- The three richest men in AMERICA own more personal assets than the combined assets owned by the entire populations of the sixty poorest countries.
- The United States is among only six counties that impose the death penalty on juveniles. The others are Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
- The United States is the only country besides Somalia that has not signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Why? Because it contains a provision prohibiting the execution of children under eighteen.
It is one of the supreme ironies that the newcomers to the European Union have to demonstrate that they are democratic. Were the United Kingdom to apply for membership under the same rules it would be rejected, because both our main political Parties are fundamentally undemocratic. Strange World isn't it?
John Taylor CBE
To: Regional Co-ordinating Chairmen
Regional European Campaign Directors
25th November 2002
We have received a number of complaints regarding the conduct of candidates and some Party members at hustings meetings. The following further guidance is issued on behalf of the Board and we would be grateful if you would pass it to all candidates in your region.
· Candidates should not greet or seek to present themselves to members arriving at hustings meetings.
· Please also draw the attention of candidates to the provision in the Guidelines on Procedure issued by the Board in June, which restricts campaigning activity. You should request candidates to comply with these rules to the letter and in spirit.
· No Party member should be permitted to distribute literature of any sort within the venue in which the hustings meeting is taking place or within the boundaries of the venue. Any member refusing to comply with this should be instructed to leave the meeting.
· Furthermore, leaflets that either favour or disparage individual candidates, whenever distributed, damage the Party. Candidates should discourage the distribution of such leaflets and should, if they become aware of any such activity, report it to the Regional Chairman.
The Editor of "The Daily Telegraph" gets it wrong!
House of Commons,
London SW1A OAA.
Dear Mr. Ancram,
In his introduction to "The Crossman Diaries" Anthony Howard said this was "the guilty secret at the heart of the British governmental system".
The "guilty secret" is now taking on a European dimension. The British people must insist on a referendum on the outcome of the Convention on the Future of Europe.
to limit the amount of money a Member of Parliament could donate to a Constituency Association to £100.to recommend that Central Office should publish its accounts.To have postal ballots for the officers of The National Union.
Finance for the Office of the Leader of the Opposition.All Parties in Opposition with two or more MPs receive some financial assistance for their Leader’s office. This is a legitimate use of funds as it strengthens the democratic process by balancing out the inherent advantage a Party has in government. The funds should be publicly accounted for and not be excessive. The level of them should be the equivalent of the amount of money, which the Government spends, on political advisers. At present the Government employs over 80 political advisers at a cost of £5.1 million having almost doubled the number since the Labour Government took office. The number of political advisers employed by the Government should not exceed 50. This should produce a significant saving.Free post at a Parliamentary election.In the age of direct mail, computer targeting, E-mail, and the Internet, the "free post" could easily be scrapped without any detriment. It has increasingly come to be used by individuals for cheap subsidised publicity. The case for it to be continued is not strong for although it may help candidates who have no organisational back up, a candidate with serious intentions of trying to win an election would not be deterred by there being no free post.Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs)The British public is very sceptical about PPBs. Statistics included in them are usually slanted in favour of the Party broadcasting. However if the parties do benefit it is at the expense of the smaller Parties. There is, therefore, an inherent bias towards the status quo and as a result of this are dangerous for democracy. Increasingly large sums of money are spent by the Parties on these Broadcasts. That money would be saved if they were abolished.MP’s expenses allowances.There is a growing trend for functions which were done by a constituency association and paid for by the association to be done and paid for by the Member of Parliament. In 1948 the "Maxwell Fyffe" rules were adopted in the Conservative Party which limited the amount a Member of Parliament could give to his Association to £100. This was brought in because many Associations in choosing their parliamentary candidate were doing so on the basis of the amount of money the candidate would donate to the Association. There is a real danger of this practice once again becoming prevalent except that now most of the funding will be from the taxpayer. The current practice seems to have developed initially in the offices of European Members of Parliament where" information funds" and "high expense allowances" are normal. The further danger of this practice is that the Member of Parliament instead of relying on his Association or local grouping is able to dictate to the Association. The Association, as it no longer has to raise the money, rapidly goes into decline, becomes out of touch with its membership, becomes a small rump thus then justifying the MP dictating matters -–a vicious spiral. The practice should cease.Since the beginning of 1992 when MP’s expense allowances were dramatically increased, many Constituency Associations have been and are still being subsidised by Members of Parliament out of their expense allowance. With the recent huge increase in these allowances many functions which used to be performed by the local Constituency Association are now being done by the MP’s office. Millions of pounds of state funding are going to constituencies by the back door. Already Members of Parliament are beginning to use this financial lever to control their Association and Constituency Associations are asking how much a prospective candidate will pay before choosing their Parliamentary candidate. This will further alienate the ordinary member from belonging to the Conservative or the Labour Parties.Because of the scale of Tory losses in the last two General Elections the Party in the constituencies has lost a significant source of income. This source is now being exploited by the Labour Party.Furthermore as the Constituencies have become weaker the Member of Parliament has become less accountable. No longer does the MP fear being asked to appear before a large Executive Council to account for his or her actions. It is not surprising therefore that the bonds which ensure loyalty to the Party have become weaker and an increasing number of Conservative Members of Parliament were able to be disloyal to the Party without having to account for their actions particularly during the 1992-97 parliament.
An Income and Expenditure AccountA Balance Sheet (or more than one if considered appropriate for specific funds.)Notes to the Accounts which would include a statement on the accounting policies adopted.
We have set out in this paper the links between party democracy, membership and fund raising. There is no doubt that healthy political parties should be capable of raising from the public sufficient funds to sustain themselves. It is equally clear that for their own internal reasons the two main parties have pursued large donations from a few individuals and in the process have created a public perception of sleaze. They have avoided the option of raising funds in small amounts from a large number of people because without democratic reform of the parties their pleas would fall on deaf ears.
The solution to their problem requires the recognition of the calamitous financial state that the parties are in and that State Funding should be strictly limited to assisting the parties to overcoming their temporary difficulties. There should be a time limit on the main element of funding. In order to eliminate the public perception of sleaze the maximum size of any donation from an individual should be limited to £5,000.00. The parties should be democratically accountable to their membership. The limit on donations becomes less important if the parties are democratically accountable to their members for it would make it more difficult to obtain influence in such circumstances. All these steps are taken to enhance democracy and should be conditions imposed on the parties prior to them receiving State Funding.
