The chugger state

Most MPs concentrate on representing people who need the state for support and often see the state as an ally. I too represent my constituents when they need welfare, state help with housing, school places and care from the NHS. By definition most of an MP’s job is going to be helping those who need state assistance, and supervising or seeking improvement in the large free at the point of use state services.

I also seek to represent my many other constituents who do not see the state as helper, and have to spend their time complying with state dictats and paying all the bills. Parliament has been much less good at representing taxpayers and all the people who set up, manage and work in the private sector companies that supply much of our goods and services and provide most of the jobs and incomes.

It has also not been kind to many savers seeking to live on their past prudence. To many people who get up and go to work to pay the family bills and to keep our country civilised with plentiful supplies of what we need the state can come across as hostile and unhelpful. At times the state is the worst kind of chugger, extracting money in so many ways. The state as chugger of course is more worrying than a too persistent fund raiser elsewhere, as you have to comply with every demand the state makes.

One of the worst features of the modern state is the great complexity. They have so many ways of demanding your money that you have to devote considersable time to compliance. The state expects you to know when you have to pay and to get it right according to their process.

You park your car in a municipal car park and then have to be sure you get back within the stated ticket tine. It puts pressure on your meetings or shopping as you seek to conform. It means fewer impulse buys or leisurely cups of coffee at the weekend as you are time limited. You often are not allowed to buy as much time as you might need.

You drive to your next engagement. You need to be ever vigilant for the hours of operation of bus lanes, endless changes of speed limit, box junctions, cycle ways on the carriageway, left and right turn rules and the rest. One mistake that does no harm to anyone and you may well face a penalty fine.

You have to remember to pay the Council tax bill to be allowed to carry on living in your own home, whilst some Councils have now made it difficult to pay unless you are prepared to put in a direct debit.

Every payment that you receive needs to be recorded so you can explain if it was not income or pay tax on it if it was income.

If you save you may find the rules of those savings change after you have committed your money, as many have discovered with pensions savings over the years. The government can change the tax they levy on it even though you are locked in to a contract based on different tax rules.

Every time you have to deal with the state there are requirements to produce documents and reference numbers. Despite all the money spent on government computers there us still no single simple access and one ID per person to make your reporting to the state easy.

Whilst I agree we need rules and need to raise revenue, we could do so much better by making it easier for people to comply. The complexity means quite a lot of people do not bother to take on something extra or grow their business, for fear of the blizzard of state demands extra effort by them will bring forth.

Given the way that the state gets reports on people’s savings income and on employment income from companies that handle our savings and employs them, why can’t the state send a tax return request with the details they know already filled in? Why are people who wish to defer NI on other income because they are paying their full amount through their main employment made to fill in the same details each year on a new form?

I wish the next budget would be friendlier to taxpayers, would try to make their lives a bit easier, and would understand you raise more revenue if you set sensible taxes and allow people to profit sufficiently from their extra effort, investment and hard work.


  1. Lifelogic
    March 7, 2016

    Indeed as you say.

    Parliament has been much less good at representing taxpayers and all the people who set up, manage and work in the private sector companies that supply much of our goods and services and provide most of the jobs and incomes.

    These people are just regarded by the state as a cash cows to be taxed, mugged, sued, fined and inconvenienced at every turn. In this respect Osborne is perhaps the very worse chancellors we have had. Mugging landlords, tenants, shareholders with his dividend tax, higher earners (robbing them of personal allowances and child benefits), robbing pensions (and destroying confidence in them), and endless augmenting the feckless with other people’s money. Destroying the incentives for the hard working at every turn.

    At the same time forcing them to run the daft & complex workplace pension schemes and comply with endless, time wasting, over complex tax, employment and complex reporting laws.

    Parliament largely represents the over paid and pensioned (and largely parasitic) state sector and benefit claimants only. This while slowly taxing, criminalising and killing the sector off of which they endlessly feed.

    Local authority mugging of motorist by deliberately targeting them with poorly signed bus bike, lanes (with variable applicable times) confusing parking charges, no left turns, environmental areas, hatched junctions and the likes is a hugely damaging game they play. Pointlessly constricting the road in the process.

    One can see by they way this all is done that they are nothing to do with creating efficient roads and all to do with tricking motorist into getting fines. They are also dangerous as the drivers have to read endless signs on bus lane times and the likes, variable speed limits (often absurdly low such as 30 or 40 of dual carriageways) or 20 in some built up areas. This often distract them from driving safely.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 7, 2016

      What is the point of being prudent and building up savings if IHT ratter Osborne will only steal 45% of the income it produces 28% of the capital growth and then 40% of the capital off you on death too (or even on lifetime transfers to trusts)? Not to mention the huge SDLT, IPT, Corporation Tax, greencrap taxes and endless other muggings.

      What is the point in saving in a pension schemes if people like Osborne keep moving the goal posts and stealing it. Perhaps his biggest lie is the claim, by Osborne, that he is keeping his promise of many years back on Inheritance Tax. What he is proposing is an absurd, costly and complex botch. It fools no one.

      Another advantage of voting “leave” it to kick this appallingly misguided chancellor (and PM) in the teeth and be rid of him/them. We need a chancellor who is essentially the opposite of this dreadful, tax complexity increasing, tax increasing, time wasting, tax, borrow and waste dope.

      1. Antisthenes
        March 7, 2016

        It does not matter who is chancellor the tax system like everything else will remain complex. It has to because government is involved in nearly everything we do most of which we should be doing for ourselves but that is another matter. Which requires government to keep happy many different groups all who have different needs which leads to complexity as simple is not suitable at all. Not enough groups would be satisfied so complexity works where simple does not because it allows for no one being completely happy but at least only a few who do not matter to be openly hostile. Simple allows only a minority to be very happy and many very unhappy.

        As government expands so does the complexity and adding the EU has made it considerably more so. Leave and some simplicity can be restored but it will need then to be followed up with slashing what our domestic government does to make everything truly simple.

      2. Iain gill
        March 8, 2016

        What’s the point of saving if they will just steal it to pay for old age care that the Scottish and non savers get free.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 7, 2016

      The new chancellor should abolish Inheritance tax, abolish the pension cap, get rid of the attacks on NonDoms, simplify and reduce tax rates, simplify employment laws, encourage prudence, private provision of health care, education, saving and self reliance and grow the productive sector for a change, instead of endlessly bleeding, inconveniencing & killing it.

      To do this they need to stop all the endless waste in government, it is everywhere. vast in scale and still growing like thousands of malignant tumours.

      Start with the green crap over expensive energy, the EU fees and regulations, Cameron’s bonkers happiness index, HS2, the 60% of university courses that are virtually worthless and about 50% of the bureaucrats who do little of any use or simply cause inconvenience to the productive. Cut the 50% over remuneration (when pensions are included) of the state sector as well. It is the productive who need the main rewards.

      Encourage the wealthy, prudent and hard working for a change, it helps everyone in the long run and grows the economy. Take the government straight jacket off the private sector for a change and watch it grow.

  2. Lifelogic
    March 7, 2016

    It seems that No. 10 does not deny that officials contacted BCC hours before it suspended John Longworth.

