By Neil Lock, November 30th, 2022
The Reform Party UK has recently issued a new version of its policy proposals. As a hard-core libertarian whose philosophy has in it more than a streak of anarchism, I am utterly opposed to the political state, and to its moral privileges, its taxes, its bad laws, its cronyism and its wars. And I am very uncomfortable with the whole idea of politics, with the “social contract” I am (falsely) supposed to have agreed to, with the sham called “democracy,” and with all the mainstream political parties. I don’t think that a governance of good people needs any policies at all. It just delivers peace and justice, and lets people get on with their lives.
That said, the Reform party seems to be the only one which offers any chance of ever standing up against the evil establishment we are currently ruled by. So, it was on the principle of “any port in a storm” that I took the natural route into the Reform party from the Brexit party. In turn, I only joined the Brexit party because I saw getting away from EU directives and from the ECJ as a sine qua non for restoring any kind of freedom, justice or prosperity in the islands called Britain.
I confess that I have been disappointed with the lack of impact the Reform party seems to have had in the last year. Indeed, I was ready to cancel my membership of the party when it came up for renewal recently. But as it happened, when the renewal date arrived, Liz Truss had just been kicked out; so, I decided to give Reform one more year.
The new policy document can be found here: []. This updates a policy proposal document originally issued in May 2021, to which I responded a few months later. I decided it would be a good idea if I was rather quicker in my response this time!
As the first time, I will put quotes from the document in “italics inside quotes.” My own thoughts will be in normal font and informal style.
To begin at the end…
I’ll start with what to me is the highlight of the new proposals. It comes from right at the end of the document, page 27. Titled “An Honest Debate on Climate Change,” it makes three key points, and it makes them in a way that even a skeptical, nit-picking old curmudgeon like me can be reasonably comfortable with. “It is important to be able to debate and discuss issues such as climate change, rather than face the smears and cancellation threats that spread throughout public life.” “Humans have had an impact on this global warming, though scientists disagree as to how much.” And: “Those who think that getting to Net Zero will stop climate change are in fact just denying reality.” It also gives a few factual examples of good news on the climate front, which should give pause for thought for some.
As one who has been fighting for the skeptical side on this issue (and related ones) for 15 years now, I consider this to be a watershed. At last, a political party in this country seems willing to question the alarmist orthodoxy, which has held sway within the UK political class for the three decades since the Rio “Earth Summit,” and more. And to demand a free, open and honest debate on the issue seems to me to be a decent opening gambit in the chess game, which we must win in order to save human civilization from the green “blob.”
But we need far more than just a free and open debate on this issue. We need to bring the truth about all the manipulations, that have been carried out over this issue by successive governments, out into the open. From encouraging, funding and accepting bad science, to perverting the precautionary principle, to making it impossible to do proper cost-benefit analyses, to whitewashing Climategate, and many more. And we need to feed these truths into the consciousness of the general public.
My next comment, though, is a brickbat. The new proposal document is very poorly formatted. I can’t read it on screen at all, the font is simply too small. Even when I print it out, full size, the font is still too small to read easily. This is a huge step backwards from the May 2021 version.
Much of the document is either the same as, or slightly modified from, the 2021 version. Some of the comments I made back then are no longer relevant, either because circumstances have changed, or because the party has moved in a good direction in the meantime. My original set of comments can still be found at [].
Cover: “Let’s Make Britain Great.” I, personally, find this slogan a turn-off. It’s like Trump’s MAGA. It isn’t “Britain” that I want to see become “great.” It certainly isn’t the British state, which is altogether far too “great” already! What must become great are the freedoms, and the standard and quality of life, for all the good people of the islands called Britain.
Page 2. “Leaving the undemocratic EU was just the beginning.” Yes. But we need a plan for repealing all the bad laws we are still saddled with as a result of having been in the EU.
Page 2. “People’s eyes have been opened as to the benefits of being an independent sovereign UK.” As I said last time round, not yet, they haven’t. Getting away from the constant torrent of EU directives, and from the ECJ, was a key step, without which no reforms in the right direction can ever be possible. But as yet, those reforms haven’t even started. And none of the mainstream parties are planning to do anything but establishment “business as usual.” Oh, and trying to force us back into the EU by the back door.