The simplest way for these objectives to be achieved is for the State to pay a per capita amount (say £20.00) to each political party dependent on the number of audited members of the party paying a minimum subscription of £10.00. Such monies paid should be reduced each year by 20% thus eliminating the subsidy over five years. This would give the parties time to increase their membership to the point where they are self-financing.
To enhance democracy the State should pay a per capita amount (say £20.00) to each political party dependent on the number of audited members of the party paying a minimum subscription of £10.00 and subject to the parties having democratic constitutions. This would encourage them to concentrate on building up their membership. The subsidy would diminish by 20% each year and be completely abolished after five years.Both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party should reform themselves to become democratic bodies answerable to their membership so that the members can change the Constitution of their Party on the basis of One Member One Vote.All political Parties should publish audited Balance Sheets and Income and Expenditure Accounts and have elected Chairman and Treasurer answerable to their membership.There should be a limit on the amount that a government can spend on political advisers. An equivalent sum to their costs should be given to the opposition Parties. This should replace the "Short" funding. These monies should be properly accounted for.The "free" post at parliamentary elections should be abolished.Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs) should be abolished.The amount of money, which a Member of Parliament or a Member of the European Parliament can give to their party should be limited to £1,000.00.Expense allowances given to MPs or European MPs should not be used for Party purposes.
The Editor, 13th October 02
Letter published in "The Times" August 30
Jack Straw MP has called for a written constitution for the European Union (Report, August 28) and the Convention on the Future of Europe is in the process of drawing up such a constitution. By defining what the European Union can or cannot do you also define what the United Kingdom can or cannot do.
Some 55% of legislation affecting the United Kingdom now emanates from Brussels. For the first time in our history we will effectively have a written constitution. Such a critical and historically important step must be put to the people of the United Kingdom in a referendum for their approval or disapproval. All political parties should commit themselves to this now.
JOHN E. STRAFFORDThey swallowed it again
Once again "The Times" seem to swallowed a story from Central Office hook line and sinker. This time it was under the headline "Tories to wish teenagers a happy birthday." They went on "The man behind the initiative is Charles Hendry, 41, the Tory youth spokesman, "We want to make contact with young people in a way we never have before." Perhaps Charles is not aware that sending birthday cards to 18 year olds has been part of membership packs for years. Aylesbury Association have been doing it for over ten years. Beaconsfield were so successful that their letter plus a questionnaire was part of the 1995 membership pack. We are delighted that the Party is doing this It was a successful way of making contact with young people, but why did "The Times" describe it as new?
Perhaps we should start a correction column for "The Times.?European Ideas Network
Over this weekend a most important meeting took place at Christchurch College, Oxford. 150 people from European centre right parties, business men, and academics gathered to put forward ideas. This historical get together could have a major impact on policy. See this column next week for further details.
7 Dewar Close,
W. Yorkshire LS22 5JR.
Dear Mr. Kirkhope,
Recently COPOV held one of its regular meetings on democracy. Over 30 members attended from different parts of the United Kingdom. One of the items on the Agenda was "The Convention on the future of Europe". We would very much like to be involved in expressing our views on the Convention as it progresses and hope that the Conservative Party will take steps to obtain its members’ views in formulating its policy.
The initial views expressed at the meeting were as follows:
With reference to the question of what the Union should do people felt that the Common Agricultural Policy and Regional policies should be abolished; and that Fisheries’ policies should revert to the Nation States.The Commission should be the servants of the European Union and should not have the power to initiate legislation. They should be strictly controlled by the Council of Minister, i.e. their role should be similar to that of the British Civil Service.
The Council of Ministers meetings should be transparent and open to the press and public, and their votes also transparent.
Elections to the European Parliament should ideally be on a constituency basis but if the present system of proportional representation is to continue the "lists" should be open lists so that the people are electing their chosen representatives.
Each person in the European Union should have a vote of equal value. Steps should, therefore, be taken to ensure that each MEP represents a similar number of electors.
The European Central Bank should be made accountable and the minutes of its meetings should be published in a similar way to those of the Bank of England.
I hope this is helpful and if you would like us to look specifically at something please let me know.
JOHN E. STRAFFORD
PRESS RELEASECAMPAIGN FOR CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRACY
Release date: Tuesday, 23 August 2002.
Released by: John Strafford, Chairman,
Campaign for Conservative Democracy.
John Strafford, Chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy, said: "With the State already directly funding political parties in the amount of £7.3 million the question that has to be addressed is not whether there should be State Funding but what conditions and requirements should be met before any political party receives any funds from the State. This paper answers that question.In Linking the low turnout at the last General Election with the lack of democracy the paper states:To enhance democracy the State should pay a per capita amount (say £20.00) to each political party dependent on the number of audited members of the party paying a minimum subscription of £10.00 and subject to the parties having democratic constitutions. This would encourage them to concentrate on building up their membership. The subsidy would diminish by 20% each year and be completely abolished after five years.Both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party should reform themselves to become democratic bodies answerable to their membership so that the members can change the Constitution of their Party on the basis of One Member One Vote.All political Parties should publish audited Balance Sheets and Income and Expenditure Accounts and have elected Chairman and Treasurer answerable to their membership.There should be a limit on the amount that a government can spend on political advisers. An equivalent sum to their costs should be given to the opposition Parties. This should replace the "Short" funding. These monies should be properly accounted for.The "free" post at parliamentary elections should be abolished.Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs) should be abolished.The amount of money, which a Member of Parliament or a Member of the European Parliament can give to their party, should be limited to £1,000.00.Expense allowances given to MPs or European MPs should not be used for Party purposes.
John Strafford, Chairman, Campaign for Conservative Democracy:
Telephone: (h) 01753 887068 (o) 020 7474 3464(m) 07956 352 022 (fax) 01753 882823
Why did the SDP fail? Because David Owen did not believe in party membership. Isn't there a lesson somewhere in this?
