Monday, March 03, 2008

Let's Abolish Income Tax (And Other Pie in the Sky Policies)

The UK Libertarian Party (no,I hadn't heard of it either) has today launched its first policy, and it's to abolish income tax. Don't all rush for membership forms at once! It seems to be an offshoot of UKIP (maybe its provisional wing?), with Chris Mounsey (better known to you and me as Devil's Kitchen) as its Director of Communications.
Party Leader, Patrick Vessey, said, "Income Tax raised £143 billion in 2006/07, about one quarter of the £534 billion spent by government last year. "But savings on unnecessary spending could easily be found: for example, current annual spending on Britain's hundreds of unaccountable QUANGOs – including such patent time-wasters as the British Potato Council, the Milk Development Council and the Wine Standards Board – is running at around £175 billion. "The Libertarian Party believes that the tax burden should be substantially reduced, and that those taxes that remain should be levied on spending, not on income. This policy will reward those – especially the poorest – who spend within their means and who save for their future. The Party's Director of Communications, Chris Mounsey, added, “This may seem like pie-in-the-sky but, in 2001/02, the government spent £378 billion. Were we to return to those spending levels, we could abolish personal income tax and still have £13 billion left over – sufficient also to abolish, at current revenue levels, Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, and duty on beer and wine. The people of Britain are beginning to understand that simply throwing money at public services doesn't work. The Libertarian Party is dedicated to allowing every person in this country to choose how their hard-earned money is spent – and the best way in which to do that is not to steal it from them in the first place." The Libertarian Party's pledge to scrap personal income tax is the first policy to emerge from the new party's discussions, and will form part of a radical manifesto to be released later in the year.

I am sure we can't wait. I am all in favour of low taxes, but let's deal with reality here, shall we? We can all play fantasy politics, but in the end if you're serious about politics these sort of indulgences can't really form part of the debate.

106 comments:

AnyoneButBrown said...

Hang on Iain. That sounds a fabulous idea.
Does anyone seriously believe our public services are any better than 2001/2? Well take public spending back to that level and abolish income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax and some alcohol duties.
The libertarian party gets my vote!!
More power to DK.
It also demonstrates how much our taxes have risen during the dark years of NuLab

Devil's Kitchen said...

I should clarify that the LP is nothing to do with UKIP, at all (beyond the fact that I used to be a member of the latter party).

I originally joined UKIP because I thought that it was the most libertarian party out there: now there is a party that is purely Libertarian.

DK

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Such "indulgencies" get aired & often turn up as policy of some bigger party 5 or 10 years later.

In any case I question the morality of saying that it is wrong of these people to stand because the electoral game is rigged against them - when you are part of the party rigging the electoral system.

As regards the actual policy - do you dispute that it is broadly feasible? Personally I would take off business taxes before income tax since increased growth would enrich us more than personal tax cuts.

Anonymous said...

i've not slept for a month and woken up on April 1st have I?

Lord Blagger said...

Strikes me as perfectly achievable. Quangos, so presuably all off the books so no redundacy issues. Just a cut off date and end of payments from the tax payer.

I would be interested to see the list of quangos that cost 175 billion.

Its only cutting spending back to what it was 5 years ago. ie. A little bit of Brown's largess with other people's money.

Praguetory said...

The problem with abolishing income tax is that you are effectively abolishing corporate tax too as all profits will be paid as salaries as that is more tax efficient. I'd prefer to see across the board but balanced reductions in taxes on work and enterprise.

Unknown said...

Apart from one liners do you have any intention on dealing with the content of the statement?

Patrick Vessey ackowledges that many will see it as "pie in the sky" then deals with that point of view. Was there a problem with the maths?

As far as I can see the only real danger is a short term inflationary hit, which can be easily dealt with by a gradual reduction in the tax as opposed to an immediate scrapping.

Newmania said...

Its a thought though.A 30% increase in government spending thats about the size of income tax.... well of the same order
Suppose you were offered a choice.Services at 97 levels and a 30% increase to your net salary or services at the new fabulous improved New labour levels and no income tax ...?...Where do I sign up for ther money option ?
Perhaps Iain aside form poo poo-ing in a nebulous way you would explain what is so wrong with that idea? I understand what you mean about the politically possible of course but that is a moving pace and moved by those on the edge as much as anyone .
So I think you are a little harsh. There is certainly a place for a seriously low tax Party and with Cameron pledging to exceed Blair/ Brown spending on the NHS I can see many being tempted.
They certainly have a point about the effect of income tax at low levels as well.

Anonymous said...

Explain why it's "fantasy politics" Iain. They explained their thinking with a return to earlier spending levels, so have the courtesy to explain why you think they're wrong instead of mindlessly bashing them.

Mr Eugenides said...

I don't understand. Why can't we return to 2001-2 levels of spending? What is "fantasy politics" about that?

Back in 2001 we had an election and I seem to recall that the Conservatives were arguing - rightly - that we were paying too much tax and spending too much government money.

If that was true - and I stand by it, as I imagine you do - then shouldn't we at the very least be seeking to return public spending to those [already excessive] 2001-2 levels?

There's nothing "pie in the sky" about it. It's testament to Labour's success in altering the terms of the debate that a loyal Conservative such as yourself dismisses it out of hand as lunacy.

Man in a Shed said...

