish staff who dare to complain, sack and gag them, just as happened under communism. The NHS is a communist system. At least in Cuba theirs fits into the rest of the country.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            @stred: “The NHS is a communist system. At least in Cuba theirs fits into the rest of the country.

            Whilst the USA failings of the Medicare system fits their “I’m alight, sod you” sort of extreme free market and political system that people like you would like the UK to adopt. True people don’t die whilst waiting on hospital corridors in the USA, they just die in their own beds because they can’t afford medical treatment…

      • zorro
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, this seems to be the model office programme for public services on a lot of occasions, often headed by these peripatetic CEOs who inhabit quango land, and continually jump from failure to failure. Why do these people get these jobs? Does the government intentionally want to trash the public services? Often simple services are ripped up and thrown up in the air in the name of ‘change’ or ‘modernisation’ and become a disaster. Often, they supposedly become ‘agencies’ or ‘arms length bodies’ with a supposed hint of ‘business acumen’ which seems to end up with worse performance or supposed jam tomorrow and bosses with over-inflated salaries.


      • Bazman
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Who better to run an internal market stred? Oh Dear. Bigotry meets fantasy resulting in reality.

    • Disaffected
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, I agree.

      But what is Dave’s achievement on the NHS to date? Inclusion in the Olympics as an honoured institution paid for by the UK taxpayer for thew world to use for free? Any achievement to prevent more EU or reduce costs of EU? How about his British Bill of Rights, is that finished yet to help curb the ECHR which prevents us deporting terrorists who come here illegally and cost us a fortune? What is his achievement in the economy? His achievement to reduce mass immigration? Mass immigration is still soaring with more to come with Romania and Bulgaria next year- Minister Miller to note before she gives more TV interviews. I know, what about world peace, how many wars has he committed the country to? Yesterday he showed his utter contempt for the teaching of Christianity, the Bible, British public even his own party when he introduced gay marriage that he does not have a mandate to do. Once more, in stark contrast, to what he stood to be elected on, a manifesto pledge of tax breaks for married couples shelved. 299 tax increases and we are still waiting for public spending cuts after nearly three years. perhaps he too wants Levison restrictions to prevent the public knowing what his record is and what he is really up to?

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink


    • Jerry
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      @Lifelogic: “It is the whole [NHS] system and structure that is rotten

      Indeed, and has been since the inception of the ‘internal market’ and NHS Trusts.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        “Free at the point of rationing no food, duff treatment and death” will never work it takes control away from the patient and their relatives.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic, before making ideology based rants, try actually reading the Mid-Staffs report and the reason for why the care actually failed, indeed the market-forces based Trust management system did all you suggested of it!…

          Can anyone cite any similar NHS ‘scandal’ from a pre 1989 date?

      • Bazman
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Targets and cuts where a large part of the problem. This idea that if something is cut to the bone it will still work the same and the cutting to the bone can be carried out by private companies sucking out the money and threatening everyone as a solution is going to just set up more problems. Remember the mantra. ‘We do not respond to threats.’ In the case of nurses relying on goodwill and emotional blackmail is seen not to work. That manager in the office not knowing anything is very much alive even in hospitals it seems. Bet he got a rise? Ram it.

      • stred
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Jerry. So it would work better if the Department of Health and regional trusts ran it, along with the Care Commission? Thien we could rely on the two managers from Mid staffs who were promoted.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          @stred: It would be better if all those involved with the management of the Mid-Stffs NHS Trust never worked anywhere near the NHS or any other health (or related) service, not even as a receptionist, but that is a totally different argument to how the NHS should be run – the current, management bloated system, is not the only model.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      The medical staff did raise concerns and tried to blow the whistle but were ignored by the management and regulators so a statutory duty wouldn’t have changed anything.

      One thing your forgot to mention was that Cynthia Bower, who was chief executive of the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority, is now head of the health regulator the Care Quality Commission; and Sir David Nicholson, who was in charge of the strategic health authority responsible for Stafford and Cannock Chase hospitals, is now the head of the NHS Commissioning Board. I guess failure doesn’t hurt your career prospects.

      • Credible
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Yes, you can’t fail if you have the right connections.

      • stSo,red
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        So, if we had a continental, state helped, insurance system, would these nightmares ever get another job? the Swiss system ensures that users are not ripped off by insurers, lawyers don’t milk the budget, and the customers can choose.

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          We certainly need a system that delivers, gives control and choice to patients and keep lawyers, parasites, bureaucrats and insurance profits out as far as is possible,

        • uanime5
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          All the evidence from the private healthcare sector in the USA shows that you would be able to get another job because all the hospitals would want to continue cutting costs and meeting targets.

          • stred
            Posted February 8, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

            Has anyone suggested moving to a US healthcare system?
            The continental systems are insurance based, with costs kept down, and actually work quite well.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      So what is Cameron’s response? To apologize on behalf of the “country!” What on earth is he on about. The government, the NHS, the regulators, the civil servants, the medical professions, the BBC agenda yes but the “country”? What have the country got to do with it.

      What is the true socialist Cameron’s solution – more bureaucrats and a new office and name for yet another regulator “a chief inspector of hospitals”. Why does he think he/she will be any better than all the others who failed so dismally.

      What is needed is some real power to patients and relatives of patients and some choice for people not to use these appalling deadly places. This so the appalling ones are closed down quickly.

      This every sensible Tory should know, but he is clearly a PPE Tory.

      The NHS is safe with him so long as you want one in Mid Staffordshire mode it seems.

      • JimF
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        As you know, he who pays directly has the say directly.
        He who pays via an extractive state tax mechanism has no say whatsoever.

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          Exactly “take what you are given and shut up we have your money already mate” – even if it is no food and an early death at the hands of a dis-functional NHS hospital.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          @JimF: “He who pays via an extractive state tax mechanism has no say whatsoever.

          Funny that, an NHS Trust run like a private business fails and those who would like to see Health turned into real privet businesses try and blame the a system that hasn’t existed in the NHS for over 20 years. People (patients and staff) were meant to be able to “have their say” in Mid-Staffs, trouble was they were either ignored or worse, the Trust management seems to have listened only to themselves.

