We’ve seen huge support in opposing ULEZ expansion during our recent successful street stalls in Coulsdon and Sutton. We’re now planning two more street stalls in Addiscombe on the 4th March and Purley on the 8th April.
We will be distributing leaflets directing people to our Stop ULEZ Expansion page, which has links to Petitions, and more information.
If you’re free, please come and join us raising awareness of the important issue. Help stop ULEZ which will cost many thousands, will hurt small business and the poorest hardest.
With the Croydon Council having recently declared bankruptcy for the third time and planning a 15 per cent hike in council tax. The TaxPayers’ Alliance have published a deep-dive by Mike Swadling of this parish looking at how the people of Croydon found themselves in this mess, and what might happen next.
“The consequences of years of failure to control borrowing and spending by the previous administration are now being borne by the local taxpayers”
“Were it not so impactful on those who can least afford it, you could almost admire the thoroughness with which the council undertook its hatchet job on the borough’s finances”
“the council was failing to deliver on basic services. The Children’s Services department was rated inadequate. £1.1 million was spent developing Surrey Street Market but resulted in fewer traders”
“To compound all of this, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is proposing to bring most of outer London into the ULEZ zone. This will charge motorists with older, higher emission vehicles £12.50 a day for driving them”
“Spending public funds on arts that are not viable commercially or via voluntary donations as the council has been doing for years, is no less of a waste of money when it comes from someone else’s funding stream”
We are joined by Robert Ward, a Conservative Party Councillor for the Selsdon and Addington Village ward in Croydon, as we discuss the fall of Nicola Sturgeon, the expansion of ULEZ to Outer London and the 15% Council Tax rise for Croydon residents.
The Tax Reform Council seeks a system of taxation that encourages greater economic growth and places a lower burden on individuals and businesses. Among their activities they run the ‘Cut My Tax’ campaign. We speak to Max Young about the Council.
Max thank-you for your time.
Can you tell us what the Council does and your role in it?
The Council advocates for lower taxes. It wants to inform the public why lower taxes are better for all of us and it aims to send our politicians a strong message to that effect. I’m the Council’s administrator, so I liaise with our board, advisors, and analysts, as well as keeping the website and social media running and up to date.
You have the ‘Cut My Tax’ campaign. What are you aiming to achieve and how can people get involved?
Yes, Cut My Tax is the campaign arm of the Council. So far its strongest presence is on Twitter where we post analysis of tax news, threads, article summaries et cetera. It seems that, despite all of the fantastic work that think tanks, journalists, consultancies and others are producing on tax, there isn’t a real thrust of outreach to the public. The Council wants to make it a lot easier to learn about tax policy and get a sound take on contemporary tax issues. Most content on tax is, let’s face it, pretty boring – so we want to engage people and, ultimately, let MPs know that tax hikes won’t fly with the public.
To that effect on our website we run letter campaigns that anyone can sign on to, have a comprehensive resource bank of reports on tax (it was difficult to find many of these before), a quotes section, and a blog. As the operation grows there will, we hope, be more direct activity for campaigns.
How did you first get involved in the campaign to reform taxes?
Our advisory board members and our senior advisors have been fighting the fight for decades. For what it’s worth, I found Milton Friedman’s eighties TV series “Free to Choose” in my teenage years and have been working in anti-tax advocacy since.
We’re great believers in the Laffer Curve, what are your thoughts on how lower tax rates can affect tax take?
There are many many examples of the Laffer Curve in action. We posted some of our favourites from around the world on our blog a little while ago. JFK is a great and relatively little-known example, he slashed income tax at all levels in 1963 (though the highest was 91% at the time) and revenues shot up. We see the same trend everywhere – Lord Lawson’s cuts in the eighties, Canada in the nineties, France in the mid-noughties. There seems to be a strange unshakeable belief among bureaucrats and the commentariat that people will happily absorb high taxes without changing their behaviour, which is obviously not true. The Curve is a useful means of explaining that.
Are there any taxes you’re more in favour of or against than others? What’s your preference for how the government raises income?
