UK government strategy for 2017

A successful government needs a vision. It also needs to decide which are the main steps it should  take to show progress towards its vision. It can only fight a limited number of battles during a Parliament. It needs to be mindful of the need to keep a majority in the Commons, which usually means not alienating the majority party. When you have a small majority there are even fewer you can afford to alienate. It needs  to keep enough public opinion on side for the specifics as well as for the broader aims. If a good majority of the public buy into the aims, the government has a  bit more leeway over the unpopularity of any particular measure needed to pursue the vision. A government can survive rebellions on its own backbenches where it can attract support from other parties or where the opposition is not united in exploiting the weakness of the governing party.

Some of the individual steps Margaret Thatcher took, like the abolition of the GLC, employment  legislation, the handling of  strikes and the disposition of budgets were highly contentious. Nonetheless she won three elections in a row, with levels of voter support more recent governments have been unable to achieve or sustain. The general strategy of promoting growth, individual responsibility and enterprise, and restoring the reputation of the UK at home and abroad was well supported overall. People said “We know where we stand with her” whether they liked her or not. Government policy was sufficiently predictable and consistent for many to want to follow it and for its opponents to know exactly what they did not like and what they were up against. You could work out many of the detailed policies from understanding the principles behind the strategy, without knowing the detail in advance.

Theresa May has been very clear about her high level vision. She wants to govern in the interests of all, especially raising the living standards of those who work hard but are not well off. She also has stated clearly that she will lead the UK out of the EU in a timely way, commencing with a formal letter of departure before the  end of March 2017. Her aims in the discussions that follow are equally clear. She will take back control of our laws, our borders and our money. She will offer and seek tariff free access to each other’s markets.

All this is vision enough. It is clearer and less divisive than the Coalition’s rhetoric about getting the deficit down and accepting austerity as a necessity for recovery. The issue is, how many steps can be taken for reform, in pursuit of a higher earning, wealthier independent UK?

As always there are plenty of other important topics that government has to deal with that are not central to the overriding aims. Jeremy Hunt wishes to press on with  his transparency revolution in the NHS, seeking to raise standards by greater openness in reporting results and mistakes.  Many want reform of social care, as frustrations grow with the lack of provision in some local authority areas. The government  is keen like its predecessor to make big changes in mental health care. The prisons are crying out for reform. The great welfare revolution with the introduction of universal credit is still incomplete.  Leaving the EU will require new agriculture and fishing policies.

2017 should be a time for the government to concentrate on its two main strategies. The sooner the EU issue is resolved the better. It will reduce uncertainties and boost confidence if it can be done quickly. The new industrial strategy, appropriate tax changes, and other measures to boost productivity, output and therefore  jobs and wages are needed by the Spring budget at the latest. Carry out the first aim and make good progress with the second is the sensible approach, to buy the right for the other reforms that may follow.


  1. Prigger
    December 29, 2016

    Mrs May showed strength recently appearing before a Parliamentary committee on Brexit. It was the first time I have seen her exercising thus. Not many people will have witnessed it.
    Yes it is old fashioned, yet people need a strong leader especially when we have deliberate “uncertainty” created by political and business leaders.

    Just look at the state of the Labour Party and Libdems! People in their stomping grounds need her leadership too for they have no other. Somehow, Mrs May should speak directly to people in the northern industrial towns and cities. Very strongly indeed like no other Tory has ever done before or dared try.

    Billionaire Donald spoke directly to miners and steelworkers as if he was meant to. She should do the same. After seeing her performance in the committee room, I feel she can do it. I was wrong about her before. I thought her weak.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      December 29, 2016

      Agreed about speaking directly in the regions.
      I think she likes to appear strong, but there is a streak of indecisiveness which is worrying. She isn’t acting strong.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 29, 2016

        In her speeches she say nothing much beyond the blindingly obvious or the bland. She says she believes in free markets and the Tories always will. But she patently does not. Now it seems they even want to intervene on electric car charging prices!

        She and Hammond are still using the broken compass of Cameron and the dire Osborne. She need to set an agenda of efficient but far smaller government, cheap energy, lower simpler taxes and a bonfire of red tape. We also need no greencrap grants no HS2, no Hinkley, no workers on boards, no gender pay drivel or the likes.

        She need to become a Tory rather than the dire dithering Libdim she seems to be so far. She needs to do what actually works for a change.

      2. Lifelogic
        December 29, 2016

        Where is the working compass? After Heath, the Major disaster and Cameron we need one.

  2. Mike Stallard
    December 29, 2016

    “She will take back control of our laws, our borders and our money. She will offer and seek tariff free access to each other’s markets.”

