Net Zero – We came together to fight a referendum do we need a new one? – Part 3

As a group that came together to fight a referendum on membership of the EU, we thought we would ask you, what your views are on Net Zero, a possible Referendum, and more generally the environment.

Part 3 in our series of your views. More responses can be found from Part 1 and Part 4.

Thanks to Nick Mane, Dan Liddicott, Mal McDermott and Mary Lawes for their responses.

“We need a full scientific evaluation, a full understanding of cost/benefits, otherwise, what is the point of a referendum”

Local Brexiteer Nick Mane.

Before considering a referendum, I believe it’s vitally important we fully evaluate the full implications of going electric.

  1. Nuclear is not clean, it has radioactive waste, where do we store this?
  2. A massive increase in usage will entail a massive increase in electricity production, will more nuclear power stations be safe from :-

a) natural disaster

b) conventional terrorism

c) hackers (including rogue states, terrorists and spotty teenager geeks)

d) will over reliance on one fuel cause potentially catastrophic breakdowns in essential infrastructures such as heating, logistics, water treatment centres etc.

e) the real cost of alternative energy sources such as the production carbon footprint of wind farms and the escaping gasses from wind captured electric switching gear. It seems there is no foresight.

  1. The danger from computer viruses to infrastructure. 

We need a full scientific evaluation, a full understanding of cost/benefits, otherwise, what is the point of a referendum if people don’t know all the facts?

“if ‘climate change’ is not ‘man made’, but part of a natural cycle – something many scientists believe – then none of the great power grab and associated loss of liberty is necessary”

Dan Liddicott is part of the Independent Libertarians group.  He often contributes to our site, and can be heard on our Podcast from last year.

The earth centric view of the universe is back! Not quite abandoning Copernicus and Gallileo, but getting there.  The belief that climate change is man-made in spite of repeated bad predictions and a relatively tiny window of observation is in my view the equivalent of being a flat-earther – because the horizon looks flat from here. How convenient that this worldview becomes the excuse to give more money and power to those who like having money and power – I’m sure there’s no connection.

Is global warming a threat?

It’s important to separate the notion of ‘global warming’ (now more expediently called ‘climate change’ for lots of inconvenient reasons) from the notion of anthropogenic, or manmade, climate change. They are not the same thing, yet the obfuscation and equivocation around the differences has only served to muddy the waters of the debate. The difference between ‘climate change’ and ‘man made climate change’ is fundamental to what happens next. If ‘climate change’ is ‘man made’ then it stands to reason that it can be ‘man un-made’ by changing our behaviours accordingly. This is the explanation those in power are pushing onto us and, no surprise, their proposed solution is to give them even more power and money to control our lives. Once they get a bit of power there is just no stopping them. However, if ‘climate change’ is not ‘man made’, but part of a natural cycle – something many scientists believe – then none of the great power grab and associated loss of liberty is necessary, and Net Zero is a complete non-requirement. There’s a lot of power and money hanging on the difference between ‘man made’ and ‘not man made’ – the effect of that on the motives, biases and actions of those seeking power is worth thinking about.

In my opinion the arguments in favour of the ‘natural cycle’ causes of changes to climate are more convincing. This doesn’t mean there is nothing to be done, it means those things which are to be done are very different things. Pursuing Carbon Zero becomes pointless, indeed it would be detrimental to what needs to be done. And penalising people for being productive, warm, and free is also pointless. Instead efforts should be directed toward living with the changes to climate, rather than futile King Canute style attempts to command the tide to turn back.

Should we have a referendum on enforced Net Zero targets?

A referendum on ‘Global Warming’ or ‘Climate Change’ feels a bit like voting to decide whether the world is flat – it makes no difference to reality, but having decided everyone will accept policy which imagines the world the way they voted. Of course it comes down to the precise questions asked in a referendum, but sadly I think most would decide on balance that the world is ‘flat’ and a referendum would simply be an exercise in validating the direction the ‘powers that be’ wish us to travel. We’ve been relentlessly fed just one narrative – that climate change is caused by human activity and can be stopped by changing human activity. I do not believe either statement is the whole truth and great damage to communities, families and individuals will occur when false policies are pursued which erode liberty, economic freedom, and increase central planning and control in pursuit of something that will ultimately fail to deliver.

