Pages tagged "Boris Johnson"
By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive
The cost of living crisis is going to be number one on the list of priorities for most voters. Last week we heard that the Government plans measures to ease the cost of living crisis, but we don’t know what those plans are. The Government is either deliberately keeping its cards close to its chest, or (more likely) there are divisions on what should be done next.
Some of the economic problems we are suffering at the moment are home grown; many more are faced by other countries around the world. But governments are always blamed when voters are feeling poorer. They always want politicians to do more. Right and wrong do not matter.
In an experiment never tried before, we closed down our economy for many months in response to Covid-19. We restricted the economy for over 18 months. To fund this, the Government borrowed heavily, and the Bank of England, whose primary job is to keep inflation under control, now owns between a third to a half of Government debt. Because most countries around the world also embarked on the same experiment (some much more harshly than we did), they are in a similar position to us. Supply chains are broken, and demand is outstripping supply. It is hardly surprising that inflation is now out of control. It is hardly surprising that the UK’s economy is predicted to go into recession.
The Government has to do more to alleviate the suffering many are going through now, and many more will be going through in the months to come. If now is not a good time to cut taxes, then I don’t know when it is.
VAT on gas and electricity should be scrapped, and the green levy should be removed from bills. The rise in National Insurance Contributions should also be scrapped, but National Insurance threshold uplift should remain in place. This could save some families thousands of pounds a year and will make a real difference.
The next general election is expected to take place in the spring of 2024. We don’t know if Boris Johnson will still be Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party then. We don’t know if Sir Keir Starmer will still be leader of the Labour Party. We don’t know how high inflation is going to be, if the economy will still be underperforming, or how hard the cost of living crisis will have bitten millions of people. To paraphrase the late Donald Rumsfeld, there are many known knowns; there are many known unknowns, and there are unknown unknowns. Although I still don’t think that Labour will form a majority Government, it is all to play for. Those who are gifted at reading political tea leaves will be in great demand!
By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive
Three weeks ago I thought that Putin would not invade invade Ukraine; that he would continue to play a game of brinkmanship, try to divide NATO and the West, and take over parts of Ukraine using salami tactics. But after his deranged television addresses last week, it was clear that he is an old man in a hurry. So when I woke up to the news on Thursday morning that Russian forces had invaded Ukraine, I can't say that I was surprised.
Earlier last week, Putin tried to con the world that the invasion into Donetsk and Luhansk wasn't an invasion. Russian troops were there to maintain peace, he said, but he wasn't fooling anyone. I wasn't impressed with the sanctions announced by the Prime Minister on Monday in response to this invasion, but in all fairness to him, his hands were tied as Western powers attempted to move in lockstep with each other. After the full invasion of Ukraine on Thursday morning, the package of sanctions were much more robust, but we know that other countries have been in appeasement mode.
The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, announced that he has halted the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline project, designed to double the flow of Russian gas direct to Germany. But there is still Nord Stream 1. Germany didn't want Russia cut-off off from the Swift banking system. It has now been agreed that it will, but it took days to happen when it should have happened immediately. Germany spends just 1.36 per cent of GDP on defence, although the news that Germany plans to correct that and spend two per cent - NATO's minimum - is welcome news.
Italy still wants to send luxury goods to Russia. In other words, it stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, but doesn't want to feel any pain!
Hungary under Viktor Orbán is not much better than Russia under Putin. He eventually distanced himself from Putin, but only when he realised that Hungary would be isolated. He faces elections in just over a month's time. I am sure that played a crucial part in his decision. I have spoken to free speech and free market activists from Hungary, and many of them fear being imprisoned if they upset Orbán's regime. Freedom is not alive and well in Hungary.
In 1994, Ukraine unilaterally gave up its nuclear weapons in a non-proliferation treaty. The United Kingdom, United States and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to respect the independence, sovereignty, and the existing borders of Ukraine. There was an obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and a commitment that nuclear weapons would not be used against the country.
Russia has not respected this international treaty.
