May 27, 2010

The EU is at it again, the march of ever closer union continues

The EU is in a massive crisis. Just as all those nasty EUsceptics said would happen before the introduction of the Euro. The single currency is not working because it lacks a single financial government capable of transfering money around the zone to try and counter act the simple fact that it never was, and never will be, a good currency area. As all those nasty EUsceptics explained would be needed before the introduction of the Euro. So the solution? Create a transnational financial government with tax raising powers at the EU level and oversight over the national governments. Just as all those nasty EUsceptics warned would be the next step in the EU's quest to become a supranational government over the entire continent.

The first proposed EU tax is one on financial transactions. The EU's response to what started out as a liquidity crisis is a measure that will reduce liquidity. The hedge funds where not major players in the crisis, and if anything their short selling helped to reduce the bubble and so the bust, so the EU takes aim at them because they are the current political bogeymen. Oh, and guess what these measures will affect teh UK in a uniquely bad way due to the size of our financial industry, the only major industry we have left and the only thing that is going to be able to dig the country out from under all of Labour's debt. So the city of London gets screwed, which will please the German and French governments, the EU gets some direct tax raising powers, which will please the Eurocrats, and the hedge funds will head for switzerland and the carrabien, which will probably mean they get a better quality of life. The main looser? The UK, as usual.

May 12, 2010

Finally we have a new government

According to the Gaurdian the Conservatives and Lib-Dems have agreed on a bundle of measures for their government, and it actually looks pretty good. Economically Conservative, socially Lib-Dem: so in the Libertarian quadrant of the Political Compass. Of course it isn't the manefesto that either party was elected on, but then had it been Labour we know that their manefesto is always a pack of lies from start to finish.

Economic measures for an agreement which has deficit reduction "at its heart"

• £6b in year cuts in non frontline services subject to the advice from the treasury and the bank of england (Tory)
• Scrapping of national insurance rises (Tory)
• A substantial increase in the personal tax allowance from April 2011 with a focus on low and middle income earners, with a "long term goal" of a £10,000 personal tax allowance. There is no a timetable for this, but there is a promise to make further real term steps each year towards this objective. This is described as a "funded increase". It will be funded by taking the money the Tories had planned to use to increase the employee threshold for national insurance, and by an increase in capital gains tax for non business assets to bring it closer to the level of income tax.
• Marriage tax allowance. The liberal democrats have agreed to abstain on this, which gives the Tories a "real chance" of getting that through.

All good there. We need to get our economy going again and the way to do that is by tax cuts, plus the reason that the country's finances are in such a state is the way that Labour threw money at the public sector in order to buy votes. The public sector has to shrink.

Lib Dem pledges that have been dropped

• Tax relief for higher rate pensioners will not be pursued
• Mansion tax

Tory pledges that have been dropped

• Raising the threshold on inheritance tax which is described as "unlikely to be achieved in this parliament".

Neither are things that I will be too upset about loosing.

Lib Dems priorities that have been secured

• Referendum to bring in some form of alternative vote system. Coalition members will be subject to three-line whip to force the legislation for a referendum through, but they will be free to campaign against the reforms before referendum.
• New pupil premium to be introduced, steering more funding to schools for every child they take from poor homes. Both parties back this policy, but the Lib Dem version attaches more money to it.
• Reducing the tax burden on low earners. This could go some way towards the Lib Dem aim of lifting tax threshold to £10,000.
• A wholly or mainly elected house of Lords.
• More equal constituency sizes
• Fixed term parliaments, including this one. The next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Legislation will mean such agreements can only be broken by an enhanced majority of the House of Commons.

Some form of voting reform was always going to be the Lib-Dems bride price. It is a shame that it was for Alternative Vote, because AV sucks and I personally will be voting against in the referendum. Had it been STV on the other hand things would be rather different. Fixed term parliaments are fine, and changing the constituencies to get rid of the bias to Labour is a must as is getting rid of the wholely appointed House of Lords. Creating something worse than the hereditary chamber was a big ask, but Labour managed it. Increasing the tax threshold is a very very good thing and will hopefully come in as soon as the country can afford it. As is the pupil premium when combined with the Tory's Free Schools.