On June 11th the European Parliament agreed by 399 votes to 111 to proposals to prevent peers and MPs sitting in that parliament. It was the abolition of the "dual mandate". It should be up to the British people to decide whom they wish to represent them in the European Parliament, the only snag of course is that with the closed list system of election operated in the United Kingdom the people do not choose their representatives at all. Do you hear anybody protesting at this democratic disgrace? Why no. Cosy stitch up is the reason.
Lord Grey and Lord Norris were the tellers. Lord Norris was not attentive to what he was doing. On seeing a very fat Lord coming in Lord Grey counted him as ten in jest, but seeing that Lord Norris had not noticed he went on with the misreckoning.
The manuscript minutes of the House of Lords give the numbers in the division as fifty seven "ayes" and fifty five "noes", a total of one hundred and twelve although the journal shows that no more that one hundred and seven had attended the sitting.
It was noticed at once that something was wrong but Lord Shaftesbury who was in favour had the presence of mind to rise and speak until a number of Lords had entered and left the chamber so the vote could not be taken again.
When an Act shows such determination to be on the Statue Book perhaps it is as well to leave it alone!
According the the Conservative Party web site the Party's Stance on State Funding of political Parties is as follows: "At a time when our public services are in crisis, we believe the public would find it very strange if more money was spent on political parties, rather than on health transport and education." If this is the best we can do in answering a straight forward question then it is not only the public services in crisis but the Conservative Party as well.
For two centuries the Conservative Party ruled Liverpool almost exclusively. Yet today, Conservatism is at a very low ebb with not a single MP or Councillor. Those who followed the disgraceful behaviour of the Party establishment over Liverpool Garston will not be surprised. Now we have another scandal brewing.
The West Derby Conservative Club has taken its own constituency association to court in a dispute which could cost £300,000. The club has been paying rent to the Association for 22 years but it has now emerged that they may have owned the property all along.
It is thought that the Association only has 6 members. we are told Central Office have known about this situation for two years. Embarrassingly much of the money paid may have been passed on to Central Office.
As the membership of the Party gets smaller and smaller you can bet that there will be more cases like this crawling out of the woodwork particularly where property is involved.
Selection of European Parliament candidates!
We understand that it has been decided by the Party Board that the selection of European Parliament candidates will take place in November. As a result any candidate that has a meeting fixed in November has been told to cancel it. Why? I think we should be told. There appears to be a great deal of attempted manipulation of the selection taking place. Democracy demands transparency.
Conservative Party Accounts
At last we have received a copy of the Conservative Party Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2001. It was a shame that we had to protest to the Electoral Commission before we received them (more about this next week). It is now clear why there was a reluctance to publish them. Instead of the rosy picture painted in "The Times"(see below) you can see when you look at the small print that the Party has still got a major financial problem.
At 31st March 2001 the Party had net assets off £1,123,000 with £9,272,000 cash at the bank. Sounds good, except that in the notes to the Accounts it states: "Net cash outflows to the end of December 2001 totalled £10.4 million."
In other words we were back in overdraft by 31st December 2001. This in spite of the fact that the Party now gets over £3.5 million a year in State Funding.
One other note to the Accounts that might be a cause for concern is that the "next formal valuation" of the Agents Superannuation Fund "is 31 March 2002". Is there a shortfall?
The Leader of the Conservative Party
The Chairman of the Conservative party
The Vice Chairmen of the Conservative Party
The Chief Executive of Conservative Central Office
Great Peter Street,
London, SW1P 2HW.
The political Party should be democratic, i.e. one member one vote with no undue restrictions on changes to the Party’s constitution.The Chairman and Treasurer of the Party should be elected by the membership and accountable to them.The Party should publish its Annual Accounts within six months of its year end and any member of the Party should be entitled to receive a copy of the Accounts on the payment of a small fee.
The ideas set out in this paper were stimulated by a CPF discussion in March 2002. This was organised by the Walberswick branch of Suffolk Coastal Conservative Association and the evening was spent in considering The Health Debate briefing paper and in attempting to answer the questions which it posed.
There were medical professionals amongst those present, and all of us had experience as patients and as relatives of patients. There was general agreement on most points and the Chairman has responded on our behalf.However, some of the points made and ideas put forward remained with me, and during the following days I developed the outline of a plan for a Health Service under a future Conservative Government. I hope my readers will find it interesting and of possible help.
The Discussion at Walberswick
We agreed that:
a future Conservative Government must plan to provide healthcare for all on an equal basis;Consequently the present system must be re-designed to make greater use of funds from non-taxation sources. But we agreed that any changes must have significant and beneficial motivational effects.
the UK population, which is living longer, is well-briefed about new developments in the entire field of health, and expects to have ready access to all that would benefit them or their relatives;
no present or future Government could provide, solely out of taxation, sufficient funds to satisfy the insatiable healthcare demands of the population without jeopardising the economy ;
a new financial system is needed and we favoured a "pay and get back" arrangement;
the health industry is too large, too complex and too dynamic for any unified organisation to be effective and efficient. The Government of the day should set standards and broad principles but leave market forces to generate and supply the health services.
On the one hand the morale of all health service employees must be improved to the extent that they are stimulated to provide the best possible care of patients and, at the same time, to seek out ways of improving efficiencies and cutting out waste.
Patients, on the other hand, should not be discouraged from seeking necessary medical help, but they should appreciate that health services are scarce and expensive. Accordingly they must be encouraged to be considerate and frugal in the demands they make.
Furthermore all citizens must be encouraged - possibly by financial incentives - to give up bad habits (smoking, excessive drinking, etc.) and take up sensible regimes (regular exercise and prudent diet). All parties must agree to put prevention before cure.What is needed is a new and stable system. One, which will serve the nation well over many years and which will be popular with patients and health workers alike.
The main problem ahead seems to me to be: how to design a practical alternative system, which will have obvious possibilities and which will not immediately stimulate the opposition of the electorate and workers in the field of healthcare. Thus any new system, proposed as part of a Conservative election manifesto, must have clear advantages and simple rules which seem fair and risk-free to all concerned. It must not have significant cost implications that would give Opposition Parties the opportunity to label it as bureaucratic and wasteful of scarce resources. So my solution is the introduction of a new mechanism which, once successfully in place throughout the UK, could be used to change the financing of healthcare.