There are a few bloggers signed up to the Libertarians, I spotted them a while ago. I doubt they can ever win seats - but that may not be their purpose, perhaps they are somewhere between a think tank and a party.

The problem for the main parties is that they treat their membership with such contempt ( all three of them ). Fringe parties may become much more popular as everyone follows the conventional wisdom of heading for the middle ground.

PS What does this say about the state of UKIP ?

pxcentric said...

Perhaps this move is connected with the fact that Nigel Farage has just been elected President of Russia.

He seems to have changed his name, but it is a thin disguise.

No doubt he will soon be invading Europe.

Anonymous said...

Ian , you say it doesn't work .. Where are they going wrong ?

Anonymous said...

Re. Devils Kitchen: I read his post on the burglary debacle at your place and have concluded that he is an idiot (if only all the police were as smart as him, and motivated of course). This abolition of tax idea confirms this.

Manfarang said...

So now the UK has a branch of the Libertarian Party.Will they go and help in the Presidential Election?

Anonymous said...

Too right. I read that this morning on DK and immediately wondered what they hoped to achieve.

Maybe they should have a chat with the Taxpayers' Alliance about how to set up a top-quality pressure group without appearing stupid?

Anonymous said...

The main parties are never going to propose anything really imaginative or radical. They just vie with each other to spend more and more of our money. In practice, the Libertarian Party is not going to form a government or, probably, even get a single MP. If parties like this only propose things that appear realistic to the main parties, what purpose do they serve?

For the Libertarian Party to point out that government spending has increased in 6 years by more than the total amount collected in income tax, is entirely valid. The point is not whether, in practice, income tax could be abolished. It's that the government is taking and wasting far too much of our money, a subject the Conservative party has lost interest in.

The secondary point is that the Libertarians believe taxes should be focussed on spending and not income. Whether you agree or not, it's a valid point for political debate. It's sad that you don't want to engage in that debate.

Julian Gall

Scary Biscuits said...

Iain, by being 'real' here do you actually mean 'thinking inside the box'?

As Westminister people like you and of all the main parties get further and further from the people (and poll turnout declines proportionately), the day comes closer when Britain will become a failed democracy like the European states before the World War.

The whole point of a democracy is that genuinely new parties are periodically given power to correct the mistakes and (sometimes) corruption of the predecessors. If these new parties are not really new and agree with their predecessors on 90% of policy, then democracy will fail.

Anyway what's so sacrosanct about the literally billions of pounds squandered on Labour's payroll vote?

What on earth would be the point of keeping it?

Not only is it corrupt, we Conservatives believe that it is a mechanism for keeping the poor in their place, that this money far from helping the poor simply makes the hole they are in deeper. (Look at the horrendous marginal tax rates paid by Brown's welfare recepients or the northern and midlands factories squeezed out of existence by pay competition from government, as examples.)

If you don't believe that socialism makes society worse, you're probably not a Conservative. If you do you've got a problem: because about 25% of the government's budget is going spare.

I'm not a UKIP support but at least they're having a debate on economic fundamentals rather than promising to do nothing more than tinker at the edges.

Anonymous said...

Careful, Iain I think there may be something in it.

Keep your eye on National Insurance.

Gary

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with that?

We could become a tax haven and make a living from laundering cash for wealthy Germans.

Anonymous said...

and Vermont?

Alan Douglas said...

Chris makes clear he has resigned from UKIP in the comments.

Income tax freedom is actually achievable, though unlikely, because all the mouths in the trough deem it necessary.

Much more likely is a flat rate income tax, which would take billions of costs right out of the system.

A new mind-set IS required.

Alan Douglas

Anonymous said...

Why isn't it time for a radical re-think of our political map?

Parliament is currently full of pompous, self-serving gits who were busy lining their pockets, until recently, and are now busy sacking "staff" (aka Mum and auntie Flo) and burning the evidence like frightened Nazis in a bunker.

DK is one of a few bloggers who I personally rate, as you know. This is a case where you have to look at the message-bearer, as much as the message. He has not crawled out from under a stone!

I don't want to fund Lesbian help lines, hummous marketing boards, bribes to Muslims to make them like us - Hazel Blears you know who I am talking about - and all manner of liberal crappitto. I want a slimmed down government which will protect our way of life, not stifle it, as this present shower are doing.

So Iain, you think you are in a "proper" party and that someone with ideas and some chutzpah and a bit of originality is a loony?

They said that about the Greens, years ago, and yes they are loonies, but at least they changed darling Dave into a convert, for the purposes of being elected.

Wake up and smell the banknotes burning. Be applalled at the monstrous waste of tax payer's money - Northern Rock is the tip of the well, iceberg.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Anonymous said...

"but in the end if you're serious about politics these sort of indulgences can't really form part of the debate"

I can't help thinking that these rather radical ideas, or "indulgences" as you rather patronisingly call them, sound very interesting to most tax payers and worth further debate.

Don't forget that it was the Monster Raving Loony Party that championed the right to vote at 18 before any of the "proper" parties.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the Libertarian Alliance (for 20 years) and also the Conservative Party (for 28 years) I find announcements like this to be damaging and naive.

Libertarianism is a strong concept with a proud history back to John Stuart Mill. In the USA the Libertarian Party competes at most levels with very limited success. In most countries, including the UK, libertarians prefer to use research and argument to influence opinion within the political establishment.

