Podcast Episode 24 – Lockdown Exit Criteria, Town Hall Rich List & an interview with David Kurten

We discuss the Government’s COVID Lockdown Exit Criteria and the Taxpayers’ Alliance’s latest Town Hall Rich List. We then have an interview with David Kurten, the Brexit Alliance GLA Member and London Mayoral candidate. David shares his views on; the COVID Lockdown, Mayor Khan, Woke Culture & Brexit as well as discussing his upcoming campaign.

David’s website: https://www.davidkurten.net/

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We have also extracted our interview with David available on YouTube here:

For more on David read our interview with him, watch at and see him speaking at our meeting on Britain’s Opportunities outside the EU or listen to him speak at our Freedom of Speech…Just Watch What You Say event.

Another Virtual meet-up

Following the success of our first online meet-up, thanks to all who joined and enjoyed our chat.  The event will be hosted using GoToMeeting which you can access from your computer at https://www.gotomeet.me/CroydonConstitutionalists, on Thursday 30th April between 7:30pm and 10pm. 

Standard video conferencing you will need a microphone and camera, we will ask you to be on video so we can verify people.  If you have a laptop you can just use the built in camera and microphone that most modern laptops will have.

To join us for a chat, simply join at any point between those times on the 30th.  All we ask is you bring your own drink!

Thursday 30th April from 7:30pm to 10pm
Join us at https://www.gotomeet.me/CroydonConstitutionalists.

COVID-RECOVERY – The Potential For Human Liberty

Opinion Piece by Josh L. Ascough

Nearly a month into the COVID-19 lockdown, and what we saw as normal life seems a distant memory.

It can feel like a lifetime has gone by since we all could go to the pub for a cold beer (or in my case, gin) after a long day. It can bring a great level of reflection on just how important little things were to us enjoying our own, individual lives; things that would bring value to us no matter how big or small we perceived them, whether they be financial, emotional, mental or physical.

Going for a picnic, visiting family and friends to share stories and good memories, working at a job that brought food to the table, all of these and more can feel alien to us now; as the old saying goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.

“we as a country have to have the conversation, and now is a good time; nay, an important time to have it. If we’re to return to our liberties, better protect them and enhance them, we need to have the conversation now”

But in order to get these back, and make our lives better, we need to take a moment to now consider not when we will recover, but how we will recover, and how we will not simply bring things back to the old system but make them better. Not just so we are better prepared for another pandemic, but so we can also improve upon our own, subjective standard of value; we as a country have to have the conversation, and now is a good time; nay, an important time to have it. If we’re to return to our liberties, better protect them and enhance them, we need to have the conversation now.

We’re supposedly coming close to the peak period of the COVID-19 pandemic, after said point, we will (hopefully for our economy and social values) be working towards lowering the restrictions in place from the lockdown in an attempt to bring society back to a state of normality.

But it shouldn’t, and cannot be seen as a simple task of simply, flipping a switch; the economy isn’t something which can simply be halted and allowed to resume without serious ramifications, and harm to peoples’ living standards, values, and their ability to satisfy their needs.

It is the same for the social aspect of human existence, it isn’t something that can simply be shut down and allowed to reopen as if nothing happened.

So after saying this, how do we return to normal life?

  • How do we better protect our freedoms?
  • How do we further acknowledge what our freedoms consist of?
  • How do we restrict the power of the state when it can shut society down at a whim?

These are all questions we cannot rely on the government to answer for us, we have to sit down as individuals and find the answers within ourselves.

As the late Margaret Thatcher once said:

“Freedom is the birth right of every citizen”.

I’d argue it’s about time we put that statement into practise for the long term benefit; not the quick fix, short term we are so used to practising simply because “it’s easy”.

So what are my answers to these questions? I will answer these questions after giving a brief note:

These are not “end game” solutions that lift us into utopia; no such place exists nor could it ever exist. No central end game plan can bring about the utopia ideal of, how Adam Smith described, The Man of System; the man who believes he can plan a society from a central point of power, and believes himself to know what is best for everyone around him. These are intended as solutions to better lift the burdens on the people placed there by the government. To better embrace and protect each individual’s freedoms. To call out the fallacy of the faux-rights many claim demand for, such as the “right” to not be offended, or the artificial “group rights” of  (insert group type here;) each human being has individual rights, we are all human beings, so we all have the same rights; whether each human beings’ rights are acknowledged by the state, is another topic for another time.

Now that the fine print is out of the way, let us delve into the answers. I will give you my perspective, as an Austrian Economic writer, and as a true, real Liberal.

In order to better protect our rights and freedoms, we first need to understand and acknowledge what they are; whether the state wishes to acknowledge them or not, you and I must, so we can better fight for them.

We as human beings hold certain inalienable rights and freedoms; the right and freedom to live, the right and freedom to speak, the right and freedom to choose, the right and freedom to think, and the right and freedom to our property. All of these are the foundation of a truly Liberal society.

“My right to life does not mean I can force a doctor to operate on me, as his labour is his property”

My right to life does not mean I can force a doctor to operate on me, as his labour is his property; he must be compensated for the use of his property. Freedom to live means quite simply, I cannot kill another man. I may value my child’s life over that of a stranger’s life, but that does not mean I get to decide who is deserving of life and who is not; each individual’s life and body are their most fundamental forms of private property; you don’t get to decide whether I am deserving of life or not, nor do I get to make that choice for you.

My right to speech means exactly that, I get to speak; whether you or the government likes what I have to say or not, whether it is uncomfortable or not, whether it is good or evil, whether it is offensive or not; all speech matters. Freedom of speech not only ensures that each individual can speak from their mind and heart, but when it comes to combating ideas that seem dangerous, it is the best weapon; how can you or I know the substance of a man’s ideas, if his ideas are forbidden from being heard? If evil or dangerous ideas are forced underground and the speech that encompasses these ideas is censored, how can you know how many people support the ideas when they are covered by a veil of sensitivity? This does not mean there are no consequences for my speech, there are social consequences: for example, the government has no authority to force legal action against a man who calls trans women “men”, but that doesn’t mean the trans woman has no right to talk back, criticise, challenge, mock, or insult. Is the trans woman an individual human being? Yes? Then the trans woman has a right to speech too! The individual in question has a right to choose whether to associate with that person after their use of language or not; which brings us to our next right, choice.

My right to choose does not mean I get to choose whether you live or die, or that I get to choose how you must live your life; rights do not contradict themselves. By doing such an act, I would be infringing on your right to life and your right to choose; remember, each individual has the same individual rights. Freedom of choice ensures that each man’s consent is not only necessary, but vital to him being able to run his life with what ensures he can best satisfy his needs, values and identity. I as an individual get to choose what actions are best for my life, what healthcare coverage I wish to engage with, who I desire to be friends with, who I allow access to my property, how to best provide for myself and my family, whether I allow someone to be intimate with me and my body or not, who I wish to give my money to if anyone etc. As stated above, this does not mean I face no consequences for my choices. As an individual, I must accept that all choices add profits and losses to my person, and it is up to me which risks I am willing to take and which profits are worth the risks; whether they be long term or short term. I made the choice to start smoking when I was nineteen, I knew the tobacco companies were not responsible for any damage dealt to my lungs; they did not force the cigarette into my mouth, I made a conscious decision and accept any consequence that comes to me due to my actions, I’m a free individual, it is my body, my property. Do I regret my choice? No. Do some smokers regret it? Yes. Does me not regretting it mean I get to tell others they’re not allowed to give up smoking? Absolutely not!

My right to think is heavily linked to speech, however it does have separate elements. My right to think ensures I can believe what I choose to believe, and no individual or state can force me to stop. I can believe in whatever religion I want or whatever philosophy I want. I have the right to think a certain way about another individual, religion, culture or society, but as stated before, I cannot force others to believe or think the same way through violence enacted by myself or on my behalf  by the state. I am an Atheist, but though I do not think or believe any deity exists, it doesn’t mean I can force churches to close, stop individuals from reading religious text, make others become Atheists through the threat of a steel boot; I can attempt to convince through my right to speech, but if they make the choice to ignore my arguments, I do not then garner the authority nor does the state, to then put a gun to their head (figuratively or not) and decree “you will think x or else”.

