A Phoenix or a headless chicken?

Labour's Rebecca Long-Bailey struggles to explain £30billion black hole in  Labour's spending plans during car crash interview

Written by Harry Johnson 

Since we have moved away from a purely first past the post election system to a mixed-member proportional system it has become nigh impossible for a single party or at times groups of parties to secure a majority. Whether that is good or not is ultimately another argument worth its own discussion, but at the end of the day, we have a system that represents the wishes of the electorate quite well indeed.

A  byproduct of such an arrangement is frequent minority governments. Governments with no majority or in other words capability to pass legislation through both Houses, which according to the pre-2014 mentality of British politics should not be or should be kept to the bare minimum. Yet normally this would not be a problem as more often than not some sort of a compromise can be hammered out between the big 4 parties as was the case when Blurple and Clegg governments managed to pass their budgets.

However, all of this ultimately hinges on middle ground existing. In the case of the Blurple budget, it was a common commitment to a dynamic market economy that brought the government and the Classical Liberals together. Under Clegg, it was quite frankly Labour selling its voters down the water, but the official reason is that Labour wanted to avoid the aforementioned Blurple budget from coming into force. Perhaps another good example of such consensus politics at work could be the Brexit government which saw multiple parties working together to get Brexit done despite their differences.

What happens however if this formula breaks down for one reason or another? Say a left-wing coalition of fewer than 40 seats found itself with the keys to number 10 despite a right-wing Parliament. There is not much common ground between either of the Blurple parties and the ultimately left-wing government, which has pledged to overturn many flagship Tory and Libertarian policies like the right to buy and TUBFRA. To add insult to injury many flagship policies of the Phoenix government are either physically impossible as is the case with the 2030 carbon neutrality deadline or too vague to be properly assessed. 

 Ultimately there is so much one can do through statutory instruments and royal prerogative ,which contrary to Solidarity’s belief is quite limited in scope. Any statutory instruments the government does indeed push through can be quite easily negated by a simple vote in Parliament or the case of most treaties indefinitely delayed thanks to the mechanisms of the Ponsonby convention. On the issue of a budget, the only shot the government would have at passing anything resembling a budget is if a deal could be struck with either of the Opposition parties, which is far from a safe bet considering how far ideologically apart the right and the government are.

Moreover, there have also been unconfirmed rumors that the coalition is yet to even formulate the composition of its cabinet and that no agenda has been properly discussed including the urgent issue of the Chagos Islands and the government’s apparent plan to withdraw from the islands entirely without talking to Parliament. We also still don’t know what sort of a Brexit deal the government has elected or will elect to pursue in the coming weeks and months.

Simply put the current government is not a Phoenix, but a headless chicken. A lame-duck with no majority nor the ability to pass most of its legislation. It is only a matter of time before the sun sets on the  Phoenix just like it did with the Sunrise government before.

Unscrewing the cork – debunking Labour on the North – opinion

Northern England | Travel Photography and Stock Images by Manchester  Photographer Darby Sawchuk - dsphotographic.com
Written by Harry Johnson

It is not uncommon to see left-wing politicians act in an elitist and paternalist manner towards the people of Northern England. We have seen this sort of disdain and London-centrism during the Brexit and Single-Market referendums and it appears as if it is about to once again rear its ugly head as evidenced by the distasteful and misinformed comments of the Shadow EPW secretary.

`He claims that the Conservative and Libertarian parties act as some sort of an odd gatekeeper to prosperity, keeping the North in a state of permanent deprivation for some inexplicable ideological reason associated with Thatcherism and free-market economics. Nothing could be further from the truth however as the pronounced divide has existed in this country since at least the 1960s, with the trends in mortality showing a significant gap between the North and South under multiple Labour governments. However if one were to go with the flawed assumption that decreasing government spending and pursuing free-market policies equals greater north-south divide then Labour is arguably far worse as a Labour government would have instituted much stricter austerity during the Financial Crisis, to quote the then Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling “we will cut deeper than Thatcher ”.
To try and spinLibertarian and Conservative positions as pro-divide or as the EPW secretary claims beyond levels of contempt held for the ordinary people of the North of England would imply that given Labour’s plans to impose massive cuts in 2010 Labour utterly despises the Northerners. However free trade and free-market policies quite arguably have the opposite effect as is the case with Blurple’s income tax reforms that saw those on the lowest incomes lifted. The same can be said for land-value taxation which arguably is in the interest of Northern areas as it redistributes wealth from wealthy southern areas to the North. Meanwhile, free trade deals and initiatives such as free ports can be used to funnel capital into the more deprived areas and consequently create thousands of well-paying jobs. The North quite frankly does not need a Labour government propping it up with a gargantuan deficit, it needs a pro-growth government to lift it and that is what center-right and right-wing parties have done for it.
If anything it is Labour that is the anti-Northern party here with their support for the HS2 project which would heavily favour a few rich Southern areas at the expense of not only Northern England, but also Wales. One must also note that despite the North continuously returning pro-Brexit Conservative and Libertarian MPs Labour is the one faffing about its true Brexit position with the party bouncing in between different soft Brexit options contrary to the wishes of the Northern electorate. As reported by the Telegraph the coalition deal being pushed by Labour lacks any plan for Brexit whatsoever and could plunge the country into chaos.
To add insult to injury the member also makes the inference that those in the North are stupid, claiming that to how the parroting of lies has held up the LPUK vote so well in these communities where the party’s “inspiration” was so able to destroy effectively and thoroughly in the 80s.” In other words, he seems to think that the Northerners are incapable of critically analyzing the Libertarian platform and thus are returning Libertarian MPs in droves because in his view they seem stupid enough to do so. This level of utter contempt for the people of Northern England is why Labour has lost the last General Election and why they will continue to lose until they realize that others may think differently to them are not being lied to or manipulated, but simply have different views..