To me, Libertarianism is a philosophy not a political movement. Nicholas Ridley could happily be a Libertarian and a Conservative. Tony Benn can equally happily be a Libertarian and a Socialist. Operating at the fringes of libertarian discussion we can pick and choose the parts of the libertarian agenda that appeal to our broader political outlook. Trying to amalgamate all this into a single coherent policy is not realistic, as the American Libertarian Party has found out to their electoral cost with ongoing splits between Geolibertarians and the Constitutionalists.

Whilst I would welcome any movement that promoted genuine libertarian debate, this latest grouping seem both nihilistic and arrogant. Using such monotone language in an increasingly complex political world will only serve to bring ridicule and thus close down the genuine debate on libertarian principles that is needed after 11 years of centralising and controling statist government.

What next? Abolish all Taxes. Legalise all drugs. World Government? Oh sorry - they were the simple views I held back in the early 1980's before I grew up.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

What if!

Respect for our parliamentarians falls even lower than at present.There is a great feeling of get rid of all the thieving bastards. They are all as bad as each other.Papers are concerned that mass riots will break out.

Who do people turn to?

It will not be, obviously, any of the present parties. They may well turn to others such as The BNP.Ukip or there again our friends here The Libertarian Party.

I do believe there is a change coming. Cameron has spotted it. But is it too little too late?

Time will tell so please dont poo poo a new party on one policy which may sound stupid. BUT please remember this country ran well without income tax you know! Not so long ago as well.

Madasafish said...

Another idiot who thinks all quangoes waste money.
Some do: but the NHS is run by quangoes.

So the idiot is going to close the NHS?

Inane.

Anonymous said...

Of course Iain would welcome a new party with open arms and many blogs full of praise if he thought it would be taking votes off Labour...

Newmania said...

I originally joined UKIP because I thought that it was the most libertarian party out there: now there is a party that is purely Libertarian.

I `ll be interested to see what this Libertarian Party has to say about crime immigration and defence .Libertarian army anyone? What about the sovereignty of the coutry...why would a Libertarian care about that ?

Barnacle Bill said...

Iain to condemn this out of hand as you have is not the sort of response I would expect of an intelligent man.
Politics in this country are crying out for reform.
Whilst an idea like this maybe too radical for the Conservatives to adopt, it does raise the question of why DC cannot be campaigning on a tax cutting manifesto?
I see too much of my hard earned money being wasted by the present government, I don't see anything that attracts me proposed by the Conservatives.
I was prepared to vote UKIP at the next election as a protest vote, not because I endorse any of their policies, but an increased vote for UKIP might have awoken our three other political parties.
Now I'm going to keep my powder dry for the moment, I like the thinking behind this new party, lets see what they come up with next.

Anonymous said...

You were recently burgled, Iain. Some scumbags decided to help themselves to your property. In order to reduce costs, they cut out the middle man that is HMRC. Get it? Tax is theft and welfare is handling stolen goods.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought the conservatives might be grateful that these ideas are being floated. It enables the issue to be debated, which at present seems unlikely to happen in mainstream politics. If they prove popular or plausible elements could be adopted, if they prove unpopular it is not a problem as no major party is directly associated with them.

Anonymous said...

Bring it on!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The UK Libertarian Party (no,I hadn't heard of it either)

I'd heard of it. Don't assume that we all share your smug and cloistered Wesminster village ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Why income tax rather than any other tax? Of them all it seems to be the only one that approaches a degree of fairness in a nominally Christian country.

Let's hope these fantasists pinch as many votes off the Tories as the SWP and other leftie dreamers do off Labour...

Anonymous said...

What "Iain" means is that this is not the conventional wisdom of the Tory party and must therefore be a silly idea.

There was a time when gay marriage would have been dismissed with the same lack of thought, but don't point that out to him.

Anonymous said...

I `ll be interested to see what this Libertarian Party has to say about crime immigration and defence

Libertarians are not anarchists - one of the things they WOULD spend money on is an effective army and a locally accountable police force - note, not a police 'service' a FORCE.

Benny said...

The libertarian party will never succeed. They want to legalise all firearms. I think not.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realise that so many of your regular bloggers were capable of such amazing feats, i.e. typing while their heads were up their arses.

Stop writing such toss about the end of society as we know it, and particularly the NHS. The NHS is currently being fleeced to the tune of £500million a year by cowboy builders, every year for the foreseeable.

Let's try not to be so Daily Main about this and have a proper analysis of the facts.

Anonymous said...

Iain, you're a hypocrit. This is from Mr Eugenides' blog:

What a difference a few months make

Iain Dale lays into the UK Libertarian Party today for their suggestion that income tax could be completely abolished whilst still leaving more money for the government to spend than was contained in the budget for 2001/02 - a policy which I may immodestly claim to have inspired in an email to Devil's Kitchen a year or so ago.

Here's Iain's rather sniffy response:


I am sure we can't wait. I am all in favour of low taxes, but let's deal with reality here, shall we? We can all play fantasy politics, but in the end if you're serious about politics these sort of indulgences can't really form part of the debate.


Which is a wee bit disingenuous. Because here was Iain's response when DK last mentioned it on his blog, five months ago:


I'm a bit slow off the mark with this, but I have just read the most fascinating post on tax by Devil's Kitchen. He calculates that if we went back to 2002-3 spending levels we could in fact abolish income tax completely. Now there's a thought. Memo to George...


