Enough is enough – we must stop treating drivers as cash cows

UKIP North DownBritain’s road policing chief today declared that ‘enough is enough’ as he urged a zero-tolerance policy on speeding motorists. 

But UKIP’s transport spokesman Jill Seymour responded by saying that ‘enough is enough’ regarding the constant victimisation of road users, and determination to use them as revenue-raising cash cows.

Motorists can currently exceed the speed limit by 10% before being at risk of speeding fines, but Anthony Bangham, chief constable of West Mercia Police, called for this flexibility to be scrapped.

And since he is the road policing lead for the National Police Chiefs Council, other forces are expected to take his comments seriously.

Mrs Seymour – a West Midlands MEP who is based in Mr Bangham’s West Mercia area – said: “I’m not for one moment advocating that drivers ignore the legal speed limits on our roads.

“But there is a perfectly practical and accepted reason for this 10% margin – it’s hard to read many non-digital speedometers to the nearest 1mph, and can sometimes be slightly inaccurate anyway.

“Anyone who uses a satnav on a regular basis will see that it often shows a different speed to the dial on the dashboard. Which one do you believe?”

She added: “On the new ‘smart motorways’ which are being questionably introduced at great expense, speed limits can be changed at the whim of an officer in a control centre, every few hundred yards.

“If Mr Bangham has his way, motorway drivers could spend more time looking nervously up at gantries than on the road ahead, and that raises all manner of worrying safety issues.

“Once again, the driver is being treated as a cash cow. I would urge our police chiefs to put more emphasis instead on catching the real highway criminals – those who  are driving with no tax and insurance, or using their mobile phones at the wheel.”

But Mrs Seymour did agree with Mr Bangham on one issue – that it’s time to clamp down on the use of speed awareness courses as an alternative to penalty points.

She said: “There are a lot of people whose pockets are being nicely lined by the operation of these courses. That’s the real reason we are seeing more and more of these so-called ‘safety camera’ vans on our roads.

“Drivers on a speed awareness course still have to pay almost the same price as they would to have three points on their licence and a fine, and there is no evidence that the introduction of these courses has made life on our roads any safer.

“In fact, if the Chief Constable is now calling for this 10% tolerance buffer to be scrapped, I can only conclude that he feels they simply don’t work.”

UKIP accuses the Chancellor of attacking enterprise and betraying the self-employed

 

Responding to the Budget UKIP Economy Spokesman Mark Reckless AM said:

“The Conservatives have today lost any claim they may have had to represent either White Van Man or the many women who create businesses as a route to combining a continuing economic contribution with family life.

“In this Budget, Philip Hammond has launched an unnecessary and foolish attack on enterprise. To claim to be making life better for the employed by making life worse for the self-employed is the worst kind of levelling down. It is an approach more befitting of big state socialism than of a party that claims to understand wealth creation.

“Self-employed people create their own jobs. They have no paid holidays, sickness benefits or company pension schemes and in fact no guaranteed income at all.

“They show guts and determination. And like the rest of the electorate they were promised that the Tories would not be whacking up national insurance rates in this parliament. In their case it is going to be a promise broken.”

Mr Reckless added: “The growth and borrowing projections announced in today’s Budget show that the Brexit vote of last June has had no negative impact on the economy and that the dire forecasts of George Osborne were merely a cynical political scare tactic.

“Philip Hammond is right to talk up the prospects of the British economy in the years ahead, rather than irresponsibly talking them down as his predecessor did in the run-up to the referendum.

“UKIP has always argued that the British economy will flourish outside the EU – as we regain the power to agree our own free trade deals and remove ourselves from future waves of Brussels red tape.

“Our relatively buoyant economy is an early sign that the British people were right to disbelieve the merchants of doom.

“That the Chancellor now has some financial wiggle room due to better than expected tax receipts and lower unemployment is reassuring in advance of the Government’s negotiations to exit the EU.

