Why the BNP is the Wrong Choice

Many who are considering voting for the BNP try to justify themselves in various ways. This is why they should think again.

1. It believes in punishing the troughing Pigs (the MPs).

The BNP are not explicit on this. If it is prosecuting those who are guilty of fraud, then a small minority will be prosecuted. Most MPs acted within the rules and on advice from the Fees Office. If the BNP obtained power do they impy they would restrospectively change the law to prosecute these opposition politicians, or just use this as an excuse to imprison the opponents.

2. A vote against the Muslims

The public face of the BNP is

“The British National Party is opposed to the Islamification of Britain in the same way that Muslim countries would be opposed to the Christianisation of their lands, and bears no animosity to any individual Muslim.”

So the leadership is at odds with their supporters?

3. A vote against Immigration

The BNP says

We call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants, and the introduction of a system of voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by a generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question.

Problem is that many of the most disliked immigrants – such as Asian muslims – are British born and British citizens. You will not turn Bradford or Burnley white by this policy. Also “voluntary resettlement” will not only include lots of taxpayer’s money, but also plenty of sticks.

4. Clamping down on Crime

Getting tough on crime does little to reduce it. With all the political prisoners, the BNP would have to build special prison camps.

5. Going after the Greedy Bankers

Like for the MPs, would this mean restrospectively changing the law, or just rounding them up?

6. Curing the Economic Crisis

Any prospect of BNP in government would cause a massive capital flight, and no foreign investment. That is unless the BNP so changes that it alienates it’s core voters. Beyond Nick Griffin, the leadership are generally clueless.

7. Backing a Christian Country.

Jesus’s core message was a very positive one. It is about loving the Lord your God first and your neighbour second – with all the rest following from that. (Matt 22: 37-40). It is about recognising our own faults, forgiving past wrongs done to us and helping others. In British culture it comes through in the ideas of playing fair, assuming people innocent until proven guilty, integrity in public life, giving sanctuary to oppressed minorities and voluntary work.

Further, if the BNP is so keen on emphasising that this is a Christian culture, why no greater promotion of Christianity in our schools?

Christianity is ingrained into British culture. By forgetting the positive role of the national religion, they are showing themselves to be an anti-British party.

On June 4th, Vote For Positive Change, Not Against the BNP

Stumbled across this blog, by a Baptist Minister in South Manchester concerning Pentecost and the BNP. I found it rather confusing. Robert Parkinson summarises Pentecost as

Most churches will have heard again the reading of Acts chapter 2. It tells how, during the celebration of the Jewish Festival of Shavuot, the followers of the risen and ascended Christ were overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit experienced as wind and fire. Empowered and transformed, they began to proclaim the good news of Jesus to a multinational gathering.

Quite rightly, Revd Parkinson does not see how anyone hearing this message can vote for the BNP. He then says

Leaders of the mainstream Christian Churches of Greater Manchester, including the Baptists, have joined together to issue a statement in support of the Hope not hate campaign and to “urge all followers of Christ to use their vote wisely, and not to vote for any political party or candidate promoting division, exclusion, and blame, or in any other way seeking to stir up racial and ethnic hatred”.

At the moment, I am every bit as disillusioned with politics as the next person. I have never been more tempted not to vote but on Thursday I’ll be walking down to Ivy Cottage to cast my vote against the BNP.

But this is not what the message of Pentecost, or what Jesus is about. It is about people receiving forgiveness, being transformed, and in that knowledge moving to much greater things. The current situation with the Daily Telegraph’s trawling through the MPs claims is one where MPs are being hunted down, at one end of the scale, the downright dishonest, or verging on the fraudulent, whilst at the other end of the scale the minor, but ridiculous, such as teddy bears and bags of manure. It is not about forgiveness, but more about dragging people down. Most politicians, from all political parties, are generally interested in serving their constituents and their country.

I do not think that a political party should be visionary, and I do feel that some of the at the most dishonest end of the scale should step down. But for most MPs, there must be the opportunity to say sorry, to pay back  money claimed that now embarrasses them and move on. Then they can get back to their vocations. The party leader who has taken this course most unequivocally is David Cameron, so I will be voting Conservative on Thursday. It is not because the Conservatives are blameless, but because the errant are forgiven, new standards are set and they will move on.

Vote BNP is you want to call names, breed hatred of politicians that oppose yours views and permenantly undermine the political system. May you come to know Christ’s forgiveness.