    There are two pillars to the European Economic Area (EEA). One is the EU.
    Thank heavens Mrs May is openly committed to applying Article 50 by the end of March next year. We must leave the EU. ASAP – before we accidentally adopt Associate Membership (aka provincial status within the EU Empire).
    The other pillar of the EEA is the free nations, none of which are in the EU, who trade with the rest of Europe in a free trade area (EFTA). This free trade area includes all the NTBs, the AEOs and all the ISO substrata which people often forget and which is vital to continued prosperity. Compare it to the mass of sewers, electricity cables, water ducts and tube trains which run under the pavements of London. Cut them and you start to feel the pain immediately.
    The free nations have their own court whose decisions are, of course, advisory. They have a waiver clause in case any of the rules of the EEA start to chafe. This includes (Liechtenstein) immigration rules. They are allowed to make any free arrangements with any other state in the world. And they are allowed to sit on the international boards which make standards – without being represented in their absence by some EU official from Romania or France. Finally their fisheries are their own. And their agriculture is run from their government – not the EU. (Remember the BSE scandal?)

    1. Ian Wragg
      December 29, 2016

      Stop promoting RN’s EFTA EEA route as even he acknowledges will become the destination not the pit stop.
      Both these routes defer to the ECJ and Liechtenstein is no role model.
      I see Gina Miller is preparing for another challenge to the implementation of article 50 saying that we didn’t understand the question.
      When is the government going to put an end to this vexatious behaviour.

      1. Bob
        December 29, 2016

        @Ian Wragg

        “Gina Miller is preparing for another challenge”

        I think she is acting for a third party.
        MI5 should investigate.

      2. APL
        December 29, 2016

        Ian Wragg: “Stop promoting RN’s EFTA EEA route as even he acknowledges will become the destination not the pit stop.”

        Well, if it’s all the same to you Ian, North’s is the only comprehensive plan available.

        The Tories have no plan, indeed, one is led to the conclusion they held the referendum with the intention of loosing it.

        So, North’s plan is the best available, as to it being the destination not a pit stop, that is entirely up to the us in that we need to strong arm the politicians to make sure it isn’t.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 30, 2016

          But when I read his blog, as I do, I find it hard to believe that he still wants to leave the EU.

        2. Mark B
          December 30, 2016


    2. Denis Cooper
      December 29, 2016

      “The free nations have their own court whose decisions are, of course, advisory. They have a waiver clause in case any of the rules of the EEA start to chafe. This includes (Liechtenstein) immigration rules.”

      Wrong, wrong, wrong; and it makes no difference to the reality of the position how often you or your mentor try to spread these myths. But even if they were true, why do you suppose the EU and all the EEA member states would agree to the UK staying in the EEA after it has left the EU, knowing that it intends to abuse EEA and/or EFTA treaty provisions to try to solve the crucial problems that it now has with the EU treaties?

      The famous “four freedoms” are as fundamental to the EEA as they are to the EU; and how often do you have to be told that they are four in one and indivisible, and therefore as a matter of that quasi-religious doctrine the UK cannot expect to have the three that it wants without accepting the fourth that it does now want – and see what Migration Watch has to say about that today:

      “Single market membership means more mass immigration”

      1. APL
        December 30, 2016

        Denis Cooper: “knowing that it intends to abuse EEA and/or EFTA treaty provisions to try to solve the crucial problems that it now has with the EU treaties?”

        It’s not an abuse of the EEA/EFTA treaty provisions to exercise your rights under one or other of those provisions.

        And anyway, it’s up the the EEA/EFTA to make that decision. We won’t know until we apply.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 31, 2016

          However to suit their case some of those who favour this exit route are misrepresenting certain rights available under the EEA treaty.

    3. Peter D Gardner
      December 29, 2016

      Surely the point is that each EFTA member country has a tailored access to the European Economic Area. It would be wrong for Britain to merely to copy one of them. The EU has over 40 different types of trading relationships giving access to the EEA. Britain needs to to take its time to get the right tailored deal. It is extraordinary that it has taken Mrs may nearly 6 months to work out that this cannot be done in the two years allowed under Article 50 for negotiating arrangements for withdrawal. At least she recognises that arrangements for withdrawal are not the same as the new relationship. But she still fails to grasp the big picture: that both UK and the EU need time – years – to develop their new paths independently of each other. Rushing into a new associate membership is very unlikely to be in Britain’s long term interests.

      She should make a clean break with the EU her first priority. This would give individuals and industry the certainty they need. A clean break can include a free trade deal on a take it or leave it basis.

      A key difference between an associate agreement and arrangements for withdrawal is that the former would require unanimous agreement by EU member states, the latter agreement by QMV. Whether free trade can be tacked on is a moot point but it would be the EU’s decision under the TFEU, not Britain’s.

