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The cheaper alternative

ONE in five Britons — nearly 10m adults — is considering leaving the country amid growing disillusionment over the failure of political parties to deliver tax cuts, according to a new poll.

Good evening, this is a public service announcement from Samizdata.

If you are one of the 10 million or so adults who are considering emigrating from Britain, then you may like to know that there is a simpler, quicker and more cost-effective way to avoid cripplingly high levels of taxation: STOP VOTING FOR THEM!!

Thank you for listening and enjoy the rest of your evening.

34 comments to The cheaper alternative

  • I agree with your public service announcement, but it begs a question.

    Who do I vote for?

    The socialists? Obviously not. The LibDems? Just as bad. The Tories? More promising perhaps, but if we are lucky they might resist future rises. If we are lucky. I wouldn’t expect much more from Cameron.

    Hardly an inspiring list of options is it.

    Maybe emigration is the best bet.

  • RKV

    Just make sure you don’t bring your statist ideas with you when you emmigrate. We don’t do socialized medicine, we don’t do multiculturalism, we don’t do gun control, etc. If you come here, leave that nonsense back in the old sod.

  • CFM

    RKV, you’re a bit optimistic, no? We don’t do all those dumb things yet

  • veryretired

    Actually, leaving is a very powerful, and pointed, vote AGAINST those policies in and of itself.

    I agree with the idea of leaving if things have gotten to the point at which there seems no plausible hope for reform. I have considered the various scenarios which might cause me to leave the US, or advocate that my children leave with their families, but I don’t see it happening in the near future.

    At my age, relocation would be mostly for the sake of being left alone, while younger people raising their families would have to consider any future possibilities for their own satisfactory employment and the potential for their kids to advance and prosper.

    As long as the economic picture is growing and suitably volatile, and we can find decent educations for the kids, then this is still the place to be. The economy is approaching 15 trillion a year—an barrel full of opportunity not to be discarded lightly.

    (And, yes, I consider volatility to be a plus. It’s stagnation that spells doom, not “creative destruction”)

    There are so many places I would like to visit, if we can work it into my wife’s career plans, after the last couple kids are adults, that no matter how the political situation develops, there’s bound to be some movement, or even relocation, in the future.

    When you get older, sometimes a little movement is all you have to look forward to. (r/s)

  • Cinnamon

    Umm, you think there is anyone worth voting for in the UK???

    And what do you dream at night? *grin*

  • I can honestly say, with some small measure of pride, that I had never voted – not once – in the 39 years of my life that I spent in the UK.

    Did it make any difference? No.
    Was I still relieved of a large portion of my pitiful earnings and made to accept undeserved guilt for being a white, middle-class, heterosexual male? Yes, in spades.

    No matter what colour the government, the welfare state so dearly beloved of English Socialism will end up crippling that multi-trillion economy and hurting all those who so innocently place their trust in it.

    It doesn’t matter who you vote for – the government always wins.

  • emil

    Problem is taxes won’t matter in the end. The Muslims will take over anyway in five to ten years. You’ll have to fight them in your own country if you still want to have a country. Instead, your people leave and those who stay prefer to stay put. Too bad Britain has become a sell out. You should know at least when you are being conquered. But you don’t. The fate of a clueless people is to become a tenant of their own land. At that moment it becomes “their former land”.

  • Pete D.

    Politicians are often just taking the line of least resistance. They will think they are looking after what they believe to be the interests of their main constituents. However, as we know, the voting public can hold two opposing views at the same time, and still require the politicians to deliver all the goods.
    In opinion polls people will say that they would prefer higher spending on health and education instead of tax cuts. And this despite knowing that these services are not run efficiently and never seem to improve. (At least that’s the perception, I’m not saying that it is correct.)

  • Wasn’t there a widespread concern about a brain drain in Britain during the 70’s due to emigration? Didn’t that contribute to the Thatcher revolution?

    In any case, people voting with their feet is the most effective form of voting. Having your most economically productive members of society voting with their feet is even more so.

    I think we will see more and more tax refugees.

  • guy herbert

    If I knew where to go, perhaps I would leave. But there’s small choice in rotten apples among the world’s states. And repulsively puritanical and suffocatingly bureaucratic though it may be, and sliding rapidly to the worse though it may be, Britain is (terrifyingly enough) still one of the free-est and most liberal options.

    I don’t have any choice but fighting for now. If you run, I hope you are prepared to keep on running.

