Nic Elliott

Why is it now rare for a Tory to advocate low taxes?

I suppose I’d just got used to it.

Hearing big state, high-tax talk from Conservatives.

Theresa May with her interventionist, remainer views has always surrounded herself with advisers that think the same as her – see Olly Robbins, who has masterminded the circumvention of the Department for Exiting the EU, or basically anything written by Nick Timothy, her former co-Chief of Staff.

In fact, it was the Conservative manifesto itself for the 2017 snap election, written by Timothy, that is the best evidence to date that it’s no longer a mainstream Conservative view to believe in smaller government and lower taxes.

It was all bit Ed Miliband-lite.  What politicians and pundits like to call the centre-ground of British politics is now a very much lefty position.

Of course, nowadays, if you step one pace to the right you are deemed a fascist, whereas there are a seemingly infinite number of steps further and further left, never getting to the police state that the rest of us know lies in that direction too.

This was put brilliantly in this article by Douglas Murray in the Spectator.

Left and Right don’t really cut it any more – and I’m sure I can be accused of saying that because I don’t exist on the left of this crazy spectrum.  I believe, though that the new order is one of freedom versus totalitarianism.

And on the side of freedom are those of us who believe that people should be as free as they can possibly be to not have government run their lives for them.  As free as possible to spend their own money as they see fit.

What the politics of 2018 has lost (and it happened long before 2018), is a sense that small state, low tax economies work.  And not only work, but excel like no others.

Is it up to people like me with no following, no journalistic or political ambitions, to point out the success stories of Hong Kong under John Cowperthwaite or Germany under Ludwig Erhard?

There aren’t enough of us out there showing that when you lower tax and lower regulation and state intervention, that living standards improve, economies grow, and people get happier as a result.

So it was a surprise to me this morning to read that none other than Gavin Williamson, our young, hapless Defence Secretary, had in cabinet this week advocated lowering taxes in order to increase government revenue.

I wonder how well that went down.  Cabinet room lead balloon is what I’m thinking.

But it shouldn’t have been an unpopular idea.  It should be Conservative party policy.

And it should always be Conservative party policy.  It shouldn’t be floated occasionally by one of the cabinet, it should be a de-facto view.

Liz Truss has been making the right noises recently, and there is enough press chatter about Sajid Javid to indicate that he also could be on the right side of this.

But there aren’t enough of them.  Too many of the Conservative party are statists, just like on the left.

Without a Thatcher figure to slam Hayek’s Road to Serfdom on the table and say “This is what we believe in”, and actually sell the policies of low tax, low regulation, small state conservatism, I fear it will become more an more a minority view – deemed crack-pot even.

We have facts and evidence on our side – why is this Conservative government not using them?


A competitive edge over the EU? That’s the point Mr Barnier

Who knows where we will end up in the Brexit negotiation.

There are signs that finally even Theresa May’s soft Brexit position is such that she knows she can’t go any further based on the EU’s reaction to the chequers white paper.

Early on I hoped that the EU would stand firm on their ideas of cherry picking and their supposed to freedoms.  That it would mean no matter the deal, it would have to mean an end to things “like” the current EU structures.

No single market or even something like it.

No customs union or something similar.

This would mean a clean break and the most power possible brought back to this country so that we can pursue our own policies as we see fit as a nation.

Now of course the entire project is a contradiction.

The EU breaks it’s own rules when it sees fit.

They sign up agreements, treaties and trade deals with other countries that by any definition of the term do cherry pick from the 4 freedoms.

Which is the other reason why striking a trade deal should be pretty easy, certainly based on the fact that we are already so closely aligned.

If Japan can sign a trade deal, so can we.

But here’s what I find amazing about Barnier’s response today.

He listed a number of issues he felt existed with the white papers position.

They included all manner of questions of legality, the imposition of bureaucracy and fear of fraud.

But one thing struck home to me instantly.

He said that if the UK diverged on services then we could gain a “significant competitive edge”.

How can someone miss the point so much that they let it sail by.

Of course we want a competitive edge. Of course that’s a major reason for leaving and part of everything the leave campaign spoke of in the referendum campaign.

What’s even more odd is that no one will mention that it’s a bit odd that he pointed this out. They are so blind now to the idea that whatever the EU say must be true, desirable and reasonable.

