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UKIP’s manifesto: the good, the bad and the “meh”

UKIP have just issued 100 days till the election, 100 reasons to vote UKIP. Some of it is good:

1. Get Britain out of the European Union
6. Cutting £9bn from our foreign aid budget
20. Scrapping the poorly planned HS2 project, saving up to £50bn
31. Withdrawing from the European Court of Human Rights
34. No votes for prisoners
42. Opposing plain packs for cigarettes, which has had no impact where trialled
55. Scrapping the arbitrary 50% target for university attendance
68. Stopping the sale of patient data to big business
78. Repealing the Climate Change Act 2008 which costs the economy £18n per year
82. Leaving the Common Agricultural Policy

Some of it is bad:

2. Get control of immigration with an Australian-style, points-based immigration system
3. £3bn more, annually, into our NHS which desperately needs it
4. Scrap tuition fees for students studying Science, Tech, Engineering, Maths, or Medical degrees
21. Opposing tolls on public roads – we’ve already paid for them
25. Protecting our green belt
87. Scrapping the Bedroom Tax

Some of it is “meh”:

11. Ending PFI privatisation of the NHS, proliferated by Labour and the Tories
13. Establishing a Veteran’s Administration to look after those who looked after us
49. Reoccupying our seat at the World Trade Organisation
58. Guaranteeing a job in the police, prison, or border forces for anyone who has served 12 years in the Armed Forces
95. Emphasising the immediate need to utilise forgotten British infrastructure like Manston Airport

And some it I shouldn’t like but do:

7. Give the people the ability to “recall” their MPs, without parliamentary or MP approval
10. Allowing existing schools to become grammar schools
15. Overcoming the unfairness of MPs from devolved nations voting on English laws

Disturbingly there is nothing on the debt, deficit, money or gold. But at least some of it is good. Can you say the same for any of the other parties? Come to think of it, I think the Greens would still re-legalise cannabis.

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76 comments to UKIP’s manifesto: the good, the bad and the “meh”

  • Kevin B

    On item 2, the correct libertarian response is open borders with no welfare state. If offered the choice in a poll, however, my guess is that the vast british public would opt for keeping the welfare state and stopping immigration. So, how to get from here to there?

    UKIP is a political party looking to get enough MPs to influence the course of the next government so perhaps option 2 is a decent compromise between open borders and deport all the wogs. It seems to work for many other countries, not just Australia.

    As for item 3, taking part in the NHS bidding wars seems to me to be a political mistake, but I’m not privy to the polling data and everyone else is doing it. Slashing the bureaucracy would seem to me to be the way to go but no-one seems to be paying more than lip service to the notion. Strange.

  • Kevin B

    And some of the good things you left out… Along with repealing the Climate Change Act there is the pledge to abolish wind farm subsidies, scrap the large combustion plants directive and dismantle the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

    These promises alone are enough to guarantee my vote for UKIP at the next election.

  • pete

    ‘Our’ green belt, ‘our’ NHS?

    But not ‘our’ prisoners or ‘our’ bedroom tax?

  • felching felcher

    Item 1 is the thing that UKIP is primarily concerned with.

    The need for Item 2 comes about at least partially because of the loss of sovereignty that necessitates Item 1, a loss that has resulted in basically unfettered immigration, and a tsunami of underclass rushing in. A welfare state and unfettered immigration don’t mix. Unfettered immigration and a settled social order don’t mix. Unfettered immigration and capacity limited public infrastructure don’t mix. Unfettered immigration and massive public deficits and debt don’t mix.

    The libertarian impulse is often useful, but let’s not turn it into a suicide pact.

  • Mr Ed

    There is also, repeating Kevin B a bit:

    8. Stopping our endless, foreign wars
    39. Reviewing the BBC licence fee with a view to reducing it
    40. Taking non-payment of the licence fee out of the criminal sphere
    41. Amend the smoking ban to promote choice for ventilated smoking rooms
    46. Simplifying planning regulations for long-term empty commercial properties
    47. Extending the right of appeal for micro businesses against Revenue and Customs
    50. Abolishing inheritance tax
    79. Scrapping the Large Combustion Plant directive and redevelop UK power stations
    81. No new taxpayer subsidy for wind farms

    Has there ever been a political platform like this in the UK? Someone asking to be in charge of the construction project asking if simply digging a hole isn’t the right thing to do?

  • bloke in spain

    Why you’re putting “21. Opposing tolls on public roads – we’ve already paid for them” on the bad list’s beyond me.
    I’m fully in favour of toll roads. I spend g̶r̶e̶a̶t̶ d̶e̶a̶l̶ o̶f̶ t̶i̶m̶e̶ remarkably little time on France’s excellent péage. But the UK’s not France. The UK’s the Dartford Tunnel, who’s toll should have ended when the tunnel was paid for. But which was continued to help fund the bridge. Who’s toll should have ended when the bridge was paid for. Both of which still continue, far in excess of costs, as a tax on crossing the Thames.
    I’m a regular user of the Aires de Service on the french péage. I’ve visited Thurrock services. Take it from me. It will be just the once.