Vote Labour, if you don’t believe in recognising error and saying sorry, but think tougher and more complex rules is the solution.

Vote Lib-Dem if you want to take the middle ground between being unequivocal and passing the buck.

Dan Hannan attacks the BNP

Daniel Hannan has an excellent post of the BNP in today’s Telegraph. Titled “Here’s a clip for the BNP dunderheads who troll this blog”.

“You may have noticed that, in recent weeks, my comment thread has attracted a disproportionate number of posts from BNP trolls. They rarely identify themselves as BNP supporters, at least not at first. But they give themselves away as much by their foul language, rudeness and bellicosity as by their obsession with Muslims and their hatred of David Cameron. It started when I pointed out that the BNP was a party of the far Left, committed to tax rises, nationalisation, external tariffs, the creation of state-run manufacturing industries, workers’ councils to run those industries and (though they tend to keep quiet about this) the abolition of the monarchy. As Hayek demonstrated, fascism is a strain of socialism: the conflict between Nazis and Communists was, he proved beyond reasonable doubt, a dispute between brothers.”

For those who want to get to know what Hayek has to say about the “Road to Serfdom”, there is a 5 minute youtube video here and the book from Amazon , Ebay or abebooks.

Another way the BNP are anti-British

Hannan believes that “any party that denies the equality of British subjects under the law is no British party.

There is a further way that BNP is fundamentally anti-British. Britain is an exporter of  political ideologies. Britain can lay claim to be the home of Liberalism (Locke, Mill etc.), Utilitarianism (Bentham), Conservatism (Burke) and Fabian Socialism (Toynbee, Webbs etc.), as well as being the home of Liberal Democracy. So why does an British Nationalist pick up the cast-offs of Southern Europe and former Central American Banana Republics?

BNP’s Economic Policy from a 16 year old

I thought I would look into the BNP’s policies to see if they have any depth. On the BNP Chronicle (a blog that slavishly follows the party line, but is not the official mouthpiece of the BNP) is and article on “Why the BNP can get us out of the Recession” by Jason Newton Aged 16. In the light of his being a minor, I will try to inform than put down.

 

The errors are as follows

 

  1. The solution is less exports and imports.

 

“The solution it seems would be to reduce foreign imports and reliance on them. This would not only reduce who would be involved in this mess but also make it more manageable since by the use of Occam’s razor we can deduce that if less countries are reliant on each other the less that can go wrong.”

 

This is incorrect. The Great Depression of the 1930’s was made much worse by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1932, where the US Government sought to protect it’s own industries. Other countries retaliated. Industries that faced foreign competition were helped. They could raise prices and increase output. But, when other countries retaliated, the exporting industries suffered. So jobs are gained in some areas, but lost in others. But with less competition, profits are higher. This is fine for the minority, but not for the majority who pay for the profits with higher prices and less choice.

 

  1. Recessions are caused by an excess of Aggregate Demand

 

“A recession is a temporary retraction in the economy. This means that a recession happens when the current aggregate demand of the economy is greater than the total output.”

 

An excess of aggregate demand is a boom that is out of control. In Keynesian theory (to which I do not subscribe) this leads to inflation. John Maynard Keynes wrote that you could get stuck into a depression by a deficiency of aggregate demand – a circular situation where people without jobs have no money to spend, but without people spending no jobs would be created. The current crisis is due to the financial system seizing up. It was caused by two factors. First, a policy in the United States of helping the poor those in high risk jobs to get mortgages (the sub-prime). Second is keeping interest rates too low for too long (they were lowered after the dot.com bubble burst, and again after 9/11, then raised too high in 2005 and 2006). It was like encouraging some teetotalers to drink a beer. Then when they start feeling a little dizzy to have another and turn the music up. The world economy has collectively passed out. They are each waiting their turn for the stomach pump.

 

2. The way out of recession is through investment.

 

Spending more money would increase aggregate demand which is too high in the first place, if it weren’t we wouldn’t be in a recession. We need to cut back on spending and increase investment that, way more goods and services will be produced, and the long-run equilibrium will be at a higher point.”

 

Investment will help recovery out of the recession, but it must be of the right type. The sort of investment that produces real returns, not job creation schemes that will lead to higher taxes forever. The problem is, government expenditure is already out of control. The cut-backs in spending required will depress aggregate demand far more than some investment will increase it.