The fundamental first step would be to design and introduce a computerised Health Card. Initially this would be tested and refined in some carefully selected areas but would quickly be brought into general use. The card (or bracelet or neck tag or, eventually, a device implanted in the forearm) would have a read-only memory as well as a substantial random access memory and the data stored would have four main elements:
Identification (name, address and National Insurance Number)
Physical description (height, weight, gender, date of birth; also photograph,
Health record (data on prescriptions, allergies, diagnoses and treatment regimes)
Cost information (all treatment would be recorded at standard prices)
This Health Card, which must be so technically secure that it could not be forged, would be carried by all citizens and used whenever any kind of treatment is required. Nobody would be able to benefit from the healthcare services without a valid card or the means to pay.
For example, on entering his GP's surgery, the patient would "swipe" his card through a reader. This would be validated and - depending on the system in use - either place him in a queue or confirm that he was present in response to an appointment. The GP would place the patient's Health Card in a reader. If the Health Card and the GP's patient record were at variance, they would be brought into step. The GP would therefore have available any data recorded by a pharmacist, hospital or specialist since the patient's last visit. Before the card was returned to the patient, it would be updated. The patient would take the Health Card to his pharmacist for the dispensation of prescriptions.
The Health Card would be of genuine value in medical emergencies, since it would provide up-to-date information about the patient to paramedical and medical staff.In future years, communication between the patient and the GP or clinic might be facilitated by using the Health Card and the Internet to discuss health matters and to modify the treatment plan. However, the Health Card would have other immediate advantages.
The Standard Costing System
All treatment would be automatically logged and priced using a standard costing system. The healthcare unit (GP practice, hospital, clinic, etc.) would be credited with a standard amount for each service provided.
If the unit was inefficient and was costing more than the total credits (income) over a period, there would be reliable information to guide the managers concerned about the action needed to bring the unit up to scratch. If a "profit" resulted, the reasons might provide guidance for other managers of comparable units and bonuses might be in order.
The standard costing system would be based on known costs in a selection of well-managed health units and would include provision for the replacement of plant and a margin to fund new developments. There would be two important variances: both based on the actual use of the facility. The cost variance is basically where the actual staffing and resources used depart significantly from the norms used in setting the unit cost (for example if too many people are employed or excessive pay-scales are used). The activity variance is where the use of the facility is very different from the expected norm (if demand is too low and there is much idle time, or if demand is excessive and all concerned find ways of getting extra use from the facility).
An important advantage of the proposed system is that it readily facilitates the devolution of managerial responsibility. For example each service in a hospital could be designated as a cost centre, and the income generated set against the total costs involved. The resultant periodic information would be reported directly to the person in charge for assessment and action. The various cost centres would be amalgamated into statements to the senior managers but only after the cost centre managers have had chance to investigate any variances and consider what action needs to be taken.Care must be taken to group cost centres sensibly. For example, some facilities might only be needed occasionally but are of critical importance when they are. Such a facility - at standard prices - would always run at a loss and the shortfall would have to be loaded into the cost centres that need it.
At suitable intervals, possibly every three months, each patient would receive a detailed statement that listed all his use of the Health Service (prescriptions and their cost, the time of doctors, nurses and other health professionals at standard hourly rates, and any services provided by hospitals). Initially this would be for information only. The main objective being to alert the patient to his demands upon the Health Service, and to encourage him to review their necessity.Statistical information derived from the use of Health Cards would, over time, inform the health service providers about trends, and guide future developments.
Allocating the Charges
Once the Health Card system had been fine-tuned and extended to the whole country, the next step could be introduced: placing the charges.
Before we consider how to deal with the complex matter of UK citizens, first let us consider visitors, immigrants and refugees. It would be easy to introduce charges for these groups.
Visitors would normally have travel insurance and so could arrange to be reimbursed if all health services were charged at the standard rates. It would be a simple matter to take a deposit from a potential patient and, at the end of the visit, return any monies not needed. (Such a system is now in use in Canada.)Charging UK citizens need not be too complex. Initially - perhaps permanently - all juveniles (including students in full-time education) and senior citizens would be charged to central budgets so the new system would not involve any payments by these people. Their costs would come from taxation, possibly from a "ring-fenced" health-tax.
Refugees and potential immigrants would, on arrival here, be issued with a Health Card. All costs incurred during the assessment period would be charged to the budget of the minister concerned. In this way, the true costs of these people would be established.
Illegal refugees, not having Health Cards, could only receive treatment as visitors.
All adults would need personal health insurance. This would be obligatory (unless individuals opted to pay) and, perhaps, would be operated commercially. However the general rules, which would be determined by Government, would ensure that there was no discrimination. People would not have to pay more because they were more likely than others to need expensive and/or long-term treatment (ageing or belonging to vulnerable groups). It might, though, be in order to charge more to people who engage in dangerous work or hobbies, who smoke or indulge in other risky activities.
Members of the Armed Forces would need to be insured but the charges would fall upon the appropriate Ministry.People who became long-term sick (or disabled) would be relieved of the need to pay insurance by transferring their costs to the same budget as their sick payments. The long-term unemployed would be charged to the appropriate ministry.
How the New System Would Benefit the Patient
Once the new system was properly in place, all healthcare facilities would be available to all patients. The distinction between NHS and private provision would disappear. There would be a considerable lead-time before this position could be reached as extra staff and facilities would have to be provided.
Emergency services (paramedical staff, ambulances and hospital emergency facilities) might, during the early years of operation, be charged to a central budget. This would prevent someone in urgent need being adversely affected by a missing Health Card or bureaucracy. However, this should be regarded as an interim arrangement.Patients with particular medical needs - guided by their GPs - could choose where and when to go for consultations and treatment. All healthcare services would be charged at standard rates but there is no reason why - if the patient is spending his own money - he should not be able to opt for premium treatment (private room, special food, etc.). Whether or not this freedom should extend to differential charges for top quality medical staff might be a subject for debate within the medical profession.
