Pages tagged "Andrew Allison"
By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive.
I was interviewed on Talk TV a few days ago about this question and whether or not there should be new legislation to make it illegal for protesters to climb on war memorials. Click here to listen to what I had to say.
The BBC is in a mess once again. Huw Edwards has been revealed as the high profile presenter at the centre of the latest crisis affecting the corporation. Andrew gave his thoughts yesterday to Mike Graham on TalkTV. Please note this interview took place before Huw Edwards' wife revealed his name.
By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive.
Dominic Raab didn't shout and swear at civil servants, nor did he throw tomatoes. But he was found guilty in the report by Adam Tolley KC for being intimidating. He was abrasive not abusive. As a result, Raab has been forced to resign as Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary. As Raab said in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister:
"In setting the threshold for bullying so low, this inquiry has set a dangerous precedent. It will encourage spurious complaints against Ministers, and have a chilling effect on those driving change on behalf of your government — and ultimately the British people."
He is correct. Civil servants who are critical of Government policies, can now complain about their minister's unreasonable demands (in other words, asking them to get on with their jobs) and accuse them of micro-aggressions such as raising an eyebrow or not maintaining eye contact. I have no doubt that civil servants at the Home Office will go after Suella Braverman next because they disagree with her handling of the migrant crisis. It is open season for civil servants to remove Government ministers and the Prime Minister is going to accept all of it.
Bullying is wrong, but doing your job to the best of your ability, having high standards, and expecting officials to also have high standards, is what we expect from ministers. We can all be abrasive at times. All of us have good days and bad days. It's called life.
Andrew Allison, Chief Executive, said:
"Once they have crossed the English Channel, they know that they are going to be put up in a hotel; they know that they are going to be fed; they know that they are going to get some money in their pockets. And they also know that the chance of deportation is rather slim."
Andrew also said that although we can criticise the French, it is His Majesty's Government that is responsible for defence, security, and our borders. We need to remove the incentives for illegal migrants to come to the UK.
Click HERE to watch the interview
By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive of The Freedom Association
In this article, Andrew Allison looks at the causes of inflation, but also reminds readers that the Government needs to focus on preventing a long and damaging recession.
When Liz Truss was Prime Minister, she sacked her then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, and replaced him with Jeremy Hunt. There are very few things in life which genuinely surprise me, but Hunt’s appointment did. They are not political bedfellows. Hunt had spectacularly failed to garner support amongst Conservative MPs in his own leadership bid. He was viewed as yesterday’s man, destined to spend the rest of his career on the backbenches chairing the Health Committee. Prior to being appointed to his current role, he didn’t have any experience in the Treasury. But in a flash, he started moving his belongings into 11 Downing Street.
I knew as soon as Hunt was appointed that Truss’s days in Number 10 were coming to an end, and one question Truss should answer is who forced her to appoint him, as I don’t believe for a moment that his appointment was her choice.
I also knew as soon as Truss resigned, that Sunak (and it was always going to be him) would make a number of ministerial changes, but that Hunt was safe. It is as if it was all planned. It probably was.
I am coming to the opinion that we are not going to see any real Brexit dividends. With Hunt in charge of the nation’s finances, he is going to make sure that we don’t see any. We are not going to diverge from the EU in any meaningful way. After the Autumn Statement, it is clear that the new mantra (which is a return to an old one) is, “Steady as she goes. Managed decline. High taxes and low growth are here to stay.”
Do you remember the anti-growth coalition Liz Truss spoke about just a few weeks ago at the Conservative Party Conference? They are now firmly in charge.
Inflation is a scourge, and of course we must do everything in our power to reduce it, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer fails to realise that we are also trying to prevent a long and damaging recession. Inflation is rampant for a variety of different reasons, but the main three reasons are the world’s response to Covid, our response in particular, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The world got into a panic over Covid. Although we didn’t know much about the virus in February and March 2020 (which is why I initially supported restrictions), more information was coming in all the time. For example, we quickly found out that Covid was unlikely to kill younger and healthier people. We could still have kept the economy going and we could still have looked after those who are the most vulnerable. That was obvious after a few weeks. It was also obvious that if the National Health Service became the National Covid Service, more people would die unnecessarily from other illnesses such as cancer. Prof. Karol Sikora argued from the beginning that there would be a spike in cancer deaths if cancers were not treated quickly. He has been proved right.