“We will trust each other” – a look into the leaked Phoenix Coalition agreement

The Legend Of The Phoenix- Is It All Just Folklore?

Written by Harry Johnson for the Telegraph

Earlier today the Telegraph received the document claimed to be the policy document of the Phoenix Coalition. In this article Harry Johnson analyses this supposed blueprint for a  centre-left minority and tries to figure out how much these 2 parties and one independent will be able to do.

First up are cabinet positions. The Great offices appear more or less evenly split with Labour taking on the nations Finances , Foreign Affairs and prime ministership whereas the LibDems get control of the Home Department.In regards to other spots Labour can be seen controlling most other major departments such as Justice and International Trade , with Defence being one of the notable exceptions going to the LibDems.It is also worth noting that the former DRF independent SammySnail is to receive the post of Northern Irish Secretary alongside the leadership of the House of Commons.  All in all it appears to be a somewhat proportional split with the Great offices favouring Labour  along the lines of the Clegg agreement.

A different interesting aspect is that the document contains the 4 principles of the government that read just like fundamentals of any coalition government. Nonetheless it is interesting that the coalition is willing to consider other perspectives. Perhaps it has dawned upon the leadership of both parties that most of their policies will have to be watered down in order to pander to the centre-right parties controlling the Commons?

Moving on it seems that the Treasury policies closely resemble those pushed by the Labour party during it’s utter defeat in the XIV general election with a 2.5% increase in overall rate in corporation tax alongside with an equal cut for SMes. What is also worth noting here is that an increase of personal allowance to £25 thousand and to create a medium bracket between the basic and higher rate presumably to fund the other tax cuts. Overall the economic policy of the coalition appears to be a continuation of “Clegg” policies with a centre-left twist to them.

A similar theme can be seen through the coalition’s proposed foreign policy that appears centered around the issue of Chagos Islands with little to no substance , barring a commitment to introduce Taiwan to  international organisations  and the government’s commitment to the 2022 Olympics boycott , despite previous LibDem objections. This is followed by the Home Office policies pledging to oppose facial recognition technology and ending or practically disabling points based migration through loosening it. 

Both of these policies appear to be rather broad and ridiculous as facial recognition has been successfully used in personal electronics as a security measure and no replacement for points-based immmigration was presented in the document  ,but alas the policies of the Phoenix coalition seemfar from definitive right now and it is possible that as time goes on the coalition will iron them out.

Most worrying however is the lack of details on the issue of Brexit. The document lacks any sort of specifics as to what deal will actually be pursued by the government beyond seeking trade deals with countries like the US and Japan. Furthermore the agreement pledges to secure a deal by January the first even though the implementation period ends on the 31st of December. One must also keep in mind that to actually ratify the governments deal all of the Eu27 countries will need days if not weeks to pass the deal through their legislatures and thus it’s impossible to just run the clock down ,unless the Phoenix government wishes to see a no-deal exit.

Most of the policies contained within the other departments such as health , business and HCLG appear to be rather tame centre-left policies aimed at swaying the more moderate elements of the Conservative party with the exceptions being the coalition’s wishes to raise the minimum wage to 12 pounds for all workers and to end the right to buy scheme entirely. On the business side the  government in waiting also proposes to repeal the controversial TUBFRA Act alongside giving insolvent companies to restructure into worker cooperatives without a clear way to repay their debts.

The last interesting bit of policy within the Lab-Lib agreement is the proposal to introduce “norway-style” prisons where prisoners aren’t “closed off” and have “more freedoms and get jobs”. Whether such a policy will work will heavily depend on the actual implementation of it and thus it’s difficult to comment on it.

FInally of note is the whipping procedure which just like the principles at the beginning of the document seems to be quite conciliatory in nature with “collective leadership” being able to determine whether whips will affect all government MPs or just the specific parties. There is  also a dispute resolution mechanism provided under which it will be up to “collective leadership” to resolve disputes between individuals in different parties. What this means in practice is to be seen especially should a major dispute arise within the government has occurred during the last coalition involving Labour and the Liberal Parties.

