Skip to main content

Winning ways

"That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves." Thomas Jefferson

This may not be a bad watchword for the modern British Liberal Democrats- for certainly it would be good to see a clearer intellectual discipline behind their policies. In fact it is now becoming critical. The Liberal tide in British politics seems to be rising- with the prospect of good local election results this year and very good results for the Holyrood elections in 2007. If the party is to gain momentum, then the intellectually lazy aspects of taxation policy have got to be eliminated. It still erks me that too many Liberal Democrats confuse the nominal rate of tax- say 40% with the actual tax yield. The work of Arthur Laffer demonstrated as early as 1974, that there is a peak nominal rate of tax, which if nominal rates are raised further will actually reduce the total tax yield. A 50% top marginal rate of tax will not work- even aside from the morally dubious right of the state to take so much a proportion of anyone's income.

Soaking the rich does not work as either a moral or an economic proposition. I would far rather have a simple tax code- if not a flat tax, then certainly not more than two marginal rates of tax. I would prefer to see the poor kept below the tax threshold, than to force them to claim benefits. The fiscal drag of Gordon Brown's "robbing Peter to pay Paul" policies is now unsustainable. Clarity and simplicity should be our watchwords- no grandiose and unworkable micro management and over regulation.

We need to apply a simple discipline in every policy discussion: how are the rights of the citizen and the consumer protected and advanced?

We need to do it now- the time may not be far away when we are ensnared in government, with little time to think about basic principles in the face of the realities of the civil service and the state. Make no bones about it: the Liberal Democrats really could be in power within a fairly short time. We owe it to ourselves and our country to make sure that we are ready for the responsibility.


Popular posts from this blog

Post Truth and Justice

The past decade has seen the rise of so-called "post truth" politics.  Instead of mere misrepresentation of facts to serve an argument, political figures began to put forward arguments which denied easily provable facts, and then blustered and browbeat those who pointed out the lie.  The political class was able to get away with "post truth" positions because the infrastructure that reported their activity has been suborned directly into the process. In short, the media abandoned long-cherished traditions of objectivity and began a slow slide into undeclared bias and partisanship.  The "fourth estate" was always a key piece of how democratic societies worked, since the press, and later the broadcast media could shape opinion by the way they reported on the political process. As a result there has never been a golden age of objective media, but nevertheless individual reporters acquired better or worse reputations for the quality of their reporting and

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo

We need to talk about UK corruption

After a long hiatus, mostly to do with indolence and partly to do with the general election campaign, I feel compelled to take up the metaphorical pen and make a few comments on where I see the situation of the UK in the aftermath of the "Brexit election". OK, so we lost.  We can blame many reasons, though fundamentally the Conservatives refused to make the mistakes of 2017 and Labour and especially the Liberal Democrats made every mistake that could be made.  Indeed the biggest mistake of all was allowing Johnson to hold the election at all, when another six months would probably have eaten the Conservative Party alive.  It was Jo Swinson's first, but perhaps most critical, mistake to make, and from it came all the others.  The flow of defectors and money persuaded the Liberal Democrat bunker that an election could only be better for the Lib Dems, and as far as votes were concerned, the party did indeed increase its vote by 1.3 million.   BUT, and it really is the bi