Yet despite knowing of these things, governments across the world imposed draconian lockdown measures, without giving a thought to the economic consequences. Indeed, if you mentioned the economic consequences (which I did), you were accused of prioritising money over people’s lives. Even when I argued that people need livelihoods to pay their bills, put a roof over their heads, and feed and clothe their families, I was still accused of being heartless.
Although there were plenty of needless, and quite frankly, idiotic, restrictions in the UK, other countries went much further, following the Chinese example - an example which our new Chancellor of the Exchequer firmly supported. In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told New Zealanders that the government was their single source of truth. Australia and Canada were not any better.
The result of this hysteria is that global supply chains were broken, making it difficult to supply the needs of the world economy once life got back to normal, resulting in higher costs for goods. It was always going to happen.
When Rishi Sunak was Chancellor of the Exchequer, he announced generous support packages for individuals, families and businesses. The money printing presses went into overdrive. People were paid to sit at home watching television, rather than working for a living. We were repeatedly told that all of this “free” money wouldn’t have an economic impact. We could put the economy into a deep freeze and when the time was right, we could take it out of the freezer, thaw it, and all would be well. I never believed that for one moment.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has resulted in higher energy and food costs. That is undisputed. But inflationary pressures were already in the economy as a result of the response to Covid.
Inflation has not been caused by most of us having too much money burning holes in our pockets. The opposite is true.
We now have the highest tax burden since the Second World War.
So what about growth? I can’t see how there is going to be any. The pensions triple-lock is still in place meaning that pensioners are not going to be any worse off than they are now. Those claiming out of work benefits are not going to be worse off either. But those who get up early in the morning to go out to work in order to provide for their families are facing stealth tax rises which will make them worse off. A 23 per cent rise in fuel duty is planned for next year. This will increase the cost of petrol and diesel by around 15p a litre. Expect a gallon of fuel to cost around £9. Corporation Tax will be hiked by a third next April making the UK a less attractive place to do business. Over the next 18 months, living standards are expected to fall by seven per cent.
I listened to an interview on GB News on the day of the Autumn Statement. A publican was commenting on the increases in the minimum and living wages. Although he supported the increases and told viewers and listeners that he paid above the minimum because he valued his staff and he wanted to retain them, he calculated that the increases would cost his business around £40,000 a year. This is, of course, on top of the increased costs of energy, food, beer, etc. He thinks that in January thousands of pubs will close.
And then there are strikes. It’s like going back to the 1970s when The Freedom Association was founded. Every day you hear about strikes taking place or new ones which are planned. Train drivers, nurses, postal workers, Tube and bus drivers in London, civil servants. The list goes on. It appears that we are heading for another winter of discontent.
The 2019 general election was fought on Brexit. The next general election will be fought primarily on the cost of living. Jeremy Hunt didn’t have any rabbits in his hat when he addressed the House of Commons last month, but something has to improve for the Conservatives not to face annihilation in a couple of years’ time.
In this post, Andrew Allison, Chief Executive of The Freedom Association, looks back at Liz Truss's premiership, and highlights the challenges facing Rishi Sunak.
Commenting on Harold Macmillan's 'night of the long knives', Jeremy Thorpe said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life". I was reminded of that famous line after Liz Truss fired Kwasi Kwarteng. She was the co-author of the mini-Budget he delivered just before the Labour Party Conference and therefore had ownership of it. Indeed, if a report in the Daily Mail is to be believed, the former Chancellor wanted to delay the abolition of the 45p tax rate, but Truss overruled him. Yet despite this, in an attempt to save her skin, she threw Kwarteng under a bus.