My right to my property, is slightly different to the previously mentioned rights, though it is none the less important to a truly Liberal society. Each individual has a right to property to which he is in ownership of and holds command over. The farmer is in ownership of his cattle; they are his private property, it is not owned by society, nor does he owe anything to society; he cannot be told how to use his property; if he is an economizing man, he will make the choices which best serve his needs and priorities the needs most important to his subjective values and situation. Every individual looks to better serve his needs in relation to how much he values the goods necessary to do so, and will exchange his commodities for goods which hold better use value to him. The same is true for the consumer as well as the producer. The consumer has a right to his private property in the form of money, and cannot be coerced into spending it in ways he does not deem valuable to him or that would risk him not being able to serve the needs he perceives as more valuable. The producer has a right to the capital he has command over, and cannot be forced to use his property in such a way that would risk his ability to provide for his needs he classifies as most valuable to him. I cannot force you to give me your car, nor can you force me to give you my money. If I or you wish to exchange property, there must be a mutually beneficial exchange, and only those involved within the exchange are in a position to set the standards for said action; the good you wish to exchange must have more use value to me than the exchange value of my good, and your commodity must have a higher exchange value to you than its use value. The fruit of your labour is your property, and you have a right to it.

All of these rights and freedoms are the very essence of a Liberal society, but they are completely undermined by not just the COVID-19 lockdown, but a number of policies, institutions, and regulations our government places on human existence.

I will go over these in brief and how we can better these for the full acknowledgement of all of our rights and freedoms, but overall, the issue can be summed up in two statements, which I ask the reader to ponder over.

  1. Government and society positions itself on the notion of  ‘Assumed Consent’.
  2. The Government does not believe in ‘ Inalienable Rights’, but rather ‘Loaned Rights’.

I think it best to cover the topic most find difficult first; our healthcare system.

The fact that many would view the following statement as heresy, should be a clear indicator that many have been overcome by nostalgia for days which never existed, idealism, self-deceit, and a lack of either will, or desire for change; the statement is as follows:

The NHS Is A Government Run Centralised Monopoly.

Now this is not an attack on the doctors and nurses, they work extremely hard within a system poorly structured; we should consider change not just for the better satisfaction of patients, but for the hard working doctors and nurses to be able to better operate. Patients, nurses and doctors deserve much better.

There are two primary reasons for this statement, one of which is based in economics, the other is in direct opposition to our right to choose; these are:

  1. The Tragedy of the Commons.
  2. Centralised Planning of Healthcare.

The Tragedy of the Commons, is when there is no distinction between one man’s property and another man’s property; where a product, or service, is owned by everyone. With this, people face zero opportunity cost and tend to take more than what they need, causing supply to not be able to meet with demand, as there is no pricing system in place to coordinate causes, allocate resources or incentivise choices; this in turn creates rationing, shortages, long waiting periods before new supplies can become available, and additionally causes quality to drop dramatically with the costs rising exponentially.

On the subject of a Centralised Government Monopoly, The primary issue with this format, is that the central organised body, the government, due to having no income of its own; its income after all comes in the form of forcing money from citizens, whether they be consumers or producers by the means of taxes, and so faces no risk to itself should it make choices, which may be well intended, but that do harm. The other issue with this system, is that, as indicated, the NHS is a government run monopoly. Due to its legal monopoly status; not a monopoly status based on higher competitive abilities, such as more attractive wages, higher quality, lower prices, but due to an essentially limitless budget and a monopoly status derived from force and power of authority, where even in the case where fewer need or want it, it continues to have money forcefully taken from people, it creates a lack of incentive for efficiency, a lack of opportunity cost, and a lack of risk and loss on the part of the provider. Let us imagine for a moment, there was a company, let’s say a company which makes lifts; this company, no matter how large or small its consumer base is, no matter how many people want its services or not, has access to a limitless budget which it forces from people’s pockets; how much waste would be created from this company? What standard of quality do people believe this company would produce, considering it faces zero loss? Most people would rightfully say, it would create an unprecedented amount of waste, funnelling much towards its inputs but creating very few outputs, and would rightfully say that the standard of quality, would be so low, that under normal circumstances, where loss and risk are possible, this company would’ve gone bankrupt and possibly even sued.

“the government assumes a right to take a man’s property in order to fund a system, which he may not want to use, or he may not value. Neither you nor the government has a right to any man’s property simply because he lives within the same society”

This format directly contradicts every individual’s freedom of choice, right to his private property, and is a clear example of “assumed consent”. For simply being a citizen, the government assumes a right to take a man’s property in order to fund a system, which he may not want to use, or he may not value. Neither you nor the government has a right to any man’s property simply because he lives within the same society; you cannot assume consent without restricting the right to choice, or the right to the private property a man has ownership and command over.

I would consider the best option for recognising our right to our private property, right to choose, and create less assumed consent, would be to reform our healthcare system. This can be done by privatising hospitals, expanding which industries can enter the healthcare market, and altering the NHS into simply, a tax funded health insurance program, where individuals are not assumed to be consenting of payment, but is an opt-in system for those who cannot afford market rates, which holds no legal monopoly by increasing taxes if consumers do not choose it as an option, but operates under competition; both public and private can benefit from competition.

Additional measures to take to better protect property rights, freedom of choice and reduce assumed consent, would be to reform the tax system.

Through the acts of direct taxes such as Income tax, the government not only harms the living standards of those already on low income, but through direct tax does not recognise their right to private property and the fruits of their labour. The government not only assumes consent to plunder the citizens, but the direct tax is the state’s position of loaning property rights to those who already (if rights were taken seriously) hold ownership of the goods he possesses command over; his money!

In order to abandon this notion of loaned rights, it would suit us to reform the tax system into one of indirect tax. An indirect tax is not along the lines of the income tax, but requires the individual to consent to perform certain actions first; the sales tax is an example of such a tax: it is not taken from the individual regardless of actions or choices he takes, but is based on the individual making the conscious, free choice to a consenting transaction.

Another area, which I would consider the most important in order for the legitimate protection not just of rights, but of value and living standards, is the subject of the central bank.

“Money is not a creation of government; a money occurs when a certain economic good has acquired a certain degree of use value as well as exchange value; providing it with an intrinsic value for trading”

Money is not a creation of government; a money occurs when a certain economic good has acquired a certain degree of use value as well as exchange value; providing it with an intrinsic value for trading. This has allowed over the centuries for the development and strengthening of the consumer/producer relationship, however, the creation of the central bank has not only destroyed this relationship, but shifted it to a relationship between government and corporations.

Through the creation of the central bank, the government has bestowed upon itself the legal monopoly not just that of money production, but the power to define a money and through the elimination of the gold standard, the power to print limitless quantities; forever weakening our lives and values.

If we truly want to end Cronyism, we need to destroy The Central Bank.

Our rights continue down the route of being disregarded through the enactment of “hate speech” laws; fining people and arresting people for what they say depending on whether they address certain words towards “protected groups”.

