Saturday, July 24, 2010

Is Oliver Letwin a Conservative

The man who looks like he has come out of outer space, and is to clever by half, and is reportedly behind such great cameron ideas as vote blue go green and hug a hoody as well as being on the very wet left of the conservative party, has dropped another clanger. No wonder the Conservative Party try to keep Oliver Letwin out of the limelight as much as possible, he seems to have a habit of rubbing up the Conservative Party members and MPs in particular the grassroots even though he's a member of the conservative party.

On wednesday this week he was at it again, saying that the conservatives ruling as part of a liberal democrat-conservative coalition is much better than having a sole conservative government. What is it really better that thanks to being in coalition with the lib dems, we are reconsidering the death tax to pay for social care, or that thanks to being in a coalition we have to raise capital gains tax. Worst of all thanks to being part of a coalition government due to a lamentable election campaign partly run by oliver letwin, we don't even have a conservative government. As a member of the conservative party, the job of oliver letwin is to work towards a conservative victory, clearly a coalition government isn't that. Due to mr letwin's love of a coalition government -perhaps he should be crowned as the first member of the condem government, he obviously find it to hard to be a true blue anyway, just think of all the tough but necessary decisions a proper conservative government would make after all.

Mr letwin's remarks show a worry in general though, that a clique around cameron has contempt for the conservative party and its traditions and the coalition government has given a new lease of life to it. No wonder the grassroots with idiots like Letwin, wonder if Mr Cameron is a conservative at all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A radical way to simplify the UK tax system

The UK has one of the most fiendishly complex tax systems in the world; with over a thousand of pages of waffle to wade through and many different tax systems all at varying rates. You need to be a genius to work it all out and most citizens including myself are not. If we don’t know a lot about our tax system, we do not know a lot about where are taxes are going, and if we don’t know where are taxes are going inevitably we cannot trust the system and therefore this leads to a lot of unpaid taxes. Not only this but the government can take advantage of the complicated system to sneakily put up taxes through stealth taxes and also can get away with vast amounts of waste, as complicated systems are nearly always not transparent system. This by the way is the tax system we were left with after 13 years of Labour Government.

The Coalition government says it wants to simplify the tax system, there were also many in the past including at time members of the conservative shadow team like George Osborne who also wanted a more simplified tax system. The way this is apparently going to be achieved is through the office of tax simplification, an organisation created by the government but apparently at arms length. Far be it from me but why doesn't the government actually initiate making the tax system simpler and therefore fairer and lower in the long term, rather than palming it off on another self made quango which will cost the taxpayer a lot of money where the government is just trying to avoid responsibility for making difficult decisions. Also given the fact that we have a massive debt cloud hanging over us, and we need to make serious cuts to public expenditure, we don’t exactly have money to waste on pointless quangos, however well intentioned they may be.

There is though a way to simplify taxes and cut taxes for everyone poor, middle class and rich and be completely fair, and be a system where people know where its going and can budget for it. It is called a flat tax. The flat tax has worked in Eastern Europe to turn countries that had broken economies thanks to being part of the Soviet Union, to places where people want to invest. Indeed those eastern European countries who have introduced a flat tax system have seen on average since 1994 around a 5.5% growth rate, where those who didn't introduced this type of tax system only received a growth rate of 2.6%. The proof therefore is in the pudding.

The only taxes, which would exist in a flat tax system, are a flat and low rate income tax and a flat and low rate profit tax. No other taxes would be needed, rather than a tax system, which runs into thousands of pages, we could have a tax system, which are only at the most a few pages long. If a flat tax were introduced into the UK it would lower marginal tax rates significantly and therefore make the UK one of the most attractive places for businesses to come to. This is needed as to get out of the economic slowdown, this country needs investment and lots of it, what better way to do it then through introducing a flat tax system which will make everyone's lives easier and deal with the deficit at the same time.

Also tax fraud and avoidance would decrease. This is because with fewer taxes and exemptions, there is simply less chance to defraud the system, either by individuals or by the government themselves. You wont therefore see the ludicrous situation year on year where people are either told that they have underpaid in taxes or overpaid in taxes. Not only this broadens the tax base, which means the grey economy which makes up around 10-12% of the British Economy will be encouraged to join the open economy. Putting it simply there will be no point to avoid taxes anymore, because they are lower enough to not people off.

It is also a fair system. It will mean that everyone pays a similar amount of the income lets for example put it at 15% of income. This would be lower than the present system, but at the same time, it would mean that the rich proportionately would pay more because for example 15% of a £million is much more than 15% of £10,000. This is fairer than the present system where thanks to taxes like VAT the poor pay more than the rich. Also due to the lower tax levels for the poor, a life on benefits will suddenly look a lot less appealing as they get the chance to keep more of the money for themselves. So another possible benefit is a tax system that would encourage individual responsibility and freedom, rather than the system at the moment that supports a dependency culture.

There is one problem with the flat tax system; I must admit it works best in system where government expenditure is low. Unfortunately the UK Government expenditure as part of our whole economy is notoriously high; it is at between 40-45% at the moment and rising. For someone like myself who believes strongly in small government, this is deeply distressing. However I truly believe if we had a flat tax system, then the government would be forced to reduce their size and income, leading private businesses and individuals to flourish, and for less government interference in our lives.

Ultimately then if you want a simplified tax system, which will make us a country with lower taxes, a freer country, a fairer country and a more entrepreneurial country then the flat tax is the way to go, and by the way its a lot cheaper than setting up another quango (the office of tax simplification). I hope although doubt that the coalition government will listen to my advice.

Google Ignores its principles

Google rightly in the past through its search engines and videos and images etc has been praised as an ocean of freedom of speech and expression, promoting the Internet as a freedom zone. For example it was through google search engines and images you could see the Muhammad Cartoons. It was through google video you could see clips of Jerry Springer the Opera. It appeared google stood firmly against censorship.

All this was true until recently. Google in its dealings with China seemed to have forgotten their principles, and left them at the door to its negotiations with the Chinese government. There were worries when google first went into China considering China's high record of censorship which seems to be taken straight out of George Orwell's 1984 manual, which China's authoritarian government seems very fond of. It was reported today that Google rather than letting Chinese Citizens see the freedom of the web with no censors, so for example they could look up stuff relating to Tibet and the 1989 Tiannamen square massacre through going through Google's Hong Kong search engine. It was a loophole where google let Chinese citizens see the world in the way they could see it, not controlled by their government.

Today though google closed the shutters on this window of truth for Chinese Citizens. This is because Google did a deal with the Chinese Government where they can now stop Chinese citizens from reaching this loophole and even further they have made sure that google's China search engine is now censored by the Chinese government, that's to say the Chinese government now basically controls it. Google then inadvertently through doing this is strengthening an authoritarian regime, by giving them a pass to control the Internet, one that before was not open to them.

Google as a private company first point of call is to their customers, they have ignored the millions of Chinese customers who would like to see the real world through a free Internet and not a world as the Chinese Government wants them to see it. Not only that they are now offering a half baked service to their chinese customers. It is up to other search engines to take advantage here and stand up for the principles of freedom of speech and expression through the internet and use the loopholes of the internet to get past Chinese Government censors. Maybe then Google might learn the lesson that listening to customers and standing up for your principles is more important than having a cosy relationship with a dictatorial government.