04 May 2010

UK elections: A tame manifesto for the UK?

Given none of the parties I can vote for inspire me beyond the slightest, I thought I’d write my own manifesto for the UK. It isn’t THAT radical, but it is to try to reflect where I think the Conservatives SHOULD have gone in the next five years at least. As such, the headings mostly reflect Conservative manifesto portfolio headings. In short, if the Conservatives could do this, or even do half of this, I'd have some enthusiasm for giving that party my vote...

Big Society: No policy. Eliminating laws that restrict the peaceful activities of the voluntary sector should be a priority in the next term, that includes restricting organisations from determining their own membership, and restricting prohibitions on trade.

Business: Reduce company tax immediately to match the lowest in Europe (12.5% in Ireland) with a view to eliminating company tax once the budget deficit is eliminated. Part pay for the cut by immediately ending all subsidies and grants to industry, and closing the bureaucracies responsible. The best assistance to business is to get the hell out of the way, and to make the UK the most tax competitive economy in Europe.

Constitutional: Directly elect the House of Lords via STV, retain its current role or reviewing and delaying legislation. Establish independent Electoral Authority to ensure boundaries reflect equivalent population sizes. Give Scotland and Wales referendums with a choice of independence, full integration into the UK, or full federal type autonomy (with tax raising powers). Give Northern Ireland full autonomy to raise its own taxes and run its own internal affairs.

Energy and climate change: Eliminate all measures that impose restrictions on the introduction of zero-emissions energy that are inconsistent with private property rights and protection from force or fraud. Remove restrictions on construction of new power stations consistent with private property rights and transitional planning laws until emission and water discharges are converted into private property rights. Eliminate climate change levies. Eliminate OfGem’s role over three years.

Community relations: No policy beyond making it clear that British values include respect for individual rights and individual choices in a free liberal democratic capitalist society. All new immigrants will be required to sign up to respect of the individual rights of others, including a commitment to leave or be removed if those rights are not respected demonstrated by criminal conviction.

Countryside and farming: Remove restrictions on the peaceful use of private property. Commence negotiations to change the terms of UK EU membership including abolition of agricultural subsidies.

Crime: Undertake a fundamental review of all criminal offences to ensure offences only remain for the initiation of force or fraud. Commence reform of drug laws to progressively remove adult use and trade in narcotics from the criminal law.

Culture, media and sport: Cap spending on the Olympics, privatising the Olympics so that it does not have an increasing draw on taxation. Eliminate cross media and foreign ownership rules on all media outlets. Eliminate restrictions on commercial broadcasting, sell Channel 4, prepare BBC to sell non-core channels and replace licence fee with voluntary options for payment once analogue television is closed. Eliminate OfCom and transfer its non-coercive functions to the private sector, with radio frequency rights transferred to private property rights. Eliminate competition law requirements upon media providers.

Defence and National Security: Replace Trident, support continued deployment in Afghanistan. Continue to

Economy: Encourage economic growth by starting to cut and eliminate taxes. Repeal increase in national insurance. Cut company tax to 12.5%. Repeal 50% tax rate. Eliminate stamp duty and inheritance taxes. Eliminate budget deficit over three years by widespread cuts in the state sector, including introduce public sector pay freeze until budget deficit is eliminated, end contributions to public sector pensions, eliminate winter fuel subsidies for pensioners, eliminate income tax credits in exchange for introducing £10,000 tax free tax allowance. At least a freeze in nominal terms of all state sector budgets except defence and law and order. Once budget is in surplus, simultaneously cut 40% tax rate and increase tax free allowances. Cut VAT to 15%. Eliminate laws inconsistent with protection against the initiation of force and fraud. Privatise all government owned businesses at a time at for offers commensurate with getting the best price to repay public debt.

End the creation of fiat money by the Bank of England, allow issuance of free money by banks.

Environment: Eliminate landfill tax, abolish OfWat to let water companies to charge money. Demand reform of the Common Fisheries Policy to introduce private property rights. Undertake a wholesale reform of planning law to base all on private property rights including rights to airspace, waterways and sight lines.