    1. Bob
      March 7, 2016

      Malcolm Rifkind revealed on LBC on Saturday morning that #Brexit could provoke World War III.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 8, 2016

        Project fear in spades! I am sure it could also kill us all with swine flue or bubonic plagues or plagues of locus or a firery hell on Earth from runaway (no significant warming since 98) global warming too.

        What a complete plonker!

    2. Hope
      March 7, 2016

      Another BSB Tim Allen broke neutrality to speak for remain in and nothing done!

      Cameron today trying to convince us that the EU policy of distributing migrants around will not be allowed in the UK. Who could believe him after smiling in agreement with Hollande last week when he made threats to the UK.mwebalso hadnCameron claiming camps would be set up in Kent! Cameron has no bargaining power he failed in his negotiations. Who believes this loony tune? Why are Tory MPs supporting a person who is going to leave the party before the next election? Lord Tebbit has it spot on why he is not being held to account for his remarks about leaving the EU if he failed to deliver on his negotiations, Cameron failed in every regard. We read in Guido how the same wording for remain in on leaflets is the same as forty years ago!

  3. Mike Stallard
    March 7, 2016

    One of the very best things this government has done is to reduce the number of bureaucrats without anyone (much) noticing. That is why the Labour Party and the Unions bleat about “Austerity” when you, Mr Redwood, have proved that the opposite is the case. In the Police 19,000 officers have been got rid of. BUT 34,000 other people too! Think of that!
    I do hope something can be done about the NHS.
    Your article is really about the crushing weight of bureaucracy which feeds off silly regulations harshly enforced. The general public is frustrated in a lot of things we want to do. But it keeps an awful lot of people in completely indispensable employment – at everyone else’s expense.

    1. Anonymous
      March 7, 2016

      Got rid of.

      What ? They got vapourised ?

      No. They’re either pensioned off or either directly (or indirectly) doled/in-work-top-upped out – and then adding to the downward pressure on wages.

      1. Anonymous
        March 7, 2016

        Fine. Do austerity – clamp down on benefits.

        But stop mass immigration whilst doing it. (Currently adding to over 828000 new national insurance numbers issued in 2015)

      2. Antisthenes
        March 7, 2016

        Why is downward pressure on wages a bad thing. Do we not need labour costs at a level that allows UK businesses to compete with her foreign competitors and one another. Do not consumers have the right to have goods and services at the very lowest prices possible. To some extent negating lower wages. Ok working individuals are not quite as well off but it helps the poorest as their wages go from £0 to something as more job opportunities are open to them.

        If you want to see where this fact was recognised you do not have to look further than Germany where they spent considerable effort over a long time to deflate wages to protect their businesses. Look at France the opposite face of the coin where labour costs are very high indeed and not being addressed. They are struggling to protect their businesses and economic growth is almost non existent.

        The current immigration crises will ensure that wage deflation continues which perhaps is the one of the few benefits arising from it.

        1. Anonymous
          March 8, 2016

          Antisthenes – If you are a well set up Baby Boomer then you might not fully understand the unpleasantness of wage compression.

          Anyway. The economies are entirely false where the state steps in and makes these low wages liveable. I cite the increasing national debt as proof of my case.

          Many of our young and skilled are sick of being told by old people that they are not working hard enough, that they must compete with the rest of the world and pay more tax.

          So they quit and go to Australia – where the hours are lower, the wages better and the standard of living higher and prove that the whole thing is a lie.

          The only thing we get in a race to the bottom on wages is… bottom.

      3. Bob
        March 7, 2016

        More likely they just shuffled them around, or made them redundant and then re-employed them on a more generous pay package.

        1. stred
          March 8, 2016

          When the NHS was reorganised last time, was this not to ‘put doctors in charge instead of bureaucrats’. How is that going? Are they going on strike tomorrow against themselves or the re-employed and considerably richer managers?

      4. Lifelogic
        March 7, 2016

        They are released to get a real & productive job instead in the private sector.

        1. turbo terrier
          March 7, 2016


          Is it not the case they leave on Friday and are called back in as very highly paid “consultants” on the following Monday?

          1. Lifelogic
            March 8, 2016

            Often alas it is.

        2. Jerry
          March 8, 2016

          @LL; Trouble is that once these people have been made redundant, often after the state has paid a whopping redundancy package, it is realised that the work these people did was not unnecessary so the state, an agency of the state or a contractor goes in search of qualified people to do the work again and guess who is now looking for a job (having taken a six month career break/holiday) and is highly qualified to do their old job – probably now on better terms as technically they are working of the private sector… Chugger state indeed, if not a gravy train and jobs for the boys all rolled into one!

          1. Anonymous
            March 8, 2016

            Jerry – Or they really do go on the ‘scrapheap’ and either draw dole or join the competition for low paid jobs and add to in-work-topped-up wage compression.

            Either way – the savings are not total and working class Tory voters don’t get to feel better off.

  4. hefner
    March 7, 2016

    Well, while everything related to taxes is clearly state-related, an awful lot of other day-to-day regulations (parking, banking, credit, pension, savings, traffic lights in areas of road works, phone, TV and Internet contracts, various other insurance contracts, …) are enforced by private entities claiming to do so because of the state. But is it really “the State” or is it their own greed and/or stupid/biased interpretation of “the state”?

    Not all that is bad in this country is George Osborne’s or previous Chancellors’ fault. I would think it could be the fault of people, much closer at hand, maybe even of some of this blog’s contributors?

    1. graham1946
      March 7, 2016

      Osborne must take a lot of the blame. Apparently the Tax Books are now twice the size they were before he started and several times the size of the Bible. Brown did the same before him. If that’s not adding complexity, I don’t know what is. Lots of the rest is Local Government. All based, one way or another, not on what is best for the people, but how to extract the most money to waste. It would be more honest to have a flat income tax of say 85 percent and nothing else, but they like to make out they are ‘low tax conservatives’.

    2. Hope
      March 7, 2016

      Accepting your point at one level, it is difficult to accept that Osborne is not making a ham fisted mess as chancellor. I also accept it might be because he does not spend enough time at the Treasury, classically found wanting in 2012 because he preferred to be on the US president’s plane to watch a basket ball match than plan the UK budget properly. The additional insult when he speaks about carbon footprint, green taxes and the enormous financial burden placed on the public’s energy bills following the EU led Climate Change Act. I think he deserves a lot of criticism for the mess he is making while in government. After all I am sure he would claim any success he might undeservedly get.

  5. Roy Grainger
    March 7, 2016

    Interesting that figures now show the reduction in top rate tax from 50% to 45% did not result in a drop in tax revenue (even the most pessimistic analysis shows it had no effect at all on revenue, other analyses say revenue increased). So two questions:

    1) Why won’t Osborne reduce it further to 40% as this is widely believed to be the “optimal” level for revenue maximisation
    2) Why are Labour calling for it to be increased to 50% again ?

