Thursday 31 October 2013

Welfare and Traditional Conservatism

Welfare and Traditional Conservatism

Traditional Conservatives are not Liberals and that includes Right or Economic Liberals. We believe in Community, something they do not, but we share a concern for the economy. Too often Right Liberals have defined the broad Conservative response to Welfare and it has harmed us. They look at things from a strict economic point of view, which is important but it leaves out another important point, which is what happens to those at the bottom of society?

We understand that society, all societies, will be hierarchical and that there will be unfairness in wealth and opportunity. That has nothing to do with our desire but with reality, human nature and economic realities will decide this not anything else. That includes wishful thinking. So what should the position of Traditional Conservatives be towards welfare?

When I was growing up it was called Social Security and I think that is correct, it is a social security, but like everything it can be used properly and improperly. Today we see it being used improperly, it is something that  is not used to protect the most vulnerable but is instead used as a political bribe. Support my party and I'll give you free stuff. It leads to a culture of aimlessness and despair as those it said it would help, it instead traps.

Social Security or Welfare should be used to protect the most vulnerable people in our Community. It should help the Aged, the disabled and the unemployed for example. It should divide between those in permanent need and those in temporary need. Of course the Aged will not get young again so they would be permanent, as would a certain number of the disabled. The rest who are in need of temporary assistance should also be helped when they are in need but the Welfare system should not set out to trap them.

One of the ways people become trapped are by making the transition between Welfare and Work too sharp. It is better to reduce benefits over time, a few weeks say than to cut it off straight away. It seems like a saving to cut people off straight away but it is a massive disincentive as it punishes people for finding work. It costs money to start a new job and if they cannot be supported over that time it can seem all too hard. It must be remembered that in that transition period they have all of the disadvantages of being unemployed and all of the disadvantages of being employed, not until around the one month mark are they enjoying the benefits of employment.

Another trap is to discourage Work by giving too generous a benefit, of course people still need to live so it is a tough call. But if your getting a good wage for not working it sets a trap, it seems like a good deal, many not realising how badly it affects them until they are trapped.

It's all very well for some to say if they want money they can get a job, but that job has to exist first. Some say that the best way to motivate the unemployed is not to provide any support or only short term support. But it neglects a number of factors, the state of the economy, immigration, local conditions and wage laws. Just because you will work for less money doesn't mean it's legal or in anyones best interest.

What Welfare should not be is a political bribe, nor should it be something that everyone gets. If they need assistance yes, but not for everyday life. If your working and getting a decent wage you should not be getting handouts from the Government. Today many do exactly that, we call it Middle Class Welfare. Another group who should not get Welfare is Business, today Business gets many subsides. Those who earn a decent wage and those who should be creating a profit should not be financially supported by the Government. Welfare should be confined to those in need, if a Middle Class man is unemployed of course he should be supported, but not once he gets a job with a decent wage.

Of course cost is an important consideration, it is not just to simply give out money without accounting for it. The money spent must be accounted for and we must also be on guard against fraud. It is not simply about dishonesty or because it is criminal, it is both those things but it also stops real people in need from receiving assistance. Money is not infinite, it is finite and it must be used wisely to protect those in need. Right Liberals say we can save money by simply not providing any assistance but it is a false economy to cut Welfare as we all get to pay for it anyway in charity and in social disruption. How many beggars do you want to help each day or try and ignore? How many members of your family will you have to support unaided? How much of your possessions would disappear if crime was one of the few growth areas of the economy? And how much would it cost you to protect yourself from this? It is a great mistake to think that money is the only way of paying.

For those in temporary need we need to support them back into work. The best way is not to put artificial limits on what they can receive but to support employment policies that help Business create and keep jobs. It is here that we can make the biggest contribution to Welfare by helping people rise up out of it and by stopping people from falling down and needing assistance.

Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future

Saturday 26 October 2013

Socialism, Why we are not Socialists

Socialism, Why we are not Socialists

Socialism and Communism have much in common and in fact all of the economic problems of Communism also relate to Socialism. But Socialism is still different to Communism, because unlike Communism it can be active in political systems other than Communism. Famously the Nazis called themselves National Socialists and all current Democracies are also Socialist, only the degree varies.

The definition provided by Google of Socialism is good and succinct:

a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
leftism, Fabianism, syndicalism, consumer socialism, utopian socialismwelfarism

There are a number of features within Socialism that can appear attractive to Traditional Conservatives. Both believe in Community, that the Community is important because it supports all of us whilst many other political theories work against the Community. We both believe that work is important and that work should be supported. We both believe that there are no "excess" people, that having an underclass is a failure and that every effort should be made to create a future for these people. We also believe that those truly in need of our help and protection should receive it.

