We asked for feedback and proposals on what should happen with the House of Lords following an article by Crispin Williams on the subject. Jeremy Wraith duly obliged.
Opinion Piece by Jeremy Wraith
The three main political parties all claim to represent and help the lowest paid members of our society. The Trussell Trust reports that there are 14 million living in poverty, and 1,200 food bank centres had to provide 16 million food supplies last year. Compare this to the decadent institution which is the House of Lords (HoL).
The HoL is clearly in urgent need of reform. Life Peerages are awarded willy nilly to cronies and failed politicians by their political friends and colleagues. It is therefore inconceivable that politicians will reform a system where they, their cronies, failed and retired politicians can spend the rest of their lives in a priveliged institution where they can rob the taxpayers daily of £305 plus expenses and subsidised meals, including vintage champagne.
In addition, the HoL is supposed to act as an advisor to parliament and is claimed to be needed to prevent bad laws being passed by parliament. However, the HoL is clearly and obviously a travesty, as the government can appoint as many life peers as it wants to support their policies. Witness the accusations that the Conservatives allegedly offered life peerages to Brexit Party candidates not to stand against them in last year’s general election. In addition, Tony Blair, when he was PM was allegedly accused of selling life peerages to bolster Labour Party funds. Hence the party in power and politicians generally must be prohibited from appointing life peers and for awarding honours.
Currently, the HoL consists of 92 hereditary Peers and 734 Life Peers. They can attend the HoL on about 150 days/annum. Hence the total annual cost of the HoL in pay alone could be £38 million. Of this about half is probably a good working figure, say £20 million. The restaurant bill for the HoL is currently £60,000/week or nearly £2 million/annum. Hence, proposals for reform are as follows:
2.1 Abolish ALL current life peerages immediately. This leaves the current 92 hereditary peers.
2.2 groups of public institutions, as follows, to then appoint 10 new life peers each:
The Institute of Directors/Business interests/SME’s
The NHS/Medical profession
The emergency services police/fire brigade/coast guard
Armed forces, navy/army/air force
Professional institutions such as RaeSoc, IMechE, RINA etc
Transport groups MN/ALPA/Haulage Associations
NB Politicians of all parties, civil servants, local councillors, council employees, the judiciary and anyone in the media, i.e. newspapers, TV and religious groups etc.,
will all be specifically banned from becoming members of the HoL.
2.3 This means that the HoL would consist of only just over 200 members. This would cut the attendance cost from about £20 million to around £5 million saving £15 million. It should also cut the restaurant bill from £2 million to about £0.5 million. So the annual savings in attendance and meals should be nearly £16 million/annum
In addition, the above approach has many distinct advantages as follows:
2.4 It virtually eliminates political bias, cronyism and favouritism.
2.5 Because the emphasis will be on senior personnel being appointed it increases widely the experience and knowledge base in the HoL for making decisions.
2.6 It cuts the actual cost of maintaining the HoL by about 75%.
2.7 It obviates the need and cost of public elections.
2.8 It should more fairly represent a wider spread of the population and different careers.
2.9 By specifically banning those involved in law making on a national and local level it helps to significantly reduce the possibility of cronyism, bribery and corruption.
2.10 In future all awards must be made by the HoL, again to eliminate cronyism, bribery and corruption.
An article in the Nursing Times, by Matt Bodell dated 16th August 2019, states that student nurses currently graduate with a debt of £54K. Newly qualified nurses are paid £24,214/annum. So, cutting over 730 current life peers who are probably seen by most of the population as vintage champagne swigging, part time, self serving, avaricious spongers and replacing them with 100 or so more dedicated life peers nominated by professional institutions would result in a momentous change in usefulness of the HoL. The money saved, rather than being used by life peers, generally seen as vintage champagne swigging leeches, could be used to improve the lot of student nurses and the many millions now living in poverty in the UK. Surely, there is no contest in this proposal!
In addition, the HoL should then be able to operate in the manner intended, i.e. as an independent assessor of government laws, and not be subject to the votes of hundreds of life peers supporting the policies of political parties that appointed them.
– This article is part of a larger collection of my work I hope to have available soon, titled; ‘The Social Science Of The Market’. –
It would be very easy to simply “fallacy shame” those who are inclined to believe fallacies with regard to economic science; to turn to the layman and say “you are a science denier!” without explaining why these falsehoods are not just wrong, but dangerous, as they are counter to the science of Economics.
However, an economist, and those well minded in the science without the official title, should do well to explain where these fallacies are, why they are dangerous, and what the reality is.
Throughout this article, I shall attempt to explain two important subjects that hold dangerous consequences; these are price gouging, and price controls.