Page 2. “Reform Our Economy:” I note that last year’s pledge to make a low tax economy has been removed! But it has been replaced by “lower taxes” as the first policy bullet on the cover page.
Page 2. Talks of Nett Zero almost in the same breath as air pollution. This may worry many of the more clued-up people, since carbon dioxide is not in any way a pollutant! It is hugely beneficial to plants, and so to animals (including us) and the environment. And any supposed damage it may (or may not!) cause through global warming must be discounted against these benefits.
Page 2. “We would also nationalize 50% of key utility companies to stop consumers being ripped off with the other 50% being owned by British pension funds for British pensioners.” This is a very radical idea, and to me a worrying one. I can see that the market failure we are suffering at the moment (entirely due to the actions of political governments!) is bad enough to demand an extreme response. And certainly, the shareholders and managers of the companies that are ripping us off deserve to be taken down several pegs. But nationalization increases the power of the state – a very bad thing in itself. And it would give a subsequent political government, not favourable to freedom or prosperity, a handy weapon with which to destroy both. I think this is a very risky chess move. I’d be more comfortable with something like requiring all shareholders in these companies, who are not legal British residents, to sell their shares to legal British residents.
Page 2. “Reform is essential to our voting system so it is fairer and more representative…” My last year’s comment, that the problem goes far deeper than the voting system, and lies at the roots of the sham “democracy” we suffer under, still stands. But I did have one off-the-wall idea for a change that might improve the voting system. What if, rather than just voting for one single candidate, voters could choose, if they wish, to up-vote or down-vote each of the candidates on the ballot? Rather like up-thumbing or down-thumbing comments on a blog. If it did nothing else, this would lay bare the depth of the disdain that many people have for politicians. I reckon most of today’s MPs would end up with a negative tally!
Freedom is Precious
Page 5. “We will campaign relentlessly to protect our civil liberties and freedom of speech. We must be able to debate, test and challenge different views, consensus thinking, scientific theories and the establishment approach in a respectful way.” Amen! Though it’s extremely hard to feel any respect for those that have treated you without respect. But we need to be able to do these things in all media, and most of all on-line. As the UN declaration of human rights puts it (Article 19), we have a right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Emergency Recovery Plan
I have been through the separate “Emergency Recovery Plan” document, and will include a few thoughts about towards the end of this document. For now, here are my thoughts on this section in the main document.
Page 7. “Reform UK will also oppose the creation of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and all attempts to turn Britain into a cashless society.” Absolutely right. Cash is vital to preserve the privacy of all our transactions, however small.
Page 8. “Scrap VAT on energy bills.” Yes. “Scrap environmental levies.” Yes. “Lower fuel duty by 20p a litre.” Yes. Also scrap the “taxes on taxes” element. “Lower VAT from 20% to 18%.” Or more, if possible. “Tax the renewable energy industry the full amount of the circa 8 billion in subsidies they currently receive under old contracts; they claim it is cheaper than other energy forms, so they no longer need taxpayer support.” Heh, heh, heh; hoist by their own advertising! Go for it.
Page 9. I’m no expert on the detail, but “quantitative easing” is, and has always been, a total fraud. By its design, it was always going to end in tears. The heads should roll of all those that have been involved in this scam.
Low Tax, Simple Tax
Page 10. I agree with virtually everything here. Except that, as I said last year, the idea of an on-line sales tax needs a lot of thought. And that, while the document does mention IR35 as something to be got rid of, it seems that the party wants only to get rid of the extra burdens imposed in 2017, not to scrap IR35 entirely. So, the Reform party does not want to go any further on this than Kwasi Kwarteng was trying to go? Very disappointing for one who has been, over more than 20 years, a victim of this career-ruining scam.
Page 10. “Scrap the bloated vanity project HS2…” Totally agree. But this made me aware that the document doesn’t make any mention of the party’s transport policies in general. Personally, I think that rail transport has been given far too much priority in recent decades, and that should change. Particularly given the recent behaviour of the rail unions. I think that we need another Dr Beeching, and more investment in airport expansions and in roads. Also, we ought to reverse the enormous bias there has been, and still is, for public transport and against private transport.
Reform Our Public Sector
Not much to say here, beyond what I said last time.