    To make toll roads a preferable option for the UK, you’d have to redesign the entire country from scratch. Or redesign the Brits. The roads would be the least of your problems.
    ̶

  • Mr Ed

    The M6 Toll is a delightful road, smooth, sparsely populated with traffic, a clean services area and just the slightly annoying toll booths, but it simply isn’t enough to make a significant difference to most drivers who prefer time to handing over money. When my travelling time at work was billable, I could justify the toll by saving around 5 minutes on a journey.

    I’m all in favour of a toll on pledging spending increases. 0.1% of the amount promised should be paid by the politicians involved, to pay down the National Debt.

  • Cal

    The toll on the Dartford tunnel makes going to that part of the country almost impossible outside of the early hours, so I’d be all in favour of abolishing it. A terrible, terrible way to collect taxes: jamming up greater London even more.

  • Lee Moore

    And some it I shouldn’t like but do:

    7. Give the people the ability to “recall” their MPs, without parliamentary or MP approval
    10. Allowing existing schools to become grammar schools
    15. Overcoming the unfairness of MPs from devolved nations voting on English laws

    Puzzled by this section. You think you ought to be against these ? Why ?

    7. Recalling MPs is a horrible idea, since it would encourage them to be even more cowardly than now (if that’s possible.) And it would greatly increase the power of activists v the lumpen mass, and the campaigning meejah v. saloon bar opinion. A weapon for the organised left, not for disorganised freedom lovers.
    10. If we are forced to have state schools, what’s the objection to having a few of them concentrating on education ?
    15. Cos it’s good for the Scots, Welsh and Irish to decide their own laws, but not the English ?

  • Alex

    Personally I would almost entirely agree with Patrick’s analysis. Except for votes for prisoners. I strongly believe that prisoners should be allowed to vote. How is denying people the right to vote compatible with liberty? While most would accept that one of the necessary roles of government is to limit the activities of those who threaten the public, I don’t see why removing their democratic rights automatically follows.
    Just MHO.

  • Mr Ed

    Lee Moore

    7. Recalling MPs is a horrible idea, since it would encourage them to be even more cowardly than now (if that’s possible.) And it would greatly increase the power of activists v the lumpen mass, and the campaigning meejah v. saloon bar opinion. A weapon for the organised left, not for disorganised freedom lovers.

    Yes it would be, absolutely corrupted by organised fanatics. How about safeguards? Only persons registered to vote in that constituency who voted at the previous election for the candidate to be recalled may petition for a recall with a numerical threshold, on the basis that they were misled (this involves a waiver of privacy, but if they feel strongly enough), they get 50% approval of registered voters for a motion to recall, and they pay personally for the all the expenses of the by-election including to the recalled MP a sum equal to the candidate’s declared expenses at the last election, and if the motion fails, the petitioners are made bankrupt and all their assets are handed to the recalled MP. One recall per constituency per Parliament.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Perhaps I should explain my ” I shouldn’t like it but do” section. I oppose recall of MPs because I don’t think we should have MPs, or a government for that matter. On the subject of schools I don’t think that state schools should be changing their status because I don’t think there should be state schools.

    As far as the roads go, the whole lot should be privatised with every taxpayer a shareholder.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Cal, hasn’t the Dartford Tunnel recently gone cashless? Surely, that would speed it up.

  • TomJ

    @Alex: I think you’ll find being locked in a prison is incompatible with liberty as well. Which is kinda the point…

  • Lee Moore

    How is denying people the right to vote compatible with liberty?

    The right to vote has nothing to do with liberty. Liberty is a political condition consisting in the absence of coercion. This includes both state coercion, and private coercion. The latter, for non anarchists, requires some sort of state machinery to punish private (and enemy state) coercion.

    Voting rights have to do with the selection of the officers of the state . A liberal state’s officers could be selected in all sorts of undemocratic ways with no effect on anyone’s liberty. What matters for liberty is whether you are permitted to go about your daily occasions without anyone coercing you, not how the the state’s officers are selected. Not having any voting rights doesn’t infringe your liberty at all.

    The connection between liberty and voting rights is an empirical one. If the state’s officers are selected by a small class of citizens, will they skew the law in their favour, to coerce their fellow citizens ? Bad for liberty. But the same problem arises with universal suffrage – will the majority tyrannise the minority ? All very difficult, and one can argue vehemently about whether democracy tends to protect or to undermine liberty. But a vote is not part of your liberties, its a different kind of thing entirely.

