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newsletter 03/03/24

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The conflict in Gaza continues to disrupt British politics, as George Galloway was returned as the new MP for Rochdale, the Conservative and Labour candidates coming third and fourth respectively.

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Dear Subscribers,

The conflict in Gaza continues to disrupt British politics, as George Galloway was returned as the new MP for Rochdale, the Conservative and Labour candidates coming third and fourth respectively. Labour might point to the fact that they officially withdrew support for their own candidate as an excuse for their failure, but the reason why they withdrew support is because their candidate’s views too closely resembled Galloway’s. If anti-Israel candidates can steal Labour votes in Rochdale, they can do so elsewhere as well.

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Galloway leads the way in Rochdale

A court in Belfast ruled that the Legacy Act, which granted immunity from prosecutions for some crimes committed by soldiers during the Troubles, is in breach of the ECHR and the Windsor Framework and therefore does not apply. Almost 8 years after Britain voted to ‘take back control’, acts of Parliament are being struck down because of laws made on the continent.

This week, farmers protested against EU agricultural policies in Madrid, Brussels, Paris, and on the border between Germany and Poland. Agricultural ministers met in Brussels to discuss the controversial plans. Farmers blame free trade agreements and EU red tape for low revenues, while ministers plot more regulations to help lower emissions.

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European farmers fight back

Home Office figures published this week show that a record number of asylum seekers were granted permission to stay in the UK last year, while the total number of visas granted to foreign nationals was over 1.4 million. Conservative backbenchers, including former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, warned that these numbers would soon make Britain ‘unrecognisable’.

Russian media published a recording of a meeting of German military officials discussing sending long-range missiles to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Schultz blamed Russian hackers, describing the leak as “a very serious matter”. Russian commentators claimed the recording showed that Russia’s “sworn enemy” was planning attacks on Russian territory.

Media

Nigel Farage on mass immigration and British politics

Will Jones for Daily Sceptic on the threat to national security from Net Zero

Blog

The Inflation Dragon Is Slain: Time To Cut Interest Rates And Taxes by Robert Lee

UK inflation is set to fall sustainably to or below the 2% target level. The Bank of England should cut interest rates and end QT, and the Chancellor should cut taxes that boost the supply side of the economy. This would restore much needed economic growth and avert unnecessary economic and social pain.

By slaying the inflation dragon, a window of opportunity has opened for policymakers to assist the economy to return to growth, the only way to help solve many of our myriad social and economic problems. Will the current leadership in the Bank and the Treasury have the courage and imagination to seize it? There is no need to fear a Truss-style bond market meltdown as the suggested policy changes are in line with strong global and domestic trends.

Key Points

One of the downsides of democracy is that it encourages politicians to discount benefits that will accrue only after the next election and to put a large premium on benefits which will accrue before it. For this reason, some areas of policy get outsourced to bodies which are appointed rather than elected, the idea being that they are better placed to make decisions which are in the long-term interests of the country. Monetary policy is a classic example, having been outsourced from the remit of elected politicians in 1998.

But being unelected is not the same as being a-political. ‘Independent’ bodies like the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee wield important powers. People interested in politics should care as much about who makes it onto committees like these as they do about who makes it into Cabinet.

This newest member of the Monetary Policy Committee tells us a lot about who wields power in the UK. Clare Lombardelli is currently Chief Economist at the OECD after spending many years as an advisor in the Treasury to successive Chancellors. She is no doubt a skilled and knowledgeable economist, but it seems unlikely that she will bring anything new to a committee which already has 4 members who are former civil servants.

Rather, it seems more likely that her appointment will sustain the influence of Treasury officials and other civil servants over important policy decisions. Despite the electorate voting emphatically for change in 2016 and 2019, the same people who were running the country in 2015 are being appointed to unelected positions of power in 2024.

The growing power of bureaucracy in the UK should be a cause for concern. Democracy relies on elected politicians being able to implement change. But, increasingly, they are hampered by ‘independent’ bodies and their own civil servants who are reluctant to change the status quo. While it might be prudent to outsource certain decisions to non-elected politicians, this does not mean delegating powers to civil servants. Future conservative governments (if there are any) need to learn that winning a majority in Parliament is not enough. They also need to secure majorities in the network of bodies and committees which wield an inordinate amount of power in the UK.

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Briefings For Britain