Category Archives: Social Policy

What the British people want from their politicians… and what they get

Robert Henderson

What do our politicians think of the electorate: precious little. All the major mainstream parties either ignore or cynically  misrepresent  the issues  which are most important to the British – immigration, our relationship with the EU, the English democratic deficit,  foreign adventures , the suppression of free speech and the precarious state of the economy. . These issues are  not addressed honestly because they either clash with the prevailing internationalist agenda or because to address them honestly would mean admitting how much sovereignty had been given away to the EU and through other treaties.

This antidemocratic failure to engage in honest politics is an established trait. The wilful removal from mainstream politics of vitally important issues has been developing for more than half a century. The upshot is that the British want their politics to be about something which is not currently on offer from any party with a chance of forming a government. The British public broadly seek what these days counts as rightist action when it comes to matters such as preserving nationhood, immigration, race and political correctness, but traditional leftist policies on items such as social welfare, the NHS and the economy (has anyone ever met someone in favour of free markets and free trade who has actually lost his job because of them?).

The electorate’s difficulty is not simply their inability to find a single party to fulfil all or even most of their political desires. Even on a single issue basis, the electorate frequently cannot find a party offering what they want because all the mainstream parties now carol from the same internationalist, globalist, supranational, pro-EU, pc songsheet. The electorate finds they may have any economic programme provided it is laissez faire globalism, any relationship with the EU provided it is membership, any foreign policy provided it is internationalist and continuing public services only if they increasingly include private capital and provision. The only difference between the major parties is one of nuance.

Nowhere is this political uniformity seen more obviously than in the Labour and Tory approaches to immigration. Labour has adopted a literally mad policy of “no obvious limit to immigration”. The Tories claim to be “tough” on immigration, but then agree to accept as legal immigrants more than 100,000 incomers a year from outside the EU plus any number of migrants from within the EU (350 million have the right to settle here). There is a difference, but it is simply less or more of the same. Worse, in practice there would probably be no meaningful difference to the numbers coming whoever is in power. The truth is that while we remain part of the EU and tied by international treaties on asylum and human rights, nothing meaningful can be done for purely practical reasons. But even if something could be done, for which serious party could the person who wants no further mass immigration vote? None.

A manifesto to satisfy the public

All of this set me thinking: what manifesto would appeal to most electors? I suggest this political agenda for the What the People Want Party:

We promise:

1. To always put Britain’s interests first. This will entail the adoption of an unaggressive nationalist ethic in place of the currently dominant internationalist ideology.

2. The reinstatement of British sovereignty by withdrawal from the EU and the repudiation of all treaties which circumscribe the primacy of Parliament.

3. That future treaties will only come into force when voted for by a majority in both Houses of Parliament and   accepted in a referendum . Any  treaty should be subject to repudiation following  Parliament passing a motion that repudiation should take place and that motion being ratified by a referendum.  Treaties could also be repudiated by a citizen initiated referendum (see 29).

4. A reduction in the power of the government in general and the Prime Minister in particular and an increase in the power of Parliament. This will be achieved by abolishing the Royal Prerogative, outlawing the party whip and removing the vast powers of patronage available to a government.

5. That the country will only go to war on a vote in both Houses of Parliament.

6. An end to mass immigration by any means, including asylum, work permits and family reunion.

7. An end to all officially-sponsored political correctness.

8. The promotion of British history and culture in our schools and by all publicly-funded bodies.

9. The repeal of all laws which give by intent or practice a privileged position to any group which is less than the entire population of the country, for example the Race Relations Act..

10. The repeal of all laws which attempt to interfere with the personal life and responsibility of the individual. Citizens will not be instructed what to eat, how to exercise, not to smoke or drink or be banned from pursuits such as fox-hunting which harm no one else.

11. A formal recognition that a British citizen has rights and obligations not available to the foreigner, for example, the benefits of the welfare state will be made available only to born and bred Britons.

12. Policing which is directed towards three ends: maintaining order, catching criminals and providing support and aid to the public in moments of threat or distress. The police will leave their cars and helicopters and return to the beat and there will be an assumption that the interests and safety of the public come before the interests and safety of police officers.

13. A justice system which guards the interests of the accused by protecting essential rights of the defendant such as jury trial and the right to silence, whilst preventing cases collapsing through technical procedural errors.

14. Prison sentences that are served in full, that is,  the end of remission and other forms of early release. Misbehaviour in prison will be punished by extending the sentence.

15. An absolute right to self-defence when attacked. The public will be encouraged to defend themselves and their property.

16. A general economic policy which steers a middle way between protectionism and free trade, with protection given to vital and strategically important industries such as agriculture, energy, and steel and free trade only in those things which are not necessities.

17. A repudiation of further privatisation for its own sake and a commitment to the direct public provision of all essential services such as medical treatment. We recognise that the electorate overwhelmingly want the NHS, decent state pensions, good state funded education for their children and state intervention where necessary to ensure the necessities of life. This promise is made to both reassure the public of continued future provision and to ensure that the extent of any public spending is unambiguous, something which is not the case where indirect funding channels such as PFI are used.

18. The re-nationalisation of  the railways, the energy companies, the water companies and any  exercise  of the state’s authority such as privately run prisons which have been placed in  private hands.

19. An  education system which ensures that every child leaves school with at least a firm grasp of the three Rs and a school exam system which is based solely on a final exam. This will remove the opportunity to cheat by pupils and teachers. The standards of the exams will be based on those of the 1960s which is the last time British school exams were uncontaminated by continuous assessment, multiple choice questions and science exams included practicals as a matter of course. .

20. To restore credibility to our university system. The taxpayer will fund scholarships for 20 per cent of school-leavers. These will pay for all fees and provide a grant sufficient to live on during term time. Any one not in receipt of a scholarship will have to pay the full fees and support themselves or take a degree in their spare time. The scholarships will be concentrated on the best universities. The other universities will be closed. This will ensure that the cost is no more than the current funding and the remaining universities can be adequately funded.

21. A clear distinction in our policies between the functions of the state and the functions of private business, charities and other non-governmental bodies. The state will provide necessary public services, business will be allowed to concentrate on their trade and not be asked to be an arm of government and charities will be entirely independent bodies which will no longer receive public money.

22. A commitment to putting the family first. This will include policies which recognise that the best childcare is that given by the parents and that parents must be allowed to exercise discipline over their children. These will be given force by a law making clear that parents have an absolute right to the custody of and authority over their children, unless the parents can be shown to be engaging in serious criminal acts against their children.

23. Marriage to be encouraged by generous tax breaks and enhanced  child allowances for children born in wedlock.

24. Defence forces designed solely to defend Britain and not the New World Order.

25. A Parliament for England to square the Devolution circle. The English comprise around 80 per cent of the population of the UK, yet they alone of all the historic peoples are Britain are denied the right to govern themselves. This is both unreasonable and politically unsustainable in the long-run.

26. A reduction to the English level of Treasury funding to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This will save approximately £17 billion pa because the Celts receive overall approximately £1,600 per head per annum more than the English.

27. An end to Foreign Aid. This will save approximately £11  billion.

28. A written constitution to ensure that future governments cannot abuse their power. This will be predicated on (1) the fact that we are a free people, (2) the belief that in a free and democratic society the individual can be trusted to take responsibility for his or her actions and to behave responsibly and (3) that politicians are the servants not the masters of those who elect them. It will guarantee those things necessary to a free society, including an absolute right to free expression, jury trial for any offence carrying a sentence of more than one year, place citizens in a privileged position over foreigners and set the interests and safety of the country and its citizens above the interests and safety of any other country or people.

29. Citizen initiated referenda shall be held when ten per cent of the population have signed a petition asking for a referendum.

Those are the things which I think most of the electorate could embrace, at least in large part. There are also other issues which the public might well be brought to  support if there was proper public debate and a serious political party supporting them such as the ownership and bearing of weapons and the legalisation of drugs.

The positive thing about such an agenda is that either Labour or the Tories could comfortably support it within the context of their history.

Until Blair perverted its purpose, the Labour Party had been in practice (and often in theory – think Ernie Bevin), staunchly nationalist, not least because the unions were staunchly protective of their members’ interests and resistant to both mass immigration (because it reduced wages) and free trade (because it exported jobs and reduced wages).

For the Tories, the Thatcherite philosophy is as much an aberration as the Blairite de-socialisation of Labour. The true Tory creed in a representative democracy is that of the one nation nationalist. It cannot be repeated too often that the free market internationalist creed is the antithesis of conservatism.

The manifesto described above would not appeal in every respect to ever member of the “disenfranchised majority”. But its general political slant would be palatable to that majority and there would be sufficient within the detail to allow any individual who is currently disenchanted with politics to feel that there were a decent number of important policies for which he or she could happily vote. That is the best any voter can expect in a representative democracy. People could again believe that voting might actually change things.

One nation Labour: work, family and place – a taste of Labour’s next election propaganda

Civitas meeting at 55 Tuftn Street Westminster SW1P3QL

14 October 2013

One nation Labour: work, family and place

Speaker: John Cruddas MP

The speech was  howlingly vacuous, full of trite phrasemaking and statements of the blindingly obvious added to a rich menu of vague aspirations. Here are a few examples:

“Families come in all different shapes and sizes”.

“Some of our families trace their English roots back  generations, and for some their children are the first  born in England.“

“We will improve our schools so they can help children develop good character, and learn the values of respect, honesty, compassion, trust and integrity.”

The only surprise is that Cruddas did not tell  the audience that  he believed in motherhood and apple pie.

But empty as it was of hard policy, this speech is important because Cruddas was laying out the general propaganda strategy of the Labour Party for the coming General Election.  The strategy was noteworthy for  its unmitigated cynicism, it being a shameless attempt to cloak the true intent of Labour with words which until very recently the Party would have treated as beyond the politically correct Pale.

Cruddas’  engaged in dog-whistle politics. For Labour’s  historically  core vote, the unalloyed white working class,  he used words and phrases such as patriotism  and national renewal, but  in a way that would have met with the firm approval of  Lewis Carol’s Humpty Dumpty. They meant whatever Cruddas meant them to mean rather than what any normal person or a dictionary would take them to mean. Nation did not mean a natural nation but a bogus one centred around civic ideals. Patriotism did not mean wanting to express a sense of nation but pride in the civic ideals.  Being English did not mean being English in the cultural or historic sense,  but English as simply a coverall term for those living in England. (In passing, I could not help wryly wondering  if Cruddas was unaware of the fascist echoes in his language: One Nation; National Renewal,  the new England…. )

Cruddas had other electoral wares to peddle. To entice Tories alienated by Cameron’s NuTory social liberalism and the aspirational working-class vote,   Cruddas put forward what might politely be called the NuLabour version of that risible Tory phrase The Big Society.  This consisted of a condemnation of centralisation and a devolution of power and responsibility to the local level in general and the individual in particular. Here is a flavour of Cruddas’  general thrust:

“One Nation begins in local places. It is in our neighbourhoods that we express our cultures and identities and the new England taking shape is happening where people meet and greet one another, neighbours help one another and watch and learn from each others different lives and so build up trust and in the process make a home together. “

“They are the people who tend to think of themselves as both English and British. They care about their families and work hard for a  better life.  The ethic of work is deeply held because it is about  self-respect and self reliance.  They are responsible and look after their  neighbourhoods. But they don’t feel they get back what they deserve. “

“They are powerfully aspirational but they are struggling to make ends meet.  The better life they have worked for, and their hopes for their children are under threat due to the cost of living crisis.  Labour should be their natural home.” 

Despite the Thatcherite tone, this was The  Big Society NuLabour style. Consequently,  it also contained a good deal of political correctness, including a seeming acceptance of male employment  providing less than enough money to support a family as a permanent fixture in the British economy. Indeed, there was even an undertone of this being a good thing because  it furthers the cause of gender equality, viz:

“Millions of men no longer earn enough to follow their fathers in the role of family breadwinner. More and more women are taking on the role of breadwinner. Families thrive when there is a partnership and teamwork amongst adult relations We need a new conversation about families and their  relationships that is jointly owned by women and  men. “

“We need to value father’s family role as highly as his working role, and women’s working role as highly as her domestic one. And we need to have high expectations of fathers because otherwise we collude with those men who don’t step up to the mark.”

“We will look at where we can make greater use of a ‘whole family’ approach to public services which assumes, where it is safe and appropriate, that a child  needs a relationship with both parents.

 “That means:

- exploring changes to maternity services to engage the whole family and include fathers.

- looking at paid leave for prospective fathers to attend antenatal sessions and hospital appointments during pregnancy.

- developing services that facilitate mutual support between families.

- helping family self help initiatives in the community and letting finance follow.

Helping children take responsibility for their own actions, also means improving sex and relationship education for boys and girls with zero tolerance of violence at its core.  “

The third prong of Cruddas’ propaganda method was to speak of England not Britain:  

“It is a sentiment that is shared by a large part of the electorate today, particularly in England. Patriotic, love of family; live and let live. Committed to the virtues of responsibility and duty; fiercely democratic and individual. “

“We are a country of many roots looking for an identity. Some of our families trace their English roots back  generations, and for some their children are the first  born in England.“

“One Nation begins in local places. It is in our neighbourhoods that we express our cultures and identities and the new England taking shape is happening where people meet and greet one another, neighbours help one another and watch and learn from each others different lives and so build up trust and in the process make a home together.”

This is not Englishness at all but a substitute for the increasingly meaningless use of British, a term  which has become a semantic umbrella to obviate the need to call immigrants and their descendants English. There  is to be a new Englishness, not one born of the organic formation and shaping of a nation across a millennium and a half, as has been the genesis of England and the English,  but  a cosmopolitan multicultural politically correct mess which no English man or woman would recognise as English.

In true Labour fashion his speech was also packed with uncosted spending commitments  such as paid antenatal paternity leave, guaranteed work for the long-term unemployed, increased childcare payments, cutting and then freezing business rates for small and medium sized firms and  putting more money into vocational training. Incredibly, Cruddas claimed that  these new costly policies will be made whilst government spending reduces overall, viz:: “We will govern with less money.”

There was a strong hint to what the devolution of power  would really be about in Cruddas’  housing proposals, viz:

“Local people need local homes and we will devolve power to local authorities to negotiate with private landlords reductions in rent and use the savings to build new homes.”

The device is transparent: the responsibility is moved from national politicians and any failure rests with local politicians.  And so it will be with anything else devolved under a Labour government if one is elected in 2015.  As for the housing proposal, If there were no legal power to force private landlords to reduce rents, and there was no suggestion from Cruddas that there would be, it is  the purest pie-in-the-sky.

On the subject which most exercises the native English, immigration, all Cruddas had to offer was first this:

 “Change brings both a sense of loss as well as hope; across the country there is a powerful sense of grievance and dispossession. A loss of culture and a way of life.  We have to engage with the visceral politics it creates. “

With this as the risibly inadequate solution:

“On immigration, Ed Miliband has set out a new approach which combines tougher controls on people coming in from new EU countries with measures to help stop low skilled migration undercutting the wages of workers already here.” 

Cruddas also had the effrontery to claim The Conservatives are dividing Britain  when of course the greatest cause of division is mass immigration which increased hugely under Blair and Brow with a net inflow of more than three  million to the UK.

It would also be interesting to know how Cruddas could square his wish for Britain to be “fiercely democratic” with the  mass immigration which has been the prime policy exercising the British electorate for a long time when they have been denied any say on  it because neither of the major parties has any real intention of preventing it, not least because both major parties are committed to Britain’s membership of the EU.

There was also a feeble apology for the mess created by the Blair and Brown governments. Reflecting on the 2010 election defeat Cruddas mused “did we spend too much attention treating problems in society rather than preventing them? We moved thousands more people into work, but did we pay sufficient attention to the type of work performed and the rewards received? Were we attuned to the scale of low skilled immigration and across its impact in communities?  “ before concluding baldly “We got things wrong.”

Needless to say,  Cruddas’  conclusion that serious mistakes were made did not lead him to suggest that he , and all the other Labour MPs who served in the Blair and Brown governments who are still in the Commons should resign in  disgrace because of the mess Labour left on leaving office. An admission of fault without proportionate or indeed any penalty suffered by the wrongdoers is meaningless, a taunting of the public.

The full text of Cruddas’ speech is at http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/earningandbelonging.pdf

Come question time I managed to get the first question. I launched it with a decent preamble during  which I pointed out the three to four million net immigration under the last Labour government; the reckless spending with government spending deficits totalling more than £200 billion before the crash of 2008 and  the millions in full-time work who could not earn enough to support themselves and were heavily dependent  on benefits. I ended by asking the question “In view of the mess the last Labour Government left behind them in 2010 why should anyone trust the Labour Party enough to re-elect them at the next election?  Had there been time, I would have added in the perpetual warmongering of Blair, the handing to the EU of ever more power without the British public being consulted in a referendum, the disastrous neglect of the UK’s energy supplies, the vast expansion of the  racket that is PFI and the institutionalisation of political correctness within the British public sector.

Cruddas gave me a non-answer,  being reduced to saying that I had not given a nuanced  view of the last Labour government, followed by a claim that all had seemed going well until the crash of 2008, with an implied shrug of the shoulders that the crash could not have  been foreseen.  Contemptibly, he tried to hide behind the Tories by saying they had supported the economic policies of the Blair government.  The latter was of course true, but being wrong with along with your political opponents is no excuse. The reality is that the crash was about as obvious as Christmas coming at the end of December if one looked at the economic indicators.  (I publicly predicted the crash  in July 2007. By then house prices had risen so high that in the large majority of English council areas it was impossible for someone earning the average wage to buy their first house, despite the ease with which mortgages could be obtained with loans of up to 125% of the property’s value being offered.  It was clear that the housing market, which underpinned the gerrymandered NuLabour boom, would collapse and cause a severe recession).

The rest of the questions were curiously bloodless. Depressingly, no one else at the meeting seemed to be angry about what had happened to Britain under Blair and Brown.

The one thing of interest which came from these  questions was Cruddas’ definition of what constituted a sense of nation and patriotism. It was the “civic patriotism” so beloved of the left at the moment, the ludicrous idea that a nation can be formed around nothing more than a set of self-consciously arrived at values such as a belief in representative government and the rule of law.  Any sense of belonging arises organically from the natural human traits which create “tribal feeling”  not from governments telling people what to believe.

The “values” which Cruddas was speaking about were in reality  those of political correctness. This  meant  he  was purveying not one nonsense but another one on top of  it –  nonsense on stilts – because political correctness is in itself an exercise in denying reality.