  • A liberal state’s officers could be selected in all sorts of undemocratic ways with no effect on anyone’s liberty.

    Indeed. I know someone in Hong Kong who hates the government in Peking, but also loathed the recent ‘pro-democracy’ protesters. He is of the view he has far more civil liberties in Hong Kong than he does when he visits the UK or the USA.

  • Jeff

    What’s the bedroom tax, and why is scrapping it listed as a bad idea?

  • Mr Ed

    On the subject of schools I don’t think that state schools should be changing their status because I don’t think there should be state schools.

    So is the better is the enemy of perfection?

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Perry de Havilland (London)
    January 28, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    IIRC, in one of his novels, Heinlein has a ‘constitutional tyranny’ for the government – an Emperor, so constrained by law as to be able to command practically nothing.

  • Laird

    Hey, it’s your country and your party (so to speak), so I don’t get a vote on any of this. But a few observations:

    1) Recalling elected officials is actually a pretty good idea. Here in the US it’s a fairly common feature in the constitutions of the western states (Recall and Initiative & Referendum were popular ideas around the beginning of the 20th century when many of these states joined the union; for the most part these aren’t features of the older eastern states). I&R does occasionally lead to some problematic results, but Recall works pretty well. Recently in Colorado two state legislators were recalled after they had supported some very unpopular anti-gun legislation. Message sent. And last year the leftists tried to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker after he thoroughly pissed off the unions (which are strong there), but they failed miserably. So while the “organized left” might try to use Recall, it is far from a given that they would succeed. And the “disorganized right” is larger and more powerful than you seem to think. A politician has to thoroughly anger a large portion of his electorate before Recall becomes a serious consideration, but the fact that it is available has value.

    2) Alex, perhaps you failed to notice, but prisoners already have their liberty severely curtailed. Voting is the least of their problems. You can perhaps make an argument that the franchise should be restored once they’ve served their time and been released (here in the US, in most states people convicted of felonies lose their voting rights for life), but it’s difficult to make a coherent argument for voting while incarcerated. (Of course, we’ve seen examples of people being elected while in jail, so who knows?) Anyhow, it seems to me that people convicted of committing crimes serious enough to warrant prison time have, ipso facto, rejected the social contract and so shouldn’t continue to benefit from it. Personally, I’d be in favor of restoring the ancient custom of outlawry, but tha’s just MHO.

  • Kevin B

    The bedroom tax isn’t a tax, it’s a reduction in benefit. IOW if you are in three bedroom ‘social housing’ and only occupy two bedrooms then you don’t get as much housing benefit.

    This is an enormous imposition imposed by the evil tories and must be stomped on immediately.

    Both the benefit and the attempted solution are good examples of government designed by policy wonks and implemented by civil servants.

  • Sigivald

    On #10, what does that mean?

    Here in the US “grammar school” isn’t a term of art, and when it’s used basically means “elementary school” or “K-6” or the like.

    Plainly that’s … not what it means in the UK?

  • Alsadius

    Re toll roads, the gas tax operates as a de facto road toll, and the UK-sized gas tax more than pays for road expenditures. Additional tolls(with the possible exception of congestion charges) are generally redundant.

  • Mr Ecks

    It may not be 100% Libertarian but compared to the others it is very good indeed.

  • Patrick Crozier

    @Sigivald In the UK a “grammar” school is a secondary school (ages 11-18) that selects on the basis of academic accomplishment/potential. Up until the 1960s most counties had grammar schools. It is often claimed that grammar schools helped many bright children from poor families to do well. In the 1970s most were abolished being converted into non-selective “comprehensives”, the argument being that selection at age 11 labelled the unsuccessful as failures.

  • Mr Ecks

    Kevin B –for the amount of money saved overall–ie none in the larger scheme of BluLabour’s spending–the “Bedroom Tax” has given –like “Austerity” itself— a narrative that the left has made effective use of. It seems a good idea of UKIP to turn the sanctimony back on ZaNu by calling for its abolition. ZaNu will be left spluttering, the cash cost will be small (compared to the vast debts/expenditures that are ongoing) and UKIP can say “Look we are concerned about ordinary people on benefits”

  • Mr Ed

    Sigivald, here in the UK a grammar school is now* a state run secondary school with a selective practice and ethos that has historically been the provider of a decent education to young, hardworking types and was a route to University for the brightest 10%. Some still remain in Kent, despite Mrs Thatcher’s efforts at destroying them in the 1970s when she ran education, by replacing their tried and tested methods with ‘Comprehensive’ schools, with no streaming of pupils by ability.

    * leaving aside the private grammar schools, generically ‘public schools’ in the UK, as with Eton, Winchester, Rugby etc.

