Changing people’s lives

People’s lives are changing a lot. Some of us welcome change when it is for the better, as much of it is. There is plenty of change which is driven by us as consumers. We willingly buy the product or service when it is better than the old or when it allows us to enjoy new experiences.

It is consumers who choose to watch downloaded films rather than BBC programmes, or who use a mobile phone to shop or pay a bill. It is people who choose to spend more of their lives on line and to learn and be informed from the web.

There is another kind of change which is more contentious. That is top down change driven by governments. Governments sometimes presume to know better than we do. They seek to stop us buying some goods and service with higher taxes, regulations or outright bans. They want us to buy or use other goods and services so they subsidise them ,give us tax breaks or supply them free at the point of use.

Some people think this is becoming excessive. They see too many attacks on their traditional way of life or their pleasures. The fire in the grate is to be changed. The roast beef meal may have too large a carbon footprint. The tried and tested diesel car is evil. Offering cash for a transaction is old fashioned. Their electricity meter has to be ripped out and replaced by a meter too smart for users to understand what it is really up to.

The quest to change public services does not always lead to improvements in them. The GP no longer does home visits. A telephone or on line surgery booking service does not always allow a same day appointment.Many public libraries are only open when working people are at work in the week and not open on Sundays. Governments want people to leave the car at home so they  make it more and more difficult to use it, whilst many people regard it as the only way to get to work and to get the children to school.

Government needs reforming to get closer to how people lead their lives, and be more understanding of people’s aspirations.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Indeed as you say:- “Government needs reforming to get closer to how people lead their lives, and be more understanding of people’s aspirations.”

    Well they just need to get out of the way in the main, leave the money with the public with far lower & simpler taxation and let them have freedom and choice as to how they spend it. This as opposed to taxing and regulating them to death.

    But then what is good for bureaucrat parasitic job creating is ever higher taxes, ever more red tape and “free” at the point of use invariably dire state run monopolies in say health care, education and elsewhere. So that is what we get. Climate alarmism is a gift to them as a ruse for this objective as was the EU.

    The government cannot even be bothered to investigate more crimes at all yet they want to criminalise someone have a log fire.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      We surely want people at the coal face making decisions (this as they know what is going on what works, is cost effective and what does not work. This rather than perhaps a PPE graduate (politician or bureaucrat) who has never even seen a mine. Or indeed any science, engineering or logic. Plus they have probably been got at by vested interests and paid “consultants”.

      Bottom up or top down big government knows best despite all the vast evidence to the contrary.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Our fear of crime is also a gift to them.
      Another way to manipulate our behaviour.
      So we have no police!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Some truth in that. But we do have plenty of police, they are just hugely misdirected.

      • NickC
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Everhopful, Well we do have police. But they don’t do what we want them to do, and what they used to do. They’re too busy catching the un-politically-correct. So I understand what you mean.

        It is the same with the Environment Agency – it doesn’t dredge existing rivers, or maintain drainage schemes enough, still less install new drainage. Instead it makes a virtue of its incompetence by blaming global warming.

    • steve
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink


      “The government cannot even be bothered to investigate more crimes at all yet they want to criminalise someone have a log fire.”

      To be honest LL, it is not a ban on log fires, it is a ban on the sale of unseasoned wood. That will be a good thing since it will prevent the garden centre con merchants ripping people off. They won’t be able to simply lob a tree and shove it in bags for sale the next day.

      The left wing BBC liars were quick to peddle fear that log fires were being banned. Still, it serves Boris right……he should have sorted the BBC like he said he would.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Yes, the change that most people resent, I’d say, is that instead of a single publicly-accountable, not-for-profit supplier for their utilities there are a number, each offering complicated ways of billing, and with which it is hard to work out whether one is getting value for money.

      Worse still is the need constantly to keep changing supplier to escape the endless loyalty surcharges.

      The same is true with de-mutualised banks, insurance companies etc., where it is necessary to avoid savings interest rate cuts and premium hikes. One could spend all of one’s free time and more doing this.

      Which party drove forward all these changes?

      It was yours, John, wasn’t it?

      People voted for more of the same it seems, so give it to them.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Is it is a really problem for you to switch from one supplier to another Martin?
        Loads of websites to use to help you.
        A potential saving of a weeks wages awaits you for an hours work.
        Gosh that’s tough.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

          If you’ve nothing better to do with your time Edward, then hard luck.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 24, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

            You must have lots of money to burn then Martin.
            And be ever so busy too.
            There is even a website that automatically moves your gas and electricity supplier to the cheapest one available when your contract is up.

      • NickC
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        Martin, When did we have a “single publicly-accountable, not-for-profit supplier”, hmmm? When was this golden age? I’d go along with your “not-for-profit” though, if I remember correctly, they all made a loss.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      The problem LL is that they keeps creating more and more bureaucracy. More departments and advisory committees stuffed full with their friends to tell the government what it wants to hear and do. They do not realise that this creeping vine of a State is slowly consuming all the wealth in the land. It allows itself to become hostage to minority views and large corporate interests.

      As smaller weaker State is what we need. It is, unbelievably, what we had at the turn of the 19th Century. It was men of vision, not politicians, that created the Industrial Revolution and affected real change.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Two good pieces in the Sunday Telegraph today:-

    If the EU continues to negotiate in this deceitful manner, Britain has no choice but to ditch the talks – Daniel Hannan

    It’s time taxpayers stopped footing the obscene bills for Left-wing quangos – James Roberts

    Also time to stop unfairly funding the left wing, PC, alarmist, EUphile, propaganda from the BBC. Having said that Chris Mason (Any questions and this week any answers) does at least seem rather brighter and slightly less BBC think than the lefty, PC, touchy-feely people he has replaced or covered for. He can, unlike many others who have done the job, think in real time. Needless to say the guest are still about 80% lefty, PC, climate alarmists. Even Simon Heffer attacking Boris and pushing alarmism.

    • NickC
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, I have yet to see the MSM point out the obvious about the Boris Battery Car (BBC) fiasco – that the government imagines they run on magic dust. A debate about whether we need 30 Hinckley Cs or 20 or 15 is one thing. But not planning and building any extra capacity is totally absurd.

      Adapting a well known Russian (USSR) saying: “Boris, we’ll pretend to drive you battery cars, if you pretend to supply the fuel for them”.

  3. Shirley
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    How is this going to change, when Parliament (and the ‘establishment’) is full of ‘liberals’ eager to remove every last vestige of freedom for it’s citizens? They appear to have caught the ‘control freak’ bug from the EU.

    We can’t even speak the truth as we know it, without having our jobs and future threatened. Those who don’t believe the climate change and gender change ideologies, and those who think Halal/Kosher slaughter is cruel, etc. are just labelled as idiots, homophobes, racists, islamaphobes, or condemn it as hate speech, etc. if they dare to speak their opinions.

    The government could change this … but we know they won’t!

    • Iain Moore
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Lady on Question Time spoke out at this country being over crowded and has subsequently been vilified on social media by the likes of Ian Dale, Owen Jones etc, apparently to say the country is over crowded is racist.

      • Dennis
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        I. Moore — If that is happening what hope is there? Can that be termed hate speech to call someone a racist when not justified? Where are the police on this?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. Racist is now just a term of abuse, used against anyone who says anything the left do not like. Iain Dale is a bit of a silly lefty most of the time I find. In the Mathew Paris mode but without the pro EU bit – so not quite so annoying.

        I once even heard Iain Dale say how bright he found James O’Brian!

    • Hope
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Shirley read Sir Roger Scrutons book how to be a conservative ( the person who Broken shiremsacked without evidence or giving him the right to explain- Brokenshire now back in govt!). Consider against the current crop of crap in govt. There is no difference between the current Tory govt and Blaire’s Labour. None zilch. In fact I think it is more left wing. Tory govt acts on behalf of the left wing outrage mob. What we can think, eat, say, write and even where we can go as who we can meet.