After the meeting I email Cruddas this without receiving a reply:

Dear Mr Cruddas,

I was the person who asked the first question at the Civitas meeting tonight. Apart from the points I made in the preamble to my question, I would say that your  emphasis on localism and community  self-help sounded remarkably like a NuLabour version of the Tories’ Big Society. Both ideas are non-starters because you cannot create  social networks and community spirit self-consciously. It can only develop organically. For the same reason a civic citizenship cannot be created to stand in the stead of Man’s innate tribal feeling.

What the Labour Party needs is a return to a firm and clear understanding of what things should be private and what public and to defend public ownership and intervention where it is appropriate.  The long essay below (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/public-and-private-confusion-and-yes-there-is-an-alternative/) examines that proposition in detail

At present all your party is trying to do is patch a few social and economic grazes when what is needed is major surgery.

In your answer to my question you said the picture I painted was not nuanced. To that I would reply how exactly does one nuance over 3 million net immigrants under Blair and Brown or massive debt they ran up from 2002 onwards? The detailed debt figures are

Labour ran a surplus for each of their  first four years of government:

1998       £    703 millions

1999      £11,976 millions

2000       £16,697 millions

2001       £ 8,426 millions

Total  1998 – 2001  surplus of £37,802 millions

 

Labour ran a deficit for  the rest of their time in government:

2002    £19,046  millions

2003    £34,004  millions

2004     £36,797  millions

2005     £41,355  millions

2006     £30,755  millions

2007     £33,718  millions

2008     £68,003  millions

Total 2002 – 2008   Deficit of £263,678  millions

 

2009   £152,289 millions

2010   £148,774  millions

Total  2009 -2010   Deficit of £301,063 millions

 

Net total debt accumulated  in the period 1998 – 2008 £225,876

Net total debt  accumulated in the period 1998-2010 £526,339 millions

Figures taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/oct/18/deficit-debt-government-borrowing-data.

These figures understate the true increase in public debt because of the Enron-style accounting which kept most the PPI and PFI debt incurred under Blair and Brown off the books.

As can be seen, the present Labour claims that the financial mess is all due to the post-Lehman global crash is embarrassingly  untrue.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Robert Henderson

Royal Mail and ideology

Robert Henderson

The starting gun for the privatisation of the Royal Mail has been fired t(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/royal-mail/10303689/Royal-Mail-privatisation-Government-confirms-flotation-within-weeks.html).

As with the banks,  the taxpayer takes the losses  and private business gets the profits. To prepare Royal Mail for privatisation the taxpayer has taken sole responsibility for the Royal Mail’s pension fund . They have done this  because its liabilities are huge and no private investor or business would take Royal Mail  on with the pension fund attached.

The pension scheme is closed to new members, which means that over time the liabilities will decline as pensioners die. However, that will take a long time and the liabilities are huge and uncertain.

The pension fund had estimated liabilities £33bn in the 2012/13 accounts (http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1314/hc01/0149/0149.pdf).  This figure had risen by nearly £3bn in a year:  “The total pension scheme liability increased, from the date of transfer on 1 April 2012, from £30.547 billion to £33.378 billion at 31 March 2013.”

The scheme is “an unfunded defined benefit scheme providing pension and lump sum benefits on retirement and  death to members and former members of the Royal Mail Pension Plan (RMPP), and their dependants, in respect of their service up to 31 March 2012. The scheme is closed and has only pensioner and deferred members. As this is a closed scheme, there are no employer or employee contributions, the on-going pension payments and other payments are funded from the consolidated fund”  (Ibid)

The key words here are “unfunded” and “funded from the consolidated fund.  That means it is like the  Old Age Pension, namely, funded out of taxation.

The Pension Fund was supposedly made shipshape and Bristol fashion by the government  pumping in £2.2 billion in 2012.  However, after the first year of operation after the taxpayer bailout the “Royal Mail Group is facing an extra £300m annual bill from its pensions, one year on from a multi-billion-pound deal that was supposed to have solved its pension issues once and for all ahead of a public listing.” (http://www.efinancialnews.com/story/2013-05-31/pensions-talks-return-to-haunt-royal-mail?ea9c8a2de0ee111045601ab04d673622)

What can be expected from a privatised postal service

The experience of every other large privatisation apart from BT is of rising prices and decreased service.  Even in the case of BT the comparative success of the privatisation – the landline connections for phones and broadband are still dependent on BT’s  control of the network – would probably not have occurred if the mobile phone revolution had not taken place and  introduced genuine competition into the telecoms market.

There are a number of reasons why a privatised Royal Mail will go the same way as the likes of British Rail and the utilities.  To begin with there is the VAT exemption which is bound to vanish. As   it is a public organisation Royal Mail  does not pay VAT on most of its products: a privatised Royal Mail will almost certainly pay VAT on all of its products. The present position with VAT  is this:

“Royal Mail products that remain exempt from VAT, in addition to free products

UK

1st and 2nd Class (stamps, online, franking, account*)

Special Delivery™ Next Day (stamps and franking)

Standard Parcels

Recorded Signed For™ (if purchased with a VAT exempt service)

Keepsafe™ (personal and business)

*1st and 2nd class account is a new product that was launched in April 2012. This is a Universal Service which does not qualify for volume related discounts. Royal Mail also offers a 1st and 2nd class service called Business Mail which is available on account. Volume related discounts are available on this service for larger postings and VAT is liable

International

Airmail

Surface Mail

International Signed For

All HM Forces Mail (BFPO)

Inbound Mail

Redirections within UK (personal and business) “

(http://www.royalmail.com/information-vat-and-postal-services)

All those exemptions will  be under threat with privatisation,  not least because  EU competition commissioner is likely to  be after them like a shot as the exemptions would be viewed as illegitimate state aid ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2305592/Price-class-stamp-soar-1-just-years-Royal-Mail-privatised-campaign-group-warns.html) . There will also be challenges by private postal companies and TNT Post UK has already said they will try to get the courts to rule that “ the exemption should be removed from all Royal Mail services apart from stamps and services directly connected to the obligation it has to provide a universal service six days a week”. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/steve-hawkes/10309856/Legal-fight-threatens-Royal-Mail.html).  If successful that would put 20% VAT on bulk mail deliveries.  In time, it is reasonable to expect even more dramatic challenges to any VAT exemption.

Then there is the question of raising capital. The official line is this: “ To help protect the future of the universal postal service, we aim to end Royal Mail’s dependence on unpredictable funding from the taxpayer and allow them future access to private capital. We will do this by selling shares in Royal Mail. “ (https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/ensuring-the-future-of-the-universal-postal-service-and-post-office-network-services)

On the face of it this is a nonsense statement.  As a matter of simple fact the British government can raise money by way of borrowing far more cheaply than a private company, no matter how large, can do (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/21/royal-mail-public-sector-privatise).

The claim becomes less odd if the real reason why capital cannot be raised by Royal Mail is the EU competition commission’s resistance to  state aid. The commission  is especially keen on stamping on state aid  in relation to EU postal services, which it desperately wants to see in private hands or at least with a mixture of private and public providers competing on the same basis, as it seeks to have a uniform postal service throughout the EU ((http://ec.europa.eu/competition/sectors/postal_services/cases.html).  It is probable that a publicly owned  Royal Mail would not be allowed to raise cheap money through the offices of the government because the assistance  would not be available to other private postal competitors and, hence,  would be judged as unfair competition by the EU competition commissioner.

But not all state aid is bad in the EU commission’s eyes.  They  were willing to collude  with the  UK government to prepare Royal Mail for privatisation by allowing what amounts to massive state aid through the removal of the deficit laden Royal Mail pension fund from Royal Mail , viz:

“The European Commission approved UK plans to relieve the Royal Mail Group (RMG) from excessive pension costs relating to its past monopoly position and to provide RMG with restructuring aid consisting of a debt reduction of GBP 1089 million (around EUR 1311 million). The Commission concluded that RMG’s revised restructuring plan would ensure a sustainable future for the group in its twofold function of providing universal postal services and of granting access to its delivery network to other providers in the UK. Moreover, the plan negotiated with the Commission included appropriate measures to minimise distortions of competition induced by the aid (IP/12/260).” (Ibid)

The sale is also ostensibly  odd in that it comes at a time when  Royal Mail is making a solid profit  (£400 million in the past year). However, the strangeness of the decision vanishes when it is realised that  the Royal Mail has been deliberately fattened up for privatisation  by the massive price increase in the cost of postage stamps in 2012 (First class stamps rising from 46p to 60p and second class from 36p to 50p.  Parcel charges have also risen substantially http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17859782. Incidentally, iIt is a moot point how much of the £400million profit arose from people buying huge numbers of stamps at the pre-rise prices, but nonetheless the increase in profitability is too large to be  ascribed to that one off event alone ).

The obligation to maintain the universal  postal service (UPS )  – the obligation to deliver  post anywhere in the UK at the same price six days a week -  is protected by the Postal Services Act 2011 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/5/introduction) and the  EU Postal Services Directives (http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/post/legislation/index_en.htm). However, once Royal Mail has private shareholders  this could change, especially if a majority private shareholder emerges. This could easily occur  if much more than 50% of shares are sold  to the private sector . The intention of  the government is for a  majority of shares  to be in private hands  with the rest held by the government. The  percentage to be retained by the government might be very small  and this is suggested strongly because ministers  has been very coy on the matter of the size of government’s holding .  It could be as low 10% for all we know.

If a majority shareholder does emerge,  they  will inevitably argue that they cannot compete with other private operators who are not bound by the UPS. Their complaint could well be upheld either by the UK or the EU competition authorities on the grounds of practicality, that is, the impossibility of running Royal Mail as a private business when it has the  UPS obligation which its competitors do not have to honour.  If the VAT exemption is lessened or even abandoned altogether, that would  add to the argument to dilute or even remove entirely the UPS obligation. It is worth  remembering that the so-called “golden share” held by the government in Jaguar cars was limply given up by the government  not that many years after being introduced (http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1989/dec/06/golden-shares).

The UPS is under attack already from retailers who rely on posting goods to customers. They are under no obligation to use Royal Mail. This means they can charge whatever they like for postage within the UK and there are claims that some online retailers are charging multiples of the postage cost  which Royal Mail would charge for deliveries to out of the way addresses. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-24069354).  This will be happening because  the contracts the retailers  have agreed with postal providers other than Royal Mail will stipulate that this must be done.  If Royal Mail had retained its monopoly of small parcel deliveries (or even had the size of parcels in its monopoly increased) this would not be able to happen with anything like the same frequency.

The privatisation of Royal Mail also threatens the Post Office network, which is now an entirely separate organisation, Post Office Ltd.  Governments have been cynically undermining the Post Office for decades with a gradual removal government services which bulked out the postal services. The threat is not immediate because “We have committed £1.34 billion of funding for the network from financial year 2011 to 2012 to financial year 2014 to 2015. This will enable the Post Office to maintain and modernise its network to help safeguard its future.” (https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/ensuring-the-future-of-the-universal-postal-service-and-post-office-network-services). However,   looking ten years or so ahead it is probable that the cry will go up from politicians that the Post Office is a white state-owned elephant because there is every chance that a privatised Royal Mail will refuse to continue the contracts with the Post Office which currently exist on the grounds of cost and convenience.  

Why the privatisation is happening

Royal Mail would be perfectly viable as a public service if the old monopoly of letter post and small parcel post was maintained. It is true that email and other forms of digital messaging have reduced considerably the number of letters sent. But this drop has been offset by the considerable increase in parcel post arising from e-commerce, an increase which is likely to continue for quite some time.    Indeed, with the monopoly restored and modern sorting machinery being introduced, Royal Mail would almost certainly be able to make enough for necessary  future investment  whilst keeping postal rates moderate.   A cheap postal system would be a considerable boost to the economy generally.  The Post Office network could also be underpinned by the use of the offices as collection points for goods ordered through the Internet.

If that is so why is privatisation being driven through so ruthlessly  for transparently false reasons? The answer is ideology. The globalist, laissez faire ideology has infected to a lesser or greater degree all of Britain’s major political parties.  That  ideology dovetails with the supranational mentality engendered by the EU , commitment to  which is at the British political elite’s political core. It is doubtful if any senior British politician  not firmly committed to either laissez faire  globalism or the EU; most are committed to both. That is the simple truth.

How much public money is being stolen and wasted because of the privatisation of public services?

Robert Henderson

In June this year I attended a talk given by Michael Heseltine. It was embarrassingly limp re-hashed Heseltinian fare from the 1980s,with Heseltine airily advocating localism in place of centralised government with precious little idea of how  to engineer his envisaged  utopia of local politicians free from the Westminster party embrace mixing with banks,  Chambers of Commerce and other trade bodies to bring about a Nirvana of self-help and self-determination. (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/michael-heseltine-rebalancing-the-british-economy/).  Thankfully,  the Coalition thought so little of Heseltine’s proposals in his Government commissioned report No Stone Unturned that only the derisory sum of £2 billion (Heseletine had asked for £49 billion) was allocated to his recommendations for devolved power and expenditure  to promote growth (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/spending-review/10144584/Spending-Review-2bn-to-boost-regional-growth.html). It would have been less insulting if the Coalition had allocated nothing.

When the opportunity came for questions I raised  the matter of  increasing corruption in the spending of public money.  This is a consequence of taxpayers’ money going to private contractors at an ever more alarming rate as the mania for putting out public services to private companies and not-for-profit organisations such as charities  continues  unabated,  despite the ample evidence that contracting-out is generally very poor value for the taxpayer.  My argument was simple: the greater the number of public contracts being put out to tender by commercial businesses and not-for-profit organisations, the greater the opportunities for corruption by either public employees and contractors colluding or contractors fixing things amongst themselves.  Human nature being what it is, greater opportunities for fraud inevitably means greater instances of  fraud.

Heseltine reacted with considerable vehemence to my suggestion that serious corruption might exist in public service saying that he “took great exception” to the idea.  His denial rang hollow because sadly there is a constant flow  of publicly reported frauds by those receiving public money.   Here are a few recent examples of  alleged frauds:

1. Pharmacists and drug companies colluding to overcharge the NHS for drugs http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10133557/Pharmaceutical-scandal-The-NHS-the-drug-firms-and-the-price-racket.html.    The amounts in this case are potentially very large: “The Daily Telegraph’s investigation has found that companies are privately offering discounts of up to 70 per cent on drug tariff items to high-street chemists, with the pharmacist keeping the difference. For example, the NHS would agree to pay £100 for a drug that would be supplied to a chemist for only £30.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10135897/Pharmaceutical-scandal-firms-boast-of-profits-on-drugs-that-cost-pennies.html).

2. Former government education adviser Tim Royle  arrested on suspicion of fraud when he was a headmaster ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/10130632/Former-government-education-adviser-arrested-on-suspicion-of-fraud.html).

Sometimes  misbehaviour  is judged to have fallen short of the criminal, but it still costs the taxpayer money.  A good example is that of  one-time award-winning  head teacher Jo Shuter  who  left herself open to suspicion and criticism by  inappropriate spending  and the employment of  relatives. She resigned but not before   being given a final warning  for “financial and human resource mismanagement”  (http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/jo-shuter-there-was-a-blurring-of-my-personal-and-professional-worlds-it-was-incredibly-stupid-8664781.html)

I can give two examples of questionable public contracts involving a great deal of money  which I personally tried unsuccessfully to bring to public notice. Both involved Camden Council, the London borough in which I live. The first occurred in 2003 when the Council announced that they were to replace 14,000 kitchens and bathrooms in their council housing stock.  In response to a question I put to him at a public meeting  Neil Litherland, the then director  of Housing in Camden , quoted me £6,000 for each room (£12,000 for a kitchen and bathroom combined).  The bathroom and kitchen units Camden  proposed to fit were pretty basic. The total cost at that price was £168 million (at 2003 prices).  This struck me as outlandishly expensive, so   I went to a local high street fitted furniture retailer to get a  quote.

At the retailer  I  selected units of the same quality as those proposed by the Council and  was quoted £1,500 for each room, including the installation of the kitchen and bathroom units.   That was for a single retail sale. A contract for 14,000 properties should  result in a very substantial discount below a retail sale, but even at the retail price quoted the contract would have been a quarter of the Camden quoted figure.

When I made my complaint to Camden,  I doubled the £1,500 quoted by the retailer because Camden were doing other renovation work such as re-wiring and laying new vinyl on the floors in the kitchens and bathrooms as well as fitting the new kitchen units and bathroom suites.  The extra  £1,500 per room for this  renovation work was almost certainly far too much,  but even  at £3,000 per room  Camden  would have been halved their actual bill saving £84 million.

A  disinterested person reading that account might think the local politicians and the MP for area would have been biting my hand off to take up the case and stop the grossly overpriced contract going through. I could not find a single politician to take up the matter. Nor could I get even the local papers to investigate the matter.

The second case involved what is now known as the Francis Crick Institute. (http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/links-to-all-ukcrmi-blog-posts/).  This is a gigantic medical  research laboratory currently being constructed on land behind the British Library. The site is  a road’s width from the Eurostar terminus.  There are excellent grounds for opposing the building of such a laboratory because it will be dealing with level 4 (the highest biohazard level) toxins.  This poses a risk of dangerous materials being released  (through a terrorist attack or carelessness)  into an area which is both heavily residential and arguably the busiest transport hub in London.  However, that is not the important thing in the context of corruption.

In an attempt to stop the building of the laboratory I used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to gain details of the sale of the land on which the laboratory is being built. The land belonged to the taxpayer and was under the stewardship of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The site   was put out to competitive tender and a good deal of interest was shown (27 bids, including the likes of Barratt Homes and   Oracle Group  – http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/the-full-list-of-bidders/).  The decision was solely in the hands of the Secretary of State for the DCMS who was exercising a quasi-judicial role in the matter.  Despite this, documents I obtained using the FOIA unambiguously show Gordon Brown when PM illegally interfering with the bidding process  from before the closing date for bids and carrying on interfering until the sale was complete (http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/gordon-browns-involvement-in-the-sale-of-the-land-to-ukcrmi/).   Here is an example extract from a Treasury document  dated 1 August 2007:

The PM is also most recently stated that he is very keen to make sure that Government departments are properly coordinated on this project [the laboratory] and that if there is a consensus that this is indeed an exciting project then we do what we can to make it happen. This is extremely helpful from a DIUS and MRC perspective, but, formally a NIMR relocation project in London has yet to receive Lyons approval from Treasury (for either the first planned NTH site or the possible BL site).

This was before the initial bidding process was closed.  The process was a sham, the other bidders having bid with no prospect of success. Brown should not have interfered at all,  even to say whether he thought X or Y was or was not  a promising project, but here he is  issuing a direct instruction to favour the laboratory consortium by getting all the government departments with some future or immediate interest in the laboratory to put their weight behind it. (When a Prime Minister says he is “very keen” on something that is an order to move heaven and earth to achieve it).