  • CaptDMO

    Laird
    “Anyhow, it seems to me that people convicted of committing crimes serious enough to warrant prison time have, ipso facto, rejected the social contract and so shouldn’t continue to benefit from it.”
    And oddly, more and more “offenses” are deemed Felonious in nature. ESPECIALLY ones disparately finding men guilty, while women skate with a “plea”. Don’t forget that whole “…and no weapons possession…” bit.

    ” Come to think of it, I think the Greens would still re-legalize cannabis.”
    Yay!
    Of course, they’ll be disappointed when it’s only the hemp (indaca?)for industry and consumers, and NOT the “concentrated” sativa for “stoners”, that finds a place in polite society.
    Sometimes Unintended Consequences CAN be serendipitous.
    (sigh)I could be wrong of course.

  • Jake Haye

    9. Promoting a British identity, as opposed to failed multiculturalism
    Presumably this means granting other people’s money to UKIP-tinged NGOs, fake charities, etc.

    14. Encouraging inward investment with growth markets, not JUST the failing Eurozone
    Great, another bunch of fuckwitted career politicians who think the government needs to ‘manage’ the economy.

    16. Cutting bureaucracy, red tape, and wasteful spending from government departments
    Except when it comes to funding political vanity projects, obviously …

    18. Supporting our farmers with a Single Farm Payment Scheme
    Welfare for farmers?

    24. Ending the use of speed cameras as revenue raisers – they should be a deterrent
    Eh? Deter people from speeding without catching them doing it?

    43. Promoting the employment of young, British workers
    Filch that one from the BNP?

    55. Scrapping the arbitrary 50% target for university attendance
    AFAIK this particular example of leftist idiocy was quietly dropped some years ago.

    58. Guaranteeing a job in the police, prison, or border forces for anyone who has served 12 years in the Armed Forces
    Not selecting on merit then?

    78. Repealing the Climate Change Act 2008 which costs the economy £18n per year
    Shouldn’t this be higher up given the sums involved?

    100. Rebalancing Britain’s economy
    And some more interventionist bullshit to end on. If Keynes was still alive they would probably hire him as a consultant.

    —————

    I’ll probably vote for them anyway but I’m under no illusions about it.

  • Mr Ed

    Perhaps we should have a list of 100 things a libertarian Parliamentary majority would do?

  • Laird, what about someone who is in prison on victimless “crimes” of which there are many, and given the chance he would vote for a politician who would decriminalize such activities?

  • Cal

    >Cal, hasn’t the Dartford Tunnel recently gone cashless? Surely, that would speed it up.

    So — after looking it up — it has. That’s good news as I have to use it again soon.

  • Johnnydub

    I’m voting UKIP for two simple reasons:

    1) We have to get a grip on immigration. I live in London which is no longer a British city. It isn’t going to be long at current trends that this will apply to the whole of England.

    2) We have to get out of the EU. Even if it doesn’t implode, the end goal is political union and frankly fuck that. It’s also going to increasingly cost us a fucking fortune.

    Everything else frankly is meh to me. If my country won’t exist in 30 years, why the fuck should I give a shit about the Bedroom Tax or maybe more importantly, the NHS?

  • Cal

    >>55. Scrapping the arbitrary 50% target for university attendance
    >AFAIK this particular example of leftist idiocy was quietly dropped some years ago.

    There’s no longer any target numbers, but even the Conservatives want more students to go to Uni — George Osborne said this a couple of weeks ago:

    “I have now abolished the artificial cap imposed by the Treasury on the number of students but I believe that the number going to university in Britain is still too low.
    I have no time at all for those who say we’ve reached the limit, or that many of our young people are simply not cut out for university.
    If you look around the world at the economies leading the pack on skills and productivity, like South Korea and the USA, they are sending far more of their young people to university.
    Having abolished the cap on aspiration we now need to lift the aspirations of our young people and encourage even more to get the necessary qualifications and apply to university.
    It would be a disaster if we now reversed the student finance reforms and undermined the funding of our universities. This would lead to fewer people going to university, less social mobility and a weaker economy.”

    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/extracts-from-the-chancellors-lecture-on-economic-policy

    Guess he hasn’t been reading Glenn Reynolds on the US higher education bubble.

  • Chip

    One that’s missing.

    “Speech is free. You have no right not to be offended.”

  • Cal

    Some more reasons to vote UKIP rather than Conservative:

    “Men accused of date rape will need to convince police that a woman consented to sex as part of a major change in the way sex offences are investigated.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11375667/Men-must-prove-a-woman-said-Yes-under-tough-new-rape-rules.html

    “Plain cigarette packet law to be passed BEFORE the election to stop new generation of smokers”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2920684/Vote-introducing-plain-cigarette-packaging-held-election-Government-reveals-smoking-cars-banned-start-October.html

  • Nicholas (Natural Genius) Gray

    It’s good to know that UKIP isn’t just a one-issue party, though 100 issues seems too much.
    Nor should Europe worry if Britain goes its’ own way. Britain has never invaded the Continent. Britain’s only fear has been of a united Europe…. Oops! What now if the Eurozone got nasty? What if they decided on a European fleet, so as to ‘encourage’ Britain to rejoin the Eurozone, on European terms? (That could be a dystopia worth writing about!) Might need to rename the place as the Northern European Archipelago, or O.G.B. (Once Great Britain).