Tory priorities that have been secured

• A cap on immigration and an end to child detention immigration controls (the latter was a Lib Dem proposal).
• Welfare reform programme to be implemented in full.
• School reform programme providing all schools are held accountable.
• A commitment to maintaining Britain's nuclear deterrent. Renewal of Trident will be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will be free to continue the case for alternatives.
• The government will make no proposals to join the euro.
• No proposals to transfer new powers to the European Union.
• A referendum lock will ensure that any proposal to transfer new powers must by law be put to a referendum.

The immigration cap is an unfortunate political necessity, but at lease they have stopped the detention of children. Blocking the transfer of new power to the EU is going to be difficult since it normally simply takes the power then legalises it post facto, for example the way it is setting up a system for financial transfers in the Eurozone even though that was specifically outlawed in the Mastrict Treaty. This should help to temper the Lib-Dems EUphilia. The welfare reform programme is simply a matter that the country is bankrupt and Welfare spongers form a major area of expenditure. Not trying to do something about them is simply not an option. As for the schools programme perhaps Nick opened his copy of On Liberty to the section on education and realised where the Tory proposals come from.

Areas that were already in agreement will see a major programme of civil liberties

• A great repeal or freedom bill to scrap the ID card scheme and the national identity register and the next generation of biometric passports
• Extending the scope of the Freedom of Information bill to provide greater transparency
• Adopt protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database
• Protecting trial by jury
• Reviewing libel laws to protect freedom of speech
• Further regulation of CCTV and other items
• Measures to boost economy in key areas such as low-carbon industries and investment in infrastructure. A green investment bank, a smart grid, retention of energy performance certificates while scrapping home information packs.

All of which is really good, and the opposite of what would have happened under the Authoritarians in the Labour Party. It should help to get rid of the myth that Labour is anything other than the party of mindless crushing of peoples liberties. Hopefully the Great Repeal Bill/Freedom Bill will include a couple of little clauses that I added to Carswell's Wiki relating to the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 and the The Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons)(Amendment) Order 2008. Time for a letter to my MP.

Areas of opt outs for either party

• Lib Dems will be free to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while permitting the government to put forward the national planning statement for ratification by parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible.

Labour have also acknowleged the fact that we need new nukes to keep the lights on, so unless they are going to now oppose what they have already said is in the national interest out of tribal political spite, always a possibility, then we should be getting some new nukes. There really isn't another option. If we are going to keep the lights on while dealing with climate change there really is no other option than nukes, so hopefully we will be getting some French engineers over fairly soon to survey the possible sites.

Banking reform

• A banking levy will be introduced.
• Bonuses will be tackled.
• A "more competitive banking industry".
• More credit to flow to businesses. The proposals of the respective parties will be looked at before deciding which is the better one.
• An independent commission will be set up to consider Lib Dem proposals to separate retail and investment banking and the Tories' proposals for a quasi separation. An interim report will be published within a year.
• The Bank of England could be given control of macro prudential regulation and oversight of micro prudential regulation under proposals to be put forward.

That looks good as it unravels Gordon Browns failed reforms by placing everything back in the hands of the Bank of England, who as the people that have to pay up if things go wrong have a good incentive not to let them go wrong; unlike Gordon's unaccountable quango the FSA.

All in all it has the potential of being a far better combination than the appauling authoritarians that have been lording it over the country for the last 13 years.

May 07, 2010

Labour clings on

So it looks like Labour's vote fraud operation was more sucessful than expected and nobody can get a majority of the votes. England voted decisively for the Conservatives, which is why Labour will never allow an English Parliament. At this point Cameron has got to do anything to stay out of a coalition government. The country is bankrupt, the cuts will be made. the only question is who is going to make the cuts? Brown is ideologically incapable, but if he cannot then the IMF will. Welcome to Labour's UK, it's like greece but without the sun and beaches.