This post is about the United Kingdom. It is about the kind of country I think Britain should be. I am not ashamed to say that I love my country and have discovered I love it more as I get older.
I am a Leave voter, I have campaigned and will continue to campaign to leave the European Union. I have recently begun to post lots of tweets on Twitter on this and about other issues which I feel passionate about. I read the blogs of other people and have learned from them and gained information and ideas.
Leaving the European Union is not the end, it is only the end of the beginning and so I hope that there can be a debate about what the United Kingdom should look like after we leave the European Union.
I like the blogs of Sam Hooper and he has some ideas about how those who are conservative should respond to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, Momentum and the Left who are on the march and intend to gain power. This blog is an example of where he is coming from
The problem, as far as I am concerned, is that the Conservative Party is not Conservative. It is at best a left of centre New Labour Bliarite confection. There was very little Conservative Policy in the last 'Conservative Party' manifesto.
So this post is what I would like to see in a post-Brexit United Kingdom.
First I would like to see Freedom of Speech strengthened. It is under massive attack and not always by the left. The right of anyone to say anything about anybody should be enshrined in Law.
That would include defamatory attacks which would be taken care of in the Libel and Slander Laws. If it is the case that a correction needs to be published (in whatever form) then that correction should be published in the same form, in the same place and in the same typeface or programme slot as the item corrected. On the front page if that is where the error was printed.
It seems to me that the National Health Service is unaffordable in its present form. What is needed are ideas on total reform of the NHS (a blank sheet of paper, start again) nothing should be off the agenda. Form a group of Conservative minded people, but it must not be party political, to look at, discuss and brainstorm all suggestions. With an ageing population and the probability of rocketing geriatric medicine costs everything must be on the table. This includes Mental Health, Care in the Community and Old Persons Care Home costs.
Abolish the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Return all Central taxes paid to local Government to the Taxpayer and make local authorities or regional authorities plan their own budgets, their own expenditure and make Local Government raise their own taxes. Make Local Government truly work. Chris Grayling has already suggested that the North should 'take control' of their own transport networks so why not for everything else? (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41020391)
The local authorities would recruit the people they needed such as ex DCLG Civil Servants. Such policies and expenditure would come from the budgets they set and finance they raise. Make mayors such as Andy Burnham work for their money and their pay would be decided in local referenda by the people they represent. That should increase the turnout in local elections. It would also ensure that profligacy would stop. Local people would ensure that it did. Many of these ideas are influenced by The Harrogate Agenda (THA) http://harrogateagenda.org.uk
There would also have to be a root and branch review and rethink of how Edinburgh and Cardiff were financed too but imagine a truly local tax where the budgets and the taxes were set and voted for by local people as set out in the Harrogate Agenda and where real power rested with the people.
Reduce Parliament to Defence, Intelligence and Foreign and Commonwealth affairs only and reduce the number of MP's at Westminster to 300. Consider ensuring that some of these do not come from any political party - 'Non Party' MP's. The Houses of Parliament would be for truly National issues only.
Devolve as much power, by which I mean with the exception of Defence, Intelligence and Foreign Office matters, to Edinburgh, Cardiff and the English regions. The competence or otherwise of the leaders in these parts of the United Kingdom would soon be proved.
Means test or target all OAP benefits such as Free bus passes. It is hard to defend wealthier old people getting free bus passes when they more than likely have their own transport and can afford to fund their own Public Transport costs. Abolish the commitment to the 'Triple Lock'. More and more company and private pension schemes are moving to increasing benefits by CPI rather than RPI - so should the State Old Age Pension.
Create a 'Graduation Tax' where, instead of loans, any graduate who agreed to get a paid job and work in the United Kingdom (and in the region in which they qualified if that was thought desirable) for 5 years and could prove that they had done so would not pay any tuition fees. One way of doing this would be to have a 'Graduates Tax Code' where the fees were deducted at source for those 5 years and then refunded in full in the 61st month and thus, as a bonus, be a Graduate Saving Scheme as well.
Any Doctor or Nurse for example who had been trained in the United Kingdom at the taxpayers' expense would repay that cost by working in the United Kingdom health sector (a reformed NHS or Private medicine) for 5 years.
The same rule would apply to other graduates; Solicitors, Social Workers and indeed anyone else who was educated at a United Kingdom University - who would repay their tuition by working in the United Kingdom for 5 years.
Think outside the box! Imagine all new graduates working and being paid in the United Kingdom for 5 years after their qualification and repaying their debt by work.
It seems to me that the United Kingdom is going to change radically over the next five years and so let us have a debate to change it in a way so that the template we get after the UK changes is the template that we the electors want.