THE NATIONAL LIBERAL PARTY recently launched its Policy Brief – a document which highlights just a few of our policies. It has been warmly welcomed by various centrist parties (whether of the ‘left’ or ‘right’) and also has generated a lot of interest.
Its radical ideas have both got people thinking (which is always to be encouraged!) and may well also prove to be the catalyst for greater co-operation between different centrist parties, groups and individuals.
As part of our efforts to encourage an exchange of ideas relating to policy (as well as strategy) we hope to publish a series of articles which provide a constructive critique of our Policy Brief.
This first critique has been supplied by Russell White from the Populist Movement. From reading the NLP Policy Brief, he believes that “there is some 80% or so crossover between both parties (more than I expected)” and pointing to the next General Election he notes that “there is scope for a joint platform – should a majority of members in both parties desire a joint campaign in 2015.”
For its part, the National Liberal Party will take into account Russell’s comments when updating the Policy Brief and in the forthcoming manifesto (which aims to clarify and explain policy).
In the article below, the subject matter is in bold text whilst Russell’s comments are in normal text.
• ENSURE POLICE OFFICERS ARE WIRED UP TO A RECORDER AND A CAMERA WHILST ON DUTY. Where would it end? Doctors, nurses, soldiers, traffic wardens. Anyone who deals with the general public could be affected. Even the general public could be “wired up” to ensure that they do not say anything politically incorrect. It could set a precedent that an ‘illiberal’ government/regime would impose upon threat of punishment if not complied with.
• WE WOULD INTRODUCE A LAW THAT RESULTED IN ANYONE CARRYING A KNIFE OR GUN IN A PUBLIC PLACE WITHOUT A LEGAL REASON TO BE GIVEN A MINIMUM PRISON SENTENCE. I’d simply use the word “heavy” or “hefty” rather than “minimum.”
• A MINIMUM 160 HOURS COMMUNITY SERVICE OR MINIMUM £1000 FINE (TO FUND ALCOHOL AWARENESS COURSES) FOR BEING DRUNK AND DISORDERLY. Where would this be imposed? Inside or outside of drinking establishments? Makes all the difference. And one person’s “disorderly” is another person’s “reveller.” New Year’s Eve would see mass arrests.
• THREE OFFENCES OF DRUNKENESS OR ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL WOULD RESULT IN A MINIMUM PRISON SENTENCE. Would a breathyliser be used to decide who is drunk and who is not? Would people be prohibited from having more than two pints on a night out? I have known people who could be described as “drunk” yet still manage to hold down a job, and do not act in an anti-social way. So I would reword it to read simply “Three offences of criminal behaviour under the influence of alcohol.”
• ENSURE EDUCATION INCLUDES A HEAVY FOCUS ON GOOD CITIZENSHIP. Dodgy. The government’s idea of “citizenship” is to be “good Europeans” who love multicultural diversity, who donate to the Third World etc. Education should be to give people the skills to get a job and set up home, not to instruct them as to what they should believe. That is illiberal!
• NO PUBLIC FUNDING OF FAITH SCHOOLS. We would agree that state-run schools should be secular, but the idea of ending public funding of faith schools would mean that religious people are discriminated against, in that they will have to pay school fees, thus ending the principle of publically funded education for all British citizens enshrined in the Beveridge report that set up the welfare state. Our position is simply to turn all religious schools and private schools into state funded, but independently run ‘Free Schools.’
• INTRODUCE A VOLUNTARY ‘NIGHT TIME’ ROAD TAX FOR HAULIERS AT A RATE OF 25% OF DAYTIME RATES BUT THE VEHICLE COULD ONLY BE USED ON A ROAD BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 2000 HOURS AND 0800 HOURS. Not practical as night driving is more dangerous, and the impact upon car drivers dealing with increased lorries on the roads at night may cause more accidents.
• BAN RELIGIOUS AND RITUAL SLAUGHTER THAT INVOLVES CRUELTY TO ANIMALS. Agree that this form of slaughter is unacceptable, but can a ‘liberal’ party clamp down upon food that Muslims and Jews have to eat as part of their diet. Yes, they have the option to become atheist or another religion but realistically that will not happen. Why not simply put a tax upon such foods – ring fence it and ensure that the money is directed towards animal charities.