Skip to main content

Abroad thoughts from home

A sunny Aberdeenshire- a sight guaranteed to gladden almost any heart. A pleasure to be amongst "ma ain folk"- and my cousin is now well and truly married. The weather was so good, that we were able to hold the ceremony outside- and it almost felt like Benachie was a guest at the wedding.

Arriving at Dyce, the previous day, I found Donald Trump's rather knackered looking 727 business jet parked across the runway- a big deal, apparently, but given his track record of considerable failure, as well as his talent for vulgarity, I am somewhat cautious as to the real chances of his bloated golf course project for Balmedie. Since he has not even submitted even an outline for planning permission, and his project may conflict with the planned off-shore wind farm in the same area, there may be trouble ahead Still, at least it is ambitious, and I do detect a spring in the step of many people in the North East.

In the clear, bright light that seems unique to Aberdeenshire, it seems appropriate to question many things. The implosion (however temporary) of the Labour government has not been matched with a corresponding advance for the Conservatives. I think that people are rather sceptical about what they get if they simply swap Red for Blue. The similarities between the fag end of John Major and the current position of Tony Blair may be only superficial, but they are sufficient for the voters to get pretty bored with both sides. So, I think the Liberal Democrat contention that changing the government is not enough, we need to change the system of government is finding some resonance.

Mind you, after I raised the issue of the Laffer curve in a letter to the Liberal Democrat News, I am a bit irritated by the response. If tax yield falls after an increase in marginal rate of tax as Laffer predicts, it can hardly be said that increasing marginal rates will help promote government expenditure programmes. From my work in Central and Eastern Europe, I can see quite clearly the validity of Arthur Laffer's work, and I am slightly resentful of comments that suggest that since I support cuts in the marginal rates of income tax, that therefore I am undercutting the alleviation of child poverty. NO! If there is less money in the kitty, how can it be said that this is a good thing? Furthermore, I am morally opposed to taxes of more than half of anyone's income and oppose a government budget of greater than 50% of GDP. Liberalism sets limits to the state, and in my opinion these are the absolute maximum limits that the state should be permitted in the economy. This does not make me a right wing nutter- it just means that I can count and understand a basic level of economics.

I am preparing to go to Japan- and looking forward to exploring such rich sites as Kyoto, Nara and Nikko- anyone out there with any better recommendations?


Tristan said…
I find some of the thinking on taxation somewhat disturbing too.
I think Laffer was correct (to me it makes total sense), especially when you take into account the increased incentives for the rich to avoid tax (and indeed, be given loopholes by the government).

Another factor of high income taxes is it discourages investment. Who's going to take the risk of investment if half or more of the returns are taken by the state? Its better just to keep your current wealth safe.

I get the sense, there's some work to be done in removing the collectivist/socialist assumptions by many in the party, plus the fact that talking about lower taxes sounds too Tory...

There is also a case for investigating whether what the state does now is best done by the state, but to suggest some things is heresy...

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

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

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