      We were told by the Tory govt. the Human Rights Act would be scrapped, we would have to leave ECHR if we wanted to deport or keep terrorists in prison – you might recall May could not as HS deport a terrorist and in the end He left of his own free will, which the govt tried to spin as a success!

  4. agricola
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    You draw attention to the ever growing gap between what the people want and what government wants. Whichever side wins it is the people that have to live with it. Government generally isolate themselves from anything that does not suit them. One example, MPs can say whatever they like in Parliament whereas the people are increasingly prevented from expressing their thoughts in public. Freedom of speach has become a crime persued by a PC police force who prefer it to dealing with shop lifting. Even your invitatation to comment on this blog is restricted unles of course you wish us to see the comment just to prove that there are still idiots around.

    There is a tried and tested solution, hated by government and those around it. Ask the people. The referendum, a word to make most in government shudder, as has been proven over the last four years. Proven because most in positions of power, the establishment, do not with exceptions, like to be told that they are wrong.

    Assuming the British people were well informed, which generally they are not, what do you think their answer would be if asked whether they would prefer to live like Singaporeans or continue in the inadequate chaotic way they are led to believe is normal for the supposed fifth strongest economy in the World. Dare you in power face the answer.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      You have not lived in Singapore, or you would never suggest we could or should be more like them. IF ever there were a ‘socialist utopia’, it is Singapore. Make of that what you wish. (If I said that IN Singapore I’d probably get arrested)

      • agricola
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Well they have a GDP per capita more than twice the level of the UK and tax at about 13%I believe. Their NHS is a contributary one at a level all can afford. The place is very clean, in fact the only place I know where you can litter with impunity is with peanut shells in the LonG Bar at the Raffles. Excellent hotel I can recommend it. The architecture is stunning and public transport is to die for. A monument to Stanford Raffles and Lee Quan Yu. The climate has much to commend it. You quite obviously wallow in mediocrity.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      People are allowed to protest, even stop other people from going about their rightful business. You just have to be the ‘right’ sort of people 😉 And you have to either believe in the ‘right’ things or be of certain groups.

      As to referendums. They are the ultimate expression of public opinion and will. Sadly, that is why most governments hate them. Unless that is they think they will get the right answer. And if not, they will either ignore you or make you vote again.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink


      You views may (sometimes) be moderated by our host but you evidently feel no fear of expressing them in this forum and to our host. For that you should be thankful.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Your views not you views

    • cynic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Referenda are definitely the way to go. The Swiss model, perhaps.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        It works in Switzerland only because it is full of internationally-minded, reasonably well-informed, multilingual Swiss, and not of the English.

        • steve
          Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink


          Then that just goes to show what you know of Switzerland and the Swiss.

          The Swiss are not ‘internationally – minded’…..they are Swiss minded. i.e not stupid enough to get involved in other countries wars, but smart enough to act as bankers.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          At least you like the Swiss.
          It is a start Martin.
          Soon you will respect the opinions of other nations citizens.

        • NickC
          Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          Actually, Martin, people who are well-informed don’t think like you. By definition. Anyone who opposed the implementation of the 2016 Referendum should lose their vote in future referendums. It’s only fair.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the Swiss model would have given a Remain result.

        They would very likely have required a super majority, of say, 60%, and also age weighted the votes in favour of the young, who would be affected for the longest.

        What’s not to like?

        • Edward2
          Posted February 25, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

          You are just speculating as to how the referendum result might have been under a different set of rules.
          People vote tactically in elections and given different rules peoplevvote differently.
          But I realise you are still in denial and are clutching at every straw possible but you are wasting your time.
          You lost the referendum and you lost the election.

    • cynic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Brexit has shown the poor standard of many MP’s, and their refusal to represent their constituents. The career politicians represent their own interests and careers. We need a system to hold them to account.

  5. William Pentelow
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I agree with you on this one Sir John.
    Labour reached its sell by date some time ago.
    A now it seems the Tories have as well.
    If Farage could put his reform party into gear , you would be toast and deservedly so.
    Your party as decided without ant real research to make people like me live in the cold.
    Their are millions of us and we just lent you our vote.
    NO MORE.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed – far from the needed bonfire of red tape we are still getting more and more every day. Yet more damaging controls on landlords, more enforced pay laws on employers and now laws to control even the sale and burning of wood and coal. Yet the police cannot even take any action against shop lifters, bike thieves or most theft, muggings & burglary in the main.

      But sure we will be able to fine an old lady who burns a bit of contraband wood to keep warm in winter.

      • Pominoz
        Posted February 24, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink


        Does red tape burn well in multifuel stoves?

        Suspect the polluting particles of that would be catastrophic!

    • steve
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      William Pentelow

      “If Farage could put his reform party into gear , you would be toast and deservedly so.
      Your party as decided without ant real research to make people like me live in the cold.
      Their are millions of us and we just lent you our vote.
      NO MORE.”

      Fully agree William.

      Though I would add that the conservatives are toast anyway with or without Mr Farage.

      Boris got in on borrowed votes, he won’t get those again. He’s an example of someone who should have had his pockets and sleeves thoroughly searched before being allowed in.

      He’s just done too many things to adversely affect people’s lives and without permission.

      At next general election the conservatives will get a real taste of people’s mood and relying on peddling fear of alternative parties won’t work anymore.

      The next GE will be about us getting revenge and burying these lying swindlers for good. The only thing Boris can do is try and ban the general election, or consult his little Swedish friend.

      Either way the die is cast…the cons are finished, public’s anger is such that no amount of appeasement or choreographed patriotism will work.

      Compare the cons to a bad worker who’s remaining in post for now, but who’s contract will not be renewed.

      • agricola
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        To date Boris has made one seriously bad mistake in allowing Huawei anywhere near our G5 telephone system. As David Davis put it, not since MI6 employed Kim Philby has there been such a serious error. I am not suggesting that he should have bowed to Donald, solelt that he should have applied logic and common sense.

        I am not enamoured of HS2 but it is not damaging of our security, and that is paramount.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      How much more per week are the logs they want you to buy than the logs you already use?

      • steve
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink


        Undoubtedly the garden centres etc will put the price of logs up and blame the government.

        Many US states banned the sale and burning of unseasoned wood years ago. Some states even make mandatory the use of catalytic converters on log burners. I have an american stove that has a cat, they actually work very well.

        However, assuming you have a log burner, my advice is to get savvy…procure old palettes and wooden shipping crates. Invest in a chainsaw. Collect windfall, or driftwood if like me you live by an estuary.

        Store the wood somewhere dry but airy, and store for one year, that will season it.

        That is what I do and to be honest I hardly ever pay for wood. I also burn a wood / smokeless coal mix, which is a highly effective way to make the wood go a lot further.

        You could also put an ad in the local newsagents offering to dispose of waste wood, unwanted trees etc. I know people who do that and they actually get quite a bit of wood.

        Running solid fuel fires requires planning and understanding of the combustion process for it to be cost effective, but the results are well worth it when you get it right.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      People voted for what they thought was the least worst option. Clearly, when voting Tory, they did not know what they were voting for. Perhaps we should have another GE 😉

  6. Everhopeful
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Well…put it this way.
    If a new political party emerged that understood the anguish of what has been done to us.
    And it was not mercilessly destroyed by the incumbent rulers.
    Then landslide victory would just not come into it.
    Successive governments have given away and squandered our lives, our liberty and our livelihoods.
    Present one is only in place because the alternative was worse!

    • Shirley
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      “Present one is only in place because the alternative was worse!”