Viewing the possibility of a referendum more optimistically, a referendum could provide the space to present the truth about climate change more openly and freely. To have that opportunity to present the facts which are ignored by the MSM and politicians, but which are material to the case, is essential. If a referendum is the way to do it, then let’s do it. I’m sure the ‘fact checkers’ (censors) will be out in force, along with cranks real and planted, so it will be a war of words to be sure. But a necessary one I feel, if we are to have any chance of keeping the door open to freedom. We can’t let the climate ‘flat earthers’ get their way without a fight.

What action should we be taking on the environment?

None of this is a reason to not care for the planet, and look after the environment for ourselves and future generations, but it makes a huge difference to where we direct our attention. Effort should be directed toward living with the inevitable and unstoppable changes to climate – be that better river management, better forest management, better agriculture and food production, better water management, better guidance on where and how to build, for instance. All of which can be more easily and effectively solved through the collective ingenuity of the free market providing effective and cheap solutions to all these problems. This seems obvious to me on two fronts. First, because I find the ‘natural cycle’ arguments more convincing, and second, because even if I didn’t the reality is that the efforts of the UK to achieve Carbon Zero are not being matched by the biggest carbon producers at all. This means whatever we do to reduce Carbon in the UK will make no material difference to the global outcome. To pursue Zero Carbon on those terms would be a self-destructive act of futility. We’d trash our economy, cut great swathes through individual liberty, and achieve nothing – nothing except giving power and money to people who want more power and money. Whichever way you look at it, whether you agree with me about the natural cycle or not, the only logical approach the UK could take is one of preparation, and mitigation of effects. The most destructive part of pushing the man-made climate change argument is that we will find we were wrong, and having failed to both prevent change and to prepare for it, the impact on people will be devastating. We can either learn to live with change, or reap the consequences of not preparing. Nothing the UK does can prevent change.

“International pressure on Russia, China and India would be better overall as the UK’s output pales into insignificance when compared to these nations”

Libertarian Malachy Mcdermott.  You can read Mal’s interview with us, or listen to him on our podcast.

Is global warming a threat?

Yes, I believe that global warming is real and that the data shows this to be the case. Man-made global warming is a reality that we have to deal with, the physical evidence has been quite clear in the last decade or so, ignoring this problem will soon be impossible as every year it comes closer to our doorstep.

Should we have a referendum on enforced Net Zero targets?

No, I think it’s a bad road to go down to have a referendum on economic affairs. I disagree with the need for Net Zero targets to be enforced by law as demand is shifting away from these types of industries anyway. International pressure on Russia, China and India would be better overall as the UK’s output pales into insignificance when compared to these nations. A “buy clean” policy in which the state promotes local manufacturing that is environmentally friendly as a direct competition to imported goods that have a heavy carbon footprint would be a vastly superior way of tackling this issue globally.  

What action should we be taking on the environment?

Unfortunately, except for small scale, individual consumption changes, there is not much more the average person can do, we are really at the whims of foreign powers who are refusing to change with any kind of expedience, not to mention the fact that it is of benefit to many of these countries that global warming continues (Russia becomes more and more arable every year as the temperature changes). What we need is more resolute political action to stand up to these powers regardless of what they are capable of, if you are on the right side, should you not fight for that position?

“The plans of the government will harm the poorest in our country. We cannot leave the poorest people without heat for their homes. We need to build more nuclear plants. While the hypocrisy of leaders from around the world fly in to COP26”

Cllr Mary Lawes of the Foundation Party shares her views. Mary is on Twitter and Facebook. You can also read our interview with Mary and listen to her on our podcast.

Is global warming a threat?

The simple answer would be yes. What I would like to see is all the alarmism and hysteria stop. The debate has not really been held by the scientists on both sides of the arguments. These people need to debate in a civilised way. How we grow our food, how we build homes, plan our communities in everything we do. We should not be pushed into unrealistic targets.

Should we have a referendum on enforced Net Zero targets?

Following the evidence from a debate with scientists on both sides of the argument. People would be better informed and would be able to make better choices. So yes, I do think we should have a referendum. What in the whole scheme of things, does Net Zero mean? The plans of the government will harm the poorest in our country. We cannot leave the poorest people without heat for their homes. We need to build more nuclear plants. While the hypocrisy of leaders from around the world fly in to COP26 and pollute the hell out of us all and tell us all not to fly.

Will Net Zero targets in the UK stop climate change alone, no it won’t. Without the co-operation of all countries, especially of the 10 most polluting countries per capita according to the UN report, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Canada, USA, Germany, China, Spain, France & Thailand. We cannot stop any emergency alone, but we can chose how we deal with it going forward.

