All this talk of fairness

Not that long ago I wrote that it was very dangerous to invoke the word fairness when talking about tax or indeed many a political debate. The reason is that what is fair for one person seems really unfair for another.

 I am now getting slightly weary about the debate about whether the changes (which let’s not forget need to be made) or fair or not.

 Is it fair that next door there is the exact same house as what I reside in yet because they have 3 kids they get much more bang for their council tax buck? Is it fair that they have had child benefit for years when we have currently chosen not to have kids even though they clearly don’t need the money?

Is it fair that my wife and I both chose to get off our back sides and in an effort to get good jobs decide to commute around 250 miles a day? Is it fair that by doing this the £8,000 cost each will rise 3% plus RPI?

Is it fair that to get that better job I took myself out of the jobs market by studying after leaving school rather than taking a job?

Is it fair that people of my Nanas age who have saved rather than spent would have had their house taken off them to pay for long term care, yet those who have been less frugal would get looked after?

Is it fair that my wife’s grandmother is surrounded by families in her housing association maisonette who have never gone out to work, yet look fitter than she has been for many years, and seemingly have a better standard of living to someone who has paid into the system all her life?

Fairness is not always about ability to pay. Fairness is not all about equality of outcome. I could easily have put myself in a position where I could not afford certain things.  I could spend all my money, never have saved, never have gone without, and then expect the state to look after me, but do you know why I haven’t done that. Well it just doesn’t seem fair!

What do you think? Let us know in the comments as we will discuss this issue in The Seven Days Show on Sunday.

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Prime Minister's Questions podcast

[podcast]http://toryradio.podbus.com/pmqs201010.mp3[/podcast]

With the spotlight focusing on the Spending Review you could be forgiven for thinking PMQs hadn’t take place today. Did David Cameron win the day or was Ed Miliband on form during his second outing?

Click the play button above to find out.

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Opposition responds to the CSR

[podcast]http://toryradio.podbus.com/oppositionresponsetocsr.mp3[/podcast]

To listen to how the opposition responded to the Comprehensive Spending review click the play button above.

Podcast of Chancellors Statement from the CSR

[podcast]http://toryradio.podbus.com/comprehensivespendingreview.mp3[/podcast]

If you didn’t get chance to listen to the Chancellor deliver the Comprehenive Spending Review you can listen again by clicking the play button above.

Comprehensive Spending Review – what the left were exepecting

CSR – Possibly what those on the left were expecting.

Strategic Defence and Security Review – full statement podcast

[podcast]http://toryradio.podbus.com/sdsr.mp3[/podcast]

To listen to the Prime Minister give his full statement on the Strategic Defence and Security Review along with the response given by the leader of the opposition click the play button above.

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Patrick Mercer MP prior to the Strategic Defence Review

[podcast]http://toryradio.podbus.com/mercerondefencereview.mp3[/podcast]

Former Colonel and previous holder of the Shadow Minister for Homeland Security position, Patrick Mercer MP spoke to Tory Radio just prior to the Strategic Defence Review to give his thoughts as to what would be included.

To listen to his thoughts click the play button above. He explains he does thing the Defence department has been hit hard compared to other departments, discusses Harriers and Aircraft Carriers, and what message defence cuts send out to people in places like the Falklands and Northern Ireland.

He stresses the need to be more flexible more resilient and responsive, and for the need to prepare for the insurgencies, counter terrorism and the infractions of our liberties that the 21st century is already imposing on us.

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Perplexed by defence decision

What I understand about defence isn’t worth knowing. But from what I’ve heard is the big aircraft carrier we currently have (Ark Royal) will be removed. We are getting rid of harrier jump jets. We are getting 2 new aircraft carriers…. BUT for a decade we will not have an aircraft carrier that a plane can land or take off on. All we will have is one for helicopters.

So what do we do with the new carriers in the meantime? Some suggest we can have NATO planes on them? Maybe.But it strikes me as bizarre to be left in this sort of position. And all of this is after a suggested ‘victory’ for Liam Fox. So just how bad could it have been?

I for one wouldn’t sleep well if I was a resident on the Falkland Islands (and it won’t be a cyber attack they are worrying about). Hopefully we will get some explanation as to why we are going to be left in the position we are in. At the moment I just feel very very perplexed.

Downgrading of Parliamentary Questions?

In a previous life I have helped draft Parliamentary Questions for MPs but also had the joy of drafting the answers to any questions asked about the Royal Mail, to give to the DTI for the Minister to respond. I think it gives me a little insight into what is a good and bad question, and even when the old “The answer is only available at disproportionate cost” may be wheeled out in reply.

There are numerous instances of MPs using PQs tabled to all Government Departments to build up a case on a certain issue.

In recent times however there seems to be something of a worrying trend. Something which if I were an MP I would be particularly concerned about. PQs may receive a none answer because providing the answer is seen as cost prohibitive, yet the answer will be forthcoming if asked as a Freedom Of Information enquiry.

So a member of the public may be able to probe Government more effectively than a Member of Parliament as has been adequately highlighted here. Is it a case that PQs have been downgraded in importance or that public bodies see FOI requests as more important? Either way, if I were an MP I’d be asking serious questions (or maybe a FOI would be more effective) as to why answers to PQs don’t provide the same level of information as FOI requests.

Assisted Suicide – Cristina Odone and also Brandon Lewis MP exclusive podcasts

[podcast]http://toryradio.podbus.com/cristinaodone.mp3[/podcast]

Today the Centre for Policy Studies published a pamphlet entitled Assisted suicide: how the chattering classes have got it wrong authored by Cristina Odone which you can read here.

We took the opportunity to put the following questions to Cristina:-

  • Could you tell our listeners about your publication which has come out today?
  • Why do you suggest that some sort of elite will take advantage of any legislation brought about to allow assisted dying?
  • Do you think it fair that it is actually an elite who are currently the only ones who are allowed choice in this area?
  • What do you think of people who have pets put down for compassionate reasons and shouldn’t we give humans a similar option?
  • Is there any situation in which you could support an individual choosing to end their life at a time of their choice?
  • What advice would you give to Members of Parliament if they were minded to support legislation in the area of assisted dying?

Cristina has recorded an exclusive podcast which you can listen to by clicking here in which she sets out the arguments contained in the pamphlet.

We also took the opportunity to speak to Brandon Lewis MP for Great Yarmouth who addresses some of the points in the pamplet and expresses a keen desire to have a proper debate on this issue which you can listen to by clicking here.

[podcast]http://toryradio.podbus.com/brandonlewisonassisteddying.mp3[/podcast]

Is legislation to enable assisted suicide a good think, or do you think it will just lead to the vulnerable being taken advantage of? Alternatively do you believe that given we put animals ‘to sleep’ for compassionate reasons, the least we could do is offer the same choice to human beings?

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