The Lord Protector’s Government has been in office for 180 days and the pace of new announcements of reform is slowing as all arms of the State are fully occupied in implementing actions already started and in preparing for those passing through Parliament.
There have been significant protests from the usual suspects, but the prescription that up to 4th generation immigrants will be deported without appeal if convicted of a criminal offence has suppressed much dissent. There have been spasmodic instances of disorder, rioting and even terrorism, but they have amounted to little. There were attempts in certain wards of Bradford and East London to declare independent Islamic Republics, but the Lord Protector declared 22 hour daily curfews and sent in the military with orders to shoot on sight any curfew breakers. RAF armed and reconnaissance drones mount 24 hour surveillance of these areas and others, and have conducted missile strikes on buildings and vehicles under suspicion.
The UN tried to pass a motion of sanctions against HM Government, but this was defeated by the vetoes of the UK, USA and Russia, with China abstaining. Individual countries have adopted sanctions against the UK, but not sufficient to cause much damage to the economy, and many European governments are facing growing demands from their populaces to adopt similar policies to those of the UK.
Discussions with the EU have broken down, largely due to the chaos within the later with the government of Belgium having fallen, and those of the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden becoming increasingly weak. The Lord Protector is accordingly pushing a Bill through Parliament to repeal all legislation holding the UK within the EU in preparation for an immediate exit when required. Meanwhile trade agreements with Russia, the USA, Australia and New Zealand are Progressing.
Estimates indicate that 40,000 Muslims have departed the UK already, along with 30,000 other immigrants, and many more tens of thousands are selling up. 20,000 immigrants have been deported and the deportation effort in still in its early stages. Recent run rates suggest 20,000 voluntary and 8,000 forcible deportations are being achieved per month, and are forecast to accelerate further. Any immigrants that have torn up their passports or rescinded other nationalities in an attempt to evade deportation are being deported to Somalia via the breakaway Somaliland Republic in return for aid and recognition of their National Sovereignty from HM Government.
The programme of new reforms for days 181 to 365 of the Lord Protector’s administration comprises the following.
a. A comprehensive reform of local government with only two tiers to exist below national government: County or County Borough, and Town/Parish Council. All others to be abolished. Pre-1972 County boundaries to be restored. VAT to be replaced with the sales tax previously mentioned and set at County level, the intention being to make local government self-funding and accountable for every penny of expenditure and tax raising for such expenditure. Central government funds for local government to be for defined programmes only, not ongoing spending.
b. An articulation and codification of powers and responsibilities between the two tiers of government to be defined by law, on the principle of make everything local unless there are major problems in practice. Party whips to be abolished in local government and two tier County/County Borough councils to be implemented. The elected chamber to be elected every three years by all rate payers and to be responsible for setting budgets, taxes, planning policies, overseeing administration etc. A small Revising Senate to composed of some nominated dignitaries such as Lord Lieutenant, local MP’s and a panel of rate-payers selected annually by lottery.
c. The devolved assemblies to be abolished and the local government reforms to be applied to Ulster and Wales. Scotland promised a renewed independence referendum to be held a date two years post Brexit and, if defeated, the Scottish assembly will be abolished and Scotland included within the broader local government reforms.
d. Planning law to be over-hauled. Greenfield development to be prohibited and certain built up areas to be designated for demolition and restoration. Developers not to be able to appeal nor to submit another application on the same site for a further five years. Appeal rights to be granted to objecting individuals if permission is granted.
e. The announcement of moves to take private natural monopolies, such as local water utilities, Open Reach, power distribution companies etc into a new form of mutual ownership by customers along the lines of the Welsh Water utility company Hyder. This will be accomplished over two decades by means of issuing bonds and preference shares to buy these companies back progressively from current owners on a prioritised list. A review of whether this model could be adopted in part for the rail network also the be instituted; in the mean-time any expiring rail franchises to be allowed to lapse into public ownership.
f. Royal Mail and Post Office Counters to be mutualised as well, with a public service remit. Letter post to have its monopoly renewed. A new Post Office Savings bank owned by the Bank of England to be established and to offer a range of savings, current and debt accounts through all branches. Other government services to be routed though such branches and the branch network extended.
g. All secondary schools to become self-governing and funding academies within five years, and all parents to be given vouchers sufficient to buy a current state education for a child per year. Parents can top up and use this voucher to go private if they wish. Offsted to be abolished and replaced by the uniformed HM Inspectorate of Schools.
h. School leaving age to be reduced to 15 as long as a child has an accredited apprenticeship to go to, or 16 otherwise.
i. Drug policy to be reviewed. Illegal drug dealing and smuggling to be made a capital offence at certain thresholds. Mild forms of cannabis and certain other less medically damaging narcotics to be supplied by state appointed pharmacies only, and taxed, to those who wish to register. Tax proceeds to be used to upweight drug treatment and education programmes.
j. A Great Repeal Act, or rolling series of Repeal Acts, to be announced. A Royal Commission will review all excessive laws and prepare lists for annual repeal with a view to reducing the Statute Book by 40% over seven years.
There are many challenges to be faced by HM Government and the British people, but already the crime rate and cost of government are falling, business investment accelerating, and the majority of the populace, while rightly sceptical as to whether these changes will deliver the improvements promised, have a sense that the balance of radical and incremental changes makes sense, that the country is on the right path to becoming “their” country again, and that their children have a reasonable chance of a better future.
Next: the UK in Year 6.