DC’s tax-cutter in chief Grover Norquist put it well: “What Mae West said about sex is true about taxes. All tax cuts are good tax cuts; even bad tax cuts are good tax cuts.” Aside from that, the supply side trumps all, of course, and we should organise tax policy accordingly. Say’s Law from 1803 still holds up: goods are ultimately paid for with other goods, so any tax arrangement must first and foremost prioritise production. This is why it is so sad to see Sunak and Hunt slowly heap earth on any prospect of growth for the coming years. There was an encouraging article in the FT by Stuart Kirk some weeks ago on why corporation tax in a sane world would be lowered to 0%. We’re some way off having a fruitful conversation on that but it’s where we should be. We don’t love any taxes, but if the government wants to raise income it should (1) Respect the Laffer Curve and (2) Raid the supply side at its peril.
If you could introduce a couple of immediate changes to the tax system, what would they be?
Cut the tax code down to size. As your readers likely know it is the longest such document in the world by quite some way – Proust’s “À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu” is 1.26 million words and the UK’s tax code is eight times longer than that. A shorter tax code can be achieved, unsurprisingly, by scrapping whole taxes. Any tax system has to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) to encourage investment, confidence, ease of interaction, and avoidance of hair-pulling. Hong Kong’s and Georgia’s are worth emulating.
Other than that, it would be great to see some changes to HMRC’s treatment of the self-employed and especially freelance contractors. This was a once-growing and dynamic part of the economy that’s now being dragged kicking and screaming into arbitrary employment status by successive IR35 reforms and forced to use leech-like “umbrella companies” to manage their relationship with companies that use them.
Do you have any last thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
We are living in disheartening times to be sure – taxes at their highest since Attlee and likely to get higher, productivity and growth kicking the bucket et cetera, but this is no cause for despair. The facts are always on our side and we will succeed against stale ideas and soulless managers of decline.
I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that there’s something to be said for living under an existential threat. I don’t want anyone to be threatened or come to harm, but the reason for being, and the drive a common enemy gives, really does seem to improve a society. Much is made of the blitz spirit, but I’m not sure the benefit was worth the nightly visits from the Luftwaffe. But as I’ve written about before Britain used to know how to react to evil in a way we no longer do.
I recently visited Israel, staying in Jerusalem. Before I left I was told to be careful and asked if it was safe. As any resident of Croydon or London generally would know, safety can be a relative thing. What I found was a city that despite recent events, felt very safe, and a society where people could wander around engrossed in their lightly held mobile phones. Something most Londoners know better than to do.
As a history buff it’s great to be in a land when you can be snobbish about not taking much of an interesting in anything not BC, and certainly not anything less than a thousand years old. Israel uses the BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) notations for years. Whilst I find these generally dreadful (what for heaven’s sake denotes the Common Era) I can just about forgive a Jewish state for not wanting to recognise “anno Domini nostri Jesu Christi” (AD). Beyond the history though this was a country that, to put not too fine a point on it, cut the crap.
The old city of Jerusalem demonstrates a knack for avoiding the superfluous when visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall (often known as the Wailing Wall). Both require men and women to pass via different entrances, both have different dress codes for men and women, and the Western Wall had different sections for men and women to ‘wail’ at. There is no choice of pronouns. If the armed IDF (Israel Defense Forces) guards and Police don’t persuade you of the seriousness of the rules the religious guardians will. Israel is consistently ranked highly as a LGBTQ country and markets itself as “The ultimate LGBTQ travel destination” but when it comes down to it some things weren’t up for debate in the City of David.
The old city of Jerusalem is a fascinating place where you can turn one corner and see ‘free Palestine’ T-shirts everywhere, turn another and be surrounded by Menorahs, walk on a bit and follow the path Christ took to his crucifixion. One of the best sites to visit in the old city is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A site from the 4th century which covers the sites Christ was crucified and buried at. The church is shared by the Catholic Church, Armenian, Greek, Ethiopian, Syriac, and Coptic Orthodox churches. Although the primary custodians are the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic churches, the keys are held by a Muslim family as the various Christian denominations couldn’t agree who between them should be able to open the church. The current holder popped by as we toured and said hello to our guide, a friendly elderly man he checked on the work going on inside the building and wandered off, seemingly passing blessings to all he encountered.
