Monday, 30 November 2009

Corporation tax

According to Michael Spencer (the Tory treasurer) corporation tax could be cut towards 20%. Go further I say, 10% will make the UK a business haven once more.

It's all welcome (as is the hope that the 50% rate will go) - in the long run these cuts will only increase revenue. I know unfunded tax cuts don't go down well at the moment, but it should aid recovery and help us in the medium to long term.

Next, follow Boris' lead, stand up for the City, oppose the EU hedge funds directive and whatever else they want to damage the City with.

Reflections on Lisbon

Lisbon enters into force tomorrow. Will it render the UK to the history books?

We already know quite plainly that the method of this treaty's passing was disgraceful; no referendum, even if it was exactly the same as the constitution they promised a referendum on. And if it's a constitution, since states have constitutions does this not now make the EU a sovereign state?

Brussels Journal has the statehood line

With the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty on Tuesday 1 December, members of the European Parliament, who up to now have been “representatives of the peoples of the States brought together in the Community” (Art.189 TEC), become “representatives of the Union’s citizens” (Art.14 TEU).
I am a British citizen. I do not recognise myself as a citizen of the "Union". "European citizenship" is an alien concept to me, as I'm sure it is to many other "Europeans". Surely if I and others consider ourselves UK citizens, the country is the UK? The purpose of referendums is often to define nationality. Take Montenegro. They voted to become Montenegrons, rather than Yugoslavians or whatever it was that week. So if I do not consider myself one of the "Union's citizens", am I no longer represented by the European Parliament? Who are "the Union's citizens"? Who do the MEPs represent? Quite clearly they are becoming more and more detached, since they represent people that don't exist! I'm a subject of the British crown, not a citizen of the European Union!

I suppose I have to avoid being too cynical and Daily Mail-esque sometimes. Will this create an EU superstate? I'd say that a state cannot exist without the consent of its citizens, but then again, what about South Ossetia, or the Serbs in Kosovo? I have a distinct identity, a British identity, not some European identity.

But then again, do the political class listen? Versailles, 1919 - for all the talk of self-determination, the politicians set most of the borders (though yes there were plebiscites). Is this really the first time we've been invaded, since 1066, but without any armed force at all?

The Brussels Journal piece I linked to earlier notes the clause "The Union shall be founded on the present Treaty". Does this clause not create a new European Union, a new state?

I'm not a constitutional lawyer, not even a political scientist, but to me this is the foundation of a new state. A state needs citizens, and Lisbon provides for them, even when the citizens don't want to be citizens. Honestly, the transfer of powers is disgusting. But only time will tell.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

What policy?

From the government of policy conflicts comes yet another one.

I know it's meaningless, but having put a bill in the Queen's Speech forcing the next government to cut the deficit, they have been spending willy-nilly and getting us into more debt.

One rule for them, another for the unfortunate government (probably Conservative) who has to sort it out.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

What if we left the EU?

Interesting question. Interesting video from the Taxpayers Alliance.

Got my copy of "Ten Years On" yesterday, and will get around to reading it at some point.
As I've always said, a free trade agreement is the British way.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Nationalising the labour market

First nurses and degrees, now bankers' contracts are being controlled by the state. In a piece of short-termist populism, Labour have potentially sounded death knells for the City.

London needs the City. Britain needs the City. Without the City, who are we? It all goes back to the comparative advantage we have in finance, a theory that Adam Smith talked about a couple of hundred years back. I complain that the minimum wage is an undue interference on the freedom of contract between employer and employee, so this potential maximum wage is horrendous. What right does the state have to stop a bank using its profits to pay its bankers? Perhaps instead the state should stop supporting irresponsible practices, by bailing out and guaranteeing everything, and by making credit far too easy for far too long. If the shareholders don't like the bonuses, shares will drop. That is deterrence in itself.

Gordon Brown keeps saying he wants to "change the banking sector" and suchlike. The market will reallocate and change the banking sector, not the government, who don't have a clue what's needed. In the meantime, sort out the regulation as to minimise the size of credit bubbles.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Brown - wrong!

Gordon Brown often claims that the Conservatives are "wrong on recession".

Wait a minute.

