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He wouldn't have been inspired to write this incoherent article if he wasn't uncomfortable with tax cuts becoming a credible idea.

More than tax cuts, he's uneasy when he sees an internet group develop power and a following, seemingly threatening and diminishing his imagined influence. These media luvvies have held a monopoly position vis a vis the political class for too long and, now, they sense that the ground is shifting.
And they're worried and resentful.

If the public wanted tax cuts they would have voted for them at the last election.
I am afraid what people want and it may be uncomfortable for many on this site to admit it is good public services.They also believe that tax cuts will make these services worse not better.
Anyone can say that tax cuts is the way back to power as its such any easy option to advocate but I think that instead of forever discussing tax cuts we should be discussing the far more complicated and difficlt options about how we can improve public services without going down the path of more privatisation which Labour are doing at present and which are making private companies richer but public services poorer.

The public didn't get a chance to vote for tax cuts at the last election. Now let's march forward with an authentic Tory tax-cutting programme and ignore the negative mean-minded, grasping reactionaries.

Everybody wants to pay less tax. It's a sure votewinner.

More to the point, the tax money BELONGS to the taxpayers. Let's reverse this legalised theft and shrink the power of the state.

As we used to say in FCS...

A luta continua!

Has anyone checked out James Harkin's uber-cool site? I'm no expert on these matters, but I'm presuming the general gloom and the grainy photo-booth shot of the man himself is post-modernist in some amusing way.

Anyway, I agree with the comments posted so far (with the exception of Jack's obviously).

The peasants are beginning to sense that no matter how many tithes we hand over to our betters up in the Castle, they don't actually know how to fix public services, and that we'd all be much better off making our own decisions.

Hopefully, sooner rather than later our party leaders will catch up with low tax opinion formers like Byers and the LDs.

Bring it on.

Right on Wat!

I'm thinking of starting a kind of FCS "old comrades" group as a caucus within the party to promote radical Thatcherite ideas such as tax-cutting which are more relevant today than ever before.

It's exactly a year since FCS was closed down thanks to Bercow. We need to commemorate the event and perpetuate the ideals of the founding fathers.

Sorry that should read 20 years!!!!!

If the public wanted tax cuts they would have voted for them at the last election.

As the polling evidence shows that people believed the Conservatives wouldn't deliver tax cuts, it's hard to see how they could have expressed a desire for them at the ballot box...

They also believe that tax cuts will make these services worse not better.

Yet they apparently don't believe that more money will - or has - delivered better services.

more privatisation

How exactly are Labour replacing state with private provision?

James, Jack's postings become more incredulous every day. He's basically fallen for the Labour spin but wants to manage in a different way.

I think people certainly want a simpler tax system. This is something Osbourne frequently refers to. I think you've got to look at tax credits for a start. A micro managing policy at its worst.

How exactly are Labour replacing state with private provision?
It's a sort of bastardisation of public projects financed mainly by the Treasury but run by private contractors at great expense with a huge public bureacracy, scrap many of those and either go for wholesale privatisation, de-regulation and/or transfer to private charities and commercialise much of the provision of the services - whether publicly or privately run public services can be run to break even, one thing that perhaps was rather neglected was the ability of public sector organisations to break even or even make a profit if run along commercial lines, schools and hospitals could be run to break even - certainly attempts should be made to achieve this as much as possible and reduce public spending and taxation.

"... schools and hospitals could be run to break even" - they already are, except when there's a cock up and they run a budget deficit. I think what you mean is that their expenditure should be balanced by revenue, as now, but without any of that revenue coming directly or indirectly from taxes. But the idea that we would all be better off if that were the case is simply not true: maybe a third would be significantly better off, maybe a third would see no great difference, while maybe a third would be much worse off.

Samizdata have an interesting comment on Dave today:


http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/2006/09/if_you_vote_tor.html

Jack Stone @ 9.43 I should be very interested to hear either what you mean by...'but I think that instead of forever discussing tax cuts we should be discussing far more complicated and difficult options about how we can improve public services without going down the path of more privitisation.... or whtat sort of ideas you have in mind, because your second paragraph is a bit confusing.