As with the Camden contract for kitchens and bathrooms I was unable to get any politician, local or national, to take up the matter. Every Camden councillor and the local Labour MP Frank Dobson  had the information but refused to act. Camden granted planning permission in principle, but this had to be agreed by Boris Johnson in his role of Mayor of London because the Institute building  is over the height which can  be sanctioned by a London council. Johnson  granted permission despite having the details of the corrupted bidding process (http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/notification-of-planning-irregularities-to-boris-johnson/) and refused to comment on Brown’s illegal involvement in the decision.  Equally telling in this case was the failure of the national media to take up the story despite Gordon  Brown’s involvement.  The nearest I came to getting the story up and running in the media was a single  short piece in the London Evening Standard (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/no-10-interfered-to-push-through-600m-plan-for-virus-superlab-6557759.html).

The nature of public  fraud

Much, probably the large majority,  of the fraud consists of inflating contracts. This can be done with or without the collusion of public servants and politicians. Collusion between  contractors, public servants and politicians  speaks for itself.  Fraud without public servants or politicians being involved is more complicated. It requires a conspiracy by a number of contractors to fix a bidding process.  The larger the contract  or the more specialised the  work to be done, the more likely a bidding process can be fixed, because often there are only a handful of bidders  capable of taking the contract on. This leads to corrupt agreements between the companies to share out public contracts between themselves at inflated prices. This is done by the bidders  putting in bids to a supposedly competitive bidding process structured so that the company who is to take the contract puts in the lowest priced bid. However, this lowest bid is much higher than it  should be if it was pitched simply at a level to  guarantee a level of quality and provide a reasonable profit for the successful bidder.

The practice is probably very widespread. The Office of Fair Trading concluded an investigation in 2009 which showed widespread fixing of prices: “The OFT has imposed fines totalling £129.2 million on 103 construction firms in England which it has found had colluded with competitors on building contracts.” (see   http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/reports/Evaluating-OFTs-work/oft1240.pdf and http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/general/table-of-infringements.pdf).

Where public servants and/or politicians agree to accept an overpriced contract they may be  bribed either directly or indirectly. A favourite indirect method  is not to pay the politician or public servant at  the time of the fraud but later with lucrative sinecures after they have left office .

The current rules regarding ministers and public servants taking posts in private industry are so lax as to be next to meaningless – they can take up posts after a year or two, regardless of how closely the private sector job is linked to their previous post.  A recent eye-catching example was that of Dave Hartnett who has just taken up a post with the accountants Deloittes. . The Telegraph Daily telegraph  recently reported “Until last year, Mr Hartnett headed operations at HM Revenue and Customs. His new role will involve him working one day a week at Deloitte, which acts as auditor for companies – including Starbucks – which have been accused of using legal loopholes to avoid paying tax.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/10083254/Former-Revenue-boss-lands-tax-advice-job-at-Deloitte.html). I am not  suggesting there is corruption  in this case,  but is it really acceptable to have such a senior and important public servant turning from  gamekeeper  to poacher so rapidly?  Like Caesar’s wife, politicians and public servants should be above suspicion.

Waste through incompetence and lack of alternatives

Some of the fraud will be accomplished because the public servant or politicians involved in making contract decisions are simply not up to the job of judging what is a reasonable price for the work being put out to contract.  This is a common enough state of affairs because public servants often find themselves asked to negotiate contracts  even though they  have no experience of  doing so because work which has always been done by direct public labour is suddenly subcontracted to the private sector.   To cover their ignorance the public servant  will often judge bids not on their objective merits, but on who is the cheapest within the criteria set for a contract.  Whether the bid is a reasonable price  for the work done is ignored. This has a knock on effect, not least because  of the widespread lack of honest competition in bidding.  Those accepting bids will justify their acceptance by referring to other contracts for similar work.  Because of this inflated prices become the norm. The politicians who have to make the final decisions on the contracts are as ignorant as the  public servants who negotiate the contracts and simply take what is put before them in the vast majority of cases.

But even where politicians or public servants do realise a price is too high, they can be in a very difficult position which makes them  accept the price quoted.  The problem is that if they refuse all the bidders for a contract on the grounds of cost , then how is the work to be done?  They cannot go elsewhere often enough because there is no public organisation which could do the job rather than a private company or not-for-profit  institution. This is a particular danger with really large or specialised contracts which can only be undertaken by a few companies.  An inflated price may have to be paid by the taxpayer because there is no longer a  public sector alternative.

How much money is being lost?

Total UK Government expenditure for 2014 is £715.3 billion (http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/total_spending_2014UKbn). However, that does not include all of the Public Private Initiative (PFI)  liabilities because  Governments want to keep the full  PFI/PPP indebtedness off  the official national debt.  A report by the Office for Budget Responsibility in August 2011 notes that many PFI deals are not recognised in the National Accounts.:

“ As well as lacking transparency, this has fuelled a perception that PFI has been used as a way to hold down official estimates of public sector indebtedness for a given amount of overall capital spending, rather than to achieve value for money.[27]

The report details the scale of the problem noting that “at March 2010, PSND [Public Sector Net Debt] included about £5.1 billion (0.4 percent of GDP) in respect of PFI deals that were recorded as on balance sheet in the National Accounts.” However the OBR considered that “the total capital liability of on and off balance sheet PFI contracts was closer to £40 billion (2.9 per cent of GDP).”[28] They estimate therefore that if PFI contracts were all recognised as debt in the National Accounts this would increase the level of debt by around 2.5% of GDP.[29]” (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmtreasy/1146/114605.htm)

In 2012 The Guardian using ONS figures put total PFI liabilities at £301,343,154,097 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/jul/05/pfi-contracts-list).

It is clear that  a substantial figure should be added to  the headline £715.3 billion to account for the full PFI liability for 2014.

In the nature of things it is impossible to say exactly how much of taxpayers’ money will have been spent on overpriced contracts. However, the examples which are public knowledge suggest that it must be very considerable, because so much of what used to be done in-house by the British state, at both national and local level, is now put out to contract.

Take the NHS as an example.  If you spend time as an in-patient in the present day NHS you are likely to find that the cleaning, laundry, catering and provision of multimedia installations are  contracted out. The NHS will also spend immense amounts on equipment which will be supplied by a private contractor. Staff will often be recruited by a private agency for a hospital.  If they need temporary doctors and nurses they will pay a private agency.   The hospital may well have a Starbucks or a Costa Coffee instead of an in-house café for visitors. There is fair chance  that  hospital car park will  be run by a private company. Most expensively, if the hospital is recently built it will almost certainly be the  subject  of a PFI contract which stretches way into the future (twenty years or more). This,  and apart from costing the hospital a good deal of money  to pay for the building,   will almost certainly entail a costly management contract to run and maintain the building. This means in practice no one will be in definite overall charge,  because if something goes wrong with the building the contractor has to be left to undertake the maintenance as they see fit

The NHS is one of the most comprehensive examples of contracting out. But most government departments and much of local government displays the same tendency.  Schools and universities are within the contracting out net.  Defence procurement is  depends  very largely on  private contractors, foreign and British.  Police forces around the country  have either privatised much of their administration or are thinking of doing so.  Even the translation service used by the courts has been put out to a private contractor (with disastrous consequences).  Local government services such as waste  collection and disposal and street cleaning are frequently in the hands of contractors. The most disturbing and absurd example I have come across is the privatising of the quasi-judicial  District Auditor post which oversees local government and deals with complaints about their financial probity(“ Following the outsourcing of the Commission’s in-house Audit Practice, all auditor appointments are of private firms “ http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/audit-regime/appointing-auditors/).

If only ten per cent  official Government expenditure is creamed off by fraud, that would mean £71 billion  of taxpayers’ money will be lost this financial year.  That is more than half the current government deficit.  But the figure  could well be much more because of the omitted PFI costs and the incentive of contractors to be as greedy as they can get away with.  Putting on twenty or thirty per cent to charges for supplying goods and services to central and local government might seem reasonable if you are the supplier and have good reason to believe  prices are likely to be accepted even if they are high. If the Telegraph reports of the grossly inflated prices charged  through collusion by pharmacists and drug companies are to be believed, the sky is the limit in the right circumstances for ramping up prices.

 Why do politicians do nothing?

It is little wonder that politicians in Britain are so willing to tolerate corruption because so many of them are happy to have their snouts in the public trough themselves in illegitimate ways. The information published by the Daily Telegraph on MPs expenses in 2009 was sufficient to show that the majority of MPs were engaging in expense claims which should never have been counted as legitimate expenses by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in normal circumstances . This was because they did not meet the HMRC test of being  expenses “ wholly, exclusively and necessarily “ incurred in the performance of a job.   Very few MPs faced criminal charges even though quite a few repaid money they had claimed. Nor does the public know how many of the MPs faced fresh assessments  by HMRC or the penalties if any HMRC imposed.

Two criminal offences are committed by those who evade tax by illegitimately describing expenditure they have incurred as tax deductible expenses. That  counts as a false declaration. They are effectively claiming money by false pretences. A second criminal offence arises if the bogus expense claim is made without an employer knowing that it is bogus (effectively theft from the employer) or a business which  is paying a sub-contractor expenses as part of the contractual arrangement  and the business does not know the claim is bogus (effectively theft from the employing business).

Depressingly, MPs appear to have learned little if anything from the Telegraph’s 2009 exposure of their shameful behaviour  because they are still thrashing their expenses (15 May 2013  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/10059243/Have-MPs-learnt-a-thing-since-2009-Their-greed-suggests-not.html).

There is also the widespread  practice of politicians being employed on lucrative contracts by organisations whose interests they have either surreptitiously  promoted as a backbencher or , in the case of ministers,  had an area of responsibility which coincided with that of the organisation giving them the job  (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1387791/Corruption-risk-ex-ministers-walking-straight-private-sector-jobs.html)

Finally there is  the scandal of still active politicians openly acting as paid lobbyists,   including providing ready access to Parliament  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/10/lobbying-professionals-parliamentary-passes).

How things used to be

Until fairly recently the British Civil Service was remarkably free from corruption (local government is a different matter), a fact made all the more surprising because of the truly colossal amount of money Government  disposes of each year . There were two reasons for this. The first was the hard-won tradition of public service which in which the Civil Service is an apolitical institution and as such serves no political ideology or party but provides politicians of all stamps with disinterested advice and executes their policies. This tradition has been underpinned by the lifelong working careers which public servants, especially senior ones, have commonly had. Of course, that was merely the ideal and, as with any human institution, the reality fell some way short of the ideal. Nonetheless, such sentiments and conventions have in the past affected the behaviour of public servants for the better, especially in the area of honesty. Sadly, the public service ethos has been largely lost because of the constant upheaval in terms of employment, the loss of  career security  and thirty years of politicians and much of the mainstream media reciting the false mantra that private is good, public is bad.

The second reason for a lack of corruption was  the direct provision of most the services provided by central government. This meant that the number of large central government contracts offered to private business  was  small in relation to the money spent on the direct provision of public service in all its aspects. In such circumstances serious fraud becomes difficult going on impossible for most civil servants because they do not have access to large amounts of taxpayers’ money. (Where they do have access, for example in the Inland Revenue, in most instances there are strict accounting procedures which make the embezzlement of large amounts of cash extremely difficult). Moreover, where there are few government  contracts, most civil servants are not in a position where someone  would find it fruitful to bribe them because they have nothing to sell.  Unsurprisingly, where serious corruption amongst public servants employed by central government has occurred in the past, it has been overwhelmingly in those areas where large government contracts exist, most notably in Defence Procurement and building contracts. It is a reasonable assumption that the more public contracts offered to private companies, the greater the corruption will be simply because the opportunity for corruption increases.

It would be impossible to reinstate the public service ethos quickly, but taking work back into the  public  service fold  would have an effect on fraud and waste through incompetence.  It would  definitely reduce fraud and should allow costs to be controlled because it would be the public sector setting the prices for the work.

Here is a question for the supporters of privatisation in it various forms to puzzle over. Ever since Thatcher began the privatisation of public services governments have insisted that this was saving the public money.  Yet  government expenditure since 1980 has risen substantially  in real  terms.  In 1980 total public spending was £104 billion (http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/total_spending_1980UKbn). Using the Bank of England inflation calculator, £104 billion at 2012 values would be only £377 billion. (http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/Pages/inflation/calculator/flash/default.aspx).

The cruel truth is that the £715 billion of  government expenditure  in the present financial year is almost double what it would be if the UK had maintained public expenditure at 1980 levels in terms of the real value of the Pound.  If the true PFI/PPP figure for 2014 was included it might be double. The huge increase since 1980  is very interesting because in 1980 the UK  not only had a serious unemployment problem,  but owned vast swathes of British industry, everything from British Leyland and coal mining to the public utilities and , believe it or not younger readers, a national bus network which meant that to live in the country did not mean you had to run a car.  1980s  UK also had armed forces which were considerably larger  than they are now and the putting out to private contractors of public sector work in  national government and council services was rare except in areas such as road building and defence procurement.  For example, local councils only routinely  employed direct labour on items such as road maintenance and cleaning.    In addition much of  private business then was, we were constantly told,  supposedly hideously uncompetitive . Yet despite  these alleged  crippling disadvantages, the British government in 1980  was able to maintain a level of public services  better and more comprehensive than that we have today whilst spending, in real terms,  little more than half of what government spends today.

Why has British government spending rocketed?  It is reasonable to put forward as the primary culprit the mania for privatising everything  because of the near doubling of government expenditure since 1980, the high cost of privatised services  and the many individual examples of public contracts, especially the PFI contracts, which seem outlandishly expensive.

 

These things have not been understood by the privatisers:

1. The public service ethos did exist and was most valuable in maintaining standards, continuity and honesty within public provision.

2. Multiplying the opportunities for fraud results inevitably results in more fraud.

3.  That public services cannot be run on commercial lines  because public provision is normally universal provision.  Unlike a private company losing business, a public service provider such as the NHS cannot turn round and say we will not treat these patients because we need to cut costs.

4. For public services to run properly need to be focused not on the bottom line but the provision of the service.

5. Once a public service has been contracted out to a private provider,  the private provider has the government over a barrel because there is no alternative to a private provider once the public service option has been done away with.

6. That public employment gave those so employed secure lives and indirectly increased the sense of  security in those employed by outside of  public service  because  having a substantial proportion in secure jobs in itself made society more stable and certain.

7. That public money is a recycling of money and however it is recycled it has a value because its spending supports local economies.

8.   That public expenditure has increased steadily during the privatising of public service activities.

Robert Henderson 30 6 2013

Ethnic Conflicts (review)

Tatu Vanhanen
ISBN 978-0-9573913-1-4Ulster Institute for Public ResearchUK £23 hard cover, £18 paperback

By Robert Henderson

This is not a book designed for easy bedtime reading. It is an academic’s work  written first and foremost for academics with a fair amount of statistics in it.   Having said that, if a prospective reader managed to get to grips with, say, The Bell Curve they should be able to absorb the important messages of Prof Vanhanen’s book and understand how he arrives at them.   It is worth making the effort because  he deals with the most fundamental sociological aspect of being human: how do we manage the challenges produced by heterogeneous societies?

The Profesor’s   first  aim was  to measure the relationship  between the ethnic heterogeneity of a society and ethnic conflict..  There are  considerable difficulties in doing this not least  because what may be thought of as ethnic conflict by one person may be seem  by another as conflict based on something else such as class.  For example, an ethnic group which is black and poor and rebels against the better off  in society who are white (a not uncommon state in Latin America) could be represented as being either ethnically motivated or class motivated.

 There is also the  general problem of what constitutes ethnicity.  Prof Vanhanen’s  definition is  very broad and includes racial type, nation, tribe,  language and  religion. While these are undoubtedly all distinctions which cause people to exhibit what might be loosely called tribal behaviour, its breadth  does raise the question of whether   racial type, nation, tribe,  language and  religion are really comparable in terms of how people respond to those inside and outside the group .  For example, it may be that where the ethnic division is one of religion between those of the same racial type and general culture representative government will mitigate ethnic tensions,  while if the division is racial,  representative government may do nothing to stop discord.

There is a further  cause for confusion in that more than one of Prof Vanhanen’s  ethnic  criteria is frequently shared by an ethnic group or even more confusingly by two conflicting ethnic groups.  Muslims are  a good example. In theory there is meant to be no distinctions made between Muslims on the grounds of sectarian allegiance, racial type, tribe  or  nationality. In the real world  there are marked divisions within  the theology  of Islam and tribal and national allegiances which often override the supposed unity of Muslims.  The danger with the very broad definition the Professor uses  is that the process of defining  reduces the world to so many different ethnicities that it becomes difficult to distinguish between ethnic conflict and  non-ethnic violence which he ascribes to the  “endless struggle for permanently scarce resources”.

Having made those qualifications, of which Prof Vanhanen is  well  aware, the project does not utterly founder on them. It is a mistake to imagine that nothing valuable can be gleaned from using  criteria  which have a fuzziness about them.   That is especially so if the sample is large enough because a large sample in social science projects digests anomalies.  As there are few societies now which do not have some basis for significant ethnic conflict the professor is able to cast his net very widely amongst 176 countries, around nine tenths of those currently existing.

But the Professor  wants not only to test whether ethnic heterogeneity  is correlated with ethnic conflict;  he also wishes to see if  ethnic nepotism  is a driver of ethnic conflict: “My argument is that ethnic cleavages divide the population into groups  that are, to some extent,  genetically different.”  (p7).  The concept of ethnic nepotism which  is based on the idea that it is an extension of family nepotism, that those belong to the same ethnic group favour those within  the group  over outsiders. (It is important to bear in mind that  Prof Vanhanen does not claim that ethnic nepotism is the cause of all group based   conflict, merely that it explains why  conflict in many societies is so often based on ethnic divisions).

To test this hypothesis   Prof Vanhanen  devised his own scales of ethnic heterogeneity and ethnic conflict and compares them with non-ethnic measures devised by others  such as the Human Development Index and The Index of Democratisation”.  He found only weak correlations between the non-ethnic measures but  a strong correlation between ethnic heterogeneity and ethnic conflict (p214). In other words his research suggests that  the greater the ethnic diversity in a society the greater the ethnic strife, although there are significant variations between the various traits which he includes in his definition of ethnicity.

I have something of a problem with the concept of ethnic nepotism in the context of  Prof Vanhanen’s definition of ethnicity because it includes non-genetic differences such as language and  religion.  It is true that those who are racially similar will be genetically closer than those who are racially different.  It is also true that those who form a large tribe or a nation in the cultural sense will in practice be genetically closer than those outside the group.   The possession of a particular language  by a group  is also a strong pointer  to close genetic  links unless there is some obvious difference such as race or the language spoken not as a native would speak it.   Religion is more problematic because  that is something that can be  simply acquired. If a man says he is a Catholic or Muslim it does not  necessarily say anything about his genetic connection with other Catholics or Muslims. Nonetheless,  if the Catholic or Muslim comes from the same country or even supranational  area, there is a decent chance that he will have a closer  genetic  relationship with other Catholics and Muslims from the area than would be expected purely from chance.