King Charles I signed the Earl of Strafford's death warrant in a bid to save himself. We know how that ended. In more recent times, Richard Nixon fired John Ehrlichman and H. R. Haldeman in a bid to save his skin. That didn't work, either. And it didn’t work for Truss who was forced to resign less than a week later. The final two nails in her political coffin were the resignation of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary and the chaotic scenes in the House of Commons during voting on an opposition motion on fracking.
All authority had drained away from Truss. The winning manifesto she stood on in the Conservative Party leadership race, which lasted most of the summer, had been torn up. Many were asking what the point of Liz Truss was. Enough Conservative MPs answered the question.
Kwarteng’s replacement, to everyone’s surprise, was Jeremy Hunt - the Sunak-supporting Remainer who praised China for its longer, harder lockdowns. He immediately started acting as His Majesty’s de facto Prime Minister. It was obvious that he was in charge of economic policy. The then First Lord of the Treasury had surrendered control to him.
Hunt announced that Corporation Tax will increase by a third next year. The 1p cut in the basic rate of income tax has been indefinitely delayed. IR35 reforms for the self-employed have been scrapped.
During her speech at the end of the Conservative Party Conference, Truss railed against the 'anti-growth coalition'. The main reason she has gone down as the shortest-serving Prime Minister in British history is because she surrendered to that coalition. Her demise was humiliating and brutal in equal measure.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph before Truss resigned, Matthew Lynn commented that "the dream of a low-tax, pro-enterprise Britain has now died for a generation. In its place, we face a suffocating consensus of constantly rising taxes imposed on a dwindling, shrivelled economic base."
He is correct.
As the Conservative Party is drinking the final drop of whisky in the last chance saloon, MPs have no option but to get behind Rishi Sunak. Many Conservative MPs are polishing their CVs, knowing that they are likely to lose their seats at the next general election, but if the party doesn’t get its act together, it could be looking at losses of around 200 seats. That would put the party out of power for at least two terms. As the saying goes, “When you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” And the voters have (metaphorically) got many MPs by their balls.
The King’s new Prime Minister has a bulging in tray. During the Conservative Party Conference I was asked if I could name any successes in the last 12 years of Conservative and Conservative-led government. Brexit was mentioned, but that’s not true. Most Conservative MPs campaigned against Brexit. David Cameron and George Osborne were the architects of ‘Project Fear.’ Brexit was achieved by the coming together of ordinary people - people like us in The Freedom Association. If the Conservative Party had had its way, we would still be members of the European Union. Although many notable Conservatives were very much on our side during and after the referendum, Brexit was not an achievement of a Conservative Government.
Universal Credit was mentioned as a success. That’s debatable as it hasn’t been implemented in the way Iain Duncan-Smith envisaged. George Osborne made sure of that and Iain resigned because of it.
To be honest, I can’t remember what the third success my interlocutor came up with. But that rather sums it up. There is hardly anything to show for all those years in Government - at least not on the credit side. On the debit side, the list is long. I will, though, focus on four huge problems facing Sunak: the cost of living, immigration, crime, and health.
Getting through this coming winter is going to be a difficult task for many families. Although the Government has capped energy bills, they will still be much higher than they were last winter. Taxes are at a 70-year high. Is the Conservative Party still the party of low taxation? I would like to think so, but the evidence for the prosecution is damning. Sunak will not make the same mistakes as Truss, but increasing Corporation Tax is not going to make the UK’s economy more competitive. Taxing middle England until the pips squeak is not going to help us escape a long recession. I am willing to give him a break over the furlough scheme. I know that there were many abuses, but he didn’t really have any option but to present a generous scheme to compensate businesses and their employees after Prime Minister Johnson closed the economy. Inflation is high, and reducing it is a priority. But as I have already mentioned, to avoid a long recession we can’t have sky high taxes. “It’s the economy, stupid.” If voters are feeling the squeeze, the party of Government gets the blame, irrespective of what the views of the opposition parties are.
