Saturday 8 April 2006

In circulation on the Old Right

In circulation on the Old Right, the crossover with the material in circulation on the Left being in itself an important point:

1. The restoration of the supremacy of British over EU law, the use of this to restore Britain's historic fishing rights, the adoption of the showstopping Empty Chair Policy until the Council of Ministers meets in public and publishes an Official Report akin to Hansard, and the election of Britain's European Commissioner by the whole electorate from a shortlist of two submitted by a secret ballot of MPs;
2. The government of Northern Ireland precisely as if it were any other part of the United Kingdom (not least including the restoration of proper local government there, and organisation there by the British political parties), and the adoption of the Irish Republic's attitude of contempt towards terrorist political parties (views that I hold not least because I am a practising Catholic);
3. The monarchy as embodying our fundamental values, and the duty to hold the Royal Family to account as that embodiment which enables then to enjoy enormous privileges, always having in mind that the succession to the throne is determined by Parliament in our 'res publica' (the reason why there must be no change to the Oath of Allegiance, which, when understood historically and grammatically, expresses this fact);
4. British Standard English to be the only official language of every public body in the United Kingdom, except where another language indigenous to these islands has a high concentration of native speakers, in which case that language should have parity (though no more than that) with British Standard English;
5. Saint George's Day, Saint Andrew's Day, Saint David's Day and Saint Patrick's Day all to be public holidays throughout the United Kingdom, with the flag of the relevant part of the United Kingdom should be displayed alongside the Union Flag in or on all public buildings at all times, to be joined by the appropriate flag, on the other side of the Union Flag, on each of the aforesaid Saints' Days;
6. Total opposition to any lowering of the voting age to 16, as this would threaten our democracy since no one seriously suggests that the political opinion of a 16-year-old is equal to that of, say, his Head Teacher, so, sooner or later, someone would suggest, unanswerably, that people like the latter ought to have more votes than the former;
7. A much higher threshold for income tax and corporation tax, with a flat rate thereafter, so that the working poor are taken out of tax, while genuine middle-earners and small or medium-sized businesses pay far less than at present, because the richest individuals and the biggest corporations pay their fair share for the first time ever;
8. Serious consideration of the restoration of grammar schools 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;
9. Continuation of my ongoing work in trying to set up on a co-operative basis an Examination Board drawn from independent schools while making its services available to all schools, in trying to persuade public schools and Oxbridge colleges (run as these are by professional educationalists) to sponsor City Academies (if we must have them at all), and in trying to create a new educational charity which would elect to Associateship those pupils in all schools who, on leaving the Sixth Form at 18, had attained since beginning Year 10 examination results at or above the average in the remaining state grammar schools, both in terms of the marks themselves, and in terms of the range of subjects studied (as well as electing to Fellowship those teachers whose pupils attained such results over 10 consecutive years), including with a view to contacting the most prestigious universities in order to make the Associateship (which would be automatic) an admission requirement, and in the hope that this charity will be called after a Labour politician who fought to defend the grammar schools as the ladder of working-class advancement;
10. The defence and restoration of schooling at the highest academic level for those to whom it is appropriate as intimately related to an emphatic dedication to the defence and restoration of Special Needs Education;
11. Total opposition to the idea of abolishing, or greatly reducing the responsibilities of, Local Education Authorities, since the real reasons for wanting this are a desire to abolish counties (as would follow very rapidly on the abolition of LEAs) and a determination to ensure that bipartite or tripartite secondary schooling can never be restored (as this would be logistically impossible without very powerful and well-resourced LEAs), which former would entail the abolition of Lords Lieutenants, this anti-monarchist cause being a key part of the anti-LEA, inescapably anti-county agenda, and there being no comparable country in which anyone would ever even suggest abolishing whole tiers of local government, never mind in which such a thing might actually happen;
12. Continual exposure of the metropolitan liberal elite's pathological hatred of local government as in fact an undisguised hatred of people other than themselves, and as expressing itself in the ridiculous view that councils ought to be "commissioners rather than providers" of services, as if efficiency or accountability had somehow been increased by a village primary school's no longer even employing its own caretaker, or by giving private companies unconditional licenses to print public money in return for risk-free "investments" in, say, emptying the bins, or preparing school food, so that the sooner that this whole process of the last 25 years is halted and reversed, the better;
13. Local authorities to be able to set precepts on top of the flat-rate income tax and corporation tax outlined above, so that Council Tax and National Non-Domestic Rates could both be abolished;
14. The abolition, as soon as practicable, of Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax;
15. 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) to be taught and used side by side (my generation is in the ridiculous position of having been taught no system except the one used only for certain specialist purposes), except where metrication has not already taken place, as in the case of road signs;
16. University funding per student, regardless of parental income, on a sliding scale of the A-level or equivalent grades required by the course (up to three As) and those obtained by the student (up to three As), with full fees paid for, and generous maintenance grants awarded to, those at the higher end;
17. Defence of rural services, leading in particular to the systematic reversal of bus route and (where possible) rail line closures, as well as of the erosion of local schools, medical facilities, Post Offices, and so on;
18. The development of 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;
19. 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';
20. The supermarkets to 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;
21. Repeal of the ban on hunting with dogs, and defence of the remaining field sports;
22. Everywhere to be covered by a Parish or Town Council, or an urban or suburban equivalent, with greatly increased powers and resources;
23. The removal of foreign forces from British soil and waters, the restoration of British overall control over our defence capability, no more participation in "neoconservative" (i.e., anti-conservative) wars, and the retention of the historic regiments as the framework for the Army's future efficiency;
