Risk and burden sharing


If you share a country with others, you sign up to sharing burdens and risks. It also means you sign up to sharing successes and riches.

In Europe today some of the separatist movements are from parts of countries that are richer than the rest. They get fed up with sharing their success with others. Thus many in Catalonia in Spain, Padania in Northern Italy and Flanders in Belgium think they would better off without the poorer parts of their countries which they have to help finance.

The case of Scotland is a bit different. Scotland is not the pre-eminent richest part of the UK. London is. However, Scotland feels rich thanks to the presence of oil reserves. Much of the debate about Scottish independence entailed the two sides throwing around different calculations of tax revenues, income per head and general prosperity depending on how much of the oil was regarded as Scotland’s, and how bullish you were about future levels of extraction and future oil prices.

The case of Greece is similar. Germany and other richer parts of the Euro Union do not  want to accept full burden and risk sharing with Greece in the way West Germany does with East Germany or Northern Italy does with southern Italy. Germany says  No to propping up Greek banks, to sending  Greece more money to pay benefit bills or for local authority programmes.

The Scottish case has served as a great reminder of why risk sharing and burden sharing can help. Scotland now has to accept that volumes of oil extracted will be well down on peak levels, and at least for the time being prices well down on Nationalist expectations last autumn. If Scotland were on her own that would mean big spending cuts. Inside the UK the loss of revenue is manageable, and it will be covered from elsewhere.

It reminds us that to be a successful union most in the union have to accept the idea that success is shared and risks are underwritten throughout the whole union. Because many parts of the Euro area are not ready top accept that, the area will remain crisis ridden and unhappy.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    This is very true, but unfortunately it rather looks as though (thanks to Cameron’s wet pro EU, green crap, high tax and pension mugging agenda) we will shortly be in the grip of a Miliband/SNP fiasco. So sharing may go rather too far for England.

    There is however reason to support standard wages and benefits level across the country. You can earn £100k PA in London and still have less disposable income than someone on 25K in say Bury while paying far more in tax too. It is disposable incomes, after housing and costs of getting to and from work, that matters to people. London is already hugely over taxed on this basis.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      I see Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary has finally discovered that girls who take just one STEM A-level will see their wages rise by as much as £4,500 a year on average, while those who sit two maths or science subjects are predicted to experience a pay boost of 33.1 per cent.

      So it is not gender discrimination at all. JJust the fact that girls tend not to study A level Physics, Further Maths and Maths and Computer science.
      The figures are that 10 times as many boys as girls do Computer science, four times as many do physics, three times as many to further maths and about 1.5 times as many do maths at A level.

      So the gender pay gap is not discrimination at all. Anyone numerate (male or female) can see that any laws that force equal pay are by definition huge discrimination against men and particularly in these subject areas.

      The real question is why do so many girls seem to have such an aversion to these subjects?

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        In fact there is clear positive discrimination in favour of women in maths/science jobs in the private sector because employers are very keen to employ them to meet gender-balance targets.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          I can name jobs where they have remove selection exams specifically to enable women (and others)

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Dear Lifelogic–Always and everywhere the question why women are different, and attempts to make them identical to men. Rather, given that the Good Lord and Mother Nature indisputably made them different why on Earth should women be the same?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          Indeed but lots of parasitic government jobs as gender discrimination experts, lawyers and HR experts in trying to enforce an equality of outcome!

        • lifelogic
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          Well evolution rather than God I tend to think.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      Osborne’s wet, lefty pension, mugging budget has, as expected, done absolutely nothing to help the Tories in the polls I note.

      The budget even suggested that they may fund the idiotic (and economic lunacy) of the tidal barrage scheme. One wonders if Ed Davey can even do simple primary school arithmetic let alone maths A level.

      Worse still this moronic proposal for tenants to be able to sublet without consent. We also have places like Croydon and Brent trying to mug landlords with £500-700 (per property) fees for licences. Thus pushing up rents and restricting supply of properties to rent. The council will be making more money that the landlords in many cases, not to mention the pointless additional work for the landlords.

      No one want Ed and the SNP but Cameron/Osborne seem totally determined to put them in power.

      • stred
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        LL. Thanks for the warning. It beggars belief that a Conservative government could propose such a radical and destructive measure as to allow uncontrolled subletting. One wonders whether these younger lifetime politicians have any grasp of reality at all, or whether they ever talk to family or friends who have any experience in the business.