      Industry is a lot more adaptable than most people realise. What it needs is clear rules and, in transitioning to new rules, government support. UKG can support the transition once UK is out of the EU but any association agreement is likely to restrict the government’s scope to help industry. Another reason for a clean and complete break.

      Selling this obviously requires leadership to get people on side and to appreciate the longer term benefits of short term costs and adjustment. In this respect Mrs May is very lacking.

    4. forthurst
      December 29, 2016

      “And their agriculture is run from their government – not the EU. (Remember the BSE scandal?)”

      Mad cow’s disease is not as bad as mad sow’s disease which is transmissable to humans; certainly we would get our fisheries back, but then on May 23rd. the question was not whether we wanted our fisheries back but whether we wanted our sovereignty back; incidentally, some of your co-conspirators on the remain side, Mike, are putting it about that, even if we get our fisheries back, we will still have a surfeit of mackerel and a shortage of cod which we will have to buy from the hoovermen. However, if we get our ancestral fishering grounds back we will be able to conserve our cod stocks and thus, by a miracle of nature, mackerel surpluses will decline.

  3. Prigger
    December 29, 2016

    So are we going to have one of each three flavours of politics in any given TV studio in the New Year? The same old boring stuff? Each one not quite answering a direct question? Then the Thursday night fiasco at BBC Question Time with such people in the audience they could never have naturally occurred in Nature but must have been genetically engineered?
    Please no!
    When May sees an opportunity…a mass meeting of some group..could be a strike ..something, then she should go with two sets of loudspeakers for normal talking and the second set for amplification to drown out the noise of organised professional hecklers from the Labour Party.
    Don’t start off a speech by some formal opening “Ladies and Gentlemen I have come here to talk to you today about the grievances which of course you have…”blah blah blah. No, just tell them straight what she is going to do for them and then leave without questions. Just ten minutes, no more, even less. There can be no questions if she tells them!
    It should not be an arranged meeting or speech.
    Corbyn is good at talking to his own followers or at pre-arranged factory meetings where the bored workforce stand at the back looking and feeling silly and embarrassed. But he can’t talk like Donald of the USA. I bet Mrs May can. No-one “up North” actually has anything against her, unlike Mrs Thatcher. Any attempts at shouting down Mrs May would be seen as gross impoliteness..especially in an open unorganised setting. I hope she has the vision to do it.
    This Labour Party socialist nonsense isn’t even believed by the Labour Party. It is time the whole idea of it stopped. We can’t live like a nation thinking the Paris Commune happened last month and the Winter Palace in Russia was stormed by Corbyn bearded lookalikes last October.

    1. getahead
      December 29, 2016

      In Mrs Thatcher’s time, up north, it was her or Arthur Scargill. They believed Arthur would save the coal-mines. No contest.

  4. Mark B
    December 29, 2016

    Good morning.

    Actions speak louder than words ! Thus far, Chairman May’s actions have been disappointing to say the least.

    2017 will follow on from what has been a truly momentous year. There has been so much to celebrate. The referendum. A new UK friendly POTUS (elect). The EU in continued turmoil. Always good for a laugh that one. And more.

    In 2017 we look forward to French, Dutch and German elections that will send shivers down the spine of the established order, if nothing else. Hopefully an Art.50 letter and the start of a two year countdown until we leave the Stupid Club. Changes in US economic and political direction which will undoubtedly see the UK having to also change tack. Syria and Assad finally beginning to will the civil war in that country. And so on.

    But one thing is sadly for certain. Chairman May ain’t up to the job ! And it does not matter how much he, our kind host, spins it, we call all see it. Much like when he kept telling us that CMD was a Europhile. Yeah, so much so he campaigned, badly as it turned out, for the UK to remain in the Stupid Club.

    1. Mark B
      December 29, 2016

      Sorry, that should read;

      ” . . . win the civil war. . ”


      ” . . . CMD was a Euroscpeptic.”

    2. Lifelogic
      December 29, 2016

      Chairman May’s action so far have been dire:-

      Workers on company boards, more red tape about gender pay reporting, white elephant piss down the drain projects like HS2, the greencrap grants and Hinkley, the sugar tax, stamp duty at 15%, nothing sensible in the right direction or of real substance at all. Not even an indication of sensible sense of direction which would be a huge positive in itself.

      The only positive was Grammar schools – but she must know that she cannot deliver on this anyway. Hammond’s budget was more of the dire Osborne tax borrow and piss down the drain agenda, nothing remotely positive at all.

      Dire dithering socialists so far, muttering about “believing in free trade and free markets”, but without a clue as to what this actually means.