Nations bordering Russia are desperate to join NATO. Why? It’s not because they want to attack Russia. The opposite is true. They fear a Russian attack, and this is why Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, are all on a heightened state of alert, despite being NATO members. They have every reason to be fearful.
Article 5 of the NATO Treaty states that "an armed attack against one or more of them [NATO members] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area."
Joe Biden is (and I choose my words carefully) clearly not well enough to be President of the United States. Unless he makes a firm commitment that America will honour Article 5, NATO will not be fit for purpose and the Baltic states and other NATO countries like Poland and Slovakia will be left to their own devices.
During times of adversity, you find out who your friends are. Poland is willing to accept all refugees, even if millions of people cross over its border with Ukraine. Slovakians are busy fundraising so they can offer assistance to Ukrainian refugees. Other neighbours are offering their wholehearted support, too.
Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has been leading from the front. Biden has offered to evacuate him, but Zelenskyy told the US President that "the fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride." He would rather die defending his country than go into exile.
A new axis is forming. The Chinese Government has told its citizens living in Ukraine to place Chinese flags on their cars. This is the 21st Century equivalent of the Passover. It is clear that despite being traditionally hostile to one another, Russia and China have been moving closer since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. It won't be long before Iran joins this axis, if it hasn't done so already. Pakistan's Prime Minister, Imran Khan, met Putin a few days ago. India abstained in a vote condemning the invasion in the United Nations Security Council on Friday.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine 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. This is why Putin's actions are not, rightly, going unpunished.
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
By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive
Whilst the UK has moved away from lockdowns, restrictions, Covid passports, and the mandatory wearing of face coverings, both the Canadian and New Zealand governments are continuing to do the opposite.
A convoy of tens of thousands of Canadian truckers moved its way across the country last week and arrived in the capital Ottawa yesterday. Truckers are protesting against vaccine mandates and other policies implemented by Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. His response was to insult them and then go into hiding. He described them as a "small fringe minority" and people who hold unacceptable views.
Nova Scotia has enacted emergency legislation prohibiting those protesting against COVID-19 measures from blocking the Trans-Canada Highway near the New Brunswick boundary. The Emergency Management Act also applies to people who stop or gather alongside the highway. You can find out more by watching this interview on Neil Oliver's show in GB News last night. In Quebec, those who are not vaccinated will be charged a health tax.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, a country which officially abandoned its zero-Covid policy last year, there is very little evidence that the country has moved on from March 2020, despite around 90 per cent of those living in the country being double jabbed. A two-tier society is being developed by Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, (just as it is by Trudeau in Canada) where those who are vaccinated have more freedom than those who are not.
Dan Wooton, writing in the Daily Mail, notes that "after just nine confirmed Omicron cases, Ardern plunged the entire country into red alert, a form of lockdown that bans large gatherings, enforces mask mandates, makes Covid passports compulsory if you want to live normally as part of a 'two-tier society', and reintroduces work from home orders." That sounds very much like a zero-Covid policy to me - one which cannot and will not work if New Zealand wants to get back to anything like normality.
Families cannot reunite, even if a parent is dying. As Dan Wootton notes:
"Each month, around 50,000 desperate Kiwis – many trapped overseas in countries where their visa has run out or desperate to see sick relatives – have been forced to sign up online to enter a waiting room where they are placed in a virtual queue. Only around 1,500 'winners' a month gain tickets.
"And that's just the start of it. Once you 'win' the lottery, you have to pay for an exorbitantly expensive flight and then about £1,500 to spend 14 days in government run hotel quarantine, where the army has been sent in to ensure no one absconds."
One would think that when governments react in these ways, completely dividing society, and destroying businesses and livelihoods, that a majority would stand up and say no. Sadly, this is not the case. The vast majority of Canadians and New Zealanders support their governments. One can speculate as to the reasons why, but I would put fear at the top of the list. Jacinda Ardern once told New Zealanders (and I will never forget this) to "dismiss anything else, we will continue to be your single source of truth.” She needs to be reminded that George Orwell, in his famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, was issuing a warning, not offering a blueprint.
