politics

Changing One Thing About the State & The Dominance of the Left

What would it be? Not abolish the state entirely, but make one change to it and the way it works.

Would it be simple and maybe cliché and just privatise the NHS, or would you want to abolish state education?

How about the way we pay tax? Or how we deal with private property?

These are just some of the examples we talk about this week, as we get into some “what if” scenarios about our pet project of trying to shrink the size of government.

The discussion then turns to whether or not the political left have dominance over the right. Why do right wingers cede ground to the left all the time, and is it just a one way street?

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The Differences Between The Left and The Right

There are some fairly fundamental characteristics of being left wing and right wing.  But do people actually know the differences, or would they mis-categorise a lot of the traits of both?
We discuss whether Andrew’s succinct definitions of the left and the right hold water and then go on to attempt to describe the traits of both left wingers and right wingers and whether they overlap.
Regulation and nationalisation quickly become topics of conversation, along with the use of evidence and intention.   But are we missing how class and power are just as important in these definitions?
Find out in the latest edition of Sounding Board.
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Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.
Web: https://soundingboard.com
Podcast RSS: https://soundingboard.com/feed/podcast
Remember, you can now subscribe on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWzAT--UxzErq_UU5SCUtFg
This edition can be found here: https://youtu.be/Vr4ZsX2wzlc
Please reach out to us on Twitter:
Sounding Board: https://twitter.com/soundboardpod
Andrew: https://twitter.com/no_coercion
Nic: https://twitter.com/MrNicElliott
You can find us at the following podcast aggregators, and more:
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/sounding-board/id1413474037
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0BfeT7diEqD4S1dIkvWDEH
Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/sounding-board
Player FM: https://player.fm/series/2398529
Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9zb3VuZGluZ2JvYXJkLmNvbS9mZWVkL3BvZGNhc3Q
Please subscribe and leave a review.  We don't want your money - just share, listen, subscribe and watch!
 
Photo by Adri Tormo on Unsplash

A La Cartism, Boris and the next UK General Election

Has Boris found the magic centrist formula for winning the election with his championing of both the free market and the public sector? Or will the Conservatives desire to spend, spend, spend, cause them to look like Labour Lite?

After writing this blog post before there was a general election set, has anything changed?

We review Boris’s first campaign video and discuss whether this is all very smart politics, or if by shifting the Overton window ever statewards without making practical and moral cases for shrinking the state and getting out of our lives, it’s only a matter of time before a Communist gets into power.

Blog Post in the intro – https://soundingboard.com/boriss-a-la-cartism-is-exactly-what-the-public-will-vote-for/

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Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.
Remember, you can now subscribe on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWzAT–UxzErq_UU5SCUtFg
This edition can be found here:  https://youtu.be/mw4CfXDwM7A
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!

Thought Experiment: Privatising the Public Sector

What if everything the government does was privatised? Not the law making, but all of the other functions and agencies and quangos.

Could it be done quickly? What would be the consequences, and should we start with something small first… like the NHS.

As we discuss going the whole hog, we realise we never started the podcast wanting to talk about any of this, but ended up having what we think is an interesting discussion.

But were we always on the same page? We also analyse our thought processes around the conversation, and how we constructed our arguments in order to communicate with each other effectively. We are always interested in improving how we think critically, so this was a revealing retrospective on the conversation, that wouldn’t normally be aired.

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Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.
Remember, you can now subscribe on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWzAT–UxzErq_UU5SCUtFg
Please reach out to us on Twitter:
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Proroguing Parliament: What does it really mean for Brexit?

As predicted, Boris Johnson has decided to end the current parliamentary session (the longest in modern times), and trigger a new Queen’s Speech. Remainists are naturally going crazy, and talking of constitutional outrage.

But what does it actually mean for Brexit on 31 October? Is there time for fast-tracked, Bercow-enabled law that would either revoke Article 50, extend the deadline, or somehow prevent a “no deal”? What about passing a law that would stop prorogation itself? Is there even time left now in the parliamentary session?

We discuss all this and the finer details of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, and whether Boris has pulled a blinder.

Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/14/enacted

House of Commons Library Briefing Paper on Prorogation – https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8589

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Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.
Remember, you can now subscribe on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWzAT–UxzErq_UU5SCUtFg
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Change UK: The Splitters Have Split

This time, we revisit Change UK: The Independent Group. Actually, hang on: Change UK and The Independent Group. The splitters have split again. Warning: contains mild gloating.

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Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.
Remember, you can now subscribe on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWzAT–UxzErq_UU5SCUtFg
Please reach out to us on Twitter:
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Could The Current Constitutional Crisis Have Any Benefits?