  5. Nig l
    December 29, 2016

    All excellent policies however if you want to take the public with you a la Thatcher, with, I suggest, a profound knock on effect, public sector reform has to be high on the agenda. Transparency, naming and shaming, all well and good, but in fact HMG bs to mask a real lack of action. True accountability and performance management with people being fired for gross errors, not being quietly paid off or allowed to retire before disciplinary action can be taken, true reform of public sector pensions, I read a report that they were now disproptionally more valuable than the private sector and eliminate waste. I read an excellent article by Margaret Hodge highlighting the vast amounts wasted in inefficient procurement, poor project management and inefficient IT an another showing that the MOD is ‘broken’ wasting billions and refusing to allow proper external oversight, didn’t we hear this from Dr Reid, umpteen governments ago?

    When these things crop up in conversion, in my experience, people almost get incandescent with outrage yet you guys do little or nothing about it. My 25 year old nephew, untainted by years of cynicism, feeling let down, as an IT consultant is doing his first public sector project, tells me he won’t repeat it, because of the mind numbing morass if meetings, lack of decision taking etc.

    You have excellent ideas, flooding, infrastructure, transport etc, but reading between the lines of your blogs, it is apparent that you are being denied by the blob.

    It is about time something …………… was done about it.

  6. Sir Joe Soap
    December 29, 2016

    Vision is great but we also need action.
    6 months on, what has been done to meet the vision?
    No purposeful statements about leaving the EU (that’s left to Mervyn King, you and others).
    No tax reductions to help those hard working folk.
    No enthusiasm for new trade agreements with our largest trading partner (that’s left to Nigel Farage).

    Faith is being lost by the day.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 29, 2016

      Indeed the May Government so far has been dire. What on earth is she playing at? She cannot go on with this pathetic, say nothing at all, dithering can she?

      She makes even the appalling ERM fiasco John Major look relatively competent.

  7. Pete
    December 29, 2016

    What, exactly, is a “high vision level”? Does she stand on a ladder? Or maybe climb up on No10’s roof?
    If she would actually get on with the job of leaving the EU instead of making stupid speeches we’d all be much better off. Cut the BS and get on with it.

    1. Robert Christopher
      December 29, 2016

      The PM has said A50 would be invoked by the end of March, 2017 🙂 , and the media have, at least on occasion, presented it as ‘at the end of March’.

      To invoke it in January would be a wonderful New Year present, not only to all those patient Tory Brexitiers, but also the ‘non-Tory’ voters who have passed through Project Fear unscathed and just want to take advantage of the new opportunities. The EUrophiles are oblivious to the EU’s demise: it promised safe prosperity and is delivering the opposite.

      1. DaveM
        December 29, 2016

        It has to be end of March so we can start being fully independent on 1 April 19. FY and all that.

        Although it should have been June 24 2016.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 29, 2016

      Exactly what is the point of a speech from T May, she says nothing at all beyond the blindingly obvious, bland drivel or wrong headed nonsense about gender pay gaps.

    3. getahead
      December 29, 2016

      Pete, you bring the word ‘Statesman’ to mind. Something Theresa is proving herself not to be.

  8. oldtimer
    December 29, 2016

    The May Premiership will be defined by how she handles Brexit. Any backsliding and, I imagine, she will be out on her ear. She probably recognises that better than I do. That issue needs to be matched by hard nosed policies that do not tolerate waste and inefficiency in any area of government and public life. That simply cannot be afforded. Her initial (legacy) decisions on the overpriced nuclear energy and HS2 deals are not a promising start. Her government needs to do much, much better in the future.

  9. margaret
    December 29, 2016

    These are big ideas, but even big ideas won’t work if the cogs in the wheels do not pull their socks up.
    My internet has not been working for 10 days.

    A small pension I wanted to receive as a lump sump despite many phone calls , letter sending form filling and verification with sensitive information and yet the company still withholds my money.

    windows I ordered in September have still not arrived.

    Things will not impr9ove until communication is addressed. Call centres with the same information going round and round will get us nowhere except round and round .

    Holding on to phones for quarter of an hour or more to tell us that they cannot help is ridiculous.

    Delays and trying to profiteer by deliberately delaying is ruining this country

  10. alan jutson
    December 29, 2016

    Leave EU
    Free trade agreements
    Control immigration
    Implement Boundary changes
    Implement House of Lords Reform.
    Simplification of Welfare and Benefits
    Simplification of Tax System
    Revision of NHS.

    All the above been talked about for years.

    We now have to also tackle:
    Voter fraud (postal)
    Social care (local or national) part of NHS or not.
    Improve border controls.
    Impose Territorial waters and Fishing rights
    Improve and increase Maritime surveillance.
    Change Human Rights act.

    Plus much, much more.

    A lot to do in 4 years.

    1. LordBlagger
      December 29, 2016

      Which clause(s) do you want to change in the HRA?

      Personally, I want to add some.