          Again, as I said to Bob, do yourself a favour Jim, go and actually read the report (or at least the executive summary) before making any more silly comments that bare no relation to the actual facts…

          • stred
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            Jerry. In France the patient has achoice of private diagnostic clinics and consultants if they are worried about their health. Dianosis is obtained quickly and the ccosts reclaimed from state insurance, which is kept to a reasonable level. Then they choose a state hospital or clinic which may be state or private, and issuitable for the treatment. The care is excellent. If it was not, they would not pay. Their problem is that some patients shop around until they get the diagnosis that they want and this wastes resources. But at least they are not left in their soiled beds to die, while staff dare not complain and press offices cover up.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            @stred: “But at least they are not left in their soiled beds to die

            Indeed, but nor are they left to die in their own soiled beds to die simply because they can’t afford private medical insurance and or because their Medicare cover has run out either – like with some health care systems.

            Yes a French style national health system might well work in the UK, assuming similar safeguards for the low or unemployed, both the NHS and the French system are based around similar funding models.

          • Bob
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

            ” they are not left in their soiled beds to die”

            A huge improvement over what what passes for health care in the NHS then!

          • Jerry
            Posted February 8, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            @Bob: That would be the semi privatised NHS, run like a private business, were targets are more important than patient care, so that Trust managers can build even higher pyramids for themselves…

            As I asked before, can anyone cites any examples of such failings as found at Mid-Staffs, in the NHS before 1989?

    • zorro
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, the ‘whistle blowing’ procedures must be revised, these selfish control freaks who control these state agencies need to be drummed out of office, always trying to cover up their mistakes, and blame their staff.


    • Wilko
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      In response to damning reports about neglect and incompetence, those responsible tend to say: “Lessons need to be learned, so that this never happens again”.

      Why would lessons be needed for people to know it is wrong to deprive patients of liquid or leave them unattended within their own waste? Those responsible much be idiots. Perhaps subjecting them to the risk of similar treatment would lessen their dangerous carelessness.

  12. Martyn
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    John, it is not just the rich that are getting poorer; the less well off and even the poor are getting poorer. Carefully lifetime-accrued savings going down in income value in the face of low interest rates and inflation faster than the Titanic and all under a Conservative government.
    Still, at least we have settled the Gay marriage affair, much more important I suppose.

    • Disaffected
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Do not forget the £90 billion black hole for pensions through excessive government borrowing and QE. That is the true reason why Cameron wants people to work longer because they have wrecked pensions and savings even more than Gordon Brown. If you are a student, worker, striver or pensioner the coalition policies are not for you. They are squeezing you for every penny for excessive borrowing to pay for the EU, overseas aid, green drivel, welfare and unnecessary wars. When you fill up your car remind yourself that about two thirds is taken by Osborne economics, when you look at your energy bill each month, or think about turning up the gas, remind yourself that a large proportion of what you pay is to subsidise the building of wind farms whether they produce energy or not. When you water bill increases above inflation remind yourself that it was Cameron, Clegg and Osborne who let the price increase happen and have done precious little about water capture or distribution and prefer to spend/waste £32 billion pounds on a single rail journey (both influenced by EU regulation) to save 30 minutes on one journey. As more houses are built and wind machines erected, to ruin our countryside through an artificially increased population through immigration thank Cameron, Clegg and Osborne for being progressive. The fact you cannot afford to live, you cannot afford to heat or light your home, you cannot afford to travel, there is no land for water to escape or grow food seems to escape them.

  13. livelogic
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    How is Cameron silly happiness index doing I see that:

    In a paper from Ruut Veenhoven and Floris Vergunst. Using statistics compiled as part of the World Database of Happiness, they discover a positive relationship between GDP growth and improving happiness. GDP and happiness have gone up in most countries, and average happiness has risen more in nations where the economy has grown the most. Contrary to the nonsense the BBC, Cameron, Libdum and Cameron’s Spirit Level thinking.

    So not so well I assume, given his and Osborne’s failure to put any growth policies in place with the inevitable results on growth and wealth.

    • livelogic
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Getting rid of his silly index and firing all the staff, would help growth greatly. As would a sensible energy policy and cancellation of HS2 and lower taxes and abolition of IHT.

      • Bob
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Mr Redwood,

        Re:“abolition of IHT”

        Now that gay couples can qualify for the spouse exemption, do you think it’s fair that siblings that live together are denied equal rights?

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          Indeed civil partnerships are no doubt being used in IHT tax planning.

          Still just get rid if IHT that is fairest anyway it has already been taxed anyway and will encourage the rich to come, not to leave and stay.

          • Harry Hardup
            Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

            I agree;especially as they just voted to take the “sex” out of marriage.

            I can leave my estate tax free to my “best friend” regardless of gender, but cannot leave my estate to my favourite relative tax free.

            Its a completely outrageous inequity.

      • stred
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        As revealed in this blog, happiness counting probably is counted as public sector growth in GNP. This is just what makes the PRM happy.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      I think you will find that the opposite is true in these studies. This is just your wishful thinking and how does a larger economy benefit individuals. More crap jobs and low pay and more fighting for them. Wage are not pushed up, another of you fantasies that if you fail to believe will prove many of your other ones to come crashing down.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Allister Heath has an interesting and related article in the D Telegraph today on recent research demonstrating that the richer you are the happier you are. See here:

    This, he argues, supports the case for the promotion of economic growth. The coalition is on a different track; it will end badly for everyone.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      During economic growth does everyone get happier or do only the people who get richer get happier?

      What about laws that improve economic growth but making working conditions and wages worse? Do they make people happier or less happy?

      • Edward
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        What laws were those?

        • uanime5
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          Generally laws that don’t require employers to pay employees (internship) or that allow poor working conditions. Though these often occur because of a lack of regulations.

      • Wilko
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        Anyone can be happy, depending on their attitude. A man with no money in his pocket can be happy walking down a leafy lane, enjoying sunlight glistening on the morning dew. Another may have enough money to buy a few stately homes, but be unhappy with virtually anything.

        New laws intended to make people happy might work, or not. Existing ones, like the Law of Gravity are pretty good. It is respected throughout the world as equally fair to all, and beyond the power of politicians to change it. If there were some possibility of change, banner-waving protesters might march on parliament, claiming it is too harsh at Beachy Head. The best laws we have comprise the simple fundamental reality which everyone accepts as fixed; naturally.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, the Cameron coalition always seem to go for all the quack religions, PR gimmicks such as
      the renewable nonsense,
      the global warming exaggerations,
      everyone equally poor will make them happier,
      the more state sector and higher taxes are – the richer we all will be,
      governments create jobs,
      green jobs,
      there is no alternative to the undemocratic EU super state
      public transport, bikes,
      the green deal will save energy and you money,
      trains, trams always good cars and planes always evil (unless Prince Charles or some government officials are using them of course!).
      The BBC is unbiased and independent.

      Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, Cameron when will you wake up?

      • Bazman
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        How are you going to fit gender equality into homosexuals? Why should we as straight or homosexuals have to take such ludicrous equality in our premiums?

  15. Disaffected
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    The coalition are following the EU path to destruction. Whether it be to get rid of the rich, let the UK become the world’s first welfare state, a country cleansed of its own indigenous population, where culture, values and beliefs are swept away to help build an EU superstate.

    Cameron has rushed through gay marriage legislation to demonstrate commitment to his EU masters. Alternatively, does he believe he knows more from his Oxbridge PPE course? Philosophy: perhaps he arrogantly feels he knows more than scholars who have studied the Bible, theology or perhaps he thinks he knows better than God and so he does not need a mandate or to consult the public? Politics: no one knows what he stands for because he has hidden what he is up to. Economics: total disaster to date. What a useless course. A self-deluded individual fulfilling minority social whims that are eroding the UK society towards a socialist marxist EU superstate. Big Society- what was its founding principles? What a load of tosh. Wake up Tory MPs time for a change. The next elections are lost. Better to stand on your feet and die than live your life on your knees.

    • lojolondon
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      This is why Brave Dave has to go. Never mind the subject of the bill – this is not about homosexuality, this is about democracy.

      Almost his entire party is against the bill, only 7% of British people support it, Christian churches are strongly against it, and other religions more so, but he rams it through, with help from the (undemocratic) opposition. Every MP was elected for only one thing to “represent their constituents”, with the exception of 140 Tories, they have all failed to do. Shame on them!

      • zorro
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        And some people still think that he will keep his word and have a genuine ‘in/out’ referendum on Europe…….yet he is prepared to do this without his party support……


      • uanime5
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Almost his entire party is against the bill, only 7% of British people support it, Christian churches are strongly against it, and other religions more so, but he rams it through, with help from the (undemocratic) opposition.

        Given that 139 Conservative MPs voted against this bill and 132 voted for it your claims that almost all the Conservatives were against it is incorrect.

        Are there any churches other than Christian churches? If not then you don’t need the churches part. Also some branches of Christianity are prepared to support gay marriage and homosexuality, just like they’re willing to support the equality of women, oppose slavery, and not execute those who work on Sunday even though all these go against what’s written in the Bible.

        Also just because the opposition supported a bill you don’t like doesn’t make it undemocratic.

  16. stred
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Off subject, I watched the debate on redefining marriage yesterday and did not notice your presence. Presumably, you may have thought it a waste of time, as it will go through as ordered by Strasbourg and rubber stamped by the equalisers.

    However, there were some sincere and well made speeches, providing an entertaining afternoon. The Tory antis brought out the fact that it is in effect an unequalising bill, as the drafters have not seen fit to mention the details of homosexual sex and there is no provision for adultery. Quite a few heteros would want to go for that one. Someone suggested that unreasonable behavior would be sufficient. But. of course there is a reason for adultery- the (here is a new word for wife/husband) wibby is less fun than someone else. And, of course, heteros can’t have CPS.

    The old boys and some girls made some good points, Tory and Labour. There are now 3 way marriages in countries where they have already redefined. How about 4 or even one for determined batchelors/ spinsters. The member for South Dorset had gay contituents who were strongly anti. But on the other hand, there was a lady tory from a South Devon constituency where perhaps the locals have a problem deciding which side of the wedding photo to stand. She was firmly in the compassion/equality camp and thought the matter was about the war hero Alan Turing, who hounded about his homosexuality and took cyanide on Eves apple. Preumably, if he were alive today he would top himself because he wanted a nice church wedding instead of a boring civil partnership.

    Ian Paisley jnr tried to explain the reason for traditional marriage and was interupted by compassionate labour lady who asked whether he had thought about LOVE in marriage. He came back with a firm reply. Of course marriage wasn’t about LOVE, it was about breeding and family life. The homosexuals already loved each other and could go on loving each other as much as they bloody liked. Marriages could be loveless, if love came in it was an extra.

    The gay MPs seemed to be quite a high proportion and I wondered whether it was the fact that they were not tied down with children that enabled them to get on in politics. Labour seemed to have most of the Lesbians and a large number of women MPs who, if they were not officially, looked well on the way. The Tories seemed to have most of the male gays, including a couple of sweet little chaps who were glad that things had improved for them but wanted to get married in a nice chuch, if they could only find someone suitable. One had been brought up in a remote Welsh village where he was the only gay and could not even tell a sheep. Sighs of sympathy all round the house. Maybe someone could arrange a date.

    How did you vote JR?

    Reply I set out my position on the local pages of this site for my constituents. I have nothing new or interesting to contribute to the debate.

    • Acorn
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Kevin, according to ONS circa 94.2% of the population have come out as blatant heterosexual (repeat: het-er-o-sex-u-al) / straights. That means there are 37 non-heterosexual MPs, if they were average; which they are not. So let’s say, at the three sigma lower Boolean limit; at the very least 37 are the non-heterosexual (etc ed).

      But, much more important, think of all those forms you have to fill in where it requires “marital status” and “spouse”. I have fortunately just done my annual change of my car insurance company. Will they need another box to indicate if “spouse” ??? is male or female and/or gender neutral? Oh dear; why must they keep (chang -ed)ing things?

      • Acorn
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        You’re chicken JR. I was testing your moderation algorithm, obviously the Whips have got you by the short and curlies.

    • behindthe frogs
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      What is worrying is that yet again a large number of Scottish MPs voted for the marriage bill when it won’t apply to Scotland.

      • Martyn
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Even more worrying is the fact that a Conservative Prime Minister who governs Great Britain – aka the United Kingdom has acted to separate the country once known as England and Wales from the rest of the Union.

        Seems to me to be a deliberate ‘divide and conquer’ strategy towards the dismantling of the Union until all national identities are lost and the indiginent peoples lost under uncontrolled immigration from the poorer parts of the EU.

        Why has no MP or any other in a position to do so asked why not Scotland and Ireland? For what reasons has Wales been bundled in with the name that shall not be mentioned, England? And why does Mr C proudly clain that what he has done makes the whole nation a better place to live in when clearly it does not apply to the nation of Great Britain aka the UK?

