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In a way this may be the wrong place to publish these thoughts. Non-the-less, I have nowhere else to do it. I must stress that these ideas are mine and that I know I may well be very wrong in my thinking.
I have been applying my mind to the cost of producing goods and services in England. All businesses have been trimming costs and trying to become more and more efficient, all my long adult life. There are always newer technologies available and time-savings that can be made by investment. On the face of it, that sounds a good way forward. However, that has always resulted in lower employment for all labour markets. I am not so sure that is the best route to take. On the face of it, were there to be a resultant cost-saving, then prices would drop and that might be to the better. However, that seems often not to be the real case, what with the cost of borrowing and other expenses, which are not always obvious.
Let's look at other costs. Starting with taxation. We pay Income Tax, Duties, Levies, Value Added Tax (often taxes on other taxes and duties). In exchange for that, Government provide a myriad of services. The breadth of those services is breathtaking. I wonder how many people have thought about whether they can really afford the range of services demanded or provided? I have tried to make a list of the kind of services I prioritise. The short list below is my own top few, in order of importance to me.
Defence. Only defence! I hate to think that I, as a taxpayer, am paying to kill people in other nations for any reason. I feel cowardly in not daring to refuse to pay for these attacks for fear of prosecution and possible incarceration. I know this opinion is of a minority, but surely a minority has a right to be heard and acted upon as well as a majority. Simply put, if thoe of us who don'twant to be tarred with this brush were alowed to withould payment, then it would be for those that WANT to be involved to pay?
Water Supplies. I strongly believe water should be supplied free at the point of need on a non-profitmaking basis by a Government instructed by the people. Water security and defence of the water infrastructure is part of the the defence of the nation. We all know that a human will die in only a few days without water. This is an area in which I firmly believe that taxpayers should be responsible and have no truck with private enterprise.
National Health Service, free at the point of need and provided on a non-profitmaking basis, as it was originally concieved. I feel very strongly that buying in health services from private (profit-making) businesses is the worst possible thing our Governments could be doing, in this regard. I see it as being hopelessly inneficient. I recognise that there are huge numbers of people employed in the procurement of these services but the cost of that outweighs the benefit for me.
Refuse and dangerous wastes. removal and safe disposal for all (including business waste and pollution control, because it all comes from private individuals in the end), provided on a non-profitmaking basis at a cost to the tax-payer. This does not include recycling of benign waste (e.g. paper), which I believe should be handled by private enterprise.
Social Care. Financial support for the retired, sick, infirm, disabled and unemployed. I regret that it is increasingly difficult to recruit willing and able staff. My opinion is that nearly all employable people are already employed and that those left are not employable, for 1 reason or another. I do not have a problem with higher and humane rates of benefits.
Border control. I rather fear that very little that is imported is examined for bio-security, for instance. The import of diseased and non-indigenous plant and animal life has been causing problems, repeatedly, for decades. Who knows how much illegal immigration there is! These poor people probably may spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders and in fear of all sorts of illegal individuals and organisations. This sort of security failure is the route of so much extended illegal activity, that it must be controlled, effectively and humanely. What I am saying is that if illegal immigrants cannot work legally, to support themselves, they will resort to criminal activity the expense to all around them. The way we are going sounds much like prohibition to me.
Policing. Prioritise weapon control. Reduce the list of illegal activities in which the police may become involved by careful thought and study.
(having written the above, I notice that my highest priorities all revolve around the life, security and health of the population)
Education. Free at the point of use at all levels to all UK subjects and supplied by Government at the tax-payers expense. I am not at all persuaded that the current arrangements for training and further education are leading in the right direction. Trainers with whom I had spoken, openly admit that standards are now a fraction of those applied in my generation. Why would that be? Government really does need to engage with educators to find out why and how to fix it. For instance. How can an apprentiship expect to be completed in a year or two? In any trade, that is near to insanity!
Communications. Roads, Mail, Telephones, Internet and more. (No! Not transport. I exclude passenger rail and buses as I do not approve of commuting long distances to work and I disaprove of passenger air travel where it is not vital. Work near home is the rule I prefer. If holidaymakers want to travel abroad, they should need to pay the full price of their travel. I do approve of goods being moved by rail, where appropriate, but don't see why that should be Government run or at the expense of the tax-payer. If people in remote villages had no transport to get into larger towns, they might use their local shops (which might then be able to be more competitive and better stocked if they were better patronised), for instance. Overall, they would be less at risk of illnesses cooped up on cramped buses etc., and not have to stand in the cold, wet or beating sun waiting for buses, or harm elderly or disabled bodies, carrying heavy loads.
Substance control. I hate and despise the harm caused by substance abuse. The fastest way to promote drugs mis-use amongst young people is prohibition. By all means do standardise dosages and quality. Put it in the control of appropriately trained people and allow it's price to fall naturally below that which encourages criminals to market it by the application of low or zero taxation. Prohibition has never worked at any level.
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