Classical Liberal
Primacy of Individual Freedom

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Cameron's Brussels Veto exposes UKIP's weakness

The unexpected veto by Cameron puts UKIP in an unenviable position, with much of their support coming from members who are 'natural' conservative voters, who support UKIP out of frustration with Tory acquiescence to the EU. The change in the Tories position as they embark upon lessening the UK's ties with the EU leave UKIP with nothing to distinguish them meaningfully from the Tories.

These UKIP 'frustrated' 'conservative' supporters know Labour's response indicates they would not have vetoed the attempt by the EU to put through this new treaty.  The Libdems well known strong support for further integration of the UK into the EU means both they and Labour are going to be in an increasingly weak position as the UK moves further from the mainstream in Europe and towards the inevitability of a referendum on the EU.

The expectation by the leadership of  UKIP that they just had to keep beating the anti EU drum, without offering anything different to the three main parties, is now exposed as a spectacular miscalculation and  highlights the lack of  radical policies and vision to fix British politics by the UKIP leadership. It is not enough in British politics to be a one trick pony, our electorate are far too smart to fall for it.

The UK electorate are in the main EU sceptics, but not to the degree of the UKIP membership, and when the inevitable election comes about,quite possibly now prior to 2015 I believe the Tories will have enacted legislation to enable a referendum on the EU and so secure themselves a strong win at the ballot box.

This will signal the demise of UKIP as they have nothing left in their locker to offer, what an opportunity missed, they could have been the party to force to the front of the political agenda the fixing of British politics by offering radical policies:
1/ Reducing the number of MP's to 300
2/Open primaries
3/ Privatising state assets to reduce debt.


It's not to late for UKIP to offer a radical agenda, there could be 2 + years to go before an election, forcing the real possibility of fixing our politics and the prize of replacing the Libdems as the third party.
This window of opportunity in British politics to fix our corrupt corporate party politics will not come again for many years and surely offers UKIP, if they have the courage, the possibility of up to 10 seats at the next election as the Libdems support crashes and the Tories are elected with a respectable majority

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Our Corrupt Party Political system corrupts us all

The nonsense of our adversarial politics,trapping us all in the politics of our parents or our youth, encouraging the tribalism and class system that we still suffer from in this country,has left us with a truly corrupt political system that is destroying our country both economically and socially.

Many voters feel the need to protect and defend 'their'party through thick and thin, despite the fact in many instances they may really have a different view on some of the issues their party may be promoting. A prime example of this was when Maggie Thatcher allowed council house tenants to buy their council houses at a discount. A measure strongly supported by council house tenants despite the fact the large majority would have called themselves labour supporters.

Politics has moved on from the 'left' and 'right' politics of the last century, despite the main political parties encouraging their so called 'philosophy', in a vain attempt to keep their crony party political system on the road. The party political system is corrupting our politics and cohesion as a people with its corporate and union lobbying; the demands for taxpayer funding to finance political parties and the buying of votes and favours by courting large corporations and unions et al is there to perpetuate a rotten system.

The average voter in this country has a lot more in common than the party system would have us believe, we have an inordinately smart electorate in this country who agree on sound common sense policies. This is constantly attacked and warped by the political parties in an attempt to justify their existence for their own self serving ends.

We need to break free from this corrupt party political system, the voter should have far more power over the decisions and actions of government, the disappointment is that so few MP's are willing to pursue this end for their constituents, perhaps this is an indication of the quality of MP the current system has thrown up.

The way to break free is not to bring in legislation for party funding, to concern ourselves on who and how much is being given to the political parties, to concern ourselves with lobbying, it is to shift the power from the 'Parties' to the MP through making them accountable to the voter. This will bring to an end most of this corrupt nonsense.

We need open primaries and we need a lot less MP's, only when we are willing to tackle the desperately sick politics we have in this country will we be able to tackle the huge demands that are facing us both socially, politically and economically.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Corporate Capitalism at it's most corrupt

The governments housebuilding initiative announced on November 20,2011 can only be seen as deeply flawed in every way, economically, democratically and logically.