      • Jerry
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        @behindthe frogs: Before your next anti Scottish rant try looking at the actual voting figures, as if the Scottish MPs made any difference…

        • behindthefrogs
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 12:09 am | Permalink

          It was not intended to be an anti Scottish rant. I seem to remember that after devolution the Scottish MPs promised that they would not vote on bills that did not affect Scotland. However I was treated to Ming Campbell on the television the other evening boasting that he had voted for same sex marriage. The issue is not whether they affected the result or not but the fact that they voted.

          Scotland and Ireland have their own laws on matters like this. Perhaps they will allow the English and Welsh to vote on the marriage issue for them. This would probably create an interesting situation in Ireland.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

            @behindthefrogs: “It was not intended to be an anti Scottish rant

            So why ever raise the issue, sorry but if it looks like a rant, smells like a rant and tastes like a rant then it probably is a rant.

          • Bob
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink


            Just to clarify, a “rant” is any comment that Jerry doesn”t agree with.

    • Chris
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
    • Chris
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Stred, I do not know why my last posting giving the link to the list of MPs who voted against the Bill appears to have been removed.
      I will try again as the way MPs voted is something we should know about, and, as it is in the public domain anyway, there seems to be no reason why it should not be posted.

      Reoply I did not knowingly delete the link

    • Chris
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Stred, in answer to your question about how MPs voted, there is a list on the Spectator website, Coffeehouse. I tried to post the link here but was unsuccessful.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        If I my indulge again, with an explanation, John…

        Chris, if you are not allowing this website to set cookies then you will not see your comments until John has cleared then at moderation. Also, at the moment due to a bug with the Cookies, if you do allow Cookies but leave the page you will not see your unmoderated comments until you have set another Cookie (by posting again on the relevant blog page).

        Any news from your webmaster John?

        • Chris
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          Thanks. Definietly something odd has been going on. Also the wesite does not remember names any more (at least not mine) and I have to keep registering each time I go onto the site. In the meantime the message is lost.

    • stred
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Sorry about the grammar and sorrry you didn’t bother to upset the PRM.

      • stred
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        JR. Your name did not appear in the copy of the Times that I peeped at last night, but was in the Spectator list. Apologies for suggesting that you missed a chance to upset Dave.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      I thought the definition of adultery involved a married person having sex with someone other than their spouse. That’s why men who marry women but have sex with other men are committing adultery.

  17. Electro-Kevin
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    “Getting inequality down by moving rich people offshore or out of the country altogether is no great success.”

    That word again. “Inequality”

    What we need in Britain is fairness not equality.

    Equality is at the heart of communism. If that’s the way we want to go then, by all means, let’s engage in their language. But doing this is to lose the argument straight away. Accepting the need for equality is to strip away the advantage gained by risk and endeavour.

    Equality of opportunity ? Well that’s a different thing but the Tories don’t much believe in the things that deliver it – such as grammar schools. Employers are being forced to drop selection criteria in order to ignore better candidates and to reach quotas. I’ve never known it worse than it is now in fact.

    I believe in gay marriage and this is partly because religion has been debunked by science and needs to be put in its place – especially the more strident and old fashioned ones in our midst. The main reason for me supporting gay marriage is that gays are among the nicest people I know.

    But what of it ? Why cause a rift now ? At a time of war and economic emergency ?

    I suspect that Mr Cameron knows how hopeless our situation is and is trying to throw the next election whilst shifting the blame onto the Tory right. I’m probably wrong but even if I am he couldn’t have done a better job of making the Tories look unelectable. For the life of me I can’t see why a real Tory would want to vote Tory !

    • electro-kevin
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      “Equality is at the heart of communism. If that’s the way we want to go then, by all means, let’s engage in their language. But doing this is to lose the argument straight away. Accepting the need for equality is to strip away the advantage gained by risk and endeavour. ”

      What I’m asking is this:

      Why is Mr Redwood engaging in the quest for equality by suggesting that there are better ways to find it ?

      I posit that ‘equality’ is a political trap in both deed and in semantics. It marks out a battleground which drags the whole of political debate to the left of the spectrum.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Inequality it could be argued is the heart of communism for the rich a new aristocracy is in effect being created. Are you in favour of this?

    • Jerry
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      @Electro-Kevin: “I believe in gay marriage and this is partly because religion has been debunked by science and needs to be put in its place – especially the more strident and old fashioned ones in our midst. The main reason for me supporting gay marriage is that gays are among the nicest people I know.

      Quite frankly the most sensible comment I have heard or read in 48 hours on this subject – when will religion realise and accept that they do not ‘own’ the institution of marriage [1], just as they had to accept (eventually) that they didn’t own the explanation for life or how the universe works once science had debunked the creationism theory.

      [1] marriage existed long before organised religion, it has existed in cultures were there was no religion (either because it has not been invented or had/has been removed by the state), long term monogamous ‘marriages’ -parings for life- even exist in the animal kingdom and shock horror there has even been homosexual acts and parings recorded.

      • stred
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Marriage has been around since prehistoric times and is a result of evolution. Animals and men which breed with their close relatives produce duff offspring. It is for the heterosexual breeding of the fittest. Except in Notting Hill.

        • uanime5
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Not strictly true as there are many species which can reproduce asexually yet their offspring do not become increasingly defective. At present scientists are still trying to figure out what benefits sexual reproductions has over asexual reproduction as many species that reproduce asexually have survived for millions of years.

          • stred
            Posted February 8, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            Uni. Re. Asexual reproduction. Evolution still works because the fitter offspring can kill and eat the unfit. (words left out) Asexual does not seem to work for us. But marriage, family names, etc do seem effective in stopping us marrying siblings and offspring.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          @stred: “Marriage has been around since prehistoric times

          Thanks for agreeing with me! Marriage has indeed been around since prehistoric times, and indeed it is a result of evolution, what it is not is a result of religion – as I said, a form of ‘marriage’ can exist in the animal kingdom.

          It [marriage] is for the heterosexual breeding of the fittest.

          Sorry “stred” but that is scientifically and socially provable bunkum, any suitable sexual reproduction can produce fit, healthy, offspring – there are any number of such people living today that were born out of wedlock that proves that you are wrong.

          In any case it could be said that the most important part of your idea for the reasons for marriage actually takes place before any marriage (the selection of a suitable mate), thus wedlock is irrelevant to what sort of offspring a couple will produce.