But our means of achieving these things are quite different. Socialism thinks of Community as an economic unit and Traditional Conservatives think of Community as an identity, as forming, in most cases, a shared past present and future. Socialism thinks of work as important to both the economic needs of the Community and the Individual. Traditional Conservatives agree but we would add the Family and the self worth of all to this.  

We also differ on who should own the economy and who it should benefit. 

Socialism believes that the Community should own the economy and normally that means that the Community is represented by the Government. Which now means that by default the Government controls the Community, whether it was planned that way or not. It also believes in the idea of Equality, which means that in theory people should receive the same rewards for work, in practice it has never worked.  

Traditional Conservatives believe that the Community should own the economy, but unlike Socialism, we believe in a Free Enterprise system whereby economic concerns are owned by members of the community. That the Community is self supporting in most regards and that it is not owned and operated by the Government. Government has a rightful place but that should be regulation and oversight, in stopping things from moving too far in any one direction. We do not believe in the idea of Equality, we believe that because people are different in skill and ability they should be rewarded differently. We further believe that those who take more risks, with their own money not with other peoples, should be rewarded when that works instead of being punished. 

We live today under a form of quasi-Socialism, in some cases not so quasi. The Government has great influence and power. It supports some Industries but not others, in Europe and the United States it gives subsidies to Farmers. Subsidies are a form of Socialism. Having the Community pay economic concerns instead of insisting that these concerns be self supporting. 

Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future  

Monday 21 October 2013

Creating Wealth

Creating Wealth

The creation of wealth is at the heart of all economies and all economic theories. For without wealth it is impossible to have an economy. Put simply wealth is surplus. If you create a surplus you are creating wealth.

So what is a surplus?

A surplus is an excess of goods, it is something that did not exist before that now does. For example, if you have an apple tree and it grows only enough apples for your own use no surplus has been created. But if that apple tree grows more apples than you need you have a surplus. That surplus, in theory at least, can be bartered or sold providing you with something you did not have before. A surplus has created wealth.

A surplus of a useless good is still useless, the surplus must be of something that is needed or wanted. To be real wealth it must be able to help something else produce a surplus.

Most of us do not create wealth, no matter how hard we work or how important we are or think we are. Wealth is created by creating a surplus not by hard work or clever thinking. Either or both of those may be required but it is not either of them that create's the wealth.

Only a few select things create a surplus:

Manufacturing &

Transport is the exception because by it's self it cannot create anything, but by moving goods from somewhere that it is common to somewhere it is uncommon it can create a surplus. All of the others create things that didn't exist before. Of course apples existed before but not these particular apples and that is whats important.

There are things that we are often told create wealth but which absolutely do not create wealth, they include but are not limited to:

Real Estate
Financial Services

While they all have there role to play in the economy non of them create any surplus. What they do is they move wealth from one place to another. That is important, it is how most of us live, by transferring wealth from our employer to our wallet to the shopkeeper. Your employer is happy, your happy, the shopkeeper is happy. But it is not creating wealth.

An entire economy can be built on retail and it can work but it is not creating wealth no matter how many times it is said or heard. What it is doing is transferring wealth.

Only when we understand how wealth is created can be build an economy that will create wealth, instead of living in a bubble economy.

Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future

Wednesday 16 October 2013

The Bi-Polar Party - The Liberal Party of Australia

The Bi-Polar Party - The Liberal Party of Australia

Since Australian Federation in 1901 there have been two political parties in Australia, the Australian Labor Party and the "Anti-Australian Labor Party". The Anti-Party has had various names but it's main objective has always been to fight and oppose the Australian Labor Party. To show you how bizarre this could be, in 1909 the two major Australian political parties merged or to use the term popular at the time "fused" to oppose the Australian Labor Party. They were the Protectionist Party that wanted tariffs and the Free Trade Party who wanted no tariffs. The entire reason for their creation was put aside to fight the common enemy.

Twice when in office the Australian Labor Party has split over policy, first during the First World War and then again in 1932. In both cases they formed the Government and the Prime Minister left and joined the "Anti-Labor Party" and gained their support to remain Prime Minister. Whats important isn't so much what you believe or what you do or have done, whats truly important is that you oppose the policies of the Australian Labor Party.