Price Gouging: – Price Gouging is a non-scientific term used to define when the price of a certain, or many economic goods, sees an increase in the cost to consumers. This fallacy is often used in times of crises, such as a natural disaster, and is predominantly used to attack apparent “greedy business owners” for “taking advantage”. But the reality is the price has seen an increase because market conditions have changed; people’s use for the economic good in question has seen an increase in the quantity demanded, which is above the supply levels, and through consumer actions has seen its value increase. This is no different to when the supply of a good sees an increase, the consumer demand of specific quantity levels has stayed inelastic, and so the equilibrium of value reflected in the price decreases.
Price increases of this degree do not simply occur because a business became greedy overnight; an economising business does not simply look at current levels of supply and the quantities demanded, but will look at predicted future levels and value; if a disaster has occurred, causing people’s demand for a certain economic good to increase and it is predicted that consumers quantity levels demanded are likely to increase over time or stay at the current high levels, then the business will increase the cost to a higher level because (A) the value of the good has seen an increase and (B) this ensures the business can refrain from having its supply depleted causing it to be unable to meet future demand quantities, and through its predicted models will be in a position to better afford materials to meet the supply levels demanded. An example of this occurring can be seen with Amazon during the early outbreak of COVID-19: During the early period there was a spike in demand for hand sanitizer gel. This caused the dreaded “price gouging” to occur with most notably Amazon at the time selling 50ml bottles for upwards of £12; the consumer use for the economic good had seen an increase, shown through large numbers of consumers buying larger quantities than previously, causing the value to increase and the pricing system to take effect. After this period of the equilibrium of value meeting consumers quantities demanded and producer quantities suppliable, Amazon later found itself in a position to sell hand sanitizer gels of 50ml for an average price of £4.50 (subject to brand). Thanks to the pricing system being allowed to reflect value through supply and demand, Amazon was able to adjust to better bring supply to meet the consumer demand.
The scientific term used for both increases and decreases in a price, is Price Fluctuation; it is not producers who cause prices to increase or decrease, it is consumers through their choices, values and actions. Price Fluctuations (I will use the scientific term hence forth), not only play an important role in a market economy, as they help to coordinate courses, allocate resources and incentivise choices through identifying what uses and needs people are prioritising and placing higher value on, but they play a significantly high role in times of crises, as higher fluctuations in prices help to disincentivise panic buyers and hoarders taking supply quantities which go beyond their use value to them.
For an example, let us say during the early stages of a crisis, person A has £250 to spend on resources to satisfy his needs; he requires food for himself, his wife and baby, paracetamol, hand sanitizer, toilet roll and diesel. Let us also say that the pricing system has been allowed to take effect, and has not been tampered with to pass inaccurate signals through price controls; baby formula has seen an increase from £8.99 for 900g to £20, canned food has seen an increase from £0.79 per can to £3 per can, frozen microwave meals have seen an increase from £2.50 to £5, fresh meat has seen an increase from £3.50 to £10, paracetamol £0.50 to £3, hand sanitizer £0.99 to £12, toilet roll £3 per x4 pack to £8 per x4 pack, and diesel with an increase from £5.90 per litre to £10.60 per litre. If he is an economizing individual, he will utilize his resources the way which best allows him to satisfy the needs he deems to be a priority in relation to the use period of time they are required to serve. We can better imagine this organization through a 1 to 10 chart; 1 being the least valuable or that which serves a lesser need, and 10 being the most valuable or that which serves higher needs.
If person A is an economizing man, he will look at the price alongside his means to enact an exchange, and look to satisfy his and his family’s needs through goods which serve to satisfy said needs based on their use value, and time scale of necessity to him. Let us say he has a high use value for food for himself and his family, and wishes it to serve a long time period; the economizing man will look to primarily satisfy these needs over what he considers his second and third most important needs, say paracetamol at second and toilet roll at third. This places food at the position of 10 on the scale, paracetamol at 9 and toilet paper at 8. While he sees a need for hand sanitizer it does not serve a regular use such as food and he only finds use for it when in contact with unclean items or items he has no control over; he recognises his use will be satisfied with one drop, and so he looks to maximise its time period of use through only taking command of the good when needed; this will place the hand sanitizer at a position of 4 on the scale. Placing the sanitizer in a position of 4 allows him to have command of more of his resources, that of money, should he find an unexpected need for further food or one of the other goods of higher value than 4, but below 10. If person A continues to act in an economizing manner, and has little use for travel during the crisis, then he will look to only utilize his means of transport in order to better satisfy his needs, or future needs which may arise; placing diesel at a position of 3 on the scale.
This would mean person A would roughly spend £100 on food, £12 on paracetamol, £16 on toilet roll, £12 on sanitizer, and £42.40 on diesel, leaving the economizing individual with £67.60 for a reserve should needs of higher value require further satisfaction or a good of lower value in order to serve his needs of higher value at a higher quantity at a later period.