If a referendum was called for, the question should not be ‘Net Zero’ yes or no. It needs to be ‘Net Zero’ or move as a country at a slower pace but with climate incorporated in everything we do.

What action should we be taking on the environment?

We need to become more self-sufficient in this country. We need to stop importing on a mass scale. We need to move at a reasonable pace to change and replace our energy sources. We need to stop importing cheap goods and plastic goods. We use to build quality products in this country. Now we just have a cheap throwaway society. Reduce millions of truck movements to and from Europe. Those goods we do need to import should be transported via freight trains, to cut down on pollution, traffic jams and carbon footprint. Our infrastructure needs a lot more investments but needs to stop building high end homes on a large swaths of farming and green field land. Investment is needed in our sciences, technology, innovators and engineering. To look at how we can get even more inventive in how we can use our waste to recycle and replace for the future. We need to discover more efficient types of energy that are cheap to run.

If we look after the planet, the planet will look after us.

This is the third set of your responses, further responses can be found from Part 1 and Part 4.

Independents For Liberty – Conference 2021

Independents for Liberty held their 2021 Annual Conference, ‘Restoring Liberty, Rebuilding A Free Country’, on Saturday, 25th September.

They are an association of pro-liberty individuals and influencers aiming to restore liberty and rebuild a free country.

Their mission as individual associates of Independents for Liberty is to make the case for freedom, promote political activism that supports your liberty and grow sustainable economies that enhances long-term freedom.

Michael Swadling of Croydon Constitutionalists shares tried and tested campaign strategies every independent libertarian candidate should be using for their local election campaigns.

Mike’s contribution:

  • On Council run events: “…why should the taxpayer be forced to subsidise my weekend?”
  • “All councils have to publish a report of everything they spend that’s over £500 …what’s really useful is identifying the budgets that have more controversial items …the payments councillors can award themselves…”
  • “We had a petition to make sure no one is paid more than the Prime Minister in the Borough. …to say no one in the Town Hall is doing a more important job than the Prime Minister. …you can start to call out some of those.”
  • “‘As poor as a Council Executive’ is not a common phrase people will hear.”

Christopher Wilkinson opens the first annual Independents for Liberty conference by outlining how the association will help rebuild a free country:

Harry Fone, Grassroots Campaign Manager for the Tax Payers’ Alliance, tells what we can expect from the Tax and NI increases, Government and Council waste, and highlights important points for independent libertarian candidates to campaign on:

Gareth Seward, speaking at the 2021 Independents for Liberty conference, explains the coming consequences of government economic policy. An essential primer for understanding current events.

You can see more on the Independents for Liberty Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/IndependentsForLiberty or their website https://independentlibertarians.uk/

Christopher Wilkinson – Independent Libertarian

Christopher Wilkinson is an independent libertarian-minded candidate proposing to stand for the Lichfield City North division in the 2021 Staffordshire County Council election and the Stowe ward by-election for Lichfield City Council.  Chris also runs a group called the Independent Libertarians and has a podcast, the Libertarian Listener, which both Mike and Dan have appeared on.  We spoke with Chris on our Podcast back in October and have caught up with him on his upcoming campaigns.

“Perhaps worst of all has been this focus on the ‘common good’ – the rotten, Soviet-style idea that we’ve all got the same interests, same needs, and same ambitions as everyone else and that we’re willing to sacrifice our own job, income, business, mental health and physical wellbeing for the sake of the lowest common denominator in the community. Nothing could be further from the truth”

Chris you’ve run before and are taking part in two election campaigns in May. What’s prompted you to take on these challenges and what are the differences between the two races?

These elections are especially important since they’re the first since COVID-19, and they look set to be a virtual referendum on how the main parties have responded to the issue. Over the past year we’ve seen our civil liberties and freedom severely restricted, the economic strength of the nation destroyed, and reactionary government policies encroaching into every aspect of our daily lives – unprecedented and immoral, especially for peacetime. Perhaps worst of all has been this focus on the ‘common good’ – the rotten, Soviet-style idea that we’ve all got the same interests, same needs, and same ambitions as everyone else and that we’re willing to sacrifice our own job, income, business, mental health and physical wellbeing for the sake of the lowest common denominator in the community. Nothing could be further from the truth. That philosophy is so against the grain of human progress, prosperity and self-fulfilment that it has never worked in any historical example, and my attempt in this election will be to attempt to drag politics back to reality. As there are very few people in the area willing to stand for office, the onus is upon those with a passion to provide change to make it happen hence why I’m standing in both elections. The main difference will be the area covered; the City by-election is being run in my own ward of Stowe, and the County election covers Stowe with two adjacent wards; Chadsmead and Curborough. One benefit of this approach is that a wider number of people get to hear a pro-liberty message, which may in turn inspire them to get more involved in local politics and help fight for local people in future elections. There will be other differences, particularly with the scale of the issues varying between local and regional level, and the amount of walking involved when delivering the leaflets!