        Having just spent 2 years repairing a property which was sublet without consent, including making a sleeping space in the attic, the house was awaiting the election to see whether rent control and 3 year tenancies will be coming back. The effect of rent control in the 60s appears to have been forgotten, unless they wish to deliberately bankrupt landlords and seize their properties.

        Landlords had to decide whether to pay the HMO £800 licence fee and accept demands from EHOs to put in full fire protection, extend kitchens to allow meals to be cooked at the same time, management regimes etc.- or keep the property permanently for no more than 2 unrelated persons. Now a couple plus one could sublet to two more and make the dwelling into an illegal HMO, with huge potential fines for the landlord. Insurance would be violated and any control over anti social behaviour, if there ever was any, would be impossible.

        These politicians must have calculated that there are more votes from tenants than landlords. They should remember that a large number of small landlords have gone into BTL because their pensions were a joke and these people used to vote for all sides of the spectrum. If the private rental sector goes into melt down and a mass sell of causes a housing price crash, have they considered the consequences? Cameron, Osborne, Milliband and Balls. What a combination of idiots!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          Exactly in the end it just hurts the tenants anyway and generates pointless parasitic jobs.

        • stred
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          I think I should have written – the house was empty and I was awaiting the election.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          The shortage of lorry drivers is down to government mugging – they need a new £500 a year re-test.

          This means casuals no longer find the job worth doing.

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 23, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            That’s a lot of post tax money to have to find on a measly £7 an hour for a tough and responsible job.

          • stred
            Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

            A 60k shortage of lorry drivers and test costs £3k. The usual story. Yet, a lorry driver on a Polish licence can bring his lorry across the EU from Poland or other lesser cost countries and deliver around the UK, while buying most of the fuel in France and avoiding UK tax.

        • acorn
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          The Sub-letting free for all announced in the budget, has to be the dumbest vote buying scam, since Thatcher started selling Council Houses. (Now a classic “how-not-to-do-it”, for economics students world wide.)

          Since the pensioners lost their interest payments on their nest eggs, a lot have moved into the buy-to-let game. A lot of them have got stung by professional “fly-by-night” tenants. Even your local Council, will have had problems with their tenants sub-letting to contractors, that move into the area for refinery overhauls or major road schemes etc.

          I reckon this is the major Tory vote loser of the budget. Sub-letting should be illegal for private sector and definitely for public sector housing. Laissez faire sub-letting is not going to solve the housing shortage.

          PS Would someone please find this country a Lee Kuan Yew, with a Singapore-style professional team of managers, that know what they are doing and how to make a country work.

      • stred
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        I see that landlords who hoped to escape CGT by going expat are now to pay it, but only taxed from now on valuation of gain. Whether they will retrospectively date the purchase or how they will value the property if the date is current will be interesting. I am not in this position, but if I was, I would sell up now. How many homes will come on the market over the next year for this reason?

        Again the call for indexation has been ignored. They know where the money is and are out to grab it, just as the relaxation of pension rules will make large withdrawls taxable more quickly than taxing monthly payments.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          Indeed endless expensive and pointless valuations to be done and argued over.

        • acorn
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

          Exactly stred. Osborne needs a private sector spending binge to get his deficit down, there is no alternative. He is banking on the proletariat blowing their pension funds on consumption goods and services.

          He will be long gone when the excreta hits the fan of old age poverty he is creating. He must pray, every night, that there is a continuing house price boom, at least to 2020. If there isn’t the whole house of cards collapses.

          We should be thankful that his June 2010 austerity plan failed. The public spending he hasn’t killed since 2013, about £212 billion, is now, along with natural animal instincts, lifting the economy off the runway. In truth, Osborne has reverted to Alistair Darling’s 2009 plan.

          The next government needs to keep the “deficit” at the current level for the next two years and then ease back keeping inflation in the 3 – 5 % range. Alas; ideologically impossible for a Laissez-faire, neo-liberal, Conservative government.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink

            Putting inverted commas around “deficit” doesn’t make it any less real!

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        What next a local authority £700 licences before you can rent a car or cement mixer or even go to the loo perhaps?

        The next thing will be that landlords will have to go on some brain washing training schemes at vast expense to them each years before they are even allowed to even be in business.

        All costs will of course have to be have to be passed on to the tenants and the supply of rental properties will also diminish. Endless new pointless jobs for parasites though at the local authority and lots of (unpaid) work for the landlords. Then perhaps lower profits and less tax thus paid on these profits.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      I meant no reason to support …..