All in all it appears that while the Phoenix coalition may seem enticing to center-left voters , it’s policies are vague and should it form it will have a hard time getting any of its more left-wing proposal through a predominantly right-wing parliament.

What now? – A Telegraph analysis

House of Commons. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor
Written by Harry Johnson for the Telegraph

Yesterday the Conservative Party pulled out of the “Blurple” coalition , collapsing the government. As Britain finds itself without a functional government many wonder what’s next in store for the United Kingdom as no clear replacement for the government seems to exist. In this aticle Telegraph’s Harry Johnson looks at the potential outcomes of the current coalition period.

Scenario one Labour-LD minority with support from minor parties

Perhaps the most likely of all scenarios as of the time of writing this article. The hypothetical government would find itself with 38 out of 100 seats alongside an additional 8 seats from potential allies including The Progressive Party , The People’s movement , Solidarity and 2 former DRF  MPs who are currently a part of the Official opposition. The policies of such a government are difficult to predict as it would lack a majority in the House of  Commons  and thus it is highly likely it would have to compromise. A potential sticking point for such an administration could be securing a viable Brexit deal within just weeks of the deadline,unless it chose to continue the work of the current International Trade Secretary.  A decision that my prove itself quite controversial with the members of both parties ,both of which have traditionally favoured a softer Brexit. It is however worth noting that the Conservative Party has declared its willingness to   assist such a government on the issue of brexit.Moreover an even bigger headache for this government could be the passage of a budget as unless a Clegg-esque budget deal can be struck with the Tory party , a left-wing budget is doomed to fail.

All in all , while such a government would have a hard time getting anything done it appears to be the most likely option of potential coalitions.

Scenario two Conservative Minority / Clegg Coalition

While the Conservatives have publicly ruled out entering a government as of today. It perhaps still might be worth examining the possibility of such a government ,given the volatile situation in Westminster. A government consisting solely out of Conservative and UUP MPs would control roughly a third of seats in the House of Commons and could potentially count on the support of either liberal democrats or Libertarians in order to pass legislation and stave off any potential challenges from the Official opposition.

 A potentially different scenario could perhaps be some deeper form of Conservative-LD cooperation , perhaps a return of the Clegg government. The Telegraph expects such a government to play out in a similar fashion to a Conservative minority albeit with more moderate policies and a far stronger position relative to the Opposition Parties.

In terms of policy one could expect a Conservative minority to pursue flagship Conservative policies such as reforms to the provision of childcare , increased defence spending and reforms to land value taxation. In other words it could be expected that a potential Conservative minority would pursue similar policies to those of the previous Conservative minority. A more interesting situation may occur on the benches opposite as both the Libertarian and labour Parties would be in  contention for control of Millbank Tower under a Conservative minority scenario. It is however worth stressing that as of the writing of this article the Conservative have ruled out a return to goverment and thus it’s difficult to speculate about any particular details of such an arragement.

Scenario three Libertarian-lead  minority 

One of the less predictable of the 4  potential scenarios laid out here , an LPUK minority government could count on 23 out of 100 seats within the House of Commons , with potential support from the Conservatives. A Libertarian only government would likely find itself in a difficult situation ,given it’s relatively small numbers. In fact an LPUK only minority government would be smaller than even the Liberal Alliance government , making it the smallest of all post-simulated polling governments. However a Libertarian government would have the advantage of being a single-party government and could most if not all existing blurple policies ensuring a continuity of power.  The probability of such a government is quite low however as the current Opposition consisting of former DRF MPs and the Labour is one seat larger than a   libertarian minority and thus we believe that a sole Libertarian  government is unlikely.

A Libertarian-lead government with a junior coalition partner may have a better chance. As of today however the Telegraph is unaware of any such potential partners. 

Whichever of the 3 governments  forms , none of them will possess a majority in the House of Commons and thus will be considered minority governments.The success of a minority government therefore hinges upon the cooperation with other parties in the House of Commons , which with the current parliamentary arithmetic  appears difficult at best and nigh impossible at worst.

Perhaps a completely different scenario in this situation could be an early General Election. Such a scenario seems unlikely though as none of the major parties except the Libertarians would stand to gain from a snap election. Even if an election did occur and seats switched hands it is likely that Parliament would be even more fractured ,owing to new parties on both the left and right entering parliament. 

Another potential wildcard could be the composition of the House of Lords ,which as of today heavily favours the British left with the outgoing goverment having 12 peers to the Opposition’s 8 alongisde some 27 members of the Unofficial Opposition. While these numbers are meaningless in regards to coalition fomration , a potentially hostile house of lords could spell the disaster for any of the centre-right goverments and could make life easier for LAB-LD.