“The government has no right to determine what hateful speech is and what is not…. there is no such thing as group rights, each individual has individual rights, so everybody has the same rights; including the right to speak”

The government has no right to determine what hateful speech is and what is not; nor should it be positioning itself into deciding which “groups” are “protected” groups. As stated before, there is no such thing as group rights, each individual has individual rights, so everybody has the same rights; including the right to speak. This also fails to take into account context, I think many of us remember the Count Dankula case. A man who was arrested after making an edgy joke, by portraying his pug as a Nazi, only to have the courts declare “we decide the context”; the irony being the only people in history who would’ve been offended to the point of arrest over such a joke, would’ve been the Nazis. In addition, this type of pandering can be seen as what I would call, condescending compassion: group x is so fragile and unable to handle confrontation, we must protect them from slogans and terminologies which may upset them. It’s just another one of the ironic traits of the self-righteous planners of social systems, when you really break down the position, turning round to say, a black person and saying “you’re a part of group A, so you will find x offensive, so you must be protected because you cannot handle yourself” sounds very condescending. I am by no means justifying racist, sexist or any of the “ist” forms of language, but you don’t combat bad ideas by burying them under the carpet. This type of policing of language, due to the governments nature, always leads to context being ignored through blanket, one size fits all policies, and a method of silencing opposition without forming any argument; it shouldn’t be hard to use freedom of speech to explain why Nazism is bad; banning its language just displays a lack of ability or desire to make an argument, which, if those who decree hate speech have arguments that are so bad they have to censor the words of opponents, they have failed to do the simple task of thinking.

In order to be able to think or speak, you have to risk being offensive.

I don’t care what you are, I care who you are.

In order to protect the right to speech as well as all of our inalienable rights, we need to form a codified, British constitution, detailing the individual rights of all who live within the nation.

Overall, not just the government, but we as individuals need to recognise, the government has only one role through its power of legal monopoly over force; to protect the rights of all.

Josh L. Ascough is on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/j.l.ascough/

Interview with Councillor Mary Lawes of the Foundation Party

Mary Lawes is a Councillor for the Folkestone Harbour Ward of Folkestone Town Council retaining her seat at the last election.  Mary a founding member of the Foundation Party a pro-Brexit party that promotes freedom of opportunity for individual self-advancement, free markets for businesses,  freedom for citizens to more adequately hold politicians to account, and the unrestricted freedom of speech.

Mary thanks for your time.

You have been a Councillor for almost 5 years, tell us about your area and what it’s like being a councillor?

My ward is the third most deprived area in the district of Folkestone and Hythe. It nestles in the most wonderful environment by the sea. My ward is based around Folkestone Harbour and the Warren. The ward is kind of split in two where we have areas of poor quality council and private housing on one side, the other side is private family housing. Within my community are a number of community groups which bring us all together as one. There are many diverse issues as a councillor, with some hard to deal with and other that are very rewarding. I am very determined and passionate about my work with and for the community.

“The big challenges facing Folkestone, are health, housing, employment and drugs. Over the last 10 years private housing has been built on a vast scale, but are the wrong type of housing and are way beyond the majority of residents means”

What are the big challenges facing Folkestone, what’s going well and what needs help in the town?

The big challenges facing Folkestone, are health, housing, employment and drugs. Over the last 10 years private housing has been built on a vast scale, but are the wrong type of housing and are way beyond the majority of residents means. Locally most, of our high streets are diminishing. The consequences at present are that they have created working poor. With the major chains leaving the high street, this has left low paid jobs like restaurants, pound shops and call centres. The landscape has changed drastically with the seafront development and the creative quarter (arts). Lots of people have moved down to Folkestone mainly from London. Together these have put Folkestone and the harbour area on the map. But unfortunately this has done nothing to help the locals who are being squeezed out by the ever increasing property values.

“we want to devolve power from parliament to communities. Communities must be able to plan how their own communities evolve, grow and prosper while keeping the environment safe, healthy and inclusive”

You are a founding member of the Foundation Party.  What made you get involved and what do you see as the key principles and purpose of the party?

I was a member of UKIP up until 2018. I felt UKIP was going in a different direction at that time. It was not a direction I believed in or wished to pursue. I felt that the main parties did not speak for me and found parliament were not listening to the people. I felt that parliament seemed totally out of touch with the people as regards its membership of the EU. I had worked with Chris Mendes our leader and the other founding members of Foundation Party in UKIP, and had formed a good bond with them. In your introduction, you have stated our parties main priorities. Our key priorities are empowering the individuals, families and community. For example, we want to devolve power from parliament to communities. Communities must be able to plan how their own communities evolve, grow and prosper while keeping the environment safe, healthy and inclusive.

We have now left the EU and are now in the transition period.  Do you expect us to get a free trade deal with the EU, and what policies do you hope are pursued once we are fully out of the EU?

We have left the EU but I have concerns about the type of transition deals that are still to be agreed. I sincerely hope that there are no delays to the transition period.  The major upheaval of the last four years in our parliament and the monumental win for conservatives on 12 December 2019.  The Conservatives taking vast amounts of votes off Labour voters was a tidal wave in politics. I do expect the UK to get a free trade deal with the EU when we leave. Even more so since the coronavirus pandemic was called. The 27 EU countries have closed their borders and turned to national safe guarding following those in Brussels reluctant to help. Free Trade will benefit both sides of the deal and will allow Europe and ourselves to work together. There is a close bond and Europeans are our friends, families and colleagues.

“Giving police too much power can be a dangerous thing, especially when laws have not be approved and no proper scrutiny has taken place”

We are in the period of the Covid-19 crisis.  What are your thoughts on how this has been handled so far?

I have a mixed opinion of the government’s handling of the pandemic. They came straight out and seemed like they had a good handle on the situation. They straightway started talking about throwing large amounts of money at the problem. Then the cracks started showing. Insufficient PPE for front line staff, insufficient ventilators and funding for furlough staff not getting through quick enough. The longer our economy is on hold the harder it will be when it does start up. The economic impact and implications are going to hit the country very hard. The lockdown has been hard on people yet necessary to reduce the spread. I however do not believe the police have responded very well. They have been heavy handed in their approach and have not followed the guidelines. Giving police too much power can be a dangerous thing, especially when laws have not be approved and no proper scrutiny has taken place. This Covid-19 is unprecedented and different to anything we know. I will for now support the government but will continue to criticise, if I feel free speech and our civil rights get eroded any further.

The implications from Covid-19  could be wide reaching. Less tax collection, not enough employers, not enough big employers, insufficient employment and severe lack of the voluntary sector. The government and business must not be allowed to see this crisis as an opportunity to reduce wages and must protect civil liberties. The voluntary sector was mostly made up of retired volunteers. There could be a vast shortage going forward. Over the last forty years the voluntary sector have taken up the slack for numerous areas the government and councils have stopped providing. The voluntary sector have had to take up the slack for mental health, food banks, hospital service for patients nursery and early learning and other areas. Society will face problems, if these areas are not in place.

Once this current crisis is finally over what do you think may have changed and what do you think the government should focus on to aid the recovery?

Obviously the first thing that must be done is to get the economy going again. Employment will be a top priority. Massive investment to create industry once again in our country. This crisis has shown how much we rely on other countries to provide us with for example ventilators, PPE and food. We must as a country going forward be able to stand on our own two feet. We must not be beholding to others outside of the UK who can control what we get and how much we get. This country was known the world over for its innovation and creativity. We then became a service industry and lost our fishing and farming rights. This must be reversed once we are fully out of EU.

You have stood in a number of elections for UKIP and the Foundation party.  Do you have any funny or memorable tales from the campaign trail?

I can say that the campaigns I have been involved in, certainly brings you to the reality of what you have taken on. I never planned to be a councillor, it kind of happened when I joined UKIP. My colleague had a mobile trailer for advertising which he said we could use during a campaign. So we had a trailer with a high board with an enlarge size poster, which had our faces on. We had so many people contacting us laughing saying they had seen us in Herne Bay or Stone Street or Canterbury. The driver lived in these communities and did not cover or change the board while going home. It became a joke as to where the trailer may appear next in Kent.

Your party is now focusing on the 2021 (which will include the 2020) local elections.  What’s you sales pitch to our readers on why people should vote, campaign, join or even run for you?

