Thursday, November 16, 2006

Party Funding

I am in favour of limited regulation, more transparency but a cap on election spending.

Elections should be about ensuring the electorate makes an informed decision. There is a danger that unless spending is capped, the electorate are “sold” a party instead of being convinced by seeing all the arguments and viewpoints. Many inferior products do well with good marketing and presentation.

I am against any significant increase in the funding the parties get. It is bad enough as it is, as who decides who is eligible for funding? Surely that introduces a bias in favour of the incumbent parties and makes them complacent and stifles dynamism. If people are taxed to pay for party funding you are forcing people to pay for the promotion of views that they may disagree with. By definition it is safe to say that if all 3 main parties have funding EVERY taxpayer will be funding ideas they oppose. There is the argument that people may not know of alternative viewpoints, but if that is the case, then you should not limit the tax to just the mainstream. People should be free to fund parties of their choice via membership or donations. If each taxpayer is taxed, say, £1, to avoid the problem of enforced funding of ideas counter to your preference, the taxpayer would need the option of choosing the recipient or “none of the above”. The above opens a Pandora’s Box, as you can see that by logical extension taxpayers should then get choice over ALL budget items. By logical extension we need a “none of the above” option in General Elections. Best to keep the “enforced” funding to a low level.

Directors of Companies awarded State contracts should be prevented from funding political parties. If a company is awarded a state contract (or turns over a certain amount or a certain percentage that way) then they are, to an extent, a subcontracted employee of the State. To continue to allow directors to fund parties in this way (as opposed to being members of them using their time, which is their own resource) is to nurture an environment where corruption can breed.

As a related issue, I am of the belief that state employees and those dependent on the State should not get the vote. Why? They are paid by the State and as such are influenced in their voting preferences by policy in regard to the size of the State, decisions as to expansion or cuts in State services and departments. I am not condemning State employees per se, as it is a very natural feeling and totally understandable to subconsciously lean towards administrations that are less likely to cause the loss of ones living. This is why, historically, the UK has not allowed State employees to vote, but this was altered at the beginning of the last century. I think this should be reversed. (To compliment this, State employees should also be free from income tax, with their salaries adjusted accordingly).

The above is linked to party funding as it ties in with the Directors of companies that profit from State contracts. It is in a similar vein, i.e. It opens the door to corruption and distortion for direct personal gain.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Overriding Principles

Roger's Manifesto aims to achieve simplicity and elegance in all functions of Government and society.

Roger’s Manifesto proposes a move towards small Government and personal control and responsibility for allocating resources, where each person decides how they contribute to society and what they contribute to.

Currently the state is large and ever-growing. Government spending is highly undemocratic, with decisions being made every 4 or 5 years in an all-or-nothing, take-it-or-leave-it mechanism, with many contentious decisions being made in the interim over which the people have little control.

Over the last 8 years Government largesse to the private sector has grown. Private companies court the Government for revenue allocation and this is unhealthy, bad for democracy, transparency and the National good.

This has to be reversed.

Government should aim to be running and funding border control, defence, police, prisons, courts, fire brigade and Accident & Emergency provision. This should be considered as a star to guide policy by, not a final destination of the first term in office.

Individuals must face up to their own obligations to society and not blame governments for lack of spending or overspending on individual issues. Individuals should know and decide for themselves and be responsible to themselves and society on how they contribute. They must not abdicate this to Government as they do now, from whom they both happily receive while complaining about excess and misdirection of resources. It is a manifestation of society’s current mental illness – a form of self-denial and delusion that tax must be low, obligations zero and rewards, rights and benefits at a maximum.

Government spending and thus taxation will be significantly reduced while private spending shall increase to compensate. This private spending will need to be more than just personal. It will need to include an element of charity to those who are less fortunate. Each person will be in control of where they allocate their philanthropic resources. This can be time, money, effort or imagination.

Right now the honest shun handouts out of pride and suffer while the ‘undeserving poor’ live a life of state-funded indolence. The current state mechanism rewards laziness and dysfunction while punishing thrift and dignity.

This can be reversed naturally, organically and automatically.

Therefore, as far as possible, provision should be via independent organizations funded directly from the people via private contributions. Government should aim to be levying taxes only for the core services such as defence, A&E, police, fire and border control, as previously mentioned.

If the population wishes to have free housing for pregnant teenagers, for example, they will fund charitable organizations that provide it. The amount allocated will be democratically and automatically controlled, as each person shall decide how much is allocated from his or her own disposable income. This disposable income shall be significantly higher under this mechanism as forced taxation will be significantly lower.

The power of the internet will enable all manner of causes and special interests to be discovered and funded in proportion to what the population wants, not down to the ability of causes and individuals to lobby politicians in private. It will be open, honest and directly related to the willingness of people to fund it.