“Mr Hammond is right not to spend this initial Brexit bonus. Our national debt is alarmingly large and while the deficit is lower than previously expected that debt is still growing.

“In fact the Government should be making significant savings from bloated spending areas. UKIP for example would look to cut foreign aid spending by £10 billion a year, scrap the wasteful HS2 project and rebalance the Barnett Formula so resources reflect real needs.

“With some of those savings we could afford to remove VAT from domestic energy, hot takeaway food and female sanitary products as soon as Britain is out of the EU. We could also avoid clobbering the self-employed with extra National Insurance as the Chancellor does today. We need to help hard-pressed people with the cost of living, not clobber the self-employed.”

Green energy eating its own tail

UKIP’s energy spokesman Roger Helmer has spoken out against the latest EU energy policies.

The party’s MEP for the East Midlands spoke in an plenary session in Brussels last week on the EU’s objectives for ‘secure, affordable and sustainable energy.’

He said: “For many years the EU has followed policies which directly militate against those objectives.

“Germany, with the largest renewables investment, now uses increasing volumes of lignite. In the UK, we are planning to use diesel generation as back-up.”

Mr Helmer quoted a front page story from The Economist magazine, ‘Clean Energy’s Dirty Secret.’

He said: “It says we have created regulatory and subsidy structures which militate against energy infrastructure investment, and threaten security of supply.

“Yet the EU’s latest proposal amounts to little more than bureaucratic paper-pushing.”

His comments follow reports this week on the House of Lords report into the energy policies of the past three Governments.

The report criticises the open-ended nature of renewables subsidies.

Mr Helmer said: “Hard-working families, and indeed industry, is hit by the the costs of renewables and the EU and successive Government’s obsession with them.

“The cost of this obsession with weather-dependent energy is plunging us into an energy crisis.

“As reports say, it doesn’t matter how many extra renewables we subsidise, the wind won’t blow harder, nor the sun shine more – and that extra cost burden is carried by ordinary families and businesses up and down the land.”

The message of GM’s EU exit

General Motors’ decision to sell Opel/Vauxhall to Peugeot is a reminder that the European market is in decline. Post-Brexit Britain needs to look beyond it.

As Matthew Lynn points out in the Telegraph, by selling Opel/Vauxhall, GM isn’t pulling out of Britain. It’s pulling out of Europe. That’s telling.

GM hasn’t had an easy decade anywhere. It was bailed out by the US government in 2008, temporarily ending up in public ownership.

But its lack of profitability this side of the Atlantic has much more to do with the European market.

Annual car sales in the EU are still 20% lower than they were in 2007. By contrast, US car sales hit a new record in 2016 – with GM’s sales in December 2016 10% higher than in December 2015.

The EU’s economic problems aren’t going away. Another sovereign debt crisis is imminent. The EU doesn’t have the flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions. And even if it did, the plain fact is that Europe is in demographic decline.

Whichever way you look at it, the European market is shrinking. It’s no longer the comparatively dynamic trading bloc that Britain joined forty years ago.

Britain needs to reorient its economy toward the growing regions of the world to prosper. That would have been the case whatever the result of the referendum.

Of course we want – and will negotiate – access to the EU market post-Brexit. But we can’t stake our future on it.

Brexit provides the opportunity we need to revamp our trade policy for the twenty-first century. Let’s make sure we take it

Government must get a grip as migration still spirals out of control

Responding to today’s migration statistics UKIP Immigration Spokesman John Bickley said, “Almost 600 thousand migrants arrived in the UK last year according to figures released by the ONS this morning. After emigration is subtracted – including 228,000 UK citizens that is a city the size of Hull arriving to stay permanently.

“Today’s migration figures show yet again that the Tories’ promise of reducing immigration to the tens of thousands is a hollow promise: are they misleading the British people or incompetent, most likely both.

