Dr Alf asks about the proper trajectory for reform in the UK.
Given the past record since World War II, I think we need to consider why we are in decline, who has been responsible for the present “trajectory”, and whether the present institutions and systems are fit for purpose.
Given our size as a nation, our population, our poor levels of State education, the reduced levels of our armed forces, our stated ambitions, posturing and actions are those of a man with empty pockets standing outside a jewelers, trying to impress his fiancée and future in-laws, with the prospect of a diamond engagement ring, when all he can afford is a shabby suit with shiny elbows and a cubic zirconia ring.
We need to look at Singapore, Switzerland and possibly Germany, build ourselves a target operating model based on rapprochement, tax haven status and an Establishment that is there on merit rather than on an inherited basis.
We should stop trying to pretend that we are important, that we should be listened to, that we are a Great Power and concentrate on substance, exports, job creation, innovation and managing other people’s money.
Our coat needs to be cut according to our cloth and we need to increase the number of useful and productive citizens whilst reducing the number who are a problem and a burden and the costs of keeping them.
For that, we need strong law and order, no more immigration unless it is people with special skills, more personal responsibility, fewer and shorter holidays, greater productivity, no more meddling in the affairs of other countries where we have no business, and more straight talking to the public.
There should be no more overseas aid and there should be a relentless focus on those things which add value to the nation and increase prosperity for the bulk of the population and on getting rid of those institutions, practices, organisations and customs which detract from or destroy value.
Currently, we have too many of the latter and these need to be identified, rooted out and eliminated without sentiment, nostalgia or as much as a backwards glance.
This would require an objective test against which questions need to be asked and a “sunset law” applied with no keeping of anything just for the sake of tradition alone or some arcane view that says because”these things have stood us in good stead in the past they must be relevant now”.