Of course, back then it was only a blog post, not a policy from a nascent political party that might one day potentially siphon off Conservative votes.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you've sensed the mood of the people with this post, Iain.

Not....

An alternative career as West Ham's goalie beckons!

Anonymous said...

Take a read of Newt Gingrich's new book. He may have snubbed you in Washington, but his idea for an optional simple 17% tax looks very feasible...

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Change-World-Fails-Works/dp/1596980532

Iain Dale said...

Some of the comments on here beggar belief and illustrate why the Conservative Party has been out of power for a decade.

Do you seriously believe that any political party would be electable with this policy? People would laugh at it. And deservedly so.

And as for the Mr Eugenides post, very good, but he obviously is incapable of spotting a tongue in cheek remark. I've repeatedly made clear I would love government spending to be cut, and while I do believe the pendulum has swung far too heavily in favour of direct taxation, I do not believe any serious politician can propose the complete abolition of income tax and expect to be taken seriously.

hatfield girl said...

Socialist redistribution demands progressive taxation. If we don't accept socialism as a way of governing our country we don't need progressive income tax.

Flat, and preferably low, tax will pay for necessary and reasonable state services, as many formerly socialist countries have discovered since throwing off socialist rule.

Anonymous said...

The Conservative Party has been out of power for a decade because it is Communism-lite, wedded as it is slightly less but still extortionate taxation, and tinkering with failed public services.

Anonymous said...

Flat tax would be a better policy - already adopted by UKIP.

That would mean you cut other taxes too (including ending VAT if out of the EU).

Anonymous said...

" do not believe any serious politician can propose the complete abolition of income tax and expect to be taken seriously"

LoL. At least their masic maths seem to add up, unlike Gids IHT cut "offset" by 3.5bn in non-dom levy which really was fantasy mathematics.

And unlike Gids' plan which gave Labour cover to scare millionaires out of the UK, this policy would actually encourage them to the UK with then nation reaping the reward of their high spending with a new sales tax...

Wow. To think you are mocking this party whilst supporting one that wants state funding and to maintain Labour spending levels...

Anonymous said...

Any suggestion of abolishing a tax and you politicos s**t yourselves.

Newmania said...

One Iain Dale Posted a while ago.....


‘I'm a bit slow off the mark with this, but I have just read the most fascinating post on tax by Devil's Kitchen’

Now what could Iain Dale have been referring to with such obvious approval and interest. I wonder could it possible be this ....

DK Post‘I have been perusing the government statistics that I posted earlier this morning, and here's an interesting fact to consider.
• In 2006/07, government spending was £586.6 billion.
• In 2002/03, government spending was £420.8 billion.
• In 2006/07, income tax receipts were £152.5 billion.’


Indeed it was Mr. dale continued

“. He calculates that if we went back to 2002-3 spending levels we could in fact abolish income tax completely. Now there's a thought. Memo to George... “

Got you!

Iain I `m sure we all agree that seriously you have to start from where we are but Mr. E and I have both made the same point that this idea does show the extent to which the high tax big state view has shut down the debate . I think you have taken the comments too seriously . They are 'Devils advocate' remarks in every sense .

You have done exactly the same thing yourself !!!!

Enjoy

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


Do you seriously believe that any political party would be electable with this policy? People would laugh at it. And deservedly so.


Not all people would laugh at it, and no, they are unlikely to get elected with such black and white principles. However, everyone here can see the tone of the responses - this has generated a lot of interest. Not necessarily of the 'what a perfect idea' ilk, but definitely similar to 'hey, wait a minute, why cant we actually cut taxes?'. This is something the big three have kept their mouth resolutely shut on, whilst spending all of our money with wild abandon for years.

Daily Referendum said...

Has every member of this new party left a comment yet?

Anonymous said...

David Such said: "Don't forget that it was the Monster Raving Loony Party that championed the right to vote at 18 before any of the 'proper' parties."

In fact the MRLP also proposed commercial radio, all-day opening for pubs and abolition of the 11-plus. Whether you agree with these policies or not, it's a pretty successful record for a minor party!

Madasafish said...

Wrinkled Weasel said"Stop writing such toss about the end of society as we know it, and particularly the NHS. The NHS is currently being fleeced to the tune of £500million a year by cowboy builders, every year .."

If you read what I said, the guy said he'd stop all quango spending and save Billions.

the NHS is run by quangoes and ALL NHS spending is part of his savings.

£500Million is a lot of money but nothing compared to the Billions he talks of.


He's a muppet. He has not done his basic homework.

(nor have you)

Anonymous said...

"Has every member of this new party left a comment yet?"

LoL, probably. I guess Iain might have a point about the need for pragmatism which won't be possible as its party members demand philosophical purity.

But doomed though they may be as a party, at least they're keen to fuel the debate with different ideas.

Anonymous said...

I stand to be corrected, but I think that income tax was first introduced to help fund the Napoleonic Wars and has never gone away.

Nor will it ever go away.

The real point that many posters have been making is that taxpayers are rather sick of politicians assuming that we will unquestioningly cough up an increasing amount of money for inefficiently-run public services and an ever-growing state.

So, when Iain Dale says:

"Some of the comments on here beggar belief and illustrate why the Conservative Party has been out of power for a decade."