  • Johnnydub

    Re: Cal

    So this so called Conservative government are introducing the bullshit California consent “law”… Christ every time I think they can’t get more shitty, out comes another turd.

  • Roue le Jour

    To play Devil’s advocate, if the state had large numbers of political prisoners, would one wish to deny them a vote? Galling as it may be to have rapists and murderers voting, the principle is that the state cannot disenfranchise a citizen simply by throwing him in clink for thinking the wrong things.

  • Roue le Jour

    Cal,

    Yes, the Conservatives are not even calling it rain, as the expression goes. They’ve obviously decided they don’t need the fruitcake and loon vote. However, I know a man who does.

  • Bruce Hoult

    The one that is utterly barmy that has not been mentioned but is listed at http://www.ukip.org/policies_for_people

    – UKIP will set up a Treasury Commission to design a turnover tax to ensure big businesses pay a minimum floor rate of tax as a proportion of their UK turnover.

    However having only a handful of barmy policies in a raft of very good ones is a distinct improvement over most other parties world-wide!

  • Pardone

    Why should we pay for roads twice? Its already ridiculous that taxpayer money is wasted on building them. Let someone else build them ffs.

    Same with rail and bus; cutting all rail and bus subsidies and free bus passes, would mean we’d only have to pay for them once and they would actually have to be cheap and efficient.

    Sell off Hyde Park, Science Museum, etc. Close embassies and replace them with Skype, legalize all drugs, end state pension. All would raise the coffers nicely.

  • James Strong

    A policy of open borders is, to say the least, unwise unless the countries either side are beroadly equal and similar. Even without a welfare state in the UK would you advocate an open border between the UK and Somalia?
    If so I suggest that your hard-core libertarianism has become no more rational than a religion.

    Being opposed to grammar schools because there should be no state schools, and being in favour of toll roads because there should be no state-provided roads, are equally religious ideas.Irrational.
    We are where we are and there is no feasible way of getting where you want to be on these issues from here.

  • James Strong

    What is ‘meh’?

    I have never heard anyone use this word. (I am 59, middle-class, a graduate, and don’t use Twitter or Facebook and have no teenage friends or relatives.)

    Nobody strengthens the persuaviseness of their argument by using jargon that needs to be put inside inverted commas.

  • “I have never heard anyone use this word”

    Clearly you need to get out more.

  • Runcie Balspune

    The growing pains of a newcomer into the perils of the British party political system. Without even having an elected MP already squabbles emerge over what policies are good and bad. If only we had individuals, with individual policies, we could pick and choose to vote for (or even a selection we could multi-vote for), but the dreams of de Montfort are long gone.

    The only sensible policy here is the right to recall (7), and to prevent it being abused I’d suggest it is restricted to circumstances, such as the usual criminal conviction, parliamentary suspension (expenses fiddling, etc) and such, but more specifically a recall vote when the MP is suspended from his/her party or if the MP resigns the whip or changes party.

    Nailing your colours to the mast then rapidly taking them down again when you’ve fooled your victim is pirate behaviour and all too commonplace amongst MPs, the benches are stacked with carpetbaggers who just pay lip service to the party manifesto the day after votes are counted, the one they proudly waved during canvassing. I’d like to see a situation where being a member of a political party is a disadvantage, both for candidates and voters, due to its commitment. Having a real consequence of party affiliation is a start, hopefully this would encourage independents.

    If prospective candidates aligned with “causes” rather than party doctrine, then we could mix and match, wouldn’t that be better?

    I’d vote UKIP on the basis that coalitions also encourage independents, the grip of party dominance needs to be broken somehow.

  • Cal

    >Nobody strengthens the persuaviseness of their argument by using jargon that needs to be put inside inverted commas.

    Meh.

  • Cal

    >Being opposed to grammar schools because there should be no state schools, and being in favour of toll roads because there should be no state-provided roads, are equally religious ideas.Irrational.
    >We are where we are and there is no feasible way of getting where you want to be on these issues from here.

    I agree with you on that. Policy needs to be realistic, and take account of where we are, and what is likely to get supported by voters.