‘The people are the  masters not the servants’. We want the people to be in charge of their own destinations . We believe in people and want to empower them. We are listening to what our communities want. I am standing for Kent County Council Election next year. On our website we set out our priorities in areas that will affect local communities such as education, health, crime and justice, transport and the environment. I am very proactive in my community where I live. Myself and the Foundation Party will represent the people to the best of our ability and will always put them first.

Mary can be contacted by email at [email protected] is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Mary_Lawes and can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cllrmarylawes/.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Foundation Party you can read our interview or listen to our podcast with the Party Leader Chris Mendes.

“They pitch for as much as they think they can get away with and then think what to spend it on” – Highlights from Croydon Council

The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s annual Town Hall Rich List has been released. You can read it in full here.  This shows council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000. The latest is 226 more people than in 2017-18, and the highest number since 2013-14.

Councils talk of austerity and keep ramping up council tax rises.  In Croydon the report shows we have 23 people who earned over £100,000 last year and 3 who earned more than the Prime Minister.  This is up from the 19 people who earned over £100K the previous year.  The London Borough of Barnet, which is about the same size as Croydon makes do with just 7 staff on over £100K and only 1 earning more than the Prime Minister.  Neighbouring us, Sutton has just 11, Merton 9, Lambeth 16, Bromley 20, Tandridge 1, and Reigate and Banstead 4, on more than £100K.  All below Croydon.  Details of those employees earning over £100K are below.

NameJob titleSalaryCompensation for loss of officeSub total PensionTotal
Jo NegriniChief Executive £188,700 £188,700 £28,494 £217,194
Guy Van DicheleExecutive Director (Interim) of Health, Wellbeing & Adults £215,444 £215,444 £    –   £215,444
Undisclosed £202,500 £202,500 £202,500
Shifa MustafaExecutive Director, Place £153,000 £153,000 £23,103 £176,103
Richard SimpsonExecutive Director of Resources and Section 151 officer £143,892 £143,892 £21,550 £165,442
Undisclosed £152,500 £152,500 £152,500
Eleni LoannidesExecutive Director (Interim) Children, Families and Education £150,000 £150,000 £    –   £150,000
Undisclosed £142,500 £142,500 £142,500
Jacqueline Harris-BakerDirector of Law and Monitoring Officer/Executive Director of Resources and Monitoring Officer £120,080 £120,080 £18,132 £138,212
Undisclosed £127,500 £127,500 £127,500
Barbara PeacockExecutive Director, People £ 67,837 £   53,808 £121,645 £4,228 £125,873
Undisclosed £122,500 £122,500 £122,500
Undisclosed £122,500 £122,500 £122,500
Undisclosed £117,500 £117,500 £117,500
Undisclosed £107,500 £107,500 £107,500
Undisclosed £107,500 £107,500 £107,500
Undisclosed £107,500 £107,500 £107,500
Undisclosed £107,500 £107,500 £107,500
Undisclosed £107,500 £107,500 £107,500
Undisclosed £102,500 £102,500 £102,500
Undisclosed £102,500 £102,500 £102,500
Undisclosed £102,500 £102,500 £102,500
Undisclosed £102,500 £102,500 £102,500

If the council isn’t splashing the cash on high paid executives they are spending it on cultural events and local community groups.  Many of these are good causes some less so.  The council publishes their spending over £500.  We’ve reviewed the spend in 2019 and found some particular lowlights like the £105,666 spent on Consultancy Fees for a cost called ‘Brick by Brick Overheads and Admin’.  It total £333,364 was dished out by local councillors in 2019 in amounts over £500 as part of their Community Ward Budgets.  Much of this goes to local residents’ associations and clubs, many very worthy, but are these the core services we pay our Council Tax for? 

We don’t think you should pay for our weekends, or for that matter we should pay for yours.  We like Croydon’s Pride event, Mike of this parish has attended all of them.  He would like to thank you for subsidising his day out, but would rather you hadn’t been forced to.  In 2019 a total of £59,360 was paid out to Croydon Pride between Community Ward Budgets and the Culture Growth Fund, a huge amount of money for this 1 day event!  The Culture Growth Fund payments over £500 totalled  £754,669 of which, £160,000 went to pay for the expensively priced Boxpark, and Dance Umbrella (no we hadn’t heard of them either) received £29,000 of your taxes.  Croydon with Talent Ltd received £20,000 and once again The Oval Tavern received £5,000 for we assume a very expensive round.  Details below.

CULTURE GROWTH FUND

Vendor Name Amount 
Boxpark £160,000
Think Events (London) Ltd £63,000
Croydon Pride Ltd £54,000
A Fairweather – Fairweather Productions £33,000
Dance Umbrella £29,000
BH Live £26,832
Cellar Door Promotions Ltd £24,550
Redacted £23,075
Croydon with Talent Ltd    £20,000
London & Partners Ventures Ltd £20,000
Scanners Inc £20,000
Gowling WLG (UK) LLP    £19,044
Sam-Culture Ltd £18,750
The Brit School £17,500
Turf Projects_ £16,768
Redacted  £14,235
Beeja £10,000
Sound Diplomacy Limited £10,000
31 Percent Wool/Croydonist    £8,000
CROYDONITES FESTIVAL OF NEW THEATRE    £7,500
Syrus Consultancy CIC    £7,500
Good Wolf People Ltd £7,500
Croydon Voluntary Action £7,500
New Addington Peoples Carnival_ £7,500
Drunken Chorus Arts Collective £7,500
London Mozart Players £7,500
Kinetika Bloco Ltd    £7,200
White Hut Studios £7,000
Slide Dance £6,450
Play for Progress £5,830
WSP UK Ltd    £5,500
Rap Club Productions C.I.C. £5,445
Alasdair Brown£5,018
The Oval Tavern£5,000
Emergency Exit Arts£5,000
Gifted Enterprise C.I.C£5,000
Gye Nyame Development Foundation   £5,000
Crystal Palace Festival Group  £4,684
Open City Architecture£4,400
Artist Studio Company £4,063
Zoo Co Outreach£4,000
South Norwood Community Festival£3,750
Drum the Bass£3,750
Matthews Yard Croydon Ltd£3,580
Advice Support Knowledge Information£3,500
Cellar Door Promotions Ltd   £2,800
Crisis UK£2,582
Subrang Arts   £2,500
Tour Design Limited£1,500
FMM Pop Up£1,450
Made in Croydon£1,293
Reaching Higher£1,243
Fergus Ford Photography£1,100
Croydon Town Centre Bid   £1,000
Well Versed Ink CIC£1,000
FMM Pop Up   £870
Conditions Studio Programme£828
Turf Projects   £780
Amplified Theatre   £750
Red Quadrant   £550
Total £754,669

