A couple of thoughts on my return……

Posted on August 16, 2011 in Ronnie's News

I’ve just got back from a week of sunshine and relaxation in The Algarve. Lovely place, lovely people and not a riot in site, yet Portugal the country, we are regularly told, is on the verge of bankruptcy. Surely they have something to riot about.

After catching most of the second half of the football once I got home yesterday which I enjoyed immensely, I thought I’d try and get a bit more news insight by watching Newsnight on BBC2. It was interesting; there was a Labour man, a Tory man and a C of E Bishop all debating what was wrong with our society and what needed fixing and who was best to do that. Go back to the 80s and you would have had the same representations and the same rhetoric. Go forward 20 years and you’ll no doubt get more of the same. But we shouldn’t if we actually took some action instead of just talking, politicising and moralising.

The most interesting bit of last night’s Newsnight came from a top US Cop who took over New York Police from the bloke Cameron’s invited over to fix our police and a representative from the British Police. Despite the British bloke’s bleating that we should be talking to our guys on the ground not to take advice from someone from another country, they were actually singing the same hymn, the chorus was the same it’s just that the American guy was a couple of verses ahead.

In New York, they turned the City’s image around from a crime ridden hell hole into a vibrant and very safe city. Once they focused resources on opposing criminals, eliminating the signs of criminality (e.g. removing gang related graffiti and street hustlers) and stifling the criminal economy they transformed the city which attracted legitimate business investment, tourists, creativity and working migrants, which funnily enough stimulated the whole of the local economy.

And that is the problem that no-one is addressing. Policing needs to be progressive (which is the good thing that the Coalition are doing in that they are bringing in someone with experience of progressive policing) but the thing they are not focusing on is the resources needed to do allow the progressive policing to function. The current deficit reduction and austerity measures are counter productive to progressive anything, let alone progressive policing.

The current wave of politicians, particularly the Government front row of PM, deputy PM, Chancellor and Home Secretary are professional politicians. They are at least second or third generation rich who have no idea about wealth creation or real life work and endeavour, because they’ve never had to do it. So how on earth can they be in a position to tell us how to do it or have the temerity to tell us that our society is broken? They’ve never really lived in our society.

And on the liberal side we have people saying that the rich should be taxed more, we should try and eliminate the extremes between wealth and poverty, the haves have too much and the have nots have not got enough and have no chance.

The truth of the matter is that legitimate businesses create jobs. Legitimate business owners cannot become wealthy without investing in work forces. People cannot progress in their careers without growing businesses in which to progress. So why do we focus on penalising the enterprising and career minded by taxing them more as a reward for their endeavours? Encouraging legal enterprise, legal endeavour and legal entrepreneurs is the only way to allow society to progress. We shouldn’t be punitive on success, yet successive governments of all persuasions have done this for decades.

The final thought though comes to prohibition. It doesn’t work. It never has and never will. Don’t get me wrong the current drug culture is a blight for a whole host of reasons, but it is a culture that we perpetuate by leaving it in the control of entrepreneurial criminals allowing them to build illegal business empires (hierarchies employing people and trading mainly in cash but sometimes in lives) to become powerful multi millionaires without paying something back into society through taxation and duty. Legalising drugs would not lead to more addicts, it will lead to greater controls and greater safety for people who use them. And if the duty and taxation on tobacco and alcohol is any guideline, will provide another hugely rich source of revenue for the whole of society. Though maybe the big supermarkets would have to be curbed from using Class A loss leading price promotions as footfall drivers!

Ronnie Rees

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