Stowe is currently represented by Labour and Conservative in a Conservative city.  How do you think they will be better represented by an independent and what do you think are the big issues in Stowe?

I think people are rightly put off by party politics after what they’ve seen over the last twelve months, and so standing as an independent that can put local people’s interests first and assess local issues objectively instead of focusing on party ideology and dogma would make for a far better representative in any area. Political events over the past five years have been very polarising and the key advantage of being an independent candidate is that I’m able to find common ground between people who would otherwise stand apart. In the Stowe area, the most major concerns among residents are the transition back to normality and restarting the economy. The city’s age demographic is slanted more towards the older generations who rightly have concerns over feeling safe going outside again and being in busy areas. I want them to enjoy their lives as best as possible, so it’s critical that elected representatives give truthful information regarding COVID-19 instead of merely relaying the government’s fearmongering and skewed macro-level statistics. Lichfield also has a highly skilled managerial workforce and as such has generally lower-than-average levels of unemployment coupled with a city centre in economic decline – to see unemployment levels rise and businesses in the city centre shut their doors for the final time, especially pubs and ‘non-essential’ shops, therefore represents a significant worry for both residents and visitors. I’ve been speaking with several local businesses and organisations as to how we can bring more people into the city centre and my manifesto will reflect the consultation I’ve had.

“However, demolition work on the proposed site had already begun – a few businesses, including a profitable Ford car dealership, were consequently evicted. The site today is a wasteland obscured by hoardings covered in local government advertising for the city”

Following the failure of Friarsgate, the city now has a ‘Masterplan’.  What are your thoughts on what went wrong with Friarsgate and what do you think of the new plan?

Friarsgate was a £54 million shopping development first proposed by the Conservatives in the 1999 local elections that was still in development nearly twenty years later. To put the scale of finance in context, it would have been the equivalent of five years of budget spending by Lichfield District Council in today’s terms. The scheme couldn’t attractive private finance and the council, quite rightly, were not willing to meet the extra cost on behalf of taxpayers. However, demolition work on the proposed site had already begun – a few businesses, including a profitable Ford car dealership, were consequently evicted. The site today is a wasteland obscured by hoardings covered in local government advertising for the city which cost more than £20,000 at the taxpayer’s expense. It went wrong both at a council level and in terms of the economy generally. Referring to the phased strategy and planning permission needed for the Lichfield Masterplan, District Councillor Little was reported in a Lichfield Live article on 7 October 2020 as saying ‘…we need the support from commercial and legal experts to aid us in that process as we haven’t got that expertise within the council to ensure proper governance’ – an admission, if ever one was becoming of the council, that incompetence within the local authority was partly to blame for the downfall of Friarsgate. The truth is there’s very little demand for large commercial infrastructure, especially in a city such as Lichfield, and that restrictions within the COVID-ravaged economy will come to haunt such developments for years to come. The retail sector has been in structural decline for a long time not least due to the growth of online shopping and increasing business rates levied by councils all over the country. The design of Friarsgate was very metropolitan and certainly wouldn’t have suited the quaint character of a cathedral city such as Lichfield. From my research speaking to business owners in the city centre, the main draw factor to Lichfield appears to be its picturesque setting, traditional architecture and unique old-world shopping experience. The council’s economic policies should be reorientated more towards preserving and enhancing Lichfield’s history and heritage as opposed to trying to turn the city into replicas of nearby places such as Tamworth or Burntwood. Lots of smaller niche shops would be more advantageous for local people and visitors than a sprawl of chain stores; Fine & Vintage, a small independent retailer, is an excellent example of what I think Lichfield ought to aim for. At present, the Masterplan does not encapsulate all these crucial factors that will make the difference between the proposal being a success or failure, and so reform and review – not speed and spending – would be the most appropriate way to go about this project.