No matter the outcome of the coalition formation however it is clear that British politics are more polarised than ever…

Trouble in paradise – A telegraph editorial on the issue of Chagos Islands

Diego Garcia - Wikipedia

Written by Harry Johnson

A while back the House of Commons deliberated upon a motion to withdraw from the contested Chagos Archipelago and to help enable Chagossians to resettle the islands. During the debate many good arguments have been put forward by members of Government as to the feasibility of resettlement and concerns over the joint US-UK  military base. Chief of the arguments being made against the continued existence of the BIOT was the ICJ judgement and concerns over human rights abuses carried out when the Chagossians were evicted from the islands.

The former of the arguments arguably does carry weight, especially in the light of the decision being rendered by the ICJ itself and ultimately is based on sound legal reasoning. As our delegation to the UN has noted however there exist several issues with the judgement. First of all the judgement is purely advisory and thus it has no legal power to compel us to withdraw from the islands. Furthermore as the UK has  argued before the ICJ itself the issue of the BIOT is ultimately a bilateral dispute that as per precedent regarding international law ought to be solved and arbitrated with the consent of both sides. Consent, which we as a state have failed to provide.  To allow for such to disputes to be resolved on a unilateral manner is extremely dangerous.

Perhaps this quagmire is best described by the British ambassador’s to the UN remarks “This has wider and profound implications for all Member States with bilateral disputes and if the resolution is passed, it will create a difficult precedent in the General Assembly. It would imply that any bilateral dispute between two States could be referred for an advisory opinion to the ICJ and then pronounced on by the General Assembly, whether or not the States involved have consented. I invite colleagues to reflect carefully on that point. If today you are a country which has a bilateral dispute with another Member State, you risk throwing open the door for that dispute to be subject to an advisory opinion of the ICJ and a vote of the General Assembly.”

It is also worth noting that successive British governments have taken steps in order to ease the integration of Chagossians into the Seychelles and Mauritius by offering generous support packages totalling tens of millions of pounds including several payments to Mauritius itself. Moreover as per the agreement signed between the Mauritian and British governments Mauritius maintains access to certain aspects of the BIOT such as certain natural resources there. With all these facts in mind it seems that the argument against our supposed “occupation” becomes quite flimsy , especially in light of Solidarity’s other more isolationist policies such as the declaration of genocide in Canada or tacit support for the BDS movement.

Even if we were to concede that the occupation itself is illegal or perhaps more accurately immoral in the view of the UN the original ruling called for us to withdraw as soon as possible. Given the precarious position  we are in in the Indian Ocean any sort of withdrawal from the Islands is simply not possible without finding a replacement for the base without some other facility to replace it. However no such replacement exists. When pressed about this, Solidarity has proposed to use facilities in Kenya and Sierra Leone. The only problem being is that neither of these nations hosts facilities remotely similar to what Diego Garcia has  and both countries are thousands of kilometers away from the Indian Ocean Territory.

The Diego Garcia Naval Support base is  also uniquely positioned. It is practically situated  in  the center of the Indian Ocean, within striking distance of virtually all maritime choke points, key supply lines, and hostile naval facilities. It’s also worth noting that in the worst case scenario such as a protracted war between the UK or US  and China returning to bases in the Middle East would be tricky at best and dangerous at worst as not only would these ships have to travel for thousands of miles, but they would also have to pass through the strait of Hormuz, which could be blocked by the Iranian military, leaving the bases in Singapore as the alternative although Chinese ships operating out of Sri lanka could potentially force British and American ships to travel around Indonesia to reach that base. Therefore the choice seems quite clear either we are to abandon the Indian Ocean or the base in Diego Garcia has to stay for the foreseeable future.

Source GIS

Furthermore so long as the base remains under British sovereignty the base is also a much better geopolitical bet than a base in Mauritius or India, owing to the continuous Anglo-American alliance “the special relationship” that is only set to improve after our withdrawal from the European Union.  Political reliability is key when it comes to critical overseas bases and the current Diego Garcia lease arrangement between Britain and our allies across the pond is arguably the most politically reliable way to house American troops in the area. 

Another concern is that leaving the base entirely would also remove an emergency landing site for civilian aviation over the Indian Ocean as well as potentially impair future search rescue operations within the Ocean as was the case with the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

What is more, the facilities present on the Island such as the giant airstrip of over 2 miles, climate-controlled hangars for stealth bombers such as B-2 Spirit bombers and a range  of other naval support facilities is not something that can be easily replicated elsewhere. Not without major costs and mass evictions at least. For instance, the total area of Diego Garcia is 12 square miles, almost 3 times the total area of the Sembawang area surrounding the British Defence Support unit in Singapore home to over 95 thousand people. If Solidarity wishes to replace BIOT with this base they would be looking at not expelling some 1400 people as was the case with the Chagos Islands ,but anywhere in excess of 95 thousand people just to get a third of the area Diego Garcia  currently offers.  The same would be true for any feasible replacement. There simply is no other base like Diego Garcia within a reasonable distance from the  hot spot that is the Indian Ocean , unless one would be willing to either colonise another island or evict tenths of thousands of people from their homes to ….. make up for evicting thousands of people from their homes.