How the New System would Affect Government
There would no longer be a single Ministry controlling the entire healthcare budget and trying to manage the industry. Patient demand and the ability of the market to satisfy it would determine the totality of expenditure on healthcare.
The Health Minister would be responsible for setting standards, identifying future trends and opportunities, for ensuring that all healthcare providers experience a "level playing field" and that patients in general all get first rate treatment.
Other Ministers (Education, Defence, etc.) would have to bid for funds to pay the healthcare costs of their charges (students, servicemen, etc.) and would be responsible for the charging/reporting mechanisms in use.The Treasury would no longer play a role in developments as the capital needed for new projects would come from "profits" or outside sources of capital.
How the New System Would Affect Healthcare Professionals:
Healthcare facilities would - in effect - be "privatised". Only in this way could senior healthcare managers be authorised to anticipate new developments and opportunities and make commercial decisions regarding their provision. Inefficient units would be subject to the disciplines of the free market: failing managers could be sacked and insolvent units taken over by successful ones.
The free market would be able to react to future needs, once trends could be clearly established, and eventually there would be equilibrium: healthcare services would be available to satisfy all patient needs.Individuals employed within the Healthcare Services would not be constrained by pay scales. Efficient employees who worked in "profitable" cost centres would naturally receive bonuses or improved salaries.
How Much Would the New System Cost?
Clearly there would be significant costs involved in setting up the Health Card system, but there would be substantial savings to be made. There would also be other advantages to be gained at minimal extra costs.
The immediate savings would include:
Visitors would no longer cost the UK taxpayer anything;If it were decided to introduce an Identity Card system, it would be simple and inexpensive to add the extra items of data.
There would be less work for reception staff in GPs' surgeries, clinics, hospitals etc.
It would no longer be necessary to print out prescriptions or write letters to/from specialists (the patient would be the carrier).
Pharmacists would not need to distinguish between patients who pay for prescriptions and others who don't.
Patients, when informed of the costs of their demands on Healthcare services, might cut out some that are unnecessary.
Healthcare staff would be motivated to suggest improvements in productivity and be able to bring them into being.
The aim was to keep this paper to a reasonable length. So it has not been possible to cover all ramifications of this suggestion or to identify all advantages and discuss possible complications. If any aspects are unclear, readers are invited to let me know and I will be pleased to try to help.
20 April 2002 Jack Clayton
No 10 and the Queen's Jubilee
There has been a great deal of fuss made about Tony Blair and the Queen Mother's funeral, but how did No. 10 react to the Queen's Jubilee celebrations?
For the service at St, Paul's Cathedral all guests other than those in the procession were asked to arrive an hour before the start of the service. No. 10 thought that to have the Prime Minister twiddling his thumbs for an hour like the other guests was not on, so they asked whether he could arrive later. In no uncertain terms the Dean of St. Pauls explained that this was a Royal occasion and if the Prime Minister could not get there on time like everybody else he would be refused admittance!
1 Pennington Street,
London E98 1TA.
(Your Fax No. 020 7782 5046)
I agree with Michael Ashcroft when he says that "Parties need many more members, not more subsidy", article May 17. Judged by this criteria the Conservative Party failed during his tenure as Party Treasurer for the long term decline in membership continued its relentless descent.
Every year many thousands of people join the Conservative Party. After a short period of time they leave – which is why the average age of the Party is increasing. Why do they leave?
Like Michael Ashcroft they find that the Party’s structures have "failed to keep pace with their own party’s needs and with society as a whole" but they are unable to change those structures because of the discredited electoral college requirements in the Party’s constitution which gives overwhelming power to Members of Parliament, rather than a democratic One Member One Vote.
They find that the Party Chairman and Vice Chairmen responsible for the Party’s organisation are unelected and unaccountable to the membership.
They find that they have no say on the way the Party spends its money for the Party Treasurer is also unelected and unaccountable to the membership.
They find that they cannot participate in policy development by putting a motion to the Spring Forum or Party Conference because for the past two years motions have been banned, and should they wish to speak at these conferences the maximum time allowed to them is two minutes.
They find that virtually all communication with them is about asking them for money.
They find that if you are a big donor then you get privileged access to members of the Shadow Cabinet.
When they find all these things they vote with their feet and leave.
Michael Ashcroft says "The Conservative Party should make a point of saying firmly that it does not need state funding", but he is happy to accept the £4,000,000 per annum "Short" money for "research" in spite of the fact that each MP now receives an allowance of £70,000 per annum for research, plus three computers to do it on.
Like Party Treasurers before him Michael Ashcroft has duly received a peerage. All of them were fortunate that the Labour Party travelled the same road by chasing big donors with the same result. The failure of the Party Board of which Lord Ashcroft was a member, was to continue the culture of deference within the Conservative Party when the people demanded democracy. Unless this culture is changed the self perpetuating oligarchy that at present controls the Party will end up controlling nobody but themselves.
JOHN E. STRAFFORD
In this era of Globalisation, Global power is exercised without Global accountability.
50% of legislation in the United Kingdom now originates isn Brussels. Yet because of the the closed Party list system the people of the United Kingdom are denied the opportunity to choose their representatives in the European Parliament.
The United States, a world super power, exercises on a global basis military power, economic power, e.g. tariffs on steel, it ignores the world on pollution and the environment.
Many International Corporations, often based in tax havens, only remotely accountable to shareholders, have a greater income than many nations.
Is it any wonder that people, young people in particular, who are passionately interested in these issues, say to themselves and to each other
The challenge that we face today is that we have to demonstrate that the politicians are effective and are relevant."Why should we vote in a general election for politicians at Westminster when at best they are ineffective and at worst irrelevant."
We must build and create International Institutions that are accountable to the people’s of the world.
If we fail to meet that challenge I fear for the future and
I fear for democracy.Let the Conservative Party show the way and begin the process to meet that challenge and begin that process today.
CONSERVATIVE, ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE
Patron: John Wilkinson MP
Ms Laura Beaumont, 28th January 02
Lord Chancellor’s Department,
House of Lords Reform Team,
Room 815-816, Millbank Tower,
London SW1P 4QP.