I think its quite clear that today, more than ever before, we can cut tax without actually affecting public service funding. Labour are wasting money left, right and centre on all sorts of brash schemes and legeslative ideals which are not only pointless, but totally needless.

Reforming the welfare state would be a good start, such as the horrible state handout scheme that is Tax Credits. Lifting the poorest out of the tax system would be a good start. And ridiculas programmes to get people into work like 'New Deal', which has presided over an actual increase, in real terms, of unemployment.

Private involvmant in the NHS and education service isn`t working. It is more expensve and PFI is driving many school and hospital trust`s into deficit so I think we have to come up with new ways to make public services more efficinet and able to serve the public better.
I believe we must hand power downwards in that we must allow those who work in the services the power to run there own organisations as they seem fit without the continued interferance of politicans.
On the NHS I would like to see it become independant along the lines of the BBC. A part of the public sector but independant of political control. I beleieve you could even have an NHS tax that would go straight to the service in the same way as the licence fee. We must increase the power of the health professionals and decrease the power of the politicans.
I would also like all schools to become independant and funded straight from the government.Governors and head teachers should be running schools not politicans.
We should be the party of the people against the politican. A party that believes that if you give people power and responsiblity they will thrive rather than have them operating in a straight jacket with everything controlled by big brother in Whitehall.
I beleive that if you let those in the publc sector do there jobs they will do them well. The sad thing is that at present they are not being allowed to.
The trouble with many on this site is that they see everything the public sector do as wrong and everythng the private sector do as right and I believe they are wrong. I believe we must champion the public sector and come foward with solutions to there problems not forever bleat on about tax cuts and the way money is being wasted. When money is being wasted it is ususally politicans or private sector compnies who are either throwing it down the tiolet in the case of the former or in the case of the later passing it on to offshore bank accounts as was recenly reported on t.v.

I think you are right Sam.We have seen in the USA the power of groups outside the main political parties who campaign on a whole range of issues from gun control to abortion. All of whom are so efficient and effective in their lobbying that politicians ignore them at their peril. Will the same come true here from groups like the TPA,Migrationwatch or the Countryside Alliance?

"I am afraid what people want and it may be uncomfortable for many on this site to admit it is good public services."

So what is to be done with the £30-80 (depending on the course) billion of government expenditure wasted every year?

"Private involvmant in the NHS and education service isn`t working."

Perhaps the answer is to look at organisations such as BUPA which plough their profits back into healthcare provision. Or Civitas's New Model School prpoect - high standards at cheap private schools.

"I beleive that if you let those in the publc sector do there jobs they will do them well."

Does that include delegates to the NUT conference who give teaching a bad name?

"I believe we must champion the public sector and come foward with solutions to there problems not forever bleat on about tax cuts and the way money is being wasted."

Do you think the public like having their money wasted? Do you not think it is the job of the opposition to draw attention to government waste?

Jack

You quite rightly point out that the public = bad, private=good mindset is in its way as limiting as socialists opposite version. I agree that the NHS needs reformation and less centralised direction - thats what underlies much of Conservative & indeed increasingly Labour reforms.
The problem is that we do need political involvement in decision making on Health & Education. These are matters that like housing, defence & law are key to the human condition. The issue is which are central government and which local government concerns and where poitics stops and professional delivery starts.
Just a few thoughts - The beginning point is funding and control over that funding - he who pays the piper calls the tune. Even if you have a separate NHS tax who decides the overall level? Is it distributed to local or regional authorities? Do we try to level out between regions on basis of need - who makes those decisions - or just treat it as a local or regional tax? How are decisions made on which, where, how many practices or hospitals - how much democratic control? For democracy to work the elected/electorate must be responsible not only for deciding how the cash is spent but also for raising of the cash - otherwise there is local grandstanding with spending politicians claiming it's Whitehall that isn't funding them enough.