  • Yup, I did that 3 years ago. Moving to Dubai everyone could understand, moving to Sakhalin Island as left a few scratching their heads. Anyway, two examples:

    Rip-off Britain 1

    Rip-off Britain 2

  • The trouble with politics is politicians and their view that they have a career. They vote for tax cuts in the same way that turkeys vote for Christmas.

    A possible solution would be for tax levels to be decided by referendum: annually, say with votes on raise/lower in half percentage steps limited to plus or minus 2% (to assist with economic stability).

    In addition, MPs’ salaries should also be set by referendum, annually, with votes to raise/lower a bit either side of the RPI or some similar index.

    Now that would get the voters to the polling booths.

    Best regards

  • Keith

    “Just make sure you don’t bring your statist ideas with you when you emmigrate. We don’t do socialized medicine, we don’t do multiculturalism, we don’t do gun control, etc. If you come here, leave that nonsense back in the old sod.”

    Anyone who wants to emigrate and keep all those things ought to move to New Zealand.
    We do those. In spades.

  • Brian

    10 Million people vote for lower taxes.

    11 Million Civil ‘Servants’, Council ‘Workers’, ‘Disabled’ People, Dole Scum, Pensioners etc vote for higher taxes.

    It’s the way democracy is.

    ‘Government allows a sufficient number of people acting in concert to take what they want without paying for it.’

  • Julian Taylor

    Sorry, but a 1002 “random” sample of adults for the BBC does not, in my opinion, equate to 10m of the population. If the BBC really wanted to carry out a proper survey they could have approached the CBI or IoD for a far better set of statistics – current wealth emigration, offshore investment movements etc. – rather than these tacky little sensationalist polls. Then again ‘tacky little sensationalist polls’ are all that the BBC is good for these days I feel.

  • Oh, and it’s worth bearing in mind that of all those who are “considering” moving abroad or “planning” to emigrate, all but a handful will do little more than talk about it. If they haven’t gone within a year or two of getting the idea, they ain’t going.

  • I remain available to help some British libertarian lass escape to the Free State. No, I’m no prize, but I figure the difference in liberty offsets that a bit… 🙂

  • I don’t want to cop-out and leave, especially as some of the warnings are not fanciful or absurd – far from it.

    I want to sort out this mess that is the UK. I know many Libertarians are adverse to the concept of an organised political entity, but at times, like in war, you need a coalition, and Libertarians should consider a coalition because, my friends, this is already war.

    I am in favour of an rapid evolution, but not in a dramatic, End-Permian sort of way.

    I prefer a therapsid to a therapist, for at least a therapsid is a mammal-like reptile.

  • The BNP dragged the immigration issue out of the closet and now it is a mainstream debate. It could be responsible for the death of multiculturalism.

    A libertarian party could do the same for small government if it would only mobilise and dare to emerge from its ivory tower. Shows no sign of doing so yet.If not now,when?

  • Steven Groeneveld

    I am a firm believer in “voting with ones feet” as I have already done that by leaving South Africa, where the process of zimbabwefication is running at full steam.

    However the problem is, that in the end, it changes little polically and the best one can do is secure ones own future as best one can. This action will accelerate the demise of the ex host land and the effects of large scale emigration can be observed in Zimbabwe and South Africa. South Africa is now experiencing significant shortages of skills in technical, financial and management fields but still will not change its race based policies, or do anything about the crime level that prompted the high levels of emigration, even while a tragic case study is right next door.

    By and large the voting masses do not think the issues through or realise the economic unsustainability of the government largesse they vote for. It appears that the vast majority of voters believe that they get more from government than they contribute to it, (probably similar to the phenomenon that over 80% of motorists think they are above average drivers) and they mistakenly believe there is a vast pool of wealth from “the rich” that can be tapped to pay for their dependancy.

    We can see how far down the line that can be pushed and sold to the gullible voters in Zimbabwe where the government has precipitated total economic meltdown and still get the majority of the voters to vote for them (allegations of voting fraud aside, you still need a significant block of real votes to win an election even with fraud).

  • The Dude

    I’m an Engineer. I plan to be out of the country in the next 10 years. The job I currently have has the potential to allow me to move abroad to a different office. If that doesn’t work out the skills the job is giving me will be in demand pretty much everywhere.

    Moving will happen it’s just a matter of where and when.

  • I’m an Engineer.

    Me too!

    I plan to be out of the country in the next 10 years.