Even if the United Kingdom government  was to foolishly embrace the advice of Solidarity and chuck the archipelago in favour of some unspecified base in the Middle East or Asia. There is still the tiny issue of nukes and other elements of the US nuclear triad being present within such a base. 

Glossing over loopholes or other “exemptions” within these treaties and laws since Solidarity has put international law as the overriding reason for their BIOT policy and therefore it would be hypocritical to try and work around these international treaties. Putting  nuclear weapons in any of the zones covered by any of these treaties would breach international law the party so seeks to protect so much.  So bases in Africa and chunks of  Asia  are out of the equation ,including a Mauritius-controlled Chagos archipelago ,unless international laws are to be breached or seriously challenged.

One could also speculate as to whether other states within the region such as Oman or Qatar would wish to have nuclear weapons deployed within their borders. Even if consent was somehow provided the strategic value of these weapons and equipment  would be significantly diminished as they would be relocated from the center of the Indian Ocean to the Middle East , where they would have to potentially travel much longer distances through  potentially hostile states such as Iran or Russia ,risking interdiction or worse an international incident.

Most humorous however is the claim that the utility of the Chagos islands would be “questionable”  when it comes to assisting India. To quote an excellent article by retired Rear Admiral   Micheal McDevitt “ The base has its origins in the 1960s as decolonization swept over the region and Soviet influence grew in many of the newly independent countries. But it was China, not the Soviet Union, that spurred Washington to focus on acquiring a base. The policy trigger was the 1962 Sino-Indian War, when Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had pressed Washington for military assistance to India, including an urgent request for U.S. air power to actually intervene. President Kennedy was not willing to go that far, and decided to dispatch the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk to provide air support if China drove south to Calcutta — but a ceasefire was reached before it arrived.” The entire point of establishing a base at the time was to ensure that power could be projected within the Indian Ocean and that includes the ability to provide support to India should things go south.

National Security and power projection should never be treated as partisan issues. Regardless of one’s views on economic and social issues it is absolutely crucial that politicians do not try to undermine our strategic capabilities just to score points against their opponents.

Sources cited: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/resolution-on-the-british-indian-ocean-territory

The cracks are starting to show – opinion

Cracked Rose by kmecreations on DeviantArt

Written by Harry Johnson , Telegraph Editor

Cohesion is a key aspect of every party no matter its ideology or size. If a party is unable to remain unified on at least the most basic of policies then it ceases to be an effective political  force just like an army without discipline ceases to be an effective fighting force. We have seen that happen when the original Liberal Party was tearing itself apart , making way for Labour to become the main progressive force in Britain. Quite ironically it seems that Labour may just suffer the same fate as their former rivals under Lloyd George.

Only weeks ago we have seen Labour’s leftmost faction  including high-profile Shadow Cabinet members break with the party altogether to form the socialist Solidarity party as well as a shadow cabinet member joining the more centrist Coalition! Party. These things alone ought to spell trouble for a party that has been thrown out of second place in terms of seats. After such a situation one would expect Labour to at least partly bounce back from it’s historical lows. However no such thing occurred as Labour has seen its predicted vote share fall yet again from around 20% to 15.65% , putting them in neck with the LibDems for third place.

The total decimation in national polling is accompanied by a slump in constituency polling with the Telegraph projecting approximately 13% of support for the Labour Party across 6 key constituencies, with the LibDems and Solidarity feasting on what little support remains from the party’s disparate factions. Against this backdrop Labour’s leadership attempted   a comeback that ultimately ended up backfiring immensely as Labour found itself attempting to amend repealed bills and pushing for a disastrous 55% increase in minimum wage , which you can read about here. At any rate the legislative repertoire of the left-wing party seems more like a sloppy Waltz than a well-rehearsed ballet.  

This is where the cracks truly show themselves as upon the commencement of the debate on Labour’s bill to abolish the House of Lords altogether several Labour MPs including the Chief Whip have publicly voiced their displeasure , when publicly confronted about it they have admitted that Labour is yet to set a whip on an official Opposition bill authored by the Leader of the opposition themselves. It is also worth noting that throughout all this mayhem the  Chief Whip put  the blame squarely on the leader of the Opposition claiming that they had no say in the process of approving the bill and that within the Labour Party Chief Whip is not a leadership role. Both of these facts are particularly striking as it is the job of the chief whip to ensure that the party can maintain a united front against an overwhelmingly popular and unapologetically right-wing Blurple government. By effectively cutting out the Chief Whip from the equation Labour leadership not only makes it much more difficult to have their whips be enforced but also creates a strange dynamic between the whips and leadership where leadership controls the party policies and the chief whip irrespective of their objections has to enforce them, resulting in situations where the Chief Whip is the one breaking the whip they are to enforce.

More worryingly for Labour voters however it is becoming harder and harder to work out where the party and its MPs really stand on many basic issues. Going into last election we have seen Labour run on a platform of drastic deficit spending and free trade only to see that policy be rectified when Labour voted to make substantial changes to the CBTA tariff schedule as per the Motion on Tariff policy. It is worth noting that both the original CBTA that lowered tariffs and M525 were both almost unanimously supported by the Labour Party. 