We live on an island. That should be an advantage when it comes to limiting illegal immigration. The opposite appears to be true. I really hope that Rishi Sunak grasps the nettle on this issue. In his speech before he entered Number 10 for the first time as Prime Minister, he promised “control of our borders.” Boris Johnson didn’t appear interested, and neither was Truss. Those making the hazardous journey across the English Channel are housed in hotels at taxpayers’ expense. Very few are deported. Meanwhile, British families, who work hard and pay their taxes, are deciding whether to eat or heat their homes.
According to Migration Watch, a record 1.1 million entry grants to live In the UK were granted in the year ending June 2022. One doesn’t have to be a genius to work out that this is unsustainable. Public services are already under huge pressure. Unless we get immigration (legal and illegal) under control, it’s going to get even worse.
The metropolitan metrosexuals may dismiss this as a fringe issue, but there is real anger across the country that we are not getting immigration under control. If he gets this right, Sunak could be on to a winner, particularly in so-called “red wall” seats.
If you are in the unfortunate position of having to call the police because your house has been burgled, the most likely outcome is that the criminals will not be apprehended. Only 6% of burglaries a year are solved by police across England and Wales - a pathetically low detection rate which almost gives carte blanche to criminals to keep calm and carry on. In the opening credits of the comedy series Porridge, Norman Stanley Fletcher was described “as an habitual criminal, who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard, and presumably accepts imprisonment in the same casual manner.” Today, ‘Fletch’ would never have been caught and would never have been sentenced to five years in Slade Prison. Although I have thankfully never been the victim of a burglary, to describe it as a “victimless crime” is insulting to those who may never feel safe in their homes again.
The list goes on and on. If your car is stolen, don’t expect to get it back - at least not in one piece. If someone steals your mobile phone, the crime will never be investigated. If Sunak can get on top of this thorny problem, he will start to restore trust in the Conservative Party being the party of law and order. It most certainly cannot make that claim now.
If you are critically ill, you will receive some of the best care in the world. But if you are in pain (and I have much experience of this), you will be put on a waiting list. An aunt of mine has been waiting for more than two years for a routine cataract operation. If you require a hip replacement, onto the waiting list you go. I am fortunate that my GP surgery is rather good at giving patients reasonably quick appointments. I know from talking to friends and listening to interviews on radio and television that many people across the country are not in as fortunate a position as me. Because the National Health Service became the National Covid Service, the backlogs in hospitals are never likely to be cleared.
I know that there aren’t any quick fixes, but I have heard that Sunak wants to reform the NHS. Yes, we have heard it all before, and we remember the botched Lansley reforms, but unless our bureaucratic healthcare system is properly reformed, nothing is going to change.
What we need now is a period of stability. I know that has become a hackneyed phrase, but there has been more turmoil this year than any of us thought possible. “Unprecedented” is an overused word, yet what we have witnessed this year (so far) has truly lived up to its meaning.
I wish Rishi Sunak all the luck in the world. He is not my ‘cup of tea’ politically, but he doesn’t strike me as being a nasty man. Some will blame him for Boris Johnson’s resignation. My opinion is that Johnson was already on borrowed time before Sunak resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer in July. Many committed Brexiteers had lost confidence in Johnson. But all of this is yesterday’s news and today’s fish and chip paper. I regarded Sunak as the continuity Treasury orthodoxy candidate during the summer’s leadership election campaign. I am not minded to change my opinion, but I really hope that I am wrong. The country is truly crying out of change. If he doesn’t deliver it, we will have Keir Starmer as Prime Minister and any meaningful Brexit benefits will either be reversed or will never happen at all. That would be a disaster and the thought of it should sober up those Conservative MPs sipping their last drop of whisky.
On Monday 3rd October at 11.30 am, we are holding a fringe debate during the Conservative Party Conference about free speech. It is being held outside the secure zone, so a conference pass is not required to attend.
We are delighted that Nick Timothy, a Daily Telegraph columnist and a former chief of staff to Theresa May when she was Prime Minister, and Toby Young, founder and director of the Free Speech Union, will be joining our chairman, David Campbell Bannerman and me to discuss this important subject.
Free Speech: how can we defend it?