This government is in cahoots with the building industry, it is forcing the taxpayer to underwrite big corporations, (at the corporations behest through their agent the CBI ), by guaranteeing losses on mortgages of individuals on all new builds. This new measure will not apply to an older house you may well prefer to a new build, so making it easier for the housebuilder to maximise his margin.

This is blatant corruption at it's very worst, how many of these companies are paying lobbyists and making  contributions to the conservative party?

Shapps, the Housing Minister, as good as admitted on BBC Newsnight that house prices are too high, why then would you encourage people to take out 95% mortgages when you consider the current prices do not represent good value?

The answer to this question is the Government is still protecting the Banking and Property industries with our money. QE has enabled interest rates to be kept at 0.5%, so keeping property prices from dropping, and enabling Banks and property companies to avoid making massive write downs on their balance sheets.

This is corporate/crony capitalism at its very worst and Cameron & Clegg and their respective parties should be deeply ashamed, it is not the size of the risk they are taking with our money, but the complete lack of principle and willingness to join in such blatant corrupt practises with the corporate World.

It is not surprising that we have increasing numbers of demonstrations from those who do not understand the difference between capitalism and this disgraceful corporate capitalism of which all 3 parties are guilty.

It is time to call a halt to this usurping of our democracy and the favouring of certain sections of our society for political and financial gain, we voted for democracy not daylight robbery.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The UK Crisis in our Politics & the Economy. 


The Political Crisis 

The political crisis in the UK is self evident, voter turn out reduces at each election,due to the lack of  respect for our politicians. All 3 parties are seen as supporting vested interests & corporatism  which the average voter views with contempt.
The membership levels of political parties continues to fall to pitiful levels because of the perception there is little difference between the parties and they are seen as self serving at best.
Until we resolve our political problems we are going to continue with the same political establishment pursuing the same unsuccessful policies whichever party we have in power.

Radical changes are needed to our political structures to bring our politics into the 21st Century allowing them to be truly representative of the voters. I would propose some changes that could go some way to bringing this about
1/ Open primaries in every constituency for all candidates, elected MP's must be able to be called to account by their constituents.
2/ The current number of MP's is far too high in this age of fast communications and we should look at the possibility of the number of MP's being reduced to around 300.
3/ Once Open primaries and a reduction in the number of MP's is agreed  the system must ensure the MP has independence from the political parties and the MP can be called to account by their constituents.

The Economic Crisis

We have a population of 60 million rising to around 70 million over the next 30 to 50 years. We must re-establish our manufacturing base, creating a tax system that allows vital and competitive industries to establish and expand in the UK. I would propose some basic economic changes that could help to bring this about.

1/ All state assets to be sold with politicians ensuring the correct legal framework for privatisation of institutions such as the NHS and the BBC.
2/ International aid should be restricted to disasters only, all other aid being voluntary only.
3/  We should lift all agricultural tariffs on 3rd World countries
4/ Grants & aid to industry,charities, arts, quango's et al should cease. This action would take out all those vested interests who seek favour from our politicians and vice versa at the expense of the voter. This should  bring an end to corporatism and other vested interests.
5/ The welfare state & benefits system should be largely dismantled with a safety net for those who are not able to help themselves.
6/ Fuel duty and road tax should be combined.
7/Introduce a Flat tax with the aim of taking working people earning less than £15,000 p.a. out of tax completely. This would enable a single tax rate for all other taxpayers so simplifying the system and encouraging saving and personal accountability. It would eliminate the need for the huge industry in the legal and accountancy professions trying to minimise tax for corporations and individuals.
8/ The Flat tax rate should aim initially to be around the 20% to 25% level
9/ Reduce corporation tax to levels that will attract Companies to our shores as they have done in Ireland


The UK & the EU


The UK membership of the EU is central to this debate, however it is difficult taking a  view on our relationship with the EU over the next 10 years, with the current Eurozone crisis likely to end up with defaults and the end of the Eurozone as we know it.
Once the Eurozone is either drastically changed or failed we will have a different dynamic in the EU, the ambition for political and fiscal convergence may well be replaced by Sovereign states working together in an EU which is largely a trading bloc with common standards
However the voter cannot be expected to wait any longer for the promise of a Referendum on the EU by the 3 main parties and this should proceed forthwith.

