Conservative Home article on mutualising parts of the public sector

Everyone an owner. There’s a popular Conservative policy that reaches out across the divide. An owner can be a self employed person setting up and running their own business. They  can be a shareholder in a company they work for. It can be a left of centre idea in the form of a co-operative or mutual where workers and or customers own the concern. It can be home ownership, as attractive to many Labour voters as to Conservative.
         Time was when past Conservative governments made great strides in extending ownership. As a Minister  I helped the miners of Tower Colliery  take on the ownership of their mine against a reluctant Coal Board.  I freed parts of the Property Services Agency from within government so the managers could take it on and sell their skills more widely than the public sector. As an adviser I helped the lorry drivers of National Freight take over their old nationalised industry and transform it into a successful transport business.
          The work I did for Margaret Thatcher led to the option of self invested pension funds instead of having to join a multi member  big fund. It beefed up company share ownership schemes,  and launched popular issues of discounted and free shares in the big privatisations. Incentives and help to own your own home were improved. Schemes to allow self build and homesteading, taking on and improving a run down public sector property were extended. We made it easier to be self employed and to set up a business. We raised the VAT threshold so small businesses did not have to wrestle with that extra cost and complexity.
          Today we could find new  ways to extend ownership. The public sector has become bloated and it has a deep productivity problem. It would be a good idea to explore ways in which employees in nationalised businesses, in independent public bodies and in parts of the administration of state departments could have a stake in  what they do and more reward for improved performance.
          The Post Office shows just how much can go wrong when the people running it do not have a stake in it. They have presided over the dreadful treatment of the sub postmasters for many years. Less remarked is that they also have accumulated a massive £1390 million loss for taxpayers. They have wiped out all the money taxpayers put in and left an effectively  bankrupt business . It  can only trade because it has guaranteed subsidy and cash made available by the government to meet all the losses.
         HS 2 Ltd shows how overpaid senior executives there spent ever larger sums given freely by taxpayers with a much delayed  result and with a huge cost overrun. Again they had no incentive from success and no downside if they got it wrong. If people want private sector large company levels of pay and bonus they should be expected to deliver good results for taxpayers, or should lose their ,jobs and or not get a bonus if they fail.
         The railways are largely now nationalised. They have all the symptoms of nationalisation. Poor service, too many strikes, bad labour relations, huge losses to be paid by taxpayers are constant. There is no energetic business plan to win back lost passengers and provide new purpose for a system running high on overheads . Staff are often  not treated well and do not benefit from success in attracting more passengers and earning more revenue.  As the contracts to run train services end the state should reorganise. It should reconnect track with train services. It should offer shares in the new regional businesses to employees and to new providers of capital. It should allow other companies access to the tracks of the regional companies, with a competition regulator adjudicating if the regional company does not want to offer track capacity to others.
        Much of the work of the Agencies, Councils  and departments takes the form of contracts with providers. A Council sets a refuse or street cleaning or grounds maintenance policy and then sub contracts to a private provider. Quite often poor supervision of contract or poor policy choices lead to bad work or inefficiencies. More of the work done by the staff of the department, Council or Agency could be done by an external specialist concern, which could emerge from giving current staff teams contracts to do the work and the right to offer their services elsewhere. Once more is subject to competitive challenge so there will be more progress in raising productivity and quality and using innovations and new technology to improve service. The Minister or Council Committee should set the objectives and the budget.
        The government needs a more generous policy towards self employment. The self employed provide so much of the crucial flexible personal service people need. They are prepared to work at week ends and evenings, come to your home to work, allow you to get in touch by phone or email without all the aggressive protective noise from larger companies. We have lost far too many of them since 2020. The government should scrap its changes to IR 35 which make it more difficult for self employed to win company business. Councils need to offer them a better deal on van access and parking to help the rest of us. Government should assist Councils to be  business friendly in the interests of more and better services for their residents.
         The government should improve its schemes to help service personnel and other key worker groups to own their own homes. Housing on public sector land, and created from modernising and adapting other public property would help. Mortgage contributions could be part of the salary package, with private capital brought in from building societies and banks. Where the state wants to keep the property when the person wishes to leave public employ, then it should buy back the home at a market adjusted price so the person has money to help with the purchase of a property for their new lives.
         There are plenty of ways for government to help people own something. More of the public sector can be mutualised. More public property can be used to help create homes and businesses for people to own. This could give the state a new sense of purpose, raise quality and productivity, and help improve relations with the workforce. Let’s have a nation of owners, where the interests of workers, executives and owners are aligned because many more can directly participate in success.


  1. Lifelogic
    February 22, 2024

    Most people can hardly get to own their own tiny flat as pay, student debts, tax and NI plus lending restrictions mean it is unaffordable without the bank of parents or relatives. Restricted supply due to OTT planning restrictions, green crap building regs. and open door immigration. So then we have too few children being born.

    “The government needs a more generous policy towards self employment.” they could hardly be less generous they have been conducting a war against the self employed and indeed against landlords who also provide a vital service. People need a ready supply of available properties to rent for job mobility and for the economy.

    1. Ian wragg
      February 22, 2024

      14 years too late John. Could have would have should have indeed.
      Instead we’ve got mass immigration both legal and illegal and the boss gets summarily dismissed for pointing out a problem.
      We have a crwaking power system using Victorian windmills and acres of productive farmland covered in useless mirrors.
      Self sufficiently in food production has dropped one percent annually since you took power and the answer is more rewilding.
      Time to go me thinks.

      1. Hope
        February 22, 2024


        I seem to recall that when your party came to office there were about 370,000 families, not individuals that would be much higher, where three generations have not worked ie grandchild to grandparent!

        How many families, inter generation, do not work?

        Why are immigrants who do not work or are net welfare claimants not sent home like other countries? Would this not ease housing, health and education as well as preserve our way of life- rather than Cameron’s fad the Big Society?

        1. iain gill
          February 23, 2024

          ask instead how many social houses are beyond travelling distance to any realistic jobs market. of course children born into such houses, and sent to sink schools, will likely end up unable to get a job just like their parents. it is very much a fault of the social housing system, that traps people in places where nobody would be able to get a job.