Dear Ms Beaumont,
On 19th January 2002 the Campaign for Conservative Democracy held a meeting (attendance 43) to consider House of Lords Reform. We came to the following conclusions which we would like to submit to you for consideration as part of your consultation process.
Two thirds of the members of the House of Lords should be elected. 10% of the Lords should be hereditary Peers elected by all the hereditary Peers. The balance, i.e. 23.3% should be appointed.
The elections to the Lords should be for fixed terms of seven years, so should be held independently of General, European, devolved or regional bodies.
Terms of appointment should also be for a fixed term of seven years.
Statutory expulsion from the House should arise for
(a) criminal convictions leading to a prison sentence;
(b) change of party – a by election should be held;
(c) non-attendance or participation for a period of six months.
There should be no change from the expenses based system of remuneration.
We also felt very strongly that for elected members of the House of Lords the "closed Party list" system of election should not be used.
I hope this is helpful to your deliberations.
(JOHN E. STRAFFORD)
CAMPAIGN FOR CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRACY
Chairman: John E. Strafford FCA Vice Chairman: Cllr . Trevor Egleton Hon. Treasurer: Anne Egleton FCA
Hon. Secretary: Caroline Strafford Membership Secretary: Molly Andoe
FROM THE GRASSROOTS
BY A CONSERVATIVEI write on Remembrance Sunday, November 11, when the events of September 11 are still very much in our thoughts. I have an interest to declare – I am unashamedly pro American and always have been. My father, who will be 89 next month, was a prisoner of war in Japan from April 1942 to August 1945. Had not the Americans dropped the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the war would have in all probability lasted a further 18 months, so fanatical and determined were the Japanese military leaders at that time. Any mainland assault on Japan would have taken months and months, resulting in thousands more deaths and civilian casualties. My father would, in all likelihood, have been among the victims. So as far as I am concerned, the dropping of the bombs was an unavoidable necessity.
Critics often say that the United States only entered the war to protect her own interests but it should never be forgotten that the United Kingdom and her then Empire was only able to carry on the fight for a whole year from June 1940, after the fall of France, until June 1941 by means of the ‘lease lend’ programme instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt. These same critics conveniently forget that until June 1941, when Soviet Russia was attacked by Germany, these two countries were allies who had carved up Poland between them. The United Stated has many faults and failings – extremes of wealth (California State alone is the sixth wealthiest in the world) coupled with appalling poverty in places like Inner Chicago and Brooklyn in New York. Yet such diversity is in many ways its strengths. English is the common tongue but the U.S. has been a refuge for many other races who sought asylum and a better life. Its motto "In God we trust" and its flag "Old Glory" express a faith and a pride which many, sadly, do not seem to share. My view is that, all things considered, the United States is a reliable ally in times of crisis. After 1945, America virtually rebuilt Japan and also provided massive investment in Europe, particularly to the then West Germany. I do sometimes despair at the blatant anti Americanism shown by some sections of the media. And the "wishy washiness" expressed by some world leaders (and I do not include Tony Blair) when asked to support specific measures to counter acts of terrorism sticks in my gullet. I cannot imagine how I would have felt had I been a passenger on one of the hi-jacked aeroplanes on September 11, knowing I was going to die and making frantic final farewells in ‘phone messages to my parents. It is too awful to contemplate. As far as I’m concerned Osama bin Laden is a mentally deranged psychopath who cares nothing for human life and the sooner he and the Taliban are removed the better it will be for the peace and freedom of the world and of mankind. (And on November 22 this seems likely to be imminent).
The atrocities in New York and in Washington combined with the war in Afghanistan has meant that domestic politics have taken a back seat and little attention has been paid to the plight of our Party. The Conference in Blackpool was shortened and the wounds caused by the leadership contest have been bound up. Whether they will eventually heal is another matter. Iain Duncan Smith with his military background has been fortunate in having been given an opportunity to speak with confidence on a subject he knows well and his strong support for the Government will do him no harm with those such as myself who have been critical of him. Maybe we have made the right choice after all. Time will tell but a complete break with the past is advisable. The major problem I think William Hague had was that he surrounded himself with amateurs as advisers many of whom had no firm roots within the Party and who told him just what he wanted to hear. And the ’base-ball cap’ image did him no good.
Although there have been hiccoughs the war has shown how comfortable Government ministers have settled into their new roles. Jack Straw, as Foreign Secretary, and David Blunkett at the Home Office, have spoken with conviction and authority and both give the impression they will be there for years to come. You also have to admire Tony Blair for his stamina and patient negotiation. It is true that lately he has looked haggard and tired and someone who could do with a good sleep. Yet he cuts an impressive figure as he moves from talks with one leader to another. Because he is so preoccupied he can ignore the mounting problems at home.
The ephemeral nature of new Labour and its shallowness are evident in certain Cabinet appointments. Ex Communists such as John Reid, the Northern Ireland Secretary, and ex Trotskyists such as Stephen Byers (Transport) and Alan Milburn (Health) are easily integrated into Tony Blair’s big tent as are ex Conservatives such as Shaun Woodward (is he living in St. Helens now?) and Lord Temple Morris, neither of whom held ministerial office. At last, Milburn is moving in the right direction and realises that radical surgery is needed in the NHS is to survive. Extra funding, however welcome, is simply not going to do the trick. Here in Wales, waiting lists have risen substantially since 1997. I think also it depends on where you live. I had an outpatient appointment at my local hospital today and was seen within half an hour of my scheduled appointment. The staff were very friendly and the place was very clean. I read on the one hand that there is a shortage of GPs and this has now reached crisis proportions. On the other hand, the Health minister, John Hutton, says that more GPs than ever before are working in the Health Service. So who is right? And even now, 11 years after she left Downing Street, and three administrations later, Margaret Thatcher is still blamed for many of the present ills.