      Why should someone in London having 150pw disposable income after tax property costs and commuting have to pay perhaps 4 times the amount of tax as someone with similar disp. Income in a cheaper area?

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I see in a letter to the Spectator Sir John Major oddly claims that he did not want to join the EURO – so why exactly did he join the entirely predictable disaster of the ERM as chancellor then? Even trying to stay in long after almost everyone knew it was totally unsustainable. Telling us interest rates would go up if we left the ERM and if it is not hurting it is not working.

      Thus costing the country billions and pointlessly destroying many lives, businesses, marriages, jobs and homes?

      Has he apologised yet indeed will he ever? Politicians only ever seem to apologise for historical things that they had nothing to do with. Almost never for disasters they personally caused.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        Major failed to veto the proposal at Maastricht; he had to be pressured into getting a treaty opt-out for the UK; he did not care that other countries would not be allowed their own opt-outs, and that all new EU member states would have to join it and none would ever be able to leave it; he talked about “bastards” and “the flapping of white coats”, for which he has never apologised; he refused a referendum on the Maastricht Treaty and forced the Bill to approve it through the Commons on a confidence vote; while he made a public show of criticising the idea of the “one-size-fits-all” euro, he wouldn’t draw the obvious conclusion and say that we definitely shouldn’t join it; instead he “deliberately kept his options open”, with “no commitment by the government to join it willy-nilly” as a Tory MP wrote here in July 1996:


        I’m pretty sure that Major would have taken us into the euro if he had been able to do so, and I’m also pretty sure that the present Tory leaders are not genuinely opposed to joining it when the time seems ripe.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Many of us living in Scotland are terrified of independence seeing it only as a ‘Braveheart’ issue for many Scots. They haven’t really thought the whole process out. One of the latest problems are the amount of wind turbines in Scotland receiving subsidies from the whole of the UK at present but which, if in an independent country would have to be met by the people of Scotland alone. Where do the SNP think the few million will find the means to pay for this flawed policy? Salmond’s arrogance on the Andrew Marr programme on Sunday morning was beyond belief. The UK is doomed if anyone dare to get into bed with the SNP.

      • DaveM
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        “They haven’t really thought the whole process out. ”

        That probably qualifies as the understatement of the century.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Cameron will have to try very hard to lose to the dreadful Miliband/Balls/Salmond/Sturgeon – hardly anyone wants to see that certainly not in England.

        But alas he is doing his best to.

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic – Mr Cameron has done his best to kill off Farage !

          He accused his party of being closet racists (as do most parts of the media.) Now Mr Farage is subject to violent protest and Leftists feel morally obliged to offer up physical resistance to him.

          Well racism is a crime in this country. It is one of the worst things someone can be accused of – not far short of the worst sexual offences. It adds an aggravating dimension to any crime which ensures that the perpetrator will receive a custodial sentence – a sniff of it in the workplace can end careers and lead to legal action.

          As with any crime Mr Cameron was morally and legally bound to presume innocence of any charges of racism, unless and until Ukip’s guilt was proved in court.

          Instead he has helped to incite hatred against Mr Farage and his party with no foundation to his accusations at all. Now we see the result.

          The violent Left (as they always are when democracy isn’t going their way) have free reign to accost Mr Farage and his family in public.

          Let’s hope this doesn’t get really violent.

  2. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    The SNP are an odd bunch, all the standard-issue Leftie policies except one, for them it is apparently OK to fully exploit oil which conventional Left-wing thought brands as not only being controlled by evil capitalist multi-nationals but also as a uniquely polluting fossil fuel with sky-high CO2 emissions. One wonders how Miliband could ever ally with a group intent on destroying the planet ?

    It is very galling to see the smug face of Mr Slmond on our TV threatening the English taxpayers – he seems to forget that it wasn’t us who voted against him in his referendum, I for one would have been quite happy to cast him adrift and straight into the hands of the IMF.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Miliband will certainly ally with the SNP if the numbers point that way, as seems very likely unless Cameron does not finally wake up.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        @LL; “Miliband will certainly ally with the SNP if the numbers point that way, as seems very likely unless Cameron does not finally wake up.”

        It is UKIP supporters who need to wake up! If Cameron does as you and so many UKIPers want then there will still be a Labour lead government or coalition as those the right like to call “Tory wets” either sit on their hands or actively vote for another party such as the LDs or perhaps even Labour -especially if they had originally come to the Tory party as disaffected labour voters of the 1980 or early 90s!