I joked on one tour with some fellow Londoners that we probably often walked past teenagers carrying guns back at home, here of course, they were IDF soldiers. Whilst on national service, soldiers are taken around major historical sites. On approaching them you see what looks like any school trip, teenagers in a uniform, laughing and joking. It’s not until you notice that every so often one of them is carrying a machine gun, and many have side arms. This isn’t a normal school outing. But that’s not all you notice, whilst all Jewish, almost 2000 years of the diaspora since the failed revolt against Rome, and the 2,500 years since the deportation to Babylon and migration to Ethiopia (although this date is contested), has meant Israelis at least look a very mixed ethnic bunch. Aside from ethnicity the IDF volunteers will come from a variety of cultures, and whilst all speaking Hebrew (and most English) will likely have differing third languages. All this leaves aside the many Arabs that volunteer for service. But the thing you notice is the shared sense of purpose, you notice these teenagers enjoying each other’s company, whilst still acting responsibly. You notice they are as one, pulled together in adversity, and through service. Later out in a bar I happened to chat to a couple of staff about how they found national service. One barmaid who had finished her 2-year stint a few years earlier (men serve for 32 months, women for 24 months), said she felt national service was like kindergarten, “a very hard system I wanted to break free from”. But she showed no animosity, no anger, no hysterics, you all too often see from westerners of the same age. It was matter of fact; it was regardless of her relative youth, mature.
Israel has no written constitution, but like the UK has a Supreme Court who in recent years has grabbed more power, becoming a modern Kritarchy. With no constraining document the court has become in effect a new legislative body, holding power without the democratic accountability. Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is trying to change this, allowing the parliament to overturn the court’s verdicts with a simple majority in the Knesset. I confess to knowing none of this as I visited the museums across the road from the legislature. Seeing a protest gathering I decided to wander up to ask what was going on.
Having been on a couple of protests I can say the first protester made the common mistake of protestors, of eyeing everyone not 100% on board with their views with suspicion. Whilst polite enough he clearly couldn’t accept that my asking him what the protest was for was born from ignorance not disagreement. As an aside a note to protestors, not everyone is as fascinated by your subject of protest as you are. Maybe you should consider using the protest to grow the number of those aware of the issue, not just making it a test of the depth of faith of those attending. Anyway, eventually I found someone who could explain the protest to me, and in what I was finding to be an increasingly typically Israeli way (the first protestor aside) was able to explain both sides of the issue. Whilst giving her own view she was able to show balance.
Speaking to a few more people it became clear, this was broadly a left-wing protest. A protest by those who believed in (often global) rules by an anointed class, more than they believe in democratic mandates. Whilst my sympathy wasn’t by nature with them (I don’t pretend to know enough, to hold firm views on the issue), this was a friendly protest and a protest by patriots. One group made a point of showing they were ex-IDF, another was singing all the way, most all held Israeli flags. You simply couldn’t imagine a similar level of patriotism from a centre right protest in the UK, and certainly not from a centre left protest in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand or much of Europe.
The history of Jerusalem made it a fascinating place to visit, as was my short trip to Bethlehem in the State of Palestine. But the people of the city were fascinating in the way they acted, similar to how I remember we did, in a more straightforward time.
An appeal from Rosco Paterson Reform UK co-ordinator for Surrey.
May 4th seems close but not touching. The Reform UK process for the application by and the selection of council candidates, although not overlong, means we must get things going quickly. The deadlines imposed by the councils themselves for meetings with candidates and election agents are also pretty aggressive.