 

3. There is only a finite level of output.

 

“With this in mind it shows how the bnp will help to create a stable economy and won’t be driven by the ideology that an economy will continue to grow. The world isn’t big enough for us all!”

 

British economic output in total (after adjusting for inflation) is over 2,000 times higher than in 1700. Per person it is 250 times higher. In purchasing power it is 40 times higher than in the poorest countries. Globally in the last millennium, output per person grew by 20 to 30 times (2000% to 3000%). Most of this was in the twentieth century. But in 1900 or 1950, most people would have said the economy can’t grow any more. Further, an economy that does not grow will be an incredibly miserable place to be, Spain from 1940 to 1975, or Portugal 1945 to 1970. The biggest example is India from 1947 to 1990. They shut off the economy to foreign goods & foreign investment. Instead, they sought to control investment and business with a licencing system. The system was corrupt with the political elite prospering, whilst the vast majority were kept poor.

 

Jason. I sincerely hope that you go on to study economics seriously. But do not be fooled by the fancy graphs (or algebra at higher levels). They are but abstractions that can aid understanding, but also provide blinkers to that knowledge.. The real economy consists of billions of people, who by mechanisms that we do not fully understand, in serving their own immediate purposes, also serve the common good. A source of Britain’s Greatness was being the first country who let the market mechanism flourish.

The end of Nadine Dorries’s Career?

 

The Honourable Member for Mid-Beds has had her blog taken due to manic accusations about the Barclay Brothers, owners of the Telegraph. Full story from Dizzy, with additional comments by Iain Dale.

It is a shame that she should end the piece concerned with wild conspiracy theories. They do not stand up to close scrutiny. Nadine is also made wild suggestions on BBC Radio 5 Live that there is the risk of MPs committing suicide.  It looks like these extreme comments will drown out a very valid point – see next posting.

Dave Cameron is decisive on MPs expenses

Yesterday I wrote

 

 David Cameron should remove the party Whip from the 3 worst offenders (according defined criteria, including failure to recognize their waywardness), forgive the rest (after appropriate admissions and apologies) and move on. That would set a clear precedent for the Prime Minister to follow.  

Further, it would also show David Cameron to be able to make decisive and bold moves for the sake of the country, even if it means losing some friends on the way. With unprecedented cuts to be required in public expenditure when he enters office, this would increase his stature for much bigger battles ahead.

 Today, David Cameron has made the decisive and bold move, in a way that improves upon my suggestion of yesterday, first in John Redwood’s blog, then enlarged upon on this blog. Iain Dale has a fulsome account of the speech here. What was missing from by post was that MPs should pay back expenses they claimed immorally (but not outside the rules). Also Cameron is more benevolent (he will only sack those who do not conform, not sack 3 as a warning to others). In addition Cameron lays down that principles are more important than rules, with a filtering of expenses before they are submitted. In all 3 areas Cameron has improved on my suggestions.

 The result is that the general principles will become more important than the individual rules. This is manic beancounting at its best!

 Furthermore, the way is clear to move on forward onto the wider issues, building on the experience to move forward. To quote David Cameron

” But when it comes down to it I think all of us want the same thing – we want to be proud of our Parliament and the people in it. We’ve got big, big problems in this country. We need big change.

If we win the next election, we’ll be asking the whole country to come together to show social responsibility, personal responsibility and thrift. So the least we can do is to ask Parliament to live by those values as well.”

Kelvin Hopkins – The Honourable Member for Luton North

As a break from all the revelations of MPs playing the system, please read this in today’s Telegraph.

 

A loose regime can only work for people with integrity. But a complex system will not only penalize the honest, but distract MPs from their proper role.

The Apologies on MPs Expenses

The Contrast between Cameron and Brown

 

-         Cameron seeks to bring his MPs into line, whilst Brown apologizes on behalf of all MPs

-         Cameron threatens action on those who have clearly broken the rules, whilst Brown is more for paying back the money owed.

 

That means, under Cameron, action is threatened, whilst under Brown the issue will be swept under the carpet. Could this be, if there is a consistent line between the parties, that the cabinet will suffer more than the shadow cabinet.

 

Might I suggest that Dave Cameron draws an unambiguous line and sidelines the worst offenders. This would leave the Labour party either with a many more sackings, or looking weak on unethical behaviour. The danger is the the Lib-dems would benefit at the expense of both. However, electorally, this may not matter too much, as the Lib-dems tend to lose seats in a swing to the Conservatives.