        • JoeSoap
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          You are saying that the thinking 16% of the UK population need to wake up rather than one shiny-faced man? Why would anyone in their right minds want to vote in more of his daft policies like those above? It is up to him to explain why all these daft things are a good idea.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

          So that is why Major, Cameron & Heath were such electoral disasters and yet Mrs Thatcher won 3 (plus one with her man Major) until the voters sussed him out for what he really was.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          The many Britons who are themselves patriotic but nevertheless keep voting for unpatriotic parties are the ones who really need to wake up and see those parties for what they are.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 25, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

            @Joe Soap; @LL; @Denis cooper; What ever… Trouble is, non of you have addressed the fact that the majority of voters in 2010 voted for broadly europhile or eurosceptic parties and not europhobic ones such as UKIP, the BNP or the SLP for example. Oh and LL, the Tory party lost in 1997 due to the sleaze issue, not because the parties policies were to far to the left or europhobe, if the electorate wanted even more right-wing or eurosceptic policies why would they have voted for “Blue Labour” (I’m never sure id the word in that description refers to being Tory lite or pro EU, probably both)?!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted March 25, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

            Yes, Jerry, the old parties are well practised at duping the electorate into voting against their fundamental interests, and I won’t be surprised if it happens again next time.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 26, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; As that old saying goes;

            “You can fool some of the people some of the time, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”

            I take it that you do not subscribe to that doctrine, you appear to believe the vast majority of the UK’s electorate are fools!

            The only fools are those who believe that UKIP can deliver anything other than a Labour government, in one form or another, on May 7th…

  3. APL
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    JR: “If you share a country with others, you sign up to sharing burdens and risks. It also means you sign up to sharing successes and riches.”

    Err No! I just happened to have lived here all my life bar about six years. No one, no one, asked me to sign up for anything.

    Everything I pay in taxes, everything I pay in National insurance is taken under duress and threat of imprisonment.

    As a PEON, it seems I have been allocated the risks, but the political class have allocated themselves the successes and riches.

    Reply You sign up by staying here, and have a vote and voice to request changes

    • agricola
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      You can request as much as you like, but when the political machine is not listening and in any case only envisages one direction irrespective of what the electorate want, one can sense the despair and betrayal.

      • Hope
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        JR, what a load of rubbish. There is no contract on politicians to deliver what they promise. If there were you might have a point as it is you are writing alsolute nonsense.

        Sign up by staying here! What on earth are you thinking. As for the rest of your nonsensical reply there must be a presumption that the party asking for the vote will honour on delivering what they pledge and not going beyond the remit of what it promises. In the case of your party it would be absolutely stupid to think this will occur when Cameron has broke so many of his of promises and introduced gay marriage without a mandate or any other formal line to bring the proposal into being. Therefore unless there is a contract to what is being offered against delivery then your reply is utter rubbish.

        • APL
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          Hope: “there must be a presumption that the party asking for the vote will honour on delivering what they pledge”

          Of course. For a contract to be valid, there must be at least the ability to comply. If I contract with you to mine the moon for green cheese, it may be a legal contract, but if tested in court it would be voided because the Moon isn’t made of green cheese, so the contract was entered into in bad faith by at least one party.

          I believe our political class have, since the end of the last war offered contracts that cannot be met and are thus void through bad faith and non compliance.

          Anyway, if there is such a contract, that politicians have offered, there should too be penalties for failure to comply.

          By that token most every politician ought, at the very least to be disbarred from office after their first term.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink


      Thank you for adding such a useful and descriptive word to my vocabulary. Peon sums up my situation as a PAYE cash cow perfectly and has the added bonus of being onomatpoeic.

      • APL
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Narrow Shoulders: “Thank you for adding such a useful and descriptive word ..”

        My pleasure.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      ….you sign up by staying here. … that’s why so many intelligent youngsters and affluent pensioners are upping sticks and being replaced 2 for 1 by the world’s dross
      Actively encouraged by the liblabcon

      I see Open Europe are saying leaving the socialist EU would cost £55 billion. What utter bollocks. I suppose the sun would cease shinning as well

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Unless you vote in a marginal your vote is essentially worthless. Even if you do you only have two choices both pro EU, green crap, tax grabbing socialists. And IHT and cast iron ratters to boot so they will not do as they say they will anyway.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      You may feel that you are treated as a peon – many of us do feel that, just as many of the political class tend to view the country as their private estate to do with as they please for their personal benefit – but if you were born here then that would automatically make you a citizen even if neither of your parents was a citizen at the time of your birth. At least that is the general rule and has been for a very long time, unlike in some other countries where the great-great … grandchildren of aliens, non-citizens, may still be themselves classed as aliens, which can create a potentially explosive situation; there may be some exceptions to the rule.

