Nicholas Dykes: For a New Political Party – 07

Local Government

With so much that is presently done by the State in private hands, local government would be vastly reduced and its authority and powers greatly curtailed.  Local councillors would be unpaid.  Council Tax and business rates would be abolished; refuse collection would be privatised, and voluntary means would be sought to fund any remaining tasks.

The vitiation of local government by the Conservatives in the 1970s would be reversed.  Local communities would be free to form their own councils and would be free to ignore edicts from more remote institutions created by the government in Whitehall.  However, new councils would have no power to tax, nor power to coerce.  They would have to rely on persuasion to implement local initiatives, and would have to fund these themselves.  Local planning would be in accordance with local covenants, mutually agreed amongst property owners.

Public libraries do a splendid job, but can be expected to do an even better one when they are privatised and no longer a drain on taxpayers.

Council houses would be formed into housing companies, and given to local citizens via free share distribution.  Councils would henceforth be constitutionally prohibited from playing any role in the housing market, either by building or owning residences or by attempting to fix, lower or in any way influence rents.

Immigrants found living on the streets or on other private property would be rounded up and deported immediately.  Charities would house the homeless.

So-called ‘travellers’ would require clear permission in advance to park or stay overnight from the owners of the land.  Any of them failing to do so, or refusing to pay rent or fees, would be treated as trespassers, evicted immediately, and required to pay compensation for any inconvenience caused.

A national commission would be set up to expose past corruption in local government.  There is evidence to suggest that local officials have accepted inducements to smooth the path for certain petitioners.

All departments of government, including local councils, would be forbidden from employing interpreters or translators or printing documents in foreign languages.  Persons requiring such services would be required to pay for them themselves.

The Environment

The notion that burning fossil fuels harms the planet is, as Canadian ecologist Dr Patrick Moore has demonstrated, “patently false.”  Humanity’s contribution to ‘global’ warming is minute.  It is also beneficial, not dangerous, contributing to a ‘greening’ of the Earth.  CO2 is in fact a ‘trace element,’ constituting less than 0.05%  of the Earth’s atmosphere.  It is nonetheless essential to life.  Just as mammals require oxygen to survive, so plants require a minimum of 150 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to survive.

The amount had actually been declining for centuries and had fallen as low as 280ppm until human activity began to return CO2 to the atmosphere in the 19th century.  Dr Moore’s book Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom makes these facts clear.  It should be required reading in every high school and university in the Western world.  The Chinese and the Indians have more sense.  They have ignored the idiotic predictions of climate alarmists.

The Earth’s climate is indeed changing.  But these changes are due to influences human beings cannot affect, such as sunspot activity and alterations in the Earth’s orbit round the sun.  Currently, we are in an interglacial period.  ‘Global warming’ is an inaccurate description.  Only the climates of the northern and southern hemispheres are warming, the tropics remain largely unchanged.  This is nothing new.  In previous eras the Earth has been both much hotter and much colder.  Britain has had both tropical and arctic climates.  Therefore, there is nothing to be alarmed about.

Yet people are alarmed.  The hysteria over environmental issues has been generated almost entirely by ignorant, self-serving pressure groups; by those who like bossing other people around, and by politicians jumping on a convenient band wagon to further their own ends.  Fortunes are being spent on totally unnecessary preventative measures and ludicrous – and potentially catastrophic – goals such as ‘zero carbon.’  What will plants survive on if we remove carbon from the atmosphere?

A CORE government would withdraw Britain from entangling treaties which call for huge expenditure with little apparent gain; cease to encourage the building of wind farms; urge the dismantling of those which have spoiled beauty spots, and end all subsidies for wind farms or home solar installations.

CORE would also urge research into new types of nuclear energy.  Thorium reactors, for example, show considerable promise for our future energy requirements.  The fuel needed is abundant; the reactors are both efficient and safe and, importantly, unlike uranium fuelled plants, free of harmful radiation.

A CORE government would vigorously enforce the law of nuisance against polluters at home and take the lead in organising clean-ups of the oceans, say by satellite observation catching ship owners or operators who dumped garbage overboard.  Denying access to ports of those found guilty should end such obnoxious practices very quickly.