Then you get to individual hosptital performance. English NHS costs considerably more to deliver outcomes worse than other countries and there is variation between hospitals & regions. Quite rightly we object to target setting that drives behaviour away from clinical priorities but how do the taxpayers funding the service ensure there is a drive towards best practice? Will we accept competition between hospitals and therefore poor hospitals closing? What about the democratic desire to have local hospitals if clinical judgement is that large regional spcialist hospitals are better?

Jack your arguments are poor to say the least. Private involvement is the NHS isnt working? Is it state companies that research and produce drugs? No. Is it state companies that prescribe drugs errr no. Its privately owned pharmacies. This whole - private companies bad attitude is a complete nonsense!

Private involvement especially PFI is costing the NHS billions more than it would have done if the taxpayer had paid directly for these improvements.
PFI takes money out of the health service and puts ito shareholders pockets when that money should be used for healthcare.Even some Conservative MP`s rightly see it as competly inefficient way of spending public money bordering on a racket.
Of course politicans must decide the leval of public money going into public services but once they do the day to day running of those services should be left to the professionals who work in them
As for drug companies I personally think that its about time the government investigated the high cost of drugs. We should not stand back and pay what they demand unless they can justify he costs of there goods.
I think thatthe attitude that I hear on this site that the market should decide or that private is right, public is wrong is the wrong attitude entirely. There are some things that are best done by the public sector and market forces should play no part in those services.
The Conservative Party have to convince the public that we believe in the public services and are serious in our desire to improve them. We are not going to do that if we keep banging on about tax cuts all the time and are forever running down our health and education services.

Jack Stone is right. The public private bodge of PFI has cost billions. We should privatise the lot and the user.

Should read "and fund the user".

Amazed by Jack Stone's comments. Has he seen the light???

Yes. Right on esbonio. Privatise the lot

"There are some things that are best done by the public sector and market forces should play no part in those services."

May I recommend Murray Rothbard's "For a New Liberty"? or James Bartholomew's "The Welfare State We're In"?

Tell me, do you enjoy controlling how other people spend their money?

Richard

On the whole I prefer that certain activities are managed through public funding, controlled by bodes answerable to democratic control under agreed constitutional principles - policing, justice, armed forces for example. I personally am happy to pay taxes to ensure no child is forced into a childhood of deprivation, without enough food, clothing or safe housing. I'm happy to contribute to ensuring my fellow citizens are not reduced to penury or begging if they lose employment or suffer ill health. I'll contribute to ensuring all children have access to a good education, that old people have a guaranteed pension that enables them to live to a reasonable standard. I could not live comfortably if I knew others had no access to a reasonably good public health system. A majority of the population happily share these preferences. So yes I "enjoy" deciding how much money myself and fellow citizens should contribute to providing these community services.

As for how these are provided and to what level there are good cases for private or public provision - but if it's my money I want people responsible to me to have the say on what is spent and provided. It's a matter of what proves the most efficient provision in terms of quality and price. As Jack reasonably points out PFI is not an efficient method in many if not most cases, and the market includes spivs as well as the well intentioned. There are cases where state provision may be the most efficient and least dangerous.

The private sector should have no part in the funding f hospitals and schools. PFI is inefficeint use of taxpayers money and it is becoming clear that the private sector is using the public sector as a cash cow they can inflate there profits with.
Personally I believe that public services are not improved by private sector involvement and if the party is foolish enougth to promise more private sector involvement they will be going down a path that will do it no good whatsoever.

Ted, I am personally happy to give money to those who are less fortunate than myself. I just resent being forced to. Nor do I consider it my business to tell other people what to do with their money. I do, however, accept the need for some taxation to fund internal and external security.

Suffice to say cutting taxes down to 10% of GDP isn't an electoral possiblity at the moment so in the meantime I will support all policies that reduce government expenditure and give more power to the taxpayer.