“Earlier this week the Brexit minister David Davis let the cat out of the bag by indicating that uncontrolled immigration from the EU may never be brought under control. What happened to Vote Leave to ‘take back control’.

“The Conservatives have no intention of controlling immigration: non-EU immigration is something that the Government have total control of and yet they have totally failed in bringing the numbers down in any meaningful way. They simply cannot be trusted to control immigration and our borders.

“Today’s figures also show that migration from Romania and Bulgaria has soared to its highest ever levels. UKIP warned about this but were slated by the political and media establishment, perhaps they might listen to us in future.

“However, let’s not forget that today’s figures, which continue to show immigration at unsustainable levels, were seeded by Labour, who deliberately engineered mass uncontrolled immigration for electoral advantage.

“In last year’s Referendum 17.4 million made their views clear about unsustainable levels of immigration, and with their vote to Leave they voted to take back control of immigration and of our borders. UKIP is the only party telling the British people the truth about immigration and is the only party that can be trusted to deliver what the majority of British people want.“

Paris is no match for London

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says he wants London’s talent to move to Paris post-Brexit. A decade ago, Nicolas Sarkozy made a similar pitch to French citizens in Britain. There’s a reason they stayed here.

France isn’t exactly in great shape economically. The unemployment rate in France right now is 10%, compared to 5% here. That figure rises to 26% among young people, as opposed to 12% in Britain.

Which is why many have left France to work here. Estimates suggest London is home to as many as 300,000 French citizens – and has been for years. It’s no coincidence that Sarkozy campaigned here in 2007. France’s loss of so many able people is our gain.

Britain has higher employment partly because our labour market is much more flexible. In France, not only is the working week legally limited to 35 hours, but it can also be impossible for employers to dismiss underperforming staff.

Increased protection for workers is great – if you already have a job, that is. Not if you don’t. Because it’s so hard to get rid of staff, employers are reluctant to hire them in the first place.

Brexit doesn’t change the fact that the cost of employing people in France and elsewhere in the EU is often prohibitive. Far from relocating, as Macron might hope, British banks are already identifying Brexit opportunities.

Not for the first time, business is months ahead of politics.

But there’s a more important point here.

Economic prosperity comes from flexibility. To thrive, economies need to adapt to changing conditions. Static economies decline.

Brexit allows our economy to become more dynamic – because we’ll no longer be subject to single market overregulation. That’s why economically – not just politically – we made the right choice on June 23rd.

All the President’s pundits

Media types seem to be perpetually outraged at President Trump’s comments about the press. If they want to rebuild public trust in journalism, they are going the wrong way about it.

Reporters called the President’s press conference last week “extraordinary”. But was it? He has been criticising the media consistently for almost two years. It’s part of what won him the election.

Trump’s attacks on the media resonate with voters in middle America because they have long since lost faith in the press. Rightly so.

The leftist bias of mainstream American news outlets, like CNN and NBC, is pervasive – much like it is at the BBC. Yet, just like the BBC, they refuse to acknowledge it.

You would think growing public dissatisfaction with the press would prompt some humility and reflection. Instead, it appears to have the opposite effect.

Journalists now seem to think of themselves as great heroes of the Trump “resistance”. The greater his criticism of them, the more sanctimonious and self-congratulatory they become.

Apparently, pundits still don’t get that they are merely justifying his message in the eyes of voters. They aren’t hindering the President. They’re helping him.

The remarkable thing about President Trump isn’t that he attacks hostile media. It’s that he has managed to harness them. He has made them his useful idiots.

Throughout the campaign, Trump got billions of dollars of free publicity thanks to news outlets broadcasting his every critical tweet. He has created a kind of feedback loop: the more he attacks the press, the more hysterical they become, the more support he wins.

There’s a big gap in the market for reasoned, dispassionate, insightful analysis about what’s going on in Washington. If mainstream journalists weren’t so preoccupied by their own wounded pride, some of them might seize it.