Justin Trudeau called a snap general election last year. Despite his draconian policies, he remained Prime Minister, with the results largely unchanged from the general election in 2019. New Zealanders went to the polls in October 2020. Jacinda Ardern recorded a landslide victory. You reap what you sow.
I used to think that both Canada and New Zealand were populated by freedom loving people. I have been disabused of that opinion. We have endured much during the last couple of years in the UK, but we have not gone anywhere near the level of restrictions imposed in New Zealand. We have gone too far in mandating vaccinations for health care and NHS workers, but we do not suffer from the levels of authoritarianism currently being displayed in Canada. I am concerned, though, that if Boris Johnson had followed the examples set by Trudeau and Ardern, too many people would have supported him. I would like to think that we would have protested in sufficiently large numbers, but I honestly don't think that we would have done.
There are many other governments in the world who continue to strip freedoms away from their citizens - some are very close to home in Europe, and I haven't even touched on Australia. I can't say that I am grateful to Boris Johnson for returning freedoms which were not his to take away. The way we allowed people to die alone was disgraceful. Allowing elderly and vulnerable people to exist without any meaningful human interaction was cruel. Sweden didn't close schools, but we deprived children of their education for months on end. In the first lockdown, children's playgrounds were closed. Millions more are now suffering from mental health problems. The number of people who will die from preventable illnesses is still yet unknown. Having said that, when I look at what is still being endured by people in other countries, I am grateful that I live in the UK - warts and all.
If the PM can't turn the Johnson supertanker around in record time, he may not have a future as its captain
By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive
It has been a terrible week for Boris Johnson. Before Christmas, Number 10 had hoped that the so-called 'Partygate' scandals would be forgotten about. Instead, matters have got far worse.
I am not going to go into detail about all of the parties which have taken place in Number 10. But what I will say is that there is a "do as I say, not as I do" culture inside the heart of Government, and that no-one appeared (or appears) to be interested in changing that culture.
In the House of Commons last Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that when he mixed with 40 people all merrily chatting and drinking in the evening sunshine, he hadn't realised that it was a party. That stretches incredulity to breaking point. I don't begrudge anyone a drink after work; I have done it plenty of times myself over the years, but the problem is that at the time that particular party took place, if you or I had sent an email around to colleagues suggesting that they bring their own booze to an after work party in a garden, we would have been fined up to £10,000 for breaking Covid laws.
Likewise, the images of the Queen sitting alone in St George's Chapel, Windsor, during Prince Philip's funeral are in stark contrast to the two parties in Downing Street the previous evening, where some people left with an empty suitcase to fill it up with booze at a local convenience store so as not to arouse the suspicion of police officers when they returned.
I will always be grateful to Boris Johnson for eventually getting us out of the European Union, but as I have said on numerous occasions, the Government is not taking full advantage of the benefits Brexit has to offer. Instead the tax burden is at its highest since Clement Attlee was in power; inflation is rising; electricity and gas bills are rising; the cost of petrol and diesel have risen substantially over the last year. The Government could immediately scrap VAT on domestic fuel, but it will not. It could help families and businesses by scrapping the planned rise in National Insurance this April, but has no plans to do so. Next year, Corporation Tax will rise from 19 per cent to 25 per cent.
Boris Johnson has lost the trust of many people. Patients died in hospitals alone because their families were prevented from visiting them. Many friends and family of those who died were prevented from attending their funerals. Celebrations were cancelled. When trust is lost, it is very difficult to regain it.
For the Prime Minister to survive he needs to offer a truly heartfelt apology. He can't hide behind technicalities and exemptions. He needs to remember that we hold those in Government to high standards. They are not above the law.
He needs to understand that this year is going to be an extremely difficult year for millions of people. You can't grow the economy by constantly increasing the tax burden on families and businesses.
