In today's Telegraph, Daniel Hannan outlines the 10 steps involved in "The Plan" concocted by himself and Douglas Carswell MP to make Britain work as a state again. In essence I agree with the plan, but there are several issues that need to be addressed either before or while the plan is being implemented.
First of all, Hannan is a Conservative MEP and Carswell a Conservative MP. As such, they both belong to a party which supports Britain's membership of the very institution which is central to the problem in the first place - the EU. Their party leader is not going to listen to them so, right now, they are wasting their breath. The only two significant parties which advocate withdrawal from the EU are the BNP and UKIP - so unless Hannan and Carswell join either of those parties or start a new one of their own, then they are going nowhere with this.
Secondly, they need to decide what sort of party it is going to be. It will be conservative of course, but besides that, what else?
Hannan starts off his piece in the article by claiming that Britain is a failing state - an opinion I share - but the question is why is it failing and what needs to be done to restore it? The answer, in my opinion, is nationalism - not the ethnic nationalism of the BNP or the socialist nationalism of the SNP, but a proper conservative nationalism which was once the default position of all the main British political parties.
Both Hannan and Carswell are, as I understand it, libertarian - which is fine - but they have to understand that libertarianism can only exist withing a nationalist context. This is because the nation state is the largest "community" unit possible to support libertarian principles - and then with restrictions. Hannan effectively admits that in his piece without actually saying it, but there is no doubt that "The Plan" is nationalist in principle.
The ten points Hannan outlines are more or less exactly what is needed at a political level, but those steps are not achievable while Britain's institutions remain largely dominated by the progressive liberal establishment. Let's go through them one by one.
1. Cleaning up Westminster
Sure, makes sense - but as well as parliament you have to look at Whitehall too. The major problem today is the politicised civil service which is no longer non-aligned but is staffed by progressive liberals and supranationalists.
2. Parliament should be supreme
Completely and utterly agree. And that, in essence, is nationalism. The belief that the nation has the final say on anything relating to its people, economy, law or whatever. Nationalism is based on the simple principle that Parliament is supreme. It doesn't mean cutting yourself off from the outside world as some people seem to think, but it does mean preserving the right to act in the interest of the nation above all other considerations.
3. A return to law order and accountability
Again, I agree, but once more we have heavily politicised law and order institutions which will require root and branch reform - starting with the legal profession itself. This profession has benefited enormously from supranationalism and the deluge of legislation that pours from Brussels and the police is led almost entirely by progressive liberals. Adding local elected "sheriffs" - although an idea I agree with - will make no difference until those institutions are reformed.
4. Independent schools within the state sector
Again, I agree with the principle, but again I have to point out that the teaching profession is heavily politicised. Unless you change that first of all, any effort to reform the school sector is going to be met with a lot of very strong opposition from the teaching profession itself (but not from the parents).
5. Real localism
Once more it is an idea I support, but once more it is something that needs much more than just words. Local councils are no longer local bodies. They are the tendrils of the EU superstate which reach right into the heart of our communities. This is something which few people seem to understand. All local councils need complete reform and the only way to do this is by tearing apart the creations of the EU - the unitary authorities, regional quangos and the fake borders and restoring the pre-1974 county councils under entirely new constitutions. This is a seriously major task, but one which, in my opinion, would do more to restore local accountability than any other.
6. Putting patients in control
Sorry, but this is bollocks. Patients don't want control - they want treatment. They don't want a choice of where they are treated - they just want the best treatment, they want it locally and they want to get well quickly. When it comes to health care, what is needed is not the patients in control, but the local communities who should decide what health care services they need and how they are paid for.
7. Neighbourhood welfare
Hannan refers to social security here. Social security is, of course, part of social services. Heavily politicised? You bet!
8. The Great Repeal Bill
Yes! But Hannan only refers to 30 pieces of legislation. I guess there may be 30 major pieces of legislation, but fundamentally we need to repeal virtually every piece of legislation passed since we joined the EU - which will be nearer 30,000 than 30.
9. An independent Britain
Of course, but first of all you have to convince people that we are not a US puppet but actually controlled by Brussels. It might appear obvious, but you will be amazed just how many people really believe that the US has more say in what happens here than the EU.
10. Direct democracy
Goes back to my point about localism, but if you restore the supremacy of Parliament you will be starting the process of getting back to a Britain that is truly democratic. You don't have to turn us into a copy of the Swiss state to do that - just give us back what we had before the EU swallowed us up.
Hannan claims that all this can be achieved in 12 months - I don't think it will be achieved in 12 years. At least, not as long as Britain remains as Britain. I do believe that it can all be achieved in 3 or 4 years by an independent England, however and that is why I believe that England must become independent if we are ever going to start on the road to recovery.