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Ed Miliband’s Latest Immigration Pledge

By Leslie Clark
December 14th, 2012 at 3:34 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Labour

Ed Miliband today called for immigrants lacking proficiency in English to be barred from certain public sector jobs. The Labour leader said, “if we are going to build One Nation, our goal should be that everyone in Britain should know how to speak English.”

My first reaction to his speech wasn’t to question Labour’s record on immigration or analyse any key policy changes but rather to recall former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s sustained assault on the English language:

“We are now taking proper, putting the amount of resources and investment to move what we call extreme conditions which must now regard as normal.”

“I undressed 450 students yesterday with Ed Miliband and Eddie Izzard and I did 300 last night.”

“The green belt is a Labour achievement, and we mean to build on it.”

Luckily for the people of Humberside during the PCC elections, they managed to stop the indigenous Lord Prescott attaining a “publicly- funded, public-facing job” via the ballot box.

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Reform the Tax Code or Shut the F*ck Up!

By Sara Scarlett
December 13th, 2012 at 11:17 am | 2 Comments | Posted in Economics, Tax

It’s the nuanced political analysis that you’ve, no doubt, come to expect from Liberal Vision…

But seriously! Why would anyone or any corporation pay more tax than the government tells them they legally are obliged to?

Bashing corporations for legally avoiding tax is like bashing celebrities for wearing fur because it’s easier than persuading a motorcycle gang to give up leather.

The right thing to do is to make the badly needed changes to tax code. And yet our public servants don’t. Why? Because that would just be too hard for the little darlings!

I know that doing the right thing is tough. Doing the job that you’re paid to do and that you campaigned hard to be able to do in the last election must be so hard for you.

If it’s not obvious in the tax code how much more tax a company is arbitrarily meant to be paying then what exactly are the accountants meant to do? Just pull a figure from the sweet blue sky and pay that? That’s what Starbuck’s did.  It’s like ‘hush money’ – we’ll give you £20 Million and you kids leave us alone now. How on Earth is this a proper way for companies to function when it’s just not obvious how much tax corporations and wealthy individuals are meant to be paying?

And yet there are not truly meaningful efforts from the Lib Dems or the Tories to reform the tax code. So you can bash Google, Amazon and Starbucks all you want but they’re only following the law and the people who make our laws don’t seem to want to change them. This is a missed opportunity. Which is a shame; it’s needed now more than ever.

The Cato Institute on Scottish Independence

By Leslie Clark
December 11th, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Comments Off on The Cato Institute on Scottish Independence | Posted in Scotland

The libertarian David Boaz has made a few interesting remarks over on the Cato Institute blog:

“…the land of Adam Smith has become one of the poorest and most socialist parts of Great Britain. So maybe a libertarian shouldn’t look forward to Scottish independence. On the contrary, I think it’s easy for Scotland to whine and demand more money from the British central government. An independent Scotland would have to create its own prosperity, and surely the people who produced the Enlightenment are smart enough to discover the failures of socialism pretty quickly if they become free, independent, and responsible for their own future.”

I’m not sure how such views would chime with the official ‘Yes’ campaign who are presenting independence as a bulwark against further austerity. Meanwhile, the independent Fiscal Commission commissioned by Alex Salmond is understood to be recommending a number of cautionary measures for a post-independent Scotland, including limits to borrowing and spending.

Before screwing things up, New Labour gained economic credibility by sticking to Tory spending limits during its first years in office. Similarly, if the Yes Campaign want to build their economic credentials they ought to abandon the easy-clap anti-cuts rhetoric and focus on the financial realities of an independent Scotland: that the state cannot keep on growing exponentially, spending will need to be kept under control and the growth of the economy is predicated on the success of private enterprise.

The independence vote won’t be won or lost on the basis of remarks by Commission President Barroso but whether one side can demonstrate whether Scots would be better or worse off come separation. But the only route for a prosperous independent Scotland would appear to be along the lines alluded to by David Boaz.

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Minimum Pricing: Battle lines are drawn

By Editor
December 2nd, 2012 at 3:37 pm | 6 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

There is an article in the Mail Online today that will warm the hearts of every good liberal.

Whilst Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne MP has been gagged (as has Farming Minister David Heath MP,) on the topic of minimum pricing of alcohol, word has leaked out that Jeremy is clearly on the side of the angels:

“…friends of Mr Browne have told The Mail on Sunday that he disputes claims that the policy is certain to cut binge drinking – or reduce the number of pub fights.”

A source close to Mr Browne said: ‘Jeremy’s view is that the thug who has downed nine cans of lager is hardly going to think, “Oh dear, I can’t afford a tenth because of minimum pricing. I think I’ll go home to bed instead of starting a brawl.”

Needless to say his stance has meant that Tory Police Minister Damian Green has been given the task of speaking publicly in support of the policy. Jeremy is right of course. As is the assertion made on his behalf :

“Jeremy maintains that the middle-class woman in Oxfordshire who drinks a £10 bottle of Chablis every other night will not be affected because it won’t go up in price and she can afford it anyway,’ said the source.

‘But the working-class woman in Oldham who drinks a cheap bottle of Lambrini will be hit because it will cost more”

Well said that man. Is his, and other MP’s, opposition enough though? It would appear sadly that there is no ‘organised’ campaign against minimum pricing to date. It is not clear if this is because the supermarkets & drinks companies are following the strategy of appeasement, looking at the likely boost to their incomes such a policy will deliver regardless of the hurt it will cause their customers, or were genuinely taken by surprise. Perhaps they feel the policy is too absurd to worry about?

But history tells us that you need more than having right on your side and reasoned arguments to win against the relentless, rich and powerful lobbying health “charities”. With privileged access to policy makers, often funded by those they lobby, these fake charities rarely fail their paymasters in delivering the desired outcome in such “public” consultations.

There are signs of a resistance building. An e-petition against minimum pricing was created a while ago but has trebled signatures in the past 24 hours and an informative facebook page here (and an event to sign up to here) has appeared in the past couple of days (that from which we harvested much info – thanks!) .We have also seen the excellent Chris Snowdon step up to the plate with a must read report (co-authored by statistician John C. Duffy) “Minimum evidence for minimum pricing” and enjoyed his many and brilliant turns on the media. And of course we have the efforts of Pub Curmudgeon, Dick Puddlecote, Frank DaviesSpiked! ASI, IEA and TPA, (and many others) to count on. (We also hear tell of a newspaper campaign though can’t pin that one down right now).

Whether their efforts, combined with the fact that minimum pricing is illegal , fails the evidence test, is based on a flawed model, punishes the poor, the sensible and the moderate, and of course that public opinion is against it, is enough to win out against the might and money of the government’s own pet groups, on a mission to deliver Mr Cameron’s desired outcome, however remains to be seen. For now our thanks and appreciation to Jeremy (and many other MPs) for standing firm.

Ps if you want to get the minimum pricing widget (above) for your web site, click here (courtesy of the marvelous Pub Curmudgeon).

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