The difficulty is that although a significant genetic linkage will commonly exist because of the way human beings live in groups,  whether that is a small band or a modern nation,  it does not automatically follow that the genetic similarity is what causes the ethnic nepotism. It could be that the simple fact of growing  up with people creates a tribal feeling rather than genetic closeness.  Moreover, what are we to make of the “imagined community” of any group where the numbers are too great to allow personal knowledge of all those in the group?  I do not doubt that differences of religion, nation, tribe, language  and  race do act as triggers for the separation of groups in competing entities, but  with the exception of race I cannot see that  genetic  influence is proven to be other than accidental.  Where there are divisions in a society based on clear racial lines that is a different matter because there is self-evidently a genetic cause for the preference for one class of person in a society over another class of person.

The book ignores what I would describe as the most basic ethnic conflict, that is,  the behaviour of individuals to disadvantage someone of a different ethnicity without there being any deliberate group decision or action. A good example is the grossly disproportionate number of  black rapes and murders of whites in the USA.   That situation is clearly driven by racial feelings with blacks either harbouring a general resentment of whites or simply seeing whites as outside their group and thus not of consequence. However, the latter explanation does not hold much water because blacks do not attack Asians  with the same frequency.

Are there remedies for ethnic strife? Prof Vanhanen suggests four: biological mixing, institutional reforms, democratic compromises and partition.  Of these only partition even in theory offers a complete  solution to ethnic strife with the prospect of a completely ethnically homogeneous society or at least one in which the minorities are so small as to barely matter.  The problem with partition is that it is probably never possible to simply divide a territory because mixed populations are generally not neatly parcelled up in convenient parts  of the territory.

By institutional reforms he means most particularly the legal and democratic structures which ostensibly protect the interests of each ethnic group and by democratic compromises the satisfying of each ethnic group’s  aspirations to at least a point where violence is avoided.  The Professor finds   some evidence that democratic institutions  can reduce  the amount of ethnic violence, although he allows that “the willingness of competing ethnic groups to solve their interest conflicts by democratic compromises and power-sharing is limited” (p227).

The fourth of his remedies – biological mixing – is the one I have the most difficulty with.  He  claims (p222)  that  biological mixing would reduce ethnic violence  because it would “undermine the  basis and importance of ethnic nepotism”.     He further  observes “ My argument is that the relatively low level of ethnic violence in most Latin American countries is causally related to the fact that racially mixed people constitute a significant part of the population in these countries”. (P221).

I think most people would be surprised  at his judgement that there is a “relatively low level of ethnic violence in Latin American countries”.  I am very dubious indeed about the idea that many of the conflicts which arise in the region are often not ethnic in origin using the Professor’s own definitions. To take just one example:  amongst those with black ancestry, whether that is wholly black or black mixed with other races especially the white, there is in Latin America and Caribbean a customary  hierarchy of  colour with the lightest  skin signifying   standing at the top of the social status ladder and the darkest at the bottom.  Look at Brazil as an example. This country  is beloved by white liberals as a prime example of  a colour-blind country.  The reality is that the reins of power and privilege are still held overwhelmingly by whites. The great Brazilian footballer Pele complained publicly about this some years ago.

The likely outcome of biological mixing on any scale would be for those of mixed parentage to find their natural group amongst those from who most resemble themselves.  This is actually what happens in practice. In Britain the children of one black and one white parent almost invariably represent themselves as black.  It would at best simply change the balance of races within a society and at worst add to ethnic conflict with  those of mixed parentage added to the groups competing within the same territory.

Professor Vanhanen’s overall conclusion is a gloomy one: “The central message of this study is that ethnic conflict and violence, empowered by ethnic nepotism and the inevitable struggle for scarce resources, will not disappear from the world. It is more probable that the incidence of ethnic violence will increase in the more and more crowded world” (p230).

The moral of this book is beautifully simple: ethnically/racially heterogeneous societies are a recipe for discord and violence.   That should give the propagandists of mass immigration pause for thought.

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Published orignially in the Quarterly Review http://www.quarterly-review.org/?p=1610
NB The Quarterly Review is now an online journal only. RH


Margaret Thatcher and the cult of personality

Robert Henderson

Two Cults

Margaret Thatcher was the subject of a cult of personality. This was not the result of calculated  propaganda, but simply the creation of her extraordinary personality. Because the cult of personality developed not in a totalitarian state but a country where public opposition was possible, there were two cults of personality attached to her in a relationship which mimicked the matter/antimatter duality. These were the Thatcherite religious believers fulfilling the role of matter and the Thatcher-hating Left  acting as the antimatter.

Both the matter and the antimatter Thatcher cults were  potent.  The religious believers  bowed down before the great god MARKET (and Thatcher was his prophet) and, when things  went wrong,  did what all religious believers do until they lose their faith, denied reality by simply pretending something had not happened or by giving a calamity some  absurd spin to ”prove” the god had not failed.

For the Thatcher-hating Left she was the personification of the Devil and consequently credited with all manner of evil,  but, as is the way with personifications of the Devil, never portrayed as anything but powerful, a being possessed of a political juju (doubtless ensconced in her handbag) which could wreak any degree of havoc  with all that the Left held dear is if she so chose.   Like all those who believe in evil spirits the Thatcher-hating Left ascribed every act of ill fortune to her.

The attitude of both bands of cult followers was essentially superstitious, attributing powers to the woman which she did not, and often could not,  have.  The religious Thatcherites imagined she could  speak the spells which would miraculously convert Britain from a  country making silly old fashioned things such as steel, ships and cars and mining coal to a country stuffed to the gunnels with entrepreneurs creating new non-unionised service industries; the Left saw her as a witch practising black magic to contaminate and transmogrify the world they knew.

Because the Thatcherite religious believers  and her leftist haters  could not and still cannot see past the woman’s   gigantic political personality,  they made and continue to make the same mistake, namely, seeing the two cult figures as the reality while ignoring  her actual policies and their outcomes.

The reality of Thatcher

The reality of Thatcher is that objectively she achieved little if any of her wishes. It is a bitter irony for the woman (and Thatcherites generally)  that her policies were of a nature which  undermined the  ends  she espoused.  Perhaps the prime example is Thatcher’s  avowed wish to see a strong and wealthy Britain  whilst creating through her  commitment to laissez faire economics the very circumstances that would weaken the country. Under her economic regimen and its lingering aftermath ever since Britain  has become ever less self-sufficient in strategically important economic activity such as the production of  food and energy  and vast swathes of British business were  either bought up by foreigners or ceased to operate from Britain because of offshoring and the absence of government action to protect our own economy.   She simply did not understand that you could not have laissez  faire in both the domestic and international economic sphere and have a strong nation state.   Had Thatcher  known any economic history she would have realised that, but even without such knowledge  common prudence should have told her that a country which is dependent on others for necessary goods and services is a weak country.  Moreover, one of her claimed tutelary heroes Adam Smith readily understood there are things which are either strategically important such as armaments or social goods which are  never going to be supplied universally by private enterprise such as roads.  Thatcher never gave any indication of realising that Smith was not the unrelenting free marketer of her imagination.

Thatcher’s  failures in making policy to  achieve her ends were legion. She  destroyed much of British heavy industry in the belief that those made unemployed would rapidly be re-employed in private sector jobs. The new jobs did not materialise and she was reduced to presiding over massive and long lasting unemployment  which she funded with North Sea oil and gas tax revenue and the receipts from privatisation, whilst fiddling the unemployment figures shamelessly. She sold off state owned  services  (which belonged to the community as a whole not to the government)  in the belief that service would  be improved . It was  not. Instead vital services such as the railways and the provision of energy and water became ever more expensive whilst providing poorer service and less employment. She introduced so-called private business methods into the NHS and higher education in the belief that they would become more efficient. The result was massive increases in  bureaucracy and an ever climbing  cost of  both the  NHS and higher education and a substitution of the pursuit of  money for the public service ethos because money was attached to individual patients and students. She introduced the Community Charge or “Poll Tax” in the belief that it would be fairer than the old domestic rates. The result was widespread unfairness because it took no account of an individual’s means  and  provoked the nearest thing to a national movement dedicated to the non-payment of taxes known in modern times.  She raged against  EU interference in British affairs but signed up Britain to the Single European Act (SEA)  in the belief that it would create a genuine single market within the EEC.  It  did not create such a market and merely presented the EEC with an open goal for ever more audacious sovereignty grabs.  A supposed opponent of further mass immigration, her signing of the SEA also opened the door to free movement within the EU, a situation worsened by her strategy of dramatically widening the EEC.  She signed Britain up to the  She embraced “Care in the Community” for the mentally ill or disabled on the grounds that it was more humane than keeping  such people in long-stay institutions. The result was thousands of people left to largely fend for themselves in the outside world who were quite incapable of doing so. She sold off great swathes of social housing (which belonged to the community as a whole not to government) to tenants in the belief that this would result in a “property owning democracy” whilst more or less ending the building of new  social housing.  The eventual result was the growing housing emergency we have today. She instigated the disastrous “light touch”  regulation of the financial services  industry by abolishing credit controls and  failing to meaningfully regulate the  industry meaningfully after “Big Bang”  in 1986  which  effectively de-regulated the London Stock Exchange to bring in a brave new world of free trading (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8850654/Was-the-Big-Bang-good-for-the-City-of-London-and-Britain.html)  with the dire results with which we are now living.

Even in the few areas where she was ultimately successful such as the Falkland’s War she was at best negligent in ignoring warnings from the Foreign Office of a growing threat to the Falklands  in the months leading up to the invasion and even after the expeditionary force had been dispatched  she agreed to a US organised plan which would have not offered the Islanders either self determination of or any meaningful security (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/margaret-thatcher/10008116/Margaret-Thatcher-how-she-took-on-the-men-and-won.html).

There were also acts of omission and collusion with policies with which she supposedly fundamentally  disagreed.  Most importantly, Thatcher failed utterly to carry her strong views against further mass immigration into her period in office. Not only that but, as already mentioned,  she made things much worse on that front by signing up to the Single European Act. She agreed to the institutionalisation of political correctness in public life, especially in the Civil Service, schools and universities. In addition, she allowed the “progressive” educational establishment to destroy a first rate  school examination system  by swopping the certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) and O(rdinary) Levels  for the dangerous absurdity of the General Certificate of Education (GCSE), an exam   supposedly for all 16 year olds but which was in reality two exams masquerading as one.  Despite the fact that Tory support rested heavily on the countryside  she allowed the de-regulation of rural bus services to occur  which reduced them so  severely that to live in countryside meant owning and driving a vehicle or at least having access to someone who did.  To make matter worse, this was done in tandem with a wilful neglect of the then nationalised railways.

The protests after her death were unsurprising

Just based on her economic disasters the uproar surrounding her death is unsurprising.  In the space of a few years she raised the unemployment  pay claimant count from 1.4 million when she took office in 1979 to 3.2 million by 1986 (http://www.economicshelp.org/macroeconomics/unemployment/measuring_unemployment.html) That bald figure is startling enough but the reality  is ten times worse. She  must have known her policies would result in mass unemployment,  at least in the short term, when she removed the financial support of taxpayers from nationalised industries or sold them off in the belief that private business would be able to do the job more efficiently with  much smaller workforces.   Further, as these industries were concentrated in areas where they were by far the dominant employer she should  have realised that structural unemployment would be created  in many parts of the country.  To imagine, as she did, that new jobs would rapidly sprout in the areas showed  a  shocking lack of understanding of economic history which has no example of such a thing happening on the scale required in 1980s Britain.

What is certain is the fact that she had no doubt about the destructive possibilities of laissez faire economics, viz:

“Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ is not above sudden, disturbing, movements. Since its inception, capitalism has known slumps and recessions, bubble and froth; no one has yet dis-invented the business cycle, and probably no one will; and what Schumpeter famously called the ‘gales of creative destruction’ still roar mightily from time to time. To lament these things is ultimately to lament the bracing blast of freedom itself.” — Margaret Thatcher, Statecraft P. 462

A politician of conviction?

The idea that merely having convictions is praiseworthy is a rum one. Hitler, Stalin and Mao had convictions. But even  if the  quality of a person’s convictions is ignored, this is one of the most mystifying of myths attached to Thatcher.  The reality was she frequently changed her position on the most important issues she faced or adopted methods which went against her avowed policies when she had created a mess, most notably with the massive rise in unemployment resulting from her slash and burn approach to the British economy which greatly  increased the benefits bill for many years and left people unemployed for years, in many cases for decades.

The most significant publicly  admitted changes of policy  were on immigration, the Europe and global warming.  Before the 1979 election she had spoken of the need to control immigration  because the country was in danger of being “swamped”:

‘If we went on as we are then by the end of the century there would be four million people of the new Commonwealth or Pakistan here. Now, that is an awful lot and I think it means that people are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture.’

She went on to say, ‘The British character has done so much for democracy, for law and done so much throughout the world that if there is any fear that it might be swamped people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in.’

 ‘If you want good race relations, you have got to allay peoples’ fears on numbers. […] We do have to hold out the clear prospect of an end to immigration…’ (http://www.runnymedetrust.org/histories/race-equality/59/margaret-thatcher-claims-britons-fear-being-swamped.html)

Once in office she did nothing despite still feeling strongly about the subject in private  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/margaret-thatcher/6906503/Margaret-Thatcher-complained-about-Asian-immigration-to-Britain.html).

On Europe she went through the following metamorphosis:

-          1975 she campaigned and voted for Britain to remain within the European Economic Community (EEC – the EU was only formed  by  the Maastricht Treaty in 1993).

-          By 1980 she was convinced that the EEC was not  acting in Britain interests.

-          By 1986 she had  signed the Single European Act giving the EEC immense powers to interfere  with Britain’s sovereignty.

-          In the late 1980s she adopted the policy of enlarging the EEC which meant that a vast new swathe of workers from poor countries would be allowed free movement within the  EEC.  The effects of this also allowed the federalists to press for things such as Qualified Majority Voting on the grounds that the EEC/EU had become too unwieldy to operate under the original  rules and to generally press forward with the creation of a United States of Europe.

-          In 1990  she took the UK into the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM)  despite being opposed to a single currency to which the ERM was a stepping stone with the pound effectively shadowing the Deutschmark.

The idea that Thatcher only realised what the EEC was after taking office in 1979 is simple nonsense. Thatcher’s speech to the  Conservative Group for Europe at the start of the Wilson referendum on the EEC clearly shows her viewing the EEC as far more than a  simple free trading area, viz:

That vision of Europe took a leap into reality on the 1st of January 1972 when, [ Edward Heath] Mr. Chairman, due to your endeavours, enthusiasm and dedication Britain joined the European Community.

 * The Community gives us peace and security in a free society, a peace and security denied to the past two generations.

 * The Community gives us access to secure sources of food supplies. This is vital to us, a country which has to import half of what we need.

* The Community does more trade and gives more aid than any group in the world.

* The Community gives us the opportunity to represent the Commonwealth in Europe. The Commonwealth want us to stay in and has said so. The Community wants us.

 Conservatives must give a clear lead and play a vigorous part in the campaign to keep Britain in Europe to honour the treaties which you, sir, signed in Britain’s name.

 We must do this, even though we dislike referenda. We must support the [ Harold Wilson] Prime Minister in this, even though we fight the Government on other issues.

 We must play our full part in ensuring that Conservative supporters say “Yes to Europe”. (http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/102675).

In any case, the Treaty of Rome left no room to believe it was merely a free trade organisation.  No one could read that and be in any doubt  that the intention was to create a United State of Europe. Thatcher, the supposed obsessive  who was a stickler  mastering a subject,   should have read it before the referendum.

As for global warming, she started the ball rolling whilst in office and then reversed her position in her autobiography published in 2003. Here she is speaking to the  UN general assembly, in November 1989:

“What we are now doing to the world … is new in the experience of the Earth. It is mankind and his activities that are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways. The result is that change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto. Change to the sea around us, change to the atmosphere above, leading in turn to change in the world’s climate, which could alter the way we live in the most fundamental way of all.

“The environmental challenge that confronts the whole world demands an equivalent response from the whole world. Every country will be affected and no one can opt out. Those countries who are industrialised must contribute more to help those who are not.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/apr/09/margaret-thatcher-green-hero)

By  the time she had published her political work Statecraft in 2003 she was thinking along these lines:

“The doomsters’ favourite subject today is climate change. This has a number of attractions for them. First, the science is extremely obscure so they cannot easily be proved wrong. Second, we all have ideas about the weather: traditionally, the English on first acquaintance talk of little else.

“Third, since clearly no plan to alter climate could be considered on anything but a global scale, it provides a marvellous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism. All this suggests a degree of calculation. Yet perhaps that is to miss half the point. Rather, as it was said of Hamlet that there was method in his madness, so one feels that in the case of some of the gloomier alarmists there is a large amount of madness in their method.” (http://www.masterresource.org/2013/04/thatcher-alarmist-to-skeptic/).

There were other issues where her public position was at odds with her actions, for example, the troubles in Northern Ireland and the rule of law. Thatcher claimed that there would never be a surrender to  IRA terrorism.  Yet after she narrowly escaped death in the Brighton Grand Hotel bombing in 1984 (12 October)  the Anglo-Irish agreement was signed little over a year later in November 1985 giving the Republic of Ireland government  a say in what happened in Northern Ireland and committing the British Government to accepting the principle of a united Ireland if a majority were in favour. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/15/newsid_2539000/2539849.stm). There was no obvious reason for such a change of heart beyond the fear generated in Thatcher by the bombing of the Grand Hotel.

As for the rule of law, far from respecting it as she claimed, she laid the basis for the ever increasing authoritarianism of the British state by permitting the police to act unlawfully during the miners’ strike by stopping miners and their supporters from travelling across the country and turning a blind eye to any police excesses as they clashed with the miners and their supporters.

A politician of conviction? Only if you define  someone as such who runs from one position to another while vigorously embracing each  successive position regardless of its  contradiction of a previous  advocated policy or set of ideas.

Nor was she someone who would take responsibility for her actions. When she found her policies were a disaster she either claimed she had been badly advised or cheated (for example, the Single Market, global warming) or attempted to ignore the mess she had created  (for example, enduring mass employment and ) by misrepresenting it, or in the case of unemployment, using North Sea oil  tax revenues,  the privatisation receipts and blatant manipulation of the unemployment statistics to paper over the unemployment cracks.