24. Britain's permanent seat on the UN Security Council to be used in consultation with the other 15 Commonwealth Realms (i.e., Commonwealth countries retaining the monarchy), vetoing any resolution not approved by the majority of them, and seeking a similar arrangement with regard to the British and Canadian seats at the G8, all the while with a view to binding the Commonwealth Realms to each other through the monarchy, and on the basis of the shared values and history embodied by that institution, with their citizens having at least the same rights of access to this country as are enjoyed by EU citizens, and with every step made to ensure at least the same level of cultural contact (twinning, exchanges, and so on) with the other Commonwealth Realms as with the other EU member-states (which must never include Turkey);
25. Britain's permanent seat on the UN Security Council to be used at least ordinarily to veto any proposal not approved by the majority of those countries (other than those with permanent seats of their own) which, like seventy-two per cent Christian Britain, have Christian majority populations, which, among other good things, would gain Britain enormous influence in the increasing important regions of Africa and Latin America (it would be constitutionally impossible for the United States to adopt a similar policy);
26. Britain's permanent seat on the UN Security Council to be used at least ordinarily to veto any proposal not approved by the majority of the world's elective democracies (other than those with permanent seats of their own), making her the true leader of the democratic world, in contrast to any country that might otherwise arrogate to itself such a title;
27. The closest possible ties (not least by this medium, and especially in schools) with those British Overseas Territories with permanent populations (I myself am half Saint Helenian, and I was in fact born in Saint Helena), and the National Days of all the Commonwealth Realms and Overseas Territories to be marked in our public institutions, including by the display of their flags alongside the permanent display of the Union Flag;
28. This country to have at least equal cultural ties with those Western European countries (primarily Norway, Iceland and Switzerland) outside the EU as with those inside it;
29. Scholars working at least part-time right inside the Palace of Westminster publicly interpreting contemporary events in the light of Classics and the Bible, including their respective traditions of reception and interpretation (not least by reference of each other);
30. Programmes of internships, conferences, publications, and so forth, on social questions which those employed at public expense to research these things refuse to research as a matter of principle. Examples might include: beyond multiculturalism to integration; the economic, social, cultural and political consequences of substance liberalisation, of gambling liberalisation, and of prostitution and pornography; the economic, social, cultural and political importance of fatherhood, and of marriage as traditionally understood; domestic and non-domestic violence by women; domestic violence against men; female sexual abuse of children; female sexual abuse and exploitation of men; and the effects on the poor of each of penal policy, education policy, health policy, policing policy and housing policy;
31. A legal presumption of equal parenting, and the restoration of the tax allowance for fathers for so long as Child Benefit is still being paid to mothers;
32. Raising of the age of consent to 18, and total opposition to the further deregulation of drinking or gambling, with strong support for calls to criminalise the buying of sex at least above the age of consent (raised to 18) provided that this is accompanied by the equal criminalisation (including in sentencing terms) of the selling of sex above that age;
33. Reclassification of cannabis as a Class A drug, with a clampdown on possession as well as on supply;
34. Repeal of the Civil Contingencies Act, no identity cards, no control orders, repeal of existing erosions of trial by jury and of the right to silence, repeal of existing reversals of the burden of proof, repeal of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, and a return to preventative policing based on foot patrols;
35. Police forces at least be no larger than at present, and subject to local democratic accountability, most obviously though Police Authorities, although my mind is by no means closed to the idea of elected sheriffs;
36. Every offence to carry a minimum sentence of one third of its maximum sentence, or fifteen years in prison where the maximum sentence is life imprisonment;
37. Gypsies and Travellers to be made to obey the same planning laws as the rest of us;
38. Practical recognition that just as one cannot logically oppose the decadent social libertinism deriving from the 1960s without also opposing the decadent economic libertinism deriving from the 1980s (or vice versa), and just as one cannot logically oppose the European Union's erosion of our self-government without also opposing that by global capital and by American hegemony (or vice versa), so likewise one cannot logically oppose the unrestricted movement of people (i.e., migrants) without also opposing that of goods, services and capital (or vice versa);
39. The development of nuclear power as at least the core around which other things (wind, wave, solar, &c) 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;
40. Election of the BBC Governors for a fixed term of five years from among those licence-payers in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and each of the nine English regions who are politically independent (sufficient to be eligible in principle for membership of the remuneration panels of local councils), with each licence-payer (including members of political parties) voting for one candidate, the top two per area being elected at the end, and the Chairman being appointed by the Secretary of State with the approval of the relevant Select Committee, as well as the election in the same manner, though by the whole electorate, of Ofcom, of the Press Complaints Commission, and of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, just for a start;
41. An undertaking to go to prison rather than carry an identity card, and likewise to go to prison rather than pay taxes for the sake of state funding of political parties, which would necessitate state involvement, no doubt through some ghastly commission of the metropolitan liberal elite, both in policy formulation and in candidate selection, this being why those who advocate such funding do so, since they expect that they or their mates will be appointed to such a commission, and will thus be able to dictate, even more than at present, both what may be discussed, and by whom; and
42. The introduction, by agreement among the parties, of a system whereby each constituency party submitted a shortlist of two potential parliamentary candidates to a binding ballot of all registered electors in that constituency, and each party at national level submitted a shortlist of two potential Leaders (i.e., putative Prime Ministers) to a binding ballot of all registered electors throughout the United Kingdom, not least because this would help to protect the First Past The Post electoral system at both national and (therefore) local level.

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