How many actual or potential voters here in the North East share the oft-stated view of Labour's super-Blairite Stephen Hughes MEP, that national and municipal institutiosn should disappear completely, leaving only the EU, the regions, and the Towns and Parishes? No Parliament, no monarchy, no British Army (because no Britain to have it), no National Health Service (because no nation to have it), nothing.
How many actual or potential Tory voters either here or anywhere else outside London and the South East (not to mention in those areas, when you think about Shire Tories, or the working-class Tory tradition of London and its hinterland) can think of any reason at all to vote for the organisation still ludicrously presenting itself as the Conservative Party? I cannot imagine which would be worse for it, losing the Ealing Southall by-election after all the hype, or winning it with New Labour's very own Tony Lit.
And then there are the Lib Dems, who gain support purely for what they are not, but who, even with contempt for the political class at its current level, still manage to reach only sixteen per cent of eligible voters, fewer than half the number that consistently indicates an intention to abstain.
So, to all voters in the 2009 European Election here in the North East, to all voters in the North West Durham constituency, and indeed to anyone else who might be reading this, I say that I believe in the restoration of the supremacy of British over EU law, in the use of this to restore Britain's historic fishing rights, that no EU law should apply in the United Kingdom without having gone through exactly the same parliamentary process as if it were a Bill which had originated in our own Parliament, in the adoption of the show-stopping Empty Chair Policy until the Council of Ministers meets in public and publishes an Official Report akin to Hansard, in the disapplication in the United Kingdom of any ruling of the European Court of Justice by resolution of the House of Commons (giving this country the same level of independence as is rightly enjoyed by Germany through her Constitutional Court), and in the non-application of any ruling under either the Human Rights Act or the European Convention on Human Rights unless and until ratified by such a resolution. Don't you?
I also believe in the repeal of the Civil Contingencies Act, the repeal of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act, the restoration of the situation whereby a Bill which runs out of parliamentary time is lost at the end of that session, in no identity cards, in no control orders, and in the repeal of existing erosions of trial by jury and of the right to silence, of existing reversals of the burden of proof, of provision for majority verdicts (which, by definition, provide for conviction even where there is reasonable doubt), of provision for Police confiscation of assets without a conviction, and of the Official Secrets Acts. Don't you?
To those who would ordinarily vote Labour (if at all), I say that I believe in a unified benefits, pensions, student funding, and minimum wage system, so that no one's income falls below half national median earnings, together with a one hundred per cent tax at source on all income from rent, with a Social Security payment to those thus taxed equal to national average earnings (or sufficient to maintain the legitimate activities of religious or educational institutions), as a step towards giving every household a base of real property from which to resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State. Don't you?
I believe in a permanently higher rate of corporation tax on the banks and the privatised utilities, with the money spent on reimbursing the employers' National Insurance contributions for workers aged 25 or under and 55 or over, and with strict regulation to ensure that no cost is passed on to workers, consumers, communities or the environment. Don't you?
I believe in a ban on any company paying any employee more than ten times what it pays any other employee, with the whole public sector (including MPs and Ministers) functioning as one for this purpose, its median wage pegged permanently at the median wage in the private sector, and with every public limited company to have one non-executive director appointed by the Secretary of State for a fixed term equivalent to that of other directors, and responsible for protecting the interests of workers, small shareholders, consumers, communities and the environment. Don't you?
I believe in the renationalisation of the railways, uniquely without compensation in view of the manner of their privatisation, as the basis for a national network of public transport free at the point of use, including the reversal of bus route and (where possible) rail line closures going back to the 1950s. Don't you?
I believe in building on the statutory right of every worker to join a trade union and to have that trade union recognised for collective bargaining purposes by giving every trade unionist so recognised the statutory right to take industrial action in pursuit of a legitimate grievance, including strike action, and including solidarity action of a clearly secondary character (such as a work to rule in support of a strike) within a single industry or corporation. Don't you?
I believe in the abolition of all remaining vestiges of Compulsory Competitive Tendering, of the capping of councils, and of the power of central government to rule local services ultra vires. Don't you?
