By Dark Politricks
The introduction of the Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill or the Tories Great Repeal Bil) was the only realistic aim I wanted to get out the election and it seems my wish has been granted. Today at the opening of the new parliament the Queen ‘s Speech revealed the collations plans to introduce such a bill to roll back a large part of Labours police state.
The bill will abolish National ID Cards, limit the use of CCTV and ensure that Internet traffic records are not held without proper due process. It also plans to restore the right to trial by jury and ensure that peaceful protest is a protected liberty that does not lead to someone who attends being labelled a domestic terrorist.
People will say that this is just window dressing to detract people from the pain that the next five years of cuts in public spending will bring and they may be right but at least its something positive. I cannot remember a similar bill in my lifetime that actually attempts to remove power from the state and give it back to the people. We should be thankful that we have actually managed to elect some politicians who believe that a bigger state is not the answer to our protection and that civil liberties are not just a vague concept that can be amended at the will of the current governing party.
We are definitely in for at least five years of pain as this government tries to restore our public finances and prevent Greek style riots on the street. Gordon Brown, who was once lauded as one of the most financial astute Chancellors of the Exchequer that we have ever had ended his political life with the unenviable label of being one of the few Prime Ministers who managed to bankrupt the country. It’s not just a case that he overspent slightly it’s that he smashed the countries piggy bank and indebted our generation on a scale not seen since the Second World War.
It took over 50 years to pay off our debts to the Americans, hopefully it won’t take as long to restructure our economy and if it does then the blame cannot be put solely on the “global financial crisis” as Labour so often tries to do. Our countries growth over the last decade has been a house of cards built on a phony foundation of cheap debt. Not only is our government way overdrawn and living on tick but so is most of the population and I include myself in that list as well.
In fact for the last 5 years I have been paying off £15k worth of debt which was racked up in the space of a few years after leaving college. Banks literally used to throw loans, credit cards, massive overdrafts and all the rest at us in the mid nineties and it’s no wonder so many people got into trouble when credit was that easy to get.
Now I am not trying to absolve myself from responsibility here but young men in their late teens and early twenties are not the most financially responsible people in the world and in any other lifetime banks wouldn’t give out £5,000 loans no questions asked to people who have no job or collateral like they did to me and many of my friends.
In fact I managed to take out four £5k loans in less than five years all from the same bank. I had an overdraft of nearly £3k, more credit cards than I remember and I had most of that debt before I even got my first job. Run out of money, that’s okay just go to the bank and extend the loan, pay off the old debt and rack up another one on top. I cannot see anyone managing that in this day and age.
Why was I so reckless with money I didn’t own? Well in all honesty I didn’t actually think I would have to pay it back as I had a bit of a death wish back then and sincerely presumed I would be dead by the age of 21. Banks were throwing money at me and I just saw an easy way to get drunk and high. Unfortunately for me I survived and my best mate took my place dying on my 21st birthday but unlike the rest of my mates who just bumped the banks, moved address and lived off the radar for a while I chose to pay off my debts.
By being responsible and paying off what I owe I have had to compromise a lot and so will we as a country. Whilst some of my mates who bumped the banks now have mortgages and their own homes I have nothing more than a big standing order to HSBC. However by this time next month I will be debt free as I only have one more payment left until my last loan is paid off. Changing habits and living within your means instead of being able to get tick whenever you require is a hard adjustment to make and on a national level we are going to have to realise that our huge government spending cannot go on in the same manner as it had done under Labour.
We need to realise that a government cannot and should not do everything for us and it certainly should not live outside its means when its the public who end up paying for the spending spree. I am not a socialist who believes in a shared pie especially when a large majority of the eaters don’t deserve their slice however I am also not of the persuasion that a free market can run itself and is the answer to everything. I believe in a social contract between state and citizen where the citizen is free to do most activities they chose as long as they don’t inhibit on others and where the government stays out of our personal lives and does the few things we want it to not for profit but for the common good such as the NHS, Police, Firemen etc.
However I also believe in a safety net for our most vulnerable and social security that can and does deliver help when we need it most. I also believe in the NHS and have no problem knowing that my tax money goes to help others. What we do need to do however is realise that it’s our country and our taxpayers who are in trouble at the moment and we need to radically rethink what our tax money should be spent on. If it comes down to a choice between sending a few million off to Africa or South America for overseas development then we really need to ask whether we should be putting our own people first at least for a few years.
Another idea would be to ensure that all fit and healthy people who have been out of work for more 6 months should be offered the choice of having all benefits cut or having to work for them. We have plenty of roads to sweep, schools to paint, parks to keep and much more. If the public sector is going to be reduced in size and jobs to be lost then instead of allowing the public to lose the service altogether when the employee gets made redundant it should just be replaced by those having to work for their dole money.
I have no problem with the dole having been on it twice myself and I know how hard is to live on £100 a fortnight. In fact I think the amount of job-seekers allowance should be increased in relation to the salary you were last on but I don’t see why it should be paid out to those who have no intention of ever working. If they want it let them earn it. We sure need the cheap labour.
Another problem with unemployment is the lack of decent training available to those wishing to retrain. If you are hoping to enter a new sector after being unemployed then what is required are industry standard professional qualifications not the cheap worthless odd training day at the local college. If you are out of work any type of training, college course or qualification should be made available and free to attend.
Taking my idea for the unemployed one step further and applying it to our armed forces we could dramatically save millions a year on wages for new servicemen by taking our worst most persistent repeat offenders at the youngest age possible and entering them into the army.
Our country is full of young angry men with no father figure and no respect for authority. These are the same people likely to see a life on the dole or a life of crime as a valid way to spend 50 odd years. Not only will it save the country money it will also help turn these men’s lives around give them some direction and some purpose as well as get them off the streets. The only current difference between half the men in the Army and many in prison is the uniform anyway and having a criminal record should never be a bar from employment especially not in a recession.
Those are just two ideas for reducing the cost of government and we most definitely need to reduce the size of government to one that lives within its budget, saves for a rainy day like the rest of us have to and realises that we as a nation are extremely pissed off at the whole lot of them for helping to get us into this mess.
The reform bill about to be introduced does not go nearly far enough in re-balancing the power between state and citizen but it’s a good start and it’s more than any other government has offered us for a good hundred years or so. If we are going to be repeatedly kicked in the nuts and have our wallets emptied over the next few years by our government then we then we better get something in return.
The new government hasn’t got much to bribe the electorate with and nothing much to sweeten the bitter taste that is coming but one thing they can do is help restore our sense of Britishness, increase our sense of freedom and ensure that our liberty is protected from encroachment by future governments. In that respects the reform bills being proposed is one of the few hopeful and exciting pieces of legislature that we can expect to see over the next five years so we should make the most of it whilst we can.