“Currently there are plans for housing developments at Nether Stowe and Leyfields on urban green space plus the construction of a filter lane cutting through part of the Festival Gardens – I strongly oppose all these projects and will do my best if elected to bring about more suitable alternatives”

With plans for over 4,000 houses for the city and calls for a gender-neutral term to replace chairman, what are the other big issues in the city?

Lichfield was once a semi-rural small historical city with many people saying they’ve moved to live here for its quiet, idyllic setting. The growth in housing in the area over recent years has been unacceptable and has eroded that traditional image of the city. It’s also important to bear in mind why the growth of housing has occurred. The council has adopted a Local Plan and numerous neighbourhood plans to improve certain aspects of the city that are being rolled out over many years. Overlaying that are the central government’s own house building plans. The issue here in Lichfield, however, is that the supply of housing is already above trend as was revealed by District Councillor Tax last October. The government must reconsider its housing targets for this area as central planning does not consider our specific requirements and, if elected, this is something I will pursue with determination. An oversupply of housing is never desirable since bricks and mortar have been a key driver of the British economy over the past twenty years – if that hidden wealth falls due to a lack of demand, we’ll all be paying an extra price in either higher taxes or lower public spending as councils and the government try to stabilise their budgets. Eerily, a similar phenomenon has already occurred with industrial space located south of Lichfield Trent Valley Railway station and the recently constructed Imperial Retail Park took two full years to reach full occupancy. Financial and material resources would be more effective elsewhere at this time. In terms of gender-neutral language, my preference is very clear – if I wished to be referred to as ‘chairman’ or ‘chairwoman’ or ‘chairperson’, I’d hope to be referred to as chairman, chairwoman or chairperson respectively. It’s a matter of personal preference that certainly shouldn’t be enforced to delegitimise natural gender values. There is nothing wrong with being a man or a woman, and our language should reflect that by reinforcing who we are as individuals. It’s hardly a headline issue, and there are bigger fish to fry what with the state of our potholed roads, cracked pavements and empty grit bins! Above all, the issue of the environment is very high on the agenda. Currently there are plans for housing developments at Nether Stowe and Leyfields on urban green space plus the construction of a filter lane cutting through part of the Festival Gardens – I strongly oppose all these projects and will do my best if elected to bring about more suitable alternatives.

You are also planning to run in the Lichfield City North division for Staffordshire County Council. Tell us about the area and what you hope to do for it. What would you like to see change at the council?

I believe in representative local democracy. As such, I hope to act on the priorities of local people as expressed through the survey I’ve issued to them which will be used to create a manifesto that truly represents the people whilst forging consensus on which we can build for the future. We’ve got to meet the challenges posed by remote working, education beyond the classroom and healthcare beyond the hospitals. I also aim to be a pro-business representative. One key consideration is a proposal to extend the Cross-City railway line towards Derby to alleviate road traffic on the A38, increase visitors and tourists from the East Midlands, and to make work at Fradley Park more accessible for those who don’t own a car. More can be done in terms of technical support to make the most of the shift from the physical to the digital economy by assisting small independent businesses to sell their products online, plus helping promote our unique Cathedral. Future housing developments must include supporting infrastructure such as shops, gyms, parks and public services to encourage the growth of the community and foster social cohesion. We’ve got the adapt quickly to the new needs of the economy by installing fast broadband in offices and cafes, adopting a more flexible approach to Business Improvement District investment that ensures no business becomes burdened with charges beyond its means, and keeping business rates and parking charges low to facilitate higher footfall. There must be an attitudinal change at the County council level about how to conduct local government – there are consultations being run with the same low response rates time after time, a lack of accessible representation and too much authority being held at the top instead of being devolved to local councils. Councillors must realise that there is no one single way of accomplishing something; what’s good for one area may not necessarily be good for another. I think there has to be a greater consideration for the externalities of decision-making particularly regarding the difference between policy on paper and policy in action; the notion that the ends do not justify the means. To use the local housing developments as an example, it might be desirable for those moving in having a home of their own and the boost to the local economy arising from that, but those who already live there are losing green space where their children may play, the local roads will be more congested and dangerous as a result of more vehicles lining the streets, and air and noise pollution will be worse.

“a redefinition of the relationship between state and citizen because, as we’ve seen in the past year, the state has assumed the position of the master and the citizen has become its servant”

As we move out of the lockdown, what would you like to see done on the road to recovery both locally and nationally?