Birmingham & Midland Institute, 9 Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BS
Monday 3rd October at 11.30 am
Will you please help us promote this event by sharing this post with family, friends, and on social media? And if you can make it, we look forward to seeing you next Monday.
Responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, David Campbell Bannerman, Chairman of The Freedom Association, and Andrew Allison, Chief Executive of The Freedom Association, have issued the following statement:
“The Freedom Association, along with with the rest of the free world, condemns the unprovoked attack on Ukraine by Russia. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and support the Government in its robust response to this aggression. This is a major assault on liberty, freedom, and democracy. It’s implications will not stop with Ukraine. It encourages other totalitarian regimes to act in similar ways. Putin’s actions must not go unpunished.”
To arrange broadcast interviews, please contact:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 07803 741104
NOTE FOR EDITORS
The Freedom Association (TFA) is a non-partisan, centre-right, classically liberal pressure group. We believe in the freedom of the individual in all aspects of life to as great an extent as possible. As such, we seek to challenge all erosion of civil liberties and campaign in support of individual liberty, freedom of expression, and free markets.
To find out more about The Freedom Association, visit our website: www.tfa.net
By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive
On 4th February at the Victory Services Club. Nigel Farage was the guest speaker at the Jillian Becker Annual Lecture and he spoke about the greatest threats to freedom today. He was on top form and did not disappoint. Click below to watch his speech.
Nigel covered many subjects close to the hearts of TFA members, but one I would like to highlight is the Government’s response to high energy bills. Here is what he said:
“I used to work in financial markets. I should be good about money. I can’t work this out. We put a 25 per cent surcharge on the electricity bill. We put a five per cent surcharge on because the EU demands it in terms of VAT. And now because the bills are too high, we’re going to give you some money back against that tax, but we’re also going to put your taxes up on 1st April, so we’ll cut your Council Tax. I can’t work it out. Maybe you can.
“And then we’ve got this full on drive being led by the Prime Minister (and she is a very powerful Prime Minister!)... this completely insane drive to net zero, which will lead to yet another massive transference of wealth from those who frankly haven’t got the money to those who have got the money.”
The Downing Street parties have badly eroded the trust between Boris Johnson and voters, but it will be the cost of living crisis that could easily see him kicked out of Number Ten.
Just at the time millions of people in this country are facing a squeeze in living standards, the Government is still ploughing ahead with a 1.25 percentage-point increase in National Insurance contributions (a 10 per cent rise from the existing level), and next year the Government still plans to increase Corporation Tax. You have to go back many decades to remember taxation in this country as high as it is now.
Yet Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak would have you believe that they are low tax Thatcherites. They should be prosecuted in the Trades Descriptions Act! And it gets even worse.
During his economic update to the House of Commons on 3rd February, Rishi Sunak said that abolishing VAT on domestic energy bills “would become a permanent Government subsidy on everyone’s bills.” This ‘low tax Thatcherite’ had the audacity to say that reducing the amount of tax we have to pay would be a Government subsidy. Here’s me thinking that we had a Conservative Government. It’s worse than when Gordon Brown was in power, and at least he wasn’t trying to pretend that he was a Conservative.
In November, our Chairman, David Campbell Bannerman, wrote a piece highlighting how all of our ten principles of a free society are under threat. It is worth reading.
Limited Government appears to be a thing of the past. Our freedom of speech is being eroded by a woke mob, aided and abetted by the tech giants, and if the Government is not careful, our free-market economy will be strangled by high levels of inflation and taxation.
As Boris Johnson scrambles to save his premiership, he needs to mark, learn and inwardly digest his own words written over many years. In 2019, the voters rewarded him with an 80-seat majority mainly to get Brexit done. But Brexit is not like Waterloo Station: a terminus. It is more like Clapham Junction: a place where one alights and then can travel in many directions. Brexit in itself is not enough. It is what we do with the opportunities Brexit gives us that will determine whether or not he survives. We can only hope that the appointment of Jacob Rees-Mogg as Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency is going to shake things up in Whitehall, because at the moment the Government is failing badly.
Editorial credit for photograph of Boris Johnson: Michael Tubi / Shutterstock.com