    Here’s my advice: go sooner rather than later, taking with you as little baggage as possible. If you are still single, go before you get married. Don’t worry about where you go intially, take the first thing that comes up. You can always move onto somewhere better afterwards, and moving from one foreign country to another is much easier than the initial move from the UK. But don’t leave it 10 years, or you’ll never go.

  • Andrew Milner

    Was in this Internet Cafe in downtown Vientiane last February, when this Brit. stumbles in and utters those immortal words: “I say, does anyone here speak English?” I kid you not, exactly like Indy Jones’ academic colleague.
    Emigration is voting with your feet, but please, no flakes and airheads.
    Mr. Newman is on the money. When you’ve flown the coop, you run into like-minded ex-pats who are only too willing to advise on that mid-flight correction. And equally importantly, with a “hail fellow well met” attitude you just don’t find outside your local rugby or karate club. Bringing a Western woman with you to Asia is coals to Newcastle. Or as it was put to me, ugly hookers to Bangkok.

  • ian Grey

    I’ve worked abroad in various countries in the 80s & 90s but always felt the desire to come back to the UK outweighed the general scrattiness of the place that is oh so apparent landing back at Heathrow. Britain was best for me, despite all its faults.

    These days, I don’t feel the same ties to blighty any more other than my Wife, Son and Grandparents. If I had to go anyware, it wouldn’t be Europe. The trouble is that the ex-pat lifestyle of spending 2-3 years in the Gulf or Far East either as a single man to clear the mortgage or as a family man on a good package no longer presents itself quite so easily unless you are a Red Adair or a Corporate Careerist.

    In the last two years, however, two people I have known have flitted. One was self employed (ran a bed/carpet business) & he upped sticks & went to Canada. The other was a retail store manager but his Wife was a State Registered Nurse so they went to Oz, him clinging to her petticoat, so to speak.

    I think about it but am unlikely to do it as I’m probably too old, possibly not healthy enough and work in IT which is not to be recommended these days.

    From my work as a Telecoms troubleshooter in the 80s & 90s, I’ve been on the fringes of several Ex-Pat communities in Europe, the Near/Middle East and Canada. Little England sprang to mind (or sometimes Little Scotland/Ireland/Wales) where there was rampant alcoholism & screwing around pretty much in direct proportion to the local levels of repression/intolerance. Whilst I’ve not been to Australia, the term “whinging Pom” is highly appropriate for many of these communities.

    Interestingly enough, in 1982 I used to knock about with a number of Brits in Saudi. Several of them (who were Firemen) didn’t want to go back to Britain as they regarded the Country as too Fucked up even back then. I guess the Public Sector had a 20 year head start in the PC stakes…

    I’m not certain where I’d want to go to if I had the choice from reading how Countries have changed so much since I was there, particularly Canada. I originally felt I would have liked to retire there, by Wifey is too Nesh for the cold Winters.

  • Steven Groeneveld

    I’m an Engineer.

    Me too!

    Now that is more than a coincidence. Engineers are one of the most mobile professions there are (not hamstrung by protectionist registration legislation that doctors operate under, or the closed shop practices of lawyers).

    However, for such a country with such a proud and enviable engineering tradition as the UK, Engineers are not particularly well rewarded in the UK (which is one of the reasons why I am not in the UK). The rest of europe values them somewhat more highly but I fear we are to be less valued as time goes by and manufacturing dissappears from Europe.

    Not just personal tax, but corporate tax and a mountain of labour and other regulations are driving manufacturing out of Europe and into India and China (among many countries). Where manufacturing goes, the engineering must inevitably follow, because the necessary feedback from manufacturing to the design and engineering functions cannot efficiently occur over transcontinental distances.

    Europe’s iniquitous taxes are not only driving out individuals, but also the very intellectual capital that made them wealthy in the first place. A former head of General Dynamics once said, “technology walks on two legs”. It does and when it walks en masse out of a country it does not come back easily.

    Accelerating the flight of technology and the people that generate it, is the miserable education system that the European (particularly the British) governments have now bequeathed us. As experienced engineers, my colleages and I see the quality of graduates coming out of universities (and what passes for universities) now and despair. While the successive governments have been pushing for higher pass rates and higher university attendance, they have lowered the value of a degree to the extent that many youth of today are getting thousands of pounds (or euros) into debt to get a worthless piece of paper that industry today gives little credence too.