What I find sad is that many people never seem satisfied with what they are earning and all seem to think they are undervalued by society. The medical profession and the teaching profession are but two examples. In my youth both were looked upon as vocations but in recent times they have become a ‘drudge’ with endless pen pushing and paperwork. Conservative governments over the last 20 years must take their fair share of the blame. As one who has been in the past critical of the comprehensive system of education it is good to read that the Coopers’ Company and Coburn School in Havering is doing so well academically. It seems that the headmistress has adopted traditional methods of teaching which have paid dividends in terms of results. What is also pleasing is that it is in an area where the Conservatives regained two Parliamentary seats last June with ‘swings’ if repeated all over the country would have given us at least another hundred seats. Two people who have made the headlines in recent weeks are Stephen Byers and his handling of the Railtrack fiasco and his assistant Joanne Moore. Both are the products of new Labour but are symptoms of it and not the cause. For new Labour, presentation is everything, and when news has been bad it has been somehow camouflaged. For me the obscene thing was not so much what Joanne Moore said in her memo – insensitive though that was – but that she is paid £51,000 a year for a three day week, equivalent to £85,000 full time. Moore was given a slap on the wrist from Byers but still continues to advise him, refusing to face questions direct from the media but instead issuing a prepared statement of apology. Our ineptness showed when we staged a debate in the House of Commons on the subject Surely there are much more important things to be debating?
I see that the Government has produced its long awaited plan for the second stage of the reform of the House of Lords. As usual it has satisfied hardly anyone and has critics from all sides of the political divide. As I understand it, most of its members will still be appointed and the Prime Minister will still have powers akin to a Tudor monarch. I find it distressing that all the old is being thrown away confirming Henry Ford’s immortal phrase "History is bunk". The system has evolved over the centuries, power passing from the Monarch first to the House of Lords and then to the House of Commons. These proposals in my view will not make Parliament any more relevant. We have a Prime Minister who acts like a President and spends little time in the House of Commons. Pressure and focus groups appeal direct to the media and the traditional role of MPs is by-passed. The Conservative Party, if it is anything at all, ought to be a party of tradition. Why cannot we produce proposals for reform which retain still some links with the past? Great families like the Cecils, the Fitzalan Howards and the Cavendishes still have a lot to contribute. Why will no one stand up and say: " We believe in a hereditary principle – appoint by God." There is no reason at all why we cannot retain say 50 hereditary peers – those of the oldest creations. The general public could elect the rest, say 400 or so, on a list system using the boundaries of the European constituencies. And let the electors, not the parties, place the candidates in order of preference. Into the Act could be written the proviso that any delaying power of the second chamber should be limited to say three months and that the party in the lower House which had won the election and formed a government with specific manifesto commitments should be allowed to get is business through with minimum delay. We need to restore confidence in the parliamentary process. It is this, not gimmicks such as voting on the Internet or in the supermarket, which will increase turnout at elections. The problems of Northern Ireland have not gone away. There may well be a truce in that the official IRA destroying some of its weapons and have started to decommission but this is not going to prevent the real IRA, the continuing IRA or the 32 Counties group from continuing the armed struggle. They may be small in number but can still reek havoc. Despite its protestations, the Blair government is more nationalist that unionist. The renaming of the Royal Ulster Constabulary as the Police Force of Northern Ireland was unlikely to be welcomed by the Unionists and the once monolithic Unionist party has been split asunder. I know little about the politics of Northern Ireland but the ploy to get David Trimble re-elected as First Minister by designating three non sectarian Alliance members as Unionist for a week was a demeaning spectacle, however well intentioned. A large section of the Unionist community has been totally alienated by what they see as a ‘sell-out’ and a pandering to former terrorists who now hold ministerial office. In the Humpty Dumpty Alice in Wonderland world of Northern Ireland politics, the peace agreement means different things to the various political parties. It is a problem to which no satisfactory solution has been found. But within 25 years the Protestants and Roman Catholics will be almost even in numbers and a united Ireland will then be a distinct possibility even though this may be anathema to many in the north of the province.
The recent death of Lord Hailsham at the age of 94 removes one more of the few Edwardians still left in politics following the demise three months ago of the Earl of Longford. Lord Shawcross, now in his 100th year, must now be one of a handful of survivors from the Attlee government Of 1945 to 1951. Hailsham’s death marks the end of an era and surely proves that to be a success in politics you do not have to have the top job. It would probably be true to say that Hailsham failed to succeed Harold Macmillan in October 1963 due to his unpredictability. I well remember seeing him being interviewed by the late Robert Mackenzie at the time of the Profumo affair, losing his temper at what he regarded as impertinent questioning. Yet from 1960, Hailsham was a distinguished Lord Chancellor in both the Heath and Thatcher administrations. A distinguished scholar at Eton who got a double first at Oxford, a QC, a Privy Councillor, Companion of Honour and latterly a Knight of the Garter, what more could he have wanted? Regarded by many as a clown – the ringing of the bell at one of the Party Conferences in the late 1950’s or being photographed in swimming trunks on Blackpool beach, Hailsham was certainly a character and his death reminds us of a time when ‘spin doctors’ on ridiculously high salaries were unheard of and politics could be fun. We should also reflect that Hailsham was active in the Party when we had a massive broad appeal to all sections of society, had over 500 full time agents in the constituencies and a thriving Young Conservative section which, as well as acting as a marriage bureau, got out the vote at election time. Would that that were our present situation!
The most difficult task facing us is surely this: "How can a party of the right, tainted by its last years in office due a small majority, sleaze and sheer exhaustion, regain the confidence of a large section of the electorate whose support it has lost but who are its natural allies, when our main opponents are appealing to that very same group by appearing to be on its side?
It is not going to be easy but it is a theme to which I shall return in future articles.
What the Labour and Conservative Parties want is that the taxpayer should pay several million pounds to the small self-perpetuating oligarchies that control these Parties in order that they can maintain their control.
Both Parties are fundamentally undemocratic. Each operates the discredited Electoral College system where a member’s vote has less value than an MP’s vote. Each has an unelected unaccountable Chairman.
Unless the political Parties are made democratic and accountable to their members state funding will merely change the public perception to one of corruption by the State.
At present the Conservative Party receives £3,000,000 per annum from the State for "research" and policy development. Where does "research" begin and political propaganda end? In any case, money that would have been spent on "research" without State funding can now be spent on political propaganda.