Resources are a limiting factor against this timescale, and we fully understand that candidates standing now, for the most part, will not be able to manage a fully equipped campaign and everything that goes with it, but all candidates are important, and any candidate allows us to get the Reform UK logo and name onto the voting slips. If we can pass 800 candidates then we get a party political broadcast; that would be a real win.
If you decide to do this and also give it a go for the election, we promise to communicate with members in the county (and outside) with the hope of assisting you for leafletting and door-knocking. So as an ardent request please contact me ([email protected]) if you are interested and willing to:
Stand in the forthcoming council elections on May 4th, (for those eligible in Surrey)
Could be available, for leafletting, and/or
Could be available, for buddying up with a candidate for doorstep chats.
I was asked the other day how many seats were up for grabs and our starting position. I think you will see from the following table just how many opportunities there are in all 11 boroughs in the county. Some councils elect all their councillors every four years and some rotate one-third of their councillors each year, the size of the prize is still considerable. (The table also shows the control of each borough as published after the last major elections and a few recent updates):
NOC Residents Assoc & LibDem
Epsom and Ewell
NOC LibDem Minority Admin
Reigate and Banstead
NOC Residents Assoc & Independent
NOC Residents Assoc & LibDem
The total is 275 seats; that is over one-third of the target required for the whole country, just here in Surrey, for the party’s political broadcast.
A statement from the Croydon Constitutionalists on the proposed 15% council tax rise in Croydon.
The likely 15% Council Tax rise is devastating news for the people of Croydon, who are already being hit by increased heating costs, general inflation, tax rises. and the proposed ULEZ expansion. All whilst services continue to be reduced.
This increase is just the latest failure by the council, but blame really must be apportioned to the Newman administration who as recognised by their auditors, really had no control of the money they lent to Brick by Brick or spent on seemingly anything they could. This will take years to unwind we just hope the town can bounce back from the mismanagement of its own council.
David Kurten was a GLA member 5 years, for UKIP and the Brexit Alliance. He also ran for Mayor of London for the Heritage Party. David, the Heritage Party leader, appeared at our inaugural event, has been on our podcast, and is now a regular on GB News. We caught up with David to speak about the party and the state of London and Britain.
David thanks for speaking with us.
You launched the Heritage Party ready for the London Mayoral Elections, how do you feel the party has progressed since then?
We’ve made great progress since the London Mayoral and Assembly elections. It was disappointing not to be elected back on to the London Assembly, but since then the Heritage Party has kept going and many people have joined. We had our first Annual Conference in Pulborough, West Sussex last September with a full day of speakers and about 100 people attending. We are also in the process of setting up county branches to cover the whole country including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as England, and they are thriving in many places.
We have local elections again this May, what are your plans, and how can people help?
We shall stand as many candidates as possible across England and Northern Ireland in the local elections this May. We will have many more candidates than last year, but there is still time to join and apply to be a candidate to challenge the old parties which are running our nation down.
You were a GLA member for 5 years. With the political talk in much of Croydon being the proposed ULEZ expansion, what are your thoughts on Mayor Khan’s second term?
Khan has just carried on his path of destruction. He is clearly fully signed up to Agenda 2030 and the policies of the WEF. He supports boroughs imposing LTNs which are disastrous for residents and businesses, and it is appalling that he has gone ahead with expanding the ULEZ to the boundary of Greater London against the wishes of Londoners in the consultation. That shows contempt for Londoners and he should be voted out next time.
We marched and we stopped vaccine mandates for most people in the UK. Sadly, some restrictions (e.g. in Hospitals) still seem to apply. Looking back how should we approach the lockdown nightmare were it to return?
Hopefully there will never be another lockdown as everyone can now see how awful it was, and even some who supported it would never accept it again. If there is another one, there will be a much greater level of civil disobedience, which is needed to stand against tyranny.
You’re now a regular on GB news, often debating people of very different viewpoints. Do you have and inside gossip or thoughts on GB news and on becoming a celebrity!?
It is strange to be thought of as a celebrity! However, it is very good to be given a platform to be able to get a few nuggets of truth across on a mainstream channel. However, it seems that Ofcom is clamping down on truth, and now that Mark Steyn has left the channel, we will have to see what happens at GB News in the future.
