Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Campaign for expenses transparency

The Libertarian Party has launched a campaign to ask your local MP to follow the lead of Douglas Carswell and undertake to publish full details of their expenses claims, despite the government trying to brush this under the carpet by exempting them from the freedom of information act.

I have contacted my local MP, and await his response. One wonders if it will be as arrogant as Nottingham South MP Alan Simpson, who was quoted as saying;

Nottingham South MP Alan Simpson favoured changes but said: "If we are going to demand that MPs expenses be published in minute detail then so should everyone's, even the private sector's."

Er, Alan, I am not forced to pay the expenses of those in the private sector, as I enter into contracts with them voluntarily. However, if I don't pay my taxes, I am banged up. So I have every right to know how you spend my money you appalling toad.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Libertarians announce candidate

As a political party, the Libertarian Party UK is very young having only been formed a year ago. We have much fewer members than other parties but our membership is growing steadily, day by day. We have a manifesto, office holders and a strong internet presence so now is the time to step up to the plate and announce candidates for elections.

I, Andrew Hunt, therefore declare my candidacy for the Wisbech South ward of Cambridgeshire county council and the North East Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency.

Lets look at Wisbech South first. The election will take place on the 4th June and coincide with the EU election. I expect the turnout will be low, probably around 35%. The currant occupant is a conservative who got 50% of the vote last time, the area generally is pretty tory leaning. Indeed, at the last district council elections the tories got in unopposed. NE Cambs also has a conservative majority of about 9,000.

But lets not kid ourselves, there is a lot of anger about, people will not be voting for the tories, they will be voting against labour.

Our message is therefore powerful. Yougov polls clearly indicate that about 75% see taxation as far too high and the "state" as far too interfering and meddlesome. We are the only party that gives the electorate what they want. The fact that we can go out there and declare the abolition of Income Tax (whilst still keeping the NHS, pensions, education to 18, dole money, police, armed forces, etc) gives us an immense boost.

I am not saying we will sweep to victory, but I urge other libertarians to step up to the plate and join me in announcing their contesting other seats. Lets go out, canvass and leaflet, and let the voters know they have a real alternative to the authoritarian lab/con/libdim rubbish.

For more on me, see my personal blog:-


For the UK Libertarian Party blog see:-


Nottingham's housing scandal

In a story that would make Soviet Russia proud, there is a scandal brewing here in Nottingham that beggars belief.

Its report says employees of the housing service, as well as relatives, partners and associates were given houses they should not have had.

Tens of thousands of pounds of public money was spent improving wrongly allocated houses – and some were then bought under the right-to-buy scheme and a councillor lied to help two associates obtain a house.

Got that? So these housing officers were giving out council housing to their family and mates, even though they weren’t eligible. They were then spending huge sums on improving some of these houses (I have seen over £40,000 quoted in one case), and the houses were then purchased under the right to buy scheme. Some of them were then sold.

But as if that wasn’t bad enough, it now emerges that they were dishing out jobs to their mates at the same time.


No councilors have seen fit to fall on their swords.

This sorry tale is an excellent example of how giving the state power over individuals, in this case, over housing, will always end in tears. 'Social' housing, or housing for those less fortunate in society is to important to be left to a corruptible, inefficient state.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

That isn't how it works

There is, perhaps, little more dangerous than a Labour politician who doesn't understand economics being in charge of economic policy. Presumably buoyed up by the congestion charge defeat in the Manchester election, campaigners have made a demand for a local referendum in Nottingham over the workplace parking levy. Ignoring for a moment that one should always be suspicious of a tax that dare not speak it's name, the fight appears to be over who will pay the charge. The campaigners say the employees, the council say the business community. In fact, so convinced by the 'rightness' of the tax, Coun Urquhart makes some pretty astonishing claims;

"During the current economic climate, it is more important than ever to help stimulate economic growth. The WPL package will play a key role in attracting new businesses to Nottingham and securing a bright and sustainable future for the city."

So, let us look at the economics of the tax.

1) The employer pays the tax.

Assuming that the employer isn't a monopoly , the employer in question will have to compete with other companies who may well not pay such a tax. Thus, he cannot pass the cost on to his customers, as they will simply go elsewhere. As he has a duty to his shareholders to maximise profits, less they invest in his competitors, he will therefore have to cut costs. Thus, he is likely to either relocate or lay off staff

2) The employer passes the tax onto the employee

In this scenario, those who travel into the city, who have highly skilled, transferable careers will be tempted to cut their tax bill by several hundred pounds by simply working in any one of the other employment centres in the East Midlands. Those who are not in such demand, and who cannot either relocate or demand higher wages (which causes the same problems as the scenario above) will simply aim to transfer to jobs where they can use public transport. Those outside of the 'improved' public transport areas will be tempted into their cars, but not to travel into the city, but to it's outskirts. Thus, employers have another incentive to move from the city ~ to attract staff at lower wages, or to avoid paying the public transport rent premium.

As you can imagine, it doesn't take a huge amount of imagination to realise that this could be self defeating from a revenue point of view as fas as the local economy is concerned, as business and people regard Nottingham City as a less attractive place to live and do business. One thing is sure however ~ if the city does become an economic ghost town, traffic levels will reduce, so the tax will have it's intended effect in that regard.

To counter this, the tax advocates may well argue that any effect will be minimal, as the charge will be so small. But then it won't tempt people out of their cars, so it really does just become a revenue raising scheme for a council with a fondness for spending your money for you.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Secret LibLab coalition government being discussed

Have the LibDems taken leave of their senses? Is their leadership stark raving mad?

Peter Oborne reports today that secret talks have already begun between Labour and Liberal Democrat figures about a possible coalition. He reports that as a sweetener to any possible deal the Labour Whips office is already drumming up support for Ming Campbell as the next Speaker.

Are certain senior LibDem members so bent on attaining power that they can seriously be considering a pact with the most authoritarian government this country has ever seen?.

Oborne points to an article by Vince Cable suggesting that a national government might not be a bad idea and says:

"Throughout all my years of reporting politics I have rarely encountered such a blatant hint by a senior politician from an opposition party that he wants a job in government  -  and all the signs are that Gordon Brown is warming to the idea of Vince Cable as Chancellor of the Exchequer in a government of national unity.

However, the position of Nick Clegg (Cable's boss) is much less clear. I understand that Vince Cable's public musings about a coalition government were emphatically not sanctioned in advance by his leader. Furthermore, insiders speak of a growing split inside the Liberal Democrats over the issue."

It is apparently Cable and Ming Campbell, who are pushing for this deal. If Clegg were to go along with it, I suspect he would split his party.

Can the Libertarian wing of the LibDems honestly feel that they could back such a move by the power hungry Cable. I can see the logic in promoting Campbell to the role of speaker, but Cable as Chancellor?

However, there is a younger generation of LibDems who are very hostile to this idea of a coalition with Labour. As a result, Nick Clegg faces a very difficult few months.

As Oborne points out those in favour of an "arrangement" within the Lib Dems are "on the whole, the older and more Left-leaning members of the party."

The Libertarian Party (LPUK) is ready to open its doors to those Libertarian minded LibDem members who finally realise that there is no room for them and reform of the LibDems is impossible.

Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, who is being closely advised on this matter by Peter Mandelson, is not only contemplating a grand coalition in the event of a hung parliament after the next election, but Brown is also ready to consider heading a national government in the coming months in the event of the economic situation getting worse.

Indeed, as the financial crisis deteriorates, this momentous decision may come sooner than he expects, but a Churchill he is not. (we understand what all the Churchillian propaganda was for!)

Beware the Ides of March. There is much political intrigue afoot.

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