This week we discuss whether Britain’s current constitutional crisis is actually a good thing. As Classical Liberals & Libertarians, should we delight in people realising that the current system of government isn’t working and cannot cope with incompetent or even sinister Members of Parliament?

Photo by Nik MacMillan 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 – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWzAT–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!

Every day hypocrisy: You cannot have it both ways

In this edition, we recap on what actually happened during & after our last podcast recording, and how it informed the way we discuss & debate issues.

By understanding & agreeing each others points of view, a whole vocabulary & context is created that makes examining issues far easier.

And then we explore a list of popular political, social & cultural contradictions.

Can you really have it both ways? We debate the hypocrisy and stupidity of our favourites.

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Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.
Remember, you can now subscribe on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWzAT–UxzErq_UU5SCUtFg
Please reach out to us on Twitter:
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Remain won, so why are we leaving?

To say this period of politics in the UK is interesting is an understatement.

Remain supporting politicians want us to stay in the EU. That much is clear.

They are also using every parliamentary trick in the book (including relying on their mate Mr Speaker) to effect their cause.

But I often think about what life would have been like in an alternative version of history. One where Leave didn’t win.

The day the result is announced, Prime Minister David Cameron resigns stating that even though he said he would stay on as leader if Remain won and enact the will of the people, he had changed his mind.

Sajid Javid becomes the leader of the Conservative Party and new UK Prime Minister, after Michael Gove declares his support for Theresa May early in the contest, only to stab her in the back later by splitting the vote in the next round.

Javid is a remain voting leaver, so remainers like him, but leavers do too for only supporting remain reluctantly.

In forming a cabinet he decides to unite the country by splitting his cabinet down the middle with 50/50 remain and leave supporters.

Leading remain supporter George Osborne is put in charge of a newly created department called “The Department For Reforming the European Union”.

Other prominent remainers are put in charge of Foreign Affairs and another new department for Global Trade.

Leading leave supporters are put in the treasury, home office, transport, health and education. (Michael Gove comes back as Chief Secretary to the Treasury after 6 months of loyal back benching).

In a surprise move, Javid delivers a letter personally to the EU Commission President triggering Article 50 and asking George Osborne to negotiate the deal that David Cameron always should have, for a new reformed relationship fit for the UK.

Javid makes a public statement on the steps of Number 10 explaining that the referendum result was so close that he couldn’t possibly ignore the 48% of leave voters and that therefore he was aiming for a specific half in/half out relationship with the EU so we could finally move on as a country.

Remain MPs are furious. Gina Miller starts legal proceedings.

The Liberal Democrats demand a second referendum even though they won the first one. They argue that a decision this big can’t be made by MPs or the government.

The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn produce 18 different policies on how the relationship with the EU should look.

While George Osborne is negotiating the softest possible deal with Michel Barnier, PM Javid announces immediate no deal preparations (with a full 20 months left to go of the article 50 process) and Dominic Raab the Chancellor of the Exchequer announces sweeping cuts to corporation and personal tax rates. In his conference speech Raab compares the UK to Hong Kong.

Steve Baker the Global Trade Secretary finds and exploits a loophole in EU law that effectively nullifies the Common External Tariff and announces an immediate unilateral reduction of all trade tariffs to zero. Countries queue up to sell us their cheap goods and envoys are sent around the world promoting the UK service industry.

The EU are furious and immediately launch a judicial review by the ECJ on the UKs actions, although this will take at least a year to resolve, during which time food and clothing prices in the UK plummet.

Along with the Raab tax cuts, the poorest in society end up proportionately being helped the most by having more cash in their pockets.

David Davis, newly appointed Minister of Deregulation, slashes red tape by eliminating 73 different quangos over a period of 6 months.

The subsequent 6 months see the largest expansion of new businesses the UK has ever seen and employment among under 45s hits 92%.

George Osborne resigns from the government along with the Foreign Secretary Theresa May a week later. In her resigning speech in the commons May sites the clear referendum result and that remain should mean remain.

The new Reforming the EU Secretary Jeremy Hunt negotiates a Free Trade Agreement with the EU and a unique Associate Membership that recognises the UKs supreme sovereignty as well as a mutual recognition of standards and regulations.

This withdrawal agreement is put to parliament but as Jeremy Corbyn can see full freedom from the EU in his sights, he announces he won’t support the agreement. In public he gives a speech stating that as a remain voter he has a duty to protect the UKs status in the EU and that the withdrawal agreement is Leave in all but name.