Do you have any last thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
However hard things get, we must keep on battling for freedom and take heart from the victories we have won. It was only a year ago that the government was going to fire 100,000 doctors and nurses who refused to take an experimental injection, but the power of people protesting changed this. The policy fell, and the Covid narrative started to fall around the world. It has been a great privilege to be a part of the freedom movement in our day that is standing against tyranny, and marvellous to stand with so many other good men and women who are doing the same.
Misery loves company they say, so on the 30th December last year I made a point of telling a few people the day was the 40th anniversary of the first broadcast of ‘Allo ‘Allo! This knowledge having made me feel rather old, was only fair, to share. The show broadcast for 10 years, was a comedy set in German occupied France in WW2 and followed René Artois, a café owner and his escapades with the resistance, the Germans, the waitresses, shot down airmen, and his family.
Even if you don’t remember the show, you are bound to know many of its catch phrases that have made it into the lexicon. “Listen very carefully, I will say this only once” is a critical start to any sentence giving instructions, just as “It is I, LeClerc!” is a necessary statement to break cover for any master of disguise. I would advise reader discretion when saying “You stupid woman”, but get it right and it could be a “Good moaning” for you. Beyond the great catchphrases and innuendo, what ‘Allo ‘Allo! really epitomised was being the last great show before the break between the post war world where grim reality had governed people’s lives, and the post-cold war world where feelings reign supreme.
I, like many, grew up in a house with parents who had lived through rationing and where no food went to waist. Most people I knew didn’t have double glazing, few had central heating. We spent much of the winter dashing to the one room with heating, something modern Net Zero policies are reintroducing for many. Most adults knew something about how hard life could be, and even in the free world we lived under the existential threat of nuclear war and the aggression of the Soviet Union. Except for when someone close to them had died, I don’t remember any of the adults in my life thinking they should talk about their feelings; they were simply too busy getting on with life.
Around the same time as the 40th anniversary of ‘Allo ‘Allo!’s debut, stories of how Prince Harry ended up wearing a Nazi uniform were circulating. I don’t have an opinion (or very much care) why Prince Harry or anyone at the party was wearing any particular outfit, but it did make me think how, how we treat evil has changed. In the hullabaloo around Prince Harry’s costume, I couldn’t help but think of my memory of watching ‘Allo ‘Allo! with a mix of family members. Some had been evacuees, one had evacuees stay in their home, another had their young children evacuated from them, and one had literally fought Nazis. All laughed heartily at the comedic Germans on the screen. Of course, many of the actors had also served during the war.
We once knew how to deal with those we disliked, through mockery. We weren’t offended by Kenny Everett dressed as Hitler, or Dick Emery as a German Army officer. No one was triggered by Hogan’s Heroes or Monty Python Communist Quiz sketch. No safe space was needed from Comrade Dad (a much-overlooked comedy starring George Cole, set in Londongrad, the capital of the USSR-GB). These comedy shows didn’t need to protect us from images of evil. Instead, the post war world (and before with Chaplin in The Great Dictator) knew the best defence against the twin evils of National and International Socialism was mockery and ridicule.
40 years ago, the BBC could make good comedy. Comedy that knew how we could mock our own sloppiness and arrogance (the British Airmen, and the Police Officer), the Germans officialdom (Colonel Kurt von Strohm, Lieutenant Hubert Gruber, and Herr Flick of the Gestapo), whilst admiring the French (especially the waitresses, Yvette Carte-Blanche and Maria Recamier). We knew that consenting adults might be pulled together in stressful situations (or frankly any situation), and deal with a little smut and inuendo, but alas no more. It would take greater smuggling skills to get such a comedy out of the BBC these days than it took to hide The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies. If you want to be reminded of some of the best bits of the show here’s a good place to start. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtQxugFYQqs If you think you’re at risk of being offended, maybe still give it a go, and remember those that fought Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy, used to laugh at it.