A further, shorter example of this would be the following: if person A needs £3 worth of toilet roll per x4 pack but he wishes to purchase £16 worth which exceeds their use value to him; should the price increase to £16, he will economise by making a purchase which allows them to serve their use value in relation to the exchange value of his good without excess to ensure he can better serve and maximise the satisfaction of needs he deems to be of higher value. This in turn disincentivises person A from hoarding and leaves resources available for other economizing individuals looking to serve their needs and, in the long term, allows businesses to adjust their supply levels with the additional income so as to better meet quantities demanded in the future.
Price Controls – Continuing down the road from “Price Gouging”, as briefly mentioned in the fallacy above, one method which is often attempted during high price fluctuations is price control. This is when a high price fluctuation for an economic good is deemed “immoral” and so policy makers look to enact price controls to halt prices from rising, and decrease them to “acceptable” levels. This however, as will be explained, is a dangerous measure to take.
Price controls have been a tried and tested measure of failure, most notably within the housing market. When a price fluctuation occurs, it is not through reckless desire by the business in question, it is a reflection of consumer demands, quantities demanded, and a higher degree of value being placed on the economic good; these act as signals to producers, investors, and entrepreneurs that a high equilibrium of subjective value is being placed on an economic good; either of higher or lower order (lower order being direct consumption, higher order being economic goods such as material, labour, land, or capital; goods not designed for consumption, but for further production). Goods of both higher and lower order fall under the pricing system, which sends signals to which goods of economic qualities are in demand; if a large shift is seen in the number of those engaging in the consumption of vegan food for example, this sends signals to the sellers of the final good that consumers value the vegan products they are selling over the non-vegan products. This in turn sends signals to the industries which produce the ingredients (goods of higher order) that sellers are expected to increase their demand for stock, which engages these industries to be more competitive for resources as they have increased in value, as each party is sending signals that they place a higher value on the economic goods; from consumer to investor.
In addition, these signals of high demand assist the entrepreneur in calculating the risks of bringing new, innovative goods to the market and allows him to assess his opportunity costs*; without these signals of supply and demand representing an equilibrium of value, the entrepreneur risks his resources on outputs which hold little to no value.*
*An Opportunity Cost is the assessment of resources available to the economizing individual and what could be, or could’ve been created, consumed, invested in, or sold. As an example if I hold command over leather, I could sell this to a sofa maker, a jacket maker, or sell it on an open market directly to consumers as a material they hold use value for; if I hold command over 1000 pieces of leather, and I choose to sell 600 to sofa makers, I cannot sell 600 to jacket makers and can only sell 400 thereafter. The opportunity costs are the economic option I chose not to engage in, and is an important aspect of determining where resources go and where they are best allocated.
*This does not mean if an entrepreneur sees a high demand for a specific vegan food (such as vegan bacon) he will only look to create more vegan bacon, but that he will see an increase in value for vegan products, and look to innovate the vegan market; this could be in the form of creating new ways to produce vegan products, finding economic goods which have yet to have vegan alternatives, or find ways of enhancing the vegan goods through extracting animal DNA to grow meat products without the killing of an animal.
With all that said, let us get back to the topic of price controls.
When legislators put into action price controls, this causes the signals used to display supply and demand to be artificially altered, and send false signals to buyers and sellers that the value of the economic good in question has not changed. Price controls cease the pricing system to signal to consumers as to the change in economic value, and so the consumer is not faced with changing their consumption patterns.
This act also disincentivises investors, entrepreneurs, sellers and producers from bringing more of the economic good to the market, as the pricing system has not been allowed to reflect any equilibrium of value, and so those in these categories will not be able to meet new levels of quantities demanded, causing long term shortages; this in turn, hurts the consumer base of the economic good in the long run too, not just the suppliers, as it is not seen as a wise investment to place resources into a good which has not been permitted to reflect its overall value.
Price controls do not just occur in the form of artificially lowering the price to a “justified” level, they can also occur in the form of minimum pricing; this type of policy tends to arise if a company is suspected of “dumping” goods on to consumers, in an attempt to dismantle competition and become a monopoly; this type of price control can often be found in most Anti-Trust laws.
The minimum price form of price controls is dangerous for very similar reasons to the price controls mentioned above; in this instance though, the disincentive is with the consumer rather than the supplier.
As before, the artificial increase in a price, misinforms those engaged in the market as to the value of the economic good in question, and sends false signals to suppliers as to what consumers are in high demand of. The value of an economic good is based within the subjective values and needs the good as a subject serves; it is subject to the use value of the individual wishing to consume the economic good being higher than the individuals exchange value of the good he is to trade for the good, and the exchange value of the good to be higher to the supplier than its use value; this in turn creates an equilibrium of value, which is displayed in the pricing system and determines an economic goods overall market value.
If this system of value is not permitted to function (in this instance subject to the form of minimum pricing), then the actual value of an economic good is not being allocated; if this is above the use value the consumer places on the good, it will create disincentive for the consumption of said good; causing losses to be made on the sides of both parties, as if the consumer is forced to pay a price above the equilibrium level of value, he has less access to resources at his disposal for the consumption of economic goods he is in need of service from which can satisfy his additional needs, if the supplier is forced to charge a price above what he initially was willing to sell the good for and above what the consumer values, he will be wasting resources, and losing profits which would’ve gone to the further production of goods in demand.