          • stred
            Posted February 9, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

            Marriage and having children in wedlock reduces the chance of siblings and close family members reproducing. It is not foolproof but faithful lifelong mates and family names do help. Scientific and sociological studies may prove otherwise or not but common sense applies. Animals and men have found evolutionary advantages in mating and marriage, though it obviously may not have been called so at the time.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          @stred: “Marriage and having children in wedlock reduces the chance of siblings and close family members reproducing.

          Wow, you do sound like you hold some very fundamentalist, if not Creationist, religious beliefs!

          So a family where the man and woman are living as if a married couple do not know who their children are, nor do the kids know who their siblings are (never mind any close family relatives), nor do they have family names – that only reflect one blood line in any case.

          For your (IMO crazy) ‘theory’ to have worked the marriage laws would say that all family names have to be hyphenated to include both the current blood lines and those of the children’s grandparents (to prevent possibly damaging in-breading from first cousins) and even then all family names would have to be unique.

          Scientific and sociological studies may prove otherwise or not but common sense applies

          Common sense being what most closely fits ones ideals or held beliefs of course. Oh and Animals do not marry, they simply pair-off (sometimes for life).

          Sorry but you and your ‘theories’ would make a good comedy act if your nonsense didn’t risk being so highly damaging to the many people in the world who do not wish to have any involvement with your flavour of religious fundamentalism (or none)… If you want to live that way, fine, just don’t expect others to do like-wise – live and let live, peace to mankind and all that…

          • stred
            Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

            Sorry Jerry, If you had read some of my previous entries, you would not rush to damn me as a religious fundamentalist. I have pointed out before that God does not individually create homosexuals, as someone claimed and gave evolution as a reason. I am not a believer in any faith, except to take issues as analytically and honestly as possible.

            The mistake you make is to believe that anyone with religious beliefs who holds on to traditional ideas is necessarily unscientific or illogical. In this case, just because marriage or mating ( no-one suggested that animals marry) is pre-religion then it should not be considered from their point of view. Religions over thousands of years have adapted beliefs to observed facts. They adapt socially too, to suit converts, such as putting pagan dates into Christian festivals or some think, having to have a female and male god. But this does not mean that the original principal does not hold.

            If there had been no formalising of lifelong mating into marriage, then it would have been a free for all. Just because, today, non- married couples can keep records of who was producing children with who at a certain time and avoid inbreeding, it does not follows that it is a good idea to change the meaning of marriage and upset religions of all types. You appear to belong to the Dawkins Funamentalists Sect and I hope you can think your way out into the green pastures of reason.

          • stred
            Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

            PS. Jerry. I have no faith, but have had partners in married and unmarried arrangements and children in both. If I had a choice between being married in church, married in a registry office, a civil partnership or shacking up, I would prefer the latter at present. Stred

  18. JimF
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    This has happened under your government’s watch:
    Top slice of income which could be paid into pensions reduced from £260K to £40K, then topped out at £1.25m in place of an index-linked £1.8m. This encourages high earners to leave the work force and retire early
    Second slice of income subject to 45% tax above £150K, with some nasty marginal rates around £100K due to removal of personal allowances. 40% rate band not increased with inflation. This encourages those in work to work less.
    Third slice of income subject to higher NI rates. Ditto.
    Fourth slice of overall income which stays in your Limited Company now subject to lower Corporation Tax rates (good, but this won’t appear in your figures).

    The current system does encourage money staying in a Limited Company to invest in plant and equipment, rather than taking it as income, but this is a high risk strategy without growing markets for your products. So you might just choose to work less or retire early.

  19. Winston Smith
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    You should be caring about the people who used to vote for you and elected Thatcher and Major, not the super rich. You should also place less emphasis on “raising the living standards of those on benefits”, which suggests yet more State interference. Those that are suffering the most are those on middle incomes, the aspiring lower classes and families, with stay at home mothers. We are the ones losing child benefit, paying stealth taxes, paying green taxes, facing rising utility bills, receiving less and less from the local authority, being asked to contribute to school funds, paying 20% VAT, paying the highest fuel costs in Europe, the highest train fares in Europe, foregoing holidays and suffering overloaded services and infrastructure and over-development, owing to your fellow chums in the political elite ‘s mass immigration policies ( have you read about the overloaded sewage system in Bucks?).

    If, even you, fail to see this, there is no hope for the Conservatives.

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, I see that after Prime Minister’s Questions today Mr Baron will seek leave to introduce his EU referendum Bill under the Ten Minute Rule.

    However his Bill will only be for legislation for a referendum after the next general election, not for the referendum we should have as soon as possible before the general election.

    I hope that MPs who want an earlier referendum, maybe a “mandate” referendum, will see this as the bad Bill that it is.

    Like all such Bills it won’t go any further unless the government makes parliamentary time for it to proceed, and the government is unlikely to do that; but supposing that it was passed into law then it would confirm the Tory party position of offering to sell us a referendum in exchange for our votes, and effectively block any prospect of another Bill being passed for an earlier referendum.

    I make no comment on the matter which preoccupied MPs yesterday, but I note that parliamentary time is being used to fulfill one international commitment, in this case given to the Council of Europe:

    and therefore that parliamentary time is not available to progress Mr Jackson’s Ten Minute Rule Bill to limit the damage which will arise from another international commitment, an obligation under the EU treaties to allow the entire populations of Bulgaria and Romania to come and live and work here:

    “European Union Free Movement Directive 2004 (Disapplication) Bill”

    It had its First Reading on October 31st 2012, but now it’s:

    “This Bill is expected to have its second reading debate on a date to be announced.”,

    which can be interpreted as “never”.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      One thing is certain, Cameron will do whatever it takes to keep the UK in the EU.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        I watched Mr Baron give his ten minute speech in favour of his Bill.

        He referred to the 1975 referendum but let Harold Wilson off very lightly.

        He admitted the possibility that even if his Bill was passed it could be repealed by Parliament at the behest of the next government, falling back on the same kind of “political damage” argument that the government deployed against all attempts to entrench its so-called “referendum lock” law against normal repeal, disregarding the well-established fact that once in power a government can brazenly renege on an important promise and yet talk its way out of significant punishment at the following election.

        He said that it was time for MPs of all parties to come clean about giving the people their say about the EU, but didn’t explain why MPs should do that over his Bill for a referendum in 2017 rather than over a Bill for a referendum in the autumn of 2013.