    The answer is the same in both cases – “fairness” – policies, a whole range of them, have no logical practical basis at all but are simply based on a subjective idea of what would be “fair” or “nice” or “”good” or “worthy”. For example the millions being spent on cycle lanes in London to benefit the tiny insignificant percentage of cyclists (all young) to the detriment of the vast majority of car users who pay for it all many of whom (older people) who couldn’t use a bicycle anyway.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 7, 2016

      Interesting to see all the cyclist battles between the casual cyclists, racers and couriers on the cycle super highway. Meanwhile all the other traffic sits in endless traffic jams caused by the bike good car bad religion – must do wonders for productivity!

    2. Peter Parsons
      March 7, 2016

      Roy, here is an analysis of the change written by a tax QC whose conclusion is that this change cost the treasury £2.4 billion:

  6. Margaret
    March 7, 2016

    Indeed, just living is made for too complex. An addition to this is after working all the hours god sends on the part time job and watching those sitting down leisurely chatting on their full time jobs , is the voice which comes up ‘ you should have known , it is on the website’ or we have sent ‘e’ mails around to everyone . As though every bit of cyber information was important as others.
    The rules and regulations and communications sent via the websites and ‘e’mails when the times are set for a full patient list with each patient’s consultation taking up their own allotted time, we are expected to refer , take physiological examinations , diagnose, treat, be mindful of emergency situations and still stand attention to the website, without any time at all allotted to this.

    1. Margaret
      March 7, 2016

      BTW I work in the NHS and am employed privately.

  7. The Active Citizen
    March 7, 2016

    Good article JR, which gives an interesting perspective on an MP’s work as well as a well-timed nudge to the Chancellor before the Budget next week.

    The article also shows you to be a ‘real Conservative’. (As if we needed any more proof!) I wish there were more like you….

    1. Hope
      March 7, 2016

      Only a few left in the Tory party. Tim Montgomery was right, there are many conservatives without a party to support. Cameron wants to reduce that position further when he insults the grassroots who helped him in office but now wants to reject if they want to leave the EU.

  8. eeyore
    March 7, 2016

    I was astonished to turn to a government website a few months ago (it might have been DVLA) and discover that HMG now regards itself as a “benevolent organisation”. When rapacity and power fortify themselves with assumptions of moral superiority, it’s time to look for a bolthole.

    1. graham1946
      March 7, 2016

      Talking of the DVLA, I recently had to renew my driver’s licence, having reached 70 and the ridiculous form, plus a photo, plus a signed statement from someone independent that it is me just proves JR’s point. The government know more about me than I do myself on so many computers, that none of this should be necessary. Of course, like all things governmental, this is a matter of only for the law abiding. The people who do not bother with such things as licences just swan merrily along, quite unmolested. Just another work making machine for some empire building politician or jobsworth.

      1. sm
        March 7, 2016

        Some people see official papers required for official purpose as just a cost or an encumberance which can be procured unofficially irrespective of the rules. Our culture and a mindshift is now required to change and responsd to these issues.

    2. bigneil
      March 7, 2016

      HMG most definitely IS benevolent – look how many people we have had come here and stick their hands out – all their needs are met. Some don’t even bother to learn the language, knowing WE will be footing the bill for translators, so they can have their whole lives here unhindered by even contributing the bother of learning to communicate with those whose taxes keep them housed, financed and healthy.

  9. Lifelogic
    March 7, 2016

    It seems from surveys that the females and younger votes are far more worried about the alleged risks of leaving the EU than is the population at large.

    Might this be because they are often simply not the ones paying most of the bills or trying to comply with the endless tax & regulatory lunacy they push on us every day?

    The young surely have even more to gain from an exit than the old. Perhaps is it simply that they confuse friendship, trade and cooperation with other countries in Europe with membership of the sclerotic, proven disaster and hugely anti-democratic EU?

    Why do so many women and the young place so little value on democracy? Do the women really want massive open door immigration of low paid workers with hugely different cultures & belief systems to depress wages further, stretch public services and change the whole nature of the UK?

    I tent to think more and more will come round to “leave” as it progresses – the arguments of remain are so pathetic. Can anyone see someone like Alan Johnson winning a debate on the issue, even against a stuffed teddy bear?

    1. Lifelogic
      March 7, 2016

      Still it is encouraging that so far 42% of conservative local party chairmen support Brexit and only 24% support remain. The others, one assumes, sitting rather uncomfortably on the fence.

      Why then is the party led by Cameron and Osborne – raving EUphiles and serial ratters with essentially bonkers and damaging LibDem policies, who just pretend not to be before elections?

    2. Know-dice
      March 7, 2016

      LL – Certainly that age group is a good target for getting on board the “Leave” train.

      I get the feeling that they seem to think leaving the EU means building a wall between the UK and Europe and they feel more European than some of us (not revealing my age)… 🙂

      So how do you get across the message leaving the EU does not mean leaving Europe…or to put it another way there is more to Europe than the EU.

      On today’s topic. If you are going to spend money, put it in to ensuring that we have a secure independent source of power, not just when the wind is blowing…

      1. Lifelogic
        March 8, 2016

        I like Europe, I have a second home in France and an Italian wife, but I hate what the EU has done and is doing to it.

        If you like Europe get out of the EU.

    3. alan jutson
      March 7, 2016


      They have been indoctrinated throughout their years of education, the State or the EU will/should provide all.

      On another topic:

      I see that the Chancellor is planning to raid the assets of the dead with yet another stealth tax by increasing Probate charges by up to 2,000%

      Another tax on the prudent.

      As if the recent daft complication of Inheritance Tax was not bad enough.

      Please use whatever influence you have John to help stop this disgraceful nonsense.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 8, 2016

        Osborne will have to go after the Brexit vote he clearly has a broken compass in nearly every respect, it is 180 degree out.

  10. Lifelogic
    March 7, 2016

    Why are the believers in the catastrophic warming (huge exaggeration of) religion often so very keen on remaining in the EU. I suppose an irrational belief in one indicates a lack of judgement & vulnerability to other irrational belief systems and fears.

    I assume project fear is aimed at these people. Is this a legitimate use of charity funds and tax payers money though?

  11. sm
    March 7, 2016

    Oh dear, John, one can just hear Sir Humphrey’s response to that outpouring of common sense!

    1. Lifelogic
      March 7, 2016

      Indeed it would be something like;- But how will we pay the gold plated pensions, wages and expenses of our, vital public servants without endlessly mugging motorists, raiding the pension of the productive, robbing landlords or stealing 40% of people’s money on death. How will we subsidise all this useless wind turbines that little the countryside?

      Vital public servants such as those who compile your vital happiness index, issue parking tickets to mothers whose child needed the loo or people who help design install the box junction “cash cow” camera traps?

      How will we pay the large pension and expenses such as those of yourself, the Speaker and the Chancellor, Prime Minister?

      How could we possibly fund all the payments to the EU and the costs of all those counter productive wars. We might even have to cut the subsidies in the Commons bars or have to stop using vellum. Think of the cost of doing up the private apartments, we cannot use rubbish wallpaper from B&Q you know! It has to be Osborne and Little at least surely?

  12. David Cockburn
    March 7, 2016

    A useful perspective.
    An interesting innovation would be to allow the cost of complying with government regulations to be deducted as an expense from income. I’m thinking of the cost to an ordinary citizen of employing an accountant to make sure sure the annual tax form is completed correctly for example.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 7, 2016

      It often can be allowable against tax. Nevertheless you still end up paying 80% to 55% of these cost personally. It still take you time too on top to get it all to the accountants and field their question.