A political party who adopted these policies would I believe be seen by the electorate as genuinely wanting to fix the system and would attract strong support particularly as we have such a vacuum in our current politics

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Petition for an EU Referendum ( in or out)


The Eurosceptic MP’s within the Tory party have been working very hard for many years, supported by organisations such as the Adam Smith Institute, Better off Out et al, to reverse the control of the EU over this country. We even have a political party,UKIP, who have been successful in having MEP’s for the European Parliament and with Nigel Farage as their spokesman have probably done more than any other group for the cause.

We have to be honest and accept that to date we are losing the fight, our new government has now belatedly declared that they wish to stay in the EU. Many of us who voted Tory believed they would give us a referendum, or at least reverse some of the control that is exerted by Brussels. The reality is ‘No’ to a referendum and Brussels continuing to increase it’s control over our country.

The danger facing the UK is that if we go into the next election without a referendum on the EU we will find ourselves facing a complete loss of sovereignty and with no way back. The electorate will tire of eurosceptic’s who talk the talk but achieve nothing and will simply accept that the UK is now part of the EU.

We now have a once only opportunity before the next election, which must not be squandered, to petition parliament for a Referendum on the EU (in or out).

We need leadership from one organisation/political party to take the lead and coordinate all the organisations, pressure groups et al so that a ‘coalition’ can be formed to campaign for a Referendum with a target of a minimum of 2 million votes in support. I would suggest / propose that organisation should be UKIP.

The support of 2 million would give huge momentum to the campaign, would force the 3 political parties to take us very seriously, and would increase the chances of a bill for a referendum being successful.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

‘Let the punishment fit the crime’

The ‘Charlie Gilmour’ case last week highlighted the paucity of imagination and thinking in our penal system,  Judge Nicholas Price QC accepted that Charlie’s antics at the Cenotaph on Whitehall did not form part of the violent disorder, but accused him of disrespect to the war dead, and then proceeded to jail him for 16 months. I use Charlie’s case to illustrate the plight of many offenders and how we are failing them and society.

This is clearly a young man who is intelligent, in his second year at Cambridge University, who used drugs on the day of the offences and was clearly under their influence. Nothing unusual so far, I suspect many of us in our 20’s under the influence have caused some mayhem/vandalism but been lucky to get away with it. Charlie may also have got away with it had he not swung on the Cenotaph Union flag. A disgraceful and disrespectful act but the meaning of which was probably lost on Charlie at the time, and certainly not an offence that should end his university education and possibly effect his whole life.

This sentence by Judge Price was out of all proportion to the crime, but worse, it does nothing to reform young Charlie, remember he committed no act of violence on an individual, and it is highly likely the sentence imposed will do more harm than good to Charlie and society in the future.

We need imagination, commonsense, vision and a desire to rehabilitate in our penal system, this is sadly lacking from our political classes. I am no expert on the penal system but it seems to me we should be looking for penalties for many offences such as Charlie’s that will make them see the error of their ways. They should make a contribution to society over a period where the offender will be punished and society can expect a large drop in re-offending.

I will not list here a range of punishments which might replace a jail sentence, but these punishments should include the convicted offender working in and for our society on the basis of a 40 hour week, which would mean 1800 hours for a years penalty. The benefit to the offender and society being they could continue the day job, so funding themselves, and a good chance  of being reformed and benefiting society at the same time. If they are unemployed or in education then any benefits or grants they receive would be subject to the penalty being carried out.

We have excellent administrative systems and outsourcing companies to administer such a penal scheme and it would have the benefit of reforming many more convicted offenders and reducing the number of people in our prisons so offsetting the costs involved.

Young Charlie and many others I am sure would have the opportunity of coming out a better and reformed person, which is more than we can expect if they enter our corrupt prison system.

Richard Calhoun
twitter: @richardcalhoun
url: http://richardcalhoun.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 2 June 2011

BBC Question Time - Sale & Leaseback vs PFI's

Alan Johnson's protestation that Southern Cross' action in selling their homes and leasing them back should never have been allowed to happen is pretty rich coming from him.