          1. graham1946
            February 23, 2024

            That’s the result of ‘leaving it to the market’ since the council houses were sold off at cheap prices and not replaced, the money just wasted. Many of these houses are now rented out. Builders, quite naturally want to make the most profit which results in 4 bedrooms in a 3 bedroom shell and a postage stamp garden all crammed together and they are seeds of tomorrow’s slums.
            The ‘market’ in housing has been tested to destruction and we now pay the price for it but no-one really cares as long as big money generates big money.

          2. iain gill
            February 23, 2024


            its the exact opposite of “the market”

            nobody buys housing which is beyond travelling distance to jobs market

            but the state insists in housing people there in social housing

    2. Lifelogic
      February 22, 2024

      In the Telegraph “The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has previously put the cost of the UK reaching net zero by 2050 at £1.4 trillion spread over three decades. It has said the transition will herald around £1.1 trillion in savings, meaning the net cost will be around £300bn. Sir Dieter Helm, an economics professor at Oxford University and former advisor to Boris Johnson, told the Lords that it was “delusory to think” that the net zero transition would pay for itself.
      He said: “I have always maintained that a) we should do net zero, and b) it’s much, much more expensive than people imagine.”

      1.1 trillion is about 40K per household and still a huge under estimate. It will be much more expensive than that also but also totally pointless. Worse is will do huge net harm and give no positives. This even if all the other countries joined in (and they will not) there are sill not really up sides from the policy. A war on CO2 plant food is idiotic vandalism.

    3. Ian B
      February 22, 2024

      @Lifelogic – if you have money you can always rely on Government to subsidies you going forward – a subsidy is for those that can afford something being funded by those that cant.

    4. Bloke
      February 22, 2024

      Changing the current duff leader will change what follows better.

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 22, 2024

        The Leader is a small part of the problem that has culminated in the prospect of Party annihilation.
        The Cabinet seems to be a bunch of yes-men.
        They get nudged forward by CCHQ, after or in spite of, local members opinion.
        Friends of friends, private school mates, entrepreneurs or quite simply people making money out of people’s own efforts to make a living. Unacceptable capitalism, or the nasty party…..take your pick.
        Nothing has arrested this from getting worse every year – it was bound to not end well.

    5. a-tracy
      February 22, 2024

      They’ll have to move up North, and perhaps things would start getting better for us if more Southerners demanding improved cultural opportunities, public transport and things they take for granted arrive.

  2. Javelin
    February 22, 2024

    We need to unpack the avoidance of democracy by Kier Starmer, the Whips bullying and threatening the Speaker.

    First this was Starmer avoiding a rebellion in his own party against the SNP motion because many of them support Gaza.

    Second the shows that the woke virus has infected the Labour Party to such an extent that authoritarian means justify avoiding democracy.

    Third and perhaps most worryingly this shows that mass immigration is now fracturing our democracy because a significant number of Gaza supporters are now wielding sufficient influence to aggressively avoid democracy.

    We are heading into very dangerous times.

    1. Peter Wood
      February 22, 2024

      Yes, what a disgraceful episode in House. Labour are foreshadowing their real socialist intentions.
      What struck me in particular, is that the Gaza issue to be debated and voted on, which outcome would have precisely ZERO effect on the participants in the conflict, was so well attended. Compare that with the turnout for Andrew Bridgen’s almost single handed ‘debate’ on a continuing national issue, which affects the entire nation in profound ways. This suggests something very rotten is infecting our democratic system.

      1. Donna
        February 22, 2024


      2. Hope
        February 22, 2024

        The young white girls raped, abused, trafficked and sexually exploited throughout our country still do not get the attention and protection they deserve from MPs. These very young white girls left alone in terrifying circumstances because the police, social services and local authorities would do nothing because the perpetrators were predominantly Pakistani Muslims. Yet, Hoyle allegedly and pathetically thinks it right to break HoC rules for alleged safety reasons for MPs if they did not vote the right way!!

        Crime is rife because stop and search was made a politically correct issue when mothers of every ethnic origin would prefer their sons stopped and searched and living rather than dead through drugs, knife or gun crime.

        Hoyle should resign without anyone prompting him. He has brought the whole of parliament into disrepute.

      3. glen cullen
        February 22, 2024

        I believe the house was full, on fear that the media would note your absence on a pro palestine debate

    2. Lynn Atkinson
      February 22, 2024

      …at the rate of knots. All of this will happen in my lifetime. I always believed that it would be a case of ‘after me the flood’ – not so.

    3. rose
      February 22, 2024

      Our political and media class are behaving as they did after the assassination of Sir David Amess, a prominent member of Conservative Friends of Israel and an enthusiastic supporter of the Iranian underground opposition. Then, they pretended the cause of his assassination was nastiness on-line, and refused to talk about the assassin or his motives and links. A huge contrast with the Cox case. Now they are pretending the uproar in the Commons was caused by suspected Labour skulduggery through a Labour Speaker and a Labour Deputy Speaker.

      Labour skulduggery there was, but this was not the cause of what happened. The cause was and is Islamist intimidation. Iran is now controlling our streets, our police, and our Parliament. HAMAS International are the enforcers. That absurd debate on three different kinds of theoretical ceasefire in another sovereign country’s defensive war on five fronts would not normally have taken place. Not only did it take place, with abysmally low standards of debate, but one could see as the disorder advanced that MPs on all sides were terrified, shaking. They were determined amid the uproar to get their individual vote “for a ceasefire” recorded on air, so that they and their families might survive. That is perhaps why HMG withdrew. This is how it must have started in civilized Christian Lebanon.

    4. Donna
      February 22, 2024

      Farage is right (again). The Establishment’s policy of mass immigration from parts of the world where violence and intimidation is how you achieve your ends has created Sectarian politics in the UK.

      Along with intolerance of others’ religion and opinions, they have imported ancient faith-based enmities which are being played out on our streets and now in “our” Parliament.