      Low simpler taxes would raise more tax and save everyone lots of time, stress and money. But we have Osborne alas whose agenda is clearly the exact reverse.

    2. stred
      March 8, 2016

      They are working on the return being quarterly for anyone earning over £10k from property. I just leave mine empty and spend less, as I hate wasting my time filling in forms.

  13. David
    March 7, 2016

    For me the state is a friend and an enemy. It is a friend as (with my taxes) it provides services. It is an enemy as it made it impossible for me (on roughly the same income as him) to live in similar housing to my father and for my daughter to need to earn £10-20k p.a. more than me to live in similar housing as me.

  14. alan jutson
    March 7, 2016

    Simplification would certainly benefit all, other than perhaps the popularity of the Chancellor.

    So called stealth taxes were introduced to hide the real level of tax being raised on its citizens.

    Until Government spending reduces drastically, them money will continue to be extracted by all means possible as the Chancellor attempts to pay for it all.

    The simple answer is for the Government to actually do rather less, and get rather less involved in our lives.

    At the moment its almost fines by rules and regulations, and the more complex the rules and regulations, the more fines can they produce.

    Simplification is the honest answer.

  15. The Active Citizen
    March 7, 2016

    “Turkish and EU leaders have gathered in Brussels for an emergency summit on tackling Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War Two.” – BBC News today.

    JR, in an effort to be helpful to the BBC, Sky, etc with some accurate and up-to-date facts before they comment on whatever is agreed with Turkey today, here’s the latest in my series of ‘EU Summaries For Normal People’, based on researching core data from official bodies.

    EU Summaries For Normal People, No. 10 – ‘Remain’ Means Change : EU Expansion Part 1

    The EU is continuously growing and expanding its reach geographically and into all areas of our lives. Voting ‘Remain’ means a vote for an uncertain future. Here are some facts.

    1. In 2014, the EU accepted Mayotte as part of the EU. Mayotte is a French island off southern Africa, with a 97% Islamic population. Half the population are under 18 years old and only 29% of adults are employed. This is the latest of the enlargements of the EU, about which British people are told little.

    2. In 2015 the EU agreed to accelerate Turkey’s membership application. Turkey’s population is 78.7 million and is 99% Islamic, with 85,412 mosques. When it joins, it will be the largest country in the EU.

    3. The EU plans to waive all visa requirements for Turks from October this year. Mr Cameron fully supports Turkey’s application for EU membership.

    4. Who’s next? 13 other territories are in various stages of negotiating to joining the EU, including Turkey, 6 Balkan countries, 3 Caribbean islands, and 3 more Eastern European countries.

    Remaining In The EU Means Change – Leaving Means Taking Control.

    [Sources: EU Council Directive 2013/61/EU – Mayotte. INSEE (French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies) : Résultats statistiques de Mayotte. Official Turkish Statistical Institute: Cultural Statistics 2013. Turkstat Census of Population 28 Jan 2016. EU Commission European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations 2016.]

    As ever, the Leave campaigns are welcome to a full version with links to the data.

    1. alan jutson
      March 7, 2016


      The more Countries who join the EU the less our influence will become.

      As more Countries join, our percentage share of any vote reduces.

      Thus change from within becomes much, much more difficult.


  16. Anonymous
    March 7, 2016

    Micro managed on an exquisitely detailed scale. Yet the government has no idea nor control of the numbers of people coming to live here.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 7, 2016

      They know full well, they just pretend not to.

  17. Alan
    March 7, 2016

    Many MPs seem to see helping their constituents as one of the most satisfying parts of their job, but it seems to me to be at odds with what I would regard their main job of trying to ensure that sensible legislation is passed and the nation’s politics moves in the best direction. In one case they are doing something that affects at most a few people and in the other they are acting in a way that affects millions of people.

    And there are MPs who do not find it congenial to deal with individual constituents. Essentially this is social work and it should be available to all who need it without unduly interfering with the main part of an MP’s work. There must be an argument for giving social workers more influence than they do at present, perhaps by giving a nominated social worker in each constituency routine direct access to the MP, so that only the most exceptional cases need to be personally investigated and dealt with by the MP. The MP could then concentrate on the things an MP can do that a social worker cannot.

    1. graham1946
      March 7, 2016

      Or expanding the excellent Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Parliament could be halved overnight, so neither will happen.

  18. Alan
    March 7, 2016

    As for the complexities of modern life, we should not forget that some people do not want it simplified. One of the first acts of the present government was to abolish the voluntary ID cards, which would have enabled anyone who wanted to, to identify themselves to any government office. That was a consequence of a widespread campaign against ID cards, partly by people who did not want the government to be able to identify them easily.

    One of the many compromises of living in a democratic country. Things will not always be done efficiently.

  19. Ex-expat Colin
    March 7, 2016

    An extraordinary lossy system that needs sitting duck support. We know what needs extensive thinning but just can’t get anyone in to do it. Should and once recently, followed good housekeeping rules simply to be blown away completely. Can’t use that as an example/template can we? Anyway, technology as usual will fix it….don’t hold breath!

  20. agricola
    March 7, 2016

    I could not agree more with your last paragraph. To government both elected and employed civil servants, the population is one great Milch Cow to be drained at every turn, to offer services which by any standard you would not buy were there a choice. When you do make a choice as in education or health you are still expected to pay for the third class service provided by the state. Government is by and large one great failure or provider of indifference. This is partly because those responsible, elected or employed, make choices for themselves that avoid the potholes in life that the electorate are expected to accept. Take pension provision for later life for instance. Politicians and civil servants at national and EU level gold plate their retirement while the electorate have to put up with an overly expensive, poor provision in the private sector, condoned by government. Equitable Life being one of governments worst examples of indifference while living on the backs of the electorate themselves.

    Most of what government does is done with incompetence and indifference. It is a poor justification for the amount of government we have. Dreadful roads, poor and very expensive railways, bus services that often do not serve, aspects of the health service that do not provide health, care in old age bereft of dignity, a teetering and grossly expensive power supply, environment controls that do not control, water supply that fails when the sun has shone for a month. Indifferent state education, an inability to keep our streets clean, solve a perpetual housing crisis, and an inability to defend our borders, nation or interests. The catalogue of failure is unbelievable. The blame lies not with the coal face providers but with those who govern and supposedly manage.

    I concede that some ministers and politicians have been trying in environment and education, but when you consider that it is now 76 years since the end of WW2 the catalogue of indifference and failure would have seen any private commercial enterprise bankrupt ten times over. Piss up in a brewery syndrome comes to mind. There is no incentive to succeed and no penalty for failure when you are using an endless supply of public money leeched from those who have to succeed in life or suffer for failure.

  21. JJE
    March 7, 2016

    And now they want to abolish cash so that the panopticon State knows the detail of every single purchase we make.

    1. Alan
      March 7, 2016

      True, but on the other hand many illegal transactions are made using cash, and a lot of the proceeds of crime are stored in cash. We have to balance whether we prefer our privacy to making life more difficult for criminals.

