Everybody knows that explosions are dangerous; few people realise that not all explosions are noisy. By far the most dangerous explosion that has ever occurred on Planet Earth has been going on quietly and insidiously for nigh on three hundred years and most of us are, apparently determinedly, oblivious of it. I refer, of course, to the explosion in the human population and, in particular, to its manifestations in the grossly over-crowded country in which I live.
When we can bring ourselves to think about it, we can perhaps agree that over-crowding is uncomfortable for the individuals who form the crowd. By and large, we are a selfish, querulous, quarrelsome species who all-too-often prefer hot-blooded unreasoning conflict to quietly contemplative mutual resolution of disagreements. Because we are naturally undisciplined, we need discipline to be imposed upon us as in the home and the school. But when we leave home and school, we require some form of polity that will keep our self-expression within reasonable non-destructive bounds, and it seems to me that the form of polity currently in vogue in the United Kingdom is not up to the task.
The spendthrift democracy of the self-centred and the self-interested has brought the country to a state of gross economic insufficiency. An artificially "fortunate" generation, of whom I admit to being a member, has elected a succession of governments whose own self-interest makes it mandatory for them to pander to our addiction to pleasure and aversion to pain. The result is a financially bankrupt state whose government dare not impose the drastic disciplines necessary to keep us collectively and cost-effectively viable for fear of their being voted out of office. The privileged votes of three adult generations have heaped a heavy burden of debt on our children, grandchildren, and their unborn successors. Is it any wonder that many of our young people are unhappy, demoralised, and undisciplined?
On Sunday, 26 July, 2009, I watched a profoundly depressing television programme in which journalist Andrew Marr interviewed David Cameron, current leader of the Conservative Party and more than likely to become Prime Minister of the UK within the next 12 months. Mr Cameron could afford to be quite frank about a state of national indebtedness attributable to his political rivals. What he lacked was the confidence to be frank about how he would attempt to re-impose economic discipline on the nation which he aims to lead.
For me, the most depressing moment in the interview came when the prospective Prime Minister of the United Kingdom stated that his first priority would be to "ring-fence" expenditure on overseas aid. Does he, perhaps, still entertain some fantasy about recovering Great Britain's colonial past? Or is he, like too many of his ilk, merely nursing the feeling of self-importance he hopes to derive from spending the taxes he intends to impose on a hitherto over-subservient populace?
There is good reason to suppose that the good people of Britain are becoming more than a little tired of seeing too much of their hard-earned income taken from them and thrown away on foreign dictatorships whose peoples must sooner or later learn that their well-being is their own responsibility. British politicians must learn to respect the right of the peoples of other countries to exercise that responsibility free from external influence by threat or bribery. If Mr Cameron is to gain the high office to which he aspires, he must do so by virtue of the votes of people who are exclusively British.
I have no objection to "ring-fencing" overseas aid if it is ring-fenced at zero. But that by itself would be a mere fleabite in comparison with the reductions that must be achieved in the hitherto carefully camouflaged "public" expenditure that has increasingly drained British vitality during sixty years of essentially socialist government by whatever Party. When Members of Parliament, who award themselves salaries and pensions beyond the dreams of the great majority of British tax-payers, cannot resist the temptation to extract even more largesse from the public purse by fiddling their expenses, a great many tax-payers must begin to wonder whether they are getting good value for money.
Yesterday, the same David Cameron was reported as saying that his first priority was the preservation of the National Health Service. I wonder what his "first priority" will be next week or the week after. The unpleasant fact that Mr Cameron and his acolytes must sooner or later accept is that drastic reductions in wasteful expenditure must be made at home if our unborn children are to be spared the task of making good the depredations on their birthright permitted by their all-too-complacent parents and grandparents. I therefore offer some suggestions that a truly "right-wing" government would be wise to adopt as a national policy for the next decade if, indeed, global catastrophe is not to impose its own tyranny upon us before that time is up.
If we must have compulsory Income Tax, first priority must be given to the introduction of a system which ensures that every individual and every family of father, mother, and up to two children pay no income tax at all until they earn enough to be financially self-supporting.
That implies discontinuation of Family Allowances from a date no later than nine months after the next General Election. Couples of any description who cannot afford to bring up their own children shouldn't have any. This would be a useful first step in implementing a programme of population reduction. If phasing out the National Health Service seems too drastic, useful steps should include trimming it to exclude all forms of fertility treatment and artificial prolongation of life in irreparable bodies, recognising that the compassionate work of loving carers all too often merely prolongs the death agony of individuals whose mortal bodies no longer serve their immortal souls.