Why did Thatcher get things so horribly wrong? 

Why did Thatcher get things so horribly wrong?  Her behaviour  strongly suggested that she was seriously lacking  psychological and sociological insight. This meant she constantly made horrendous mistakes such as trusting the EU over the single market and imagining in truly infantile fashion that millions of jobs shed from heavy industry and coal mining would be rapidly replaced by “modern” jobs in the service and light industry sectors.  Her record in choosing people to support or employ was also dismal.

Far from being a free thinker her cast of mind  made her the ready captive of an ideology:

“…as Leader of the Opposition MT once cut short a presentation by a leftish member of the Conservative Research Department by fetching out a copy of The Constitution of Liberty from her bag and slamming it down on the table, declaring “this is what we believe”. (http://www.margaretthatcher.org/archive/Hayek.asp).

It is dangerous to trust anyone who is  susceptible to ideological capture for the simple reason that all ideologies, whether sacred or profane, are inadequate descriptions of and guides to reality.    This means that ideologues constantly have to try to fit reality within the ideology rather than having  reality driving their choices.  Those which include economics are particularly dangerous because their reach is so vast.

Ideologies are the prime example of Richard Dawkins’ memes, mental viruses which capture the individual and direct their thought and behaviour.  Those who are captured by them by them give up their mental autonomy.  That speaks either of a character trait such as that of requiring a source of authority for choices or a  weakness of intellect which seeks ideological  algorithms  developed by others to answer political  questions because the person’s capacity to answer the questions by rational pragmatic examination based on their own knowledge and intelligence  is inadequate.

How good was  Thatcher’s mind? She  is frequently  represented by her adherents as ferociously intelligent.  This view  will not stand up to examination.  She read chemistry at Oxford but only achieved a second class honours degree (http://womenshistory.about.com/od/thatchermargaret/a/Margaret-Thatcher.htm).  Oxford at the time did not divide the second class degree into  upper and lower second classes  and had a fourth class honours division instead.  The old Oxford second  is generally taken to be the rough equivalent of an upper second.  That raises questions over her intellect.  Chemistry at degree level in the 1940s had not become heavily mathematized  as it now is.  Diligence would get a student a long way. This   quality Thatcher  reputedly  had in spades. If she did, the fact that she only took a second suggests that she was not very intellectually gifted. That is particularly the case when it is remembered that she went up to Oxford during wartime when competition for places was severely reduced because so many of the potential male students went into the forces rather than to university. A beta plus mind at best.

What people probably mistook for intelligence was her avid seeking and retention of data. But it is one thing to learn facts or arguments parrot fashion, quite another to mould them into a coherent intellectual whole.  Based on her frequent renunciation of previous positions, it is reasonable to assume that she simply did not have the intellectual wherewithal to put the data she took on board to any useful purpose. She certainly never  gave no indication that she ever saw the bigger picture.

There were also the question of her how fitted she was by experience to fill the role she played, that of the hard-core economic libertarian forever seeking ways of making people take responsibility for their lives both socially and in their work.  When I look at the present Tory front bench I have a similar feeling to that  which I experience when thinking of the Nazi leadership.  The Nazis had a rather noticeable lack of Aryan types amongst them: the present Tory front bench is remarkably short on people who have been entrepreneurs or indeed of people who have any great  experience of work outside the narrow confines of politics.

Margaret Thatcher was a forerunner  in this respect. She graduated from Oxford in 1947.  For the next four years she worked for various private companies as a research chemist. At the age of 26 she married a millionaire. He funded Thatcher’s career change from chemist to barrister. She took the bar exams in 1953 and practised (specialising in taxation) until 1961, the last two years of the period occurring after she was elected to the Commons in 1959.  After that it was all politics.

Thatcher’s experience of the real world of work is at best four years as a research chemist and eight years as a barrister.  However,  being married to a millionaire at the age of 26 rather dulls the idea of her living a normal working life.  The truth is she made her way not as a self-made woman but by the traditional route  for female advancement of marrying a rich man.

There was no need for Thatcherism

The really angering thing about Thatcher’s time in No 10 is that she could have done what she was elected to do, tame the unions, without engaging in the deliberate wholesale destruction and alienation of much of Britain’s heavy and extractive industry and the placing in private hands of the public utilities, especially those of gas, electricity and water.   This was because Thatcher had the great good fortune to arrive as Prime Minister just as North Sea oil and gas was coming on-stream in large quantities.  Those revenues alone would have provided any government with a very large safety net to finance temporary difficulties caused by serious confrontations with the larger trade unions.   She also enjoyed  the very large receipts from the big privatisations such as gas, electricity and BT.  No British government has ever had such a sustained revenue windfall as hers.

There was absolutely no economic need to destroy so much of British industry or place much of the state-owned  organisations  into private hands.  Continental countries such as Germany and Italy retained their shipbuilding; France,  Germany and Italy retained a native mass production car industry.  Germany still has a substantial coal mining industry. Privatisation proceeded at very different speeds throughout Europe.  That no other large industrialised  country followed Thatcherite policies  with anything like the speed or fervour of Britain  yet  survived and frequently out competed Britain economically  demonstrates that Thatcher’s policies were not a necessity but simply an ideological choice.

Her government could have spent the 1980s taming the unions sufficiently to prevent the excesses of the 1970s.  It is true that the very high level of unemployment  of the 1980s was an aid to this, but it was probably not the main rod which largely broke the Trade Unions’ back.  Home ownership had been rising steadily throughout the twentieth century and by the time Thatcher came to power in 1979 not far short of 60%. The highest it reached even after Right To Buy was only 69% – the idea that it was Thatcher who made it possible for the working man and woman to own their homes for the first time is another myth about her(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/houseprices/10005586/Home-ownership-falls-for-first-time-in-a-century.html).  .

The fact that so many people were owner occupiers with mortgages  meant that they were much less willing than they had been to strike at the drop of a hat because they feared losing their home.  Even those who were not owner occupiers had much more to lose in terms of general comfort, security and prospects of greater opportunity for their children than had been the case before, say, 1939.  To take just one example, children from poor families had a greater opportunity than ever to enter  higher education. This growing reluctance to come  out whenever the union called for  strike  was why the National Union of Miners’ leader Arthur Scargill was not willing to hold a ballot of all  his members before calling a strike. He feared such a ballot would be lost.

The combination of this increasing  reluctance to strike amongst union members together with the legal restrictions on unions such as no secondary picketing and severe penalties for strikes called with a formal ballot would have been enough to end the anarchy which prevailed in the 1970s.

Apart from the social and economic upheaval of the Thatcher years, she can also be blamed for a continuation of the damage she caused both in the long term structural unemployment but also in the fact that she subverted  the Labour Party so that it adopted most of what was damaging from the Thatcher period, most particularly in the adoption of her devotion to laissez faire economics and in Labour’s all too ready acceptance of the EU  elite’s desire for comprehensive political and economic union.

The 1980s could have been so very different.  The revenue from North Sea Oil could have been put into a sovereign wealth fund which  by now would be worth hundreds of billions.  If  the Single European Act had not been signed the movement towards a  federal EU would have been halted in its tracks  (national vetoes applied to this area of decision making  at the time). If Thatcher had not argued for an ever wider EEC the poorer nations from the East would not have joined and the immigration threat they carry would not exist.  Indeed,   Britain could have left the EU entirely because the Tory Eurosceptics could have allied with Labour under Michael Foot or even Neal Kinnock. New social housing could have been built with the proceeds of Right to Buy thus obviating to a large degree the shortage of housing now.  If the nationalised industries had been sustained there would have been no serious structural unemployment.  Had proper attention been paid to the strategic importance of  essential economic areas such a food and energy self-sufficiency we should not be so dangerously reliant on foreigners for such things today.  Most importantly, if  that had been the general thrust of politics in the 1980s it is doubtful in the extreme that Blair and NuLabour would ever have arisen.

The tragedy of Margaret Thatcher is that she had a sense of patriotism and probably genuinely thought she was doing the best for her country at the time she implemented or advocated policies (her honesty when policies went wrong was  another matter).  The problem was that her judgement  and understanding was all too often hideously wrong or defective. She so often provided comforting rhetoric, especially on Europe and immigration,  but she never delivered the goods. The fact that she was such an overpowering political figure made things worse because it meant she could steamroller her cabinet on most issues at most times. It is difficult to think of another politician  in the past three centuries who wrought so much damage on Britain.

How governments created the present welfare mess

Robert Henderson

The current attempt by the British Coalition Government to radically alter the welfare state by severely restricting benefits is an exercise in gross  hypocrisy.  Why? Because the  increasingly shrill and uncouth portrayal of those in receipt of benefits as scroungers by Tories’ (and some on the left like Labour MP Frank Field) overlooks one very inconvenient fact: it is the actions of governments of all political hues over the past 35 years which created  the  welfare mess  we have today.    Between them these governments have produced a situation where millions of Britons  cannot either get a job at all  or can only obtain a  job which does not  pay enough to support them and their families  even meagrely.  This has produced the truly mad situation where substantial  benefits are out of necessity  paid to  not only the unemployed but to millions who are  in work, mainly  through tax credits and  housing benefit, because the wages on offer are too  low to allow someone to live an independent life.

Mass unemployment

How did this dire situation come about? Let us begin with the shrinkage of jobs.  Sustained large-scale unemployment did not begin with Thatcher in 1979 but she greatly increased it.  Unemployment was officially 1.4 million in 1979 and rose to over three million  (even by the dole claimant count) by the mid-1980s ( http://econ.economicshelp.org/2007/03/uk-economy-under-mrs-thatcher-1979-1984.html ).

Shocking as the 1979 figure of 1.4 million was at the time, it was primarily  the consequence of the  oil price quadrupling after in 1973, something over which the Labour governments  from 1974-79 had no control over because  North Sea oil was not yet flowing in commercial quantities.   Conversely, the remarkably rapid rise of unemployment in the 1980s was caused by the wilful economic vandalism of the Thatcher government which publicity celebrated (yes, I did say celebrated) destroying much of the UK’s heavy and extractive industries.

Privatisation

Privatisation   was the platform which placed large swathes of the public services into private hands,  including the strategically important providers of  gas, electricity, telecommunications, railways and water.  This alone removed several million well paid and secure jobs from the UK.  It also created areas with structural unemployment. Many of those made redundant in such areas never again obtained anything other than a low paid job or, worse, never obtained a new job.

The early big privatisations , such as those of gas and telecommunications,   were unashamed; other privatisations  proceeded piecemeal through the contracting out of public services to  private business.  Later  from the 1990s onwards came the Private Public Partnership and Private Finance Initiative which involved either joint financing between government and private business or private business providing the money for a project up-front with the taxpayer repaying the debt on generally extortionate terms  over periods of time as long as thirty years. As well as reducing employment and service standards  built up massive amounts of public debt whilst keeping most of it from being added to the official National Debt.  Bizarrely, the supposedly Labour governments headed by Blair and Brown  were  even more enthusiastic than the Thatcher and Major governments about using private contractors for public works. The effect of all these various forms of privatisation was to reduce manpower and conditions of work radically.

Outsourcing

Privatisation was followed and after the 1980s accompanied by outsourcing. The Thatcher  years broke the back of mainstream political resistance to laissez faire in both the domestic and foreign markets.  British companies exported jobs to the Third World incontinently squeezing the available jobs further both in terms of numbers and pay and conditions. This trait was propelled to a significant degree by the willingness of British governments of any political colour to allow British companies to be purchased by foreign countries. These had even less reason to retain jobs in Britain than British owned businesses.

The European Union

When the Single European Act  (SEA) was signed in 1986 the UK effectively  lost control of its borders and  its commerce and industry because the SEA required member states to allow the free movement of “goods, persons, services and capital”. (http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/institutional_affairs/treaties/treaties_singleact_en.htm).  Later treaties whittled away the UK’s sovereignty a good deal further.

The signing up the SEA  fitted the laissez faire economics of the Thatcher government in one sense – a single market within the EU – but  not in another because it restricted UK trade with the rest of the world.  The Thatcherites also found the remnants of state economic control in the EU  such as the Common Agricultural Policy  unpalatable. As time passed they also had a growing concern about  the growing extent of EU  ambitions to remove sovereignty.

For all these reasons the Thatcher government developed a policy of enlarging the EU.  This policy was eventually adopted by all British governments up to  this day – David Cameron is  even now pushing for  Turkey’s admission  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/07/daily_view_camerons_turkey.html).  The policy of enlargement was to have  profound consequences for immigration as  the EU expanded as workers from poor EU states, especially the new entrants from the old Soviet Bloc such as Poland flooded to the UK from 2004 onwards ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/17/eastern-european-uk-migrants).

Immigration

On top of all this came immigration from outside the EU.  This really took off from the advent of Blair as Prime Minister  in 1997.  The combined net immigration from both the EU and the rest of the world (RoW) was  50,000  in the year before Blair took office . This rose to 250,000 in 2010, the year Labour lost power  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/9713954/Interactive-graphic-how-UK-migration-has-changed-1964-2011.html).   The British population has officially  increased by a net 3 million from immigration  since 1997 (http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/).   How far these figures are accurate is debatable, but they certainly do not overstate the numbers which rest on the 2010 UK census.  It is probable that they substantially understate it as illegal immigrants  will not appear in a census for obvious reasons and foreigners generally may be cautious about registering for a census because they come from countries where the state is not trusted in any way.

Massive immigration  produced severe competition for jobs, most of them low-skill or unskilled, but also for skilled workers especially in the building trade.  The immigrants not only took jobs from native Britons but did so by accepting much lower wages.  The huge influx of immigrants also had the adverse effect of helping to raise housing costs, both for buying and renting.

Housing: the poison in the UK economy

House prices were inflated by the failure of all governments to continue to build enough new social housing from the mid-eighties onwards,by the introduction of Right-to-Buy (RTB)  which greatly reduced the existing stock of social housing by giving tenants the opportunity to buy the properties they rented at huge discounts and the lunatic absence of controls over the  provision of mortgages,  which at the height of their absurdity were being offered at 125% of the value of a property.   Come the crash of 2008 no deposit mortgages vanished and lenders began to demand deposits of 20-30%. The result was property prices too high for most first time buyers because they could not raise the deposit  and a general weakening of the housing market  as those with mortgages found that they could not re-mortgage on affordable terms when short term deals came to an end or obtain mortgages for a new property.  The freezing of the property market  meant that more and more needed to rent. Most could not find social housing and  were left at the mercy of  private landlords  who relentlessly raised rents to unaffordable levels for large sections of  even the employed.

To understand exactly how inflated property have become  compare the prices today with what they were in 1955.  Then the average residential property price was around £2,000. Uprated for inflation the average price of properties today would be around £40,000.  It is housing costs which are  the primary poison in the British economy. If there was sufficient housing to both rent and buy at the sort of  prices to wages ratio  which existed even  20 years ago, much of the general problem of rising benefit costs would not exist.

The manipulation of the UK’s unemployment statistics

Today the official unemployment figure for those drawing unemployment  benefit (the claimant count) is 1.54 million, which is the nearest to the way the 1979 figure is calculated. The 2013  Independent Labour Organisation measure of those seeking work has unemployment at 2.52 million. (http://www.hrmguide.co.uk/jobmarket/unemployment.htm) However,  the contrast between  the 1979  unemployment figure  (1.4 million) and the one now  is a false one because the figures are not really comparable.   This is because there has been a massaging of the unemployment figures, many  more pupils staying on a at school after the age of sixteen and a dramatic rise in those going into higher education.

Thatcher began the government’s  habit of fudging the employment figures by cynically shifting people from the unemployment registers to long-term sick benefit. By 2011 2.6 million were claiming such benefit. (http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=statistical_summaries).  In 1979 around 600,000 were doing so (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jan/19/lax-benefit-rules-not-responsible-more-disability).

To this distortion was added the constant changing of the rules for eligibility for claiming benefits, the definition of who was unemployed and the exclusion from the unemployment claimant figures of those engaged in government training schemes receiving what was to all intents and purposes unemployment benefit .  To put the cherry on the massaging of the statistics those in training were counted as employed in the total workforce  statistics. This suppressed the unemployment figure as expressed as a percentage of the total workforce.  There were also issues with students. Between November 1986 to September 1990 they could claim some unemployment benefits in the summer vacation. They were excluded from the unemployment count.  ((http://www.radstats.org.uk/no072/article4.htm).

These changes to and exclusions  from the unemployment statistics had considerable repercussions. The Bank of  England wrote in 1991 “…although unemployment is falling because there are more jobs, it is also true that much of the decline in the claimant count which has occurred since mid-1986 has been due to a shift in the unemployment/employment relationship resulting from changes in the Government’s range of Special Employment Measures – especially the introduction of more rigorous availability for work tests and the rapid growth of the Restart programme (quoted in SSAC, 1991, p. 59). Ibid.

On top of all this came the vast increases in the numbers in post-16  education. The 1980s saw the beginning of the governmental drive to have much larger numbers of  schoolchildren staying at school  until they were eighteen . By 2011 they had almost doubled from the rate of those staying at school after the age of  sixteen  from what it was in in 1980  (see p10 www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn04252.pdf).  From 2015 all those under the age of 18  will, in theory at least, have to be either in education or training – http://www.sec-ed.co.uk/news/warning-over-raising-of-school-leaving-age-to-18).

The expansion of  higher education   was even more dramatic. In 1980 only 13% of young Britons went to  into higher education (page F152 – http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/nmg/1468-0297.00102.pdf).  More than forty per cent of British school-leavers are now going on to start degree courses.  (The last Labour government had a target of 50% of school-leavers entering higher education  and in 2010/11 47% of those between the ages of 17-30 were in higher education  -http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/419496.article)

The false classification of people as long-term sick rather than unemployed, the rise in children saying on at school and the increase in students taking degrees means the official statistics  considerably understate  the true level of unemployment.    The wrongful classification speaks for itself,  while the extended schooling and increased university participation is important because it  delayed the point at which millions entered the employment market.

Exactly how distorting these interferences with the unemployment statistics are compared with those before 1980 is debatable, but its effects must be very substantial.  Those between the age of 16-64 deemed economically inactive  were 9.04 million according to the  official figures issued in October  2012  (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/october-2012/statistical-bulletin.html.  This  gives an indication of the huge numbers who should really be listed as  unemployed.  Even if  the schoolchildren above the age of 16, the students and the sick and disabled were discounted, there would be several million left. Add that to the official unemployment rate of around 2.5 million and the true unemployment rate could be in the region of 5 million or even more.

But the picture is even bleaker than that because  large numbers of those now counted as employed are on short time. Many of those and the full time employed are on short contracts and have no security of employment.