All of us want to live in a clean environment, but stop the doomsday rhetoric. Most people don't believe that we are at a minute to midnight and that if we don't act now, the earth is doomed. Allow businesses and entrepreneurs the time to develop the technologies required to move us in this direction. Stop banning things; stop setting arbitrary targets; stop inflating all our energy bills with green levies. We can't afford any of this. Let the invisible hand of the free market do its work.
The Prime Minister needs to show real leadership. He also needs to have a huge clear-out at Number 10. The operation there is shambolic.
If he fails to understand the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people; if he fails to fully appreciate the sacrifices we have all made since March 2020; if he thinks that laws he pushed through Parliament don't apply to him, then he is doomed. In short, if he can't turn the Johnson supertanker around in record time, he may not have a future as its captain. I suspect, though, that it is already too late.
Photo Credit: Boris Johnson - Michael Tubi / Shutterstock.com
By Christopher Gill
Unlike the perceptive few who saw beyond his bonhomie, I had high hopes for Boris.
Winning a magnificent 80 seat majority in the House of Commons meant that ‘taking back control’ from the benighted European Union, after all the shenanigans of the previous three years, had suddenly become doable.
But here we are, two years on, with illegal immigration out of control; Northern Ireland still in limbo; fisheries problems unresolved; the UK jurisdiction still compromised by adherence to the European Arrest Warrant and the European Convention on Human Rights, not to mention our own Human Rights Act; UK power supplies on a knife edge; Government spending and borrowing as though there is no tomorrow; a fixation upon climate change which appears to be divorced from the practicalities of sustaining a healthy economy, and tax increases to fund that unreformed leviathan known as the NHS whose crying need is surely for more doctors and nurses rather than an ever increasing army of bureaucrats .
The words of the Confession about doing the things that we ought not to have done and not having done those things that we ought to have done would seem to encapsulate Boris’s progress to date.
Time was when, as a Member of Parliament, I might have been able to put my finger on what is causing such a multitude of problems: is it Boris himself, is it his Ministers or, perish the thought, is it the Civil Service?
However, whichever way you slice it, it all comes back to Boris.
He is the man at the top and it is his duty and his responsibility to make things happen. He must either back his Ministers or sack them. Likewise he must leave the Civil Service in no doubt that if they obstruct the will of the people (as articulated by their elected representatives in the House of Commons) then they will be required to do the other thing!
If, on the other hand, Boris just wants to be loved, then not only is he in the wrong job, he’s probably also in the wrong profession.
On his current trajectory Boris will inevitably forfeit the support of us former Ukippers who lent the Conservative Party our votes in December 2019 and he deludes himself entirely if he thinks that the so-called Red Wall voters who voted overwhelmingly to ‘get Brexit done’ had a lasting Damascene conversion to conservatism.
This is all so very, very sad. Boris’s administration have had an open goal which will almost ineluctably close before the next General Election unless they are seen to be kicking the issues upon which they were elected into the back of the net – and that right soon!
Within the Parliamentary Conservative Party there appear to be more than a few different groupings who, in one form or another, might be sympathetic to the views expressed above, but whether or not they will reach the same conclusion time alone will tell.
But that is precisely the point – with the life-span of this Parliament nearly half-spent, time is what they no longer have.
In the immortal words of the great bard, time taken at the flood leads on to greater things. Sadly for Boris, a surfeit of votes for Brexit in December 2019, followed by widespread flooding in February, succeeded by Covid in March, was a veritable baptism of fire, but in politics gratitude for past achievements is soon overtaken by demand for future action, which is where we are today.
What saddens me most of all is the snail’s pace at which we are proceeding to take advantage of the opportunities outside the sclerotic European Union - for which we had to fight so hard - to disentangle ourselves from mindless regulation and to do positive things, such as reducing corporate taxes and creating much-vaunted freeports, that would distinguish us from our former so-called EU ‘partners’ – our competitors.
An almost heaven-sent opportunity to restore the reputation of a political party, once seen as the most successful one in political history, is being frittered away by its failure to grasp the many current nettles and its apparent drift to the left.