  • Lee Moore

    The only sensible policy here is the right to recall (7), and to prevent it being abused I’d suggest it is restricted to circumstances, such as the usual criminal conviction, parliamentary suspension (expenses fiddling, etc) and such, but more specifically a recall vote when the MP is suspended from his/her party or if the MP resigns the whip or changes party

    All of these crimes can very easily be considered by the electorate at the next ordinarily scheduled election. If you look around the world – Malaysia and the Ukraine spring to mind – governments are not above generating spoof convictions to muzzle opponents. “It couldn’t happen here” you say. Even if that’s true, which I doubt, you don’t want a rule on recall that can be used as a weapon by a ruthless government. Parliamentary suspension ? That’s in the hands of the majority party aka the MP’s political enemies. No thanks. And the last offering – deserting the party – seems an odd offering for someone who doesn’t approve of parties. Suppose you get elected as a Tory on a manifesto promising an in/out vote n the EU. And after the election your party hierarchy decides to welsh on the manifesto promise. You resign the party whip – and it’s YOU that should be subject to recall ?

    There are no sensible ways to circumscribe a recall power that avoids its dangers – allowing powerful elites to subvert the previously expressed voters’ will, in cases that are convenient to them. Write rules allowing recall in specified circumstances like welshing on promises and you’ll have to invite the courts in, to decide whether a promise has been broken. God forbid ! If you think your MP is a stinker, vote him out at the next general election.

  • Mr Ed

    Well if this is correct, the latest EU plan is a tracker on every car and a bill per kilometre, at an EU level, no need for it to go in the UK General Election manifestos, it would be outside the competence of Parliament (which as Canute anticipated, isn’t that great).

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2928213/Motorists-forced-pay-drive-kilometre-British-roads-plans-drawn-Brussels.html

  • bloke in spain

    The Dartford Crossings have indeed gone cashless. As I learned entirely by accident. And would have come as a revelation if Id just bumped off the Dover ferry, headed north.
    And after a cursory glance at the crossing website, lurking at https://www.gov.uk/pay-dartford-crossing-charge I’m completely unable to discover how a non-Brit would pay it. And I speak Englsh.
    Brings to mind the charge Thurrock services make for staying over 2 hours. The “DON’T DRIVE TIRED TAKE A BREAK” sign on the M25 omitting to mention that your break had better be a bloody short one or cost you eight quid. But the moblile phone based payment system won’t accept calls from non-UK numbers, will it?

    The UK’s capable of running a toll road system in the same way the Brits are capable of organising a piss-up in a brewery.

  • bloke in spain

    A toll road system run by grown-ups: http://www.autoroutes.fr
    Note, the landing page has language options.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Suppose you get elected as a Tory on a manifesto promising an in/out vote n the EU. And after the election your party hierarchy decides to welsh on the manifesto promise. You resign the party whip – and it’s YOU that should be subject to recall ?

    Sucks to be a Tory then, if you ever fancy rebelling against your party and don’t want to risk a recall then don’t be in it. If a candidate turns out to be a turncoat then the electorate has been scammed. The idea is that party membership should be a real commitment and a burden for those who are not quite as committed, otherwise the voter just gets fooled again and again (as they currently do). Out of interest, if the voters actually agree with the rebel then they’ll just vote him back in again as an independent.

  • Cal

    Pete North lays into the UKIP 100 list here:

    http://howtobeacompletebastard.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/100-reasons-to-ignore-ukip.html#disqus_thread

    I don’t agree with all he says, but he does leave it pretty battered and bruised.

  • Lee Moore

    Not sure I follow your point, Runcie. The same applies to other parties – indeed it was Labour and the Lib Dems who promised a referendum on the EU Constitution and then welshed. (The Tories did at least have the figleaf that the thing was already in place when they welshed.)

    party membership should be a real commitment and a burden for those who are not quite as committed

    Committed to what though – their promises or their party ? Frankly, I’d prefer my MP to be committed to his promises ahead of his party, and I’d prefer the election system not to be rigged against MPs like that.

    otherwise the voter just gets fooled again and again

    If you stick by the election manifesto that you put to the electorate, while your party welshes, who’s fooling the electorate ?

  • Mr Ed

    Cal,

    That’s a stupid, puerile, pointless blog, e.g.

    31. Withdrawing from the European Court of Human Rights

    And replace with what? Human rights are good. Fair trials and free speech and such.

    I don’t think that we have free speech at the moment.

  • I’m with Laird on the recall thing, provided it is done by the voters through a vote. Criminal charges or any other specifics don’t have to come into it at all. I happen to live in one of those countries where political opponents are routinely harassed through criminal investigations. Guess what, most voters are not stupid, and can usually tell when the accusations have any merit, and when they amount to nothing more than a witch hunt. If we did have a voter recall system, I’m sure this fact would be well reflected in the subsequent votes, so I wouldn’t be worried at all. If the voters do decide to recall a politician, it means they are unhappy with his performance for whatever reason, and that is as good a reason to kick someone out as any.

