“If the Salt hath lost its Savour…..

….wherewith shall it be salted?”  Forgive me for starting off with a quote from the Good Book.  Please just regard it as paying respect to the 400th Anniversary of the King James Version.  But for those less than comfortable with the cadences of the seventeenth century, let me offer you a paraphrase in a modern context.  If the Conservative Party has ceased to be conservative, what exactly is the point of it?
As the months go by, I’ve become increasingly concerned about aspects of Coalition policy, and making every allowance for the exigencies of coalition, I’m getting more concerned by the day.  It’s not just one or two policies.  It’s a broad range.  I know there’s some good stuff.  Sorting the fiscal problem.  Iain Duncan Smith on Welfare.  Michael Gove on Education.  But think of the bad stuff.
Ken Clarke’s justice policies.  Our decision to decimate the armed forces while they’re still fighting and dying in Afghanistan (and I exonerate Liam Fox — I expect he feels just as badly about it as I do).
I have written extensively on Europe, so I won’t repeat it all.  But the fact remains that we’re handing new powers to Brussels faster than Labour did before us.  We’ve failed to make a stand at any point.  And now we have the effrontery to bring forward this “Sovereignty Bill”, which is no more than pathetic window dressing.   We whipped Conservative MPs to oppose an amendment that did no more than reassert the sovereignty of parliament.  What were we thinking of?  We’re not fit to call ourselves Conservatives.
We have become obsessed by the modish nonsense of climate change, yet our policies, even in their own terms, will have a trivial impact on climate.  But they will do huge damage to our economy.  They will drive a million families into fuel poverty.  They threaten our energy security.  And they will drive energy-intensive industries, and investment, and jobs, out of the UK altogether — and into remote jurisdictions with lower environmental standards.  These are the very manufacturing industries that Cameron and Osborne are relying on to “rebalance the economy”.
But my biggest concern right now is tax.  There is the public backlash which will result from our pig-headed determination to implement the fuel duty escalator, but that may be the least of our problems.  We are driving up taxes on high earners to the point where the damage to the City of London is real and immediate, not merely speculative and probable.
Today’s press carried an analysis of the early impact of the “Non-Dom Tax”, a £30,000 levy, which was simply a populist measure to “share the pain”.  Since its introduction, the number of non-doms in the UK has fallen by 16,000, or 11%.  The levy is estimated to bring in £350 million in 2009/10.  But the Treasury estimates that non-doms as a category pay a total of £7 billion a year in income and other taxes in the UK.  If we’ve lost 11%, that’s £770 million — more than double the revenue.  And that’s without counting the businesses and the skills we’ve forced into exile.
This is perfect example of a general point that I make ad nauseam: raising tax rates won’t deliver a proportionate rise in revenues, and may actually reduce them.
Then there’s Labour’s 50% income tax band, which we have failed to cancel.  It is already driving high earners, and high-earning businesses, out of London, to the benefit of Switzerland and Frankfurt.  Add to that the Coalition’s crass bank-bashing, and it seems we have a death-wish for the City of London.
Let me quote Jeremy Warner (in another Biblical reference): “We can cleanse the temple of the money-changers if we like, but it won’t get rid of the money-changing.  Some other jurisdiction will end up with the economic advantage instead”.
Like many Conservatives, I am in despair over the direction we are taking, and the self-inflicted damage we are doing.  Where do we go from here?  Is anyone in Downing Street listening?

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10 Responses to “If the Salt hath lost its Savour…..

  1. I suppose the fundamental question is this, Mr Helmer: given the above, and remembering that you don’t believe the EU can be “reformed from within”, what makes you think the Conservative Party can be?

  2. Heather Alibakir says:

    Every day that passes. every new watering down of what was promised, every pandering to the LD manifesto to the detriment of the country’s welfare and every new dictat from Brussels, drives another nail in the coffin of my faith in the Conservative party and in my belief in David Cameron. I would not be in his place for anything, but he has made his point about the need for austerity and for the most part, the thinking public accepts that. What the Conservative supporters cannot accept is the over-indulgence towards Clegg and his crew and the surprising amount of toadying to the EU, both of which are detrimental to our welfare and our pockets.

    Those of us who hated the idea of the euro were indeed right and now we fervently wish to divest ourselves of the EU dictators before we are proved right again and the whole “mess of potage” which is the European organisation explodes out of its pressure cooker and ruins us.

    I shall canvas and vote Conservative at local elections for I feel that the excess spending will recommence otherwise and I just hope that councillors will not take too much notice of Central Office.However, it may be a case of tossing a coin at the next General Election unless the Conservative leadership gets back on track.

  3. An excellent post, followed by a brilliant reply from Heather. The Biblical references in Roger’s post, reminded me of another institution which seems to be collapsing from within. It is the Church Of England, to which I refer. A liberal agenda has gradually been weakening this institution too, as a growing number of liberals seek to damage the church from within – and ignore or pay lip-service to some core Biblical teachings.

  4. Mike Spilligan says:

    A couple of months ago I wrote (in brief) to my MP about these same principles – or lack of. I highlighted two or three particularly flagrant examples, but the responses I received were clearly straight out of the CCO handbook on how to deal with uppity constituents – patronizing platitudes. I wished I had joined the Party (which I nearly did a year ago) as I would then have had the pleasure of resigning. (As an aside, I do wonder whether local Party chairmen and committees are permitted to have any serious input at national level.)
    No thought seems to have been given to any “Plan B” and certainly not to “Plan C” which would cover a surprise GE. That could occur, emanating from something totally unforeseen and from an unexpected direction, but no one can say (and believe it) that the Coalition is strong – and there are many unsettling events happening, both here and abroad.

  5. Peter Hulme Cross says:

    The Conservative Party has been hijacked by a group of people intent on ‘modernising’ it and making it more ‘electable’ by making it more ‘liberal’ – with a small ‘l’- led by David Cameron. This policy did not win the last election because Cameron fought every constituency, even core ‘Conservative’ ones, as though they were a marginal.

    When he didn’t get a clear majority, which he should have against a tired and discredited Labour Party and its unpopular leader, thus losing the election for the Conservatives, Cameron did the only thing possible – forge a Coalition with the Lib Dems. He is therefore in a very weak position. He has to keep the Lib Dems ‘on board’ even if that means watering down Conservative policies and adopting Lib Dem ones. This is what we are seeing.

    If the unwanted referendum on the Alternative Vote produces a ‘No’ vote – which I hope it does – will the Lib Dems stay in the Coalition?? What inducements will Quisling Cameron offer them??

    I really don’t see much future for the Conservative Party until Cameron and his clique are replaced.

  6. Malcolm Edward says:

    I strongly agree with all of Roger Helmer’s post, and its good that Roger is one of those small number of MPs and MEPs who stands up for common sense and is robust enough to say what needs saying.

    What I also find worrying is that Cameron and his front bench can command a majority in the HoC to do the wrong thing on so many occasions; such as agreeing to all the EU financial measures which will undermine our country’s ability to generate wealth while at the same time paying more to the EU and propping-up the euro.

  7. Derek says:

    Reading your critical analysis made very sad reading, as it highlighted all the negative side of being in coalition. I supported it as the alternative at the time seemed so much worse – a lab/Lib Dem coalition. What the country needs of course is a strong traditional Conservative government – but how to bring it about?

  8. Thankyou Roger, for confirming my own concerns about the current state of the Church Of England -in your reply from earlier. Indeed, the recent decision of some to join Catholocism instead, clearly demonstrates that more clergy are also losing confidence in their own institution. And ultimately, vain efforts of the Church Of England to be “populist” or “modern” – have simply proved unpopular with many true Christians.

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