Working tax credits

All of this – the destruction and export of jobs,  mass immigration,  and the government driven housing market  –  produced a  Britain which had become both a low-wage economy and an extremely expensive place to live. Many people in full time employment  could not afford to live on their pay.  As rents soared housing benefit was increasingly taken up by even those who ordinarily would not have been thought of as being at the bottom of the income pile. Eye-watering amounts of housing benefit  were paid for those with large families (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/5663014/Family-claims-147000-a-year-in-housing-benefit-for-seven-bedroom-home.html) ,  especially to those  in London where by 2013 families  in private rented accommodation were paying 59% of their household income according to the housing charity Shelter (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20943576).

In April 2003, the Blair government tacitly acknowledged that wages for many were simply inadequate  to support life by introducing working tax credits. (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/start/who-qualifies/workingtaxcredit/work.htm).  This had several pernicious effects. It acted as a subsidy for employers which allowed them to offer ever lower wages secure in the knowledge that the taxpayer would subsidize business by making up their inadequate wages with working tax credits.  The regulations for working tax credits also allowed people to claim them when they were working part-time.  This provided an incentive for employees to work the minimum hours,  which were as little as 16 hours for a single parent. The employer also had an incentive to employ a number of part-timers rather than full time employees because the wages of the part timers could be kept below the level  at which national insurance had to be paid .  It thus became cheaper to employ two or three part-timers rather than one full timer.

The effects of working tax credits were made worse by the Blair and Brown governments ideologically driven desire to have every woman of working age out at work. This resulted in childcare tax credits (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/calcs/ccin.htm#1) whereby mothers were paid to leave their children in the hands of other women while they went out to work.

The benefits situation  needs fixing but the way the Coalition is going about it is unreasonable. They are not starting from where we are now and taking regard of the effects of their changes in policy on people who are already encased in the circumstances of high unemployment, low paid and often insecure jobs and ever rising rents. Instead they are using the blunt instrument of cutting benefit suddenly and seriously disrupting the lives of millions.

Housing is the main bugbear.  it makes no sense to say housing benefit will be capped if this makes continued residency in an area impossible because of rental costs way beyond their means or the £26,000 cap on benefits. The policy may well drive many people in employment out of the area in which they not only live but work causing them to become unemployed.  Even if people are unemployed forcing them to move any real  distance will have effects on those with children at school and take away the informal support mechanisms of family and friends.

Similarly, the attempt to move those in social housing out of their properties if they are deemed to be too large for those now resident there (the “bedroom tax”)  is absurd unless there is smaller social housing accommodation they can move into. If this forces social housing tenants to move a long way from where they live they will suffer the same problems that those who move because they cannot afford private rented accommodation.  If social housing tenants have to rent from private landlords that will cost more than the social housing. Such tenants on housing benefit would be more expensive for the taxpayer to support.

What should be done?

What should be done? The answer is to change the general circumstances which cause the welfare bill to be so high. This can be done by creating an economy  in which any  full time wage will at least support a person and ideally will maintain a family. This can be done by adopting these policies although Britain would need to leave the EU or get the EU to agree to change the rules governing free movement of labour, goods, capital and  services to impose  many of them):

1. Cease all further mass immigration.

2. Address the housing shortage by introducing rent controls and much stronger legal backing for secure tenure  in  private rental properties, engaging in a massive programme of social house building, restricting all future social house tenancies to those born British citizens, abolishing  Right-to-Buy, banning  buy-to-let mortgages,  banning  foreigners from buying residential properties and giving private builders an incentive to build by taxing the land they hold until they build.

3.  Place a tax on employers for every foreign worker already here they employ to discourage their employment.

4. . Remove benefits from all foreigners to encourage those already here to return home.

These policies would have short term and longer term effects. For example, rent controls  and strong tenure conditions could  be brought in very rapidly giving tenants in private property both an assurance that they could continue in their rented  property for a long time with a rent that did not suddenly rise beyond their means. Building large numbers of new properties would take several years to gain momentum but there should be a considerable increase in the housing stock within five years.

Policies such as stopping further mass immigration and  incentives  for foreign labour already here  to leave like placing a tax on  employers if they employ foreigners and removing all benefits from foreigners should tighten the labour market . This will raise wages and make employers use labour more efficiently.

A tighter labour market will produce higher wages which added to much cheaper housing will lessen the need for people to draw benefits whilst in work and the cost of housing benefit generally should reduce substantially.  That will draw most of the poison from the benefit debate.

Even as things stand, the current hysteria about benefits is unjustified in its own terms. Most of the public say that it is right that the old and the ill or disabled are looked after by state action. That is very interesting because most of the benefit bill is spent on the old, the sick, the disabled and, this is the real  tragedy, on those in employment who simply cannot live on their wages.  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2013/jan/08/uk-benefit-welfare-spending#zoomed-picture). The British elite are very successfully pursuing a policy of divide and rule by setting the less well-off members of society at each other’s throats. It is both highly distasteful and unjustified. The real culprits for the mess we have now are all the politicians who have produced the situation we have now and their all too compliant media supporters, especially over the past 25 years.

Housing: to the haves shall be given….

Robert Henderson

The central plank of the 2013  UK Budget  – boosting house building and sales activity –  was both morally disgraceful and criminally reckless. The Government proposes to underwrite mortgages to the tune of 20%  of the value for both first time buyers and those with properties who are trying to move up the housing ladder and from 1st April 2013, even more recklessly,  to provide loans of 20%  of the value of  new build properties up to the  value of £600,000  for three years from April 2014.   The loans will be interest free for five years after which  an annual fee of 1.75% will be levied on the government loan, with the fee rising  annually by the retail prices index (RPI) inflation plus  1%. The loan can be paid off at any time up to and including the time when it is sold. ( http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/10012.htm ). The amount taxpayers will risk on the underwritten mortgages is  estimated  to be  £12bn  with the full value of the mortgages underwritten  totalling  £130bn,  while £3.5bn of taxpayers’ money will be committed to the loans.

This policy is morally disgraceful because it is yet again favouring the haves over the have-nots . It is  made doubly offensive because  it is being done at a time when the Coalition Government’s attitude towards those in social housing  is increasingly shrill  with a constant portrayal of those in social housing as being parasites on the taxpayer because they do not pay the market rent for their properties while owner occupiers  pay their way.

The reality is rather different. Social housing tenants have long received far less subsidy than owner occupiers who have been granted  massive benefits by governments since at least 1969 when Roy Jenkins introduced Mortgage Interest Relief At Source (MIRAS).  MIRAS lasted until 2000 when it was ended by Gordon Brown.  In addition to MIRAS   owner occupiers receive  or have received these benefits:

1. Right-to-Buy (RTB). The gains from RTB both from a considerably reduced purchase price (way below the market value)  and the huge rise in property values in the period 1980 to 2008.  The rules to qualify were tightened and the discounts offered were gradually reduced in the period,  but have been boosted again by the Coalition Government which announced a discount of up to £100,000 in the Budget (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/budget-2013-100000-off-righttobuy-a-london-home-8540690.html).

2. Private residence tax relief. No capital gains tax is paid on a property used as a private residence when it is sold.

3. No inheritance tax (IT)  is paid on a private property when it is inherited by a spouse who is resident in this country. Regardless of who are the beneficiaries, no IT is paid on a property if it forms part of an estate worth less than the inheritance tax exemption limit (£325,000 in 2012-13). No IT is paid on a private property if the private property has been gifted to someone else more than 7 years before the death of the person making the gift.

4.  Housing benefit for the interest paid on a mortgage.  This could be received by  someone unemployed or employed,  but with an income so low they qualified for housing benefit.

5. A surprisingly large number of taxpayer funded schemes  providing substantial grants, especially for energy saving improvements (http://www.freegive.co.uk/grants.htm).

6. The lax credit policies  from the mid-1980s onwards which allowed mortgage providers to grossly inflate property  prices before the 2008 crash by granting no deposit mortgages and even mortgages up to 125% of the purchase price.  In addition, “light touch” regulation of the banks and their ilk greatly increased the money supply which also inflated  property prices. Finally,  prices were inflated further by  the permitting of  massive  immigration during  the years of the Blair  and Brown Governments which added some three million to the UK population.

7.  Since the crash of 2008 successive British governments have offered massive  direct and indirect aid to those with mortgages. The direct aid has been  such things as mortgage  payment  holidays (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/dec/04/brown-mortgage-interest-break-repossessions),  and indirect protection, for example,  keeping Bank Rate at microscopically low levels.

Whilst all this has been going on social housing has become ever scarcer as several million social housing properties have been sold off under RTB (http://www.politics.co.uk/reference/right-to-buy) and the provision of new social housing since the mid-1980s has been meagre in the extreme.

Criminal recklessness

Morally obnoxious as the policy may be, the fact that it is criminally reckless is even more worrying.  The almost certain short term effect of this taxpayer funded largesse is that house prices will rise because there will be more money chasing scarce housing.  This will make purchase even with the helping taxpayer hand more and more difficult, especially for first time buyers who will be tempted to pay over the odds because the terms look so easy and the participating mortgage lenders will be willing to lend more in the secure knowledge that the taxpayer will either cover a substantial minority of them mortgage or provide a buffer against future negative equity because of the  significant amount of equity resented by the taxpayer funded loan.  Suppose a house is purchased for £500,000. The purchaser pays a 5% deposit and the taxpayer makes this up to a  25% deposit with a 20% equity loan to the purchaser.  This leaves the private mortgage provider to find  £375,000. Provided the property can be sold for  £375,000 the mortgage provider will lose nothing.  If it is sold for just £375,000,   25% of the original purchase price (the total deposit) will be lost. The taxpayer would lose £100,000.

The intentions of the Government – to boost house building, enable first time buyers to get on the housing ladder and loosen up the property market generally – are likely to be undermined further because  it appears Britons buying second homes and foreigners will be able to access the taxpayer funded privileges (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9947031/Wealthy-homeowners-could-use-state-backed-loans-to-buy-second-homes.html and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/mortgages/9952998/Foreigners-can-qualify-for-state-subsidised-mortgages.html)

The danger in the longer term is that the housing market will tank as the Irish and Spanish ones have done  and property  prices halve.  This is a significant  possibility,  because  apart from the general economic turmoil in the EU,  UK interest rates will have to rise substantially sooner or later  and this alone will suppress the market dramatically as very large numbers cannot meet their mortgage payments.   If  property prices do collapse it  will leave the taxpayer taking a severe  financial hit. Osborne is effectively betting the national farm on a recovery in the housing market.

What housing policy should the Government be pursuing?

I suggest this:

1. Use  the money they have earmarked for the underwriting of risk and the 15% deposits in new build properties up £600,000 to engage on a massive social housing building programme.

2. Put a tax on land held by property developers with planning permission while they refuse to build on the land as per the planning permission.

3. Ban Buy-to-let mortgages.

4. Introduce rent controls on private landlords. If rents were frozen for a number of years this should not impact too seriously on most private landlords, the majority of whom will either own their properties or have small mortgages on them . Even those with large mortgages should be able to survive in the low interest environment which looks as though it will continue to several years at least.  If they can pay the mortgage now they should be able to keep in paying it until interest rates rise significantly. By that time

All of those policies could be done whilst we remain within the EU. If we left the EU it would be possible to:

5. Deny all social housing to foreigners.

6. Ban foreigners from purchasing residential property.

7. Put an end to further mass immigration.

These policies will greatly increase the supply of housing in the medium term if not sooner . If even 1-4 were implemented  this would do a great deal to bring the cost of housing to a level where  those on the average wage could  afford to rent in most areas and

Governments bear the responsibility

For thirty years or more British Governments have been almost entirely responsible for the truly dismaying rise in the cost of property  both to buy and to rent  through a failure to ensure enough housing both private and social was built, by removing rent controls,  ending credit controls on mortgages,  failing to control mortgage  lending generally  and, most dramatically, by allowing mass immigration to add between three and four million people to the population in the past 15 years.

To understand exactly how inflated housing costs have become compare property prices today with what they were in 1955.  Then the average residential property price was around £2,000. Uprated for inflation the average price of properties today would be around £40,000.  (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/the-vicious-poison-in-the-british-economy-is-the-outlandish-cost-of-housing/). Makes you think.  If that was the case now,  even those on half  of the average national wage (half of the present average  wage  would be about £13,000 ) would be able to purchase a property of some sort.

Wages and welfare benefits are not comparable

Robert Henderson

The Coalition’s line on benefits will not hold water.   The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith claims it is unreasonable for benefits to rise in line with inflation when wages are not doing so (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9787094/Iain-Duncan-Smith-raising-benefits-with-inflation-would-be-absurd.html). This ignores two things: what it costs to live even at a subsistence level and the effects of those in work drawing benefits, especially working tax credits.

To compare benefits with wages is nonsensical. Wages may be at any level from the plutocratic to that which is insufficient to fund  even a basic standard of living.  Benefits are fixed and are far from generous.  The real question to ask when considering the uprating of benefits is not whether they are too generous but whether they are sufficient to allow someone to live at the subsistence level.  To do this the distribution of expenditure at  different levels of income must be taken into account. The poorer a person is the more of their money will go on essential such as housing, food, clothing travel and energy.  These are items which apart from clothing have been rising rapidly over the past year or two. It could reasonably be argued that those on benefits (whether in work or not) require an increase much larger than the average wage rise.

The idea that people can live the life of Riley on benefits  does not hold water. For those who have signed on as unemployed the Jobseekers Allowance is £56.25 (single person under 25), £71 (single person over 25)  and £111.45   (couple both aged over 18),    £71  (Lone parent 18 or over) £56.25  (Lone parent under 18) https://www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance/what-youll-get .  If you are single without children or a childless couple,   living on benefits is self-evidently not going to be a great deal of fun. (The figures and qualifications for benefits I shall give are those under the  present circumstances. These will change when the Universal Benefit goes live in April this year).

What pushes benefits payments up to the high figures often cited by the media are child related benefits and above all housing-related benefits to pay   mortgage interest or  rent and Council Tax. But to bring in the money for  children you need quite a few.    Child Benefit is £20 for the first child and £13.40 for each subsequent child.  If a family has ten children this would mean they received £140.60. Useful, but not a vast amount when applied to the costs of raising ten children.  The benefit goes in full  to anyone with children whether working or not, provided their income does not reach £50,000 and in part for anyone earning between £50,000 and  £60,000.  (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit/payments-entitlements/payments/rates.htm#1).  In addition, both the unemployed and employed can draw Child Tax Credit for dependent children (under the age of 18) , which can be up to £2,690 for an able bodied child and up to  £4,140 for the most disabled children (https://www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit).   Those figures are of course dependent on the family’s total earned income where the claimants are in work and the amount of savings whether in work or unemployed.  Someone claiming Job Seekers Allowance or Income Support  and not breaching the maximum savings  before benefit starts to be withdrawn  (currently £6,000),  the parent (or other responsible adult) will receive  £64.99 per week for each child (http://tinyurl.com/anpea3u).  The notional family with ten children would get £650 a week in addition to the £140 child benefit, but of course  such a family  would be very much the exception.  The average family with two children wholly dependent on benefits would (excluding mortgage interest or rent and council tax benefit) have £274.85 (£111.45 for the couple; 2 x £64.99 for the JSA/Income support payments for the children  and £33.40 child benefit).

The real poison in the benefits system is the cost of Housing Benefit.   Those who are unemployed or on low incomes are likely to be living in rented accommodation. Rents have gone through the roof in the past few years as mortgages become hard to get and new build housing has slowed to a trickle. (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/families-facing-squeeze-as-rents-rise-fastest-in-the-suburbs-8442313.html). To get private rented accommodation in London suitable for a family of four  ( a minimum of a three bedroom flat) would cost between £1-2,000 per month even in the cheaper areas.  A rental of £1,500 per month is £18,000 per year which takes around 70% of the new proposed cap of £26,000 for total benefits paid to any family.  Outside of London rents are not so high,  but in many places , especially the South East, they have risen substantially.  Here is an example from Croydon in Surrey:

“Henrietta Bergman-Janes lives with her husband Michael and their daughter Adelaide, three, in a privately rented two-bedroom flat in south Croydon.

The family survives on an income of about £19,000 from his job in a bank and £400-a-month housing benefit. The rent of £825 a month leaves just enough to live on — but nothing more. They hardly ever go out, cannot afford holidays and saving for a deposit is out of the question.

Mrs Bergman-Janes, 24, said: “We would love to buy our own place and stop being at the mercy of the whims of a landlord, but we can’t even stay out of our overdrafts or pay off our credit cards, how are we supposed to magic up a £25,000 deposit?”

She said rents in Croydon were rising steadily. When the couple were first looking in 2008 small flats were about £600 to £650 a month. “But before we moved into this place we were going to estate agents and said £800 was the most we could afford. They just started laughing at us saying ‘you can’t get anything for that price’.” (Ibid)

An added complication is that millions of those who work also draw various working tax credits or income support (paid to those working less than 16 hours a week – https://www.gov.uk/income-support/overview) which raise incomes to subsistence level. In addition, many of the employed also draw housing  (vide the £400 per month claimed in the example above) and council tax benefit.  If all benefits are claimed, no individual or couple without children  should  probably be no worse off than those under state retirement age who are unemployed because in work benefits are on a sliding scale. A  family with children  or a single parent could be worse off  if they have to pay a professional child minder, although even there the state provides subsidy through Childcare tax credits  with up to 70% of the costs up to a maximum of  £175 per week for a single child and £300 for two or more children. (https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/childcare-tax-credits) .  However, those in work will often be no better off than someone  who is unemployed.

The Working Tax Credits for the low paid are substantial.  For example, a couple with three children  with an annual income of £10,000 would qualify for tax credits of £11,815 (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/people-advise-others/entitlement-tables/work-and-child/work-no-childcosts.htm ). Working Tax Credit can be paid if a claimant is off sick (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/keep-up-to-date/changes-affect/work-changes/no-work-illness.htm).

There is the intriguing possibility  that a single parent in work  or a  couple  in work on a low income  with  two or more children might  receive more in overall benefits through Childcare  Tax Credit, Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit than the £26,000 cap for the unemployed coming in with the proposed Universal Benefit in  April 2013.

There are pernicious effects of working tax credits.  These have the effect of a very substantial subsidy to employers who can keep their wages below subsistence level in the knowledge that the taxpayer will make up the difference between what they pay and what is needed to live.  Even if a worker is in full time employment,  this is highly unsatisfactory because it distorts the labour market and places an ever growing burden on the taxpayer.  It also provides encouragement to the immigrant  to work in Britain over and above the great incentive of earning even the minimum wage in the UK which allows them to save a few thousand a year, savings which are worth multiples in terms of purchasing power in their homelands of their purchasing power in this country.