COMMUNITY WARD BUDGETS

Vendor Name Amount 
The Chartwell Cancer Trust Ltd   £30,192
REDACTED£18,114
LOVE NORBURY   £12,297
Purley Youth Project   £7,000
Stanley People’s Initiative   £6,736
CROYDON BME FORUM (CWB)£6,000
SOUTH NORWOOD COMMUNITY FESTIVAL GROUP   £5,500
Sanderstead Residents Association   £5,308
SECHC   £5,119
We Love SE25 – The South Norwood Town Team   £5,000
White Hut Studios (CWB)£5,000
Howard Primary School   £4,941
Pinewood Scout Centre   £4,894
SCOTS ESTATE NORBURY RESIDENT   £4,500
Solid Rock Academy   £4,500
CACFO UK (CWB)£4,000
White Hut Studios   £4,000
Reaching Higher   £4,000
Thornton Heath Business Partnership   £4,000
Croydon Commitment   £4,000
St John the Divine PCC   £3,973
Addiscombe and Shirley Park Residents Association (ASPRA)   £3,500
London Mozart Players   £3,500
St. Dominic’s Church (CWB)£3,333
Westcotec Ltd   £3,280
Westcotec Ltd£3,280
Croydon Bme Forum   £3,050
The Upper Norwood Library Trust   £3,000
All Saints Kenley   £3,000
Greenvale Primary School   £2,802
CBNWA (CWB)£2,750
KENLEY MEMORIAL HALL (CWB)£2,600
People for Portland Road   £2,600
Willow Learning for Life Ltd Community Interest Company   £2,500
Thornton Heath Community Action Team£2,500
CLOCFG   £2,500
DCC of St Edmunds Sanderstead   £2,500
South Croydon Business Association   £2,500
Elite Development FC   £2,500
CROYDON VOLUNTARY ACTION (CWB)£2,500
CROYDON SUPPLEMENTARY EDUCATION PROJECT (CWB)£2,500
YuleFest (CWB)£2,467
Bangladeshi British Society Croydon   £2,400
Good Wolf People (CWB)£2,400
Croydon Pride (CWB)£2,320
The Shrublands Trust (CWB)£2,300
LONGHEATH GARDENS, LONG LANE & MILFORD GARDENS RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION (CWB)£2,225
LLMRA   £2,149
PURLEY BURY TENNIS CLUB (CWB)£2,000
Riddlesdown Tennis Club   £2,000
Brighton Road Baptist Church   £2,000
Croydon Community Against Trafficking   £2,000
Bromley & Croydon Women’s Aid   £2,000
CROHAM HURST GOOD NEIGHBOURS   £2,000
Ciro Donadio (CWB)£2,000
Thornton Heath Business Partnership (CWB)£2,000
Rotary Club of Purley_£2,000
Croydon District Scout Council   £2,000
Selsdon Residents Association (CWB)£2,000
Redacted £1,875
St George’s Shirley PCC (CWB)£1,867
THE FRIENDS OF ASHBURTON PARK   £1,861
The Shrublands Trust   £1,760
285 (Coulsdon & Purley) Sqdn ATC   £1,757
Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (Afruca)   £1,750
Woodcote High School   £1,683
West Croydon Methodist Church   £1,555
Community Family Worker   £1,500
GUIDING HANDS ORGANISATION CIC   £1,500
GBS RE CROYDON HLTH SRVS NHST (CWB)£1,500
Forestdale Primary School   £1,500
GAGE CIC (CWB)£1,500
Park Run   £1,500
St George’s Shirley PCC   £1,500
Croydon Indians Group Ltd   £1,500
Gye Nyame Development Foundation   £1,482
East Croydon Community Organisation   £1,480
THE FESTIVE LIGHTING COMPANY(CWB)£1,463
Friends of South Norwood Country Park (CWB)£1,333
Stanley People?s Initiative (CWB)£1,333
Crystal Palace F C Foundation (CWB)£1,267
Friends of Norbury Park   £1,216
Community Garden Thornton Heath£1,200
J J Martin (Catering Appliance Superstore) Ltd   £1,180
SELSON VILLAGE CLUB (CWB)£1,158
Rising Stars Support CIC£ 1,083
PLAY PLACE INNOV8 CIC (CWB)£1,020
Crystal Palace & Norwood Chamber Commerce   £1,000
Nightwatch   £1,000
Friends of Lloyd Park Croydon   £1,000
Fairchildes Academy Community Trust t/a Fairchildes Primary School£1,000
Surrey Beekeepers Association£1,000
Friends of Stambourne Woods   £1,000
Citizen Welfare Organisation Ltd   £1,000
All Heads Recognized Ltd   £1,000
White Hut Studios  (CWB)£1,000
SOUTH NORWOOD AND WOODSIDE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION   £1,000
Another Night of Sisterhood CIC   £1,000
St Gertrude’s Church   £1,000
CROYDON BOROUGH NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH ASSOCIATION   £1,000
Whyteleafe F C   £1,000
Croydon Food Bank   £1,000
Croydon Pet Hospital   £1,000
Friends of Littleheath Woods   £1,000
CROYDON DISTRICT SCOUT COUNCIL (CWB)£1,000
Kenley Memorial Hall   £1,000
7th Purley Scout Group   £1,000
Rotary Club of Purley   £1,000
Evolve Housing & Support   £1,000
Palace for Life Foundation (CWB)£1,000
OLD COULSDON CENTRE FOR THE RETIRED   £950
Festivelighting   £950
Black Stock Target Communications (CWB)£900
Norbury Green Residents’ Association (CWB)£900
CHRISTIAN FAMILY CONCERN (CWB)£836
St Aidan’s Catholic Primary School   £800
Grangewood Bowling Club   £750
Foundation 47 (CWB)£750
New Addington Pathfinders (CWB)£750
New Addington Christmas Lights Appeal   £700
ELMWOOD JUNIOR SCHOOL (CWB)£700
Croydon Voluntary Association for the Blind (CWB)£650
African Youth Development Association (CWB)£605
Croydon Hearing Resource   £600
Well Being You Ltd   £595
Friends of Littleheath Woods (CWB)£575
Mind In Croydon   £575
LONDON MOZART PLAYERS (CWB)£550
2nd Selsdon & Addington Scout Group   £531
Thornton Heath Community Action Team   £500
SOLIDROCK ACADEMY (CWB)£500
The Children and young People’s Gardening Project (CWB)£500
Imagine Independence (CWB)£500
Winterbourne Nursery & Infant School (CWB)£500
Circle of parents 2 friends (CWB)£500
Another Night of Sisterhood CIC (CWB)£500
Thornton Heath Community Action Team (CWB)£500
Pollards Hill Residents Association (CWB)£500
The Friends of Park Hill Park (CWB)£500
CAGE CIC (CWB)£500
Croydon Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association (CWB)£500
44th Croydon Air Scout Group   £500
Croydon Cricket Club of India   £500
Waddington Way Residents Association   £500
Friends of Grangewood Park   £500
St Peters Parochid Church Council   £500
WE-STAP   £500
Active Living Support CIC   £500
Pinspired Ltd (CWB)£500
Friends of Bradmore Green   £500
KAREN JEWITT (CWB)£500
Public Spaces£347
Total£333,364

If you want to know more about the national picture, listen to Harry Fone the Grassroots Campaign Manager of TPA on with Mike Graham on Talk Radio.

Podcast Episode 23 – Chris Mendes: COVID Lockdown, the Shadow Cabinet & an update on the Foundation Party

We are joined by Chris Mendes, the leader of the Foundation Party, as we discuss the ongoing COVID 19 Lockdown and the Shadow Cabinet appointments. We then chat with Chris about his experiences as a political campaigner, what led to the creation of the Foundation Party and their future plans. The link to our virtual meet-up is: https://www.gotomeet.me/CroydonConstitutionalists

Spreaker

iTunes

YouTube:

You can read our interview with Chris at https://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/interview-with-foundation-party-leader-chris-mendes/ and his speech at our Debate for Democracy at https://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/grassroots-democracy-in-croydon/.

How do we recover? – Some ideas for the post Covid Britain.

Image © Acabashi; Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0; Source: Wikimedia Commons

Opinion Piece by Michael Swadling

Each day sadly the death toll keeps rising, and on any given day the economic news keeps getting worse.  We are in a lockdown with social distancing in place to save lives.

But at some point this will end, we will get back to normal and we must look to recover from the economic slump.  My own economics philosophy being somewhat laissez faire means I would like government generally to do as little as possible, however that is neither realistically what will happen, nor what is likely to be acceptable in our democracy today.  Rather than focus solely on what I would want, I intend to also look at some policies that might realistically be used to aid the recovery.

The new baseline

The lockdown will have already changed some things that will never change back.  The longer this goes the greater and more ingrained these changes will become.  Whole industries are successfully working from home.  More people are getting food and other shopping delivered.  Many of us are becoming heavy users of streaming media services.  We are getting out the habit of commuting or even just going for a drive.

With the loss of life, fear will drive many people to reasonably want to avoid unnecessary contact even when the lockdown is lifted.  It is reasonable to assume the lockdown will be lifted in stages, and quite likely it might be reintroduced if we see a second spike in contagion.  Many will find their normal routines disrupted for 6 months or more.