We are still in recession. The government's policies are clearly not working well, stopping the market reallocating resources.

And Brown claims that the Conservative position is 'wrong', that Conservative policies would stop recovery.

Brown's policy isn't working. Conservative policy isn't in place. Therefore, how can Brown say that Conservative policy is wrong? Can he somehow see the future?

Logical fail.

11th November

May they rest in peace.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Lisbon Treaty Referendum Bill

Guido's found the draft referendum bill.

Obviously I don't have legal expertise, but to me I agree with Guido that there would be nothing wrong with that Bill. That is, as long as Britain is seen as a separate nation state, making its own laws. If the European Union gains statehood (and it better not) there could be a problem from how I see it.

If Lisbon is ratified, de-ratifying it a treaty, or is it a constitutional document?

The Economist and Royal Mail

Last week I criticised the Economist's lack of coverage of postal strikes, the Royal Mail, etc. I take that back.

This week they have a leader calling for privatisation as the best way to take it forward. To respond to falling demand, private companies like TNT are better placed. I agree.

Saw this in my Economist which came on Tuesday, rather than Saturday. The Royal Mail - a right mess.

Privatisation is the best way to ensure that the public does not, instead, end up serving the post office.

Bang on.


Over Europe I've heard two things over the last couple of days, that of general election mandates and referendum mandates.

Which one is stronger? General elections tend to be more general, and if Cameron wants to focus on the economy not Europe, it will be no means be as strong as an explicit mandate to renegotiate via a referendum. The referendum shows that the majority of British people want to change their nation's relationship with the EU - to make it a more British relationship, rather than subscribing to continental ideology.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

On Lisbon, referendums and UKIP

I think we should have a referendum on the EU - in fact an in/out one. I'd rather see us in a trading agreement, since that's a more suitable way of doing things for Britain; the British political and economic model is not the same as the EU/continental one. Can we hold a referendum on Lisbon? Not really - it's been ratified by all member states. I suppose we could hold one before it comes into practice on the 1st December, but that's not going to happen.

I think the current situation is disappointing, and I'm not completely thrilled with Cameron's speech, but it'll do. Having reflected on it a bit, I think it sets the right tone - power from the EU to Britain. But will that happen? It'll take strength on Cameron's part. The best he can do is argue that Britain will be a 'better' member of the EU if it has an arrangement with it that suits Britain, i.e. the free trade agreement as I said earlier - that's just the way Britain is, a freedom-loving country. The possible second term referendum if negotiation doesn't go the right way will hopefully scare Brussels, but I still think Cameron needs to be stronger on that one. Some bits are meaningless, like the legal guarantee to future referendums (Lisbon is self-amending). But I think it's generally the right direction to be going.

On the referendum - Cameron has not reneged on anything. He made the commitment (cast-iron guarantee) in 2007, on the eve of a potential snap election. That didn't happen, and the Conservatives supported a Lisbon referendum when it came to Parliament. Promise kept. Labour and the Lib Dems reneged on a manifesto pledge (as opposed to something in the Sun) when it was possible to hold the referendum. Now it isn't possible, this is a new position - Lisbon is in place, and a referendum would be meaningless. I understand the view that it would be a strong mandate on renegotiation, but a Lisbon referendum? No - a referendum on renegotiation specifically - I like what David Davis said about a double-referendum to give the mandate, and approve the plan. As well as this, how hypocritical for Labour to claim that the Conservatives are reneging on their promises? They reneged on the referendum when it was actually possible.

People might tell me to go off and vote UKIP; after all I disagree with party policy on Europe. In fact I disagree with party policy on many things, but I will not join a single-issue party that will not gain power and in fact may stop a party that holds similar principles to it gaining power. They say they want to stop 50 or 60 Conservative MPs winning seats - so they want a Europhilic Labour government instead of a not-quite-as-Eurosceptic-as-them Conservative government? The Conservative Party shares my conservative principles, and since it's the best way to get the principles into government, I'll support the Party. Voting UKIP will do nothing except let a Labour government in that will sell us out to the EU even more. Conservative MPs are generally Eurosceptic, Labour MPs aren't.

You go and support UKIP if you want, but they won't gain MPs, you'll just let Europhile Labour back in.