Prices need to be allowed to work, not through the artificial lowering or heightening of the value, or both parties wishing to engage in mutual benefit will be faced with non-consensual losses; disincentivising further engagement. Price controls ultimately hurt the poorest by being forced out of market engagement, and hinders new, small businesses from entering engagement of the market, damages the competitive process and, in the end, slows innovation.
Monopoly And Competition – I have chosen to combine both the fallacies of monopolies and competition together, as there is a prominent, black and white view of the two as to how they correlate; there is nuance with both and not all monopolies are damaging and not all competition is beneficial.
We must first go over the subject of a monopoly. There are three forms of monopoly, which are:
The legal monopoly is best described, as an institution, company or industry, which has been granted a special, legal status to protect it from competition. This can appear in the form of a copyright over a product (not a brand), power to restrict competition via methods of selective entry and through licencing laws (a case example is the American Medical Association, which up until the 1970s, lobbied to Congress to grant it special licencing powers and to restrict how many graduates could enter the market at any given time, in order to keep wages high), but is most notably found within government institutions, as these institutions do not operate under a market system through pricing based on supply and demand, but demand payment from “potential” consumers through means of assumed consent, regardless of quantities demanded (or lack thereof) from consumers; many government institutions also operate as “safeguards” of deciding who can enter the area of a market the government institution has a legal monopoly over; examples of this can be seen with the UK’s TFL (Transport For London) holding the monopoly power to issue or take away licences from private competitors, as well as with the UK’s NHS holding a legal, centralised monopoly over the health industry to forcefully extract resources from citizens, irrespective of whether they value the particular good.
This form of monopoly, the reader would be right in assuming, is damaging to not just competition, but the quality and quantity of economic goods available to the consumer. Through the means of a legal monopoly, competition becomes either too expensive to warrant investment, or illegal. Competition and the pricing system go hand in hand, and are vital to determining how to allocate resources to where they will best serve the maximum demand which serves a need individuals wish to see satisfied.
This note of competition brings us to our second form of monopoly, the market monopoly.
The market monopoly is exactly as is named; it is a monopoly which has arisen through market activity.
This form of monopoly has a tendency to attract the most suspicion; however, a market monopoly is merely created through consumers placing a higher value on the particular goods to which the company in question is selling.
Market monopolies are not created through legal means such as selective entry*, licencing laws or forcefully extracting income from consumers regardless of demand, but are created through consumer choices. If the majority of consumers choose to purchase iPhones’ over Androids’ because their use value for the economic good is higher than the exchange value of their money, the quality meets or exceeds their subjective standards or a combination of both, Apple will naturally acquire a market monopoly, because it is more efficient at serving its consumer base and the consumers use value of the item, than its competitors.
The market monopoly has often been accused of stifling competition in an attempt to restrict consumer choice, there is a major flaw with this hypothesis though; the monopoly can only occur through consumer choices within a competitive market; you cannot save all or any competitors if they are not able to perform as well at providing a service consumers value than their competition that can.
Market monopolies do not occur due to a lack of competition, they occur because the competition lacked efficiency at providing the particular economic good consumers demanded, and this lack of efficiency is reflected through the actions and choices of consumers.
Market monopolies do not hinder consumer choice, as has been stated; it is through consumer choice this form of monopoly occurs; through consumer choice, market monopolies actually encourage innovation in being able to compete for the top position of serving consumer demand the most. Is this monopoly expected to last a long time? Yes. Is it expected to last forever? Unless the company in question is exceptionally good at predictions of future quantities and qualities demanded by consumers and adapts accordingly to change, and prices its goods to reflect demand and use value; continually meeting an equilibrium of value, no; peoples’ evaluation, values, tastes, needs and priorities change and adapt over time, an example of this change would the vegan food industry vs the meat industry; not that long ago farmers appeared to have an unending dominance over the food industry, but as peoples’ value over animal life changes and demand for alternatives arise, the meat industry’s market monopoly becomes crippled, and has to adapt to the change in value, though it is a shame the meat industry, particularly in the UK has resorted to demanding subsidies and bailouts, because it cannot grasp the change in consumer demand or competition, which isn’t a legal monopoly per say, yet it does fall into a much wider issue which we will go over later in this chapter.
All industries, under a market economy, can and will bend to creative destruction, through entrepreneurship and the private ownership of the means of production.
An example of a market monopoly would be Microsoft.
When Microsoft first began selling household computers, it provided its own internet browser for free. Before this, consumers would have to buy a browser for their home computers. This genius act of innovation for consumers gave Microsoft a market monopoly over household computers, with many of its competitors decreeing Microsoft to be “dumping” on consumers and called out for Anti-Trust to be enacted upon the company.