To be fair when your own government is in the shambles it’s in its its hard not to assume they must be onto a loser, but to not get that that’s what Brexit is for is just crazy.

We do want to compete. We do want to trade. We do want to be good neighbours.

But that doesn’t mean there is a problem with us having a different tarrif to the EU, which again Mr Barnier points out today.

It means finally, we as a country can pick and choose how we want to trade and what priorities we want as a nation.

I suppose if the EU 27 don’t actually understand why that is ultimately good for us and for them then that’s their look out.

And it only serves to once again point out why we don’t want to be part of that way of thinking.

Brexit, Chequers & Trump

This week, we discuss the fallout, one week on, from the Chequers agreement, including cabinet resignations and the non-state visit from President Trump.

Photo by Darren Halstead on Unsplash

Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.
Remember, you can now subscribe on YouTube ––UxzErq_UU5SCUtFg
Please reach out to us on Twitter:
You can find us at the following podcast aggregators, and more:
Please subscribe and leave a review.  We don’t want your money – just share, listen, subscribe and watch!

National CO2 Shortage – Time for a New Virtue Signal

Is it just me?

I can’t be the only person who thinks that the sudden news that our food and drinks industries are grinding to a halt because of a lack of CO2 is slightly hilarious.

Because CO2: BAD

There can’t possibly be any use for this evil substance.

How could you possibly countenance storing your food in it for freshness?

Or putting happy little bubbles in your favourite drinks?

I’m so disappointed in you – didn’t you realise that every time you opened that bag of salad you were releasing earth-poison?

Well now you’ll never be the same again.

Those chickpeas won’t harvest themselves you know.

Now a new trend will spring up.  Something I thought would be impossible until now.

Something even more self-righteous than the organic food movement: Food made, stored and transported without CO2.

I haven’t thought up a catchy name yet for this new food craze.  Organic sounds great because it screams natural and unsullied, but now that we know that even our precious organic quinoa needed CO2 to produce it, we need something even better.

We need a way to virtue-signal even more with the food and drink choices we make.  Hey if we combine this with Veganism we could really be on to a winner.

Wait, I’ve got it.  We need to go even further.

Forget ditching the injecting of plant food (CO2) into protected atmospheres to make our tomato plants grow larger.

Forget trying to transport food in electric vans (ignoring of course the fossil fuels used to generate that electricity).

We’ve been missing a trick.  I know what we must aim for now.

Zero Carbon Food.

It’s the ultimate virtue signal.  The ultimate in standing up for one’s planet.  Never again will we be accused of ignoring climate change.

Just got to find some food now without any carbon in…  where’s science when you need it?

Danny Dyer has a point about David Cameron, not about Brexit

Danny Dyer. Our new national treasure, because he dissed Brexit and speaks without cut-glass tones.

“You see?” The remainiacs say.

“If a normal, down to earth bloke doesn’t get it, then we have been right all along”.

The remain cause has shown no love until now for Danny Dyer.

But, say a few swear words on national TV and whip up a quick frenzy in the Twitter echo chamber and soon the mainstream media will report on how you should be PM.

Well done everyone.

But here is where I actually think Dyer has a point. It’s not about Brexit, where he probably voted to leave anyway. It’s his point about David Cameron.

Now we can talk at length about how the former PM made bad political decisions; whether it was calling the referendum in the first place, or not seeing the opportunity in campaigning for leave after getting handed nothing in the prior EU negotiation. But he promised he would stay to implement the result of the vote, no matter which side won.

I believed him.

But any final respect I had vanished when he immediately resigned.

When it turned out that absolutely no work had been done to prepare for a possible leave vote, it just doubled down my disappointment at a politician who had detoxified the Tory brand enough to convert a hung parliament to a majority government.

So the frustration expressed by Dyer as to where David Cameron is now, I totally get.

A true democrat would have implemented the decision of the people, not run away.

He could have been bullet proof.

Turning round to Brussels and saying “see, I told you you should have agreed to meaningful reform”.

“Now you need to agree to a serious deal or we’ll just walk away without giving you a penny”

But instead we have Theresa May and her ungovernables…

Now of course my alternate universe Cameron is doing what I would do in his situation.

Equally there has always been a way for Theresa May as PM to get a good deal and I’m not the only person saying very clearly how that could have been achieved.

Yet here we are, two years in and I’m actually pining for a Cameron premiership. What’s the world coming to?