      It won’t be long before we have a Muslim political party which, because of FPTP, the fact that they tend to live concentrated in “Muslim Communities” and the block-vote facilitated by postal voting, means that they WILL win seats in Parliament.

      1. glen cullen
        February 22, 2024

        Agree – they fear the muslim backlash ….cowards

      2. Lynn Atkinson
        February 22, 2024

        Why did he propose immigration from Syria then? Any idiot can be right after the fact and when the whole country has long since made up its mind. Farage is a follower.

    5. Hope
      February 22, 2024

      Hoyle must go. His excuse pathetic, he should act without fear or favour. His own admission shows he should resign. The reality was Labour would have imploded and Hoyle helped Starmer by breaking the rules. Not a mistake because he was warned by clerk and Tory chief whip. If he misunderstood what they said he is too thick to hold to hold office. Labour could have brought their own motion on another day. This helped Labour vote in Scotland and England.

      As I previously mentioned EU Rogue parliament back in force.

      1. Donna
        February 22, 2024

        If it looks like political partisanship; sounds like political partisanship and smells like political partisanship …. then it almost certainly is political partisanship.

        And his claim that it was to placate the extremist, intimidating mob in order to protect MPs, is utterly disgraceful.

        Hoyle’s position is now untenable.

      2. Hope
        February 22, 2024

        Hoyle has now given another excuse of MP safety! His first reasoning was it was an antiquated rule that need change. So to provide two excuses I. Shot time both in the chamber shows a lack of integrity or stupidity? Both statements cannot be right. Which of his statements deliberately misled the house, JR? Either way he should resign or be sacked. This brings the house into total disrepute. Starmer still has questions to be answered, who asked the Speaker to break the rules and why did Labour think it acceptable? Labour complicit in breaking the rules to u dear mine democracy.

        We know Starmer, Benn, Cooper, Miliband etc wanted to overturn the Brexit result and were actively seeking ways to do that to undermine democracy and the public mandate to leave the EU. These people are not fit for office and do not uphold our nation values or interests. If they
        She’s shysters get voted into office we demand a second election until we get our way!

        1. Lifelogic
          February 23, 2024

          Starmer, Benn, Cooper, Miliband, May, Hammond, Gauke, Ken Clarke, Greening, Grieve, Letwin surely all were and now it seem we cannot trust Sunak, Cameron, Hunt and this government.

          As to Hoyle then bending to will of Labour or bending to the violence threatening antisemitic violence are surely both totally unacceptable. The latter surely just encourages more such antisemitic violence.

    6. Original Richard
      February 22, 2024

      Javelin :

      I agree entirely with your comments except that I wish to add that here is no such separate movement as “woke”, as in “awake to injustice”.

      Woke is simply the fifth column Marxists/communists at work to destroy the West’s wealth, social cohesion and ultimately security. Woke will invent and promote any policy which weakens and wrecks our nation. Attacking our history, implementing diversity to replace meritocracy, abolishing free speech, causing racist, religious and gender divisions and ruining our education/culture, judicial system, economy and military capability are all tools they use.

      The reason why so much woke is hypocritical and impractical economy destroying nonsense is because the only coherent thread running through it all is the wrecking of the West.

      1. Iago
        February 22, 2024

        To Original Richard,
        Well said, clear and accurate. It is vital that this is realized.

    7. Geoffrey Berg
      February 22, 2024

      Shouldn’t this all go to The Privileges Committee for investigation and a report as it seems rather fundamental to the operation of Parliament, far more so than much of what they have been investigating of late?

  3. Javelin
    February 22, 2024

    Sir Kier bullied the speaker is because he didn’t want the large number of Gaza supporting Labour ministers to resign.

    On the plus side we know how to get the Labour Party to implode and split apart by forcing them to vote on Gaza.

    1. Hope
      February 22, 2024


    2. Ed M
      February 22, 2024

      The Speaker made a humble apology.
      That should be enough. No-one is perfect.

      1. Hope
        February 23, 2024

        It was not humble it was because of the backlash and he now cannot make up his mind which excuse to use! He was told, y the clerk not to do it. He ignored the clerk a broke the rules for Labour not to be embarrassed by its Islamic sympathetic MPs. His conduct was gains what he said he would not do as speaker following Bercow!

  4. Mark B
    February 22, 2024

    Good morning.

    With taxes running at an all time high, with massive spending and borrowing that is out of control. A ever larger State to feed we are nearing breaking point.

    And here is another thing. I recently found out that the government is giving something like £51bn to various charities and organisations. £51bn per year for nothing in return except for some of these so called charities to take our own government to court on a range of issues. We are funding our own demise !

    How is this so ? Well it all stems from changes made by the Conservative government to what charities can and cannot do. Effectively the government under CMD, now Lord CMD, changes the legislation so various political pressure groups can now get funding from the government to lobby the government for policies that no one wants or voted on.

    This is NOT how a country should be run.

    1. Ian B
      February 22, 2024

      @Mark B +1 No Taxpayer money should find its way to any entity that isn’t directly under the control and management of the Government. Governments are there to protect our interest, safety and security nothing else.

      As an aside Mark we all need to stop suggesting governments have money – they don’t they just have access by law to our wallets

      1. a-tracy
        February 22, 2024

        Isn’t this article saying John would like more of this self-employed entities and service operators subcontracting to the public sector?

        1. Ian B
          February 23, 2024

          @a-tracy – yes my brief point was that while dishing out our taxpayer money to anyone, ultimately someone in our democratically elected government must take responsibility and be held accountable for what it produces. At the moment there is to much shrugging the shoulders, saying not me, while at the same time grabbing even more money from the taxpayer to patch things up.
          As Sir John says, bin collection is by ‘contact’. Any failures in that contract becomes to local councils problem to solve. Central Government has a relaxed attitude to spending our money it just exits your wallet and they come back for more, delivery is someone else’s problem but never seemingly theirs – Think Quangos for a starters, our money no accountability.