      That is your birthright, and although successive governments have worked hard to erode the benefits of UK citizenship they are still significant. The other side of the coin is that as a citizen you are assumed to owe a duty of allegiance to the state. That is why I do not want to be a citizen of the EU, and I would renounce that unwanted citizenship imposed upon us by the Major government if there was any mechanism to do so without renouncing my UK citizenship.

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Just look what is going on in Calais at the moment with the illegal immigrants coming to France to get to the UK. They reckon a 100 a day are being found but what I am more interested in are the ones who are not detected. How many of these will come to garner the ‘freebies’ being offered by our governments????

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          This is why – despite everything – the Tories aren’t making headway in the polls and won’t beat the absurd Miliband outright.

          People aren’t stupid.

          They know that there is no point in planning a party if you have no idea of the numbers turning up or if they’ll be bringing a bottle.

          The amount of detail discussed here is absurd given that mass immigration is virtually ignored.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          @fedupsouthener; I am more interested in are the ones who are not detected. How many of these will come to garner the ‘freebies’ being offered by our governments?

          If they are illegal migrants then how will we ever know [1] and how will someone without a NI number get any “freebies being offered by our government” apart from perhaps health services, and at great risk of being discovered – and most UK people are quite happy if they do as it is surely better to give heath treatment to such illegal migrants than have then possibly act as carriers of (infectious) illnesses.

          Oh and if there are 100 migrants per day are found trying to gain access to Calais, then just how many are there in France attempting to get to Calais, and the UK thinks we have problems with illegals?…

          No one, other than perhaps the Greens, are suggesting that there is not a problem but we will not solve the problem with the irrational rants so often heard from the likes of UKIP(ers).

          [1] and how do we even know how and were they gain access to the UK

          • fedupsouthener
            Posted March 25, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

            A lot of these people aren’t stupid. They know where to go and how to get false documents to make it look as though they are entitled to benefits. Most will get free NHS treatment anyway. If they are not claiming benefits then they are working or thieving. Otherwise how do they live? If they are working then they are not paying taxes or NI so they are still taking from this country. Things are NOT black and white.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 25, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            @fedupsouthener; Yeah, just as there’s a conspiracy theory or rant for every circumstance as well.

      • Excalibur
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

        Benefits there may be, Denis, and you are probably right. However, I should like to know (and never shall do), who in our burgeoning democracy instigated the European Arrest Warrant against Ashya King’s parents ? This, after their disclosure that the child is in remission. No apology or compensation forthcoming for them, I’ll bet. So much for their UK citizenship.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      @APL; “Err No! I just happened to have lived here all my life bar about six years. No one, no one, asked me to sign up for anything”

      No one has ever asked me (or anyone I know) about you having the freedom of free speech either, should you be required to seek our approval, and thus keep your council very tight indeed until you do have our approval, or should we all just accept that society in the past has signed us up to allow us free speech?

      “Everything I pay in taxes, everything I pay in National insurance is taken under duress and threat of imprisonment.”

      Even the Queen pays taxes, so if you are so unhappy then feel free to retrace your steeps, you know were the airport or what ever is, get out or stop complaining that you somehow have a special exemption from being a part of SOCIETY…

      Less of the Me! Me! Me! for goodness sake please… 🙁

      • APL
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        Jerry: “Even the Queen pays taxes .. ”

        What relevance does this have to the extract you quoted?

        What happens if a citizen refuses to pay taxes, Jerry? Is he subject to exile, as John Redwood seems to suggesting, or in the real world does he go to prison?

        My point about compulsion is in direct opposition to John Redwoods implication that we are all happy puppies working 60 hours a week to keep the state ticking over.

        Jerry: “you somehow have a special exemption from being a part of SOCIETY…”

        You clearly have no comprehension of the difference between the State and society.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          @APL; “You clearly have no comprehension of the difference between the State and society.”

          Try looking in the mirror whilst saying that!