Reform Our Public Services: Health
Page 14. The voucher scheme is interesting, but the choice must always lie with the patient. I am one of those who has by luck found a very good doctor, so if the matter isn’t urgent, I’d rather wait three weeks to see my doctor rather than three days to see someone else.
Page 14. In last year’s version, there was a proposal to abolish politically imposed hospital targets that go against clinical priorities. Also, one to re-open nursing and midwifery without a degree requirement. What happened to these?
Reform Our Public Services: Education
Nothing to say here beyond what I said last time.
Reform Our Public Services: (Policing and Courts)
Only one thing to add; it needs to be made clear that any reforms to courts and the justice system must not under any circumstances diminish the quality of justice they deliver.
Reform Our Defence Strategy
Page 17. “Reform is needed to ensure more efficient joined up thinking and decision making, especially with regard to procurement of equipment.” Yes, but applies to other areas of government too.
Reform Our Institutions
Page 18. “A properly representative second House is needed.” As I said last year, the real need is not so much for a reformed second chamber, but for a quality control system to be applied to government, and to candidates for election. As to the latter, I’d like to see psychological testing undertaken, to ensure that no candidate for office has any more psychopathic tendencies than the median of the population. If they can’t pass this test, how can they possibly ever “represent” the ordinary people, as they are supposed to?
However, I’ll explore the idea of an elected second chamber a little bit more. How would you stop it becoming corrupted like the first one has? One off-the-wall suggestion is, only let people stand if they are not currently a member of a political party, have never been an officer of a political party or NGO, and have never had any position of significant power in government. Previously elected members, and current peers at the first election, would be exempt from the last rule, but to retain their positions they would have to be re-elected.
In any case, the second chamber should have strong veto powers, but no legislative power except to propose amendments to bills it is reviewing. It should also be able to order a judicial review, or in extreme circumstances a royal commission.
P.18. “Proportional representation is essential.” But it isn’t the be-all and end-all. Some very bad politicians (including Hitler) have been elected under PR systems.
Reform Wasteful Government Spending
I say again what I said last year. Cut out all government functions that fail to be a nett benefit to the people who paid for them. And merely reducing the “foreign aid” payment is not going nearly far enough.
Reform Border Control and Immigration
Page 20. “Reform UK is the only party committed to stopping the boats.” This is an area in which I find the party’s policies to be both callous and politically naïve. In contrast, I am reminded of the transition Nigel Farage engineered from UKIP to the Brexit party. By leaving the nasty far-right holding the empty shell of UKIP, he managed to make the Brexit party attractive to a far wider range of people than UKIP had been. That led to many people like me, who supported Brexit but were not migration “hawks,” joining and voting for the Brexit party. With positive results.
Let’s remember that the main reason so many people are making such a dangerous journey in boats is that there are no facilities to process UK asylum applications while the individuals concerned are still in France. There has been a lot of talk about making this possible, but still no action as far as I know. The Reform party appears to be going full-on with an attitude of “zero tolerance towards illegal immigration.” This seems very heartless, particularly since, ultimately, the decision on whether an individual asylum seeker or potential immigrant is “legal” or “illegal” often boils down merely to the whims of a particular bureaucrat. This attitude may be red meat to the far-right voter, but it will lose the support of people like me, who look at individuals as individuals. I suspect policies like these will alienate far more (and more capable) people than they bring in to the party or as voters.
Let’s also remember that the major problem with immigration is not the “illegal” people in boats. Their numbers are dwarfed by the “legal” ones who have been arriving in very large and increasing numbers since about 1994; more than 200,000 of them in 2019. To the point that, in my area, borough planners are expecting a population increase of around 20% over the course of 20 years. This represents a major demographic and cultural change.
The motives for successive governments not merely allowing, but actually encouraging such a vast volume of immigration are dubious. I used to think that it came mainly from a desire to get in more young people, to provide a tax base for the future and so to kick the “aging population” problem a few years down the road. But having become more and more cynical about government intentions, I am now not so sure. Could it be, I muse, that such a large and sustained volume of immigration may represent a deliberate effort to marginalize our indigenous cultures? After all, England was the birthplace of the Enlightenment, and the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. And the Scots weren’t so far behind. The Welsh and the Northern Irish, too, did their bit for the Industrial Revolution.
