Political Principles (continued)
This is the political season. I hate it although I am a political junkie. It puts me in mind of the later Roman Empire: Bread and Circuses. Vote for me and I will make people like you better off – and I will amuse you with gladiatorial contests.
Democracy is very problematical. To work properly it requires a thinking, moral electorate. Is this what we are? Not if the politicians’ analysis is correct. Give them bread; give them circuses and the stupid bastards will give us power.
Perhaps I am hopelessly ‘idealistic’. I want politicians to appeal to my political principles. My political principles are not necessarily exactly congruent with my material wants.
These are some indicators of my principles:
Government should be responsible for as little as possible: protection from foreign and domestic aggressors. That’s pretty well it.
Education? We were better educated when the state had no involvement.
Health? The improvement in our health has very little to do with state involvement and much to do with technology. We drive better, safer cars. The state had nothing to do with them.
Equality? What does it mean? Everybody should be the same height, have the same IQ, and enjoy the same income?
No politician ever asks me to match my principles to his/hers. Perhaps I am being too sweeping; maybe there are some who would. But, in what passes for political debate in the media, we get punch-ups between the parties over who would manage the NHS ‘best’ – whatever that might mean. Perhaps there are some with aspirations to political office who would campaign on a promise to privatise the NHS; but they do not get their heads above the parapet.
Nobody (almost nobody) would want to see the government making cars again – once the state divested itself of British Leyland, it took less than a generation for idea to become unthinkable.
The Labour party is bleating this week about ‘non-doms’, rich foreigners who live in Britain but do not pay British taxes on the incomes they earn from abroad. The Labour party wants to ‘reform’ the situation. They are blatant about the fact they do not care whether their reform actually raises more money for the Exchequer. All that matters is that the rich should get less. There are two reasons for attacking this egregiously stupid, evil policy.
The first is that it hurts the economy and makes growth less likely. What do rich people do with their money? The same as we all do. They spend it on themselves. This helps other businesses to thrive and provide employment. What they do not spend they save or invest. This provides the capital for entrepreneurs to start or to grow enterprises which provide employment. What is not to like?
The second reason is that so-called progressive taxation, by which the better off pay not only more but a higher proportion than the less well off, is simply theft.
One of the buzz words of this election season is ‘austerity’. In a sane world, each time this absurd word is used, it ought to mean that the Labour party loses a million votes. Why is austerity even mentioned? We are in dire financial straits occasioned by the Labour government squandering our resources on projects which they thought would buy them votes. Milliband and company should cringe when they hear the word.