To be honest I only really asked that question to see what amusing response I'd get from Jack. As of yet nothing has beaten his claim that Eurosceptics secretly want to recriminalise homosexuality (posted on a thread about the EU some months back).

"The private sector should have no part in the funding f hospitals and schools."

Do you propose that we shut down BUPA and all the private schools?

Jack

Must part company there - I cannot see anything wrong with having private hosptitals, church or charity hospitals, municipal hospitals or state funded trusts offering their services to the NHS. If BUPA can deliver an operation at a competitive cost meeting standards why shouldn't NHS fund it?

Labour misunderstood the objections of the post war Conservative Party to the NHS - many were against the nationalisation of hospitals not provision of free health care. For example St Bartholemews Hospital could have continued as a private charitable foundation offering care to NHS patients - and would probably today be a much better hospital. Many municipal or local hospitals may well be serving their communities had they continued as autonomous bodies rather than be closed as NHS tries centrally to manage provision and funding.

Same with education, why should the state have to run all schools it funds?

As I said above I'm happy to pay (to a point Mr Brown!) but that's about the ends not the means. I'm not happy to pay for a wasteful, buraucratic solution which fails to offer quality, choice or efficient use of my cash.

Richard

It comes down to the state/community. Sorry but I think if you share the benefits then you have to pay - providing you get to vote on how much & what - and also you must conribute to the common insurance policy. I'm a single higher rate tax payer in a village so see very little actual return to me on what I pay and I think current tax levels are unreasonably high because HM Govt is wasteful but I want the waste cut not the provision of services.

as for Eurosceptics & criminalising homosexuality - some recent posters/trolls seem to support that linkage...:-)

The (two) usual suspects unite to bray out their socialist principles.

as for Eurosceptics & criminalising homosexuality - some recent posters/trolls seem to support that linkage...:-)

Care to provide evidence for that disgraceful allegation.

(from which, incidentally, I deduce that you are a Eurofanatic)

"as for Eurosceptics & criminalising homosexuality - some recent posters/trolls seem to support that linkage...:-)"

I suspect they are mostly trolls. And even those who are sincere are probably in a tiny minority.

Richard, have you read any post advocating recriminalising homosexuality?

I certainly haven't seen one.

Sounds like another smear.

Richard

I tend to think it's trolls amusing themselves though no-one else.

Would you please define a "troll" Ted, and tell us why you think that anybody who disagrees with your rather off-beat ideas deserves to be summarily dismissed in this way?

Perhaps the Silent Majority of the Conservative Party would fall under this description?

Richard @ 21:45 - "... cutting taxes down to 10% of GDP isn't an electoral possiblity at the moment ..."

I doubt that in a modern society taxes could even be cut as low as 20% of GDP, for genuine long term political rather than short term electoral reasons. On top of the need to fund basic functions such as the armed forces and the police, there's the question of maintaining some kind of social cohesion and ensuring a stable and secure environment within which anybody can make a living in the first place.

All the time you're forgetting that there's a wide variation in both personal abilities and family circumstances, that there's a general tendency for rich families to get richer and poor families to get poorer with each generation, at least in relation to each other, and that without mechanisms for constant re-distribution from the richer families to the poorer we could easily end up with effectively two (or more) societies living in the same country but in (potentially violent) conflict.

I wonder if our little band of tax-and-spenders are reading the Telegraph this morning?

"We must cut tax as a matter of morality, senior Tories insist"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/09/03/ntory03.xml

Can I just point out that PFI has been used by Gordon Brown, in the same way that Enron used Special Purpose Entities.

Private sector involvement in the running of services makes sense, as it offers increased efficiency. PFI on the other hand, is a way of borrowing money to keep the liabilities of the books. Unfortunately it is a lot more expensive that issuing debt in the normal way.

Jack is confusing the current flawed use of private money, with the potential actions of a Conservative Government that is out to improve services and cut costs rather than just cook the books.

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