      I’d remove the right of the state to slave labour.

    2. Newmania
      December 29, 2016

      Yeah especially now we will have no money to do it with

  11. A.Sedgwick
    December 29, 2016

    There is a groundswell of disappointment in her silent approach to Brexit. The reports that this included her Balmoral audiences could confirm her indecision. A clear statement that Brexit is incompatible with the EU internal/single market would have been a good first step rather than the meaningless “Brexit means Brexit”. Her approach to date is far from encouraging especially when added to the unnecessary raising of the Grammar School issue on a personal whim, the total nonsense of proceeding with Hinckley C, Heathrow and HS2.
    It will also be revealing how she resolves or not the ever escalating unsatisfactory London commuter chaos and the largely botched railway privatisation in the 1990s.

    1. John C.
      December 29, 2016

      I disagree with your slighting remarks about Grammar schools, which seems to me one of the central reforms that needs to be put forward. It’s the very symbol of what a true Conservative government should be aiming for: the rewarding and encouragement of personal achievement, irrespective of background.
      So much of the decline in standards we have suffered from in the last 10 or 15 years (perhaps longer) comes from the politically correct obfuscation of high intellectual standards and debate, reducing politics to utterly predictable stock phrases and responses. (ID shown before voting? “An attack on the poor.”)
      The whole dumbed-down mediocrity-worshipping trend of recent years needs a massive reversal. I’d throw out spurious degrees handed to weak students, too.

      1. A.Sedgwick
        December 30, 2016

        The debate about Grammar Schools is finely balanced, my point is it was not in the Conservative Manifesto of 2015. The policy was for Academy Schools for some years and out of nowhere when there are more demanding issues on her plate she resurrects a very contentious matter on a personal whim.

  12. acorn
    December 29, 2016

    Mrs Thatcher’s plan to disconnect productivity increases from wage increases, was one of her successes. That was the start of a larger and larger share of national income going to the big houses at the top end of town and the rapid growth of the “1%”. I am fairly sure that this government of Punch and Judy amateurs, like all similar governments; has no idea how to achieve JR’s agenda, in or out of the EU.

    Anyway, in a my recent “money tree” comment, there was some confusion concerning the difference between government money (fiscal units of account) and non government money (commercial bank credit). This applies to politicians as well.

    Until there is a paradigm shift in the understanding of fiat currency accounting, there is no hope for JR’s agenda.

  13. The Prangwizard
    December 29, 2016

    Industrial policy over the past decade and more has turned England into a vast source of cash for foreign businesses and in some cases through them, foreign governments. Just look atound at how many businesses and brands are foreign, small and large.
    Our country has become like a farm where the foreign owner exports the crop, in this case the crop is cash.

    Much promoted and lauded so called inward investment has meant in the main the sale of indiginous businesses, and where foreign companies have started up new the effect has been the same; to denude the country of surplus cash and profit which is exported. Renting a new shed is not a big investment in the UK. The bigger the businesses get the more cash goes out. Workers are merely the wage slaves of foreign owners.

    The other effect of this strategy and importation is to make it extra difficult for our own businesses here start and to grow, and City spivs do their best to sell any that do manage to get off the ground as fast as they can. A courageous few fight against this.

    I would say we’ve had enough. It may sound like a grand plan but it is part of the short-termism which plagues us. In the long term it impoverishes us and destroys our indentity. If we don’t develop our own international brands we will need to continue to sell our business assets and land until there is none left.

  14. turboterrier
    December 29, 2016

    Sadly for a lot of us out in the real world and living on the front line, it is very plain that our expectations and perceptions are not dovetailed in the way that Mother Teresa and her cabinet appear to be operating let alone thinking.

    Far too many excellent experienced politicians are sitting on the back benches and not in the cabinet or even in influential positions because it is perceived that they chose to vote to leave. In business, industry and politics, perception is all there is

    The NHS will always be a running sore and until someone big and strong enough to turn it on its head comes along it will always remain so. Too much money wasted on high levels of management and logistics. Start with the GPs, they are the front line and as such can have an impact on some of the minor medical conditions that could be dealt with “in house” therefore not adding to the hospital clinical waiting lists. Finance triage nurses in every surgery to act as the first point of contact just as in A&E departments. “Regular” patients checked for weight, blood pressure, social habits will over a period of time present the GP with critical data to make sure that the patient takes ownership on their own health. 80% of a GP’s workload comes from 20% of their patients. Create a self directed working team mythology at ward level creating a specialist centres of excellence without the constraints of having to answer to excessive management levels. As in industry SDWTs when are invested and and believed in the teams take on more ownership of higher levels of work and responsibility. Every department within the NHS should be committed to having a vision and a mission ethos that will ensure total ownership by the staff.