      Those are my thoughts too, but Parliament will ensure that this situation continues ad infinitum. We will never get a real choice of government, only a ‘managed’ choice.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Too close to the truth Everhopeful

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      The problem with a new party is that like UKIP it would attract all sorts with different ideas of what is acceptable and necessary. It would be impossible to lead other than by the cult of personality and that does not get power except through established means.

      The way to reform is for more voters to vote for what they believe rather than trying to pick a winner. We ned more single issues parties to split the vote and put pressure on the two party system – maybe more independents standing for something important locally.

      If enough of those independents get in then they can exert influence as a group.

      • NickC
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        Narrow Shoulders, In a first past the post system, people vote tactically to keep out of power those they don’t like – it’s the “anyone but them” syndrome. That’s why you got Tory Remains voting against Corbyn; or Labour Leaves voting against the Conservatives.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          In any voting system Nick not just first past the post.

          The electorate needs to learn to exercise its power by voting for someone who might not win. The groundswell will take time but it would happen

          I have only lent my vote to the Conservatives nationally in the last two elections to see us leave the EU. Before that it was single issue parties for me for 20 years.

    • Fred H
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Ever ..thus ….dream on…..the electorate is too weak minded to realise they need to turn their backs on the established parties. They are frightened of change, believe the fantasy dire warnings of armageddon round the corner, and continue voting for people and parties which have been proven to lie, and abandon the pretence ‘change is gonna come’.

      Look at the way UKIP rose to credibility at the ballot box, followed by Brexit Party which although was part successful in its aims, still took decisions with the ultimate victor which denied millions the chance to register dissatisfaction with the rest.

      Will they ever learn? I doubt it.

    • jerry
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      @Everhopeful; But there was a new political party, two in fact, both claimed to understand “the anguish of what has been done to us”, yet the electorate in free and fair elections thought otherwise, deciding they understood nothing other than their own very narrow rhetoric. It wasn’t the “incumbent rulers” who destroyed UKIP and TBP, it was the electorate, just as the electorate also destroyed ‘Corbynism’ on the other opposite swing of the political pendulum.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Now you know perfectly well it wasn’t as straightforward as that!

        • jerry
          Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          @Everhopeful; Of course it was as straightforward as that! We’re not living in the non-information-age of the past, elections are won and lost on the internet and social media these days, people who refer disparagingly to “the establishment” are actually referring to the voters these days, not the press barons and their friends of yesteryear.

          • Everhopeful
            Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

   know perfectly well that the Brexit- seeking electorate were “steered”into voting Tory…thus forsaking the B.P.
            As for UKIP…well that was anyone’s guess!
            In any event…maybe “cometh the hour cometh the man”…You never know!

          • jerry
            Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            @Everhopeful; Of course the electorate were “steered” into voting Tory, that’s what manifestos, hustings and other (often pre election) campaigning does, it’s the whole point of holding elections!

            TBP simply failed to convert (enough) support into intentions to votes, nothing more, and certainly not some grand ‘establishment’ conspiracy. Then, because of the first failure (above), they could end up deigning Tory gains/majorities in marginals and thus allow Labour or the LibDems to retain or gain seats. Thus they, TBP, decided themselves to stand aside in many seats, no one forced them, but what of those great gains they were to make in Labour voting Brexit areas they did stand in, both TBP (and UKIP) nowhere to be seen.

            As for your last paragraph, LOL, the ‘Man’ didn’t even stand at the last GE, or perhaps you meant Boris, not Farage?…

      • NickC
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, People tend to vote against a party rather than for a party, in a first-past-the-post system. That’s why your simplistic antipathy towards TBP or UKIP is wrong. That’s why TBP topped the EU election – it was PR so voters could – and did – vote for what they actually wanted.

        • jerry
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

          @NickC; No, PR allows the electorate to vote negativity, for parties they do not actually want but are better than those parties they really do not want, that is why UKIP & TBP won seats, because voters actively voted again Labour and the LibDems etc – same reason why the LibDems and Greens so often get elected (in some cases well above their weight), because people actively voting against the Tories, UKIP or TBP etc.

          Under the PR system a wet paper bag could get elected!…

          • NickC
            Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, The incontrovertible fact was that in the PR EU elections TBP beat both Labour and Conservatives by at least 2:1, yet at the FPTP general election only 7 months later TBP lost totally. Same “wet paper bag parties” – entirely different results. What changed? The voting system. As has been repeatedly demonstrated at previous EU and general elections.

          • jerry
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

            @NickC; Indeed, but please re read my last sentence above!

            PR did nothing for the UK within the EP, it made us weaker within the EU whilst not changing anything here at home.

            If a GE was held here in the UK using PR then far from UKIP gaining seats it is far more likely that many more LDs and Greens along with Labour seats would be won. Stop mistaking meaningless protest votes, at largely meaningless EP elections, with how the average voter will vote when it matters.

            In the time UKIP were contesting Westminster seats, almost 100 years before the (trade union) Labour movement went from an organised labour movement to a full and elected political party of govt, via the FPTP system, had the electorate wanted a UKIP govt they would have elected one. This idea that that minor parties can not break through via the FPTP system is bogus, used only by losers, have you noticed how the SNP have stopped complaining since they have been winning the majority of Scottish Westminster seats…

    • Hope
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Tory govt allowed Ed Miliband to be elected in 2019 when there was a majority of Brexit and Tory party combined over Labour in his constituency! The same person who they labelled as Red Ed and warned us he would combine with Sturgeon to run the country! The same Red Ed who May stated she would not only follow but build on his policies! His policies continue to be implemented in the Tory govt to date.

      Show me I am wrong JR.

      • Polly
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Not a hope Hope !


      • NickC
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        Hope, You are correct. If the Tory party had stood aside in those constituencies they knew they could not win, the Tories could still have won the same as now. But, tellingly, TBP would have won a number of seats – like Hartlepool and Barnsley. And Labour’s defeat would then have been even more telling. Instead the Tory party risked our future on their hubris.

        • jerry
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          @NickC; Wrong! The Labour would have still won such seats, quite possibly with a greater majority, because there would have been a lot of Tory voters either sitting on their hands or voting for the sitting MP/party simply to stop TBP.

          • NickC
            Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Wrong! Even if all Tory voters sat on their hands the result would have been the same in those constituencies where Labour won and TBP were second. However, Tory voters were much more likely to vote for TBP than for Labour, so that would have increased the likelihood of a TBP win.

          • jerry
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

            @NickC; What undiluted UKIP/TBP nonsense.

            What proof have you that those on the europhile wing of the Tory party would have voted UKIP or TBP…!

            Without such voters any marginal is sunk and many non marginals.

          • NickC
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, I said “in those constituencies where Labour won and TBP were second”. Even if no Tory europhile voted for TBP, many Tory eurosceptics would have done. Thereby increasing the likelihood of TBP beating Labour, in those constituencies.

          • jerry
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; Make your mind up, first you tell me I was wrong, now you say I’m correct, that UKIP/TBP could not have won such seats.

            Given the actual swings at the 2019 GE no one can be certain the swings to the ‘right’ would have happened had Tory candidates been stood down in Labour marginals, the Conservative manifesto was not radical (in fact is said very little we did not already know), thus it is very likely that had eurosceptic Labour votes not been able to vote for Boris they would have remained with Labour, what is more had these voters been minded to switch to UKIP/TBP they would have done so back in 2017.

  7. Tsclose
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Not televising Parliament any more and stopping PM Question Time and far less politics, domestic, in the news,
    I’m very interested in politics. I wish I never had been. Get Brexit over please and then give our country a break from internal politics. Peace!
    Let us buy a newspaper for it/them .
    No more politicians and daft Movements for this and that getting air time. Give it a rest.Let us all have a rest. The last three years the Remainers have made it hell on earth for everyone. We, I believe, have had enough politics to last us for a generation. Not the SNP variety of a generation but a real one. Enough, with the greatest respect to you JR. Enough! We wish our England back. Peace. Green fields with our dogs running….
    I wrote a poem. Never mind.