I believe in freezing of prescription charges, and restoration of free eye and dental check-ups. Don't you?
And I believe in the removal of all nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons from British soil and waters, together with a total ban on the sale of arms abroad, and the removal of foreign forces from British soil and waters, and restoration of British overall control of our defence capability, with no more participation in neoconservative wars, and with immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq (there being no identifiable "job" to "finish" in either of those countries). Don't you?
Meanwhile, to those who would ordinarily vote Tory (if at all), I say that I believe in the restoration of grammar schools, but on the German Gymnasium model, thus avoiding the 11-plus while working to overcome this country's crippling cultural division between arts and sciences, and between academic and technical education, and while recognising that the defence and restoration of schooling at the highest academic level for those to whom it is appropriate (including the restoration of O-levels in place of GCSEs) as intimately related to an emphatic dedication to the defence and restoration of Special Needs Education. Don't you?
I believe that the imperial and metric systems (both of which, it must be said, are of foreign origin but have long histories of use in this country) should both be taught and used side by side except where metrication has not already taken place, as in the case of road signs. Don't you?
I believe in the defence of rural services, leading in particular to the systematic reversal of bus route and (where possible) rail line closures gping back to the 1950s, as well as of the erosion of local schools, medical facilities, Post Offices, and so on, the first as part of the development of a national network of public transport free at the point of use. Don't you?
I believe in the defence of real agriculture as the mainstay of strong communities, environmental responsibility and animal welfare (leading to safe, healthy and inexpensive food), as against American-style 'factory farming', together with the defence of the remaining field sports, and the repeal of the ban on hunting with dogs. Don't you?
I believe that the supermarkets should be made to fund investment in agriculture and small business (investment to be determined in close consultation with the National Farmers' Union and the Federation of Small Businesses) by means of a windfall tax, to be followed if necessary by a permanently higher flat rate of corporation tax, in either case with strict regulation to ensure that the costs of this are not passed on to suppliers, workers, consumers, communities or the environment. Don't you?
I believe in raising the minimum age for jurors at least to 21, in the restoration of a minimum property and/or educational qualification for jurors, in the restoration of the pre-1968 committal powers of the magistracy, in the abolition of stipendiary magistrates, in the repeal of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, in the restoration of the pre-1985 prosecution powers of the Police (i.e., abolition of the Crown Prosecution Service), and a return to preventative policing based on foot patrols, with police forces at least be no larger than at present, and subject to local democratic accountability, most obviously though Police Authorities, although with the mind by no means closed to the idea of elected sheriffs. Don't you?
I believe in marriage as between one man and one woman (anything else being contrary to the interests of women), refusal of the State to lie by issuing transsexuals with new birth certificates, a legal presumption of equal parenting, the restoration of the tax allowance for fathers for so long as Child Benefit is still being paid to mothers, and the payment of poorer mothers of small children to stay at home with them rather than to hand them over into the care of strangers. Don't you?
I believe in the development of nuclear power and the application of clean coal technology as at least the core around which other things (wind, wave, solar, et cetera) may operate, since it offers both the re-creation of strong working-class communities based on high-wage and high-skilled employment (as previously provided by pits, steelworks, shipyards, and so on), and independence from the affairs of the Middle East, as well as from Russian gas. Don't you?
And I believe in the cultivation of Russia's sense of herself as an integral part of the Biblical and Classical civilisation that is the West, and as that civilisation's bridge both to the world as defined by Islam, and to the world of the Far East, linking them to the West and to each other precisely by reference to the Biblical-Classical synthesis, and so overcoming anything in them that might ever give rise to any "clash of civilisations" such as is absurdly held to be happening at present, while acting as the West's gatekeeper against subjugation to Islam or to anything Far Eastern, and while sharing that historic role with all the Slavs. Don't you?
And to those who would ordinarily be minded to vote Lib Dem (if at all), I say that I hold all of the above views and am neither a Labour nor a Tory candidate. If you can find a Lib Dem candidate who holds those views, then I will be greatly surprised. Indeed, if you can find one who holds very many views at all, then I will be quite taken aback.