  4. Old Albion
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Sadly the SNP doesn’t want Union. But it does want the English purse. In the event of 50 or so SNP’s sitting in Westminster after May’s election, that’s exactly what they will have.
    If only we had a political party with the intelligence and guts to ask England what governence we want, just once. The Scots, Welsh and N.Irish have been asked multiple times. England has never been asked. We just get piecemeal so-called devolved policies offered to imaginary regions as though it was equivalent to devolution enjoyed by Scotland.
    Brainwashed tratorious MP’s squatting in English seats prattling on about ‘Britishness’ and ‘saving the Union’

    • Jerry
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion; “In the event of 50 or so SNP’s sitting in Westminster after May’s election, [the SNP will want money from the English purse]”

      Only if the major party of government wish to bankroll the SNP more than they want to get re elected by May 2020, they might consider that an early election will loose less support than playing puppy-dog to the SNP does.

  5. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Why is it that the SNP, and Alex Salmon in particular, are not regularly and loudly being confronted with the current loss of oil income. I would have thought it was in all UK-wide political parties interests so to do in the run up to the general election. If they all spoke with one voice on this point surely even the BBC would take notice!

    • turbo terrier
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      A.W BBC would take notice!

      You have got to be having a laugh.

      The whole corporation should be sold off for all the good they do with their “unbiased reporting” All the green crap and fear programmes does your head in

      • Jerry
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        @turbo terrier; I don’t see much evidence that ITV, Ch5 or Sky confronting the SNP with regards the current loss of oil tax revenue either, and those broadcasters are private entities.

        The problem is ever smaller audiences, due to the ever greater number of channels, thus all programmes are being chosen/designed to appeal to the lowest common dominator, hence why for example the BBC has much more of that awful Daily Politics programme and much less of the old Panorama style of programming where the in-depth questions you wish would be asked would have been asked in years past.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Whilst I understand your comments and reasoning, I wonder if the SNP will agree.

    Seems to me they want the best of both Worlds, they want independence but simply do not want to pay for it, or even share past debts.

    Little hope I know, but let us hope that Miliband and Cameron remind them that they have now reached the limit on devolution and subsidy.

  7. agricola
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Have often thought that the ideal size for a business unit is that of a destroyer (HMS). My best guess is a crew of 200-300, where the captain knows the names of everyone in the crew and even in some cases that of their wives, girlfriends and children. At that level everyone feels part of a cohesive unit., but never forgets it is part of an inter dependent fleet.

    In territorial terms the ships are provinces and the fleet a country. At all levels the law is standard as is the currency. All parts act in support of each other.

    In aviation and maritime activity the laws are standard and communication is in a standard language and it mostly works. To pull off the territorial exercise in terms of multiple fleets, as in the case of the EU, requires long periods of practise or you start running into each other. It is not impossible, witness the USA, but it takes time. The drivers of the EU have not allowed time so everyone is figuratively colliding. The political imperative has been allowed to take the place of practicality.

  8. oldtimer
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The SNP also preaches an anti-Tory, anti-Westminster story and argues for “progressive” policies, or old fashioned “socialism” as it used to be called. That is why they want independence for Scotland (from Westminster rule) but are content to be rules by the EU from Brussels instead.

    Arguments about who gets the diminishing oil revenues are only part of the narrative.

    Within the EZ, as I understand it, there are several members who are not persuaded that the Greeks should award themselves higher benefits than their own citizens enjoy. It is hard to argue with that.

  9. Hefner
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Maybe some of the contributors on this forum could be interested. The World Bank is presently running a MOOC (massively open online course) on Citizen Engagement, with topics as “Engaging citizens for improved policy-making”, and “Can engaging citizens bring better services”.
    I would think that a lot of things discussed in this course could also be relevant here in the UK with the coming elections, particularly related to real citizen engagement and making elected officials really accountable for the decisions they take.


  10. agricola
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    On March 14th you chastised me for suggesting that some MPs were corruptible. As I am not in the habit of logging all the peccadilloes of MPs I remained silent.

    Today we have (an issue ed) involving the leaders of all three main parties. If you believe the Telegraph, a diehard tory newspaper, then all three were willing to meet up with a fake potential donor who outlined benefits his organisation would appreciate in a quid pro quo.

    I have overlooked the bizarre antics of a potential MP in Dudley to gain votes on the grounds that he is not actually an MP.

    You do not have to be able to grow bananas in a country to become a banana republic it seems. To date just over a week has passed.

    Reply Parties will often meet potential donors, but they should also go through a proper process to ensure the donation comes from a legal source and is properly registered. There is nothing wrong with receiving a valid donation, or seeing if someone is genuine and wishes to make a legal donation. It would be quite wrong to offer favours/ changes of policy for cash, or to accept an illegal donation or disguise a donation.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Tough one. One has to ask why a businessman, or union boss, would make a large donation to any political party ? An answer that he or she is purely altruistic is simply unbelievable. I’m not that bothered by donations influencing policy really but I would prefer it to be much easier to remove sitting MPs via a right of recall if they break the rules.