That means that there is no truly Conservative party in Australia but it also means that there is no real Liberal party either.

The current Liberal Party of Australia was formed in 1945 but is often said to have begun when the former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies gave a radio speech known as "The Forgotten People" in 1942. Whereby he said the forgotten people of Australia were the unorganised middle class and those of a thrifty nature who worked and saved for the future. He pointed out, quite accurately I believe, that the future of the nation is built upon the thrifty, for without them there is no savings or enterprise. The speech is very interesting for in it can be seen the twin ideas that unite Australian Conservatism and Right-Liberalism. It moves between the two without seeing any contradiction, of course there are contradictions and it is a tension that has always existed within the Liberal Party of Australia.

The speech can be read here and when i read it I thought how well an American politican would do if he rewrite it for a modern American audience.

In 1949 the Liberal Party of Australia won office and they stayed in office for 23 continuous years. They came close to losing office, retaining Government by one seat in one election. In 1972 they lost office by one seat, very close but's that the dividing line between Government and Opposition. From 1949-1966 the Prime Minister was Sir Robert Menzies, making him Australia's longest serving Prime Minister. In many ways the party has been very successful but it has always depended upon how Liberal and how Conservative they are.

In 1975 they won office in a landslide after a Constitutional crisis and a very bad and unpopular Labor Government. The new Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser was very Liberal and very unpopular. His Government lasted for 7 years and is a classic case of a disorganised Opposition allowing an unpopular Government to remain in office. In 1992 the Liberal Party returned the favour.

Paul Keating was Labor Prime Minister and a very unpopular man he was too, a rare political creature as he was both a Social Liberal and an Economic Liberal, normally the two are quite distinct. But he pushed multi-culturalism, mass immigration, republicanism and a rejection of much of traditional Australia but at the same time he pushed free trade and deregulation. His policies were a direct attack on the working class and they resented both him and his Government. But they didn't vote him out of office because the leader of the Liberal Party of Australia basically said, everything you hated about Labor I'll give you more of, vote for me!".

When the Liberal party is too Liberal the electorate don't like it. To prove this point, in 1996 John Howard became Prime Minister and he remained in office until 2007. He did many controversial things, but he remained popular because he used Liberalism as a weapon and once the battle was over he put the weapon away. He fought and defeated the powerful Maritime Workers Union, but didn't use that to attack other Unions. He banned many firearms after the Port Arthur massacre, but he made sure the Government paid the market value for the weapons. He lost office and much of his popularity because of a piece of Legislation that he considered his greatest gift to Australia, work choices.

Work choices was pure Economic Liberalism, a labour market in which all employment was by contract between worker and their employer directly. No unions, no mass contracts, no industry awards, everything is between the individual and the employer. Many pointed out that in alot of cases that would be a very unfair relationship, as it gave too much power to the employer. In theory the relationship is equal but of course thats the theory not the reality. It also was a rejection of a century of Australian labour relations law. Customs, conventions and traditions that had been built up over that century were being abandoned and it didn't sit well with most Australians.

The Prime Minister was surprised by this because he had managed to get the people on his side before and he thought he would do it again. But he failed to realise that he had broken faith with the Australian people. He had presented himself as a Conservative who was once in a while Liberal, but here he was saying that the man we saw and believed in wasn't real. Who was this man? Was he a Conservative or a Liberal? If we couldn't even work that out how could we trust him? The Australian people decided they couldn't trust him and he lost office.

A recurring theme in the Liberal Party of Australia is this tension between it's Conservative and it's Liberal heart. When it is Liberal it can be as destructive as the worst of the Australian Labor Party, but when it is Conservative it doesn't get rid of the policies that would really turn the tide against Liberalism. It is fighting against itself and it cannot win that fight. The tensions within the party remind me of that line about being a little bit pregnant. The Conservative side says it doesn't want to be pregnant, the Liberal side says it does want to be pregnant so they compromise and at the moment they are only a little bit pregnant........of course that makes them pregnant and is no compromise at all!

Last month a new Liberal Government came to office, it still remains to be seen if this Government will be more Conservative or more Liberal. But if it goes ahead with the idea of a Free Trade Agreement with China I believe that will be this Governments work choices. It looks at this point like it will continue the bi-polar nature of the Liberal Party of Australia. It could remain in Government a very long time if it fulfills four functions: One it is economically competent, two it be financially Conservative, thirdly it be socially conservative and fourthly it put Australia's interests before ideology. If it fail's in any of these areas it will be rewarded with the Opposition benches.