His government spent £billions on pfi's ( private finance initiatives) which simply involves the NHS putting out to tender the building of a new hospital. Included in the contract (pfi) is a supply agreement for the successful contractor to equip and provide the services for that hospital for the next 30 years.

This has proved to be a disastrous policy and many hospitals who have been put down this route by the Labour government are now finding their finances aren't viable, the  payments for the buildings and services provided by the successful contractor are at rates which were never going to be affordable.

No doubt this Labour shambles will have to be sorted out once again by somebody else, when will this country learn that Labour have no idea how to run a business never mind a country.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The housing market 'con'

We are just not being given balanced views, and R4 was no exception this morning when they had the piece on Mortgages and the housing market.

We all know the political establishment, yes all the major parties, are conniving and scheming with their friends the bankers!

They know that by manipulating interest rates they are protecting their own political skins and enabling the bankers to make large profits and hide their bad loans to the housing market from 2000 to 2008.

Meanwhile they are denying young people and others wishing to get onto the housing market any opportunity to do so.

The housing market is after 3 years of manipulation virtually stagnant and prices remain completely out of kilter with the real market, they would probably drop as much as 30% to 40% if  interest rates were not being controlled by our political masters.

In other words the politicians are not serving the interests of the electorate but protecting their own skins, the bankers and yes of course those that borrowed to much and would not be able to afford real interest rates.

We are crazy to put up with this nonsense when they are imposing 'austerity'whilst our borrowing continues to increase, we need to stop these self serving politicians manipulating our interest rates and our lives!

Monday, 30 May 2011

An EU Referendum: Time to throw down the gauntlet !




The Eurosceptic MP’s within the Tory party have been working very hard for many years, supported by organisations such as the Adam Smith Institute, Better off Out et al, to reverse the control of the EU over this country.

We have to be honest and accept that to date we are losing the fight, our new government has now belatedly declared that they wish to stay in the EU. Many of us who voted Tory believed they would give us a referendum, or at least reverse some of the control that is exerted by Brussels. The reality is ‘No’ to a referendum and Brussels continuing to increase it’s control over our country.

The danger facing the UK is that if we go into the next election without a referendum on the EU we will find ourselves facing a complete loss of sovereignty and with no way back. The electorate will tire of eurosceptic’s who talk the talk but achieve nothing and will simply accept that the UK is now part of the EU.

The inevitable result of this scenario taking place is the UK becoming several federal regions within the EU, a total loss of our  sovereignty and our Parliament residing in Brussels and Berlin.

It is now time for the Tory Eurosceptics in the Commons, the Lords and MEP’s to take action by declaring we must have a referendum before the next election and unless the government agree to this demand they will resign the Tory whip.

This would be a hugely powerful weapon, I do not believe the government could ignore it, and if they did they would lose any opportunity of winning a majority at the next election.

There are possibly 20/30 MP’s who could take this step, this is a considerable number and would make them a very strong group within parliament. They would have the opportunity to work with other Eurosceptic organisations/ pressure groups building a powerful case to present to the Country at the next election.

We are in the ‘last chance saloon’, the third party (Libdems) are on the ropes, it is time for the Tory Eurosceptic MP’s, MEP’s and Lords to step forward and put ‘Country before Party’ and so rescue us from the nightmare that is the EU.



twitter:@richardcalhoun

Mid East & N.Africa

The UK has no business in trying to determine events in N.Africa, our influence and our ability to operate on a military basis are severely hampered by our financial position.

We are asking the electorate to take sacrifices on their standard of living but at the same time we are operating as if we were a wealthy country by indulging ourselves in other Countries affairs, ie. Libya.

We must pull back our military operations from Afghanistan and Libya and use them only in our own national interest, ie defence of the realm.

We must desist from international aid, with the exception of 'disaster aid', and put the savings into paying down our debt whilst we expect our citizens to make financial sacrifices.

We must support action in the UN to resolve conflicts but it must be clear that we are no longer able to contribute militarily, we can only support the UN resolutions that we believe will help resolve conflicts but not offer our military to carry out any military action .