There isn’t a majority for the withdrawal agreement and the bill fails in the house of commons because Jacob Rees Mogg, who refused a cabinet position in order to lead the ERG leads a last minute group of Conservative MPs against it.

The UK leaves the EU, the Euro drops in value and Trump announces a trade deal with the UK that is “great, just great, huge”.

The day after, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve join the Liberal Democrats.

Ok so that was both self indulgent and a lot of fun to write. But is it any crazier a course of events than has actually happened? I don’t think so. Yet here we are.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Is Jeremy Corbyn the political genius he’s being made out to be?

When it looked like Jeremy Corbyn would win the Labour leadership election in 2015, pundits and commentators were essentially speechless.

Sure, they could point to the Momentum movement, and a desire by members to try something different. They could easily identify the new leadership election rules and allowing £3 “members” to vote as having a huge and unexpected impact.

But essentially no one knew what to make of him.

I think most people were genuinely shocked when, after the general hilarity that he had actually won, the reality of having John McDonnell as shadow chancellor sunk in.

But still, the prevailing view at the time was that this must be the gift that it seemed to be to the Conservative Party.

And in the short term it was. For all his faults, David Cameron was at ease against Corbyn at the despatch box. It was merely sport to each week point out the attempted coups, the splits and the absurdity that the Labour Party had become.

Dressing improperly, not singing the national anthem and having no idea how to handle the media (Seamus I don’t think this is a good idea…) all fed into a comfortable narrative that Jeremy Corbyn and the new Labour leadership just weren’t credible.

And let’s be clear this is excluding all mentions of the IRA, anti-semitism, and dangerous socialist policies.

But then came the EU referendum and subsequently Theresa May.

JC was virtually silent during the campaign. As was TM. Both I think for different reasons.

JC, a long time advocate of leaving the EU, realised he would alienate his party if he came out in favour of leave.

TM, in one of her more canny political moments, realised that this thing could go both ways, and better not to piss off the leavers in case there was a chance to grab the throne.

She was right. And the staggering fumbling of the Tory Brexiteers ensured she became leader and Prime Minister.

Fast forward one disastrous general election (for the Tories at least) and a failed EU withdrawal negotiation and the politics of the UK couldn’t be more different.

If Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party could be accused of being consistent it would be in their inconsistency, in particular with EU policy.

At first it was highlighted as gaff by the media. Hang on, didn’t that shadow minister say the exact opposite of what Corbyn said yesterday?

Wait, Corbyn has now contradicted what he said last week.

And so it continued.

Now after months and months of this, commentators are starting to say that this is Corbyn’s genius. That he is actually a smooth political operator.

6 impossible tests. What a trap he’s laid.

By being all things to all people he has become the every-person leader. A man of all the policies.

Agreeing with everyone and disagreeing with the Tories.

We know he never thought he’d ever get this far. We know it’s McDonnell that we should be really worried about ever coming close to power.

And it doesn’t take a political genius to see that every move they make is about seeking power, at any cost.

But I’m reminded of the Soviet Union in the Cold War, when there was a genuine nuclear arms race between them and the west.

Western intelligence agencies could only find derelict and old missile silos. But how could this be when the rhetoric was that they had the most powerful arsenal in the world?

The intelligence agencies of the day concluded that the Russians were being so clever that they had indeed developed better weapons and the ability to make the other side think they hadn’t.

Ironically this hardened the resolve of America and its allies as they rushed to develop counter technologies to win the arms race.

History showed us that this was essentially unnecessary. The silos and missiles were exactly as they seemed. Dilapidated and under maintained. No match for their opponents.

So is Jeremy Corbyn wearing the Emperors new clothes? Political observers seem to think he has not only tapped into the current zeitgeist but is using his savvy political skills in a way that must be sheer genius.

Who else would come across as so untrustworthy and inconsistent. He must know something we don’t know.

The concern is that they are right. Not because he’s principled and just, but because the electorate will somehow be sucked in.

But I still can’t bring myself to believe that it isn’t anything other than Labour Party incompetence.

The 2017 election was a shock to me, having accurately predicted the previous 4 elections. I trusted the people to make the right decision.

Now I’m not so sure. I want to believe that the voters will, if presented with a Socialist Labour Party, will reject it, and we’ll all go back to saying how politically inept the whole experience was.

But with Theresa May at the helm of an increasingly interventionist Conservative Party, botching Brexit, with no credible free market, Liberal alternative in sight, I fear voters will waver, as I am, as to whether to vote at all.

And if voters become non-voters, then this absurdity, no matter how intentional, may yet be proved successful.