    2. Hope
      February 22, 2024


    3. GaryC
      February 22, 2024


    4. glen cullen
      February 22, 2024

      Thats what we get under a socialist government

    5. Lynn Atkinson
      February 22, 2024

      Comic Relief get £1 from the Govt for every £ it raises. And of course the £’s you give to Comic Relief are Tax-free, so the Govt chipping in another 40p.
      Makes you feel so good though, knowing that geniuses like Curtis are spending so much money and most of us outside the country.

  5. DOM
    February 22, 2024

    John makes the rather erroneous assumption that those who comprise the human construct that is the political state are interested in productivity or efficient delivery of service, they aren’t. They’re only interested in privilege, parasitism and the concentration and abuse of power to drive destructive change to realign this nation.

    As an aside. We all watched last night’s odious events in Parliament in which one Labour flunkie did another Labour flunkie a massive political favour to dig him out of a hole. The Speaker’s abuse of our Parliamentary democracy was plain to see. Labour’s religious wing now controls Parliamentary events. That’s a new low for this now rapidly dying nation of ours. This truly is the very definition of diversity, power executed for political profit.

    1. Ian B
      February 22, 2024

      @DOM +1

    2. Everhopeful
      February 22, 2024

      For years now this has been the obvious outcome.
      That our politicians did not realise?
      And now, what is the reason for out of control demonstrations?
      Who sanctions them?

    3. Hope
      February 22, 2024

      A clear deliberate abuse. In any other walk of life he would be gone. Hoyle helped Labour election chances by breaking established rules and stopped Labour embarrassment and true colours being seen by the public.

      Labour is still institutionally racist against Jewish people as found the ECHR. Last nights vote would have brought that home to the country harming Labour’s election chances. Hoyle could have sent Starmer on his way telling him to use his opposition day for whatever purpose he wanted but this was the SNP turn.

      Why has Tory party not hammered this home? It could have closed the polling gap.

      1. Bill B.
        February 22, 2024

        With Sunak in charge, Hope? No chance.

      2. Donna
        February 23, 2024

        Because appeasement is the name of the Tory game.

    4. Bloke
      February 22, 2024

      Those whom you describe in your first paragraph as parasites for privilege depend on having the State as their host. When all other consumers have free choice of where to obtain the better services they seek the parasites don’t even get a look in.

    5. glen cullen
      February 22, 2024


  6. Rhoddas
    February 22, 2024

    Well listed Sir J, sounds just like the small ‘c’ conservative policy we all remember from days of Maggie and your prestigious role/s therein.

    However in 2019, despite your party being elected on such an aligned manifesto, this Government has deliberately veered well left, deliberately permitted unfettered immigration, unmatched with requisite infrastructure growth, hence huge NHS waitlists, instigated the highest tax burden in 70 years, causing the hollowing out of the self-employed, middle class and lack of housing has dashed young people’s aspirations for home ownership. Protecting the less well off has been admirable, however overprotection means no-one really wants to work anymore, they can still get by with their Netflix, 60ins flat screen TV, iPhone and Uber-eats.

    You are almost a lone voice in your Party …. keep calm and carry, I salute you!

  7. DOM
    February 22, 2024

    I see the menopause has now been deemed to be a disability with private companies facing sanctions and higher costs through inconvenience if they fail to accommodate such employees. When Labour slither into power this Tory endorsed woke bullshit will be seen as the thin end of the wedge and all forms issues relating to gender, race and sexuality will be classified as disabilities in way form or another to extract privileges for some and to rub others noses in diversity fascism

    No doubt every god forsaken woke grifter in the public sector will take full advantage of this woke, feminist scam

    I am now beginning to understand why some workers (white, straight men) have given up on work when the law treats them like lackeys

    It isn’t gonna end well for no one.

  8. Margaret
    February 22, 2024

    We need to think of what we actually mean when we say “have a stake in it ‘ for all those who contribute in on way or another , for example tax have a stake in public service as exemplified by the service returned.

  9. Sakara Gold
    February 22, 2024

    Nobody would disagree that Sir John has achieved much in his long careeer in politics. The privatisation of some industries was successful, however many would observe that the proceeds should have been ring-fenced into a British Sovereign Wealth Fund, topped up by our N Sea oil revenues. Spending the money for general government expenditure, rather than investing it in our future, was regrettable

    What we desperately need now is exports, exports and more exports. We have lost many exporting industries which supported the economy, providing employment by adding value to raw materials imported from the Commonwealth countries. We have just become the only country in the G20 that cannot now make raw steel from blast furnaces.

    Britain was always known for its excellent engineered products, which were exported all over the world. We have never had a balance of payments surplus since the Thatcher/Major years. The result is a huge national debt, which is restricting what we can do with the economy because of the high taxation needed to service the interest payments

    1. Mitchel
      February 22, 2024

      Not only that but the “invisibles” as they used to be called will dry up as the BRICS develop their own trading and financial systems which will encompass most of the world’s population before too long.The UK is following the same trajectory as the clapped out maritime empires of old,like Carthage,the Venetian Republic and Portugal.

    2. Donna
      February 22, 2024

      It’s the Net Zero Lunacy you support which is destroying what remains of our traditional manufacturing base ….. and a great deal else. Our Energy supply is the most expensive in the G20.

      1. Sakara Gold
        February 23, 2024

        @ Donna
        It’s the INSANE search for economically extractable hydrocarbons in the North Sea thats will ruin us. Its the BIG OIL CARTEL quadrupling energy prices that is the cause of the cost of living crisis, added to the absolutely lunatic levels of taxation after 14 years of growing nothing but the national debt

    3. Bill B.
      February 22, 2024

      With Sunak in charge, Hope? No chance.

    4. Mike Wilson
      February 22, 2024

      What we desperately need now is exports, exports and more exports.

      I’d say what we desperately need is to make more of our own goods – i.e. massively reduce our reliance on imports. Then we wouldn’t need to worry about exports so much. Global trade is environment vandalism.

      We have just become the only country in the G20 that cannot now make raw steel from blast furnaces.

      That, Mr. Redwood, is a bloody scandal.