        He said that a referendum in 2017 would give the eurozone states the chance to sort out what they wanted to do, which in my view is like a general generously deciding that he won’t attack the enemy until they’d had several years to prepare the battlefield to their advantage.

        Notionally the second reading will be on March 1st, but setting that date is just part of the regular Commons farce on Private Member’s Bills and will most likely change to:

        “This Bill is expected to have its second reading debate on a date to be announced.”

        As with Mr Jackson’s Bill, which originally was supposed to have its second reading on December 14th.

        Reply A private members bill is awarded by ballot. The top bills in the list have a chance of becoming law as time is made available. A 10 Minute Rule Bill like Mr B’s is an oppotunity to highlight an issue, not usually a chance to legislate. Only if the governemtn takes one up and grants it time will it go through.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Brian Tomkinson: “One thing is certain, Cameron will do whatever it takes to keep the UK in the EU.

        Isn’t that his privilege, he has never hid his wish to be within the EU, but not within an overtly political (Federalist style) EU.

        If people do not like that then they are free to join/vote UKIP (other anti EU, “Brexit”, parties are available), those Tory MPs who feel they can not serve under their leader because of his policy on the EU can either try and change Mr Cameron’s views, cross the floor of the house, either as an independent MP, to join another party or even form their own “Brexit” party…

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          Glad to see you agree with my comment for a change!

          • Jerry
            Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

            Brian Tomkinson, yes and the change that is needed is for those who seem to so detest Mr Cameron, his political views and how he leads the party to either put-up (either challenge or convert him), p*** off or simply shut-up and stop bickering – at least in public.

            It would not surprised me if Cameron does a John Major in 2014, “back me or sack me”, with all the ramifications that might have so close to the next election!

  21. Kenneth
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    The crazy thing is that we did all of this before when, in the 1970s we hounded out some very good people from the UK.

    Do we never learn lessons?

    • Jerry
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      @Kenneth: “in the 1970s we hounded out some very good people from the UK.

      Please point me towards were anyone in the UK pays a “Super Tax” at something like 90% plus as it was in the 1970s?

      Do we never learn lessons?

      Yes people do, hence why Labour only raised the top rate of tax to 50% at the end of their last government, and this was only done due to the mess and the debt caused by the banking crisis, before that the top rate was closer to the often cited optimum 35% rate than the 1970s super tax rate.

      Both Brown and Darling (and now Balls, as shadow) were far closer to Thatcher and monetarism policies than they ever were to to the policies of the Labour party in the 1970s.

      • Kenneth
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Yes, 90% was ridiculous in those days, but in a more mobile & competitive world nowadays, 50% is only a few notches short of ridiculous.

        …hence why Labour only raised the top rate of tax to 50% at the end of their last government, and this was only done due to the mess and the debt caused by the banking crisis…
        So we try to solve the economic damage by damaging our economy even more?

        • Jerry
          Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          @Kenneth: “So we try to solve the economic damage by damaging our economy even more?

          Let me rephrase that, ‘…by risking damaging our economy even more?

          But of course the Tories 5% VAT increase, to 20%, didn’t damage the economy even more, even though to the rich 5% is loose change, trouble is to the poor it was more like that old Labour super tax – thus they stopped spending the little money they did have spare….

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      I think Cameron is a student of the 70s; he certainly is copying Harold Wilson’s tactics with his promise of a “re-negotiation” and then a referendum at which, if it ever takes place, he will recommend staying in the EU. The man is a charlatan just like his mentor Blair.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        @Brian Tomkinson: “The man [Cameron] is a charlatan just like his mentor Blair

        He seems to be a “charlatan” simply because he doesn’t subscribe to the politics that you wish he would, that is not being a charlatan, it is just having different views (ones that he has never hidden).

        Sorry Brain but you and other europhopes seem to hold the view that democracy (within party or country) is OK as long as the policies are what you want, in that respect there isn’t much difference between yourselves and the eurocrats who like to hand out the dictats you so detest.

        Some people have asked (in this blog) why Cameron chose to bring forward the Gay Marriage Bill, perhaps he knew that it would “split the party wide open” (as one newspaper has put it), perhaps that was his intention, his Clause 4 moment?…

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you on this. I know of several businesses that decided to jack it all in during the disastrous 1970s; they voted with their feet for foreign climes.

  22. Acorn
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    ” … This continues as one goes down the income distribution: the top five per cent are down from 22.5 per cent in 2007-08 to 16 per cent this year; the top 10 per cent from 31.8 per cent to 23.6 per cent and the top 50 per cent from 75.2 per cent to 60 per cent. These are massive drops, so large that one suspects that some will eventually be revised. It is bad news for the Tory party that one chunk of their natural supporters – those on higher than average incomes – are being squeezed.”

    Is there any doubt left that the squeezed middle class, that do most of the consumer spending, have cut spending and upped their saving fearing the future. One man’s spending is another man’s income.

  23. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    To some extent, this sort of thing usually happens in a recession, especially when bonuses were a large part of remuneration (and there is clawback!).

    Things should slowly get better. The reduction in the top rate of tax from 50% to 45% should help, and a further reduction to 40% should help.

    • sm
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Agreed all recession related and to be expected. Anyway for the real rich income/capital gains/expenses & tax are malleable terms. (If the banks bondholders had taken the hit- it probably would have been deeper and quicker)

      Higher unemployment (mass immigration), under employment equals income down/tax down. If you wipeout the living standards of the workers you wipe out discretionary demand.

      The income falls do not factor in relative costs either.

      For what its worth, i hope it allows better longer term decision making instead of bubble driven short termism.

  24. Neil Craig
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    And we can have fast economic growth any time our political class want it, simply by endorsing the free market policies, particularly on energy, that UKIP support.

    John I believe one should be more loyal to one’s beliefs than to parties. A party is simply the vehicle by which people of relatively common purpose come together. For example I am, by belief, a liberal & used to be a member of the LibDems till they did me the favour of expelling me on a charge of being an economic liberal (really). I am now a member of UKIP which is very much a classic liberal party.

    Perhaps you should give some thought to whether you are in a party which opposes too many of your core beliefs.

  25. Jerry
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile the bottom half receives a bigger share of the income than at any time this century.

    Anyone care to quantify what is meant by that comment?