      In actuality the state would not know what you had bought, just that you had paid someone. A bit like a credit card statement.

  22. Horatio McSherry
    March 7, 2016


    An excellent post as ever, but I do worry about your final paragraph:

    “I wish the next budget would be friendlier to taxpayers…”

    I’m afraid I and many others don’t see any remote chance of that happening whilst the two main parties are big-state socialists. Both central government and local government have only one objective, and that’s to wring every penny out of people to the point of rebellion in order to keep their parties and politics afloat. We see this with the constant attempts to introduce a law to finance political parties and ever more intrusive legislation which gives government the right to rifle through people’s finances.

    I think this also helps to illustrates our politicians’ love of the EU, as like their colleagues on the continent, in their eyes people belong to the state, for the good of the state, and the ends justify any means.

  23. Antisthenes
    March 7, 2016

    If we want government to do all the things it does then it comes at a cost. All the things you mention are some of them. However the biggest cost of all is the powers government takes upon itself to do all those things and more. The more it does the more power it needs. So when people whine and moan about the burdens and restrictions placed upon them by government they should reflect on the fact that is was their demands on government that caused this situation in the first place.

    To do all the things that government does it needs money and as government is not a business it does not make a profit so takes the money it wants from those it is supposed to serve by force if necessary. Supposed to because it’s reason d’etre is to serve the people but it does not work out that way because in the end the people serve the government. In most cases that is not how it should be but there are things that government do that no other agency can but they are not many.

    If we want less government interference and burden then we have to have less of it. That means transferring back to the people and the private sector much of the means of delivery of the services the public want. At the same time changing the culture of entitlement and dependency that the politicians fostered to gain them control of government. It will not lessen the burden or interference just shift it somewhere else but at least power will be restored where it belongs back to the people.

    The people though I believe have given away personal responsibility and self reliance and the right to choose for a reason. Mostly selfish ones in my estimation. Despite the disadvantages of doing so they are in no hurry to take them back. Not until they have no choice and it is forced upon them. That day is not that far off because our governments; local, national and supranational (the EU) are not economically sustainable or competent enough to remain at the size, numbers and carry on doing the numerous things they do.

  24. Jerry
    March 7, 2016

    “I wish the next budget would be friendlier to taxpayers”

    Indeed, not forgetting that almost everyone is a tax payer in one form or another, even children, even those in receipt of state handouts – most of whom are not scroungers, not expecting a hand-out, just a hand-up, many have been paying into the state coffers for years and even those who have not have had parents doing so.

    Time to consider all taxpayers, including those traditional cash-cows, the motorists…

    1. Anonymous
      March 7, 2016

      Jerry – If you are paid from the tax pot then how can you be a contributor to the tax system. A weighting is given to benefits for things such as VAT.

      I understand that many state workers build the infrastructure that enables economic growth but their tax contribution was given to them by the non-state employed taxpayer in the first place.

      1. Jerry
        March 8, 2016

        @Anonymous; Try reading ALL of my comment, not just the first part up to and including the word “handouts”, then ask yourself what the initials NI stands for (when not talking about the northern part of Ireland). Clue, who pays for your house repairs when roof blows off, you or your insurance policy?

        1. Anonymous
          March 8, 2016

          Jerry – My insurance policy doesn’t pay anything for repairs. I do. And other insured people who pay into the scheme.

          Try reading my comment.

          A police officer does not contribute to the tax pot. He does not bring money into the economy. He takes his whole wage from the tax pot and gives some of it back.

          He is not a net tax contributor.

          What I think Dr Redwood is saying is that we have a duty to see that people who work hard to bring money into the economy have a right to see that money spent well and be treated respectfully.

        2. Jerry
          March 9, 2016

          @Anonymous; Why should I read your comment (in any detail) when you are trying to pick a silly @Edward2 type argument about something I have not said?

          Oh and if your insurance policy doesn’t pay out after accidental damage, I wasn’t talking about maintenance spending, you should find a better policy!

          As for what you think Mr Redwood means, I agree, but many of those on JSA or what ever have been true tax payers, even if they or their parents have previously been working for a state owned company that makes a profit, just as anyone working for a private company is and thus earns real money that then enters both the wider economy and the coffers of HMT via taxation of all types.

          Get off your hight-horse @Anonymous, as with a circular economy very few people can truly claim to be the net contributors you talk about, for example all those in the private sector providing supply-side logistic and raw complainants for the building of the new Royal Navy ships or Subs are -at the end of the day- working for the state in effect, every person working for private companies that now maintain out roads is also basically working for the state and so on.

    2. turbo terrier
      March 7, 2016


      Why not try something totally different.

      For all the land owners including all those in farming and forestry who receive such massive subsidies for renting their land out for industrail Wind turbines adding up to millions are allowed to receive a maximum of 20% net for their income from their turbines.

      Any company earning 20% profit from their business could be deemed to be successful. What with these subsidies and their other European payments it is win win win for the land owners and three times losing for the millions in fuel debt and poverty and the tax payers with no place to hide..

      All those selling electricity to the grid via PV Solar are redesignated as a business and therefore get rated accordingly, if already a business then the 20% tax is applied.

      This would generate millions in tax receipts and would only affect a small number of the population and unless you apply the same 20% to all the constraint payments made payable to the power companies.

      It is total madness that power generators can and do earn more money from turning off their turbines than actually operating them.

      The tax systems can easily be changed if the people applying them have the bottle to do it.

  25. Richard1
    March 7, 2016

    An excellent point. We often hear that MPs are ‘out of touch’. The opposite has always seemed to me to be the case, as MPs spend their time working for constituents whom they wouldn’t otherwise meet and whose problems they wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. But as you say, and perhaps even for an MP for an affluent area, this contact is necessarily focused on those who are highly dependent on the state. Large numbers of people, including of course those who supply the vast majority of tax revenue, don’t depend on the state.

    It would be good if Mr Osborne, 6 years after he first committed to the idea, now started to make a radical simplification in the tax system. There should also be far more focus on the tax/GDP ratio, which is a key driver of competitiveness and prosperity.

  26. Ian Wragg
    March 7, 2016

    Not chuggers John. Muggers. Gideon is finding ever more ways of extracting money whilst comprehensively failing to eliminate the deficit.
    Paying vast amounts to Brussels and in foreign aid whilst doubling and in some cases more stamp duty and now probate fees.
    An all out attack on the middle classes you claim to represent.
    Keeping an army of immigrants in a better manner than we can afford but financed by us the taxpayers.
    TINO Tory in name only describes Cameron’s gangsters.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 7, 2016

      But Cameron tells us he is “a low tax conservative at heart”, he clearly must thing we are very stupid indeed and do not judge by his actions, he is neither.

      Alas never in any of his actions is he low tax.. He is essentially another “BBC think” no nation, tax borrow and waste, greencrap, open door, non selective immigration, Libdim.

  27. Bob
    March 7, 2016

    Mr Redwood,
    I recently won a lengthy battle with the VOA which took a lot of time and effort in trying to compile evidence of the value that a property may have sold for 20+ years ago. The agency tricked less determined and less well informed neighbours about the rules, leading them to believe that if they accepted the new band without challenge they would not have to pay back taxes, when there is no such liability anyway.