    5. Martin in Bristol
      February 22, 2024

      Hindsight is a wonderful thing SG
      Would you have supported spending all this revenue into a long term wealth fund instead of spending on education welfare housing and the NHS at that time?
      And some of the proceeds were used to reduce our national debt.

      You talk of the reduced size our of exporting industry but land labour and especially energy costs are far higher than any of our major competitors.
      Industries like ceramics brick making glass production steel brass and aluminium making have energy costs higher than their wage bill.
      You often write in with posts that extol the virtues of net zero.
      Maybe a little joined up thinking is required.

    6. Berkshire Alan
      February 23, 2024

      Much of what you say is correct, but ask yourself why has so much manufacturing industry moved out of our Country, and the answer is:
      High energy costs
      High taxation
      High cost of factory space and development of new
      Restrictions on planning
      Higher wages than many of our competitor Countries
      Constant change of political decision making, so sensible long term planning is impossible.
      There are many other reasons.

  10. Roy Grainger
    February 22, 2024

    All good ideas but which party can we vote for to implement them because it surely isn’t the Conservative party who have had plenty of time to do it if they wanted to so we must conclude they don’t.

    Off topic, but I wonder if the LibDems are now quite so keen on switching to PR voting because it’s becoming obvious that they’d end up with near zero representation when their status as a protest vote in FPTP was removed. What we’d have is Reform with 20% of the MPs and a radical Corbyn/Muslim grouping with a similar number and Conservatives and Labour and SNP splitting the rest.

    I suppose now MPs have been threatened the Conservatives may do something about the mobs roaming the streets every weekend ? When it was just the general public they weren’t that bothered.

  11. agricola
    February 22, 2024

    You have a problem SJR, you think and propose like a Conservative that finds his place of work run by consocialists. Added to the problem there is no Margaret Thatcher to share the vision with.

    I am currently working with your vision of the self employed who would benefit from your thoughts on VAT and IS 35. Their ambition and progress in the business world is hampered by regulation and longterm so is that of the country. It is sad because they are all very good at what they do. For them it must be like walking through treacle.

    Last night we were faced with the behaviour of those the nation is dependent upon to enact that vision. The impression was woefull. The SNP who are no better than a fifth column in the UK. They reportedly have set up their own embassy in Brussels. Last night they set a trap for Labour who see themselves as having proprietorial rights to the muslim vote, for them critical in an election year. All that both have proved to me is that neither are fit for office. It was a micro vision of what might be were they in power. They have destroyed the integrity of the Speaker in the process. As far as I could see the government and your party were running around

    Meanwhile the baying mob were outside indulging in their anti semitic flag waving behaviour, with apparent impunity. I went to bed pondering the need for a national emergency enactment, while realising that our government could not deal with an infestation of bed mites. Democracy cannot withstand this level of continual battering without serious government action to protect it. The consequences of doing nothing are too horrible to contemplate.

  12. David Andrews
    February 22, 2024

    The decline of the UK stock market does not help the cause of ownership. From Gordon Brown’s destruction of final salary pension schemes to the destruction of economic activity as a consequence of high taxation, high inflation and hugely expensive energy there has been an inexorable decline as quoted companies have folded, or been taken over by foreign owners or have delisted either into private ownership or migrated abroad to NASDAQ. There is no sign that this trend will halt let alone be reversed whichever party is in power.

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    February 22, 2024

    Self employment is a conundrum. Many “self-employed” are just rebadged employees with the company and individual avoiding tax so there does need to be a mechanism to prevent this – IR35 is probably not it. Anyone working for the same company solely for a year or more should be deemed an employee, anyone serving more than one master on contract who is paid seems to be self employed to me, which makes the rule quite simple.

    What you describe a nationalisation to me is a monopoly and a lack of competition. Competition not privatisation is a better answer although how you introduce competition to HS2 evades me. It probably should not have been authorised by the public sector in the first place. If there was a commercial case for it the private sector would have taken it on and kept control of the costs.

  14. Lynn Atkinson
    February 22, 2024

    We need to ‘ownership’. In my book I have responsibility and authority. In the new Britain, as in old Russia, ‘ownership’ means I have all the responsibility and the State has all the Authority – well to be fair, I can choose what colour cheque to write.

  15. Dave Andrews
    February 22, 2024

    Maybe they should privatise the nuclear deterrent.
    We discover another Trident missile failure. So that’s how long since a test firing was actually successful?
    What has gone wrong? Is this a manufacturing error or poor maintenance? Is our nuclear deterrent past its sell by date?
    If it’s poor maintenance I can understand that. If the HoC model of being scientifically illiterate extends right down through the RN ranks, how can they get anyone who understands complex technical systems, particularly when British students would rather do media studies than science?

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      February 22, 2024

      They should stop all test firings. It’s just advertising our helplessness. But then nobody works for or fights for a country which is no longer theirs. That’s what happened to Rome.

      1. Mitchel
        February 23, 2024

        Indeed,Rome was dependent on mercenary ‘barbarians’ to do the fighting for them;with the centre cash strapped due to massive currency debasement,they were given grants of land in lieu of pay.But many provincial Romans actually joined these barbarians to delegitimize the centre and create new proto-states.

    2. Mickey Taking
      February 22, 2024

      are the Americans still maintaining Trident themselves? Possibly they moved on to the latest and greatist while having us pay handsomely and needing to act only with their permission?
      Deterrent? Pah!

  16. Ian B
    February 22, 2024

    Sir John
    Its simply called accountability and responsibility, if an activity requires external support be it financial or just customers it by default owes and is beholden to their benefactor.
    This Conservative Government gives our money away any concerns as to what its purpose is or what would be the return to the people, they steal the money from – the taxpayer.
    In entities that receive Taxpayer support spend to much time empire building, presumably to shield the guy at the top and very little time on delivery to those that they owe for their existence – the taxpayer

  17. Donna
    February 22, 2024

    All recognisable conservative ideas Sir John …. and Conservative ones as well, until the Blu-Green Socialists took over your Party.