But working tax credit are not restricted to full-time workers. At present the  rules for those under 60 who are able bodied are:

What hours do you need to work?

You don’t have children

If you’re not responsible for children, you need to work the following hours to get Working Tax Credit:

if you’re aged 25 or over, you need to do paid work of at least 30 hours a week

if you have a disability and are aged 16 or over, you need to do paid work of at least 16 hours a week

if you’re aged 60 or over, you need to do paid work of at least 16 hours a week

How to work out usual working hours for your tax credits claim

You have children

If you’re responsible for children you need to be aged at least 16, and work the following hours to get Working Tax Credit:

if you’re single, you need to do paid work of at least 16 hours a week

if you’re in a couple, your joint paid working hours need to be at least 24 a week, with one of you working at least 16 hours a week

So if you’re a couple and only one of you is working, that person will need to work at least 24 hours a week.( http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/start/who-qualifies/workingtaxcredit/work.htm#1)

These rules provide strong incentives for people to do just the minimum hours needed to qualify for the tax credit.  Imagine the temptation for a single parent who only needed to work for 16 hours a week  or a couple with one working who was only required to work  24 hours a week to prefer to do only the hours needed rather than a full week’s work.  If it is a mundane low paid job,   which almost certainly it will be,  in either case the pay for the hours worked plus working tax credit would probably be the same as if the person worked a 40-hour  week.

The rules also  provides an incentive to employers to offer  minimum wage part-time jobs with the minimum qualifying hours, which should also allow the employer to avoid both the employers’ and employees’  national insurance (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/rates-thresholds.htm#1).

The reality is that no firm line can be drawn between the working and the unemployed. The attempt at resurrecting  the Victorian idea of the deserving and undeserving poor, a part from being obnoxious,  is a non-starter when so many want a job or are forced  to work part-time or take jobs which do not pay a living wage.

Britain’s low wage economy

The problem is really Britain’s low wage economy.  This is a consequence of mass immigration , which has risen to alarming heights in the past ten years  and has resulted in both a reduction in wage levels and increased competitions for jobs,  the offshoring of huge numbers of jobs, the contraction of  public sector employment since the crash following Lehmann Bros failure in 2008 and the reckless inflation of the cost of housing, both purchased and rented, resulting from massive immigration, the loose monetary policy of the Blair and Brown governments and the failure of all governments since Thatcher to build sufficient social housing.

To remedy these ills Britain must regain control over its borders by leaving the EU and repudiating any other treaties which give foreigners the right to settle here; engage in a programme of social housing building on the scale of the 1950s;  reserve social housing for those born British citizens;  penalise private developers who  hoard land by placing a tax on the land while it remains unbuilt on ; subsidise public transport more heavily and engage in judicious protectionism to preserve necessary commerce and  industry.

The  new social housing and  further subsidy for public transport can be easily funded by reducing current public spending massively by  ending foreign  Aid (saves £11 billion); reducing the per capita Treasury payment to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by reducing it to the English figure   (saves £16 billion)  and leaving the EU (saves £11 billion  on the difference between what the UK pays in and what it gets out  http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/336667/Now-our-payments-to-the-EU-hit-53m-each-day) . That releases  £38 billion for the Government to spend.

These steps will have the effect of reducing the price of housing and raising pay both in real terms and because much less of a wage or salary will have to be spent on housing and travel costs.  That will gradually reduce the dependence on Working Tax Credits which ideally should be abolished because of their pernicious effects.  Higher wages  and reduced housing and travel costs will also mean  less pressure for women to go out to work when they have pre-school age children. That will reduce the need for highly paid childcare.   The long-term aim should be to reach a situation where it is  the norm for  a single wage to be  enough on which to raise a family.

The US and Ethnic voting – Why white America (and the rest of the West) has to play the ethnic card to survive

Robert Henderson

1 White liberals get dangerously over excited

2. The election’s voting patterns.

3. Romney as a candidate

4. The demographics

5. A programme to maintain the white majority

6. The rest of the West

7. Another “End of History”

8. The danger of ideologies

1. White liberals get dangerously over excited

Even by the demanding standards of adolescent inanity set by them in normal times white liberals have been getting dangerously over-excited following the Obama re-election. His victory has induced industrial quantities of self-indulgent masochistic politically correct fantasy revelling in the belief that the USA is locked into an inescapable demographic trap which will mean, within a generation or two, the end of the white majority and the dominant culture which has shaped the country not only since independence but in the previous one hundred and eighty-odd years of the American colonial experience. This , the white liberal fondly and ludicrously imagines, will mean the triumph of political correctness with a wondrously multicultural and multiracial USA of the future standing as the very model of social and historical development at its evolutionary summit.

This is truly an epic fantasy. Even if mass immigration does continue and makes whites a minority in the USA it does not follow that the multiculturalist dream of a multiplicity of groups living in harmony will arrive. Indeed, we can be sure it will not, because never in the history of Man has a territory occupied by racially or ethnically differentiated groups produced societal harmony. The best that is ever achieved is an uneasy armistice enforced by a socially and culturally detached (often formally imperial) overlord. The result of increasing the size of various racial or ethnic minorities relative to the white population will not create a rainbow alliance against the white population, but greater competition amongst the ethnic minorities with the largest groups amongst them vying to become the most dominant of the racial or ethnic minorities other than the now minority  but still largest minority group American whites.

This enthusiasm of white liberals for a future in which they are at best reduced to part of a group which is no more than just another ethnic minority in the USA is extended to their claim that inescapable decline is also the fate of the Republican Party, unless, that is, the GOP gets with the right-on programme and begins to pander to blacks, Latinos, gays, feminists , the young and immigrants generally, while dropping any pretence of trying to stem immigration and signing up to all the shibboleths of political correctness. In short, it must cease to be what it has been and just about still is, at least at the grass roots level, a conservative party with a sense of nationhood trying to hold the line against an ever more aggressive political correctness, and become the ideological Tweedledum to the Democratic Party’s Tweedledee. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/republicans/9669468/Republicans-may-drop-opposition-to-granting-illegal-immigrants-residency.html).

The chief  fly-in-the-ointment for the white liberal’s prescribed redefining of the USA and the GOP is that the demographic future for the USA does not have to be as they paint it. Mass immigration could be stopped if there was the political will and this would at least greatly slow down  the projected demographic shift to whites being in the minority by 2050 or even possibly by the 2040s (http://www.npr.org/2011/06/27/137448906/us-will-have-minority-whites-sooner-says-demographer   and http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/08/13/census.minorities/index.html).

But even on the most aggressive demographic projections put forward by liberals there is no compelling reason to believe that in the next 15 years Republicans will be excluded from controlling Congress if they do not change their policies to radically politically correct ones. In short, there is still considerable time for the GOP to do what is necessary to defeat the supposedly pre-determined US demographic and political future by ending mass immigration and adopting a programme designed to appeal to whites. More on the detail of that later.

2. The election’s voting patterns

( http://www.people-press.org/2012/11/07/changing-face-of-america-helps-assure-obama-victory/).

The ethnic vote was overwhelmingly for Obama: blacks 93% , Hispanics 71% and Asian s 73%. Obama also captured 55% of female votes and enjoyed a large advantage over Romney amongst younger voters taking 60% of the 18-29 group and 52% of the 30-44 age group. Romney took 59% of the white vote to Obama’s 39%

There are important lessons to be taken from these statistics. A majority formed of several ethnic minority groups is certain to be neither a stable nor a harmonious political constituency simply because there is no example of such a coalition ever being other than this; the overwhelming black support for Obama may is almost certainly a phenomenon which attaches itself only to a black candidate; the Hispanic vote is racially disparate and the white Hispanic part of this ethnic group may in time simply see themselves as white Americans rather than hyphenated Americans ; the Asian constituency is still small and disparate and Asians probably voted for Obama to a significant degree simply because much of the group is comprised of recent immigrants and as recent immigrants they will naturally go for the most immigrant friendly candidate, a tendency that will weaken as the generations pass and the descendants become distanced from their ancestral culture which will when encountered seem ever more alien to them; the youth vote for Obama dropped significantly compared with 2008 and, finally, the split of the female vote gave Obama a healthy but importantly not overwhelming advantage.

The last point is highly significant because women represent the largest group of voters who are supposedly set to consign the Republicans to the dustbin of history unless they change their supposedly outmoded and reactionary ways. A five per cent shift in women voters to the Republicans (something perfectly plausible with different candidates and circumstances ) and the Republican women problem vanishes. This could easily happen.  For example, faced with a white non-Hispanic Democratic candidate, the non-white minority female vote could be reduced substantially by female voters failing to vote in such numbers as they have voted for Obama simply because the candidate was white or, less probably, voting for other candidates whether Republican or third party. Another possibility would be a white Hispanic Republican candidate who could capture a large part of the now Hispanic Democratic vote whilst not alienating non-Hispanic white voters.

As for the (under 30) youth vote, 51% of that portion of the white vote went to Romney against 44% to Obama . This reversed the 2008 election where Obama won 54% of the under thirty white vote and McCain 44% (http://www.people-press.org/2012/11/26/young-voters-supported-obama-less-but-may-have-mattered-more/) . This is significant because the substantial drop off for Obama in young white voter support shows how fragile is the race factor in voter preference amongst whites. Obama was a novelty in 2008; he is increasingly seen as just another tired failed politician. Any black candidate in the future will be just another candidate who will not benefit from the immense deference Obama has enjoyed and to a large extent still enjoys from the mainstream media. It is also true that younger voters often change their political allegiances as they grow older, normally by moving from the left to the right.

Because the descendants of recent immigrants, of whatever racial and ethnic origin, will have an ever weaker attachment to their ancestral land and culture as the generations pass, their preference for candidates and parties which are soft on immigration will weaken because they will no longer think there is  a pressing need to bring in more of those from their ancestral lands.  The effect of that would be to reduce support for immigration generally amongst  ethnic minority groups, because  support for immigration amongst recent immigrants is very strongly driven by the desire to bring in extended family members and friends.  More dramatically,  there are many examples of those of immigrant ancestry wishing to pull up the drawbridge to prevent  further immigration  even where the would-be  immigrants are connected by national origin or ethnicity to  those opposing their settlement . Anglicised Jews from families long settled in Britain complaining about Jews from Eastern Europe entering in the nineteenth century is e a good historical example of this trait (http://www.movinghere.org.uk/galleries/histories/jewish/journeys/journeys.htm).

Such behaviour is unsurprising because once an immigrant is in a country any further immigration, especially that of immigrants who are different in race, nationality  or ethnicity from those already there, will mean greater competition for jobs, housing, education healthcare and so on. That is a particularly strong motive for immigrants to oppose further immigration if the country they have settled in a First World state with a comprehensive welfare system.

There is also the fact that as ethnic\racial solidarity within a country lessens, the willingness of the population to fund welfare weakens (Frank Salter: On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethnicity, and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration (http://edna.machighway.com/~franksal/EthnicResearch/Background.html). Mitt Romney was much castigated for saying that 47% of the population were on benefits and would not vote for someone who would not at worst unambiguously support present benefit levels. Contrariwise, Obama offered the promise of continuing welfare benefits. Whether the USA can afford the level of benefits it currently provides is debatable, but there must be some unsustainable limit to public spending. What if the 47% became 60% or 70% who were dependant on benefits? As a matter of simple arithmetic, there has to be a point where benefits simply cannot be maintained let alone increased if the numbers who are net tax contributors become so small they cannot support welfare levels.

That would be a serious difficulty in a very homogeneous society: in an increasingly fragmented one it is a recipe for racial and ethnic strife which at its least violent will see a reluctance by the ethnic and racial groups least benefitting from taxpayer funded schemes becoming more ever more reluctant to fund such spending. In addition, those within ethnic and racial groups who have done better will almost certainly tend to see themselves in class terms rather than ethnic or racial terms. It is also true that the spread of wealth and poverty within ethnic and racial groups can and almost certainly will change over the years. There is no certain perpetual advantage or disadvantage for any particular group.  This could mean that state provision becomes greatly reduced, something which would discourage  future prospective immigrants.

3. Romney as a candidate

There were numerous drawbacks to Romney as a candidate. He is a rich man who made his wealth in the now widely despised and hated financial industry. He is a leading member of a religion with cultish elements which troubles even mainstream Christian voters. He has a tin ear for what should not be said when you are courting the general public, most notably his claim (mentioned above) at a fund raising dinner that 47% of voters were never going to vote for him because they were dependent on taxpayer funded goodies. In an electoral race where personality counts for so much he comes across most of the time as wooden and incapable of engaging with voters. In truth, he was pretty poor as a campaigner and unimpressive as a public personality ( http://www.people-press.org/2012/11/13/lessons-from-the-2012-election/).

But there was more to his deficiencies than that. Romney also added radical policy shifts on subjects with a good deal of traction right across the US electorate . He moved  from being what is politely called a moderate Republican (translation closet liberal) on subjects such as immigration and gay marriage to a significantly less pc line. Many liberal commentators are now arguing that this made him unelectable because it alienated Hispanics, blacks, gays, the young and women. Equally  plausible reasons for Romney not benefitting from those policy shifts are either people not believing his change of heart was sincere or thinking that Romney was not being coherent and full hearted in presenting his new “hardline” views. Such behaviour probably lost him votes on both sides of the US political divide.

There was also a general air of diffidence about Romney, as though his heart was not wholly in the fight or even that he might be scared of the post of President. Interestingly, since the election media reports suggest that Romney was a very reluctant candidate:

After failing to win the 2008 Republican nomination, Mr Romney told his family he would not run again and had to be persuaded to enter the 2012 White House race by his wife Ann and son Tagg.

“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire… to run,” Tagg Romney said. “If he could have found someone else to take his place… he would have been ecstatic to step aside.”

Mitt Romney “is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them. He loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention,” his son said. ‘ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-politics/9764312/Mitt-Romney-didnt-want-to-run-for-president-son-claims.html).  If true, that will have been signalled to voters by the unconscious signals which humans cannot control such as body language and vocal traits.

In addition to benefitting from Romney’s considerable and numerous  weaknesses, Obama had in his favour the fact that he was the sitting president. Since 1945 only Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Bush senior in 1992 have failed to gain re-election. He also had the reduced but still significant boost from the fact that he was the first black president. Balanced against that Obama had presided over the most difficult US economic situation since the 1930s for four years, but as the recession started during the term of a Republican president and in the public mind, at least at the headline level, was created by bankers and their ilk who were generally Republican supporters, voters seem to have widely accepted that this was a mess not created by Obama. They may have blamed Obama for not ending the economic troubles, but they blamed the last Bush administration more. In these circumstances Romney’s past as an investment fund manager made him by proxy part of the cause of the present mess in the eyes of many voters.

Despite the balance of electoral college advantage lying heavily with Obama his win on the popular vote was not massive:

Obama 64,428,975 (50.80%)

Romney 60,227,548 ( 47.49%)

Total vote 126,832,750

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2012

It really was not an impressive win in terms of popular support. The split between the candidates in electoral college votes was vast 332 to 206, but many of the Obama state  wins were narrow ones.  If  approximately 850,000 Obama voters spread over the closely contested  states  had switched to  Romney he would have won.  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/liamhalligan/9770870/The-US-cliff-one-small-part-of-a-huge-debt-crisis.html)

There have also been numerous complaints about machine voting with claims that voting machines registered for Obama when Romney was selected, for example, Any form of machine voting  is difficult to check for faults, wilful or otherwise. Machine voting which relies on computers makes  meaningfully checks of flaws  or deliberately introduced biases into voting all but impossible.  There were also doubts raised by very high Obama voting and voter registration  in particular districts (http://www.wnd.com/2012/11/did-voter-fraud-swing-election/) . Whether  any of these complaints  are indicative of wilful or widespread fraud remains to be seen, but if widespread irregularities favouring Obama are demonstrated,  then future elections may be more closely scrutinised and the chance for fraud reduced. This could aid Republican candidates if voter fraud is more prevalent amongst Democrats than Republicans. In the 2012 elections this  appears to be the case,  because complaints by Democrats against Republicans alleging voting  irregularities favouring them were thin on the ground going on non-existent.  This might be explained by the fact that Obama won, but it would be a natural response to claims of bias towards Obama for Democrats to cite cases of machines favouring Romney or exceptionally high voter registrations or votes for Romney.

Taking the broad picture, there  are no compelling reasons to believe that the groups which failed to provide sufficient  support for Romney would behave in the same way towards a future Republican presidential candidate in the next fifteen to twenty years, especially one faced with a Democratic candidate who was not black.

4. The demographics

It might be thought from the liberal media excitement that whites are on the brink of becoming a  minority group in the USA. In fact they still form the large majority of the population.

The 2010 US census arrived at a figure of 308.7 million, an increase of 27.3 million people since the 2000 census ( Table 1 http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf – all references to 2010 census statistics come from this PDF file) . This represented an increase of 9.7% over ten years. The non-Hispanic white population increased numerically from 194.6 million to 196.8 in those years (63.7% of the population). Moreover, whites in the USA also include large numbers of Hispanics, this being a classification based on ethnicity not race. The census counted 50.5 million Hispanics of which 26,735,713 are white (Table 2) . This raised the white component of the population in 2010 to 223,553,265 or 72.4% of the entire US population (Table 1)).

It is true that white Hispanics may have a general group solidarity with Hispanics of a different race or a mixture of races, but as pointed out previously, with the passing of the generations the descendants of immigrants become less and less engaged with the ancestral homeland. That is particularly so where there is neither racial difference from the dominant population in a territory or a wilful attempt to stand aside from a dominant culture such as that made by orthodox Jews.

The other fly in the demographic ointment for liberals is the number of people qualified to vote who did not vote. The latest (2011) US census estimate of the total US population is 311,591,917. (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html). Those under 18 constitute 23.7% of the population or approximately 72 million people. Not all of those will be US citizens but the vast majority will be. It would be reasonable to assume the potential voter population is at worst around 225 million. At the presidential election just past on 126 million voted. That means 100 million-odd white votes are presently up for grabs.

As the US becomes more and more polarised along ethnic and racial lines, the likelihood is that voting will increase. But an increase in voting will not necessarily  be uniform. While they are the majority, whites can vote for white favouring candidates and policies without any conflict of interests for a party or candidate offering pro-white policies can gain election simply by appealing successfully to enough white voters. The same is not true of the various minority populations. They will all be competing for political attention with different demands and needs. No single party or candidate is going to be able to satisfy these disparate claims. Already there is friction between blacks (the largest racial minority) and Hispanics (the largest ethnic minority) over the spoils of positive discrimination, something which is likely to intensify if the Hispanic population continues to swell and Asians (admittedly a very mixed group) increase as predicted.