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      I whole heartily agree with the sentiment of your message….there’s a lot of smoke & mirrors at No10 at the moment

    • jerry
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      @Tsclose; Whilst I agree the MSM tend to hyperventilate on politics (probably because it is cheap to produce), I do not see any need to end the broadcasting of parliament, unless, as I suspect it might be, your real goal is a return of miss information by the (mostly right wing) MSM.

      Before parliament was broadcast, especially live, most people only knew what was reported, sure us mere plebs could access Hansard to find out what a MP or Lord had said (or intended to say…) on the floor of the house but how many would bother, even with the benefit of the internet, no most would simply return to believing what ever the newspaper industry printed -what you suggest would be going back to that time when what powerful people in their cigar smoke clubs want us mere plebs to know about was all we did know about.

      No, we actually need more parliamentary TV, not less. No one is being forced to watch it, democracy being like a water trough, one can lead a Mule to the water but can’t make a stubborn Mule drink!

      • steve
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink


        “No, we actually need more parliamentary TV, not less.”

        Fully agree with that one.

        Firstly we need to see what we’re paying for, secondly they need to be held to accountability, because if not, they WILL screw us over at the first opportunity.

      • NickC
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, Since “the MSM” is made up of newspapers like the Telegraph and broadcasters such as the BBC and Sky, it’s a bit of a stretch to call the MSM “mostly right wing”. I say it is mostly left wing. And I do not watch the BBC precisely because of its “misinformation”.

        • jerry
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

          @NickC; I was talking about newsprint, not the broadcast media that @Tsclose wants stopped from reporting parliamentary affairs, try understanding the context before launching a party political rant!

          The BBC Parliament channel doesn’t “misinform”, how can it, after all it is broadcasting what MPs and Peers say -often live-, and that is what some on the right so dislike, the fact that the message can not be manipulated, censored and thus the public misinformed like they used to be.

          • NickC
            Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, No, you said “the MSM” – the Main Stream Media. That covers the BBC, etc. If you meant newspapers you should have said so.

          • jerry
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

            @NickC; What ever, I guess you don’t do context, a typical UKIPer…

          • NickC
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, I took you at your word – “the MSM” is not just newsprint, it includes the BBC, Channel4, etc. That’s not “context” it’s what you wrote.

        • bill brown
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          Nick C

          Can I just understand you correctly. Are you calling the Telegraph , “mostly left wing”?

          • NickC
            Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

            Bill B, Re-read what I said. Slowly. I said the MSM is mostly left wing.

          • jerry
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            @NickC; Oh the irony, so you expect others to read the context of your comment but you refuse to read the context of my comments!

            You’re wrong anyway, if you you take all media types the MSM in the UK is actually predominately right wing, there being far more right wing newsprint titles than there are left are left wing broadcasters & print titles put together.

          • NickC
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Oh the irony! Apparently you expect others to guess what you’re thinking, rather than what you actually wrote. I expect others to read what I write – that’s not “context”, is it? The “MSM” quite definitely includes left wing output. The BBC is left wing, in my opinion, and it does have a bigger audience than all daily newspapers combined.

          • jerry
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; No, I expect you to read the debate, the context, not simply read one comment and reply in isolation!

            In the scenario wanted by @Tsclose there would be no BBC, Ch4 or Sky reporting parliament, just the (mostly) right wing newsprint titles.

  8. Everhopeful
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Changes happen only because of government.
    Governments channel and manipulate people into accepting change ( “ Embracing Change”management Newspeak.) by omission ( eg withdrawal of law and order, which has brought many changes to our lives) or by commission ( ie there is no choice).
    And when the changes go wrong because those in charge have not the faintest knowledge of what they are dabbling in…they just shrug their shoulders! Thought you had a job for life, a pension, that the endowment would pay off the mortgage, that thalidomide and ranitidine were safe, that you fought a war to be free?
    Well…silly you!

  9. steve
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Good morning JR

    You write as a man of my own heart today.

    Re School run – well there you go, if so many local Schools had not been closed and demolished. We warned, we were ignored.

    • Fred H
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      the first issue is – catchment no longer rules…. siblings should only operate if address is within 1 mile – – therefore walkable.

      • a-tracy
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        I take it Fred you have good schools within 1 mile of where you live, what would you do with your own children if they were all bottom of the league, underperforming, and not to your personal standing but couldn’t afford to move home to a nice catchment area?

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          I became a governor of that school a-tracy and helped pull it up

          • glen cullen
            Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            hear hear

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 1, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            That’s not always possible Narrow Shoulders if your work doesn’t allow for it. How did you get time off in the day and time to attend all the meetings?

        • Fred H
          Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

          My children have their own, and are heading for becoming grandparents!
          You make a reasonable point – but if all you complainers succeed in moving your offspring elsewhere you make the nearest school weaker, and may mean teachers want to move too! Where I live we have a major traffic jam, parking across drives, wheels up on pavements, roads become one lane due to parking, dangerous for children etc. I repeat catchment should apply, and sibling joins only if reasonably close. One of my daughters knows a family whose child was refused a place in primary but lives approx 120 yards from school gates….Others have to drive – no other transport gets near.

          • dixie
            Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

            We have the same problem and are treated to a twice daily absence of consideration and respect for others shown by Andy’s generation.

            The school is also quite good at demonstrating a lack of consideration for neighbours.

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 1, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            My children all finished school more than six years ago, in the town where they went to school a primary school closed on the other side of town and all the children were moved to a ‘super’ primary about a 30 minute walk away or more after that parking became horrendous but the local government didn’t want to put a bus on for the children that used to be able to stroll to school and left the parents to fend for themselves.

            I know people who put their children in schools near where the grandparents that look after them live to facilitate free childcare, if Boroughs were fairly balanced of socio-economic groupings this wouldn’t be an issue, in some areas just too many social houses with more children with special needs support get lumped together and until this imbalance is sorted your educational utopia won’t be achieved.

    • jerry
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      @steve; Regarding the school run and why LAs have had to take action on them. The problem around here is not the lack of local schools but the utter laziness of some parents, some are literally driving no more that half a mile to the school(s), when it would actually be quicker to have walked, this on sunny fine days, not during a monsoon, but then they do oh so want to show off their (latest/second/third) ‘Chelsea Tractor’… All this on roads already jammed with parked cars due to residents who actually live in the road but whose homes have no off street parking.

      The govt doesn’t so much as need to get closer to the people, it needs to make the people regain some common sense!

      • steve
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink


        Re chelsea tractors ; Yes I have to agree with what you say…..I’ve seen them doing it.

        “residents who actually live in the road but whose homes have no off street parking.”

        ….in my opinion people who purchase such homes do so in the knowledge there is no off road parking, so shouldn’t park their cars there.

        “The govt doesn’t so much as need to get closer to the people, it needs to make the people regain some common sense!”

        …perhaps they’ll have enough common sense to fling this government out before it totally wrecks all our lives.

        • jerry
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          @Steve; So you want more double yellow lines, so no one can park on such public roads, good luck getting people to vote for that one – unless you’re after the green vote!

      • NickC
        Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, No, it is quite often not “laziness” – parents may drop their children off at school half a mile away and then go on to work 5, 10, or 20 miles away. As I used to do for the one job where I did not have to arrive until 9am.

        • jerry
          Posted February 25, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          @NickC; Unless you live in my locality how do you know what the situation is?! No it is often laziness, what is more those jobs these mother work are often paying for the Chelsea Tractor…

        • jerry
          Posted February 25, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

          @NickC; Walk the children to school 5 minutes away, walk back home, get in car, drive to work, with the congestion at the school gates that would actually take less time!