What might these changes mean?  Who are the economic winners and losers?  Here are some thoughts on how things might have already changed.

Economic winners

  • Whether for streaming media or working from home, we have all become super dependent on our broadband.  Companies often have duel supply for such a critical service.  It is reasonable to assume some households may do the same and that suppliers will start to provide emergency callout services as happens with many utilities today.
  • At one end of the broadband connection is the single point failure in many homes of the laptop or home PC.  Expect sales of small inexpensive thin client technology to go up as people require some home redundancy and capability for multiple users.  Companies have already been moving to ‘the cloud’ for providing services for customers and staff.  As it becomes apparent more of the staff are themselves in the cloud rather than the office these services will further take off.
  • Without the commute or as much international travel people expect to be ‘always on’.  This was already happening as more buses, trains, cars, and airplanes have network connectivity, and WiFi, expect this to intensify, and telecoms companies to benefit.
  • Also already happening was the move from the shopping centre to Amazon delivery.  This will only accelerate.  Many people like shopping and will no doubt rush back once the shops are open again, but will they spend much?  Will they make up for the many spending more conveniently online?  Amazon, other delivery services and delivery jobs are bound to grow.
  • Lots of people are facing and will face real economic hardship from this period.  Too few people and businesses have emergency savings to survive even the smallest setback.  In time, as people re-find work and as they can, expect more people to save more for a rainy day.
  • All high streets will be devastated with lost shops.  Pubs and restaurants may initially boom, but then struggle with the debts of the period of lockdown.  However in the medium to long term as more people work from home, as people rediscover their local shops, local high streets may do well.  A day working from home is greatly brightened by popping to see a friendly face in a local store.

Economic losers

  • If your workforce can operate from home why would companies pay for the upkeep of massive city centre offices?  Some offices are still needed.  There is no substitute for face to face meetings, but these could accommodate say 10-15% of your workforce not the 90-100% they do today.
  • The long term trend has been to move spending from products to experiences.  People want fewer physical items and more memories.  The lockdown has made many realise what really matters in life, and it isn’t things.  Between fear of further economic uncertainty, changing habits and economic suffering, consumerism could be on a steep decline.
  • Town centre shopping is on the decline.  Fewer big shopping centres are being built, people have fewer reasons to visit them.  With more people working from home, a move from products  to experiences, and economic uncertainty town centre shopping will continue to suffer.  In the same way the department store and supermarkets changed the shopping experience in the past, someone will need to reimagine the whole shopping experience to get people out to revive these centres.
  • More working from home, more people avoiding the commute.  How many will travel abroad or even far from home if they are worried about another shutdown of travel or period of confinement?  Travel, be it commuting or further afield is likely to decrease for some time to come.

At first glance more savings and less consumerism might look like positive outcomes, but our economy requires people to spend money to create jobs.  More savings means more supply or even an oversupply of money needing a home, and it is likely to be lent badly.  Some rebalancing is a good thing but ideally in moderation.

“Net Zero emission targets were economy killers before Covid-19, they won’t help now.  People are already changing their habits, with more working from home.  Carbon emissions are already falling and are likely to stay lower.  We will be in an economic slump, government should avoid making things worse with more punitive changes”

Avoid making things worse

The first step to recovery must be to avoid making things worse.  Net Zero emission targets were economy killers before Covid-19, they won’t help now.  People are already changing their habits, with more working from home.  Carbon emissions are already falling and are likely to stay lower.  We will be in an economic slump, government should avoid making things worse with more punitive changes.  The other reason to delay implementation of Net Zero targets is whilst people may choose to change their habits, after a few months of lockdown they will resent and likely rebel against being forced to change their habits.

Every year governments like to introduce more regulations and laws.  A few of the new laws for 2020 can be found here.  Many are good laws, no doubt all done with the best intentions, but stop, hold fire don’t do any more.  We have already seen further implementation of IR35 delayed.  Scrap it, and scrap any more bright ideas for the next couple of years.  Whilst we’re at it many government processes and regulations will have been streamlined or just removed to get vital products to the front line.  Keep them streamline, don’t revert, if the new processes are good enough for a pandemic they are good enough at all times.  Let businesses have a period of a freer environment, without the dead hand of the bureaucrat crashing down on them.

Enable opportunities don’t force change

Many people will struggle with mental health issues being cooped up.  Many will lose a business they have spent many years building, many more will lose their jobs.  People are broadly accepting the need to socially distance, although we saw a quick backlash to some initial heavy handedness from the police.  People will quickly resent the government trying to force the pace of change.

Many a public health civil servant will see the pub closures as a chance to change habits, many in Treasury will like the tighter control they have on the economy.  Many will think command economics work.  This needs to be resisted.  People and businesses will respond to light touch incentives and likely push back on heavy handedness.  I would like government to take next to no action, that may be too much to ask, but government signposting the way rather than forcing change will be the path to recovery.

Reinstate free speech

A huge amount of liberty has been given up during the lockdown.  Government needs to prove that our freedoms are not traveling down a one way street from us to them.  Health advice will dictate timelines for the returning of many basic rights.  But government could do more and do it now.  The Public Order Act 1986, The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 all impose restrictions on our speech.

Hate speech is wrong, people shouldn’t aim to insult others based on immutable characteristics but likewise government shouldn’t legislate against our most fundamental right to free speech.  Repealing these more egregious parts of these and other laws will send a message, freedom matters.  That message is important in itself, it’s important for the confidence of the nation, and a nation of clear and limited laws will encourage investment to rebuild our economy.

“Build toll roads, railways, bridges, ports funded by and with profits to the private sector.  As a result of private risk taking, better more effective projects are likely to be chosen”

Build, build, build, toll roads

The Conservative victory at the 2019 election had manifesto commitments to significant infrastructure investment.  The massive cost of the Covid-19 emergency and the reduced tax base will make further borrowing difficult.  But investment can still come and it can come in the form it always should have, from the private sector.  Build toll roads, railways, bridges, ports funded by and with profits to the private sector.  As a result of private risk taking, better more effective projects are likely to be chosen.  If some support is needed cheap borrowing could come from publicly backed bond schemes, which provide a route to encourage and soak up savings.  It also provides for a sense of everyone ‘doing their bit’.  We get the infrastructure we need and the user of it rightly pays.

Free ports

The government has already announced a consultation on Freeports.  The freeports would have different customs rules than the rest of the country, act as innovative hubs, boost trade, and generate employment opportunities in some of our most deprived communities.  Global trade is likely to reduce as a result of the pandemic.  Anything to increase trade is to be welcomed.  Nothing should be allowed to get in the way of delivering on these plans.

Supply chain sourcing, with a UK mix

In the US we already are seeing a reluctance to buy goods marked ‘Made in China’.  We have already seen French border guards impound trucks with face masks bound for Britain and India limit medicine exports.  Expect economic protectionism to return often directed by consumers rather than governments.

Many companies are now seeing the perils of long supply chains, and our national security is at risk if much needed medical supplies can only be sourced from abroad.  Lots of companies will naturally look to move more of their supply chain into the UK.  It may be prudent for government to work with suppliers to ensure some key industries source, at least in part, from the UK, or for the government to source from the UK for key items.

Manufacturing closer to home

If supply chains are likely to want to move onshore we need to make manufacturing cheaper.  The US saw a massive boom in manufacturing when energy prices dropped as a result of Shale Gas.  World energy prices are in steep decline, government should reduce taxes to ensure more of this is passed onto the end user.

The Annual Investment Allowance is used to deduct the cost of plant and machinery equipment.  The maximum deduction has already increased from £200,000 to £1,000,000 for 2020.  This is great news, but frankly why stop there?  Let’s see a real commitment by making a permanent increase of say £10,000,000 to really bring back manufacturing to our shores.

