With Party Political funding hitting the headlines (again), suggestions have been made for the State to contribute to campaign costs. Such calls are misguided. Confidence in the UK's political system can be restored through the provision of information about funds, rather than through costly, bureaucratic measures paid for by the unwilling taxpayer. This paper urged the Neill Committee to reject all forms of State subsidy and to avoid premature answers to an important question.
Britain in 50 years time still be independent, still a monarchy, and still close to America, but will no longer be influential, and may no longer make waves in science, technology, art or culture. These are among the findings of the new survey conducted by MORI for the Adam Smith Institute. It presents a detailed picture of how the British public see the unfolding century. The report covers issues such as progress, living standards and the welfare state. The young are noticeably different from their elders. They are more optimistic.
Amongst the events that predictably lead to demands for government action are business failures and corporate scandals. Demands for government action to improve corporate governance are, however, based on a dual mistake. They wrongly presuppose that the problems have been caused by a lack of sufficient regulation, and they erroneously assume that government regulation can make things better.
1. The current consensus
Who, what, and why?
A recent note from the House of Commons Library suggests that there is really no argument about the need for affordable housing. It states: "The provision of affordable housing is viewed as a fundamental component of sustainable development."
In her first 2,000 days Margaret Thatcher changed the world. She privatized state industries, lowered taxes, deregulated the economy, and tamed the unions. The miners were conquered at home, the Falklands liberated abroad. By late 1984, after decades of decline, Britain was back and booming.
Cambridgeshire proposes to convert the 23-km disused St. Ives to Cambridge rail line to a "guided busway", open only to specially-equipped buses.
Road space is an asset like any other. Users should be charged for using it, at the point of consumption. That means a system of road congestion pricing, rather than the mixture of vehicle and fuel taxes that we have at present.
The humble bus is still responsible for more passenger journeys than any other form of public transport, but years of state control and neglect led to people abandoning it by the carriageload.
Why we need road pricing
The Adam Smith Institute has long supported road pricing as the best way of paying for the scarce resource that is road space - a particularly scarce resource in many towns and cities at around 8.30 in the morning and 5.30 at night.
When the Conservatives took office in 1979 we had an instruction from Prime Minister Thatcher that we, at the Department of Education, as it was then known, should issue no more that one Circular (to educational establishments) per year. I was the Special Advisor to the Secretary of State, having formulated much of the education policy of the previous years in Opposition. We pursued such policies as the Assisted Places Scheme, Local Management of Schools, and latterly, Grant Maintained Schools.