I’d like to see a redefinition of the relationship between state and citizen because, as we’ve seen in the past year, the state has assumed the position of the master and the citizen has become its servant. Now we’re hopefully coming out of one of the worst periods in modern socioeconomic history, I’d like to see a fundamental challenge to the traditional authoritarian approach of statist government in favour of a libertarian approach that values the freedom, autonomy and natural rights of the individual with an emphasis on sovereignty, personal choice, free speech and expression, family values and the rule of law. I believe this a philosophy that can be expanded at both a local and national level, and I will work with unremitting energy – whether holding public office or not – to see it come to fruition.

If people would like to know more or get involved, how do they get in touch?

I can be contacted at christopherjwilkinson@protonmail.com, through my website at www.christopherjwilkinson.com, or by social media at www.facebook.com/christopherwilkinsonindependent.

End of transition: Brexiteers on Brexit – Part 1

Now we have left the Transition Period we asked Brexiteers if they feel Brexit is now complete, for their hopes and their predictions for the future.  Part 1 below. Part 2 up at http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/brexiteers-on-brexit-part-2/

“Time will tell, first impressions suggest it’s not perfect but could be called done”

Dan Liddicott of the Independent Libertarians.

Did Brexit get done? Time will tell, first impressions suggest it’s not perfect but could be called done.

How do you hope the U.K. will use the new found freedoms? To shrink government interference and regulation in individual lives, leading to economic prosperity and greater individual freedom. I hope we will find a way to make CANZUK happen, or something like it, without giving up sovereignty.

What constitutional reform would you like to see happen next? A written constitution and bill of rights which reduces the power of the state, protects individual rights, reduces the tendency of democracy to become mob rule, and makes government more local and accountable.

What do you think is next for the EU? Continued slide to greater technocracy, more regulation, further loss of voice and liberty for individual citizens, expansionist outlook seeking to control more territory.

“Even “ Rejoiners” will become “ Rejoicers” as they see the real value of UK sovereignty”

John Broadfoot political campaigner and charity founder.

Did Brexit get done? Yes at the end of the day we have taken back control of our laws, borders and money, though it is a worry that for some reason the UK/EU Trade Deal did not include 80% of our trade with the EU – financial services. One can only hope there is a good reason for this – but it is vital and a big concern. We inevitably had to make some concessions but even with the fish we will have virtual total control in five and a half years. As our economy booms, politically and practically  I believe , the EU will not be able to hold us back by increasing tariffs. Even “ Rejoiners” will become “ Rejoicers” as they see the real value of UK sovereignty, freedom to do our own trade deals and controlling our population numbers to better plan future infrastructure – hospitals, school, transport etc and keep us safe from terrorist attacks.

How do you hope the U.K. will use the new found freedoms? It is not a perfect deal but with the return of sovereignty and democracy we are now in a position to make our own trade deals and boom as an independent entrepreneurial trading nation, outside of the declining undemocratic EU. Already we have made over 60 worldwide trade deals and we have carried out more vaccine injections that the whole of the EU put together. The EU will continue to decline and despite safeguards on tariffs that they have built in, they won’t be able to prevent the UK from booming. This will set an example to other EU sceptic member countries and they will be looking for the exit door too. Especially with the Franco/German push even further towards an EU super state that further diminishes local democracy and accountability.

What constitutional reform would you like to see happen next? Most urgent is Westminster and the role of the Speaker – so clearly not fit for purpose and so abused by Remainer Bercow during the Brexit process. Plus MPs must deliver on the Manifestos on which they were elected – not just choose their own personal approach, and ignoring the wishes of the majority of their constituents when they get to the House. Next important is reforming. reducing , possibly abolishing, the ridiculously huge , undemocratic House of Lords. Finally, new rules on the Honours system to stop cronyism and abuse. You don’t get an honour for just doing your job – e.g. an Ambassador.

What do you think is next for the EU? Very interesting and difficult to predict with Merkel and Macron not likely to be around by the end of the year. With the UK gone the Franco/German axis will try to dominate EU policy. If the UK does well and horrendous EU youth unemployment continues then some of the newer Eastern European members may look for an out or major reform.

“No matter how incompetent Croydon Labour were and how we as an opposition pointed it out, Tony Newman just blamed central government. Too many voters believed him”

Robert Ward Conservative Councillor Selsdon and Addington Village.

