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