  • Cal

    Yes, there are some crap responses there, especially 31. But there are also a lot of uncomfortable questions for UKIP in there too.

  • Laird

    Some of you appear terrified over imaginary fears of what could theoretically happen with a recall system. I suggest that you look as what actually happens in jurisdictions which have such a procedure, rather than conjuring up hypothetical demons. I mentioned two such states in my previous post; I would also add that some years ago California recalled the incompetent Gray Davis as governor.* In the US, anyway, the results of the recall procedure have been quite salutary; I wish my state had such a process. Personally, I think any mechanism which increases voter control over the political process (recall, I&R, etc.) is presumptively a good thing.

    Simply waiting for the next election (assuming that it is over a year away; if it is closer than that no one will bother mounting a recall drive) is not particularly satisfactory. People forget; passions subside; other issues intrude; the “low information voter” predominates and is easily swayed by party propaganda; and the waters are muddied by having to select an opposing candidate who may not be all that attractive either. In a recall campaign the issue is distilled to its essence: do we keep this buffoon in office or not? If he has done enough to anger a sufficient percentage of the electorate the answer will be “no”, which is as it should be. Turnover in politics is too low as it is; I support anything which increases the rate.

    * The fact that they subsequently elected Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace him is not an indictment of the recall process, but merely of the intelligence of the California electorate!

  • Lee Moore

    But the process is the punishment, Alisa. Presumably you don’t propose a recall where you only get recalled if a majority of registered voters sign a petition for a recall election. Any real world recall will involve a few thousand people being able to trigger one. And those people will, roughly 95% of the time, be the special interests, with the money, not ordinary voters. The teacher unions didn’t actually manage to recall Scott Walker, but they did manage to stop him doing anything else – because he’s had to run a permanent re-election campaign.

  • Guy Herbert

    I don’t see what’s so great about “no votes for prisoners”. It corresponds to a fundamentalist reading of the state as omniscient sorter of deserving and undeserving people. Is everyone who is a prisoner an improper person to influence the laws that put them there? How about those imprisoned for violations of laws of which you disapprove?

  • Lee: so what? If politics is too hot for X (even if X is someone like Walker, who is certainly one of the less-bad guys in US politics), then stay away from the kitchen. Really, there is no fundamental human right that says ‘my life as a politician should be nice and easy’. Quite the contrary, I think.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I’d prefer my MP to be committed to his promises ahead of his party, and I’d prefer the election system not to be rigged against MPs like that.

    What’s the point of having a party affiliation if you are prepared to abandon it at the first sign of disagreement? Apart from a huge war chest and fan base that you’ve so eagerly taken advantage of? Wouldn’t you prefer to vote for someone who isn’t shackled by the whims of his party? If having party support got you the funding, but also brought a commitment promise, then perhaps the independent would be a preference for both candidate and voter?

    The party systems screws up politics, as we can see in this thread, no-one ever will have 100% agreement, you get one-size-fits-no-one candidates. Any move to dissuade party dominance can only be a good thing and bring back proper representation.

  • The recall is a perfect solution to keep politicians in line, and the very few exceptions where they’ve been malicious are not sufficient to deny the entire process. Most importantly, the prospect of a recall prevents politicians from promising one thing during the election process, then reversing themselves once elected (which is what happened to the two Colorado politicians and their gun control support). It also provides the electorate the opportunity to eliminate party-switchers immediately, rather than wait for the next election.

    Politicians require a healthy fear of their electorate, or else they get above themselves and power-mad. And the more ways one can deliver that fear, the better.

    As for tolls: they are pernicious and evil. Once the State has enabled a revenue collection device, that device never repeat never goes away. The I-294 tollway in Illinois which bypasses Chicago, has a toll system in place, which basically allowed for the tollway to be built in 1968 or so. The cost of the road was recouped by 1975; yet here we are, forty years later, and the toll-collection system is still in place. It’s a salutary experience.

  • Paul Marks

    I basically agree with Patrick’s policy examination – with some minor differences that are not worth going into.

    However, the United Kingdom has a “first past the post” electoral system – so that is that.

    If we had P.R., like Israel and so on, I might give them a look. But we do not.

    So voting UKIP is like voting Libertarian Party in the United States – accept they are not libertarian.

  • Nicholas (Natural Genius) Gray

    Alisa, Parkinson beat you to it! (Not Michael Parkinson!) One of his Parkinson’s Rules was to set stringent entry requirements for anyone wanting to be the leader of a country, with the final condition being to be painlessly euthanased upon the completion of your term.
    Strangely enough, no politician seems to endorse these rules…

  • Mr Ed

    So voting UKIP is like voting Libertarian Party in the United States – accept they are not libertarian.