Perhaps the Conservative Party has been out of power because it stopped listening to people 10 years ago.

And if your post is anything to go by, you have fallen into the same trap.

Anonymous said...

Err, you dismissed it rather than present counter arguments - a Labour trick.

Anonymous said...

Referdumdum:

Even if the party was formed yesterday, it will have more members than your blog has readers.

Anonymous said...

Referdumdum:

Even if the party was only formed yesterday, it will have more members than your blog has readers.

Anonymous said...

I interrupt this learned symposium to lampoon the Leader of HM Opposition.

The following is pure whimsicality and should not be construed as an assertion of fact capable of grounding an action in defamation.

Dave "Call me Dave" Cameron coyly admits to having had a normal tertiary education with normal undergraduate experiences. Oxford being the malarial swamp that it is, this almost certainly implies that at some juncture he contracted a social disease. Standard advice (from chemists) used to be to apply some sort of antiseptic. Dettol was considered to be strong stuff but would do the job.

This is therefore how I picture David Cameron. In his Bullingdon uniform from the waist up. Au naturel from the waste down. Standing manfully with fists on hips and his John Thomas parked in a glass of disinfectant.

Newmania said...

Does the Libertarian Party have any rules? I mean , suppose someone does as they are told accidentally , are they thrown out ?

neil craig said...

I think a party could be electable on a policy of getting rid of income tax. It would, deservedly, not be easy. They would have to convince it was feasible & say what the timescale was (say a 10% reduction annually over 10 years). They would have to prove, beyond reasonable doubt that that getting rid of Labour's quangos would save enough money. Get independent accountants & economists to prove it. It couldn't be sold on bluster. But once the public were convinced the Tories would have a lock on their votes.

In fact what I was proposing, putting the money into cutting corporation tax, is a harder sell since you can see the gains from lower income tax instantly whereas lower CT takes a few years to be repaid in the sort of growth the Irish economy has seen. Though the long term repayment is far greater. Nobody could ever get elected saying cut such a little known tax as CT, the electorate just aren't sophisticated enough to understand.

Except that the SNP stood on a promise to cut CT & get the economy growing & won for the first time ever.

Anonymous said...

Great news.

This gets my vote, where do I join.

I hope they stand for election I'm certainly voting for them instead of the Conservatives.

I know a lot of people who feel put upon by the level of taxation and they WILL be interested in this.

I don't know why you call this "pie in the sky", it's only rolling back state spending to the level of 5 years ago.

It will be interesting to see Camerons response, instead of saying he will waste another 29bn on the NHS (why, there is no need, they already have plenty of money), I and many others want a political party to have a manifesto of large tax cuts.

If this new party is serious and stands in elections there is no need to vote Conservative.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Newmania,

Surely they should all be thrown out simply for having joined a party in the first place.

Daily Referendum said...

Grutfhh,

I doubt it - there can't be that many villages with idiots to spare.

Anonymous said...

Is your opening paragraph indicative of the balanced stance that you will be taking with your new "Total Politics" magazine?

Raedwald said...

I seem to remember another party promising a 'bonfire of the quangos' - which one was that?

As of March 2006 the UK had 883 Non Departmental Public Bodies - or Quangos.

From the 'Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information' (Purpose:"To advise Ministers on how to encourage and create opportunities in the information industry for
greater reuse of Government information.) to the 'Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors (Purpose: To provide advice on appeals by officers and men of the Armed Forces whose applications of permission to retire or resign their commissions on grounds of conscience have been refused by the Service authorities.)via all the Xs, Ys and Zs, the NDPBs employ 1.462m people; surely the very apotheosis of the Client State.

Good on the Libertarians. I wish them all the very best.

AloneMan said...

OK, one article from a supposedly mature political commentator. 66 published comments (at the time of writing). Many of those comments are supportive of the idea. Of those that aren't, not one, not ONE, has come up with a coherent argument as to why the idea is unworkable.
Let's be clear what is happening. We have Conservative Party loyalists trying to brief against the proposal, but they have no idea how to attack it, other than to say it's not workable, for reasons they haven't yet been able to articulate.
Can we have some sensible debate on here, please ?

Daily Referendum said...

Womble on tour,

These quangos are not just figures on paper. They are men and women in jobs. I agree that many of these jobs should not have been created in the first place. However, how many jobs does £175bn equate to? The Tories would also like to see this waste reduced, but are you seriously considering sacking £175bn worth of employees? Surely the best position would be to cut back on the waste caused by these quangos and reduce tax by that ammount.

Madasafish said...

>Womble

"Of those that aren't, not one, not ONE, has come up with a coherent argument as to why the idea is unworkable"

So you are in favour of 100% abolition of the NHS?

Another pie in the sky fanatic.

Anonymous said...

Didn't David Mellor rather underestimate the power of a small, supposedly "single-issue" party?

Look what happened to him.

BTW, when I Googled "David Mellor", I found this wonderful little website that lets you slap him on the face (complete with sound effects.)

I know it's not a serious contribution to the debate, but seeing as it's David Mellor......

Anonymous said...

Maybe a first step would be to abolish income tax on incomes below about 20,000 a year which costs more to collect than it raises? Just a thought...

AloneMan said...

Daily Referendum's argument that these quangos have employed lots of people...Let's be clear; it is not the role of government to create jobs. That is best done by the private sector, which does it to best effect when left with as much of its wealth as possible left untouched by the State.