The other thing in favour of the white population is that even on the most aggressive demographic predictions of the point at which Non-Hispanic whites are in the minority allows for at least a another generation to pass before it occurs and quite possibly not until 2050. In addition, there is the possibility previously mentioned of white Hispanics simply becoming Americans in a generation or two. That would delay the point of white minority status even further. All of this means that there is plenty of time for both the Republican Party and whites generally to act to change the demographic future by voting for candidates and parties which will control immigration and cease to pander to ethnic and racial minorities.

But even if the white population (whether defined as non-Hispanic whites or whites including white Hispanics) becomes a minority it would remain by far the largest minority for a considerable time. That could bring into play the a coalition of whites and one or two smaller partners to create a white dominated political grouping which excluded the largest of the non-white minorities. That would leave the white population in a position of considerable power.

5. A programme to maintain the white majority

In principle any party  in the USA, whether existing or new, could adopt the programme,  but it is  unrealistic to expect a new party to arise which can challenge the duopoly of Democrats and Republican. As the  Democrats are wedded, at least for the foreseeable future, to the politically correct ideology, the only real option for such change in the USA lies with the Republicans for the foreseeable future.

The logical and natural thing for the Republican Party to do  is  what neither they nor any other mainstream party in the developed world has done is to play the racial/ethnic political game by unambiguously appealing to whites in the USA. To be effective the political platform would have to be adopted by Republican candidates across the political board not merely by presidential candidates.  That would go against the US party tradition which is much looser than it is in many European countries, especially the UK.  Perhaps the most likely way that such Republican policy uniformity could arise is for it to be adopted first at state level and then after it is shown to be successful to gradually morph into a national policy. A  movement such as the Tea Party has been on taxation and spending, could  also prove to be a potent lever to shift  party policy on race and immigration at the national level.

At the core of this appeal to the white majority must be a promise of an end to mass immigration of those who cannot be assimilated into the American mainstream to prevent the demographic advantage of the white majority being further seriously eroded. This promise must be accompanied with a credible plan to prevent further mass immigration of the unassimilatable . That would require both practical measures such as the building and ample manning of a truly formidable barrier along the entire length of the Mexico/US border, the strengthening of coastal surveillance and the proper policing small airfields. In addition a change in the federal immigration policy to allow immigration to revert to something similar to what it was before the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished the country of origin quotas established by the Immigration Act of 1924. This had limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890. That would favour white immigrants.  None of that would require a constitutional amendment . It would be useful if the constitution could be amended to remove automatic US citizenship from those born of non-citizens on US territory.  However, constitutional amendments are notoriously difficult to make.

There is also the question of the millions of illegal immigrants already in the USA. The claim that they could not possibly be forcibly removed because of the numbers is not a self-evident truth. In 1954 Operation Wetback (http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0706/p09s01-coop.html) saw more than 1 million Latin Americans (mainly Mexicans) leave the USA either as a result of arrest and forced deportation or by illegal immigrants choosing to leave for fear of being arrested. This was achieved by a border force of little more than 1,000. Whether the expulsion of millions today would be the best course of action – it could be plausibly argued (although not  by me) that it would be smarter to accept those who are already in the country and concentrate on future immigration, thus giving those already here some incentive to accept the new regime without protest – but it is manifestly not impossible to expel very large numbers of people when there is the political will and the place to where they are being deported shares a border with the expelling country. A large-scale expulsion of illegal immigrants from the USA would of itself signal more than any other act the Federal Government could take to the white population that at last a party was willing to act on their behalf.

Other inducements for whites to vote for a party which promised to defend their immediate and long term interests would be a pledge to make illegal all forms of “positive” discrimination, overt or covert, and the provision of any form of taxpayer funded state aid at every level from the federal downwards , whether that be welfare , healthcare or education , to illegal immigrants .  None of that would be unconstitutional because such changes would not mean that anyone would be treated less favourably than any other. Indeed, it would return to the status quo of the constitution under which all citizens are equal in terms of the civic rights at least.

A change in the language used by the GOP when dealing with race and ethnic issues would also be necessary.  Trying to fit non-pc ideas into a pc framework or speaking the language of political correctness one moment and putting forward non-pc ideas at another and being awkward whenever challenged  about views which are not considered entirely pc creates uncertainty in the white voter’s mind. Nor can such equivocation inspire any white American to believe that at last there are politicians   willing to speak up for white American (one might say American) interests and needs.   To re-capture the trust of white Americans Republican politicians must state unambiguously that both they and their party are jettisoning political correctness, especially that part of political correctness which relates to the suppression of white America’s interests and the legal privileging of ethnic and racial minorities.  Not only must they make clear that political correctness is being discarded not because it is outmoded or impractical,  but  from a belief that it is a totalitarian creed whose central tenet of non-discrimination affects every aspect of life and whose imposition of necessity requires the suppression of any other view.   Republicans  should constantly reinforce the absolute necessity for free expression in a democracy and the value of the First Amendment.

Such an approach does not mean turning back the clock forty years or so and simply saying this is what should be done or that observed as a cultural practice.  The appeal should be to what humans understand without being told: that men and women have different priorities, that the idea of same sex marriage is wrong because it  both does violence to language and permits those with political power to indulge in the sinister practice of deciding the meaning of words and,  most importantly,  a recognition of the  tribal nature of human beings.  Republicans should base their appeal on freedom and personal choice  and contrast this with the demands made by political correctness  which says only the politically correct view is to be permitted.  Above all,  they must make clear that the values  and general culture of the founding and ancestral  white population of the USA  are precious things which the white population have both the right and ability to defend.  They should invite the ethnic  and racial minorities already in the USA to embrace  those  values and culture, to become not hyphenated Americans but simply Americans.  A law, or even better a constitutional amendment,  stating that English was the national language of the USA and genuine fluency in it a  requirement for American citizenship would be a good start to achieving this.  Whether the ethnic and racial minorities would be able or willing to embrace the native values and culture of the US is debatable, but the offer itself would assuage white doubts about the programme because it would be seen as a form of inclusion.

The programme I have sketched would have great appeal to the white American population which in the main does not believe in the politically correct  agenda . White Americans pay  lip service to the creed or stay silent about their dislike and resentment  of its enforcement  for fear of losing jobs, being denied jobs, suffering  socially ostracism (because  those held up as politically incorrect become objects of fear to others), attracting civil suits for damages  or even facing the force of the criminal law.  Once mainstream politicians have  the courage to  attack political correctness  regularly and unashamedly in an intelligent manner,  some of the mainstream media at least will come on board and the ordinary white American will lose their fear and their  long pent-up resentment  at what has been done to their country over the past fifty years will  be released as water from a breaking dam.

The adoption of such a platform by the GOP would put the Democratic Party in a very difficult position. When first put forward it would force Democrats to make a very difficult decision: would they unashamedly go after the ethnic minority vote by promising ever more privileges to them  to counter the GOP’s appeal to the white majority?  If Democrats did decide to do this they would alienate some, perhaps many,  of the white Democrat voters because they would have to say in effect , look ethnic and racial minorities, vote for us because the Republicans are not going to pander to you but we shall continue to do so and offer you even more.   Even if  the Democrats  simply  remained  clutching   their present  policies  which are attractive to  ethnic and racial minorities,  they would also be likely to lose substantial numbers of white voters because they would have nothing new to offer white voters to counteract the white enticing programme of the Republicans.

If the Democrats lost substantial ground amongst white Americans they would almost certainly start to shift their own policies away from political correctness and towards the new programme of the Republicans.  That would  help to move the political debate and language  away from political correctness towards reality.

6. The rest of the West

What applies to the USA holds true for the rest of the white developed world. The programme I suggest for the Republican Party (or any other US party in principle) applies with equal force to any other state with a largely homogeneous native white population which has been diluted by and fractured by mass immigration. In many such states the task will be politically easier than it is in the USA because, unlike the USA , their political systems are based on elections which do not have the complication of an electoral college. They may elect an executive president by a simple one round of voting popular vote or some form of the popular vote mediated by several rounds of voting or multiple choice voting. Alternatively there will be a parliamentary system such as the UK’s elected by first-past-the post or some form of proportional representation  with the executive within the legislature.

The other advantages many First World countries have over the USA are two: their parties are more coherent and unified in ideology and organisation than those of the USA and they are much smaller countries, a fact that makes it much easier to create a party with the unified programme that is required.

In principle, the UK would be best placed amongst larger First World countries to create such a party and have its programme followed through. This is because the UK has no written constitution; no superior constitutional law (any law passed by Parliament has the same status and can be repealed by a simple Act of Parliament); no executive head of state; a first-past-the-post electoral system for the main Parliamentary chamber (the House of Commons ) and an executive drawn, with one or two exceptions, from that  House of Commons. It is true that the UK is presently enmeshed in the EU and various other treaties and conventions such as the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on Refugees, but these could all be abrogated and repudiated by a simple Act of Parliament.

The main barrier to political change resulting in the protection of the interests of the white native majorities in the USA, the UK and elsewhere is informal, a matter of political ideology and custom. If the political will exists, the change can be effected.

7. Another “End of History”

Where do the  predictions made by white liberals about the USA’s political future based on demographic projections and extrapolations from voting patterns over a few elections come from? Such ideas have a long history. The last time something similar hit the headlines was after the publication of  Francis Fukuyama’s 1989 article The end of history? This, readers will remember, maintained that liberal internationalism was the pinnacle of human social development and that the long march of human social evolution had come to a halt (http://www.kropfpolisci.com/exceptionalism.fukuyama.pdf). Wittingly or not, the present outpouring of liberal triumphalist glee is an offshoot of the Fukuyamian world view which itself was in the line of historicist claims that history was not simply a series of random events but a process which had some ultimate end, willed either by God or an ineluctable consequence of cause and effect.

Fukuyama did not foresee a cessation of strife in the near future. Rather, he engaged in something altogether more ambitious and arrogant. He worked from the premise that liberal democracy was an inevitable consequence of the evolution of human social organisation. A few quotes will give a flavour of Fukuyama’s mentality to demonstrate exactly how wrong-headed he was:

“ The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism…”

“What we may be witnessing in not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. This is not to say that there will no longer be events to fill the pages of Foreign Affairs’s yearly summaries of international relations, for the victory of liberalism has occurred primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete in the real or material world. But there are powerful reasons for believing that it is the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run. To understand how this is so, we must first consider some theoretical issues concerning the nature of historical change.”

“…at the end of history it is not necessary that all societies become successful liberal societies, merely that they end their ideological pretensions of representing different and higher forms of human society.”

“But it is not clear that nationalism rpresents an irreconcilable contradiction in the heart of liberalism. In the first place, nationalism is not one single phenomenon but several, ranging from mild cultural nostalgia to the highly organized and elaborately articulated doctrine of National Socialism. Only systematic nationalisms of the latter sort can qualify as a formal ideology on the level of liberalism or communism. The vast majority of the world’s nationalist movements do not have a political program beyond the negative desire of independence from some other group or people, and do not offer anything like a comprehensive agenda for socio-economic organization. As such, they are compatible with doctrines and ideologies that do offer such agendas. While they may constitute a source of conflict for liberal societies, this conflict does not arise from liberalism itself so much as from the fact that the liberalism in question is incomplete. Certainly a great deal of the world’s ethnic and nationalist tension can be explained in terms of peoples who are forced to live in unrepresentative political systems that they have not chosen…”

“The automatic assumption that Russia shorn of its expansionist communist ideology should pick up where the czars left off just prior to the Bolshevik Revolution is therefore a curious one. It assumes that the evolution of human consciousness has stood still in the meantime, and that the Soviets, while picking up currently fashionable ideas in the realm of economics, will return to foreign policy views a century out of date in the rest of Europe.”

“The end of history will be a very sad time. The struggle for recognition, the willingness to risk one’s life for a purely abstract goal, the worldwide ideological struggle that called forth daring, courage, imagination, and idealism, will be replaced by economic calculation, the endless solving of technical problems, environmental concerns, and the satisfaction of sophisticated consumer demands. In the post-historical period there will be neither art nor philosophy, just the perpetual caretaking of the museum of human history. I can feel in myself, and see in others around me, a powerful nostalgia for the time when history existed. Such nostalgia, in fact, will continue to fuel competition and conflict even in the post-historical world for some time to come. Even though I recognize its inevitability, I have the most ambivalent feelings for the civilization that has been created in Europe since 1945, with its north Atlantic and Asian offshoots. Perhaps this very prospect of centuries of boredom at the end of history will serve to get history started once again.”

Immediately they were published Fukuyama’s ideas struck me as pathologically naïve . He was peddling the idea of predestined human social and intellectual evolution favoured in their different ways by Hegel and Marx (who famously claimed to have turned Hegel on his head by substituting the material and the empirically verifiable for Hegel’s idealist philosophy of the whole, with the clash and evolution of ideas as the driving force of history for history as the product of causal relations and class conflict, not dialectical conflict between ideas. Hegel’s ideology is at best incomplete because he ignores events which have no human agency and has no means of verification of when the end (the realisation of the whole through the dialectic) is ultimately achieved and logically inconsistent in his political theory which lauds the nation state because if the most perfect reality is the whole, then world government not the nation state is closer to reality (and hence closer to perfection) than the nation state. Marx, unlike Hegel, produced a theory which could be tested by events and has been found wholly wanting by the historical story told over the past two centuries.

That Fukuyama , unlike Marx and Hegel, felt a quiet dismay at the likely consequences of his analysis of social evolution is neither here nor there in terms of the mentality he peddled. It may be a soulless unexciting world he sees unfolding inexorably , but the message is the same as earlier progenitors of what might be called mechanical sociology envisaged: this is how it is going to be in the long run and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. Add in Fukuyama’s allowance that eventually “history” may begin again and there is a clear parallel in the idea of the physical universe moving towards a state of absolute entropy before perhaps rewinding to begin the process of expansion all over again. It is chocolate box sociology/philosophy with no need for the individual to search further for any explanation of what needs to be done or what might be done for the best. All the human race has to do is lie back and accept whatever the  social laws of motion dictate.

But although Fukuyama was dismayed at the future, that is not true of the legionaries of the one-world ideal where there are no nations, no nation states, no borders and ultimately no distinction between people regardless of race or ethnicity. That idea, as unexciting as it may be to Fukuyama, has a religious intensity for true one-worlders. That is for several reasons. First, it is the working towards a goal, a goal moreover which is assured and promises a world which, for the one-worlder, will be perfect (or at least greatly superior to what now exists) when it is reached. That has the intensely exciting and liberating effect of absolving the true believers from responsibility for the here and now. It also fosters the idea that anything which is done now is legitimate regardless of its moral consequences in much the same way that Marxists decried “bourgeois morality”, that is morality, and permitted any atrocity provided it was part of the historical motor which drove society to its final and perfect end. Moreover, even if the one-worlders believe that is the inevitable end of human society they may also believe, as Marxists do, that despite the inevitability of the final end the speed at which it arrives may be hastened by conscious action on the part of its adherents. They could even imagine that their actions and words are part of the inexorable movement of history and they can do no other than they do. It is worth noting the similarities between Marxism and the one-worlders, because the adherents of the latter are the type of people who thirty years ago would have been Marxists.

8. The danger of ideologies

The dangers of ideologies such as those of Hegel, Marx and Fukuyama lies not in how close an approximation to reality they are. It  would not have mattered what they had predicted because all of historical experience shows that it is inherently impossible to predict even the broad march of human history let alone its specific organisational detail. That this is so should surprise no one. All any person has to do to realise that prediction is a mug’s game is to look at their own lives and they will see how often, no matter how intelligent and erudite they may be, that they can no more reliably predict what will happen to them over the course of their own lives than they could regularly predict winning horses or the results of the lottery.

Anyone who allows themselves to become the prisoner of an ideology whether sacred or profane is dangerous. That is because no ideology is a complete description of the world and the attempt to accommodate an ideology to reality must result in fantasy, a fantasy which the ideologue insists on forcing upon others if he has the power to do so. The most dangerous ideologies are those which say there is an definite and inescapable end which cannot be altered by human agency.

But there is one  difference of great significance between the ideology of Hegel and Marx or the Fukuyaman belief that liberal democracy is the sociological end game and the claims being put forward by liberals about the Republican Party and more broadly about political correctness. There is an aspect of the claim that if the Republican Party (or any other party in other advanced white a white majority countries) does not embrace political correctness uncritically and unambiguously it is heading for extinction because of demographic change   which distinguishes it from predictions such as those of Marx, Hegel and Fukuyama.   The difference is that there is a mechanism already in existence  created by human agency which patently can achieve at least part of the prediction. The mechanism is mass immigration. If there is no party in a country which will take action against further mass immigration of those who will not or cannot integrate then the numerical dominance of the majority native population will be steadily eroded until it becomes a minority or even a small majority of the population. (The latter  is a very real danger in a small country such as Norway).  The prevention of future mass immigration is an essential part of the part of the programme I have outlined.

The liberal voices calling for the Republicans to “wake up and smell the ethnic coffee” and get with the multiculturalist project are siren voices. They are asking whites in the US to commit political suicide by allowing ethnic and racial victimhood to become the driving force of their party as well as that of Democrats. That would remove any chance of an effective stand against mass immigration. The logic of USA ethnic and racial change tells the Republicans to use the still white majority to safeguard their position as soon as possible by stemming further mass immigration. Ethnic and racial  politics may be toxic, but if that is what all the other players in the field are peddling except you, then you have to play the same game as a matter of individual and national self-preservation.

Will Republicans seize the day and embrace their only rational way forward, to become the standard bearer for white America?   It is a tremendous psychological hill  for them to climb  because of the  past fifty years of every growing political correctness and sectional politics which have pushed the interests of the white majority not simply to the back of the room but under the carpet.  Left to their own devices Republican politicians might well accept the fate laid upon them by white liberals and their ethnic minority auxiliaries. But they may well not be left to their own devices because hard economic times are making white Americans angrier and angrier at the way they have been betrayed by their elite.

Following Obama’s re-election there have been petitions gathering substantial numbers of signatures in many US states arguing for the State’s secession from the USA. (http://rt.com/usa/news/petition-white-house-secede-688/). These are just expressions of exasperation by white Americans at present , but they are indicative of a growing sense among whites that there is no way to alter matters  within the Union.   If  mainstream American politicians remain divorced from the wishes of the  still white majority demands for secession may become more than an expression of exasperation.

It is not inconceivable that the USA could fracture if mass immigration, especially from Latin America,  is allowed to continue . If that happens territory is what counts.   The most striking thing about the 2012 US Presidential Election map is this, a large  majority of physical territory voted Republican. In the end control of physical territory, whether through the overt exercise of power or the passive fact of being the dominant population by numbers in the territory, is the most important fact about any state. Keep a grip on that fact.

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