Europe: Negotiate new terms of membership of the EU, including cessation of funds for subsidy programmes, the right to offer more open borders for trade in goods and services than the EU offers, opt-out of all directives that initiate force or fraud on businesses and individuals. Retain freedom of movement within the EU but eliminate reciprocal arrangements for welfare, health and education for EU citizens in the UK and vice versa.

Family: Cap funding on Sure Start, start transferring Sure Start centres to the private sector as registered charities, phasing out state funding over five years. Eliminate legal requirements for employers to provide parental leave.

Foreign Affairs: Commit to NATO and to the dissemination of secular, pluralist values globally. Support multilateral sanctions against Iran. Maintain clear support for the UK sovereignty over the Falklands and Gibraltar. Promote a new WTO trade round.

Health: Shift the NHS and national insurance to an individual insurance model. Initially compulsory, the new NHS insurance model will have a voluntary opt out for those wishing to buy their own health insurance or health care. The NHS insurance system will raise national insurance rates to remain solvent, and will be empowered to charge differential national insurance to reflect risk, and offer options for part payment by payers. As a transitional arrangement, all citizens will remain covered by NHS insurance unless they opt out.

Housing: Eliminate stamp duty. Reinforce private property rights to allow land and homeowners to do as they wish as long as they respect property rights of others. Eliminate local authority powers to regulate land use, or to use council tax to pay for public housing. Grant ownership of all public housing to tenants of five or more years, transfer all other public housing to private housing charities.

Immigration: Require all new immigrants to permanently relinquish any claim on state health, education, welfare or pensions, have sufficient funds to be housed for at least three months and funds for a return airfare, and be committed to the broad values of a tolerant, secular society respecting the individual rights of others (including no criminal record for genuine crimes). Focus border control on people trafficking, and the entry of criminals and terrorists.

International development: Freeze aid in nominal terms, focus on phasing out development aid, but supporting governance reform in developing countries to promote the rule of law, private property rights, free trade and individual freedom.

Jobs and welfare: Cap all welfare benefits in nominal terms. Tighten eligibility for benefits. Eliminate minimum wage.

Justice: Eliminate victimless crimes and agencies to vet working with children on the basis of suspicion not conviction. Scrap ID cards. Reform DNA database so that it retains data only of convicted criminals, and others who consent. Remove convictions for victimless crimes from personal records. Introduce preventive detention for serious violent and sexual offenders. Replace ASBOs with trials for real offences and a points based three strikes law. Introduce test for conviction and sentencing of children based on understanding nature and consequences of their acts, and to convict parents using children as agents.

Local government: Permanently freeze council tax. Abolish regional assemblies and development agencies. Abolish power of general competence of local authorities, restricting them to delivery of “public” goods and devolved delivery of policing, and residual state services.

Pensions and Older People: End requirement to buy annuity at 75. Cap state pension. Establish pension accounts for all citizens of five years or longer corresponding to age. Hypothecate portion of income tax to pension accounts, allow account holders to transfer to private sector and contribute as much extra as they wish. Eliminate winter fuel payments once tax free threshold increased. Leave free transport passes to transport providers.

Schools, universities and skills: Remove all restrictions on establishing schools, and allow funding to follow students to any institutions, or for parents to receive a tax credit to use for education. Freeze university funding, giving them free reign to increase fees as they see fit.

Technology: Eliminate state involvement in the roll out of broadband.

Transport: Privatise the Highways Agency network by granting ownership to all registered owners of motor vehicles, with full powers to set tolls. Issue no new rail franchises that are subsidised. Remove state role in vetting airport and port development. Eliminate air passenger duty. Require local authorities to put local roads into companies with shares held by property owners. Permanently cap fuel tax and allow motorists to opt out of fuel tax by paying tolls directly to road owners. Let high speed rail development be a purely private enterprise endeavour.

Women and equality: No policy.


StephenR said...

be committed to the broad values of a tolerant, secular society respecting the individual rights of others

How do you test/enforce that outside of say criminal convictions?

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Libertyscott said...

StephenR: It is a test for immigrants, but beyond that there is nothing. It simply is a declaration of values by the government, and government employees will be expected to uphold those values as part of their employment.