    But voting for the Conservatives is like voting for Labour, more spending, more social engineering, more statism, less freedom. The only hope for the UK is the destruction of the Conservative Party as a political force, and its replacement by UKIP. Were the Labour Party to dissolve tomorrow, as an apology for its crimes, the Left would rumble on in the Greens, Lib Dems and Conservatives as if nothing had happened.

  • Cal

    Ed, you’re right. Unfortunately. So despite Pete North’s fair criticisms of the UKIP 100 list, and the fact that most UKIP candidates are idiots (the leaflets I get through my door make me despair), a vote for the Cons is out of the question now.

    This is also despite the attempts of the likes of Jakart (A Very British Dude) and his desperate attempts to keep the Conservative flame alive. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate that guy’s intelligence and acuity. Many of his analyses are very penetrating. (I note, for example, that his latest blog post says Greece should default, and he’s right).

    But the Conservatives have joined the Labour party. It’s only the rhetoric that stops them realizing that.

    (*Labour’s* rhetoric, that is, not theirs. Cameron himself openly admits that he’s a Blairite.)

  • Rich Rostrom

    Roue le Jour @ January 29, 2015 at 2:58 am:

    To play Devil’s advocate, if the state had large numbers of political prisoners, would one wish to deny them a vote? Galling as it may be to have rapists and murderers voting, the principle is that the state cannot disenfranchise a citizen simply by throwing him in clink for thinking the wrong things.

    If the state has “large numbers of political prisoners”, and people are “[thrown] in clink for thinking the wrong things”, then the government is a de facto dictatorship and and voting is meaningless. When a person is unjustly imprisoned, disfranchisement is a very minor worry.

  • Mr Ed

    Well a UKIP rent-a-quote is on the right side of the ‘move daffodils away from food in supermarkets‘ debate (for want of a better term) against Public Health England.

    The pretext is that non-English speakers might cook and eat them and poison themselves. ‘How racist‘.

    I fail to see how speaking the language really helps you identify plants, it’s a question of botanical knowledge ultimately, after all these unnamed people might pick some wild daffodils and eat them, so we should, well, ban Spring? Aaargh!

  • Sorry Ed, but to me that is one of the stupidest fights they could pick, and frankly it does smack of an anti-immigrant agenda.

  • Mr Ed

    I fail to see how rebuking your neighbouring nation’s bureaucrats for getting overwrought about a risk of people being stupid and eating an unknown plant smacks of an anti-immigrant agenda.

  • It does in the specific context of the opinion expressed being that of UKIP.

  • Mr Ed

    Daily Express columnist Ann Widdecombe said: “This country is supposed to be in austerity so I think we could start to save a bit of money on this sort of rubbish.

    “Do they honestly think the public doesn’t have any common sense?

    “Do they think Britons have never seen daffodils before?”

    An Asda spokesman said: “While some of our flowers look good enough to eat, they are not.

    “This is why we keep them away from our fresh fruit and vegetables.”

    That is a quote from an ex-Conservative junior minister, who has nothing to do with UKIP, in any event, if people choose to buy plant material without positively identifying it, that is no reason for the government to hector supermarkets, buyer beware. If they were selling poisonous mushrooms alongside edible species, one might see the obvious risk of harm and cause for intervention. However, the ‘problem’ is the few buyer’s ignorance, not the seller’s labelling. It appears to be a problem for certain people from China, per the BBC. However, when I go to the Caribbean, it is my problem alone if I don’t know what I’m buying, not a hapless supermarket’s problem if an ignorant visitor blunders in making assumptions. I fail to see why we should pay for this person’s job.

  • Last night Nathan Gill, Ukip MEP for Wales, described the edict as “the dreaded hand of state interference”.

    He added: “We would hope all Welsh consumers are rightly annoyed our national flower is buried away from sight like a pack of cigarettes due to ridiculous health and safety rules.”

    Of course it is none of the government’s business – we are all good libertarians here. And still, of the myriad of fights against government meddling, this is one of the stupidest to pick. Unless I am missing some special importance of daffodils, me not being British or Welsh and all.

  • Mr Ed

    The daffodil is a symbol of Welshness, as is the leek, although the bureaucrat was only writing to ‘English’ aupermarkets. Had the unfortunate ignorami chosen leeks in lieu of daffodils, they would have had no problem other than a slightly bigger chopping job in replacing their spring onions.

    The fight is obviously worthwhile as anything which counters the constant narrative of the Nanny State and scorns these fanatical parasites is worthwhile. Let freedom reign, even if the Sky should fall. The laws of natural selection are always operating, that is life. To pretend otherwise is folly and a path to tyranny. It is not a stupid fight to pick, it is stupid to pick daffodils for eating. It is even more stupid to tolerate that it is for the State to employ people to issue letters about others’ stupidity.