  10. SM
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I agree with all you have written here, John – but of course such dirigiste behaviour isn’t restricted to Government, although that is the most powerful example of those who wish to change or restrict our behaviour.

    Large organisations, whether commercial or charitable, also impose ‘improvements’ without consulting customers/users/donors, or even more importantly, considering knock-on effects. It all seems to be about what looks or sounds good TODAY, without thought for tomorrow and next year.

  11. Ian Wragg
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Yesterday……freezing the fuel escalator has cost the Treasury billions. No it hasn’t, it already takes 75%of the price of fuel in tax.
    If you intend increasing what is already an historic high tax take then you are crazy.
    Look to France.

    • Dennis
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      I. Wragg – indeed. If petrol price is increased to £10 per litre for a day and then taken off then the cry will be ‘the govt. will be losing billions’. It is absurd.

  12. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    “Government needs reforming to get closer to how people lead their lives, and be more understanding of people’s aspirations.” Agreed.
    But it needs to go much further – Government should be limited to the things it does best, and that means a small government with no Nanny aspirations – Allow people to be responsible for their own lives.
    We really need a national debate on what makes a great and fulfilling society, and we can then work towards that. There are many aspects to this, but one has to include the ability to make one’s voice heard, for example with more referendums. We need to encourage greater honesty in all walks of life, and recognize the rational things that lead to sane results.

  13. Burning injustice
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Nail on head. The direction of travel of the Johnson Government is utterly confused. Swallowing whole the net zero carbon diktat is leading to profoundly unConservative policies across a whole swathe of areas, as you illustrate. If we’d wanted top-down, socialist, bureaucratic solutions imposed upon us we’d have voted Lab/Green/Lib Dem last December.

    • steve
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Burning Justice

      “The direction of travel of the Johnson Government is utterly confused. ”

      Actually it’s highly sinister.

    • NickC
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Burning Injustice and Steve, Well said.

  14. Ian Wilson
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    There is some overlap with yesterday’s post in that both are concerned with government forcing us what to do and buy.

    Analysing responses yesterday on electric cars and associated energy/climate policies, two seemed supportive of government policy (but even so rather ambiguously) while 37 were against. I have excluded second or more posts from one person and those treating other matters.

    Allowing for the tiny proportion of the population likely to know about this diary let alone bother to write in, this implies a massive body of opposition to government energy and climate policy, probably far larger than membership of Extinction Rebellion and other pressure groups with whom ministers consort. The one comfort for government is that other parties have equally infantile policies. I agree with two respondents above who long for a new party.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Or we are an echo chamber Ian.

      • NickC
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Or both. Actually I have talked to many people who do not frequent JR’s site, but who are opposed to the global warming catastrophe fanatics. So even if we sceptics are only talking to each other, there are a lot of us. And in general I tend to the view that fanaticism – such as CAGW belief – is inevitably a bubble.

  15. David Joyce
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I could not agree with you more Sir John.

    Government needs changing for one that is conservative and governs for the people.

  16. mark
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The TROUGHING continues.

    The Times:

    House of Lords expenses spiral out of control
    Money claimed by peers rises 29% in just one year

    Peers paid themselves almost one-third more last year just as the size of the House of Lords is set to swell to its largest in two decades.

    Analysis by The Sunday Times found that the cost of peers’ expenses and daily attendance allowance rose by 29% in the year to last March to £23m.

    In a triple hit for taxpayers:

    ● The average tax-free payment was £30,827, higher than the median salary of a UK worker, while 31 lords claimed more in expenses than the standard take-home pay of an MP

    ● Peers are set to receive an above average pay rise of 3.1%, taking their daily payment for attending to £323

    Add up all the taxes and we are paying nearly 80%.

    This means we work 48 minutes out of every hour for some (person ed) to steal and piss it away.
    We are Slaves.
    Why is everyone asleep?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Did you miss the moderation on this one Sir John.

      Fruity language unbecoming of this site – A word I quite like but not to be written in public

    • Matt
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Why the capital ‘c’ ???

      (Congrats on a first past moderation.)

  17. bill brown
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Very good note.

    thank you

  18. mark
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Apologies for swearing in previous post.
    We are taken for granted and the Country gets worse every day.
    Thanks to all the ‘clever’ people in Govt

  19. Jiminyjim
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I fear that our country has lost all touch with reality and common sense. The last straw is the attack on the log fire. In my very rural area we have had 8 power cuts in the last two weeks and my constant complaints that we have averaged approx 10 power cuts per year for the last 26 years have been ignored. Mostly caused by absence of even basic maintenance. And into this situation, the government wants to ban log fires – the only back up to electricity we have – no gas anywhere near. And electric cars that we won’t be able to charge! What a farce.

  20. Nig l
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Excellent article from the Tax Payers Alliance about the massive sums your ministers sign off to fund left wing lobby groups nakedly opposed to government policy.

    Reduce their influence and we might get a lot less of the detritus you mention in your blog.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Lenin : “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

  21. Christine
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I am sure I am not the only person who is sick to the back teeth with government interventions. I will ignore the latest edict re coal and wet wood because it is probably unenforceable but the target re replacing diesel and petrol cars is beyond stupid. You will not be dictating to me what sort of car I drive nor that I need to modify my purchasing decisions or behaviour based on a completely non-existent ‘climate emergency’. I realise that the government’s decisions based on this false quasi-religion will cost me money but that I cannot change.
    As for the other issues, like using Huawei in the face of all common sense; a police force that has no interest in maintaining the law but prefers to virtue signal by seeking out ‘hate speech’ otherwise known as free speech, standing by while ‘terrorists’ cause criminal damage and block the highway; a minority group that has very successfully pressurised organisations into allowing intact males to use female toilets and changing rooms (not while I’m around, they won’t)… the list goes on and on.
    As you know, the English can only be pushed so far and my views do seem to be generally held by my fellow countrymen and women. We will make our feelings known at the ballot box at the next GE, so time for the government to start acting in OUR interests, not in those of pressure groups of one sort or another, funded by vested interests.
    Please just let us work to provide for our families without being taxed at every turn and live our lives in peace.

  22. GilesB
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Less is more.

    This Prime Minister could be the greatest reformer in history simply by revoking Acts of Parliament left, right and centre.

    Please put GDPR near the top of the list. Such a waste of resources …

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Indeed but countless other too so many I cannot be bothered to list them all. May’s gender pay reporting lunacy, work place pensions, the attacks on the self employed, almost all of the restrictive employment laws, the minimum wage ……………

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      How many small businesses have been fined because of GDPR Giles?

      None as far as I know. GDPR itself is not the issue, the information commissioner went as far as to say that going after small businesses with little data was not the aim. It is about intent not actions.

      Why wouldn’t you respect the information you have about other people and your customers? Admittedly sledgehammer to crack a nut but what government legislation isn’t?

  23. JimW
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Simple, repeal the Climate Change Act.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      That would be an excellent start, plus fire all those on the sick joke that is the “Independent” Committee on Climate Change starting with the alarmist history graduate – Lord Gummer/Debden with his many declared outside interests in this area.

  24. Pat
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    May I posit that governmental acceptance of global warming theory and environmental controls is at least in part due to the excuses it gives to control the population.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      The main part of it the other part being as an excuse to direct taxpayers money to corrupt vested interests.

  25. formula57
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Commendably ambitious and appropriate though it is to get ” closer to how people lead their lives, and be more understanding of people’s aspiration” a first step surely is just to have a Government that is and is seen to be on the side of the people.