 

Please see below for the quotes on which this is based.

 

From David Cameron for the Conservatives then said (according to the Telegraph’s Benedict Brogan)

 

For MPs “stand up and explain why they claimed what they claimed”.    

“If there’s a case of someone who clearly did break the rules and that was totally unjustifiable then there may be a case for action.”

 

Further (quoted by the Guardian)

 

  1. “It is the responsibility of those we elect to behave properly. Not just legally, not just within the rules, but to the highest ethical standards. People who stand for public office put themselves forward as people who will rule over the rest of us.”    

 

From Nick Clegg for the Liberal Democrats also apologized for his MPs.

 

 

From Gordon Brown (according to the BBC)

 

          “I want to apologise on behalf of politicians, on behalf of all parties, for what has happened in the events of the last few days.”

 

   Further (in a speech to the Royal College of Nursing conference in Harrogate)

 

“Just as you have the highest standards in your profession, we must show that we have the highest standards for our profession.

“And we must show that, where mistakes have been made and errors have been discovered, where wrongs have to be righted, that that is done so immediately.

“We have also to try hard to show people and think hard about how a profession that, like yours, depends on trust – the most precious asset it has is trust – how that profession too can show that it is genuinely there to serve the public in all its future needs.”

 

The Contrast between Cameron and Brown

 

-         Cameron seeks to bring his MPs into line, whilst Brown apologizes on behalf of all MPs

-         Cameron threatens action on those who have clearly broken the rules, whilst Brown is more for paying back the money owed.

 

That means, under Cameron, action is threatened, whilst under Brown the issue will be swept under the carpet. Could this be, if there is a consistent line between the parties, that the cabinet will suffer more than the shadow cabinet.

 

Might I suggest that Dave Cameron draws an unambiguous line and sidelines the worst offenders? This would leave the Labour party either with many more sackings, or looking weak on unethical behaviour. Either way, it would strengthen Cameron’s hand as the more decisive party leader. The danger is the the Lib-dems would benefit at the expense of both. However, electorally, this may not matter too much, as the Lib-dems tend to lose seats in a swing to the Conservatives.

 

Please see below for the quotes on which this is based.

Politician’s Remuneration – From Brazil to Blighty

Yesterday I blogged about a paper that claimed that higher salaries for politicians resulted in more educated, experienced and hard working politicians. From my own experience of Brazil, I tried to show that that the results could be interpreted as encouraging political dynasties and patronage.

 

In the UK, there have been two aspects of politician’s remuneration that have been in the news recently.

 

The Home Secretary’s 2nd Home Allowance

 

It is alleged by Guido Fawkes, Iain Dale  (and back up by the Sunday Times & The Mail on Sunday) that Ms Jacqui Smith MP is incorrectly claiming which of her two places of residence is her 2nd home. It would appear that the Home Secretary’s primary residence is with her sister in London, and the 2nd home is with her husband and two children in the Redditch constituency. Furthermore, Jacqui Smith’s website biography states

 

            Jacqui grew up in Malvern, Worcestershire before moving to Redditch in 1986.  She still lives in Redditch with husband, Richard and sons James (13) and Michael (8).

 

The Daily Mail is making similar allegations about the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling.

Allegation of sleaze (covert corruption) undermined the last Conservative Government, contributing to suffering, in 1997, the biggest defeat of any government since 1832. Yet, the sleaze did not extend to the Home Secretary (in charge of the nation’s police forces) or allegations of financial impropriety extend to the Custodian of the State’s finances.

 

Pensions for Failure

 

The Sunday Times (Hat-tip Iain Dale) reports that MPs are pushing for a substantial increase in the “Parachute Payments” when that they receive when they fail at a general election to get re-elected. Furthermore, this is to be extended to those who resign or retire mid-term. I can understand and sympathize with someone who has to step down through ill-health. But to compensate those who resign due to incompetence or worse is not in the public interest. Furthermore, to make politician’s terms and conditions better when unemployment is forecast to rise by a million in the current year, is not exactly showing solidarity with the working classes.