There also lies the issue of Labour on taxation and economic strategy . The traditional wisdom would be that Labour stands for higher spending and consequently higher taxation. Yet quite recently a Labour MP voted for a motion that called increases in income, VAT, and carbon taxes “detrimental to families, pensioners, and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United Kingdom.”. Perhaps this could have been due to miscommunication or simple human error, but this supposed change of heart was later re-affirmed when the Shadow EPW Secretary openly said that they are not socialist. This is in contrast to the official party line that Labour is  a socialist party.

Regardless of whether Labour considers itself to be socialist or capitalist, it is abundantly clear that in its current state it needs to take action before the cracks in the party sink it to the bottom.

“I felt I could make a difference. “ – an interview with ThreeCommas

Photos: Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley campaigns for U.S. Senate  seat | Politics | stltoday.com

In an exclusive interview with the Telegraph, the LPUK’s newest Deputy Leader has dived into the issues that matter to him and on his future plans for politics . Up first was the rather obvious question of what made him join the libertarians in the first place

What made you join the LPUK in the first place?

Growing up in Manchester I always had a keen interest in politics because of how they affected my family and the people around me. I always felt that to truly benefit the people a government should cut red tape, keep taxes low, and focus on the issues that matter most to the people. These values aligned greatly with the LPUK and once I joined the party I felt right at home with the wonderful people inside the party. Before my election to be MP for Manchester, the seat had long been held by parties on the left-most notably the Green Party. I know that people were feeling let down by the Greens and parties on the left in my home town and I felt I could make a difference. That’s what led me to lead a grassroots Libertarian campaign in Manchester.

Where on the political spectrum would you place yourself?

I’m not the biggest fan of the political spectrum because I believe it tends to divide people and make politicians become entrenched in their views rather than try and reach bipartisan solutions. At the end of the day, we have so much in common rather than what may divide us politically or ideologically. That being set I am most aligned with a Libertarian Individualist mindset. I want a small government that emphasizes individual freedom through its policies.

What made you run for the Deputy Leadership of the LPUK? Was this your first attempt?

This wasn’t my first race for DL, I ran once before and lost a close race. I think that race helped prepare me for this one and people had more confidence in me as a result of that. What made me run is that I believed I could help the party write a new chapter in our history. So far we have always been in opposition or a junior partner in government but I think as the nation realizes the two-party system has failed them they will support the LPUK. As DL I wanted to lead the party there and I was able to win the support of my fellow party members who believed in me as well.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10-20 years given your rather quick rise in politics?

I entered politics because I wanted to make a difference for my home and help the country find its direction. I’ll continue that fight for progress as DL and certainly as long as I am an MP. That being said politics not an easy job and so I hope that in the next 10 to 20 years I can be retired from politics in good conscience and that I was able to create some of that change. I would ideally like to be as far away from Westminster as possible and spent my time with my kids and hopefully grandchildren as well.

If you somehow became PM but could enact one policy , which one would it be?

An issue I have long been passionate about is justice reform. Thousands of people every year are affected by justice system whether it’s interactions with the police or the courts. Currently, as it stands there’s a number of issues that I would like to address such as prison reform, case overload, and more. Reforming the justice system to make sure we have a functioning system while at the same time protecting the rights of all is not an easy task that can be done in a day but if I were Prime Minister I would certainly be able to lead a substantial effort to make a difference.

Where do you see Libertarianism in Britain going in the future?

Going forward I think the future of Britain is Libertarianism. People have already began to see that the old two party system which has dominated British politics for far too long is broken. The results at the last general election only confirmed that fact. As we head into the future I hope to see renewed support for the LPUK and our core values of individual freedom and keeping the government off the back of ordinary folk. I think that libertarianism will be embraced across the UK and I hope to lead the LPUK so we can serve the country as people see our vision for this great country.

Thank you, that’s everything we have time for today.

Telegraph constituency polling 10/21/2020

1. Somerset and Bristol – Libertarian hold

The seat of the long-time LPUK Leader and Deputy Prime Minister /u/Friedmanite19 appears to have taken his message to heart as should an election occur today Friedmanite would win his seat with almost 44% of the vote alone up from 37% in the previous Sun constituency polling and with well over 50% should the Conservatives endorse the incumbent. This seat is as safe as it gets as barring a concentrated effort by both the Opposition and the

Conservatives to unseat the DPM our experts do not believe it is possible for the Libertarians to lose this. Of note however is the polling of the PPUK, which puts them safely in third place in this seat above both the Labor and Liberal Democrats. LPUK hold

2.Sussex –  Libertarian hold

Sussex is an even safer Libertarian safe seat, which shows no signs of flipping any time soon with the incumbent Minister of State for School Standards /u/CaptainRabbit1234  seeming unbeatable come election day, garnering over 56% of the vote and bagging the seat LPUK for several terms to come.