Very rapidly the socially destructive funding streams will dry up, while provision for genuine causes will thrive.

The danger of the rich controlling the funding allocation greatly underestimates how much that occurs currently via indirect lobbying to politicians, ignores the vastness of the middle class voice that is currently unheard and ignores the role of the less well off who could equally promote their causes not by the facelessness money but direct, physical charitable action and fundraising. The currently unemployed and, more importantly, underemployed can find a role and purpose working for a cause they believe in. Everyone can contribute in his or her own way and to the best of their abilities.

If everyone decides to be selfish, this will become immediately apparent in society and society will have to stare at it and admit it to itself, face up to its responsibilities and rectify it.

People will have to become responsible for their own selfishness, not hide behind accountants and the elected government of the day. With little and flat tax levied there will not be much to avoid, but people will have no escape from their own conscience.

The Economy

• Flat taxation. Ideally a single rate across business and personal rates to reduce effort spent on avoidance.
• The lower paid should not be subject to income tax, so the introduction of a single, high personal allowance in the order of £20,000 will be introduced, which can be pooled in the case of married couples with children even if one partner does not work at all and/or for Sole Traders.
• All tax credits and allowances will be scrapped, as all people receiving these will be better off due to the flat tax regime.
• Invest in infrastructure that improves efficiency of the economy. Examples: ports, commuter and freight railways, guided bus-ways, provision of alternative, home-produced fuels.
• Infrastructural investment should aim for fewer projects completed rapidly so the benefits can be felt sooner. As each project completes the priority of outstanding projects can be reviewed and the most important commenced. This allows a more flexible response to the Nation’s needs. An example is the completion or overhauling of railways and tube lines.
• Immediate investigation into reforming VAT, which is a burden upon small businesses. Consider raising threshold significantly (to £-00,000’s p.a.) to enable small businesses to be free from the overheads or make every transaction subject to VAT to remove the disruption of cut-over.
• Thorough review of business regulations and red tape.
• Excessive waste and bureaucracy will be reduced naturally by the withdrawal of the State from many aspects of society.

Health and Social Welfare

• Introduce incentives for people to use the NHS responsibly, such as small token charges, even for those on benefits.
• Shift to an insurance-funded scheme for non A&E activities. A&E remain funded from NI.
• Systematic survey of all behaviour-influencing food additives with the aim of banning substances that have strong influences and mild influences when the additive is purely for cosmetic purposes.
• Shift to a compulsory defined contribution pensions mechanism, similar to Singapore's CPF system.
• No increases in state benefits for people who expand their families while receiving state benefit. For example - an unemployed teenager who gets pregnant should not be given housing, nor should she receive additional payments for that child. If they are unable to care for the newborn it should be adopted. This policy should be taught at 11 years. No excuses.
• State benefit: A debit card account linked to payments shall be issued from ALL BANKS that biases costs billed against junk, tobacco and booze to encourage spending on items such as fresh vegetables and organic produce by linking into supermarket systems. As the state provides the money, it has a right to determine how it is being spent.
• Long term disability to be reviewed, especially when it does not prevent OTHER FORMS of employment that can be retrained for.
• Break down the NHS computerization into achievable stages and render it significantly less expensive.
• Apply Banking-grade computerization to CSA and Inland Revenue to replace failures and inefficiencies with professional, reliable systems and services.
• Residents in State housing should not be allowed to import dependents, for these potential newcomers are not truly THEIR dependents (as they cannot provide for them) but would become the State's and the State should not be in the role of surrogate in this case.
• Economic Migrants should not have recourse to State housing for at least 5 to 10 years, for the whole purpose of their coming is that they bring skills and value to the economy.
• Refugees are another matter entirely. The key is to quickly decide if they are genuine and once proven they should be allowed into the country - remember they are still 'airside' - and permitted to work ASAP. State accommodation should be provided, for their case is quite separate from economic migrants. Once a fixed term is reached (say 6 months) commercial rents shall be applied, for they are 'bed blocking' another family which the council is forced to find accommodation for on the open market. This will encourage them to move to a place of their choice for the same or less money. This is firm but fair, because other refugees are arriving and the State's resources are not infinite.