    I presume you are making suggestions for the future direction of the Not-a-Conservative-Party under the new Leadership post the General Election shellacking your Party is going to get, because the current SHOWER are not only incapable of doing any of it, they are also ideologically opposed to it.

    Suggesting “There are plenty of ways for government to help people own something” is anathema to them. They are fully supportive of the WEF’s aim that “We will own nothing” …. and the only happiness they are concerned about is their own.

  18. Everhopeful
    February 22, 2024

    I don’t have any knowledge of parliamentary procedure.
    Why does a “conservative” govt. have a Labour speaker?
    (Presumably the Speaker is supposed to be politically neutral)
    And there was another Labour Speaker too wasn’t there…Brexit trouble.
    Will Starmer have a Tory Speaker?
    Or is that stretching FAIR ( bleat) too far?

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      February 22, 2024

      Bercow was a ‘Tory’ Speaker. It goes in rotation regardless of which party is in Government.
      Some of the best Speakers have been Labour, Betty Boothroyd, Weatherall to name just two.

      Reply There is no formal rotation. Each one is determined by ballot where MPs do not always vote on party lines and there is no whip.

    2. Mickey Taking
      February 22, 2024

      politically neutral – I fell about laughing. Bercow!

    3. Peter Parsons
      February 22, 2024

      The previous Speaker, who held the role from 2009 to 2019 (so for the majority of the last 14 years) was an ex-Conservative (John Bercow).

      1. Martin in Bristol
        February 23, 2024

        Ex Conservative sums him up PP
        He joined the Labour Party who suspended him.

    4. R.Grange
      February 22, 2024

      Parliament has a speaker, EH, the government doesn’t. Sessions in Parliament used to be like a football match in the old days, where the referee was never the main story. Then we had John Bercow as Speaker, and boy did he make sure he was the main story at times! Especially with Brexit.

  19. Ian B
    February 22, 2024

    Sir John
    In a ‘nutshell’ you are suggesting the Conservative Government should step up and do the job we empowered and paid them for, that is manage, take on their responsibility and be accountable for the activities they have engaged and used our money for.
    Which-ever way you look at it there is no one size fits all so why does this Conservative Government want to dictate, control and punish society for not obliging their ego, their self-gratification. Everything possible should be as far away from this day-to-day Centralized Hub of control as possible.
    The closest in Government should get to day-to-day running anything is having issued a contract for the services to a private provider. When they fail or the term of the contract is over, it should go out to tender once more – oops I forgot that was the ethos behind HS2, The Post Office, NHS Trusts and so on. Who is at fault? The Contractor/Operator or those that awarded the contract and then lost interest and forgot they were still the management, then kept pumping someone(taxpayers) elses money in to things. Looks very much like jobs-for-the-boys in the background of all these failures
    Governments can’t expect others to act responsible, accountable when that is the very thing, they themselves refuse. Everything you suggest has the Conservative Government in the background just refusing to ‘manage’

  20. Bryan Harris
    February 22, 2024

    Excellent comments, again -thanks for the detail.

    It strikes me that since Thatcher we have had no PMs with vision, certainly they failed and still fail to understand the lessons that Thatcher exposed.
    Why have we sunk into socialism when Conservatism was so strong at one point – Perhaps through lies and greed from those that wanted to be our masters rather than our servants.

    It’s not that the government are lost or rudderless – They could so easily operate a real conservative agenda if they wanted to, but they have become lost in the globalisation concept. HMG now imagines it works for not for UK people but for a greater cause.
    It is lost in the deceit of ignorance and corruption that goes with accepting myths and false science all too easily.

    Democracy has failed us this time in allowing our law making to be taken over by globalist fanatics – Time to weed them out!

  21. Bloke
    February 22, 2024

    Owners have a vested interest in maintaining the quality of their service, capability and belongings, making them more attractive. What they have becomes more desirable to others who need and want to buy such good services and properties.
    Buyers are happy to pay higher value to obtain them as well as enjoying lower costs from more efficient bespoke services, and wider choice.
    The dynamics of ownership pull in the right directions for mutual advantage. Absence of user choice with the current government way maintains only the foul stench of stagnant incompetence. Change it!

  22. formual57
    February 22, 2024

    A great deal more ownership is going to be needed to convince people, especially the young, that society and the state are worth to their support.

  23. Iain gill
    February 22, 2024

    Where is the pro freedom, pro traditional British values, party to vote for in opposition to the coward pro islamic extremism parties in parliament?

    1. agricola
      February 22, 2024

      It is called Reform.

      1. Mickey Taking
        February 23, 2024

        Lets hope you are proved correct.

    2. Everhopeful
      February 22, 2024

      All strangled at birth by “democracy”.
      We are left with no protection whatsoever.

      1. Everhopeful
        February 22, 2024

        And yet, even now, if I were to mention any of the voices that warned and warned about our present situation I would be met with derision and self satisfied scorn.
        And get deleted I daresay.

  24. Berkshire Alan
    February 22, 2024

    So much in your post is correct John, but the ideas you highlight stopped just before 1997, since that date both Labour and the Conservatives, with a little LibDem support for a few years, have trashed the idea of being an independent worker, or owning shares, or having their own pensions, with a huge range of taxes, by increasing old, and inventing new ways to gain more income for the State, then we have control with new regulations over who can be self employed, how many hours people can work, over the top health a safety, Employment laws and rights, limits on pension savings, and finally theft on death if you have managed to accumulate anything worth while, with a life time of work.
    No wonder some people just suck at the teat of Government benefits and cannot be bothered with the complications of work,.
    No wonder fewer people do not take a risk any more investing in themselves anymore, as they take all the risk, whilst the Government increases their overheads and then takes much of the profit !
    Governments eventually reap what they sow, sadly it just takes a long time to become apparent.
    I see from last nights reported fiasco Parliament cannot now even hold a sensible debate !

  25. ChrisS
    February 22, 2024

    The Tory Party has had over a decade to put these ideas into place. Why hasnt it? Also what happened to our Industrial Strategy Panel of business leaders? Why has it been disbanded?