    Having endured governments led variously by those not intellectually up to the job, those not emotionally capable, by charlatans and thence a quisling, the people’s Blue Boris has faced a very low bar indeed to earn his epithet. Let us hope he does not relinquish it too soon, rather presses on with the aims you outline!

    • NickC
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      Formula57 said: “a first step … is … to have a Government that is, and is seen to be, on the side of the [British] people”. Yes, that is absolutely what we want.

      However, if the account of Boris in despair at the antics of Sir Mark Sedwill are correct, it is the civil service and the rest of the establishment that are the culprits.

  26. Kevin
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    “Some people think…”

    That right there appears to be the problem for the Government.

    This post is focused on Government interference with our choices, but before we can choose we must first be able to reason. Thus, there is a more fundamental objection to government interference with our thoughts. If I may quote from the recent High Court judgment in Miller v. College of Policing:
    “They said that there had been no interference with the Claimant’s free expression rights or, if there had, it was at a trivial level. In my judgment these submissions impermissibly minimise what occurred and do not properly reflect the value of free speech in a democracy. There was not a shred of evidence that the Claimant was at risk of committing a criminal offence. The effect of the police turning up at his place of work because of his political opinions must not be underestimated” (emphases added).

    My question for the Conservative Party is this: given your desire to increase police numbers by 20,000, are you going to ensure that the kind of circumstances condemned in the above judgment will never be repeated, or do you also think that the actions described occurred at a “trivial level”?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:46 pm | Permalink


  27. Mark B
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Government needs reforming . . .

    Alas that is the only change we need yet, it will be the only thing that will never happen.

    Politicians, and especially PM’s, all have a vision and a legacy to fulfill. Fine if that is a genuine belief, and need, to make people’s lives better but, rarely does it meet either those two criteria.

    Today we have a PM that regards himself as a One Nation Tory – A new Disraeli. He wants to even out the inequalities in society. Fine on paper but, how is this to be achieved ? Is it going to be done by allowing more people, especially lower down, to keep more of their wealth or, is it to be Blue Socialism ? My best guess, based on things so far, is the latter. The Middle-Classes are to be impoverished so the impoverished can feel a little bit wealthier and have some company 😉 Aspiration and hardwork are for fools as the Paternal State that is New Blue Labour takes over the running of their lives and provides, at other peoples expense, free goodies for all.

    The proposed legislation on fossil fuels is, I believe, a left-over from Alexander Johnson’s predecessor. Another one of her ‘gifts’ (sic) she bestowed upon an ungrateful nation. Alas this government has not seen sense to rid us of it and other damaging environmental legislation. If can, or will not, then we will have to change those who now have the power, thanks to BREXIT, to effect change. There are now no excuses 😉

  28. Bob
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Another worrying development is the reluctance of govt and big tech to address the alarming dangers of 5G and it’s potentially lethal capabilities.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Indeed this decision, pushing the renewable climate alarmist agenda and HS2 are very big mistakes. Not decreasing taxes and red tape very dramatically and very soon would be another one.

  29. margaret
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    There are so many things which have changed and make life more difficult in some ways. I am surrounded by many trees .They are old diseased and branches fly off in the wind . I have replaced many by cutting them down and providing a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees thereby mixing tradition with all the year round oxygenators. These need pruning and trimming frequently so I need to keep them in shape so they don’t become like the mature but prior neglected trees . So what do I do with the wood? I can’t burn as the council disallow, yet they still allow the bonfire night disgrace. Cut up into pieces then placed the back of my car would take 6 trips to the tip, yet the council are only allowing us one trip a week . Skip hire would be far too expensive due to regular need.? The brown bins fill up with weeds throughout the year in a morning?I remember the smell of the New forest and burning waste wood.

  30. Iain Moore
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Cash for transaction . I am not sure if it is government or people driving this move to electronic transactions, people may be being lulled into the convenience of cashless transactions, who ever it is it should be realised it is a threat to our freedoms. Tommy Robinson, and I think there was a UKIP candidate, may be unsavory characters , were made non people by being excluded from social media and the banking system, there was no court case, someone took a dislike to their views and were made non people, and as a result had no means to make a living. China is leading on this with social credits, if you haven’t amassed the social credits from you political masters then you get excluded, I hear people are being denied treatment for Coronavirus because they don’t have social credits.

    Going cashless may be convenient for people and efficient for Government, but in the wrong hands it is a tool for authoritarian control. Don’t ever let a Government get rid of cash.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Or ban private ownership of gold!

  31. glen cullen
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Apart from you Sir John and a few others, most MPs and their manifestos gave a good impression of listening and understanding the public mood….that understanding and trust went straight out the window post election.

    Nowhere in the debate pre election did the government described a country that would; ban cars, promote remainers to lords, allow china to build 5g, confirm HS2, appoint a 16yrs girl advisor, allow illegal immigrates to cross channel and increasing the national debt

    I can predict the next budget will increase taxation & fuel duty and that we will capitulate and appease the EU over fishing and elements of ECJ

    The government is ‘changing people’s lives’ by eroding trust

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Another attack on private pensions look likely too. It will not in the end raise more tax it will raise less and kill the tax base. We are taxes far, far too much already. Totally idiots and time wasting taxes too. Rip of energy pricing too.

  32. Dave Andrews
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    When it comes to the traffic on the road, cars at the school pick-up, car occupation at the in-town supermarket v bicycles, I see no evidence of the green movement working to change people’s habits, yet they busy themselves lobbying government, for government to impose unpopular policies on the people the green movement aren’t prepared to bring to the people themselves.
    If you want people to stop using their cars, stand beside the main road with a placard saying “For the sake of the planet leave your car at home.” but no one does.

    • Fred H
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      perhaps the government will soon order all schools to have a large roadside poster of St. Greta saying ‘Walk don’t drive to school’.
      It would be worth doing.

  33. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Authoritarians seize any bandwagon to force their views on the many through additional legislation and indoctrination.

    Extinction Rebellion is just a great grandchild of Mussolini – maybe they can get the trains to run on time.

    It seems that “one nation” Conservatism is similarly authoritarian.

  34. John S
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    We are overtaxed and overgoverned. This is tongue in the cheek, but how about a general election campaign lasting 5 years and let the country run itself. We would be better off. Belgium was without a government for 18 months and no catastrophe resulted. Oh, and what about Northern Ireland.

  35. Kenneth
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    As a general rule, governments should avoid creating artificial markets or instruments that force behaviour as this often falls foul of the law of unintended consequences and this leads to yet more of the medicine that is killing the patient. A vicious circle (and usually a socialist disease).

    Better still is to have policies that fit within the natural flow of markets and align with what people want.

    We are in a throwaway and wasteful society and and humans do not like to waste things. THIS is the sentiment that the government should be tapping into.

    At the moment most environmental schemes are grand and expensive. Instead, we should have policies that conserve assets by reusing them or by reducing the demand in the first place. We should have policies that aim to reduce our environmental impact AND reduce costs to consumers.

  36. a-tracy
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I remember people really being against the seatbelt law, restricting their movement, new cars needing belts in the back, I don’t know anyone now that doesn’t think this change was bad.
    People were concerned smokeless coal from ordinary coal would cost more, and burn less well.
    No smoking in restaurants and bars as a nine smoker these are just so much more pleasant but it has had repercussions on the industry.
    The lightbulb change restrictions have made our winter homes more gloomy and require new lamps and ceiling lights,
    The fortnightly bin collection everyone has got used to but we are still being asked to pay in more for less service, my parents have to pay extra now for a fortnightly garden waste collection but their Council tax has also gone up to the maximum.

    Most people are unconcerned until the change directly affects them. The worst anger is reserved for changes that affect a majority that have no say in the decisions made at all, especially those where specific sectors are indemnified against the change.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Whoops I don’t know anyone now that doesn’t think the seatbelt law change was bad.