      Reply People give because they like the party’s ideas and policies. It is legal to give because you like what they are offering.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        To reply: maybe some do give for genuine reasons but when one looks at the absurd legislation that is passed (and that clearly benefits certain sectors) one finds it rather hard to believe that most do.

    • formula57
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Is it going too far to say some at least of those donors were meeting fake leaders?

    • agricola
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Agree with you entirely, but I am still not convinced that everyone sees it the same way.

  11. JoolsB
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    “If you share a country with others, you sign up to sharing burdens and risks. It also means you sign up to sharing successes and riches.”

    Exactly! Which is why this so called ‘union’ that you and your colleagues are so desperate to preserve, no matter what cost to England, is a rotting corpse and the sooner it is put out of it’s misery, the better for all of us. Our so called ‘representatives’ squatting in English seats haven’t the slightest interest in their constituents sharing the successes and riches but they do however fully support us taking more than our share of the burdens and risks thus ensuring the continuance of England being the cash cow for the rest of their beloved dis-so called ‘United’ Kingdom to enable them to take more than their fair share of the successes and riches.

    Shame on you all!

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    ” to be a successful union most in the union have to accept the idea that success is shared and risks are underwritten throughout the whole union.”
    Furthermore, you must have a common currency which is presumably why I have been told that preparations are being made in some quarters for the introduction of the euro into the UK in 2018. There can be no doubt, that if Cameron held his referendum and achieved his ambition of keeping us in the EU, then this would be taken as the final endorsement of our loss of sovereignty and capitulation to a foreign body and as ‘responsible members of the European Union’ acceptance of its currency.

    Reply Not so. A Conservative government will remain strongly against joining the Euro in principle, and this government wound up the Euro unit in the Treasury

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      I could ask if that pledge will be in your manifesto but your record on keeping manifesto pledges is so poor as to make it meaningless.
      The only commitment was not to join the Euro in this Parliament, which is now ending. You must see the inevitability of the UK joining the EU if we were so foolish as to vote to stay in that dreadful foreign organisation? Some people can see the writing on the wall and are currently employing staff to make the necessary preparations.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      JR, I have no doubt that you and some other senior Tories, and many of the grassroots Tory party members, are strongly against the UK joining the euro “in principle”, but unfortunately that is not the attitude of those who actually control the Tory party. If it was true that they opposed it “in principle” then they would have wanted to make sure that it would never happen, and that determination would have been reflected in their actions as well as in their words.

  13. formula57
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    You say “If Scotland were on her own that would mean big spending cuts. Inside the UK the loss of revenue is manageable, and it will be covered from elsewhere.” and whilst you are doubtless correct that in consequence the UK unlike the EU will not be “crisis ridden” it is much less certain that it will avoid being “unhappy”.

    As I said in comments here on 3 April last year, “[Scottish voters] know on which side their deep fried Mars bars are battered and so the outcome of the referendum is as plain as day – repeated tiresome whinging just with renewed vigour and sense of injustice whilst Westminster grants “concessions” of a devo-max nature to drive further wedges into the foundations of the Union.”

    And the “loss of revenue… covered from elsewhere” does of course include cover for tuition fees and care for the old-aged paid for by English, Welsh and NI taxpayers who enjoy no such benefits. And we are supposed to be happy?

    • stred
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      The strange fact that the Scots voted to stay with the UK but are now voting for an almost completely SNP country shows that the swing voters from Labour to SNP must have listened to Gordon Browns lectures on how to milk the English. They don’t seem to be too grateful to Eural Mc Cameron for bending over backwards and letting Gordon have his way.

      • stred
        Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Excuse missing ‘ ‘ ‘s and ‘s please.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        Well, the level of support for the SNP in the coming general election is comparable to the level of support for independence in the referendum; it’s the FPTP system which can translate 40-0dd per cent of the votes into 70-odd per cent of the seats.

        Of course it need not be like that if all those who oppose independence cast their votes tactically to block the SNP, in the same way that the three old parties are prepared to collude to block UKIP.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Each time “Scottish Oil” is mentioned makes me angry . The oil is owned by a variety of organisations most of which are international ; the fact that the majority of the production is taken ashore to Scotland does NOT make it Scottish owned .When the North Sea was first exploited for its oil reserves , it received the backing and support of the British Government , the Scottish element was a minority condition .