CORE would also urge investment in private companies to clean up space.  Decades of rocket launches by various States have littered the once pristine skies above us with huge amounts of potentially hazardous waste material.  British space exploration companies would be encouraged to salvage whatever they could and bring it back to Earth, much of it being very valuable.  Claims of ownership to the material by foreign governments would be disregarded.  When property is abandoned, ‘finders keepers’ is the applicable principle.

The possible issuance of false climate data by such agencies as NASA, or by university climatology departments, would be vigorously investigated and might bring about law suits.

The Countryside

The ban on hunting with dogs would be lifted, barbaric though the sport may be.  What people get up to on private land is no business of government.  Opponents would have to rely on persuasion, shaming, boycotting, etc.

Feudal tenure would cease.  At some point in the future, say upon the death of the current landowner, tenant farmers would become the owners of the land they farm, past rents being deemed a sufficient purchase price.  Present owners would be allowed to retain sufficient land surrounding their main residence to practice farming themselves if they so desired.

Much of land ownership in Britain is a hangover from the Norman Conquest, during and after which the invaders and their successors seized the land, parcelled it out among themselves, and forced the defenceless inhabitants to pay ‘protection money,’ first in produce, later in cash.

In order to protect and preserve the countryside, Countryside Trusts would be established in each county.  Their initial bases would be any land presently owned by central or local government:  for example, royal estates (to the extent the royals agreed); land owned by the Church of England; Forestry Commission land; property owned by National Parks, or land acquired by local councils in settlement of tax demands.

The purpose of the Trusts would be to preserve the countryside as countryside.  To this end, they would persuade farmers and landowners to sign up to covenants, preserving farms as farms in perpetuity.  The trusts would derive income from leisure parks, camp grounds and picnic sites; from building and renting discreet country cottages; from granting paid access to hikers, etc.  They might also encourage landowners to bequeath their properties to the Trusts.  Once fully functioning, ownership of the Trusts would be passed to the citizens via free share distribution.

The ‘listing’ and grading of historic buildings in town or country would cease.  Conservation is only valid when it occurs through private ownership.

Constraints imposed on those who live in ‘listed buildings’ or in National Parks would be lifted.  Owners of ‘stately homes’ would be free to divide them up into apartments for rent or sale, or to demolish them in order to build more practical residences.  No permission would be required.

Ways would be sought to wind up DEFRA and other such agencies, transferring their activities to farmers’ associations or insurance companies.

Covenants would be established among private owners to preserve areas of natural beauty, scenic villages, old town centres, historic sites, etc.  Planning by local councils would cease.

In order to reduce road congestion and rail overcrowding, owners of office buildings and shops in cities and towns will be free to convert upper floors into apartments for staff, or to build new work places with that in mind.  No planning permission would be needed.

Any and all agricultural subsidies would end.

Protection of seagulls would cease for inland urban areas.  Cities, boroughs or towns where the birds have become major nuisances would be free to exterminate them.

Shotgun licensing would end for farmers, landowners, organisers of shoots, or anybody who used a shotgun in the course of their work, or for recognised leisure activities such as clay pigeon shooting.  Ridiculous non-crimes such as being late paying for a shotgun licence would be struck from the records and any fines imposed returned – with interest.

Ownership of handguns would be permitted for members of pistol shooting clubs and sporting teams.  The clubs and teams themselves would ensure responsible ownership, safety training and secure storage.

Alcohol licensing laws would be greatly simplified, and licenses made much cheaper.  The Beer Orders of 1983, which caused so much mayhem in the  brewing trade, would be repealed.  Beer brewed on the premises of individually-owned, single pubs, would be exempt from excise duty.  Eventually, licensing would be abolished.

The stranglehold on distilling currently exercised by the State would cease.  One could expect an immediate, rapid growth of new distilling industries.

Fracking would be permitted under private land as long as the companies took responsibility for, and made good, any damage caused – such as by subsidence or tremors – and shared the profits with those living above their operations, right down to owners of small houses or flats.

One comment

  1. Some interesting ideas here; I like most of them.

    Would Welsh be exempt from the “foreign language” categorization? Gaelic? Cornish?

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