UKIP Defence Spokesman calls for European countries to increase defence spending

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UKIP Defence spokesman Bill Etheridge has called for European nations to increase their spending on defence.

The call comes as news emerged that the UK had failed to meet its pledge of 2% after an increase in GDP.

European leaders in Brussels received a warning from US Defence secretary Jim Mattis that allies must significantly increase their defense spending “if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance”.

Such has been the decline in spending since the break-up of the Soviet Union that the Belgian military was forced to ask the U.S. for hand-me-down flak jackets for its soldiers when it deployed domestically in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels in recent years.

Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said “With the twin threats of Islamic fundamentalism and a resurgent Russia, it is imperative that all NATO nations meet or exceed the agreed 2%.

“We have a crisis in Armed Forces recruitment despite government protestations there is no problem. We have a severe lack of heavy artillery, of operational submarines, carriers without aircraft and insufficient infantry fighting vehicles.

“The UK should not be in a position where an uplift in GDP means we miss our 2% target. We should be spending much more than that because we have a ground to make up after years of deficiencies.

“Unfortunately after years of Blairite internationalism where we send our troops to everyone else’s conflicts and the mistaken belief that spending billions on foreign aid is better than defence spending, we have insufficient numbers of armed forces who are not properly equipped, and a Defence procurement system which is not fit for purpose.”

How to cut the cost of living

A third of British households now live on inadequate incomes, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. To increase prosperity, it’s not enough to raise wages. We need to scrap the policies that are pushing up the cost of living.

Unemployment is exceptionally low in the UK. That’s the upside. The downside is that high employment has been achieved through wage compression.

Downward pressure on wages is partly the result of the free movement of cheap labour from Eastern Europe. But that’s not the only reason.

The government is also subsidising low pay – through tax credits. Employers are incentivised to keep wages low, knowing taxpayers will top them up. In-work benefits are also an added incentive for immigration.

But low pay isn’t a stand-alone problem. Wage stagnation is an issue because the cost of living is high and keeps rising. For that, government bears much greater responsibility.

Regressive taxes – VAT, ‘green’ levies, duties on fuel, alcohol and tobacco etc. – place the greatest burden on the least wealthy households. According to official statistics, the poorest fifth of households spend an average of 30% of their disposable income just on indirect taxes.

The poorest are also hit hardest by monetary policy. Decades of low interest rates have not just raised prices that would otherwise have fallen, but also stoked a housing bubble – transferring wealth from the asset-poor to the asset-rich in the process.

Letting people keep more of their own money, and not debasing its value through constant monetary expansion, would raise the welfare of the poorest at a stroke.

The answer isn’t more state intervention. It’s less

The left’s problem is pessimism

Across the West, the left is losing. Badly. But that’s not, as leftists seem to think, because the world has suddenly become reactionary. It’s because the left has lost its own belief in progress.

Last week, Nick Clegg claimed UKIP exists as ‘a voice for people who don’t like the modern world’. He couldn’t be more wrong.

It’s not right that is stuck in the past today. It’s the left.

The Lib Dems cling onto the mid-twentieth-century dirigisme of the EU. Labour can’t see beyond 70s-era socialism. As for the Greens, they hark back to a mythical pre-industrial paradise.

Leftists are often described as progressives or liberals. But they have ceased to be either. They won’t admit that the world is getting better, let alone that freedom is the root of progress.

Fundamentally, the left can’t accept the idea of a self-organising society. That’s why they are always trying to fix things by grand design – and why they place so much faith in ‘expert’ elites.

Yet elitism is what voters are rebelling against. Most people recognise that they can run their lives better than a remote bureaucrat can. They are turning to the right to take back control.

Progressive politics should be about defeating oligarchy. It should aim to spread power outwards and downwards. My new book – Rebel ­– sets out a manifesto for freeing liberal democracy from the crony cartels.

Meanwhile, the backward-looking left is on the side of the oligarchs. No wonder they’re losing.