    Cynical fact of life: When sitting at the top of the triangle of management looking down all you see is “smiling faces” When you invert the triangle so the Chairman are there to support the workers with ongoing visions and support, when they look up all they see is b***s

  15. Antisthenes
    December 29, 2016

    The Conservative party is more liberal than the Lib-Dem’s(a name that they are not entitled to) and just as committed to social justice as Labour. As nationalist as Plaid Cymru and the SNP or at least supports many of their aspirations. However they are painted as being the opposite because the reforms of welfare are seen as an attack on the rights and privileges we have grown used to having. Which and by association all other policies of the Conservative party are attacked relentless by entitlement, dependency and authoritarian parties. All of whom are on the left of the political spectrum.

    The one thing the Conservatives are not and should be is a champion of the small state and a private enterprise society. We believe in free trade but that alone is not enough if all other freedoms are being eroded. Leaving the EU is massive step in achieving that(even if it is by accident rather than design) but much more needs to be done. Theresa May is one obstacle because a small stater she is not. All the opposition, much of the general public and some within the Conservative party are others. Those within the Conservative party who strive to make the UK function so that it is more prosperous, efficient, just and the government less intrusive and bloated are hampered in doing so because of misguided opposition. So what you would like the government to do will only ever be partially successful because only symptoms and not root causes can be addressed.

    For example NHS reform demands privatisation or at least partly so of the provision and funding. Jeremy Hunt is unable to do that so he is restricted to tinkering with the current system. It will have some beneficial effects but it will be limited and it will not be long lasting. This is born out by the fact that NHS reform has become almost an annual event as it tumbles though one crisis after another. A state of affairs that afflict all our public bodies.

  16. JoolsB
    December 29, 2016

    “Theresa May has been very clear about her high level vision. She wants to govern in the interests of all”

    It won’t come as any surprise to hear what I would like to see from a UK Government, especially a Tory one. I would like to see parity for England with the rest of the UK, which means an English Parliament, an English First Minister and a Secretary of State for England. I would also like to see England get equal funding thus an end to the skewed Barnett Formula and I would like to see a level playing field for our kids, either no-one pays tuition fees or all pay. Same with prescription charges, hospital parking, eye tests, dental checks and care for the elderly.

    Without addressing the above, Theresa May’s words are just that – words.

    1. LordBlagger
      December 29, 2016

      Please. No.

      We don’t need more politicians, we need fewer.

      Here’s an idea. Every local government school etc in the UK gets the same per head amount.

      That’s the level playing field. Then if LA want to do more, they have to be more efficient. You can’t screw your voters.

      1. JoolsB
        December 29, 2016

        Nonsense – an EP needn’t result in more politicians. As a consequence of directly elected English politicians to deal with English matters, the number of Uk MPs would be greatly reduced to deal with the few remaining reserved matters. Why do you think 650 self serving Uk MPs are so opposed to it?

    2. fedupsoutherner
      December 29, 2016


      I second that!!

  17. Bert Young
    December 29, 2016

    Vision and commitment to core values were two characteristics of Margaret Thatcher’s leadership ; she was known to be determined in her cabinet and persuasive with those of her colleagues who , quite frequently , moved against her . She revealed all in her book “The route to power”. There are many similarities today with the problems Theresa faces .

    Maggie was never “unrehearsed”, whenever she faced an important occasion , she always “boned up” on the subject and consulted other opinions before going to bat . This background gave her the confidence that was so characteristic throughout her period of leadership . One thing she did not falter on – she kept her party to the right and away from the populist centre ground .

    Firm and determined leadership has to be shown by Theresa if she is to succeed . Frankly I would get rid of the sniping Boris in his role as Foreign Secretary and also dismiss Hammond as Chancellor . Boris still seeks “power” and Hammond is definitely centre ground and not naturally suited to economics .

    Liberalism and populist Labour is no longer the demand of the voters . The change in direction of the USA will have significant influence on world affairs – particularly in this country . We need to act on this change asap . If we succeed in cementing a trade deal with the USA it will also lead to other trade deals in the Far East and the New World countries . Such action will rock the basis of the EU and force it into a different and more realistic relationship of sovereign nations able to plot for themselves .

  18. Original Richard
    December 29, 2016

    Mrs May’s most important job in 2017 is to trigger Article 50 whilst making it clear to the EU (and the World) that there will be no compromises made on our ability to control immigration and consequently that immigration will be cut by an order of magnitude.

  19. LordBlagger
    December 29, 2016

    Jeremy Hunt wishes to press on with his transparency revolution in the NHS, seeking to raise standards by greater openness in reporting results and mistakes.