    Needless to say the whole episode detracted from my other business activities which also generate tax revenue to pay for the legions of public sector busybodies who continually harass me to comply with the ever increasing amounts of regulation and red tape, and anachronistic road speed limits on their so called smart motorways where the hard shoulder is a thing of the past because they want to have extra capacity on the cheap while they tax, print, borrow and squander our money overseas.

    I had hoped that a Tory Govt would have begun to roll back the state somewhat, but alas it appears that the Tories have morphed into the New Lib Dems.

  28. Bert Young
    March 7, 2016

    The State control systems and administration are too big and complicated ; the staff numbers they employ are huge and self perpetuating . Every aspect of our lives is directed and governed leaving little room for individual flair and exploitation of opportunity . I , for example , a university educated ex academic and businessman have never completed a tax return – I have always had to leave it in the hands of professionals ; spending time wading through the volumes of tax instructions I have always regarded confusing and a waste of time .

    10 years of my life were spent in a country where the tax system was based on a charge of all purchases ; it was a simple way to collect revenue and the amounts recovered were always surplus to its Government outlays . While there I assisted an ex Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party who was investigating and advising the Government whether the system of tax collection should change and include taxation of income ; the analysis showed that for every £ collected 20% would be accounted for in administration costs – it was not implemented .

    Dr.JR has highlighted other drawbacks ;all in all it demonstrates that the public sector is far too big and needs overhaul . If you want to get the best out of freedom you have to minimise the controls over it ; having laws to direct our lives is one thing but having the administrative controls we have is another .

  29. oldtimer
    March 7, 2016

    I do not think your wishes will be granted.

    There have been a few instances where the process has been approved, for example the application process for a new vehicle licence is now simplified and the piece of paper has been eliminated. The recording of relatively trivial amounts of bank interest has been eliminated from the tax return which simplifies matters. But too much complexity remains, not least with the tax code – apparently Tolley’s Tax Guide has doubled in size since Mr Osborne became Chancellor of the Exchequer. Despite this he has still not fixed the roof. I wonder what his excuse will be this time?

    1. Lifelogic
      March 7, 2016

      Osborne has not even started to fix the roof, quite the reverse in fact. He is a hugely profligate chancellor heading in totally the wrong direction. One who makes even the dire Gordon (no return to boom and bust) Brown, John (ERM fiasco and no still no apology) Major & Dennis (until the pips squeak 97% tax) Healey look relatively competent.

      What have we done to deserve all these totally misguided fools?

      1. turbo terrier
        March 7, 2016


        Voted for them?

        1. Lifelogic
          March 8, 2016

          Not me, but clearly it was the only realistic way of avoiding the Miliband dog wagged by the SNP tail – given the system that pertains.

      2. Lifelogic
        March 7, 2016

        98% even I think.

  30. ChrisS
    March 7, 2016

    Just a three examples :

    1. My son who is travelling abroad and currently in Thailand, had told the Inland Revenue that he is not living and working in the UK at the moment. I am having to argue with them because they fined him £100 in January 2015 for failing to submit a tax return even though he was not in the UK or working.

    Despite knowing he is not in the UK they have just fined him again for the same thing. Another argument I will have to have. It was not as if an attempt to put in a blank online return was not made in 2016 : it proved impossible to log in from abroad.

    2. A wealthly self-made business owner friend was fined a couple of years ago. He was furious for having been fined evidently because a SORN hadn’t been registered.

    How a Government can think that, while there is a huge increase in the number of uninsured drivers on the road, it’s remotely reasonable to fine a busy wealth creator who employs 200 people for keeping one of his own classic cars in his own garage at home unused for the whole year is quite beyond me.

    At least a SORN is now indefinite. I was fined for omitting to renew one on one of my motor bikes while I was abroad for a few months. I was even more annoyed to find that the office dishing out these fines is in Glasgow.

    3. I hate driving in cities I am unfamiliar with in the UK. The risk of picking up a fine for encroaching on a bus lane, turning in the wrong place or parking at the wrong time of day is simply too high. Every junction is filled with signage of all types both on poles or on the road itself. Many of the latter are faded and impossible to read easily. Drivers should be able to concentrating on driving, not all this other stuff. Sensory overload.

  31. William Long
    March 7, 2016

    The really alarming thing about this is that it is happening under a Conservative government. There is nothing that I have been able to perceive that divided Mr Osborne from Mr Brown in his drive to complicate and obfuscate so no one can easily understand what the system is doing to them. It is clear that Mr O would dearly have liked to mess up the pension system still further in the forthcoming budget, but the Sunday papers told us that party pressure may have stopped him. His leader seems quite happy to let him get on with the damage he does in the interests of a quiet life for himself.
    If anyone should be capable of promoting the case for low taxes, private enterprise, and liberty of the subject, it should be a Conservative Chancellor, but it is very apparent that these are not values that this one shares.
    It would be a disaster if he became leader of the Party.

  32. Antisthenes
    March 7, 2016

    Stayers foremost among them David Cameron are showing signs of considerable desperation which is odd as all the signs indicate they do not have much to worry about and will win the referendum. An example of this desperation is highlighted in the now ex head of the BCC statement accusing David Cameron of peddling “highly irresponsible” scare stories to keep Britain in the European Union.

    He did not have to tell us that as it’s something we already knew but it does reinforce that fact and gives it more credibility and publicity. On top of which I believe a German minister has let the cat out of the bag by insinuating that it is the EU who will be the one to suffer from Brexit not the UK. So the desperation seen to keep us in the EU has to be about David Cameron and others not having their career and vested interests prospects damaged (therefore having nothing to do with the good of the country). And the EU not being considerably weakened and destabilised.

    It still does not fully explain the desperation do stayers know something we do not. Do they have data that tells them that their chances of winning are far from strong. Are things like opinion polls being manipulated. We know they are manipulating the truth but to what extent. Could it be deeper and go far further than we know about.

    Sorry for going off topic again.

  33. acorn
    March 7, 2016

    Too true JR, we really should have a super major royal public enquiry into finding who or what, is responsible for all these tax diktats and myriad other random rules and regulations. And, who is responsible for embedding myriad new tax loopholes, every time we have a new parliament, with new corporate “chugging” sponsors.

    There must be somewhere a self serving entity / organisation, who is masterminding the continuous creation of, so far, nearly 6,000 pieces of primary legislation and 95,000 statutory instrument and similar, across the UK.

    Wait a minute!!! It’s you and your “chugger” mates at Westminster JR. WTF???!!!

    PS. If you would like to pay to install “pay-as-you-leave” barriers on exits from all the municipal car parks, that will solve your problem with parking times. Zil lanes, are down to you as well.

    The state has no obligation to pay interest to anybody, it does it voluntarily, mainly for rich peoples pension funds. The lack of interest and dividend income to the private sector, is a consequence of removing public sector spending power from the economy, in a recession, when you should be doing the opposite.