What is interesting though is the performance of left-wing parties within this seat. Left-wing voters within Sussex prefer either the more moderate Liberal Democrats or the hard-left solidarity with both parties outpolling Labour at 10 and 6 percent respectively. LPUK hold

3.Essex – Conservative Hold

The seat of the now notorious Chief Whip of the Blurple coalition /u/BrexitGlory. He appears to enjoy a rather large lead of almost 16 points ahead of the Labour party and there seems to be no real challenge facing him. In comparison with the last polls support for Mr. Glory has – more or less remained steady while support for both Labour and the LPUK has fallen by 7 and 11 points with support being more or less distributed among the smaller left-wing parties and Coalition!. All in all, barring a strong  Labour with support from the smaller left-wing parties it seems like BrexitGlory can enjoy not only a good drink but also smooth sailing through the next general election.Conservative hold

4. Birmingham Solihull and Coventry – LPUK lean

The seat held by the former Foreign Secretary and current Liberal Democrat Foreign affairs spokesperson /u/Model-Willem is the first truly marginal seat in this set of constituency polls. As of today, the Libertarians have a polling lead in this seat , however, the margins of error within these seats are relatively large and thus it’s hard for pollsters to accurately predict which of the two parties is in the lead.

It is also worth noting that both Solidarity and Coalition have also been doing quite well in this seat and thus in a general election scenario it’s likely that the endorsements of these two parties could determine the outcome of this race. Possible Libertarian Gain 

5. Leicestershire  – Conservative lean

A seat currently held by Conservative /u/JDeany02, with a relatively strong Conservative lead of over 6% ahead of the Liberal Democrats, with Labour at a distant third. The telegraph predicts this to be a narrow Conservative hold. Conservative hold

6.Lanarkshire and the borders – tossup
This is  a three-way marginal seat, with a story to boot. As of today it is held by the junior Labour MP /u/yimir_.  Currently   the Conservatives are ahead however their lead is quite small and could easily be overturned by either Labour or the Libertarians given they could secure the support of moderate swing voters that may make or break a run in this Scottish seat.

Smaller parties however find themselves in a less than desirable situation in this seat as none of them appear to have a realistic chance at winning this seat – too close to call with a slight conservative lean

7. Overall polling

In this set of polls, the Libertarian and Conservative Parties maintain their majority quite easily with Labour and the LibDems battling it out for the third place,however, the Liberal Democrats come ahead by almost 2%. If such polling holds up at the national level then the Labour Party will truly be in trouble, due to the party’s ever-narrowing support base and Solidarity’s aggressive push for dominance on the British left.

Minor Parties appear to more or less remain constant, with the Progressive Party gaining 2% in this polling and the DRF being all ,but wiped out, owing to the seat selection favoring seats predominantly in the East of England that favor the PPUK and the LPUK. Solidarity seems to have suffered in this polling, although this could quite easily be attributed to the seat selection at play as well. All in all the incumbent Conservative-Libertarian coalition is popular with the voters and is cruising towards re-election, while a left-wing government appears more distant than ever…

The left is wrong about Channel 4 – opinion

Get in touch | Channel 4

The left is wrong about Channel 4 – opinion 

It is often the argument of the left that privatisation of Channel 4 as a supposedly ‘healthy’ entity makes no sense, that privatisation will end the edgy alternative content the channel produces. Yet, what these arguments miss is that a debate ought not to be framed in the terms of whether the channel ought to be privatised or not, but whether there is a good reason to keep it within the hands of the state at all. 

Why? Because the very same principle applies to the rest of the economy and our broader political systems.. Government ownership has never been the default option even on the fringes of hard left British politics. Any proposed nationalisations, like for instance the nationalisation of British Steel have some sort of reason, such as to protect  jobs or supposedly improve workers rights. The same principles ought also to apply to Channel 4 which, despite the cries of many on the left, is in a good financial shape under the commercial model, with a surplus in the millions.

According to its 2018 annual report C4 is already running a 5 million surplus and that number is likely to grow over the next several years. On the other viewership figures have been steadily declining from  11.4 per cent in 2010 to 10.9 per cent in 2014.

Channel 4 is already exposed to  commercial risks, that is it operates under a for-profit model but invests all of that back into the Channel meaning that there are no tangible benefits for the taxpayer. However it also relies on ad revenue to fund it and unlike other larger mobile broadcasters could potentially face severe financial hardships should a downturn in this market occur. A company or investor with deep pockets could alleviate that concern and provide much needed investment to expand and revitalise the network. A feat that is simply impossible under the current ownership model without funds being transferred from the Exchequer and consequently taxpayers’ pockets. 

A private Channel 4 would avoid such an issue and would benefit greatly from vertical integration with a larger broadcaster such as Viacom and would be far more resilient than it is under the status quo.