    We shall see. I’m about to test that. My father just died and there were two mistakes made by the NHS. First was not monitoring him when put on a drug. The result was lung fibrosis and kidney damage

    The second pushed him over the edge. He was given a drug that completely screwed his heart rhythms. The problem goes back to whether the dose was applicable given the kidney damage. It’s excreted, and what happened was it built up the levels pushing him over the edge.

    Now we accept it. Nothing was done maliciously. However, the question is whether either drug problem has been reported or not. I suspect neither, and I’m going to push to find out why it hasn’t been reported.

    The NHS problem with the first one is that its on the death certificate, so they can’t dodge it.

    1. Mark B
      December 30, 2016

      I am sorry for your lose.


      Agree about the NHS. Most good but I fear that it overstretched and not functioning correctly.

  20. MickN
    December 29, 2016

    I see today that Ms Miller and her cohorts are threatening more legal action if the House of Lords are not allowed to debate Article 50.
    Today through your diary I wish to put myself forward as one of the 500+ new members of the House of Lords that may be needed to stop this further affront to democracy. I shall vote twice – once to pass the triggering of Article 50 through Parliament and secondly to abolish the House of Lords. It was good once but is no longer fit for purpose since Blair started messing around with it.

  21. Mike Wilson
    December 29, 2016

    An immediate boost to productivity could be made instantly by making it illegal to work more than 35 hours a week – preferably over 4 days so more people have 3 day weekends. In many cases the same amount of work will be done – most people are only productive for 60% of the time – the rest is spent chatting and on other diversions. If we all worked a 4 day week on the proviso that we have to get the same amount of work done what we used to do in 5 – abracadabra, 20% increase in productivity.

    If employers also implemented a ‘how can we do 5 days work in 4 days’ initiative across all staff, again, the thinking caps would go on and productivity would rise.

  22. Graham
    December 29, 2016

    Muhammad Ali was good with words and then followed up to punch his way to victory. TM has the words but no punch.

    That’s why we haven’t ostensibly moved an inch in 6 months and I for one lose a little faith every day

  23. Denis Cooper
    December 29, 2016

    Corbyn seems a bit adrift with his history:

    “‘You’re not Henry VIII,’ Jeremy Corbyn tells Theresa May”

    “Labour leader accuses prime minister of behaving like an overbearing Tudor by refusing to commit to Commons vote on Brexit deal”

    Nowadays if the Commons really want a vote on anything they can force ministers of the Crown to accept that there shall be a vote and they cannot disregard the result, which was not the case in the time of Henry VIII, or indeed in the time of later monarchs prior to the Glorious Revolution in 1688.

    In fact when he broke with Rome Henry did use Parliament to provide a colour of legality for his purpose by getting it to pass the crucial 1533 Act in Restraint of Appeals, and if parliamentarians had dared to block that measure then no doubt some them would have had cause to regret doing that.

  24. rose
    December 29, 2016

    My priorities would be:
    1 Lead us out of the EU
    4 Build up our defences
    2 Simplify the tax system
    3 Simplify our laws and introduce a one in one out principle.

  25. ian
    December 29, 2016

    Your a good laugh john, till executive fined ways to raise money for the country which dose not include taking money off it own people, your going nowhere, PLC UK OPEN for BUSINESS needs to fined over 100 billions a year without the people putting their hands in their pockets, that’s the job before you and that needs to be done in or out of the eu.

    On immigration, council need the poll tax because of immigrants from the eu and elsewhere are living 8 to 20 people in 3 and 4 bedroom house, each council should have it’s own board force so it can hand over to the national board force any illegal immigrants they come across in doing it duties as for immigration itself , maybe more people would be happy if the immigrants paid their own way and had private health cover or cover from their own country or from their employer, the money the parliament sets now on people outside of the eu for a min wages to be able to work and live hear should apply to eu nationals so everybody is treated the same and if they lose their job without fining another one which pays above the limit there will be no benefits for them and as for employer saying we will loses are workers this that and the other, i say to them as long as you can house them there will not be a problem like on farms, if they want cheap workers they should house them and look after their health.

    Bed blocking 3000 pounds a person a week according to the NHS for people who are ready to go home if they have one, hospital could ask local people near the hospital if they could put some one up in a spare room for 650 a week tax free to look after so the services can visit when needed close by, if you can not afford convalesce homes anymore you just have to fined ways to get round it, it not hard, i forgot people are not allowed to earn good money for their services only companies and big business are, but you can not afford them anymore so the people will be left with bed blocking till the parliament can fined the money to pay big business to do it, that will be a long wait because of the price.

  26. anon
    December 29, 2016

    UK Strategy whilst still being a member state of the EU ?

    Lets exit and cut the hidden tentacles.
    Move to a simple take it or leave it approach to the EU. Nothing else is pragmatic.

    Then make our parliament & MP’s accountable , with more direct democracy and or PR based on voter numbers or transition closer to that.