Madasafish: "So you are in favour of 100% abolition of the NHS?"...No, never suggested that in my post - try reading it. "Another pie in the sky fanatic"...gosh, such intelligent debate, very well done.

STILL waiting for a coherent argument against this proposal...

Daily Referendum said...

Womble,

I agree, but are you, or are you not, proposing the sacking of all those people?

They are real people you know - not just numbers to shuffle around a party's manifesto.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time abolishing slavery was ludicrous. Once, giving women the vote was a ridiculous idea.

Argue against it if you wish, but only on the basis of reason.

Anonymous said...

I used to vote Tory, but not anymore; not since Cameron decided to accept Socialism and play by the Left's rules. Comments like these only reinforce my conviction that the Conservative Party is the obstacle that stops the right coalescing around a party without their statist roots. Cameron and his ilk like to present themselves as something new, but in reality it is just the same High Tory paternalism that failed in the past. Now a new party (of which I am not a member, by the way) wants to present something new (which I do not necessarily approve), and what do we get, the same sneering stupidity that greeted Lady Thatcher in the 70's. If the Conservative Party cannot see it, maybe they need to be reminded of Cromwell's words to the Rump Parliament: "You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!" The Conservative Party must die for the future to be born.

Anonymous said...

My, Iain, you sound almost scared. I wouldn't worry, I haven't seen anything to suggest that the Libertarians are going to be able to afford to put up candidates. And even if they did, I imagine that most of the people who'd vote for them are like me and stopped voting for the Tories years ago when they turned into just another socialist party.

Interesting though that you think the explanation for the Tories' miserable failure over the past decade is connected to a policy the party's never advocated in that time.....

Manfarang said...

If we need new parties as some in the comments say,then how about a New Progressive Party with a plaform for England to become the 51st state.

Anonymous said...

"I agree, but are you, or are you not, proposing the sacking of all those people?"

Um, and so are the people the government steals money off to pay them, you numpty.

So spend our money on them, or our families. Hmmm, tough choice...

Madasafish said...

>Womble
You did not read my prior posts.

All NHS staff are employed by quangoes. You want to abolish all quangoes.

If you don't understand that....

Anonymous said...

Yes, Madasafish, of course when we get rid of the NHS the health industry will disappear overnight. There will be no more need for hospitals, doctors or surgeons (or even admin). They will all be sacked instantly. And not only will they have no place in the public sector, there will be no new positions, even for the best, in the private sector. Just as when we removed BT from the state teat, the telecommunciations industry disappeared overnight because people no longer needed telephones.....

Daily Referendum said...

Chad,

The people employed in these quangos are "the people" now.

Anonymous said...

Daily Referendum that is a quite extraordinary position. You accept that quangos are very largely a sort of £175 billion exteremely well paid dole for the politically connected & thus untouchable, except for saving money by getting rid of anything they actually do.

I can see a point for giving more real dole to people who genuinely, albeit because they refuse to get a real job, are fairly hard up. But the idea that it is proper to pay, in a particularly convoluted & expensive way, extraordinarily large amounts of money to discourage people who are usually more than averagely qualified from getting a productive job seems insane. I grant it is an insanity common in the political classes.

It was said the Reagan won as a result of a conspiracy between the bosses & the workers against everybody else. I think there is a lot of popular feeling among traditional Labour voters against Labour's "jobs for the boys" quangos which a well informed Tory campaign against these parasites could tap into.

Anonymous said...

"Do you seriously believe that any political party would be electable with this policy?"

Do we care?

You know Iain, if you and the Conservatives spent more time even pretending that you had principles then you would probably stand a far better chance at the ballot box. As it is, the Conservatives, like Labour, make no attempt to hide the fact that they will do anything to get into power.

Anonymous said...

DK had the last word in Sep/Oct :
"Before we get into an argument, I wasn't advocating abolishing income tax.

I was merely pointing out that enormity of the growth on government spending in only few years. Income tax is a useful measure, because the vast majority of us pay it."

The discussion then was illuminated by some clear discussion of the effects. Certainly it would have a major effect on quality of life differences.

Spending taxes would naturally rise to exclude the poorest from all but the most basic goods. It starts to smell a bit when that happens, doesn't it?

Roger Thornhill said...

anon 1.01pm

"
The discussion then was illuminated by some clear discussion of the effects. Certainly it would have a major effect on quality of life differences.


Exactly the Socialist position - they prefer the poor to be poorer rather than the rich get richer.

"Spending taxes would naturally rise to exclude the poorest from all but the most basic goods. It starts to smell a bit when that happens, doesn't it?"

Why would they "naturally rise"? £170bln income will go so £170bln of savings will be found. To assert that the poor will be denied somehow is just scaremongering or an inability to grasp the fact that government spending will drop.

Madasafish said...

Some of you people should live in the real world..

Quangoes spend :
NHS money - all of it
Arts Council money - all of it.
British Waterways Board
All the privatised industry regulators


I agree there's a lot of waste .. but anyone who seriously suggests we are going to spend zero on the above - through abolishing quangoes - is stark raving bonkers..

And that's what most of you innumerate idiots who can't be bothered to do any research but just witter on and on .. are saying.

Anonymous said...

Roger, spending taxes naturally rise when prices rise - by a hefty (Tory) 17.5% at the moment.