Support the high street

The  chancellor had announced a business rate holiday for retail and leisure firms.  This will bring relief during this period, rates are a problem but government’s long term options to reduce tax when they have a massive deficit are limited.  Reducing duty on alcohol in pubs could actually increase the tax take as it keeps business afloat and pubs act a magnets for their local high street.

With the ease of online deliveries, going shopping needs to be about more than just procuring goods and services, it needs to be an experience.  Travel to the US, Canada or Australia, and it’s much more common for bars, restaurants and shops to offer free WiFi.  Government through tax breaks, councils through helping to organise, and granting planning permission, can assist high streets and local business districts to provide publicly available free WiFi.  Give people a reason to stay, browse and buy, let them stay online and connected.

After the lockdown one practically free solution could be to encourage or better still instruct councils to provide 3 or more hours of free or cheap parking for all local high streets.  Stop the relentless drive to stop people driving to the shops, stop punishing people for wanting to park up and use local facilities.  Even use tax breaks to encourage private enterprise to set-up car parks.  Let people get to the high street so they can support their local community.

“It would be sensible for the government to make the capital spend on creating and possibly warehousing a significantly increased surge capacity in ICU equipment.  The equipment won’t be needed immediately, and can be placed on a longer procurement timeline with British businesses thereby securing many jobs”

Heightened health service surge capacity

We are likely to see a long tail to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Governments are warning of further peaks in new cases and possible further lockdowns.  It is likely in future years we will see calls for social  distancing in bad flu seasons.  We will also likely see ongoing greater scrutiny of available health care capacity.  At the start of the crisis the UK had a low per capita ICU bed capacity.  The capacity in normal times matters less than the ability to surge it.  It would be sensible for the government to make the capital spend on creating and possibly warehousing a significantly increased surge capacity in ICU equipment.  The equipment won’t be needed immediately, and can be placed on a longer procurement timeline with British businesses thereby securing many jobs.

We would also need staff for these facilities.  We have seen a nation respond to the great work of the NHS.  Let’s encourage something similar to the Territorial Army and help organizations like the St John’s Ambulance expand so we have more medically trained people who are ready to step into or backfill for others staffing these positions.

Tourism and travel

Airlines are on the brink, airports are shutdown, the rail franchises have been effectively nationalised.  People will be in the habit of commuting less.  People will be worried about overseas travel while Covid-19 still threatens the globe, and people will have discovered how simple and effective video and audio conferences can be.

How can people be encouraged back out?  Being at home people will become used to being always on.  Get buses, trains, airplanes, bus depots, railways stations, and airports flooded with free WiFi.  Make the traveling experience easier make it less of a chore and let people answer emails or stream a movie whilst travelling.  Government can again make tax breaks available for this.

As part of returning the rail franchises to private ownership government should look to remove barriers to providing more carriages on the railways.  Make the travel experience better, we expect to be crowded for a short commute in rush hour, there is no good reason why a long distance Sunday train ride packs people in like sardines.

As has been said before scope for reduction of taxes will likely be limited.  However charging punitive Air Passenger Duty when few people are traveling is counterproductive.  Sweeping cuts until the industry is back up and running will likely bring in more tax revenue than it costs.

A quick google of a few major airports in the UK and most offer no smoking facilities once airside.  Approximately 15% of people in the UK still smoke.  It  might be very bad for you, but freedom is the freedom to make bad choices.  Given people can be airside for up to 3 hours before a long flight, it is reasonable to offer smoking rooms, enclosed, well ventilated and away from non-smokers.  A small change in the law is needed, and government could encourage a set of people put off flying back to our airports.

5G and 4G for that matter

It is unlikely the prospect of Huawei equipment running our 5G network will be greeted with more glee now than it was before the Covid-19 pandemic.  This will inevitably slow down the rollout of 5G in the UK, but government can help nudge it forward.  More tax breaks, grants, and sped up planning permission will all help.  We shouldn’t forget how good 4G is (it’s what most of us use now), and how much of the country has poor coverage.  Government can again work with providers to help provide greater coverage to rural and even some suburban communities.  Coverage will enable more people to work productively in their home or local communities, help us in the event of a further shutdown and help build productivity outside of London and the South East.

What’s next

We may have a long way to go, and things will change, but we need to get thinking about the future.  Relatively small amounts of government intervention can enable the private sector to grow and embrace the new future.  More home working with less commuting and a little help to build local high streets can go a long way.  Changes to procurement patterns can with a little help be a great opportunity for domestic manufacturing.  Make travel a little easier and encourage people back out.  With restrictions on government borrowing let’s get the private sector to develop the infrastructure of tomorrow.  And after a period of suppressed freedom, let’s go further than reinstating the rights lost at the start of the pandemic, let’s take dramatic steps to making us a truly free country once again.

Virtual meet-up

We are having our first online meet-up on Wednesday 15th April from 7pm to 9:30pm.  The event will be hosted using GoToMeeting which you can access from your computer at https://www.gotomeet.me/CroydonConstitutionalists

Standard video conferencing you will need a microphone and camera, we will ask you to be on video so we can verify people.  If you have a laptop you can just use the built in camera and microphone that most modern laptops will have.

To join us for a chat, simply join at any point between those times on the 15th.  All we ask is you bring your own drink!

Wednesday 15th April from 7pm to 9:30pm
Join us at https://www.gotomeet.me/CroydonConstitutionalists.


Be worried for our democracy if these people ever form a government

Whether it’s tying the hands of the negotiators, or straight out calling for ignoring the 2016 Referendum, Labour’s new Shadow Cabinet have proven they can’t be trusted with our democracy.

All quotes and references below are from after the British people had settled the question of Brexit in the 2016 Referendum

Ironically the unelected Lord Falconer, Shadow Attorney General seems to be the only one who believes in enacting the democratic vote of 2016.

We should all be worried for our democracy if these people ever form a government.

Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition

“Keir Starmer has been forced to reaffirm that Labour has not ruled out a referendum that could cancel Brexit”

24 September 2018 https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/sep/24/keir-starmer-labour-does-not-rule-out-remaining-in-eu

“A new referendum on a final Brexit deal should be “on the table”, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has said.”

23 August 2018 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45281677

“Keir Starmer says Brexit ‘can be stopped’,”

12 November 2018 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-keir-starmer-labour-jeremy-corbyn-sky-news-interview-peoples-vote-referendum-a8629426.html

Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader and Chair of the Labour Party

“No deal wouldn’t return sovereignty to the UK, it would make us dependent on a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump.”

25 July 2019 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/25/boris-johnson-bluster-labour-optimism-uk

Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

“No-deal Brexit must come off the negotiation table, says Oxford East Labour MP”

9 October 2019 https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/17954734.no-deal-brexit-must-come-off-negotiation-table-says-oxford-east-labour-mp-anneliese-dodds/

Lisa Nandy, Shadow Foreign Secretary

“We should have been bold enough to defend free movement, and the opportunities and benefits it brings.

15 January 2020 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/lisa-nandy-labour-free-movement-leadership-contest-corbyn-brexit-a9284976.html

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Shadow Home Secretary

“It seems to me is what we’ve seen is a hard-headed assessment of reality, that sets out in really stark terms what a calamitous outcome of no-deal Brexit would mean for the United Kingdom,” lawmaker Nick Thomas-Symonds told Sky News television. “The government is reckless in the way it’s been pushing forward with no-deal planning in this way.”

18 August 2019 https://apnews.com/1499de77308e4c798a7b4059e61f80f4

Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

“I would like Labour to be clear that if there was a referendum, we would campaign to Remain”

29 November 2018 https://www.politicshome.com/the-house/article/rachel-reeves-i-would-like-labour-to-be-clear-that-if-there-was-a-referendum-we-would-campaign-to-remain

David Lammy, Shadow Justice Secretary

“David Lammy has said comparing the hard-Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs to Nazis and proponents of South African apartheid was “not strong enough”

14 April 2019 https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/14/comparing-erg-to-nazis-not-strong-enough-says-david-lammy

John Healey, Shadow Defence Secretary

“put that deal to the people for their final say: leaving the EU with a credible properly negotiated deal vs remain and both protecting jobs.”