This brings us to our third form of monopoly, the community monopoly.
The community monopoly, could be considered a pointless subject to delve into, as it tends to be the most short lived, and very few take issue with this; however for the sake of consistency and to wrap up, I will go into this monopoly briefly.
A community monopoly occurs when there is a particular area of the market, which has yet to reach a community, regardless of size of the community or the industry itself.
If a community has no provider of pizza delivery services, yet there is ample demand for pizza delivery and I decide to open up shop, due to being the only provider for this community I have achieved a community monopoly.
This form of monopoly in previous years would never last long if there was demand for the service and demand continued or grew, as since my prices would reflect the equilibrium of value relating supply and demand, the use value and exchange value of both parties involved, other business owners would see there to be demand and money to be made in this industry within said community, and these competitors would cause me to exit the market if they were able to provide the service with more efficiency, and the consumer not only found greater value with the goods of my competitors, but could better satisfy their needs to greater quantities with an exchange more attractive to them and provided use value higher than the exchange value of their money.
The community monopoly is a rarity in the modern world, as we have become a much more global market, with a wider range of methods for individuals to acquire goods in order to satisfy their needs; this should not be seen as a good thing or a bad thing, but should be a grand example of how the organic market has created new, innovative ways of serving, satisfying, and providing to individual subjective needs and value; commerce is truly, a beautiful and exciting experience to watch expand.
I will leave the reader with a quote by the late Economist, Milton Friedman, to which I hope the reader considers when presented with future, “quick fix” and “moral” solutions:
“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”
We are joined by Alastair Donald, the Associate Director of the Academy of Ideas, as we discuss the latest on the COVID crisis, a potential new trade deal with Australia and the news that Oriel College Oxford have decided that Rhodes Must Fall. We then chat with Alastair about his role with the Academy of Ideas, the Cancellation Culture and the future for free speech and thought in the UK.
“There’s a kind of order to the whole situation of getting a drink, which is in some ways inimical to whole experience of actually going out and enjoying a beer”
“it’s the officious society where the busybody rules with a set of regulations and a set of licensing rules that dictate what’s permissible which I think is a real problem”
“It does seem indicative of a way that there’s more decisive leadership within society at large, from normal people and businesses who are suffering from this and have some commitment to getting us out, than there is from central government”
“You have to look at the amount of environmental regulation that swamps quite a lot of what companies do, and the constraints that puts on new innovative processes coming to the fore”
“There seems almost like a cultural war against our history, and I’m not so much protective of the statues as I am resistant to the forces of reaction that I think are driving this movement to tear them down”
From the interview
“quite often the people that are most concerned about reigning in free speech, are actually people who are concerned that they are not up to handling ideas that they disagree with”
“we’re still hoping that society will open enough that we can gather people, physically within the same space, and we’d love to have the battle of ideas festival in November”
“Post-Brexit Britain will be a potential competitor to the European Union alongside China and the United States, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared on Sunday.”
The corollary to this statement by Merkel is that:
Inside the EU the UK is NOT a competitor to other states in the EU!
Because while Britain is/was in the EU the EU could screw Britain to such an extent in their favour, particularly France and Germany, that Britain would not be a potential threat to their economies.
1 When Britain joined the EEC in 1973 the EU took over complete control of Britain’s trade.
2 Since joining the EEC in 1973 Britain has NOT made a surplus on its trade in goods with the EU since the early 1980’s.
3 Hence, it only took the EU seven or so years to destroy Britain’s manufacturing base.
4 The proof of this is in the official figures as follows:
4.1 When Britain joined the EEC in 1973 the balance of payments (BoP) with the EEC was approximately zero.
4.2 This meant that Britain exported as much to the EEC as it imported from the EEC.
4.3 Since 1973, while under the control of the EU, the total accumulated BoP of UK trade with the EU has reached a staggering DEFICIT, currently costing Britain £2 trillion. But the EU has not only screwed Britain in trade. It has also screwed Britain financially to their benefit in many other ways, such as:
4.4 Even before Britain joined the EEC in 1973, they altered the budget subscription system from a percentage of each countries GDP to a system based on each countries imports.
4.4.1 This cost Britain so much extra that even Ted Heath, was so apprehensive about the cost involved that the EEC agreed to taper in the costs over 7 years, to make them less conspicuous and more acceptable!
4.5 In addition, when Maggie Thatcher handbagged the EU over the UK’s high VAT payments to the EU they agreed a rebate on Britain’s VAT contributions.
4.5.1 This rebate was not 5% or even 10%. NO, the rebate was a staggering 66%.
4.5.2 This meant that the EU was charging Britain,
THREE TIMES AS MUCH VAT AS WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN!
4.6 The TOTAL cost to Britain in NETT budgetary payments to the EEC/EU since 1973 now amounts to nearly £300 billion.
4.6.1 This amount of taxpayer’s cash has now been lost forever.
4.6.2 The £300 billion all had to be borrowed over the years and must be costing a large amount in interest fees all adding to the national debt of nearly £2 trillion.