The "poor" - a relative term in to-day's Britain - would simply stop buying stuff as it becomes too expensive.

Income tax is not a socialist idea, it's a commonly held one, but feel free to try to persuade Osborne to promise to abolish it - I'd be the first to breathe a sigh of relief.

I don't understand your description of my reference to an intelligent debate (go on, have a read) back in the Autumn as "exactly the socialist position"

The modern Labour party position is that we should have a system where poverty is reduced by increasing opportunities to earn/learn at the lower reaches of the wealth scale.

Not much difference from the modernising wing of the Conservative party, but miles away from the knuckle-headed debaters on this thread.

Anonymous said...

Roger, spending taxes naturally rise when prices rise - by a hefty (Tory) 17.5% at the moment.

The "poor" - a relative term in to-day's Britain - would simply stop buying stuff as it becomes too expensive.

Income tax is not a socialist idea, it's a commonly held one, but feel free to try to persuade Osborne to promise to abolish it - I'd be the first to breathe a sigh of relief.

I don't understand your description of my reference to an intelligent debate (go on, have a read) back in the Autumn as "exactly the socialist position"

The modern Labour party position is that we should have a system where poverty is reduced by increasing opportunities to earn/learn at the lower reaches of the wealth scale.

Not much difference from the modernising wing of the Conservative party, but miles away from the knuckle-headed debaters on this thread.

Anonymous said...

sorry I posted twice.

Reducing wages, pensions etc to 2001 levels is not a popular policy, and never will be.

To cut £170bn spending is to cut the concomitant number of jobs, leaving upwards of 7 million people in receipt of redundancy packages, and then benefits. It's time to put this to sleep!

neil craig said...

Thats the point about cutting quangos rather than benefits. The money comes off the relatively well off. The other point to make is that it is actually easier to promise to cut massively than slightly since you get nearly as much criticism from either but a massive cut is more balanced than just going for the Arts Council or Lesbian Co-operatives individually.

I must admit the idea of 7 million literate & fairly creative people on the market rather than having a net negative economic effect seems not unattractive but I think you would have to go beyond quangos to get close to that number.

Anonymous said...

To cut £170bn spending is to cut the concomitant number of jobs, leaving upwards of 7 million people in receipt of redundancy packages, and then benefits.

You miss the point that these people cost the country money as they are public funded jobs.

If you are seriously saying that the public services employ 7 million people incapable of getting employment in the private sector, why are we funding them?

I am sure many of them would easily get private sector jobs and contribute to the economy rather than be a cost to it.

Someone is a worthless job that costs the taxpayer money has no right to that job simply because the alternative is unemployment.

Give me my money back to be frank.

Anonymous said...

Neil, you are suggesting that no receiver of Govt money is worth paying? At all?

£175 bn goes THROUGH, not TO quangos. What do you think that money is spent on? Paper-clips? One-legged Lithuanian dance troupes? It's WAGES Neil. Of nurses and doctors.

To stop paying 7m public sector beneficiaries would have the effect you're after.

This is not the real world, it's extreme fantasist blog-land.

ps "word verification" is NHSRAG!

John Trenchard said...

its got my vote.
what a cracking idea.

Anonymous said...

I love the smell of being patronised in the morning Iain, why is reducing the State to the bare essentials of defence so upsetting to todays Tories, why should we create a nation with three classes, the political classes out of touch, feather nested,not so civil servants and local authority/quango employeesthat now take 20% of the tax take to enable to retire early on our money on pensions the other final class, us the drones, cannot afford.

Roger Thornhill said...

Anon 2:40


Roger, spending taxes naturally rise when prices rise - by a hefty (Tory) 17.5% at the moment.

As a percentage of the goods they will remain the same. The intention is to keep Sales Tax at 17.5%.

If you are talking about receipts, this is when people buy more non essential goods because they have more of their own money to spend - and what is wrong with that even? How does it make essentials more expensive for the poor than compensated by the removal of tax for them too. To quote Churchill: "Taxing your way to prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket trying to lift himself up by the handle". By your logic, the higher income tax the more money the poor have for goods that are cheap because you have taxed demand out of the economy. And you talk of people being knuckle-headed.


The "poor" - a relative term in to-day's Britain - would simply stop buying stuff as it becomes too expensive.


See above.

Income tax is not a socialist idea, it's a commonly held one, but feel free to try to persuade Osborne to promise to abolish it - I'd be the first to breathe a sigh of relief.

Why should I bother with Osborne? Who cares.


I don't understand your description of my reference to an intelligent debate (go on, have a read) back in the Autumn as "exactly the socialist position"

For the reason I gave - the preference for the poor to get poorer as long as the rich did not get richer.

The modern Labour party position is that we should have a system where poverty is reduced by increasing opportunities to earn/learn at the lower reaches of the wealth scale.

You increase opportunities by making it easier to create business. Lower regulation, lower taxes. Exactly the opposite of the Labour position.

Not much difference from the modernising wing of the Conservative party,

No surprise

but miles away from the knuckle-headed debaters on this thread.

In your opinion.

Iain Dale said...

Don't be so fatuous and don't put words in my mouth. I too believe in a small state. What I don't believe in is making false promises which are not achieveable. Abolishing income tax is not achieveable much as I too might like it to be. Any political party which proposes such a thing deserves the derision it will receive. Flat taxes, yes. Lower taxes yes.