19 September 2019 http://www.johnhealeymp.co.uk/brexit-update-2/

Ed Miliband, Shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Secretary

“Ed Miliband has been accused of “taking voters for fools” after claiming in an election leaflet he voted nine times for a Brexit deal…..    Miliband has in the past backed a second referendum, as well as a Norway-style Brexit deal and remaining part of the EU customs union after leaving.  But he has never backed either Theresa May or Boris Johnson’s Brexit deals.”

28th November 2019 https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ed-miliband-brexit-deal-election-leaflet_uk_5ddfc14ae4b0d50f329d8448

Emily Thornberry, Shadow International Trade Secretary

“No-Deal Brexit Should NOT Be On Ballot For People’s Vote”

15 May 2019 https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/iain-dale/no-deal-brexit-not-ballot-peoples-vote-thornberry/

Jonathan Reynolds, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary

“Leaving without any deal could be a mistake of historic proportions for this country”

18 July 2019 https://hydecorrespondent.co.uk/?p=794

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

“Here we have another body warning of the devastating impact a no deal Brexit could have on the NHS….It is scandalous that by stubbornly refusing to rule out No Deal”

27 September 2019 https://labour.org.uk/press/devastating-impact-no-deal-brexit-nhs-jon-ashworth/

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Education Secretary

Labour frontbencher Rebecca Long-Bailey refuses to say if second referendum is a ‘red line’ if government agrees to party’s proposals

28 April 2019 https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/brexit-news-latest-labour-frontbencher-rebecca-longbailey-refuses-to-say-if-second-referendum-is-a-a4128446.html

Jo Stevens, Shadow Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

“Jo Stevens, has resigned from her post, saying she could not reconcile herself to voting to trigger article 50 as she still believed leaving the EU would be “a terrible mistake”.”

27 January 2017 https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/27/labour-mp-jo-stevens-quits-shadow-cabinet-over-article-50-vote

Bridget Philipson, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

“And the reason I believe the voters must have the final say on Brexit isn’t because I reject their concerns. Far from it. Concerns about trust in our politics, and the voters we have lost, are obviously valid. Ultimately, I support a referendum because I think leaving would cause far more serious and far more lasting damage.”

2 June 2019 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/02/constituency-voted-leave-labour-oppose-brexit-sunderland

Luke Pollard, Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary

“I am not a fan of referendums. The last one was rubbish and the two campaigns were terrible. But if MPs cannot agree a way ahead then the people should have the final say instead.”

1 June 2019 https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/news-opinion/only-way-break-brexit-deadlock-2930683

Steve Reed, Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary

“We respect the referendum result. ….. We won’t support a deal at any price….we must let the people take back control of Brexit and decide our country’s future through a People’s Vote.”

21 November 2018 https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/steve-reed-mp-we-must-let-the-country-take-back-control-and-decide-with-people-s-vote-a3995906.html

Thangam Debbonaire, Shadow Housing Secretary

“First, let me assure you that I campaigned hard for Remain during the 2016 referendum, and still believe that the best relationship we can have with the European Union is full membership. And if, reluctantly, we do have to leave, then at the very least, we should stay in a customs union and Single Market arrangement”

~2018 https://www.debbonaire.co.uk/my-views/european-union/peoples-vote/

Jim McMahon, Shadow Transport Secretary

“Labour has set out a common sense position which serves our national interest of a stable transition lasting up to four years through full participation in the Single Market and Customs Union.”

31 August 2018 https://jimmcmahoncouk.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/brexit-smooth-landing/

Preet Kaur Gill, Shadow International Development Secretary

“the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, is backing calls for “a final say on Brexit.”  And she said she is encouraging people to attend a demonstration in London planned for March 23 to oppose Brexit.”

12 March 2019 https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-mp-preet-kaur-gill-15943548

Louise Haigh, Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary (interim)

“It was so depressing to see every single option voted down and I was disappointed with colleagues who abstained on the customs union and didn’t let those votes pass because they have really retreated into quite an extreme position on Brexit now.”

28 March 2019 https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/politics/brexit-branded-depressing-embarrassing-and-disaster-frustrated-yorkshire-mps-1757627

Ian Murray, Shadow Scotland Secretary

“I am the most pro-EU candidate standing to be Labour’s deputy leader. I am proud to have voted against triggering Article 50, helping to form the People’s Vote campaign and leading the successful court challenge against Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament.”

27 January 2020 https://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2020/01/27/if-i-m-deputy-leader-labour-will-stay-true-to-european-value

Nia Griffith, Shadow Wales Secretary

“A no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for our defence and security interests”

28 January 2019 https://fabians.org.uk/the-writing-on-the-wall/

Marsha de Cordova, Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary

“Since becoming Battersea’s MP in 2017, I have been a passionate campaigner: fighting a damaging Brexit”

~2019 https://vote.labour.org.uk/marsha-de-cordova

Andy McDonald, Shadow Employment Rights and Protections Secretary

“The Shadow Transport Secretary said Britain was “looking down the barrel” of a no-deal Brexit and the only alternative was continued membership of the bloc.  But he also insisted that any Brexit deal agreed by parliament must be put back to the people.”

7 June 2019 https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/frontbench-jeremy-corbyn-ally-says-labour-wants-second-brexit-referendum-and-will-back-remain

Rosena Allin-Khan, Shadow Minister for Mental Health

“Rosena was also the first shadow frontbench minister to come out publicly and call for a People’s Vote.”

19 March 2020 https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/seb-dance-on-rosena-allin-khan-s-deputy-leadership-bid-1-6569195

Cat Smith, Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement

“Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith voted in favour of three of the options, including holding a confirmatory referendum”

2 April 2019 https://www.lancasterguardian.co.uk/news/lancaster-mp-votes-favour-confirmatory-referendum-brexit-651192

Lord Falconer, Shadow Attorney General

To be fair this ones alright…

“Remainer Lord Falconer says he does not want a vote on the Brexit deal, because the referendum was conducted on the basis of “in or out”

3 June 2018 https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/alastair-campbell-lord-falconer-david-lammy-eu-ref/

Valerie Vaz, Shadow Leader of the House

“The Government’s decision to delay the meaningful vote has run down the clock and increased the risk of a no-deal Brexit. I co-signed a letter to The Prime Minister along with more than 220 colleagues to urge the Government to agree a mechanism that would ensure a no deal Brexit could not take place.”

11 January 2019 https://www.valerievazmp.co.uk/valerie-vaz-mp-opposes-a-no-deal-brexit/

Nick Brown, Opposition Chief Whip

“Another senior Labour figure has confirmed he would campaign for remain in a second EU referendum, as Brexit looks set to become a flashpoint at the party’s conference in Brighton.  In an email seen by the Guardian, Labour’s chief whip, Nick Brown, told his constituents this week he would campaign for remain, joining his senior colleagues John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Emily Thornberry, Keir Starmer and Tom Watson in backing that position.”

13 September 2019 https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/13/nick-brown-joins-senior-labour-figures-vowing-back-remain

Baroness Smith, Shadow Leader of the Lords

“To crash out of the EU without arrangements in place for co-operation on trade, agriculture, fisheries, security, energy and the environment would be grossly reckless and irresponsible.”

5 December 2018 https://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/17277892.baroness-angela-smith-labels-potential-no-deal-brexit-as-grossly-reckless-and-irresponsible/

Lord McAvoy, Lords’ Opposition Chief Whip

“the Labour whip, saying Brexit must not undermine the government’s obligations under the Good Friday”

27 February 2017 https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/feb/27/lords-article-50-bill-debate-gordon-brown-leads-tributes-to-gerald-kaufman-politics-live

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