Upon Hope Blog - A Tradition Conservative Future

Saturday 12 October 2013

The Seventh Month

The Seventh Month

Another good month, not a great month like last month but still good. To be honest last month was abit of a  freak, not that I'm complaining. In the last month I did some changes to the blog. I added on the left of the homepage "popular posts" which has helped readers to find posts. These are the most read articles on the blog in order from the top down. Underneath that I put "important posts", unfortunately I haven't hyperlinked them because of my technical Limitations. But it has still had some read them, which is nice.

I also added my email address to the the right of the article to make it easier for people to contact me.

I had two equal biggest days, the 18th September and the 7th October when i received 56 visitors. The lowest was the 5th October when i received 18 visitors.*

Each month is from the 11th of one month to the 11th of the following month.

United States
United Kingdom

United States
United Kingdom

As you can see my American readership seems to have halved, but last month was unusual and it is still higher than it was two months ago, in short it is slowly but steadily rising.

Australia is higher than it was last month, which I'm very happy about, but it's still lower than it was two months ago. The opposite of  the USA, my hope is that it also rises slowly but steadily.

The United Kingdom has remained steady, only two below last month.

France and China are much higher than they have been in the past so thats nice.

The Netherlands, Germany, Russia and Canada have all dropped in numbers but are still in the top 10, hopefully they will pick up.

The Ukraine has made a comeback but sadly Romania which was third last month has gone from the top 10 as has Latvia.

Others countries that have dropped in this month, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Botswana and Trinidad and Tobago. No matter where your from welcome and I hope you've found something of interest here.

Yours Sincerely
Mark Moncrieff

*This was added about 6 hours after the article was put up

Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future 

Monday 7 October 2013

The Party That Lost it's Soul - The Australian Labor Party

The Party That Lost it's Soul - The Australian Labor Party

The Australian Labor Party is currently deciding on who it's next Leader will be, having lost office a month ago today. But it is a party that has lost it's soul, I hope this article explains why it once had a soul and why it has now lost it's soul.

Australia in the 1880's was in boom times, Melbourne the largest city was called Marvelous Melbourne and it was. It was the second richest city in the British Empire, only London was richer. Not bad for a city that only came into existence in 1836. But after the boom comes the bust and in the 1890's came economic depression. Mass unemployment, fortunes lost, homes foreclosed and with it came labour unrest and strikes. But the power of the workers wasn't strong and they lost most of the big labour disputes of the 1890's. 

The response was the creation of the Australian Labor Party, it was formed from the Trade Union movement and assorted left of centre groups. But most of it's members were ordinary working class men who wanted the rights they had protected and a better life for their families. They believed in social capital, that society and it's members were more important than profits, sounds Conservative doesn't it? Unfortunately one idea that caught on very quickly was one that Conservatives reject and that is class warfare. The idea that classes are in constant warfare with each other and that exploitation was the base of all class interaction.

Having said that the early Australian Labor Party was very Conservative on many issues, it was patriotic to both Australia and the British Empire, to be Australian was to be British because both peoples were from the same stock, but born in different places. They believed in a white Australia because they also believed in the working man having both a job and a living wage capable of raising a family on. Cheap foreign labour was not to be allowed to destroy the working class.

The Australian Labor Party is Australia's oldest political party and while it was mostly working class, it had the political leftovers as well. The Socialist, proto-Communists and other assorted "freethinkers" who didn't fit anywhere else. Their influence waxed and waned but the party remained solidly working class until the 1960's. The Australian Labor Party has always been a fighting party, it fights it's political enemies where ever they exist, whether inside or outside the party. It is infamous for it's factional infighting, something the Australian people find both amusing and horrifying. They ask "if you cannot govern yourself how can you govern the country?".

But they did govern, their shortest Government was 4 months, their longest 13 years. But considering their influence they haven't been in Government anywhere near as long as they might have been. The Australian Labor Party has had three divisive splits where large chunks of the membership have either walked out or been expelled. (whether you walked out or were expelled often depends on who's telling the story)The First was in 1916 over conscription during the First World War, the Second was over economic management in 1932 and the last was over Communism in 1955. In the first two instances Labor was in Government when it split. Each by themselves was traumatic but more seriously was that each in turn alienated working class people who's place was taken by those more left of centre. 

In the 1920's Socialism was adopted but compared to the British Labor Party it was mostly decoration. 