    Whilst the “bottom half” might be taking home more than ever before in their pay-cheques that doesn’t automatically mean that these people are better off, because whole swaths of the ‘bottom half’ will find that they are worse off as the official rate of inflation doesn’t reflect actual real-world prices rises. Any wage rise will (more likely than not) reflect the official inflation figure, this will give a obviously mean that people have more money in their pocket but the worth of that money will be less, whilst those entitled to claim in-work or JSA benefits have been pegged to 1% – in short the poor will be getting poorer even if they are apparently ‘cash rich’.

    We need economic growth to raise all living standards. We need more jobs to rauise the living standards of those currently living on benefits.

    Indeed and perhaps, John, you might care to mention this when you are next able to catch George’s ear?…

  26. They work for us?
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Thank you for voting against Gay Marriage. Too many of our historic institutions have been scrapped or changed almost as a whim. Blair was a major culprit and Cameron is only marginally better.

    I am very much against MPs voting according to their conscience or on just party political and career enhancing lines. On major issues they should consult their constituents and vote accordingly. MPs should not be able to vote against their constituents wishes on major issues else as ids often suggested we have an elected dictatorship.
    The right of recall, deselection and a by-election sounds most attractive.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      @They work for us?: “Too many of our historic institutions have been scrapped or changed almost as a whim.

      I’m surprised some are not denouncing Darwin and his ideas about evolution, all this balderdash science, what do they know, and the earth must be flat!

    • uanime5
      Posted February 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Too many of our historic institutions have been scrapped or changed almost as a whim.

      Similar things were said when people tried to stop interracial marriage being legalised because it would “destroy the sanctity of marriage”.

  27. Barry
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    “the rich are getting poorer”

    Tony Blair isn’t.

  28. Wilko
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Existence is difference. Without difference nothing moves. Equality is ultimately a state of being the same.

    Individuals are free to change for the better and to differ from others if they choose. Monetary ownership is merely one measure of distinction.

    If all high earners suddenly moved away, those remaining would reach near-instant equality, but equal to what? Everyone makes choices, including the thousands of previous choices compounding into their present situation of happiness or despair.

    Some remote tribes in Africa live in simple hut conditions, yet enjoy fulfilling lives as law-abiding citizens in fine communities with good health and high quality values. Many UK citizens, who watch images and eat burgers behind glass screens, would regard hut-living as poverty. In contrast, inequality exists only via comparison.

    In the UK, a home without water on tap, or state support to pay for ‘essentials’ may not be tolerated. Those who complain of inequality could be rich or poor depending on whom they choose to include in their comparison. If the UK norm involved ownership of five Rolls Royce vehicles per person, someone with only two should be worthy of support: or make better choices.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Why are we even entertaining the idea of ‘equality’ ?

      Making equality the agenda empowers the Left.

      • Wilko
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        “Fairness” as you stated in your 9.41am post does seem more apt.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Regarding the recent modifications to this site, and regarding Jerry’s comment that it is nothing whatsoever to do with the EU, as usual, I’ve just happened across this from last week:

    “The cookie law is ‘dead’”

    “The decision by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to stop asking for explicit permission to serve cookies has been cited as the death of the cookie law.

    Last year we reported on the EU cookie law after software company Silktide launched a protest site and subsequently predicted that the law was doomed to die.

    In a blog post, Silktide MD Oliver Emberton cited the ICO’s policy changes, saying that the law is “dead at last”.”

    “.net: So does this new advice mean the law is effectively dead and the industry and clients have wasted piles of money on a pointless episode?

    OE: Pretty much. All the complex solutions, which actually blocked certain cookies and so forth, were a waste. The panic, meetings and audits were certainly a waste. The people who simply put a cookie page up apparently did the right thing.

    All that energy was directed at interpreting a confusing and counter-productive law instead of actually making changes that could help people’s privacy. As most people don’t know what cookies are, banners saying, “we use cookies” are pointless.”

    I don’t know whether this is helpful.

    Now I must remember to fill in my name and email address, because otherwise I’ll have to write this all out again … I’ll copy it first, just to be on the safe side …

  30. JP Floru
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Allister Heath is the soundest man in England.

  31. Neil
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    This reminds me of Mrs Thatcher clashing with Simon Hughes over ‘the gap’: the left don’t care if the poor are poorer as long as the rich are less rich.

    I work in the betting industry and yesterday went to a massive trade fair at ExCel. 450+ exhibitors and 54 jurisdictions all touting for business (including Native Americans). There was no representative from the UK government. The coalition needs to wake up and smell the coffee because otherwise it won’t just be gaming firms leaving. And without businesses to create jobs society will become even more unequal.

    • stred
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      Personally I think the whole internet betting industry should be blocked on the internet. It is worse that addictive drugs, and why T.Blair evr freed it is a mystery.

  32. Paul
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    To suggest the rich are getting poorer is an insult to those people who genuinely are getting poorer and are struggling with the costs of living. Just because the rich may no longer be able to afford that third or fourth Mercedes will not make people rejoice or any more likely to vote Conservative.

    • Edward
      Posted February 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Its not a suggestion Paul, its a fact.
      The problem for State finances is that as richer people get poorer and become fewer in number it has a big negative effect on tax revenues.
      One of the reasons we are nowhere near our borrowing targets.
      You may hate the rich but the top 2% pay over 25% of all income tax
      Golden gooses etc

  33. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Could you give us the references for your figures please John?

    Also I’m not sure if you’re claiming that society is getting more equal or more unequal with it just looking more equal because the rich are more aggressively tax evading under this government (in which case why do you think this is happening). Any clarification would be very welcome.

    • Edward
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      I think you must mean tax avoiding, because tax evasion is illegal.

  34. Max Dunbar
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    How is Conservative Party recruitment doing at present? What motivates people to join up? Where is the Party going?

  35. uanime5
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Given that there has been a huge decline in the City salaries due to the recession and bonuses are no longer as large due to public opposition is it any surprise that the top 1% are paying themselves less. So the lack of economic growth is the main reason why the rich aren’t getting richer and if economic growth returns you can expect that the first thing the rich will do is give themselves huge bonuses to raise inequality.

    Of course a reduction in the amount paid to the top 50% could mean that the bottom 50% are being paid more or that there are more of them.

    In other news the gay marriage bill passed by 400 to 175 votes (a majority of 225) with 75 abstentions. Among the Conservatives 139 voted against this bill and 132 supported it. This means that unlike benefit cuts, privatising the NHS, and trebling tuition fees gay marriage has split the Conservative party.