The opportunity which Boris appears to be squandering, to prioritise wealth creation, national sovereignty and individual freedom, may never be repeated – certainly not in my lifetime!
If folk want socialism they have the option of voting for other Parties, but for those of us who support, inter alia, private enterprise, low taxation, national independence and individual freedom it is beginning to look as though, once again, we are going to have to look beyond the current Conservative Party.
Whilst he still has the opportunity, Boris really must get a grip or face the prospect of another hung Parliament.
Would that he would make it abundantly clear to all his subordinates, both in Westminster and in Whitehall, that dither and delay is no longer acceptable and that his hero’s watchword , “Action This Day”, is, once again, the order of the day.
If, however, he doesn’t have it in him to properly delegate and to make conservative things happen, then both we conservative-minded voters in general and the Conservative Party in particular are facing a disappointingly bleak future.
Christopher Gill is a former Chairman of The Freedom Association. He served as the MP for Ludlow from 1987 - 2001.
Photo Credit: Euro Realist Newsletter - Christopher Gill, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9500622
By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive
This week was supposed to be ‘Law and Order’ week for the Government. It started on Monday morning with Boris Johnson dressed in a police uniform on an early morning raid with Merseyside Police. Just four days later, his future as Prime Minister hangs in the balance after the worst week of his premiership so far.
There is a stench emanating from Downing Street. It’s not just the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach to Covid restrictions. That is bad enough, and has already claimed one scalp. What the British people cannot stand is hypocrisy. We were told to forsake a normal Christmas last year, but it appears it was business as usual in Downing Street. But let’s park that to one side, as egregious as it is.
The Government was praised by me and millions of others for having the courage to (eventually) ditch Covid restrictions during the summer. He was criticised by those addicted to lockdowns, but he held his nerve. Yes, Covid spread more rapidly throughout England, but we didn’t witness a spike in hospitalisations and deaths. Covid infected young people who barely noticed that they were infected. The vaccination programme has been a huge success and the vast majority of those who are most vulnerable to the worst that Covid has to offer have received a booster jab. I received mine last Sunday.
The Omicron variant appears to be mild. No-one in the world who has been infected with this new variant has died. The World Health Organisation has told us not to panic. The evidence from South Africa tells us not to panic. Even Joe Biden has said that we shouldn’t panic. But during a press conference on Wednesday that is exactly what Boris Johnson did, unless he announced more restrictions to our freedoms as a ruse to deflect other negative headlines: the so-called ‘dead cat’ strategy.
It is estimated that the restrictions he announced will cost the economy £4 billion a month. Businesses in the hospitality sector are already reporting cancellations in what should be the busiest time of the year for them. There is no support for them now - they just have to take it on the chin. During the traditionally lean months of January and February, these businesses may close.
Evidence from Scotland, for example, highlights that Covid passes do not reduce the spread of the virus. We know that even if you are fully vaccinated you can still catch Covid and can still pass it on to others. A vaccine protects the person who receives it. I didn’t get vaccinated in some selfless act to protect others. I got vaccinated to protect me. Covid passes are illiberal - I will not share my personal medical information with anyone unless they are treating me for a medical condition. Even though I am fully vaccinated, I will not enter any venue which demands to see proof. We are not a ‘papers please’ country. England shouldn’t and mustn’t move in that direction.
Boris Johnson has suggested that we have a national conversation about mandatory vaccinations. I will happily start one: the answer is no. The idea of forcibly injecting someone against their will fills me with revulsion. In the words of GP Dr Renee Hoenderkamp, "I'm 100% against mandatory vaccines. It goes against every medical ethic that I've ever been trained to." It is something which we have never done, and frankly, it plays into the anti-vaxxers hands.