Law And Order

• End 'no win, no fee' and review use of Legal Aid.
• Free drugs available for consumption within controlled sites to remove gang revenues and as a driver for general crime. Removal of sales channels will remove the desire to push drugs and so reduce consumption. With no need to fund habits, people on drugs will no longer turn to crime. Crime will reduce considerably, allowing the Police to focus on other areas.
• Persistent troublemakers, currently being handled under the ASBO regime, to be denied 'food fire and shelter' – i.e. any forms of State aid, benefits, housing etc. in the UK. Extend to the family unit to make parents responsible for errant children who cannot be handled under adult law.
• All officers wired for sound (later vision) so all stop & search, arrests etc are recorded as they happen, transmitted near-time and transcribed and documented even as the individuals are brought back to the station with their charges, so freeing beat officers to return almost immediately to policing.
• Violent assaults during crimes committed on OAPs classified as attempted murder.
• Any use of knife as above.
• Life is life, and lifers must work to earn their keep.
• Build prison on remote, abandoned Scottish island to house violent and sex-crime prisoners using volunteer non-violent prison labour. This will allow non-violent offenders a chance to do something the public will respect them for and repay their debt to society.
• Return all prisons and Customs operations to the control and staffing by relevant “HM” departments. Regular independent review and policy audits to confirm public confidence in operational integrity and efficiency.
• License drinking establishments using a tiered fee based upon seating/standing ratios and size – lower seating ratios = higher charge. Larger establishments = higher charges. Legal maximum size of bar. Legal minimum seating/standing ratio.
• Drunk and disorderly behaviour to be met with overnight detention and potentially remand in custody until brought before Magistrates on weekdays. Fines to be adjusted back to historic levels, enabling fines in the order of £,000’s to be levied.
• All borders to check in and check out every individual regardless of nationality.
• Re-introduce need for foreign nationals to report to police stations on a regular basis and to notify of any change in address.
• Immigration – Economic immigration will be managed with regard to the economic needs of the nation. Must be open and transparent. All immigration should consider those countries that have natural or historic ties to the UK as having priority but not exclusivity.
• Non-UK EU citizens committing crime in the EU while resident in the UK will be blacklisted and returned with any dependents to their country of origin and banned from re-entry to the UK.
• Asylum cases can only be considered immediately upon landfall and ‘airside’, i.e. before formally entering the UK. All cases need full and valid documentation; otherwise they will be handed over to the UN. Cases need to be reviewed promptly and those awaiting judgment accommodated ‘airside’ and treated with dignity and respect by HM Customs staff.

Transport and the Environment

• Build railways, stations and guided bus-ways where housing is desired (and allow building around the station) so nature takes its course.
• Tax road haulage to reflect cost to the economy (thereby making rail freight more competitive)
• Tax industrial/commercial land factoring in environmental impact, so that out-of-town office developments are more expensive than urban.
• Ban Diesel cabs, Buses and delivery vans in urban areas – switch to LPG or BioDiesel.
• LPG tax breaks set as rolling 10 years, to enable conversion to be cost effective.
• Enforce London 'Black Cab' standards on ALL taxis and minicabs.
• Road tax altered to be proportional to vehicle weight x area, to balance vehicle use of roadspace and damage to the surface, thus big bulky vehicles pay more, as do wider vehicles, heavy 4x4's etc.
• Vehicles to be annually tested for roadworthiness as part of their insurance certification, so 1 year insurance is confirmed once the vehicle is certified roadworthy for 1 year. Insurance companies will also collect the road tax (above) at the same time.
• Road building should be limited to managing and controlling the private sector expansion of the toll motorway network.
• Biofuels will be promoted (see Transport).
• All land left fallow or producing EU ‘quota crops’ to be phased over to produce raw materials for biofuels. Natural meadows with fast-growing self-seeding plant life (“weeds”) to be encouraged to promote diversity in fauna and flora.
• Remote wind and wave generation encouraged to crack water into hydrogen for transport via shipping. This will avoid need for long distance pylons and to control the release of energy into the grid.
• GM Crops will be prohibited until further notice.


• More power, authority and responsibilities to head teachers – document ‘gold standard’ school regimes for other Heads to emulate.
• Teach children to think and to control their impulses, using mechanisms such as CoRT, to improve behaviour and learning.
• Bad schools should be allowed to die.
• Good schools should be encouraged to spawn branches, but not expand excessively on a single site to maintain sense of individuality and community.
• Private/Public schools should retain charity status and be eligible to receive voucher funding unless they are religious schools that exclude multi-faith enrollment.
• Fund and spread British English training worldwide via British Council, as Alliance Francais does.
• Allow work at 14 as apprentices part-funded by the state as a form of on-job training, but only in selective areas such as plumbing, electrical, engineering.
• Significantly more pay for the best teachers, but unions must accept that sub-standard teachers must be fired.
• Universities should be arranged so that the same revenue can be gained regardless of foreign or local students.
• GCSE’s and ‘A’-Levels to be graded with respect to their true purpose – of deciding relative abilities in each year so that job and university applications can be more rational and fair.