The Australian Labor Party, the party of the white working class, introduced mass non-British immigration in the 1940's "populate or perish" was the message. It remained committed to a white Australia until the 1960's. But seemingly overnight it changed, in reality it had been moving leftward for decades. In December 1972 the Australian Labor Party won office by one seat. It set out to change Australia, to make it one of the most progressive countries on Earth. It didn't forget the working class but now it's attention was to be shared with, Aboriginals, Feminists and Ethnic groups. When a conflict occurred between these groups and the working class, it was the working class who were told to give way. Sometimes the working class said no, in which case they held an inquiry and if that didn't work they held another and then another. The Australian Labor Party was no longer a working class party but it didn't understand that. 

The most successful Labor Government was the Hawke/Keating Government of 1983-96. Everything it did was called a reform, whether it was good or bad. But it ended the idea that Australian industry should be protected and Australia entered the age of globalization and so did it's workers. The good thing about globalization is it brings down prices, good for the cost of living. The bad thing about globalization is that it destroys jobs, labour is too expensive in Australia so firms go overseas or never even put the jobs here in the first place. Unemployment which was an issue before, rose and stayed high, cementing in place a permanent underclass of the once working class who now either never worked or got at best casual jobs. For those with jobs there is the now the constant worry that the company they work for will decide to give them the sack and move overseas.

The Australian Labor Party: 
It once believed in loyalty to the British Empire and Crown, now it is Republican 
It once believed in predominately British immigration, now it supports mass immigration from anywhere 
It once believed in a white Australia, it now believes in a multicultural society 
It once believed in tariffs to protect Australian industry and jobs, it now believes in free trade 
It once believed in full male employment, it now supports feminism 
It once supported the family, it now supports homosexual marriage 
It once supported the right of the working man to have a job, it now supports welfare.         

It has rejected and betrayed everything it once believed in, it is a party that has lost it's soul. It took decades but it is now a wraith, a mere shadow of what it once was. It talks about it's great history, but it has betrayed it's history. It only exists because the the Liberal Party scares the working class to death. It is not love of Labor that keeps it alive but fear of the Liberals. If a party existed that supported the working class but was still economically sensible the Australian Labor Party would simply fade away.

Labour is the British/Australian way of spelling the word. Labor is the American way of spelling the word. For some reason the Australian Labor Party uses the American and not the British/Australian spelling of the word. It was spelt Labour before 1912.

Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future

Friday 4 October 2013

The Parable of the Liberal and the Conservative

The Parable of the Liberal and the Conservative

AKA The Parable of the Wall

One fine day a white Conservative man and a Liberal of indeterminable age, race, ethnicity and gender were out walking together. The sun was shining, a gentle breeze blew the clouds and the grass. The pair talked of the sky and of the shape of rocks, of the different shades of colour and of nothing much in particular. They walked and talked all day, walking further and further across the broad fields.  Then in the distance a wall slowly came into view, the wall was high, with no way to get across. When the Liberal saw the wall they were angry.

"What kind of fool builds a wall in a field!"

The Conservative listened as the Liberal continued.

"This is unfair, what possible good could this do?"

The Conservative replied

"The real question is why is the wall here?"

"I know why the wall is here!" Exclaimed the Liberal "The wall was built to keep people apart and that's wrong"

"You don't know that" the Conservative answered "all you or I know is that the wall exists, neither of us knows who built it or why, it may have been built for a very good reason"

This did not help the Liberals disposition "Your mad! How can you defend the monsters who built this wall!"

"It should be torn down and you should tear it down."

Confused the Conservative asks "Hold on! How did a wall I didn't build become my problem? And why am I responsible for tearing it down?"

Back and forth this went for quite some time, with neither willing to back down. But in time they calmed.

The Liberal said "Look, all I'm saying is that there are probably people on the other side of that wall, maybe my best friend lives there and I don't know it because I've never met them."

The Conservative said "And all I'm saying is that we have no idea what is beyond that wall, it could be monsters or streets paved with gold, but shouldn't we find out first?"

To which the Liberal replied "Why wait! We should tear it down now."

Now it was the Conservatives turn to exclaim "Why wait! Because tearing down the wall will have consequences and we don't know how bad they will be."

Airily the Liberal dismissed that thought with "Consequences, there won't be any consequences and if there are they'll be good."

Annoyed the Conservative tried to explain "You do know, no consequences and good consequences are not the same thing don't you?"

But the Liberal did not reply as they were already dreaming of a world without walls and the Conservative was left to wonder how someone of such an indeterminable age could ever be so naive.

Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future