I admit that MPs are not paid as much in relative terms as their counterparts in Brazil. A British MP has a basic salary of just 6.5 times of a full-time worker on the minimum wage. In 2004, their equivalent earned over 38 times the minimum salary. However, in neither country to they have any shortage of applicants for the posts, which tends to suggest they are a might overpaid.

Higher Salaries for Politicians? Not likely

 

An economics paper suggesting that higher salaries for politicians leads to better politicians is based on a highly subjective of the evidence. Using evidence of municipal election in Brazil it tries to show that higher salaries for Politicians. If you like more government expenditure & increased power to the incumbents, then you will concur.

 

The Adam Smith Institute Blog referred (via Chris Blattman’s Blog) to an Economics Paper on Motivating Politicians by Claudio Ferraz (PUC-Rio) & Frederico Finan (UCLA). This paper tries to “estimate the effects of monetary rewards on political selection and legislative performance”

 

The conclusion drawn from this study (Pages 27 & 28) are:-

  1. “We find that higher wages increases political competition and improves the quality of legislators, as measured by education, type of previous profession, and political experience in office.”
  2. “In addition to this positive selection, we find that wages also affect politicians’ performance, which is consistent with a behavioral response to a higher value of holding office”
  3. “we find an increase in a number of visible public goods (e.g. number of schools, computer labs, health clinics, and doctors) in municipalities that offer higher salaries.
  4. “(T) here is no improvement on others (e.g. water and sanitation).”

 

Now consider this comment on local elections by the Economist on 9th Oct 2008

  Transparência, an NGO, has examined the last set of races in three state capitals (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte), which took place in 2004. Of 55 vereadores elected in São Paulo, 40 declared that they had spent more than 100,000 reais (then $35,000) on their races. One candidate spent over five times that amount. In Rio de Janeiro, some campaigns were even more expensive in terms of votes gathered per real spent. Certain successful candidates in the city spent more than $15 for each vote they won. (In comparison, George Bush spent $5.60 per vote he garnered in the American presidential election that year, and John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, $5.20 for each of his.) If undeclared spending were added, the sums would be even greater.

My own experience of local elections in Brazil, particularly during a visit in 2004 were of the following

-         Small towns controlled by single families, who also happen to be the most affluent in the town.

-         Sitting a restaurant in a small time, with a vehicle going past every few minutes playing the same jingle. It alternated between a motorbike, a Fusca (VW Beetle) and a Combi (VW van – like the 1960s camper-vans)

-         In major city centres the shopping streets being full of campaigners for their candidates.

 

Other factors to consider

  1. The paper uses the monthly salaries from 2004. For a small town of 10,000 to 50,000, salaries were restricted to 30% of he state legislature, equating to R$2900 (c. GBP560) per month. At the same time the minimum salary (which maybe a third of the population survive on) was R$245. In other words, a small town councillor can receive more than eleven times the minimum wage. In the UK, it is around 1.5 times (although in the UK, the expectation is to work at least 20 hours per week, whereas in Brazil, the Vereador is full-time.
  2. In Brazil, vereadores have the power to award contracts. In many municipalities there is not the necessity to put contracts out to tendor. There is, with the role, considerable patronage opportunities.
  3. Vereadores can receive a pension of 50% of salary after just one term. Therefore, it is possible to become a vereador, a member of the state house of representatives, the state senate, the national house of representatives, and the national senate, all collecting a 50% pension on the way.
  4. Government expenditure in Brazil, accounts for about 40% of GBP, much higher than is the for middle income countries.

 

 

I do not find the conclusions incorrect, just the normative interpretation of those conclusions. In other words

  1. Higher salaries lead to increased political competition, which leads to increased expenditure to get elected. Having high levels of qualifications makes one stand out when there are lots of candidates.
  2. If politics is the family business, sending ones children to university (funded by the high salaries from holding government office) will perpetuate the family. It therefore becomes a barrier to entry for the poor.
  3. Due to the high number of candidates, populist politics abound. Politicians need to spread largesse. It is visible public works that get votes, more than drains, or quality of the local police service.
  4. Populist politics lead to larger and more intrusive government.
  5. Higher salaries, along with powers of patronage, favour those with money and access to a local political machine. Incumbents have the advantage, and getting elected to high office becomes an investment.
  6. The powers of patronage also lead to a local political business cycle. Local roads get fixed in election year.

 

In other words, higher salaries in Brazil have lead to increased corruption, increased power to the incumbents and more government expenditure. This is consistent with the findings of the paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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