While I, and I like to think many or even most Reform party people, consider the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution as huge positives, the current establishment seems to have set itself firmly against both of them. That, I feel, is a far bigger issue than a few thousand people arriving in boats, because it strikes at the heart of what government is supposed to be for, and most of all in a so-called “democracy.”
Page 20. “Leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).” No, definitely not. The ECHR and the European Court of Human Rights are the one and only aspect of the European project that, relatively speaking, has stayed true to the goals that were originally set for it. Of course, the Convention isn’t perfect. Personally, I think it is far too weak. It should be strengthened and made wider in scope, and a lot of the caveats taken away.
The Tory “Bill of Rights Bill” currently in parliament, according to the Law Society, would “damage the rule of law and make it harder for people to protect their rights.” Looking at their list of what the bill contains (https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/human-rights/human-rights-act-reforms), that criticism appears sound. The Tory bill will take away many if not most of the protections of the ECHR, without adding any new protections at all, and seemingly without even providing a list of rights, that could play the part of their touted “British Bill of Rights.” Yet the Reform Party wants to go even further than the Tories on this! A party which claims to “campaign relentlessly to protect our civil liberties and freedom of speech”, then turns round and says it will leave the ECHR, cannot possibly be credible to any thinking person!
Reform Our Energy policies
Page 22. “We all want cleaner air.” I re-iterate what I said last year. Green policies on air pollution never seem to have a finishing line; and they don’t take cost-effectiveness, or loss of freedoms, into account. I would simply have said, “we all want air that is clean enough,” and left it at that. Once the air is clean enough, we don’t need to spend any more on going further.
Page 22. “The Conservatives, encouraged by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, over the last 12 years have been grossly negligent.” I think this is far too kind. I don’t think they have been either negligent or foolish; I think that destroying Western industrial civilization, and forcing us all down into poverty, are both parts of their strategy.
Page 22. “Cheap energy is the foundation to allow manufacturing to thrive and grow.” And not just manufacturing! Affordable energy is the foundation of all of Western civilization.
Page 23. “They need the insurance backup of gas generating capacity, which adds significantly to costs due to duplication.” Absolutely. People like me have been banging on about this for years, and no-one has taken even a milligram of notice up to now. Well done!
Page 23. “The Reform UK plan works as follows.” I am always reluctant to countenance any government meddling at all with the economy. But given the circumstances, I can’t think of a better way to fix the problems. That the onus is put on the energy suppliers, and most of all on the “green energy” freaks, is exactly fair, and may in time prove rather amusing.
Page 24. “We must be self reliant.” Absolutely. If the capacity to become self-reliant is there, not trying to do that amounts to self-harm (or worse) on a grand scale. I can agree with all the policies stated.
Page 25. I already commented on the UK ownership issue. Otherwise, fine by me.
Emergency Recovery Plan
A few comments on the separate “Emergency Recovery Plan” document: [].
Page 2 – Gravest economic crisis since end of WW2. Couldn’t agree more.
Page 3 – The “classic socialist measures” they are using will make the problem worse, not better. And they know it.
Page 4 – “Levelling up by drilling down.” Now, there’s a far better slogan that “let’s make Britain great.” (Oh, but fracking usually drills horizontally, not down!)
Page 4 – I’d add “Simplify the tax system.” And remove obstacles (such as IR35) that deny people access to the market.
Page 6 – “Only solution is to grow the cake not to complicate, spend, regulate and tax it.” Yes, but you’re preaching to the converted here. The establishment have other ideas.
Page 8 – “UK has a range of strategic advantages.” It would be good to list some of them.
Page 9 – The plot of tax as a proportion of GDP looks good. It would be nice to see also a plot of GDP growth, to provide evidence that lower taxes lead to increasing GDP.
Page 10 – Yes, the public sector needs to be greatly scaled down, and its non-productive activities eliminated. My vision is that the “public sector” ought to be reduced to only core functions of government – which I see as courts and associated services, police and emergency services, military defence, some degree of co-ordination of infrastructure development (but not that development itself), maintenance of infrastructure at the local level, and necessary diplomacy. As well as a function we don’t have today, but ought to – strict quality control to ensure that everything government does is a nett benefit to the people who pay for it.
Pages 11-12- I can’t disagree with anything here, provided the numbers add up. Also applies to pages 14-15.