    Once that is done – we can revisit the structure of the UK ensuring we have a pragmatic approach to issues.

    Facing down crony capitalism and the way in which the establishment of vested interest tries to fix the deal against the interests of the average UK citizen.

    Sort out banking and elsewhere so risk and rewards are equitably shared.

    Housing shortages but massive immigration & large housing benefits subsidies to cartel capitalists.

    Low wages but massive immigration.

    A country which gives money away to those who wish us harm but deny help to their own citizens.

    The NHS should assume control of care budgets from local councils and build care homes closer to say needed facilites in quieter areas or retirement villages.

    End or Cap public final salary schemes, for senior civil servants and MPs, etc. £25k pa should do. They should then pay tax and invest and swim with the consequences like the rest of us.

    A flat tax (NI & Paye combined) on all income above £20k. Curb all deductions.

    A land tax and a wealth tax to fund a universal income and a progressive & fair transition deal for those back into work, where work is a genuine & fair alternative.

    Tax on where value is added not where it is booked.

  27. fedupsoutherner
    December 29, 2016

    I would like to see less money going on foreign aid and more spent on social care in this country. If more people were looked after adequately in their own homes then there would be more hospital beds available. We should not be handing over billions to banks who sit on money and give it out to causes which are not worthwhile in foreign lands, much of it ending up the hands of those who cause many of the problems in their country in the first place.

    I would also like to see something done about the huge amount of money being spent on renewables both now and in the future when we desperately need new power stations providing cheaper energy to get this country going.

    I can’t wait for Theresa May to get us out of the present situation regarding the European courts of human rights and get back to implementing the rule of law according to the UK. Article 50 cannot come soon enough either. Enough tough speaking. Let’s have some action in 2017 and sooner rather than later.

  28. ferdinand
    December 29, 2016

    A lot of sense there. Mrs.Thatcher’s strongest point was that after only a short period you could see what stand she would take on any issue. Even if you disagreed you knew what her viewpoint would be and normally she stuck to it. That was Cameron’s major failure , he tried to please everybody and ended up pleasing very few. Mrs.May is going in the right direction and we are beginning to to see where she stands on issues before she actually pronounces. Let us hope the the courts of Remainers do not upset the apple-cart.

  29. NA
    December 29, 2016

    Does the government believe that to win the propaganda war against ISIS we have to pretend to be them? Because this is what has happened.

  30. Caterpillar
    December 29, 2016

    1a. Opt out of EU Customs Union
    1b. Free trade agreement negotiations
    2. Actual Brexit

    Future – major review of institutions e.g.

    Strict secularism. Lords reform / single chamber MMP. Money creation. Consumption taxation.

  31. Newmania
    December 29, 2016

    Redwood with true subtitles goes like this :

    This is not a done deal .Even now the realities of leaving the single market and the shrieks of the treasury are colliding. Given the state of our debt , deficit , growth short fall, and lack of weapons we must cut and cut hard. Brexit support is dependent on no economic pain so we must be over the line before the Daily Mail Editorial .- hits the fan.
    It is going be bloody beyond belief but we`ll face that when it comes , blame everyone else and we have two great advantages
    1 We are 16-18% ahead facing a comedy Communist , in a non-functioning two Party system
    2 Post Brexit , the Brexit vote will own the consequences and to admit that the graduates , the expert , the better off , the younger , were right , will not be possible for a time .

    Then we hit the long years of, its nothing to do with Brexit and hope to turn a page before we face serious opposition . Forget remain they are going to hate our guts, our line is …we gave you popular Brexit and now sadly we must give you unpopular poverty .

    We will have our place in history at the end of it and that is what matters

    Repky What nonsense! It must hurt you to see how well the UK economy has done in the half year since the vote. Wrong, wrong, wrong all your predictions

    1. rose
      December 30, 2016

      If we suffer economic consequences, it will be from Remainiac forces like the Treasury and B of E taking the wrong measures to deal with the wrong problem. For example we have no difficulty rushing out and spending money like water on imported goods. So the Remainiac forces have made money even cheaper than it already was. In addition, capital has been transferred from savers to borrowers in a silent long drawn out raid. Fast appreciating housing assets have been acquired in this way, usually at the expense of the elderly who have no other means of support than their meagre pensions and their savings. 1,500 people a day continue to arrive to boost the housing market and demand on everything else. And still the Remainiacs fear recession. There will be nasty consequences when boom turns to bust, but those consequences will not be the fault of Brexiteers.

  32. darren welch
    January 1, 2017

    she isnt to clear on being able to make our own trade deals,,i fear we will end up in the customs union,,which makes brexit practically pointless,,,mr fox looked a deflated man on the andrew marr show

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