4.6.3 At only 2% interest the current interest on the borrowed £300 billion must be costing Britain at least £6 billion/annum.
4.6.4 This must be added to the current NETT budgetary payment of about £12 billion making a total of £18 billion/annum.
4.6.5 The annual cost of this interest payment is never mentioned by the pro-EU side.
4.7 Since 1973 Britain’s fishing rights in our territorial waters has been governed by the EU.
4.7.1 The EU has therefore plundered our fish for nearly 50 years, with Britain getting the thin edge of the wedge in EU fishing quotas under the Common Fishing Policy (CFP).
4.7.2 This loss of fishing rights has cost Britain about £2 billion/annum in lost trade.
4.7.3 Hence the EU has already benefited by about £100 billion because of the CFP.
4.7.4 Despite this, the EU is still DEMANDING fishing rights in British territorial waters post BREXIT as a condition of starting trade talks.
4.8 Despite the £300 billion that Britain has so far contributed to EU funds the EU is DEMANDING that Britain pay them a bribe of £39 billion before they will even start talks on UK/EU trade. (REMEMBER the EU has built up a BoT surplus with Britain currently costing us about £2 trillion!)
4.9 The current trade deal with the EU’s single market means that EU imports do not attract import duties into the UK.
4.9.1 Hence, the UK taxpayer has lost a considerable amount from the larger EU exports to the UK.
4.9.2 British exporters to the EU would also have to pay EU import duties to the EU on their exports. However, the fact remains that British taxpayers have probably, since 1973, lost well over the equivalent of £20 billion in duties just on the £2 trillion difference in EU imports to Britain over British exports to the EU.
5 In spite of all the contributions made by Britain to the EU since we joined, the EU is apparently insisting on giving Britain worse trading conditions than they recently gave to Canada and Japan.
5.1 No doubt they did not insist that Canada and Japan paid them the equivalent of £39 billion before they started trade talks.
5.2 The EU probably did not demand that Canadian and Japanese citizens living in the EU were guaranteed rights of residence, as they have for EU citizens living in the UK.
5.3 Or the free movement of people.
5.4 Or demands for “level playing fields” to try and prevent them, like Britain, competing with their industries.
5.5 Or threats to ban or inhibit their financial services from operating in the EU like they have for Switzerland and the UK if they do not comply with EU demands.
5.6 The EU has thus ably demonstrated its vindictive, jealousy, anger, nastiness and spiteful nature towards Britain for having the temerity to vote to leave the delusional Valhalla that is the EU opinion of itself, and their determination to make an example of Britain to deter any other EU country from leaving.
5.7 This despite the colossal cost in lives and money that Britain and the Commonwealth paid to save “Europe” from total domination by Germany in two world wars!
QUESTION: With “friends“ like the EU who needs enemies?
Conclusion – So, thank you Angela Merkel. You have quite clearly endorsed the British public’s overwhelming good sense in voting to leave the cess pit that is the European Union which is run by the likes of you!
The Daily Express, 25 Jan 2020, said Canadian businesses are already now counting the cost of Canada’s trade “deal” with the EU.
Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance chief Claire Citeau said: “The negotiated terms are not being respected.
“There are always delays, there are always exorbitant costs.
“Some demands from the EU are not adapted to the Canadian market.
“EU exports have increased but Canadian exports have dropped by 10 percent. We now have a €3.5billion trade deficit!”
Overall EU exports to Canada rose 11 percent in 2018 from a year earlier, but Canadian agricultural exports to the EU fell 15 percent.
History is repeating itself. Witness the UK’s £2 trillion balance of payments deficit with the EU!
The House of Lords developed from the Great Council that advised the King during medieval times. By 1295 the first English Parliament which included archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, and representatives of the shires and boroughs was being held. The Lords moved from a body based largely on the hereditary principle to become all too often just a home for ex-politicians and their most favoured donors.
Crispin Williams writes his opinion on what should happen next to complete the long overdue House of Lords reform.
Opinion Piece by Crispin Williams
There is fairly general agreement that the House of Lords is in need of reform. It currently has more members (778) than there are physical seats in the chamber and many of these peers never do much more than turn up to collect their allowance. Furthermore, there has been a tendency in recent years to make an increasing number of political appointments, often by ‘promoting’ MPs who have lost their seats. The growth in the number of overtly political Lords lessens the one big advantage of the House: that it should be a scrutinising and revising chamber with little political agenda.
I am, therefore, vehemently against an elected House as this would just reflect the Commons and would make the Lords even more political; at least not having to worry about being re-elected Lords can (theoretically at least) speak their own mind.
My suggestion is for members of the House of Lords to be selected by an appointment committee. This committee would be composed of ‘the great and the good’ by the position they hold in public life, not by personality. Thus, the holders of specific posts would automatically have a say in selection, whoever they may be.