    • glen cullen
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Whether for the good or bad I can’t find any post law change research saying the new laws had been effective (including safety belts, smoking ban, plastic bag ban etc) and no pre law change research on banning cars and wood logs

      • a-tracy
        Posted March 1, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Glen, I have read plenty of news articles about seat belts saving lives “ In 2017 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives” just google have seat belts saved lives in the UK.

    • NickC
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      A-tracy, Seatbelts – it wasn’t as simple as you portray. Even modern seatbelts are restrictive. The seatbelts at the time were fixed (they didn’t extend) so they were very restrictive. Before the law came into effect I voluntarily used my seatbelt on motorways, but not around town at 30mph or less.

  37. William Long
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I am sure that one of the reasons that the Conservatives won the recent election so convincingly was that people assumed that they understood all this. It is rapidly becoming clear that this was a total misconception. Having heard him speak at a Vote Leave rally, I thought George Eustice was a safe pair of hands for the environment; how wrong can you be?

    • NickC
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      William Long, Yes, the thing that exasperates me the most about politicians is that what they say before an election is often the opposite of what they do in power.

  38. David Cooper
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    All of this could be summed up in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s observation: “Politics should not be about making people’s lives difficult.” If we may move in turn in light hearted fashion to Blackadder, when looking at the introduction of a new tax, ban or regulation that no one has asked for, “the explanation that you are about to give had better be phenomenally good.”

    • SM
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      “If more government is the answer, you have asked the wrong question.”

  39. graham1946
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    When I visited my pharmacy last week to collect my regular medication, I was told that the tried and tested system of phoning the order through and the Pharmacy contacting the doctor’s surgery for permission to dispense (even though the doctor has ordered that the patient may have the drugs for up to a year, so in itself an illogical time consuming procedure) will be stopped from end this month. Now, you have to apply to the surgery direct for a prescription to be issued. Not much difference you may think, except, that the surgery will not accept phone calls for it, you have the option to write a letter, send an email, visit in person, order through a central NHS online service or open an account to do it online. Not too much problem as I am able to use a computer, but one poor soul I saw in the pharmacy with obvious learning difficulties could not be made to understand it, has no computer and was sent away thoroughly confused. When she needs her meds next month goodness knows what will happen. The pharmacist tells me this is to cut down on the waste of drugs, but the doctors already control the prescriptions and when I order something, I cannot re-order for another month. Totally ridiculous and needless to say I am disappointed in Matt Hancock who I never rated much anyway, along with, I am sorry to say, the rest of this government which seems to be worse than May’s.

  40. Bob
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    If we took our kids out of school for a strike we would be heavily fined and possibly have social services knocking on the door. However it is okay for a school to take the kids out to honour a visiting truant preaching climate alarmism.

    I’m just waiting for the day when the Captcha puzzle shows a traffic queue and asks me to spot the Diesel cars.

  41. acorn
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    The politics of greed and envy is the baseline of the moment; frequently displayed in the comments on this site; definitely not into re-distribution by taxation or public spending; truly austere libertarianism. Basically summed up as “Neoliberalism”. Alas we are stuck with it for some time to come while democracy remains based on closed political parties.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Greed and envy you claim acorn
      No actual quotes, just a bland and unsupported claim.
      A dig at neo liberalismm, not that is defined either.
      All a bit vague.

    • NickC
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      Acorn, Better greed and envy for material things in a capitalist economy than lust for power in a socialist country.

  42. BJC
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Those in the real world who work their way to the top across several large organisations are highly trained and enjoy broad experience. They understand that they set an organisation’s culture; understand the power and responsibility they hold over others and understand they can exploit weakness/strength to their own advantage.

    On the flipside, I’ve heard MPs boast that there’s no requirement to hold qualifications or experience to do their job; possibly true at local level, but many are more ambitious. Sadly, those who claim qualifications have invariably been indoctrinated in the same school of questionable thought by studying “Politics” (whatever that is) and/or limited experience. The purpose of Parliament and the entire Westminster machine is, in fact, to manage the resources of UK plc, a massive organisation that viewed from the outside, is being run by amateurs. This naivety is the greatest and most dangerous of weaknesses that has, and always will be, exploited by those with vested interests, leading to guaranteed costly failures in long term governance. 5G, HS2, China, asset stripping, uncontrolled immigration, etc…..all short term fixes with huge potential to inflict serious and irrevocable damage across our country. What do these establishment clones think they’re doing? Please, get a grip, it’s disrespectful and we deserve much, much better.

  43. Ian @Barkham
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Sir John

    On the ‘button’ there this morning.

    It is Government that needs to change not The People. Government is in danger of losing its relevance, it doesn’t know better, it performers poorly and waste resources.

    Government should simply create a simple framework to permit the people reach their potential. I would ‘Trust’ the people before any government. People are naturally more inspirational. The general population is better at responding to local needs and fulfilling objectives.

    Governments at times seem to suggest they are growing to respond to needs. When it is the complete opposite, government growth is causing most of the ills that hold back society.

    Governments time and time again confuse power and control over people as government – went it is the opposite that is true.

  44. fkc
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Hello John I absolutely agree with all you say The government needs to be closely it touch with peoples lives and how they wish to proceed. Generally people are reasonable and don’t need to be told what they want. I hope you can knock some sense into government minds .
    Good luck you are on the right track!

  45. Andy
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Doctors do not make home visits anymore because they have been starved of funding.

    Libraries are closed most of the time because they have been starved of funding.

    Your party has been in power for a decade. This is your fault.

    As for changing lives, nobody wants government pointlessly interfering.

    But there need to be rules to make sure your actions do not harm others.

    You just want the right to drive your diesel car and burn your wood fire.

    My family want the right not be poisoned by your filth. On this occasion society wins.

    One area where the government needs to get out of our face is drugs.

    All drugs should be legalised, regulated and taxed.

    Unlike a number of senior members of the current government I have never taken any illegal drugs – let alone class ones. But it should be my choice, not the governments.

    Why are we criminalising kids from poor backgrounds for doing what kids from rich backgrounds do as well. The difference is that the police don’t target the Eton elite.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      There is far more money going into the NHS than in the days when doctors made home visits. Doctors are paid far more.

      Libraries have closed because people don’t use them like they used to. We have amazon and the internet

      Diesel cars account for 50% of cars in the U.K. and EU vs 5% in the US because of EU inspired anti CO2 climate hysteria. Tens of thousands of people have died as a result. Including children. Because of liberal-left virtue signalling policies which you support

      My family wants protection from people crazed by mind altering drugs. We want the police to enforce the law

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        people still use libraries Richard and they should be properly funded.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Well people should pay doctors when they use their services. They get an NHS capitation fee regardless so they have every incentive to deter patients by making it inconvenient for them and not do house visits. It is a mad way to fund them.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Libraries aren’t starved of my funding; my council tax goes up each year inexorably.

    • steve
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink


      “All drugs should be legalised”

      Stupid thing to say, really stupid.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        This is a very difficult issue and one of very few that I am rather undecided or split on. It being illegal clearly deters some users but then many die or suffer badly due to all the illegal dealers not really giving a damn about quality, strength, consistency or the safely of their product or customers. But then it is so cheap and readily available are many really deterred much anyway?

        • NickC
          Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic, If you’re undecided, ask the proponents of “legalising” drugs what they actually mean. Most become incoherent at that stage. Legal in what way? What drugs? – all of them? How are “hard drugs” and medicinal drugs to be distinguished in law? – and why?

          Suppose hard drugs are legalised. Who then supplies them? – and who pays? Is that legalised and for sale over the counter, like tobacco? In which case who takes responsibility for any consequences? Or de-criminalised, but their supply still restricted like most medicinal drugs? If the second is the route, then the user would have to visit his GP. So the NHS (ie the taxpayer) pays directly for the consequences, or both the habit and the consequences.