    1. iain gill
      February 22, 2024

      a panel that in Cameron’s time as PM included senior leaders of the Indian outsourcing movement, highly motivated to bring more Indian nationals into the UK and displace Brits from the workforce. far from being the patriotic British people such advice should be coming from.

  26. Ian B
    February 22, 2024

    What some term the Public Sector can quite easily become private sector contractors. The problem is that most Governments don’t understand the basics of business, and they don’t understand how competition should drive the market. The override has to always be ‘competition’
    Sir John, I know you don’t see it from my point of view, but were there are infrastructures that do not naturally facilitate competition, rail, roads, power delivery and water. The State, the People should retain the structural ownership – that is a passive action. Then all the day-to-day running, building, evolving, should be by fixed term competitive tender contracts with the private sector. The obvious one, we have failing water companies but the companies have got to own all the infrastructure hardware (facilities, land etc.), when they fail in delivery of services the consumer can’t go to another supplier, their hands are tied. The Government is also left impotent unless it uses taxpayer money to build duplicate infrastructure. Had the Water delivery infrastructure remained owned by the State/The People, a passive asset, and the running contracted to the private sector all failures to deliver would have permitted a change in those running them. It would have remained a competitive market place not a private monopoly.
    As we stand today the taxpayer is to ‘give’ the water companies £1.6billion of the taxpayers hard-earned money, but never get to own anything and have no guarantees, this extra money is for the companies doing what was asked of them in the first place. That’s on top of the usual inflated yearly water bills.
    This scenario is the same for all other entities that get to own what are monopoly infrastructure facilities. They have no competition therefor no reason to perform as they can always, and they do, ‘blackmail’ the taxpayer though the Government of the day just to get more money. That is not a competitive market, that is not ensuring accountability or responsibility – it is just throwing the taxpayers money around. A Government, this Conservative Government out of control.

    Repky There are ways to introduce proper competition into energy, water and trains which I support. Surrogate systems within the public sector as railways show do not work. Taxpayers end up with the bills and poor performance.

    1. Ian B
      February 23, 2024

      @Reply – I would like to be able to understand that, if an entity/company or whatever is the sole owner of the fabric, the infrastructure of a service, an effective monopoly how does anyone get to compete on an equal footing?

  27. Bert+Young
    February 22, 2024

    Enterprise should always be encouraged . however ,in today’s enviroment there is little to commend it . Motivation is lacking and the taxation system definitely against it . Huge change is required in the direction and management of the economy ; Sunak and Hunt have lost the plot and must go . There is no-one in the Conservative Front Bench I would trust to take over ; is it time to abolish the regional governments and establish a ” no Party Government ” ?.

  28. Mike Wilson
    February 22, 2024

    A number of you are certain that ‘Mr. Speaker’ (what a load of archaic nonsense) did something to help the Labour Party out and that this is of some significance. I feel sure that I am one of the 97% of people in this country who have no idea, or interest in, what happened in the silly Parliament yesterday.

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 23, 2024

      Well possibly 97 % (a silly high estimate) are aware of a shouting, foot stamping, its not fair! walkout among children in a posh playground.

  29. Keith from Leeds
    February 22, 2024

    Hello Sir John,
    An excellent article, and all it requires is a Conservative Government to implement the proposals.
    But that applies to almost all of your articles!
    How about starting a new party called New Conservatives and only allowing proper Conservative MPs or prospective MPs to join? How about a serious discussion with Reform? If there were thirty or forty real Conservative MPs who joined and it had some heavyweight MPs like yourself, It could do what happened in Canada in the early 1990s, when the governing party was reduced to about 3 seats.
    Think about it seriously, Sir John, because you will never win a GE with Sunak, Hunt and Cameron, and if Labour get in the UK will be destroyed within a few years. Your Country needs YOU!

  30. agricola
    February 22, 2024

    I have always found SLH to be a very even handed Speaker. Judged on what I have seen. So I would say to those 58 instant letter writers, be very careful what you wish for. Those originating from the SNP arise because they are miffed at losing a vote on their own motion. What SLH did created a precident outside the rules of proceedure, however I do not see it as deliberately partisan. It may have been bad judgement, but based on his record I see it done with the best of intentions. There was a touch of niavity about it. Those who caste stones should do so from wthin their own glasshouses with predictable results.

    For sure Labour management did not wish to have a vote on the SNP ammendment. It would have crucially divided them in Parliament and probably have caused many embarrasing resignations. It could also have caused their assumed muslim constituency to question their voting intentions. Should they vote Labour or for a sectarian candidate based on religion and skin colour. A situation not new in the UK, but one highly undesirable.

    I cannot see where the conservative party in Parliament found themselves in last nights situation. Beyond them missing out on an opportunity for all to see what a partisan ragbag Labour are, when judging the merits of a foreign war about five hours flying time distant.

    MPs have been , on safety grounds, disuaded from office and murdered in the cause of muslim extremism. It manifests itself weekly in London in the form of so called protest marches spewing out anti semetic hate chants. It is long overdue that they be told that UK streets are not the place to enact foreign conflict, and be banned from doing so. It appears to me that while government presides over tbe systematic destruction of British infrastructure and culture, they act as fascilitator for foreign drama production on a weekly basis. It earns no browny points from a bemused electorate.

  31. Ed
    February 22, 2024

    The Gaza debate was proof, if proof were needed, that our representatives are virtue signalling troughing appeasers that don’t give a rats a**e about the people of this country.

  32. glen cullen
    February 22, 2024

    I see that our esteemed ministers and senior civil servants are on holiday in brazil attending the G20 ….has anything ever been achieved by attending these global net-working jollies

  33. wab
    February 22, 2024

    The private sector is just as bad as the public sector. Try and contact any private company about any problem these days. It’s called ripoff Britain for a reason.

    “We made it easier … to set up a business”. Which has led to rampant crime against innocent householders when fraudsters use a random address as their alleged company address. The government seems to have no interest in solving this problem but instead lets this crime flourish.