It is also worth noting that C4 is also not the most efficient of broadcasters as, according to the former Chief Executive of Channel 5 David Elstein, savings of between 130 and almost 200 million pounds could be made within Channel 4 without impacting the quality and funding of programming.

Many on the left have also decried privatisation by claiming that a privatised C4 would face major cuts to programming or would otherwise lose its character. This is a fallacy, as under the current privatisation bill, the public remit is to be retained and,thus, Ofcom would have powers to protect such a remit. Furthermore there is little to no incentive for any potential buyer to weaken the Channel 4 brand as the last thing investors would want would be to decimate the brand of C4 and potentially jeopardise their multibillion investment.

There is also the question of whether the remit even fit for purpose in its current form as according to Mr. Elstein : “The only formal remit it has is to broadcast four hours of peak time news per week, which it has done since the day it launched … and to ensure that 35 percent of its commissions come from outside the M25. That is all it has to do. There is no money attached to those obligations. Channel 4 spends £50 million a year on news and current affairs. If it spent less, nobody could do anything about it. If it cut it in half, nobody could do anything about it.”

A potential sale could perhaps be used to strengthen this formal remit, by re-introducing certain quotas or requirements for the broadcaster to produce and broadcast minority content. Something which many on the left of the House at least claim to support. Yet these very same members also wish to see the rather lacklustre remit upheld .

An argument also made against the privatisation is that to make way for profits and dividends cuts would have to be made to content spending.  This is the assumption made by many of those opposed to the privatisation. Is it true however? The vast majority of potential buyers already operate on small profit margins of several percent and there is nothing to indicate that a privatised Channel 4 would not behave in a similar manner .

Such a possibility is also acknowledged by Channel 4’s own report on the issue as the potential case 3 with a 20% increase  in overall content spend and projected growth in revenues with a different  scenario assuming a bleak 44% cut to UK content spending with broadly similar revenues

This scenario however  assumes that the government would deliberately weaken or abolish C4’s remit and that a potential buyer would actively pursue cuts to content and thus short-term gains.Both of these assumptions are lofty at best as the government has not removed the remit and could seek to strengthen it in the future. Cuts to content spending are also questionable as large enough savings could already be made by improving the administrative efficiency and utilising synergy strategies.It is also worth noting  that several of the potential purchasers do not issue dividends at all.

As of today the  privatisation bill is guaranteed to pass and it may well be the beginning of a new and better Channel four with a stronger remit and larger viewership.

References:

 Brooks, G. Barwise, P. (2016) The Consequences of Privatising Channel 4, London: Channel 4.

 Elstien, D. (2016, March) Channel 4: the case for privatisation, Retrieved from: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ourbeeb/channel-4-case-for-privatisation/

 Elstien, D. (2016), A privatised future for Channel 4? Chapter 2: Government position and ownership models, London, House of Lords.

Politics of the mob- why the government should not cave into the Nature Revolution demands opinion

Throw the Book at the Rioters - The Bulwark

It is not unusual for disgruntled voters and activists to protest a particular government policy or a controversial event. In fact the right to assembly is one of the single greatest democratic rights we have as British citizens, further guaranteed by the article 20  of the universal declaration of human rights. 

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

What happens however when we see a peaceful assembly devolves into a violent stampede? When elected politicians are being physically assaulted by extremists in a bid to terrorise the government into backing their policies? The fact that Nature Rebellion are protesting is trying to be used as an actual argument of substance in our parliament and this is shocking. Let me be clear members of the opposition can say we sicken them, they can get arrested and support throwing eggs at people they don’t agree with but this government will not bow down to intimidation. 

Throughout the debate I was rather shocked to see several high profile Opposition spokespeople including the principal speaker of the green party and the now infamous ChainChompsky of Solidarity attempting to push the demands of the NR movement in an effort to make the case against the government’s bill. 

What I found particularly revolting about these remarks is how easy the Opposition were willing to embrace the questionable rhetoric and actions of the Nature Revolution protests when it suited their agenda. Their supposed willingness to allow a relatively small and well-organised group of 18 thousand to dictate public policy against the wishes of almost 51% of registered voters voting for the current government.

Let us not forget that the supposedly “terrified” protestors have attacked the Justice Secretary , repeatedly insulted and attacked our police officers who were simply doing their job. There were also the destructive NR policies that would see tremendous harm inflicted upon our economy and the communities , harm which the hard-left have at least partly embraced. In an era of growing international tensions and the ominous threat of climate change it is simply disheartening to see the left and the hard-left to abandon the opinions and interests of millions of hard-working Britons in favour of pleasing an increasingly violent and vocal minority , especially when that appeasement comes at the price of the wellbeing of their own constituents.

In a democracy we have an elected government and we do not make policy based on hard-left protestors with ridiculous demands. The left is trying to console themselves after a historic election defeat and think that a few thousand extremists gives them a mandate to inflict their radical agenda. I can assure members it doesn’t because when push comes to shove our elected MP’s will be there to ensure we have a sane climate policy based on science and what the country want instead of a few protestors.