Home Affairs

Our government does so many things, and yet manages not to do the things that matter, or does them really badly.

Person, property and nation

Protection of person, property and nation is the first duty of government, and should be a large part of what it does (or to put it a better way, everything else should be a much smaller part of what it does). In practice, law and order and defence get only a small share of the total government budget, and that money is often wasted through inefficiency, bureaucracy, and error.

The importance of deterrence

The coercive powers of the state should be used sparingly. The best way to achieve that is to ensure that the powers and sanctions available are strong and credible enough to deter law-breaking. Rehabilitation may be good practice, but it is not the main purpose of the law - punishment and deterrence are.

Hard and sharp, not broad and soft

It is important to ensure that those powers are applied narrowly to direct, material harm or threat to person, property or nation, and not to a wider range of activities that might in some circumstances cause harm or offence (but might not). Over-reach of authority spreads our enforcement resources too thinly, and threatens the public consent and cooperation that is essential to effective and legitimate policing.

A rare case where spending really is investment

We may need to spend more in the short-term to provide stronger and more credible powers and sanctions. But as law & order and defence take such small parts of the government budget (less than 10% between them), it would not require substantial cuts elsewhere to pay for substantial increases in these departments. A 3% cut in welfare spending would pay for a 10% increase in both the law & order budget and the defence budget. And in the medium-term, the greater prosperity that results when people can go about their business free from fears of assault and appropriation should repay the earlier investment, whilst the ongoing cost falls as criminality falls.

The soft bigotry of paternalism

Social harmony depends on prosperity and security. Poverty and social division do not breed criminality. Criminality creates poverty and social division. They may feed on each other, but we have to deal with the criminality (and other disincentives) so people can start to improve their own lot, not throw money at poverty in the vain hope that it won't simply fund more criminality or indolence in an environment where we have failed to tackle the impediments to self-help. We have to stop the vicious circle, and start a virtuous circle.

Some suggestions

We propose a range of measures to protect decent people from the depradations of a vicious minority. We would:

  • Fund more holding-cells at police stations and places in prisons.
  • Reduce bureaucracy, so policemen spend more time on the beat.
  • Require more individual (i.e. not paired) foot-patrols.
  • Place greater emphasis on prevention and detection and less on simply recording crime.
  • Institute short-sharp-shock prisons and sentences for early offenders of less serious crimes.
  • Ensure that immigrants earn their citizenship and entitlement to Basic Income by paying tax (£15,000 of Income Tax?).
  • Scrap any plans for ID cards.

Doing it our way

The EU and other supranational bodies are sometimes used as an excuse for ineffective legislation and operation. This may sometimes be an attempt to shift the blame for incompetence. But where the international restriction is real, we would put the security of our citizens ahead of the political and bureaucratic considerations. We would tell the relevant body that we intended to ignore the restriction and ask them to remove it to respect our national sovereignty, or we would withdraw from the organisation. Other countries want to protect their citizens too, and the EU (at least) needs the UK more than our politicians seem to realise (and more than the UK needs the EU). Our negotiating position is not as weak, and we may not be as isolated, as is often assumed. For economic and political reasons, it is better to find out than simply to assume the worst, but the demand must be backed by a credible intention to pull out if not satisfied.