    I think the topic (and the problem) is much greater than just personal tax levels, but the extent to which government interference in industry and education has created a monster dependant on government largesse, which will continue to demand what government can no longer supply because the very engine of the economy has emigrated.

  • Hah! Ian Grey, your description of British expat communities is right on the money. 🙂

  • The Dude

    Here’s my advice: go sooner rather than later, taking with you as little baggage as possible…

    Under normal circumstances would completely agree. However the job I am in at the moment is too good to walk away from and will give me specialised chemical engineering skills that you can’t learn anywhere else and are very marketable — and only having left graduate school a year and a half ago I’ve still got time and need to get a little experience!

    I’m also not too worried about the downturn in European manufacturing because it won’t effect my job because I work for a technology company (as opposed to chemical manufacturing) and very little of what I do has anything to do with Europe. Mainly work with the Engineering Contractors.

  • guy herbert

    Bringing a Western woman with you to Asia is coals to Newcastle.

    And the women expats? What advice for them?

  • Paul Marks

    Well New Zealand does have lower taxes and much lower government spending than the United Kingdom (both as a percentage of the total economy).

    As for the United States – sorry you do socialized medical care.

    Medicare and Medicaid started at five billion Dollars (both together) – how many HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS does the government (Federal and State) spend on them now?

    Then there are the various E.R.s round the country that have to treat everyone (even illegal immigrants).

    Then there is the vast web of regulations (from Doctor licencing [inspite of Milton Friedman’s exposure of this racket more than sixty years ago] to the regulations of the insurance companies that demand that massvely increase costs).

    Is there any move to roll all this back – no.

    What there is are demands for yet more statism (to cover the uninsured especially “the children” and so on).

    “But there are still private hospitals in the United States and people are still allowed to pay for their own health care”.

    And both of those things are also true in Britain (bad though this place is).

    On multicultrualism.

    The campaign against traditional literature continues (with the government education tests weighted against it – as they are against old math), and the laws against “discrimination” (i.e. choosing who you want to trade with) are still on the books.

    A man who will not allow blacks in his store is an arsehole (and is costing himself money – both from black people and from white people who do not like the way he is acting) – but that is his business, not the government’s.

    Accept the government says it is its business (Civil Rights Act 1964 and the legion of other interventions) – as everyone must associate (whether they want to or not). That freedom of association must include the freedom not to associate seems to be beyond the thought of the elite.

    As for “gun control” – yes you have a point (there are far fewer restrictions in most of the United States than in Britain).

    However, wait till the Democrats take Congress – then the struggle will be on again (“but the new Democrats are not progun control” you will see, they will fall into line with what the leadership demand – and that is what the media and academia demand).

    On a Libertarian party in Britian.

    This was tried by Mr A. Clarke.

    There is no money about for such a thing – and without lots of money (or media support) there is nothing one can do in politics.

    “But lots of people working hard togther for a just cause…..”

    That sounds like the U.K.I.P. to me – and how many M.Ps. do they have?

    Remember, although generally antistatist, they appeal to a much wider section of the population than any libertarian party would.

    Media support can do a lot – for example Mr David Cameron is a corrupt nonenity who believes in nothing (at best – at worst he believes in the “anti discrimination” and “social justice” he says he believes in), but his Conservative party is doing fairly well in the opinion polls (although I admit that the polls are a bit twisted) because the media (not just the B.B.C. but I.T.V. and C4) are supportive.

    But that is not going to happen with a libertarian party. Remember the broadcasting media are supportive of Mr Cameron BECAUSE he is a shit, not in spite of him being a shit.

  • P.Andrews

    Brilliant comment Samizdata. Stop voting for them. That’ll do the trick. If it did work they probably wouldn’t let us do it.

    Personally speaking I have always voted against anyone I suspected of wanting to put up taxes, or even not wanting to reduce them (pay attention Dave) – and I always vote against big government and more legislation.

    It’s not been particularly effective of late. They don’t even have a none of the above box to cross. To paraphrase “All taxation is theft.”. though strictly speaking it’s probably more like demanding money with menaces.

  • Keith

    The Dude, Oz would snap you up, even as a recent graduate.
    More money, more sunshine, lower taxes and an enormous, exciting country to explore and take your pick of climates from.
    Oh…and *very* hot women!

    I did, it didn’t work.

  • Soon, if they get their way, we will be forced to PAY THEM just to tell us policies that we do not want.

    Taxpayer-funded parties = taxpayer subsidy to the PR sector.

  • I likewise would be pleased to help.