Tag Archives: John Redwood


The Hugo Chavez factor

Others have reminded us that Jeremy Corbyn is an admirer of the late Hugo Chavez, the author of Venezuela’s current economic and social misfortunes. Mr Corbyn praised his socialism and singled out for favourable comment the way Mr Chavez shared wealth and changed Venezuela’s society. He has been quieter about all this over the last couple of years, as Venezuela has slipped into deep recession, hyperinflation, and social disorder. There are no official economic numbers because they are too embarassing, but the IMF and others think GDP fell by more than 10% last year and continues to fall. Imports halved and supermarket shelves are often empty.

Mr Chavez nationalised a large number of businesses, including the all important oil industry. Venezuela used to be a relatively well off economy, based on huge oil reserves exploited by commercial companies and taxed by the state. As nationalisation tightened its grip on Venezuela’s oil they fell behind in paying contractors, in getting work done to expand and replace, and in pumping enough oil for Venezuela’s financial needs. This week they are in the news because a government which has run out of foreign exchange has had to sell deeply discounted bonds to Goldman Sachs to raise some dollars, bonds issued by the nationalised oil company backed by the very oil revenues that are needed for the future bills of the Venezuelan state. There are regular reports of massive food shortages with people going hungry. Now we are told of state violence on the streets against the opposition who seek a change of President and policy.

Mr Chavez gave large sums to the poor by borrowing and by taxing others more heavily. Today this generosity has been badly eroded by rapid inflation, and made worse by the physical scarcity of basic goods to carry on a normal life. Is this really the better way, the socialist dream, that Mr Corbyn recommends? Surely it should be a warning to us all. Nationalising might end up with bad malfunction, as with Venezuela’s crucial oil industry. Too much generosity with printed money may just destroy the many through hyperinflation. If people go hungry and are unable to change their government by normal democratic means you do not get an egalitarian paradise, but an authoritarian government trying to stop a civil war born of desperation.

Perhaps Mr Corbyn would like to revisit his enthusiasm for Mr Maduro, the heir to Mr Chavez, and tell us what he has now learned about socialist policies. They were as well intentioned as his, but they have miscarried mightily. Venezuela shows you cannot make the poor rich by making the rich poor. You end up making the whole society poorer, whilst the very rich and the large companies simply leave or stop investing.

Published and promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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No deal is better than a bad deal

Those simple eight words mean the UK has a good negotiating position when it comes to sorting out our future relationship with the EU. Without them the UK would be in a very weak position.

There are those in the EU who talk darkly of a punishment deal, seeking to make the UK pay for daring to leave. There are those who want to send us a large bill with no legal backing to it and expect the UK to pay. There are those who think it a clever idea to volunteer continental farm products up for high WTO tariffs in order to make a political point. That is why the UK has to make it clear we will not accept any such deal.

None of this means the UK negotiators should walk out in a huff at the first available opportunity if the EU’s demands are silly. There is still a good prospect of reaching sensible conclusions. The UK intends to take back control of our borders, money and laws. It is happy to have extensive agreements on free trade, security sharing, academic collaborations, transport rights and the rest. We are leaving the EU’s legal structures, single currency and budget, not leaving Europe. It will require a combination of friendly patience, stressing the advantages of many collaborations, and unbending clarity that we are taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders.

It is clear that many on the continent do wish to keep tariff free access to our lucrative market. It is obvious they like sharing security and Intelligence with us. The only way to get a good outcome for both sides is for the UK government to repeat that it makes no sense for us to take a bad deal. Nor would that in practice help them. It’s a pity the other main parties contesting the General Election do not recognise this simple truth. If they understood negotiating they would also say with Mrs May , “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

Published and promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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The A329M and the M4

The decision of Highways England to alter the slip road access at the A329M and M4 junction has caused difficulties for those travelling on the A 329 M.
I have been seeking a remedy ever since I first saw the plans, which decided to halve the road capacity on the A 329 M for through traffic in order to relieve pressure and back up on the M 4.

I was told that traffic models showed one lane was sufficient for the A 329 M , and one dedicated lane for merging M 4 traffic would help the flow off the M 4. That did not seem likely to me. It hasn’t worked out like that.

They did agree to undertake a study to see why people have been unhappy about the results of their works. As I expected this study has concluded that there is increased congestion on the A329 M following the works on the junction. They then seek to blame driver behaviour and look for solutions that will guide or direct drivers to get it to work. The truth is driver behaviour has been affected by the changes made to the road layout. Drivers do cut across from the M4 slip onto the fast lane of the A 329 M which is the single through lane because they see they have to merge with other cars on the slip.Cars have to pull out of the slow lane into the fast lane on the A 329 M because their lane disappears altogether.This can cause difficulties.

There may be modest improvements to be had from clearer signs and road markings to control where cars can switch lanes, but the real need is for more capacity which I will continue to press for.

Published and promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham Rg 40 1 XU

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