          Many persistent users become unable to hold down a job properly, so crime would remain a part of their death cycle just as it is today. Even worse, if the prices of legalised drugs were higher than the street prices, street drugs would still predominate. If lower then more users would be attracted (supply and demand).

          The only real option is to make hard drugs as unfashionable as smoking.

        • The Anti Andy
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          Legalised drugs will have to be provided on the NHS.

      • Andy
        Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        Why? Criminalising drugs hasn’t worked. Stupid is keeping on doing the thing which has demonstrably failed for decades.

        • The Anti Andy
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          Because the vast majority of people don’t take drugs. “The war on drugs is lost” is a blatant lie.

          • bill brown
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

            no it is actually blatant truth

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Doctors? I thought NHS England funding for GPS was one of the ring-fences services with funds going up per patient not down, I thought each GP received £150pa per patient so if they have more patients per GP then surely that means there is a boost to their productivity if they no longer waste travelling time.

      Libraries – from the Guardian Newspaper “Tim Coates, the former managing director of Waterstones and now a library campaigner in the US, said Britain’s woes were unique. “The real heart of the problem with British public libraries is that they are terribly badly operated and managed,” he said. “The decline in use has been going on for over 20 years, since long before the cuts in funding started, and no one in government or the library profession or sector has taken the action needed to improve. There have been literally dozens of ineffective and wasteful reports and initiatives.” It’s not all about funding, they are under-utilised, if children access books at school and libraries are closed when people finish work who is using them? Is this target group I.e. the unemployed, retired people using them in what % of each libraries catchment area?

  46. Michael Wood
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I have long thought that all our Governments of whatever political view are deliberately
    provoking the people with the intention of starting a revolt…………….
    That is what they are going to get if things don’t change very soon.

  47. Norman
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, I’m particularly concerned for our farmers. I read that mental illness has become a major concern of late, because of the implications of the many changes they’re now facing. As expected, the sudden push towards veganism is undermining everything they do, and even demonizing them.
    No-one is trying to make everyone eat meat or dairy products, but there’s a powerful polemic being imposed in the other direction, which farmers are all too familiar with in other areas. As always, a vociferous pressure group cites ‘the science’, and ‘government’ rolls over to appease the current zeitgeist. In my opinion, some of these bullying campaigns amount to ‘soft’ terrorism. From past inside experience, I also know the higher echelons of DEFRA tend to be sympathetic to these so-called ‘progressive’ forces. To the few of us who are in the know, we’re well aware the science is not the issue at all, but how it’s being interpreted – which in biological and earth-science disciplines is frequently equivocal, even to the unbiased.
    Farming relies very much on skills and commitment passed on down the generations. There is a true saying: ‘stockmen are born, note made.’ I feel the majority of the chattering classes simply do not understand these things. Perhaps the lefty mindset resents such hereditary enterprises, many of whom are tenants, rather than landowners. Perhaps they will only understand when plentiful food supplies dry up. Concerning the suicide rate in the great livestock rearing areas of the countryside, sadly, I doubt it will even be noticed. They will be replaced by immigrants, many of whom work hard and do a good job. For our youngsters though, it’s a needless tragedy. Who will take a stand against all these unwelcome doctrinaire trends?

    • NickC
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Norman, A very thoughtful comment. As well as farming, the “chattering classes” take our industrialised capitalist economy for granted, but did not build it, do not understand it, and cannot run it. I buy British whenever I can, though that is mostly food nowadays because so many of our widgets are now made in China.

      • dixie
        Posted February 24, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        Entirely agree with above comments by Norman and Nick..

  48. Ian @Barkham
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Governments as a rule effectively go off the rails. They never appear to want to Govern, instead the have this obscene perversion of wanting to rule in the manner of a dictatorship.

    If you take this obsession’s with rules, regulations and taxation – they always get it wrong. How can something that is a priority in say in Wokingham also pan out equally well in Workington? Or for that matter Warrington.

    It never works, so as dictators that want the people to love them, they tinker around the edges, that then spawns more tinkering and so on. In the end a simple task becomes a heavy weight high cost solution to nothing.

    We individual, collectively, regionally if you like are not the same. Yet we are all the better for difference, we create more, achieve more and flourish when we are not deliberately hindered by an individuals ego just because they have grabbed power.

    It is only those that believe that their Political Club has the answers, but they don’t. So many in power forget the main premise of a Democracy is that we have Government by the People for the People. Democracy is not and probably never will be perfect, but against the alternatives and what we have now it is Utopia.

    How many times have those with power interpreted democracy to mean they rule. A sort of my way or the highway attitude.

  49. Lester Beedell
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    What the government is attempting is finally registering on the voters radar, this is NOT a conservative government, a Conservative (capital C) should be lowering taxes and encouraging enterprise and not seeking to hobble our economy with all the ecoloony policies, try doing things which make people’s lives better and can be seen to happen, like improving the roads and not wasting £billions on HS2 and talking about a ridiculous bridge across the Irish Sea, stop the foreign aid budget which is funding the Indian space programme

    I’d be very happy to act as an advisor and I would not need to be paid, I’d be happy to help

    • Fred H
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      I’d vote for Lester….

  50. Glug the Saxon
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    PS.No I’m not going onomatopoeic. There aren’t any cuttings, b.great holes planned for HS2 are there?If so, make sure there are relief …roads draining off. This is not SNP territory. We should think a bit here. Being an island we not accustomed to water management. Not to mention lakes and lochs and bOwting.

  51. mancunius
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    It would be interesting to know from where excatly in government all these nanny state initiatives are coming. If it’s from No. 10, from whom in No. 10? If it’s from Boris, he needs to be certified.

    • mancunius
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      ‘exactly’, doh.

  52. Fred H
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Sir John – – I find it interesting that my posts that are critical of Conservative past and current activities are mostly held back, and only sometimes posted a day later. A not-so-subtle moderation. Your call of course, I don’t have to post here. But a rather clear censorship, yet other really contentious posts are published which are not overtly critical of your party or politics in general.

  53. Graham Wheatley
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    To sum-up :- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Or to governments often the rule is – if it ain’t broke break it, nationalise, regulate or tax it. Or perhaps set up a tax payer funded, free or unfairly subsidised competition to it – so as to kill it!

  54. alastair harris
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    What you call “top down” “government led” we tend to call interfering or meddling. And mostly it would be better if they stopped it!

  55. DavidJ
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    “Governments sometimes presume to know better than we do.”

    Ha ha, so they do but they never know better. Maybe they should start to ask us rather than producing stupid policies which we must fight against.

    By the way, I count you, Sir John, as one of a tiny minority of people in government who show common sense.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      They did ask us (once) on 23rd June 2016. And they didn’t like the answer and so tried to reverse that decision at every opportunity. Only we weren’t having it.

      Boz had better deliver on this, or there will be trouble ahead for everybody!

  56. Ian Muir
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    One of your most important posts; BUT it needs to be actioned by a Government committed to serving the electorate rather than arrogantly making changes that Government PR pretends is in the public interest.

    However, Government also needs to review its sources of “facts”, and currently I would not trust government scientists, economists, the IMF. or central bankers.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Society has changed, ‘Hard Facts’ are now provided to those that need them from those that they are paying.

  57. nshgp
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    In Summary. MPs are the problem and don’t believe the public should have the right of consent. The public should do as they are told

  58. Iain Gill
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Just hand buying power over to individuals and away from arms of the state whenever possible, would be a good first step

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 26, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink


  59. bookend
    Posted February 23, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    It all starts with jaywalking- if the people don’t care about this simple concept then they are unlikely to care about other ‘top down’s’- Boris and Co. should take heed.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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