Page 13 – “The government’s tax and spend plan reduces the cake, does not address the inflation crisis and makes families more dependent on government handouts and subsidies.” Of course! Making people more and more dependent on the state is part of the establishment’s grand plan.
Emergency Energy Plan
I’ve also had a quick look at this: []. I’ll only give here those comments which aren’t reflected in what I have said already.
Page 3 – The “Strategic Errors” section is very damning. Particularly the first four.
Page 4 – At first sight, the “Renewables Made Electricity Expensive” graph looks quite damning too. But I decided to check by going back to the “official” government data. I got that from Table 3.4.1 Prices of fuels purchased by non-domestic consumers in the United Kingdom (excluding the Climate Change Levy) (Annual) [] and from the Electricity Generated tab, Wind and Solar row in [].
It doesn’t show quite the same numbers as the graph in the report, but I produced the following set of three graphs which, I think, show pretty well what has been going on. The first is the equivalent of the graph in the report, but using the “official” figures.
The second graph shows a good correlation over the period 2013-2021, and the third correlates well from 2010-2020, except perhaps for 2015-6.
Pages 7-8 – “No medium-term supply plan.” The cynic in me is coming to think that the omission has been entirely deliberate on the Tories’ part. And on the part of Labour and the Lib Dems, too.
Page 9 – “Energy market no longer fit for purpose.” Spot on. And all as a result of political manipulations by successive governments.
Page 18 – The caveats about interconnector availability on the right-hand side are important. That gas still needs to be from 42% to 55% of total generation capability shows the futility of the entire renewables scheme. Greenies don’t understand numbers!
Other things that are missing
I already noted that the document doesn’t outline any transport proposals. But there is also no mention of halting dealings with the internationalist establishment, such as the World Economic Forum. Or of preventing a repeat of what Tories, Labour and Coalition have all done to us, by their signing us up to globalist programs of the United Nations, including the “nett zero” agenda and the UN’s “sustainable development goals,” without allowing us any chance to object. There is also no mention of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars, which a recent CEBR report has shown has a huge excess of costs over benefits, even if you use the government’s own methodology (which is very strongly biased in favour of green policies). Such neglect of the views and the needs of the ordinary people is inexcusable in any government, and most of all in one that claims to be democratic.
To sum up
The new policies are a mixed bag. The proverbial “curate’s egg” comes to mind.
I am pleased that the party seems to be coming round to sensible views on the energy crisis and on the “climate change” fraud. This represents considerable progress since last year.
While I don’t claim to be an economics expert, the party’s economic policies seem to be broadly sane. Less bad than any of the other parties, anyway.
The commitment to protect civil liberties and freedom of speech is welcome, but I think it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Opposition to central bank digital currencies, and a commitment to preserve cash, are also welcome; though the proof of those particular puddings is still to come.
The party seems to think that the benefits of Brexit are already showing up, but I don’t see any evidence for that. I also think the party has missed an opportunity to map out a route for repeal of, and recovery from the effects of, all the bad laws we have been saddled with by the EU over the years. That is when the benefits of Brexit will really become apparent.
There are a number of areas in which I think the party should be publishing policies, but they have not. Notably missing are transport policies. Also missing is halting the co-operation with the international and globalist establishment, such as the WEF and the UN, which is currently being done against the interests of, and at great expense to, the people. Unexit ought to be even more of a priority than Brexit was.
I am concerned about the policy of nationalizing the utility companies, though I do see the need for strong action.
I am very concerned about the callous, heartless “zero-tolerance” attitude the party is taking to “illegal” immigration. I am concerned that this may cause many people, who might otherwise have supported Reform UK, to reject the party as right-wing nutcases. I think it would be far better to focus on the issues of how and why large-scale immigration has been, and still is being encouraged, despite the negative effects on our indigenous cultures.
And I consider the proposal to leave the ECHR to be plain wrong. This would be even worse for the people than what the Tories are currently doing with their “Bill of Rights” bill, which includes no Bill of Rights. To me, the Reform party has a serious credibility problem if it tries to claim at one level that it supports human rights and freedoms, yet at another level wants to take away the entire legal framework for upholding them.
Verdict: The party Must Do Better if it is to retain me, and people like me, beyond this time next year.