    “The railways are largely now nationalised. They have all the symptoms of nationalisation. Poor service, too many strikes, bad labour relations, huge losses to be paid by taxpayers are constant.” And things were so wonderful when they were all privatised. The reason they were nationalised again was because the private sector was so hopeless at running the railways. Electricity, gas and water are all natural monopolies, and the railway is near enough the same, but Tory dogma insisted on pretending that there was sensible competition to be had. Loads of money wasted on lawyers and spivs.

    “The government should scrap its changes to IR 35 which make it more difficult for self employed to win company business”. You mean that self employed people should be able to avoid paying NI, while normally employed people continue to have to pay it. Well, NI should be removed and replaced with additional income tax, but that is a separate issue.

    “There are plenty of ways for government to help people own something.” The main issue for anyone under 40 is the cost of a house. The Tory government has tried various idiotic ideas over the years (e.g. reducing stamp duty, which just pushes house prices up in compensation, which ends up just adding vast profits to the developers, who just happen to be major Tory party donors). One problem is that most Tory voters in the Home Counties don’t want any additional housing anywhere near where they themselves live, which is understandable if you look at the housing that currently gets built, which is usually of poor quality and crazy expensive and with no thought about the services required by the residents.

  34. a-tracy
    February 22, 2024

    Is self-employment a good idea? The Resolution Foundation says freeland life appears precarious, their implication was earnings amongst the self-employed had dropped 20% from 2006 to 2014 whereas employee earnings had fallen by only 6% so those working for themselves earned around 40% less than their counterparts. 70% don’t have a pension n place, 20% faced difficulties getting mortgages and most had no sick cover. Yet most said they’d rather stay self employed.

    I read an article in the RSA magazine a few years back saying many self-employed contractors cost the exchequer too much money in ‘unpaid tax receipts’ UCATT said in construction alone it amounted to £2bn a year”, ‘bogus self-employed’ weren’t contributing enough to their pensions (as no employer contribution in the form of employers NI was made on their behalf), and the insecurity of those positions often caused serious financial troubles and big tax bills for errors.

    “They forgo all the benefits typical employees take for granted, including redundancy pay, holiday pay, sick pay and maternity/paternity pay – to name but a few.”

    Just a couple of negatives they wrote:
    1 “By their very nature, self-employed workers have no employer to fall back on during times of need nor to help them progress within work.”
    2 “The concern is that bogus self-employment is only likely to become more commonplace….How many people are falsely self-employed? From teachers to hairdressers, delivery drivers working for one provider to airline pilots! Cleaners to nursery nurses.

  35. a-tracy
    February 22, 2024

    The coalition government set up StartUp loan schemes? Were they successful?

    How does the welfare system become fairer for people who don’t get their 13.8% contribution to the social state system?

    Labour think this and zero hours work is on par. Countries with high self-employment rates tend to be poorer.

    Links to a couple of articles.

    “Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is also concerned about the growing damage to the public finances because self-employment is taxed at a lower rate than traditional employment.”

  36. David Andrews
    February 22, 2024

    The row between Henry Staunton (the recently sacked Post Office Chairman) and Kemi Badenoch (Secretary of State for Business and Trade) about Horizon compensation payments has also revealed the issues he raised about the problems faced by the Post Office and possible solutions. Sarah Munby, (the then Permanent Secretary in BEIS) has released a letter and Annex about their conversation on 5 January 2023. The problem faced when running a nationalised body are clearly revealed in the extracts noted below from Annex A of her letter.

    ” Annex A Notes on the conversation between Henry Staunton and Sarah Munby Produced by Sarah Munby on 21 February 2024 ……Mr Staunton began (when asked for his impressions of POL) by raising his significant concerns about the Post Office as a business. He was concerned that the growing size of the organisation’s operating deficit meant that really substantial change was required in order to reach a commercially sustainable position. He told me he envisaged some combination of large-scale branch closures, a significant increase in the taxpayer subsidy to the Post Office’s operations, and/or some other form of major transformational change. He outlined a series of specific financial pressures (listed in some detail in his own readout) including deteriorating performance in the parcels business, new regulations, the additional costs of POL responding to the Inquiry, and the rising costs of the Horizon IT replacement programme. ….. I agreed with this picture of challenge but I wanted to help Mr Staunton understand the new context in which he was operating and which he acknowledged he was then unfamiliar with: the Post Office is not a purely commercial enterprise like those he was used to working with and he needed to work within a government context, where political and electoral pressures around benefit to citizens mattered as much as, or more than, the pure bottom line. I made the point that the options he was presenting – branch closures or large hikes in taxpayer subsidies – were likely to be politically very difficult. Branch closures were completely against Ministerial steers.”

    Given the constraints she identifies, there is no way the Post Office or any other nationalised body is likely to be anything other than a bottomless pit for taxpayers money. Everything that can be privatised should be privatised. If the will existed, and it doesn`t, it would take at least ten years to untangle the current mess not to mention a boatload of cash and competent people willing to sacrifice their careers to make the changes needed.

  37. Everhopeful
    February 22, 2024

    Projecting extremist political slogans onto parliament?
    Saturated with infiltration.
    Minority facilitated to take power.
    Are we in civil war territory?

    1. glen cullen
      February 23, 2024

      It would appear so ….but who’d fight for the english

  38. forthurst
    February 22, 2024

    The biggest failure is in the NHS but no mention of the fact that allowing incompetent Arts graduates to run an organisation whose delivery can only be made by highly trained scientists is such a bad idea that our NHS is unique in being so run. It is also the worst in Europe despite costing the same percentage of GDP as German healthcare which is some of the best. It is the greatest conceit of scientifically illiterate people to presume to order about people who in the main are their intellectual superiors as can be established by the entry grades of medical schools over Arts faculties.

  39. Mickey Taking
    February 23, 2024

    Civil servants have been slammed as an “absolute joke” after the Public and Commercial Services demanded a four-day working week. The union has also called for its workers to receive 35 days of holiday and still be on the same wage.
    According to The Telegraph, the PCS would like to see the four-day working week implemented across the Civil Service. The move sparked outrage from Conservative MPs with the MP from Buckingham claiming that the move is an “absolute joke.”

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