Below I give some examples of the kind of positions that might comprise the appointment committee. As I say, these are just examples and there can be much further debate as to the final choice.
The Prime Minister and, say, three leading cabinet positions
The Leader of the Opposition and one other Opposition position
The Leader of any other party with X number of seats in the Commons
The Speaker of the House of Commons
The Speaker of the House of Lords
The First Minister of Scotland
The First Minister of Wales
The Mayor of London
The Archbishop of Canterbury
The Prince of Wales
The Governor of the Bank of England
The General Secretary of the TUC
The Director-General of the CBI
The Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality
The Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes
This would lead to a House of high quality people being elected by a committee with balanced views. Clearly, some of the above might also be Lords themselves.
The House of Lords would comprise 250 members, re-appointed on a staggered 10 year basis, with no restriction on the number of times a member could be re-appointed.
The party has regularly run a large number of candidates in the federal elections of this, the second biggest country on earth and nation of almost 38 million people. Our cousin nation are not entirely unfamiliar with our fair town as The Globe and Mail, Canada’s “newspaper of record” visited our Leavers of Croydon drinks in October last year.
We speak with Brandon Kirby the Libertarian Party Communications Director, about the politics of freedom in their home and native land.
Could you in a couple of sentences tell our readers about your party?
The mission of the Libertarian Party of Canada is to reduce the responsibilities and expense of government so that we may each manage our lives to mutually fulfil our needs by the free and voluntary exchange of our efforts and property for the value that best realizes our happiness.
Canada’s Prime Minister is possibly best known here for dressing up and wearing make-up. What are your thoughts on the Justin Trudeau government?
I think that captures his strongest points.
He was terribly in over his head to become prime minister. There was nothing on his resume that suggested he had the capacity to deliver on his promises. The cost of living has gone up significantly, taxes have gone up, he’s engaging in arms trading with genocidal war criminals in Saudi Arabia, his government is giving tremendous subsidies to fossil fuel companies, he failed to balance the budget as promised, and he makes terrible blunders that novices wouldn’t make when answering basic questions about our tax code.
To the point you raised, the fact that he isn’t taken seriously by the international community, is problematic. He’s had difficulty in negotiating a free trade contract with Mexico and the U.S. His overseas trip to India was a national embarrassment that cost us $500 million, which gave him an excuse to play dress-up.
Canada has some strict speech laws. How do you think these are viewed by ordinary Canadians and what’s the view of your party?
Our party champions free speech. Canada is a divided country. We have a collection of elites within journalism, lawyers, professors, and politicians, that largely communicate with themselves, and they see particular issues as pressing that many Canadians don’t. Outside of this well-sealed off bubble, ordinary Canadians have differing views. Within the context of free speech, overarching demands from the government and various universities with respect to transgender rights and criticism of Islam, many Muslims and transgendered individuals are themselves puzzled by these seemingly counter-productive legislations to their goals; they’re interested in practicing freedom rather than their movements becoming tyrannical.
What are your main campaign tactics? How do you go out for votes?
Our previous campaign used traditional political tactics and was unsuccessful. Our next campaign will likely involve more social media interaction. Rather than broad-based national strategies, we’ll likely attempt a regional strategy focusing on three or four seats that we could win in parliament.
Following on what are the policies that get Canadians excited to vote for Liberty?
Tackling cost of living increases that have come about through central banking was popular with seniors. Free market environmentalism was popular in areas that have suffered environmental damage and with our student population. Opposition to state-funded media was popular within rural, more right wing communities. Tax reform was popular with business owners, as was fiscal prudence in balancing the budget. However, by a wide margin, the number one issue in Canada right now is gun control. Our party experienced a spike in membership after the new wave of bans was announced over a month ago.
The US presidential election is underway, and it’s likely the Libertarians will again finish 3rd. What do you make of the Libertarian politics of your southern cousins?
We’re impressed with the resume of Jo Jorgensen, and interested to see if she can get the Libertarian Party more votes.
Your party has fought in a number of elections, with mixed results. What do you think is next for your party, and what are your next goals?
Mixed results is a generous way of describing our past outcomes. We’re gearing up for the next campaign, learning from past failures, focusing on future successes.
If you could introduce, repeal or change 3 laws what would they be?
We would enshrine private property and self-defence rights in the Canadian charter, and enact significant tax reform.
What do you think of your country’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis, and what would you like to be done next?
Canada will be spending a minimum of an additional $250 billion to combat COVID-19. As a result we are creating a plethora of dollars, but no additional wealth – which has inflationary concerns. Given that our economy is dwindling and we’re facing real inflation concerns, the resultant stagflation will be difficult to overcome. Enacting sound money policies will be necessary to escape the looming economic nightmare, along with serious cuts to corporate taxes so that we can recover economically.
Do you have any thoughts on UK politics?