    Today , with the oil price low , the entire North Sea Industry receives a lower tax boost from the British Government – the Scots had nothing to do with this decision . I am further irked by the continuation of the Barnett per capita allocation to Scotland . We exist in a Union that the Scots recently voted to retain . This Union should be equal to all – favours have no right to be a part in it . If the Scots persist in their attempts to blackmail the Union , we have every right to protect ourselves and , if necessary , kick them out .

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear.

    • turbo terrier
      Posted March 23, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      B.Y if necessary , kick them out .

      What is with the word necessary?

      England will rue the day we ever gave the Scots a parliament. They are screwing us at every turn. just have a look at their energy policy. Who is paying for all of that. Scots Nationalists are green, yet still bang on about oil and beg and plead for more money. They always have the wind in their face.
      Nobody seem to want to bring them to task with the writing off of all the poll tax defaulters. England if it really wants to survive with ant credibility had better start looking after itself.

  15. Atlas
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    “Sharing”, you say; but in the EU some are more equal than others when it comes to sharing power…

  16. forthurst
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    “In Europe today some of the separatist movements are from parts of countries that are richer than the rest.”

    Even Bavaria (more Old Bavaria than the grafted on Franconia and Swabia) where they wear lederhosen and make useful stuff, there is an independence movement which also would like to cease subsidising the less successful parts of Germany; but like many of the regional independence movements in the EU, it is also about reclaiming a unique cultural identity.

    The irony of EU, is that in its crude attempt to stamp out nations and nationalism by replacement with the ersatz nationalism of a superstate, it has provoked a backlash of national squabbles and separatist movements as people feel threatened by their perceived loss of cultural identity and resent having to subsidise those areas of the EU which are suffering privation at the hands of the Brussels Kommissariat. By the promotion of mass migrations for economic reasons in which communities in the more successful parts of the generally unsuccessful EU feel under seige from the influx of (people from other countries ed) eroding their native identities, the EU, far from replacing human nature by diktat, is creating a tinderbox of seething resentment which bodes ill for the future.

  17. John
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Where is the Conservative manifesto for England? And I don’t mean the balkanised regions. The man that speaks for England needs to speak up because we can’t hear you.

  18. Jon
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    The UK has been one of the strongest successful unions. There is the potential that 10% could leave being Scotland. I don’t prescribe to the tactic of appeasement, whilst I think the Union could grow stronger without Scotland, I would like Scotland part of the union but not at any movement away from equal share and treatment.

    I think the current union can survive but just don’t want to see appeasement to the nationalists. We do that then I don’t think we can tell Euroland how it’s done as we would be doing something not too dissimilar. Straying away from fairness and distribution.

    If a Nordic or Scandic country wanted union with us I’d look favourably on it, not so the Mediterranean countries. That’s what Germany signed up for though. Germany appears like a young man who announced engagement with full fan fare but didn’t want to take responsibility for the kids, the ailing grandma, the joint account, it doesn’t want to give up the BMW estate and the Porsche coupé.

    Where might this all be in 20 years from now?

  19. petermartin2001
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    There’s a lot to be said for real Unions that work. The United States is probably the best example of that. Both the richer and the poorer States benefit as a result. It doesn’t make any sense for everyone to count every cent that’s spent and split the bill accordingly. The benefits of a large market outweigh any immediate financial costs.

    The same could be said of the USSR and the Eastern bloc too. Although their economy was inefficient by western Standards, the break up and the movement towards a market economy made things worse for many regions afterwards. It is only many years later that the residents of those countries are starting to see any improvements in their living standards.

    The history of the Irish Republic has been problematic. Economically, the Irish would have been better remaining in the UK at least up to the time of their EU membership. That’s when their economy started to improve tremendously. It was best for them when they had their own currency of course – its all gone pear shaped now they are stuck with the euro.

    So if the EU wants something that works it either needs to go back to how things were before the euro or go the whole way and introduce all the extras that the USA has to make the system work. These would include a common taxation system, a Federal European government, a system of Federal European law, and a system of Federal spending which would equalise any economic imbalances between regions.

    A common currency cannot work without those. It’s just unbelievable that anyone who knows even the first thing about economics would think otherwise.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Quite apart from the central issue of Irish sovereignty it was thought that Ireland suffered economically from being in a currency union with the rest of the UK, in particular England, or even linking its currency with that of the UK. So the Irish establishment decided that Ireland should leap from the frying pan into the fire by entering into a currency union with Germany instead.

  • 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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