According to ONS data, in the week beginning 15 November 2021, the percentage of adults that would have tested positive for antibodies is estimated to be 95.3% in England; 93.9% in Wales; 91.6% in Northern Ireland; and 95.0% in Scotland. We were told earlier this year that the roadmap to freedom was irreversible. Instead, the Government has performed an emergency stop and has engaged reverse gear. If now is not the time to learn to live with Covid, the time will never come.
Boris Johnson doesn’t have many allies in Parliament. His relationship with Conservative MPs is contractual: as long as he is electorally popular, they will continue to support him. In a recent opinion poll, more than half of the electorate thinks that Boris should resign as Prime Minister. He is rapidly (for a number of reasons) losing support from his backbenchers. In recent weeks he has marched them up to the top of the hill only to change his mind and make them look like fools. It is becoming increasingly clear that the only way he will get his Covid pass policy through the House of Commons next week will be because of opposition votes. This is unsustainable.
Two years ago, Boris Johnson appeared to be a man with libertarian instincts. Where has that Boris gone? The Number Ten operation is chaotic; he is not showing leadership; he is not across the detail; he is alienating the public and members of his party; he is pushing unpopular green and nanny state policies; he is presiding over a fiscally incontinent government; he is not behaving like a Conservative. Unless Boris takes a firm grip and changes his ways, he will not be Prime Minister for very long.
Responding to Boris Johnson's speech, Andrew Allison, Chief Executive of The Freedom Association, said:
"As political speeches go, that was one of the best I have heard; however, words must be followed by actions. His speech did not contain anything about the disastrous green policies the Government has announced. What will he do to cancel 'Cancel Culture'? What about a British Bill of Rights? How will the Government protect free speech, freedom of expression and assembly? There are many unanswered questions."
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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
I never thought that I would be quoting Kermit the Frog in one of my pieces, but I also never thought that I would hear a British Prime Minister quoting the said puppet in the United Nations General Assembly, either. And Kermit was right: it's not easy being green, despite what Boris Johnson thinks. In an irony not lost on most of us, the PM flew to New York to beat the drum for renewable energy, when over here in the UK a summer of very little wind has helped plunge us into an energy crisis. What many of us predicted has come to pass: relying on wind turbines to provide a large percentage of our energy needs is not a viable option.
The speech he delivered to the United Nations General Assembly was full of Boris-isms, and completely lacking in reality. The UK is responsible for around one per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. We could all wear our hairshirts and shut down UK PLC tomorrow, but it won't make any difference when China continues to build dozens of coal-fired power stations.
'The rich man in his castle; the poor man at his gate', is the opening line of one of the verses of the hymn, All things bright and beautiful. The reality is that many rich people live the life to which they have become accustomed because of the money they earn from wind turbines on their land, and all of us have to cough-up an additional 23 per cent on our energy bills to pay for them, including some of the poorest in the country. And to make matters worse, businesses are also paying inflated energy bills, making their goods and services more expensive and less competitive.
It's alright for people like Zac Goldsmith, a man sitting on millions of pounds of inherited wealth: he can easily afford to pay more in energy bills. It appears that Carrie Johnson isn't too bothered how much she spends on bills, either, judging by the amount of money it cost to refurbish the flat above 11 Downing Street.
Boris Johnson was elected by voters in the former 'red wall' on a mandate of both getting Brexit done and leveling up. We have left the European Union, although fisheries and Northern Ireland were, as I predicted almost two years ago, thrown under the bus. Leveling up does not mean forcing people into fuel poverty by increasing their bills, and forcing them to replace gas boilers with heat pumps. Leveling up does not mean paying more in taxes, especially when voters were promised that taxes would not be increased. In a great interview last week for The Sun, Ben Houchen, the Tees Valley Mayor (who is also one of our members), said, "As we are coming out of Covid I don’t think it is helpful either to businesses or individuals to start raising taxes. I believe that as a politician you need to stand by what you said. The biggest issue for me is that it was very clear in our manifesto there wouldn’t be any tax rises.”
Ben was reelected in May with 72.8 per cent of the vote. If Boris Johnson thinks he's popular, he has nothing on Ben. He should start listening to him.