    You could cancel NI and add the £114 billion it raises onto the £170 billion of Income Tax, but that does get you some crazy income tax rates. Probably not a winner on the doorsteps. Forget that one; what the voters don’t know, or realise, won’t hurt them. 😉

  34. mick
    March 7, 2016

    So now we have Spain threatening us over Gibraltar and last week we had France threating over Calais, don`t make threats to us because we wont stand for it, read your history books

  35. Vanessa
    March 7, 2016

    Why is Cameron SO petrified of leaving the EU? It seems that he realises that he is not up to the job of governing this country without the help of all those trumped up little strutting peacocks in the European Union to help him and make all the decisions for him.

    When will we find a man or woman able enough to take the reigns of Britain and be a LEADER of Men? We have a little PR man at the moment who is incapable of having the balls to do what HE knows is best for this country – Where is our Donald Trump !!??

  36. matthu
    March 7, 2016

    The Head of Public Policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs helpfully points out that ‘Brexit’ will be a process, not an event.

    David Cameron wants Brexit considered a dangerous “leap into the dark” against the security of the known.

    There are two big reasons why this is mistaken….

  37. ChrisS
    March 7, 2016

    The death of Nancy Reagan on Sunday brings some finality to the years when her husband, President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher dominated the world political stage in a way rarely seen before and never since.

    Between them, Reagan and Thatcher stood steadfast in the face of universal criticism from the left and brought about a peaceful end to the cold war. It was their resolve that made Gorbachev, the first and only enlightened Russian leader, realise that Communism could not compete.

    The Obama presidency has been paralysed by an over-arching lack of will to lead and no discernable foreign policy. As a result, Putin, a little man in all respects, feels able embark on foreign adventures in Ukraine and Syria while threatening the other former Eastern Block countries in Europe.

    As for CMD, the least said the better. He has such a low opinion of our country that he thinks the UK needs the EU to speak for us most of the time.

    What pygmies we are ruled by these days ! If ever there was a time for a charismatic leader to remind British voters what a considerable power this country still could be in the world, it is now.

    And who do we have : Cameron ……and Corbyn !

    1. stred
      March 8, 2016

      Pres Reagan and Mrs T may have persuaded Gorby to give up on Communism, but they did nothing to help him reconstruct the economy. Instead, the drunken idiot who took over allowed the ex- communist commissars to become oligarchs and steer the assets into their own pockets. The Russian people do not in the main regard Putin as a pygmy, but rather as an old school strong man who gave them back some self respect and better living standards. They are willing to overlook some of his nastier behaviour. As to the Ukraine and Syria, the presidents were legal and the situation for the population does not seem to have improved following the EU intervention. If we think the Crimeans did not really want to rejoin Russia, why don’t we offer some EU aid for one of their second referenda?

  38. ian wragg
    March 7, 2016

    Old Age Pensions

    Summation of the facts but it does make you think doesn’t it.

    Medical science is helping mankind live longer but it seems that we should feel guilty for being a drain on society for taking our pension that we’ve paid for.

    Just to cheer you up……how did a pension we all paid into suddenly become a benefit. ?????
    Worth some thought – Where did all the money go????




    Remember, not only did you and I contribute to our Pension, our employer did, too. It totalled 15% of your income before taxes.
    If you averaged only £15,000 over your working life, that’s close to £220,500.
    Read that again. Did you see anywhere that the Government paid in one single penny ?
    We are talking about the money you and your employer put in a Government bank to ensure that you and I would have a retirement pension from the money we put in, it was not money that the Government had any right to spend elsewhere.
    Now they’ve started to call the money we paid in an ‘entitlement’ when we reach the age to take it back.
    If you calculate the future invested value of £2500 per year (yours & your employer’s contribution) at a simple 5% interest (that’s less than what the govt. pays on the money that it borrows from overseas), after 49 years of working you’d have £892,919.98.

    If you took out only 3% per year, you’d receive £26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30 years (that means until you’re 95 if you retire at age 65) and that’s with no interest paid on that final amount on deposit !
    If you bought an annuity with the money and it paid 4% per year, you’d have a lifetime income of £1976.40 per month.


    Entitlement !!??
    My foot !! IT’S MY MONEY !! I paid IN cash for my pension.
    Just because they borrowed the money to spend on other things, that doesn’t make my pension some kind of charity or handout!!

    Remember MP’s benefits ? — free healthcare, outrageous retirement packages, 67 days paid holidays, three weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days. Now that really should be called welfare entitlements, yet they have the nerve to call my O A P retirement payments entitlements ?
    We’re “broke” and the government can’t help our own OAPs, our ex-service personnel, our orphans or our homeless.
    Yet in the past few years we have provided aid to Haiti, Chile, Turkey, India, Pakistan, etc., etc., etc. Literally, BILLIONS of Pounds !!!
    And they can’t help our own citizens !

    Our retired seniors living on a ‘fixed old age pension have to beg social services to receive additional aid, while our government and religious organizations pour hundreds of billions of £££ tons of food to foreign countries !

    They call the old age pension an entitlement even though most of us have been paying for it all our working lives, and now, when it’s time for us to collect, the government is running out of money. Why did the government borrow from it in the first place ? It was supposed to be in a securely locked box, not to be used as part of the Government’s general funds.

    Sad, isn’t it, that 99% of people won’t have the guts to forward this.
    I’m in the 1% with guts enough to do it – – – and I just did. I hope some of you will do the same.

  39. Maureen Turner
    March 7, 2016

    The chugger state needs culling or more accurately the many multi tiers of government need cutting back drastically. Just to find out who to contact in you local authority has become a ridiculous challenge, the first part is getting past the receptionists once known as telephonists. They are bright and cheerful enough but don’t expect to get through to any department, unless you are lucky, without undergoing a lengthy “terribly concerned” interrogation re your problem.

    Regionalisation all but killed off local democracy north of the border. In years past
    we could walk into our burgh chambers and ask for an appointment with one of the officials, ie., burgh surveyor etc., and if he wasn’t busy at the time he might see you there and then.

    I would strongly recommend if you wish to see just how inflexible a LA chugger really is join your Parish Council and I can guarantee it will be an eye opener.

    Last week we learned that our PM wishes to close down 90% of Con. Assocs., primarily as they have a nasty habit of selecting Eurosceptic prospective parliamentary candidates. As one chair of an Assoc. stated “So, that’s the end of local democracy is it!” – or as Lord
    Mandelson remarked two years ago “We live in a post democratic era.”

  40. ian
    March 7, 2016

    There dose not seem to be a problem with this years budget because he sold off 29 billion in assets last year and with the EU ref and wanting people to vote for him it look
    good, he will have a spend up and do some bits and pieces on simplifying the tax system and hope that by the autumn budget that GDP and taxes have recovered, like all politician they live in hope because they have no idea what they are doing, all they want is for you to keep on taking out loans and shopping also getting money from the banks in the form of PPI and endowment now pension miss selling and other forms of money printing also ISA and last years no tax to pay on the first 100,000 of money invested out side of a ISA which can come to quit a few thousand pounds invested the right way for the middle class to go out and buy new cars and big holiday and government and council workers have two to three pensions while most people in the private sector have the old ages pension and that’s all and in most cases worked hard all there lives and if they do have private pension they have to rely on the stock market and currency that’s why they interfere with the markets so much.