Anonymous said...

"I too believe in a small state."

I hate to say this Iain, but unfortunately you've demonstrated that that's only when it's consistent with the Tories grabbing power. If the way to power is to tax & spend like Labour, then you'll happily support a Tory Party advocating that. Which frankly means who gives a stuff what you 'believe' as it'll always come second to naked political opportunism.

Anonymous said...

Anon
"Neil, you are suggesting that no receiver of Govt money is worth paying? At all?"

Well actually no I din't say that but since you insist. I will say that some of them do. Moreoever I will repeat that many quangos have a negative economic benefit - virtually all those preserving Victorian buildings do, for example. Perhaps, as a society we actually want to preserve some Victorian buildings but the public should know what the costs, direct & foregone, are in each case & should know how much of their money is being spent to persuade them to spend ever more on this.

Anonymous said...

Neil Craig - So that's a retreat from "let's abolish income tax"?

The only people campaigning for the wholesale privatisation of public/civil services are people who don't want the Conservatives back in power ever.

Of course there's a large amount of waste - always has been, always will be. No one has the stomach for the sort of overhaul it would take for us to be rid of the civil service and its beloved quasi-autonomous bodies.

Your position is respectable, but i repeat knuckle-headed (ie rigid in its wilful ignorance of public opinion).

As a Labour voter, I hope Cameron lurches to the right, but i won't be holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

increasing opportunities to earn/learn at the lower reaches of the wealth scale.

"You increase opportunities by making it easier to create business. Lower regulation"

How precisely does this help extend education opportuntities to the (relatively) poor?

Your notion that Osborne doesn't come into it reveals you as an outlier, but, hey, I think you have a place on this site!

On housing,the extraordinary thing about the Libertarian Party's policy is that they intend to adopt a "plurality" of quangos to deal with socail housing!!!!!

Roger Thornhill said...

Anon 9:29:

"How precisely does this help extend education opportuntities to the (relatively) poor?"

What do you mean by "extend"? If there is more business and more jobs then competition for labour increases, more opportunities arise. There is more liquidity in the job market. People are responsible for securing training themselves, btw. The State is incompetent at organising such things. Best left to the individual.

"On housing,the extraordinary thing about the Libertarian Party's policy is that they intend to adopt a "plurality" of quangos to deal with socail housing!!!!!"

You are in error. Where does it say the housing will be by QANGOs? A plurality of not for profit non-state direct funded organisations is a world apart from QANGOs or can you not see the immense difference?

Anonymous said...

Roger - I don't agree that relatively poor individuals should be responsible for buying their own education.

You neverthless don't, as I suspected, support your assertion that trickle-down (flood-away?) redwoodian economics leads to better learning opportunities at the bottom.

A Quango is a quasi-autonomous, non-governmental organisation.

"Migration to a plurality of non-State organisations providing low-cost housing." (under "welfare")

sounds pretty much the same as creating quangos to me - unless of course they mean not to subsidise such organisations, in which case I take my hat off to them! Maybe they'll be supported by well-wishers?

Roger Thornhill said...

Anon,

"Roger - I don't agree that relatively poor individuals should be responsible for buying their own education."

That is not what I said. Education is not the same as training. I support state funded edu to A level or equivalent regardless of the age at which that education is drawn down (e.g. someone could leave school at 14 and then take A levels 20 years later, frex).


"You neverthless don't, as I suspected...blah blah"

You are in error. Again.

"A Quango is a quasi-autonomous, non-governmental organisation."

Congratulations.

sounds pretty much the same as creating quangos to me - unless of course they mean not to subsidise such organisations, in which case I take my hat off to them! Maybe they'll be supported by well-wishers?

We do not intend to provide block grants and they should be totally autonomous so they will not be QANGOs. They can, however, be subsidised by people like your good self who want to see low cost housing funded. Or are you just happy to see things funded by other peoples' money and not your own?

An example: Peabody was founded as a charity.

Anonymous said...

So, housing on the Peabody model.

Back to the nineteenth century anyone? Thatcher really wanted the beneficiaries of her big bang growth to find it in their consciences to step in to fulfil socail need, but unfortunately, nowhere near enough of them chose to do so.

I spent most of the eighties and nineties walking through cardboard city at Waterloo twice a day. Its ionhabitants were found proper accommodation using taxpayer resources after 1997.

I don't believe there's enough Peabody's out there. (There is an estate 100 yards from where cardboard city sat - he must have spun in his grave)

State funding education to 18 without the need for income tax? Ambitious. Good Luck.

It's been of interest Roger, but I'm afraid I can't be bothered to scroll down any longer.

No doubt your name will appear in future threads - I hope our swords may cross again on related issues!

Respect and regards

John

Robert Enderby said...

The fundamental principle is that I would like the freedom to decide how to spend my own money. I don’t see what qualifies the government to decide that they know best how to spend my money. This press release by the Libertarian Party is all about promoting individual freedom. The people who say moves like this, towards such a goal, are ‘pie in the sky’, these are the same people who would gradually relinquish our freedoms to autocracy.

This guy is on such a wavelength of freedom as the UK Libertarian Party, he’s American but his sentiments on freedom have significance for any individual interested in freedom. Presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root: http://www.rootforamerica.com/home/videos.php