    • Edward
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Possibly because it was a free vote and not part of the Conservative party election manifesto.

  36. Bert Young
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    The economy of this country is totally dependent on the successful , resourceful and talented individuals (be they rich or poor) being encouraged to live and work here . The tax , and the various ways direct and indirect charges impinge on their incomes and wealth , has a lot to do on where they live , set up and sustain business activity . So , I agree with the main thrust of your blog but you should also throw in the wider aspect of our entire business culture and ask yourself whether it really does offer a broad enough incentive . My father encouraged me to return to this country in 1961 believing and persuading me that it was the best place to be ; as things stand now , I wish I had not .

  37. MajorFrustration
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Fox hunting Gay marriage and an NHS thats the envy of the world – when will our politicans join the real world. Do hope Ed will learn from these lessons of crass stupidty by the Tory party come 2015.

  38. Dennis
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    You say –
    “We need economic growth to raise all living standards. We need more jobs to raise the living standards of those currently living on benefits.”

    Are you working for some extraterrestrials who want to destroy/weaken our civilisation so that they can take over the Earth without having to fight?

    Unfortunately there are too many jobs in the UK, and elsewhere, the problem is there are too many people.

  39. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    The trouble with your heading, John, is that many people in this blighted country (stand up unanime) will indeed be pleased that the rich are earning less. After reading yesterday that unanime reckons that the rich leaving the country won’t impinge on the tax take I shall believe anything.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      I said the rich leaving won’t effect the tax take if they can’t take their jobs with them. For example if a director of a UK company leaves the UK and another person works in this same job for the same salary in the UK then there’s no reduction in taxation because the same amount of tax will be paid by another person.

  40. Harry Hardup
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Nothing on the blog on why you voted against Gay Marriages. Pity. Wed like to know your reasons.

    Reply There is a clear statement of my approach and reason for voting as I did.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      You seem to be reluctant to be drawn on this issue. Can you provide a link to the “clear statement” please.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Max, John has done just that in this website, here, do you need everything served to you on a silver platter? Took me less than 30 seconds to find it…

        • Max Dunbar
          Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the link Jerry. Much appreciated.

  41. Bazman
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    The idea that the 1% of the top tax payers have taken home less is credible as we have all taken a hit, but the top 1% of these taxpayers have enjoyed year on year rises for decades. It could be argued that they have only themselves to blame as many work in the City. The idea that the top 1% and especially the top 0.1% have somehow become more poor this year and have not in fact increased their fortunes by massive amounts is an insult to anyones intelligence. The concentration of extreme wealth is bad for everyone and anyone who argues it is a good thing is a fool.

  42. Jon
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    I get and agree with the Laffer curve and that the 50% tax was a bad move entirely.
    I get and agree that we need to attract foreign companies and talented individuals and so need to maintain a competitive tax regime to encourage the jobs and growth that generates.

    However I feel there has been another change that has gone one for atleast 15 years that is more difficult to pinpoint as it isn’t about the above demographic. Just from casual observation over that time (so no evidence I appreciate) I think there has been near static earnings for the average earners but generous increases for those in the 6 figure bracket year on year for the last 15 or so years. These are not those that are international and would leave the country, they are also employees and not business owners. I think there was a shift in the salary demographics within large companies. I think this is can bother people a lot and not what an entrepreneur can earn. This is the area I would like to see more balanced and relative .

    • Jon
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      For instance its typical for a company to rack up the management bonuses and earnings when a restructure is needed. Sort of vested interest as the re structure or change can mean a pinch to the greater workforce. How many changes and re structures in the private sector are done? They are practically every year. I think over the many years this has created a relative imbalance.

  43. Barbara
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    We can all assume the rich are leaving because of punitive taxes, but if they wish to leave they will any way and if they wish to remain where their families are they will, whatever the tax levels. Its politicians who run this country, those whom we vote for at general elections. As only a third of the nation voted for the Lib Dems, we can now see why from their antics in the coalition. Then people were decieved, they won’t be again. Their roll with good election rates is over, from 23% down to 7% now. They have a terrible policies, no real talent to offer the country, and their belief of the EU, is not what the majority here want. Even more so now than before.
    Having them in a coalition was the worst thing for the Conservatives, they would have been better off running a low majority government than what they’ve got now. This coalition as tarnished them both and exposed the Lib Dems for what they are, no good to run the country.
    Some have mention the NHS, I’ve worked and trained in it. Its not all bad, and there are many hospitals that do good jobs, with wonderful staff. It as saved may lives over the years. Nothing that cannot be put right. To much interferance from politiicans and not enough input from the people who actually do the jobs. Stopping training on the wards is another thing that as put the NHS in the black. We should revert back to training on the job like it was when I trained, this new experiment as failed.

  44. MichaelL
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    @”Ah Yes, done at a stroke by increasing benefits by 5.2% tax free,”

    … its comments like these that make me laugh. Why?
    Of course essentially the biggest benefit claimants have been those on the right end of the QE – designed to keep asset (house) prices up. Not the chap up North, taking ‘dole’ or housing/child benefit.

    What the UK needs is dose of free market, libertarianism – then you see some whingers come out of the woodwork… Start by abolishing the Bank of England. Thats a few useless civil servants off the tax payer funded payroll for a start…

  45. matthu
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Does the fact that the government is now making a direct investment in windfarms (see The Guardian) mean that the renewable obligation element of our electricity bill will now be recognised as a tax?

    Does this new development have the approval of the House? or just DECC? Either way, I cannot imagine it will be a vote winner.

  46. Derek Emery
    Posted February 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m not convinced the top 1% are poorer. Each stage of QE makes the richest even richer by typically 20% due to the price rise it creates in stocks and shares. At the same time it makes the poorest poorer and reduces economic growth in the private sector as low interest rates and the fear that more QE means the economy is still out of control therefore minimizing investment intentions. Companies are more likely to make their investment elsewhere in the world where the downside risks are much lower and economic growth rates are higher.
    I suspect that the richest 1% reconfigure their accounts (or rather their accountants do) to reduce the money they take as income now it is more heavily taxed.

  47. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    We don’t want to lose our richest businesses offshore , but then again we don’t want to an arm up our backs either. Businesses who have acquired their money in this country owe it to repay some of the luck and good fortune they have had. Without the British Customers they would not be in a situation where they could call the shots now.

  48. iakovos
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Why the socialist myth of the rich that are getting richer and of the poor that are getting poorer is a lie

  • 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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