  41. Horatio
    March 7, 2016

    Off topic: what to do with the £10b saved after Brexit? From the daily mail today:

    “Former Navy chief Lord West said: ‘Why haven’t they celebrated the fact we are saving migrants? They don’t want us to know about this because we are using what should be used to defend British waters.

    ‘They’re using Royal Marines on a civilian vessel because there aren’t enough Royal Navy ships (and) there aren’t enough Border Force patrol boats.”

    Utterly pathetic. This Tory government, JR and a few other excepted, really are letting our country down. Any time i see an interview with immigration minister James Brokenshire, my heart sinks. Is there an MP, apart from Cast Iron Dave, more out of touch with the views of his constituents?

    On another note, no surprise to hear the EU or rather its main contributers, are to send more billions to Turkey to fascilitate their Islamist leaders war on the Kurds. More concessions too no doubt. What need of an EU passport if europe wide visas to Turks are enabled?

  42. Nick
    March 7, 2016

    Whilst in opposition I seem to recall George Osborne criticising his Labour counterpart for over complicating the tax system. After he gained office he created the Office for Tax Simplification – presumably because he remained a believer in a simpler system.
    And yet in practice he seems just as keen as Gordon Brown to tinker and add allowances for this and that. Whilst he criticises those parties that are deemed not to be paying “their fair share”, at the same time he is responsible for maintaining and indeed adding to the allowances that are then used and abused.
    If he really believed that allowances are being abused, the answer is surely obvious. Progressively cut back on allowances and complexity.
    To this mere taxpayer and voter, the gains seem overwhelmingly obvious. A simpler tax system would cost less to administer and allow lower tax rates overall. With less red tape, the economy ought to be more vibrant. I would have thought this a winning formula – and a blindingly obvious and vote-winning one.
    Nigel Lawson was the the last reforming and simplifying Chancellor. My understanding is that the present Chancellor enjoys a good relationship with him. I wish he would remind Mr Osborne of the virtues of a simpler system.
    Why do politicians forget their convictions once in office?

  43. Dies Irae
    March 7, 2016

    And now the state wants to remove my ability to set off mortgage interest against revenue in a buy to let property business. What could possibly justify this? In what country is a business disallowed finance costs as a deduction from taxable income? If I operate a strip-club business, the interest on the commercial mortgage I used to buy the premises will be deducted from my takings, but not if, instead of buying a strip-club, I bought a residential flat to rent out. How can a party that claims to champion free market values introduce such an unfair and discriminatory policy? I am against rising house prices and for property investors rising prices are not necessarily a good thing, as they reduce yields and make further purchases unattractive. But the way to address rising prices is to build more and free up more land for building and to sponsor small builders (who weren’t bailed out in 2009).

  44. ian
    March 7, 2016

    I do not know how much more money he wants to give the upper middle class, when you concede that if your out of work your on 70 odd pounds a week and maybe housing allowance and all the cuts to sick benefits and housing and wages cuts and this has been kicked up stairs to a few people maybe less than 10% of the population with the debt kept at reckless levels just to see if they can get few more votes for party.

    Don’t worry about the budget local election coming up may with ref in June, they will one big happy party after that.

  45. Antisthenes
    March 7, 2016

    Perhaps a more apt title would be “the dogger state” because we are all being shafted one way or another by governments and quangos and of course the EU. It is all being done in plain sight and without shame by these agencies, institutions and other bodies as Star Chamber like they use extralegal means to make us do what they want us to do.

  46. Margaret
    March 7, 2016

    I do believe that people in general have fixed perceptions of the state and much more as things change. For example some tell me that Universities are very left wing , when actually fees have risen, there is competition for fees and courses( and at one time the state paid ). This is all very right wing.

    Some look up into the sky and see a planes vapour trail and imagine that the jet engine runs on water.

    The NHS introduce working hours and threw people out of the NHS to private enterprises run by agencies. This was a labour run city… Very right wing.

  47. English Pensioner
    March 7, 2016

    So much of what the government does is to suit medium to large businesses. A know a husband and wife who run their own business; she estimates that she spends three days a week working for the government, reading the deluge of bumpf to ensure that they are complying with the latest rules and regulations and completing returns for someone.
    A large business can afford to employ someone full time to do all this, for a small organisation it is a considerable overhead. And now the government has introduced workplace pensions for everyone; it’s a good idea, but if there is anything designed to discourage a small business from expanding, this is yet a further example.

    And, of course you provided another example a couple of days ago. Despite all the money spent on government computers, they still can’t account for the huge discrepancy between the immigration figures and the many times larger number of National Insurance numbers being issued to immigrants. We’re told because the two departments involved probably use some different system of counting; how ridiculous can things get? Are they counting immigration using Roman numerals or perhaps using a system to the base 16?

  48. ian
    March 7, 2016

    Finally getting backing by Scottish millionaire and MR Digby for independent PMs to be elected to government, anyone can stand if you win your area you get 10,000 and of cos all the privileges that brings you, you can pick who you want with no party ties and then you can hold ref in your area on the issues coming before parliament and your MP take your vote to parliament what ever that maybe.

  49. ian
    March 7, 2016

    Mr D.Trump will be standing as independent in the USA after the primary vote in states because republican will not have him even if he wins the states for them, look like mitt for them.

  50. agricola
    March 7, 2016

    At 18.39 this evening the score is Lifelogic 10, Agricola 0 despite posting at 08.15 GMT this morning. You run an indecipherable moderation system, but then politics is an alien art.

    Perhaps you can find an answer as to where the EU is going to get the 6 Billion Euros it is asking for to assist Turkey in accommodating refugees. Are we into another cast iron Dave promise of none involvement only to find the bill arriving in the post next month. Some clarification would be enlightening.

  51. turbo terrier
    March 7, 2016


    Is that not the norm when dealing with the Germans.

    Only believe them when and if it actually happens.

    Shake their hand and count your fingers afterwards!!

  52. Iain gill
    March 7, 2016

    Lingscars is changing their website to promote vote to leave.
    She has a tremendous following far bigger than her customer base.
    Hilarious that the stay in mob are not getting similar support.

  53. sm
    March 7, 2016

    Mainly this happens because government and powerful individuals or groups in government are not held to account. When questionable expenditure takes place.

    Crony capitalism and EU Crony inter-governmentilsm rule.

    We have the presentation of a democracy, but the constant controlled news and the considered manipulation are so blatant , it is a wonder why they bother. Obviously a lot of farmyard animals fall for it or are now dependant voters.

    If immigration was decreased , wages would rise, but im sure this would be the wrong type of inflation.

    Vote Out means higher wages!

  54. Anonymous
    March 8, 2016

    Why did Mark Carney get away with his comments when John Longworth had to resign ?

    The BBC are now telling us how balanced his comments were.

    1. Anonymous
      March 8, 2016

      The BBC are portraying the Leaves as nutters. They cannot report without the usual facial expressions showing disapproval even if they don’t necessarily say it. The report on Boris Johnson at 18.08 on BBC 1. (In contrast to Mark Carney’s ‘balanced statement’ a few minutes earlier.)

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