In a previous letter (January 6, 2001) I said that in order for State funding to enhance democracy "the State should pay a per capita amount to each political Party dependent on the number of audited members of the Party and subject to the Parties having democratic constitutions." This still applies and not a penny of State money should be paid until this condition is met.
JOHN E. STRAFFORD
CAMPAIGN FOR CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRACY
The Cost of being a Conservative
We understand that the registration fee for the Party Conference is going to be £50.00 this year. Do they not want ordinary members to go? Soon the entire audience will consist of the media(and they are getting bored) and exhibition stand employees(and they are getting fewer). When will the Party understand that the way to have a successful Conference is to treat politics seriously. Let the members debate issues. Let them participate in policy development. Until the culture of the Party changes we can only look forward to continual decline. Sad really.
The Peace process?There have been over 100 terrorist murders in Northern Ireland since the Belfast Agreement. We have not seen a single conviction or even trial. How much longer can this appeasement continue.?
Conservative Policy Renewal ProgrammePay £500.00 and you can participate in the Conservative Policy Renewal Programme and meet a Shadow Cabinet Minister. Pay £100.00 and you can get a Sterling Silver Pin. Pay £25.00 and you get a quarterly Renewal Consultation Document. Are these the prices we now pay to involve the membership in the Policy Forum?. Contrast this with New Labour who are advertising for new Regional Directors. Their remit is to "help establish a culture that enable new members to participate fully in the policy making process of the Party." They are learning. Why aren't we.?
Party Funding by the License Payer?
The BBC is sponsoring a drinks reception at the Conservative Party Spring Forum next weekend. Does this mean that they are sponsoring drinks for the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the British National Party?. Where do they draw the line? What would the license payer think of this? Would the BBC like to sponsor a reception by COPOV? I think we should be told. It is not the function of the BBC to give favours to particular political parties. This is a dangerous precedent.
The Spring Forum
The brochure is out for the Spring Forum. It was later than ever and printed in a sick making green colour. On opening it you can see why the colour was chosen. This is the most boring Conference ever in the history of the Conservative Party. There are no debates and other than the International session nobody can speak from the floor for more than one minute. In the International session you have two minutes. In a participartive inclusive conference for the voluntary party it should have been that the platform speakers were given two minutes and the members of the party allowed up to twenty. The platform speakers would then know that in one minute all you get is froth and no substance. Further dumbing down of politics.
On Sunday morning Trish Morris, Shailesh Vara and Kay Coleman have been given forty minutes to spout off about parliamentary candidates, young voters and business. Why? All three are appointed, unelected and unaccountable. They represent nobody but themselves. Thank goodness that Iain Duncan Smith has said that he will change this whole rotten set up before the next Party Conference.
Is it true that Lord Ashcroft is the representative of Conservative Future on the National Convention? Is it true that Lord Ashcroft is financing Conservative Future? We thought that there was an age limit on the members of Conservative Future, but enquiry about the Constitution of this body brought a blank. Is there a Constitution? Does it produce Accounts? Are they audited? I think we should be told. Can anybody throw any light on what is happening?
Election for Vice President
The election for Vice President of the National Convention is hotting up. It has slowly dawned on representatives that if Richard Stephenson is re-elected he is one step closer to becoming President under this dead men shoes basis of election. It has even been suggested that senior party officers would like him to withdraw from the contest altogether. We shall see. One solution, of course would be to scrap this dumbed down ineffective body which is too big to be an executive body and too small to be representative. The quicker it is replaced the better.
Understandingly the Conservative Party has been concentrating on "Public Services" and "Europe" has been ignored, but there is now a Convention looking at a European Constitution and as John Humphrys points out in his article the constitutional effects of adopting the "Euro" have not yet been debated. Like it or not the Conservative Party is soon going to start debating about the future of Europe.
Are the Ulster Unionists to be invited to join the Conservative Party? It looks as though it is going that way. After all, they are likely to be wiped out at the next election.
Conservative Group for Europe
In December the Conservative Group for Europe held a Special General Meeting at which its Constitution was altered to allow any person who, although not a member of the Conservative Party shall be eligible to be an Associate member. We are told Michael Ancram pushed for this. Is it one more indication that we are following the American route where Parties do not have members but just supporters.? Very nice for those running them, there is no accountability. You did not have to be a member of the Conservative Party to be a member of Conservative Network. It seems to have disappeared without trace.
Conservative Policy Forum
So, The Chairman of the Conservative Party has appointed himself as Chairman of the Conservative Policy Forum. So much for democracy! Still, at least for the first time in twelve months the old members of the CPC have received a communication from the Chairman. At least they might have done! The problem as we pointed out some two years ago is that the mailing list database of the Policy Forum is corrupted so that the wrong post code is given to each address. The problem is that those that knew this are no longer at Conservative Central Office so they cannot be fired, but now that the present lot know let us hope that the next letter has the right address with the right post code. After all, if you cannot communicate with your members what hope is there of communicating with the electorate. Of course, an elected Chairman would not have allowed this to happen, he or she would not want their voters upset!
House of Lords reform (1)
Only two countries in the world have a mainly appointed second chamber. They are Malaysia and Swaziland. Will the United Kingdom join them?
House of Lords reform (2)
With the exception of the hereditaries the present House of Lords are all appointed. We are told that appointing members will ensure that we do not get stale old politicians. Surprising then that 40% of the house of Lords are former members of the House of Commons, 12% are lawyers, 12% are civil servants. Doesn't leave much room for the rest of us!
Election of the Leader of the Conservative MEPs
Little publicity has been given to the election by the MEPs of a new Leader in December 2001. The vote was tied between the incumbent Edward Macmillan Scott and the challenger Jonathan Evans, so the vote was taken again. One MEP changed his mind and Jonathan Evans came out the victor. The question that should be raised is "Why the electorate for this important position should be left to the MEPs?". Why isn't the position elected by the membership of the Conservative Party on a One member One Vote basis?
Our congratulations go to Jonathan Evans. We wish him well. Commiserations to Edward Macmillan Scott. We shall miss him, he was a good supporter of democracy in the Conservative Party.