Many Canadian libertarians supported Brexit, and so we were happy to see our parent country trending in a positive direction. However, during the last leaders’ debate many of us were concerned with Johnson’s support for Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s pronouncement that the existence of billionaires is shameful has serious consequences for the international finance community if his line of thinking gains prominence, given the influence of the LSE and the robustness of the FTSE 100. Johnson is acting antithetical to our foreign policy goals while Corbyn could have disastrous consequences to our economy. Neither of the two major leaders appears to be positive from a Canadian perspective and we’re happy to see alternatives popping up within the U.K. Keep up the great work!
We are joined by Bill Etheridge, the former UKIP, Libertarian Party & Brexit Party MEP, as we discuss the Taxpayers Alliance’s City Hall Rich List, a potential new trade deal with japan and the Cancellation Culture attacking our historic statues and even beloved TV shows & films. We then chat with Bill about his time in politics, the demise of UKIP and the future of Classical Liberalism in this country.
“over 10 years of supposedly Conservative government and I’m old enough to remember before they got in, they were going to sort all of this out and have bonfires of quangos… still more than a decade on these obscene salaries are being paid out”
“we’re still an enormous economy, we’re very important in terms of diplomatic links, we are a hugely important country and of course people want to do deals with us”
“all of these things they want to erase, so they can start a new narrative, start from year zero. This is a modern day version of a cultural revolution”
“there was a little game that the staff that worked with us as MEPs, used to sit down and do a bingo, and they would try and find the Thatcher or Reagan quotes that I slipped into my speeches”
“Nigel Farage is the most effective and inspiring politician for patriotic right of centre politics, that there has been for many years”
“partly I wanted to make a statement that Libertarianism is something people should look at. Because it’s not discussed, people don’t talk about Libertarianism”
“it’s a tough old game being in politics, especially when you’ve got a bit of a reputation behind you, you become a target for all sorts of things, and if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it for a party I actually believe in and it’s worth making the sacrifices”
“If you believe in something, don’t just sit in the pub with a couple of mates talking about it, don’t just type something on Twitter, or whatever. Actually actively pursue that interest and try to make a difference”
A UK government adviser stated on Tuesday that Britain must be braced for widespread riots this summer, warning that poorer people and areas will be hit harder by the fallout of the coronavirus – Michael Swadling from The Croydon Constitutionalists has shared his views on the matter.
“it’s reasonable to think it’s a scenario that could happen. I think also the feeling that we’ve had enough of experts is ringing true here again. “Likely to take place” is a stretch and we clearly should hope that everything happens to avoid that, but right now everything is there for things to go wrong”
“I remember those riots very well. I live in Croydon and there were a couple of major fires in Croydon and I could indeed see them from the back of my house. Do I expect them to happen again? I would hope not, but the government needs to act quickly to make sure it doesn’t and there’re some very basic things it can do. Lift the lockdown; get people back to work – it’s very hard to be rioting when you’re in your job, people will be busy and tired and that’s a much better place for people to be than bored and angry.”
“a decent protest – a protest against racism is a perfectly righteous thing to do, but if you’re throwing bricks at police horses, you need to be stopped. If you’re vandalising property, you need to be stopped.”
The decade after the financial crisis has seen many front line public sector and most private sector employees receive below inflation pay rises, with many suffering years of stagnant earnings.
Not so for those at the top of City Hall, delivering value for money from the public purse is of no barrier for their earnings. The TaxPayers’ Alliance have published their City Hall Rich List 2020 which reveals:
654 people employed by the GLA and its subsidiary bodies in 2018-19 received more than £100,000. 154 received over £150,000.
Transport for London alone has 518 employees on over £100,000. With 114 on more than £150,000.
28 employees received remuneration in excess of a quarter of a million pounds in 2018-19.
Taxpayers have to fund this on top of all the other costly burdens of living in London., with the Mayor having increased the band D council tax precept by just under nine per cent in 2019-20.
London taxpayers are paying Limousine prices for what all too often turns out to be a Reliant Robin service from City Hall. This is on top of the burden from London’s Borough Councils. Croydon Council employs more than 23 staff on over £100,000 a year. Hardworking Taxpayers need a fair deal that protects them as well as rewards staff.
We know the economy has taken a serve hit from Covid 19 and the lockdown. We ask that City Hall and its subsidiary bodies share the burden with those who pay their wages. We think it’s reasonable to ask that no new employee in the Metropolitan Police, Greater London Authority, London Fire Brigade or the Mayoral team, be paid more than the Prime Minister. Those in post were employed in good faith and must retain their salaries, but surely it is not unreasonable in these troubled economic times to say a Deputy commissioner in the London Fire Brigade or a Transformation director in TFL does not need to be paid more than the person running Britain!
We calculate that if this were already the case, just capping the salaries of the top 20 highest paid staff in TFL would save over £3.9 million a year. A good start to helping council tax payers.