Did Brexit get done? Yes, Brexit got done, and better than I had expected. Removing the ECJ from the equation was vital. What is now important is to move on and make the most of it. We have already wasted far too much time bickering.

How do you hope the U.K. will use the new found freedoms? I would start with replacing the Common Agricultural Policy by supporting our farmers to use the land in a more environmentally friendly and productive way. This was the most controversial policy when we joined and one which for me, who voted to stay in in 1975, found the most egregious. Reform was promised because it was so disadvantageous to the UK but it came very slowly indeed because it had been designed as a mechanism to subsidise French farmers. That failure was one of the things that changed my mind about the EU.

What constitutional reform would you like to see happen next? A big problem is local government. That’s something that seems to work better in some other countries. Local people understand better than here which politician is responsible for delivering what and vote accordingly. In the UK the vast majority do not and as a consequence vote on national issues. That is in my opinion a major contributor to the mess that Labour has got us into in Croydon. No matter how incompetent Croydon Labour were and how we as an opposition pointed it out, Tony Newman just blamed central government. Too many voters believed him.

What do you think is next for the EU? I hope they do well but the signs are not good. They are refusing to learn the lessons of Brexit. Their solution to failure is always more EU. Criticism of that line is also very muted. The BBC isn’t the only national broadcaster that follows the EU-can-do-no-wrong line.

“The Brexit debacle proved that MPs, in this case remain leaning MPs , were not to be trusted and voted against the wishes of their voters, that cannot happen again”

Ian Woodley, SDP organiser in Surrey.

Did Brexit get done? Yes, sort of. I think time had come to be pragmatic and move on. Despite the Labour party grudgingly voting for the deal, they are clearly positioning themselves to “improve” the deal which in their terms means weaken it and a Labour government would end in BRINO. The government need to prove the benefits before the 2024 election as we may find much of the good work undone. Leavers should learn the lesson of 2016 in that rather than celebrating the referendum result and taking our foot of the gas we needed to close it out. This isn’t the end of the matter.

How do you think the UK will use its new found freedom? This is an area where the current government and I part ways. They are classic neo liberals and will look to turn us into a global buyer of cheap goods whereas the strategy I favour is to rebuild our industries and positively favour UK produced goods and services, we need to put the needs of our own people first.

What constitutional reform would you like to see happen next? As a Social Democrat this is a big issue for us. The Brexit debacle proved that MPs, in this case remain leaning MPs, were not to be trusted and voted against the wishes of their voters, that cannot happen again. We would introduce proportional representation and abolish the House of Lords whilst we were at it. A personal beef of mine is that if MPs choose to swap parties mid-term then they should be asked to stand at a by-election. Whilst all of the switchers were punished in the 2019 election we had to put up with them for the previous 3 years.

What do you think is next for the EU? Tough to say, I don’t see anything happening quickly but the lack of British money and our steadying influence the differences between North, South and Eastern Europe will become more apparent. I really feel for those countries in the Euro as they are well and truly stuffed, our escape was made easier by not having to worry about currency. Watch youth unemployment in Southern Europe, that can no longer be exported to the UK.

On to Part 2

Podcast Episode 44 – Chris Wilkinson: EU Trade Talks, Covid Tiers, Assault on Free Speech & Newman Departs

We are joined by Chris Wilkinson, the host of The Libertarian Listener podcast, as we discuss the EU Trade Talks, the Covid Tiers, the latest assault on free speech and developments on Croydon Council. We then chat with Chris about his experiences in politics, The Libertarian Listener podcast and his future plans.

Chris’ contacts:
www.christopherjwilkinson.com
www.facebook.com/ChristopherWilkinsonLibertarian www.facebook.com/TheLibertarianListener
www.twitter.com/LichfieldChris
www.youtube.com/channel/UCIM3KjbS7e6eexoKx9y8K4Q

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Podcast Episode 43 – Dan Liddicott: Masks in Pubs, Emergency Budget, New Parties & Independent Libertarians

We are joined by Dan Liddicott, the former Chairman of the Libertarian Party UK, as we discuss the wearing of facemasks in pubs and other Covid restrictions, Croydon Council’s Emergency Budget and 2 new political parties. We then chat with Dan about his resignation from the Libertarian Party and his new initiative: Independent Libertarians.

Independent Libertarians – https://independentlibertarians.uk/

Young Libertarians – https://younglibertarians.co.uk/

You can follow Dan at https://libertaridan.com/

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