Tax-supported "social welfare" systems should gradually be phased out altogether. Character develops only in adversity. Human generations should be left to make their own arrangements for nurture, education, and care of the old and sick as nature intended. There is no objective way of weighing the "benefits" of state handouts against the disbenefits inevitably resulting from imposition of the taxes through which they are provided, and I have no doubt that the moral scales come down heavily on the side of leaving people to fend for themselves with the help of their neighbours when the need arises. It is the negation of charity to rob anonymous tax-payers in order to bribe unproductive voters.
State provision of "public" services paid for by taxes which bear no meaningful relation to the cost of provision should also be phased out. Health and education services should be provided by healers and educators in exchange for fees which their customers should be happy to pay. Personal welfare should be a matter for adult persons to arrange for themselves through whatever services would naturally appear spontaneously in response to demand.
Organisation from the bottom up (as suggested in, e.g., A Democratic Recipe) would require many fewer, but much more trustworthy, politicians not for the provision of services by the State but for oversight of a system of laws to maintain public order and ensure acceptable standards of probity in the private provision of essential services in a free market.
Old-fashioned "charity" could then resume its natural place in enabling human beings to demonstrate their loving care for the weak, needy, and helpless in ways appropriate to their circumstances.
The ever-rising count of the corpses of some of the finest representatives of British youth being freighted back from Afghanistan appears to be having no effect on the stupid arrogance of the politicians who sent them there. On a weekend when the count passed 200, Prime Minister Gordon Brown was reported as saying it was "deeply tragic". What is deeply tragic is that, whether or not he believes it himself, he goes on reiterating the mantra that the tragedy has to continue in order to "break the chain of terrorism that stretches from Afghanistan to the UK".
Is Brown really so psychologically stupid as not to realise that sending British soldiers to bully the native people of Iran, Afghanistan, or anywhere else merely heats the furnace of hatred of the United Kingdom in which the links in any such chain are forged? I know that if my country were occupied by a foreign army, I would be wholeheartedly ready to kill and maim as many of the invaders as possible.
The UK should immediately and unilaterally adopt a policy of strict neutrality. Instead of fighting terrorism afar off where every man's and woman's heart and mind (if not always hand and mouth) are against them, our forces should be concentrated on defending the genuine interests of British subjects. This would make it unnecessary to spend large sums on armaments of little use for national defence. It would entail leaving the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which has long outlived its defensive usefulness and become an agency of political bullying. Afghanistan is a very long way from the North Atlantic.
Since the armed services were brought under one unified Ministry of "Defence", membership of NATO has involved the country in too many wars, none of which has had any legitimate claim to being defensive unlike the action to repel the invasion of the Falkland Islands. A political solution should be sought to obviate any recurrence of that particular tragedy.
Aircraft carriers and their attendant escorts are essentially offensive weapons of little use for defensive operations in home waters, and are themselves hostages to fortune on the oceans of a satellite-surveyed planet. Trident submarines are retaliatory weapons whose use in anger would merely accentuate whatever catastrophe had already taken place. Both systems are too costly for a small debt-ridden country to maintain merely for the aggrandisement of politicians wishing to keep a British seat on the UN Security Council.
The Defence budget should therefore be restricted to maintaining the efficient, well-equipped land and sea forces required to discourage piracy, repel unwelcome invaders, and suppress home-grown terrorists whose numbers would diminish as cessation of military adventures overseas deprived them of motivation.
There has never been any sense in maintaining a separate air force: nobody lives for long in the air. Operational efficiency and economy would be best served by giving the Army and Navy direct command over their own air weapons.
A Tory manifesto along these lines should have strong appeal for a responsible freedom-loving population. If the electorate comprises so high a proportion of timid souls as to continue to place their trust in government by discredited professional politicians, I can as a last resort only draw their attention to the fact that every other living species manages to get by without any government at all short of God. Why cannot we humans, who pride ourselves on being so much better than they, do likewise?
My fear is that after more than half a century of socialism, whereby the timid and the greedy are subsidised by extortion from the powerless poor, our native sense of personal liberty and responsibility has been eroded to such an extent that only a decade or two of benevolently severe philosophical dictatorship can save the UK from a return to serfdom.