Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

What UK Prime Minister David Cameron will do, and an extra thing that he should do

CON = 331 (+24), LAB = 232 (-26), SNP = 56 (+50), LIB = 8 (-47), UKP = 1 (+1), OTH = 22

CON = 331 (+24), LAB = 232 (-26), SNP = 56 (+50), LIB = 8 (-47), UKP = 1 (+1), OTH = 22

Here’s an article from the radically leftist UK Independent, which is furious with the Conservative Party victory in Thursday’s national elections.

In it, they explain what Cameron intends to do:

David Cameron will use the Conservative Party’s first majority in the House of Commons for nearly 20 years to “deliver” on a radical agenda to cut welfare, shrink the size of the state and re-define Britain’s relationship with Europe.

Conservative insiders said Mr Cameron would move to the right to consolidate support among his backbench MPs after five years of compromise with the Liberal Democrats.

Among Mr Cameron’s first legislative priorities will be to enshrine an EU referendum into law, bring in the so-called ‘snoopers charter’ to give police greater powers to monitor internet communications and give English MPs a veto over legislation only affecting England.  The Tories also intend to publish plans to scrap the Human Rights Act within their first 100 days. All proposals had been previously blocked by the Lib Dems.

I always think of the UK as the biggest dupes when it comes to global warming, especially after the Climategate e-mails came out showing that that there was a concerted effort to falsify data and persecute global warming skeptics. But, like Canada’s Conservative Party, the UK Conservative Party is taking a stand against the pseudo-science.

Look:

As well as deep welfare cuts The Independent understands that the Department of Business and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, previously run by the Lib Dems, will be among the biggest casualties in terms of spending reductions.

Oliver Letwin, the Tories’ policy chief, has spent the campaign in Whitehall drawing up proposals to merge quangos and slash Government regulation. These are likely to form a key part of the spending review. The review has been made more difficult by Mr Cameron’s late and unexpected election pledge to find an extra £8bn for the NHS. This has yet to be funded and if the Tories stick to their other tax and spending commitments could require further cuts. Most senior Tories had expected to be negotiating another coalition agreement with the Liberal Democrats, giving them the flexibility to raise taxes to fund their additional spending commitments. As it is they are now bound to implement legislation binding the Government not to increase income tax, national insurance or VAT rates for the next five years.

Quangos are “quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations”. Abolishing or merging these will put a serious dent in government over-spending – and overreach.

The Democratic Unionist Party factor

Cameron would do well to add the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) members to his coalition. Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan says that “On immigration, on constitutional reform, on defence, on Europe, on rural issues, on education, on law and order, the DUP is, well, conservative.”The Conservatives need 323 seats to govern. They have 331 by themselves, and 8 more would help them in case there are any rebellions from within their own ranks. If he can get the lone UKIP member on board, that would help too, giving him a majority of 340.

More about the DUP:

The DUP bills itself as “right-wing in the sense of being strong on the constitution”, but “to the left on social policy”. The party’s members show a strong leaning towards the Conservatives, Professor Jonathan Tonge notes, backing them by a ratio of seven to one over Labour. The DUP also back the Conservatives on areas like Europe, with Nigel Dodds insisting that any coalition they are involved in would need to offer an EU referendum.

[…]The DUP, which has close links to the Dr Paisley’s Free Presbyterian Church, has frequently sparked controversy for how it discusses homosexuality. This has led to David Cameron facing tough questions earlier this month during a Q&A when one audience member wanted him to vow not to go into coalition with the DUP because of its views on LGBT rights, something he refused to rule out.

[…]The DUP also oppose the right of women to an abortion, with Jim Wells saying it should be ruled out for rape victims. The party has also called for a parliamentary debate on resinstating the death penalty.

It sounds like they are even further right than Cameron, which is good, because Cameron is what Americans would call a RINO.

Give Scotland enough rope to hang itself

But the most important thing for Cameron to do is to give Scotland full fiscal autonomy.

This is even something that the SNP leader wants:

Nicola Sturgeon was forced to admit in the second Scottish leaders’ debate that her MPs would be prepared to vote next year for full fiscal autonomy, which according to experts would make Scotland £7.6 billion worse off.

[…]In March, she suggested it might not happen straightaway as she faced claims it would cost almost 140,000 jobs and leave Scotland with a higher deficit than Spain.

[…]It would mean Scotland opting out of the Barnett Formula which currently sets Scotland’s public spending block grant, and gives Scots around £1,200 extra per head.

[…]In March, Ms Sturgeon dismissed warnings from the impartial Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) that her general election demand for full fiscal autonomy would create a multi-billion pound financial black hole in Scotland’s finances.

Daniel Hannan thinks this would be a great idea:

Commentators struggle to explain the rise of the SNP: why, seven months after rejecting separation, should Scots turn to the separatist party? Those commentators miss the point. The SNP knows fine well (as Scots say) that opinion has not moved on the independence issue. Nicola Sturgeon had to keep promising that there’d be no re-run of the vote.

No, the SNP is better understood as Scotland’s version of Greece’s Syriza or Spain’s Podemos – a far-Left, populist insurgency. Like those parties, it has a touching belief in its ability to conjure wealth through alchemy.

[…]There is a very weak link in Scotland between taxation, representation and expenditure. Because of the Barnett Formula, Scottish politicians get to spend money that has been raised through taxation elsewhere. This incentivises their constituents to vote for high-spending parties. Over time, that tendency has become self-reinforcing to the extent that the very act of calling for fiscal restraint is seen as alien, un-Scottish.

Not all Scots are on the Left, obviously. There are some free-marketeers in the land of Adam Smith. But the prevailing assumption among Holyrood politicians and pundits is that higher spending is a defining national characteristic. They don’t use those words, of course. They say, “We’re a compassionate, fair-minded people”. But it’s what they mean.

What can be done about it? Well, the SNP demands full fiscal autonomy, and David Cameron should hurry to meet that demand. Partly because linking taxation to expenditure north of the border might allow a revival, over time, of Right-of-Centre politics in Scotland. Partly because the measure will also be popular with English taxpayers. Partly, too, because, without such a reform, separatism will revive. And partly because greater autonomy for Scotland could bring about a new, devolved settlement for the entire United Kingdom, something that is long overdue. Mainly, though, because most Scots say they want it, and the SNP has won an unarguable mandate. What are we waiting for?

The Scottish electorate – by and large – make Greek socialists like Tsipras / Syriza appear fiscally prudent. They need to find out how economics works the hard way. Let them make their own decisions, and maybe when they are picking leaves off of trees to feed themselves in a few years, they will come to their senses and be ready to deal. It’s very important for people who are led by their feelings and who pursue dreams against reality to crash and burn, so that they understand the value of practical people who have worked hard, saved and played by the rules.

The Scots are voting for slogans like “stop austerity” without any idea of how difficult working and saving really is for taxpayers, of which there are precious few in Scotland. Let them face the consequences of their own folly, and then come back to the negotiating table with a weaker hand, just as Greece is doing now. Maybe if Cameron does this in the UK, it will inspire Harper to do the same with Quebec in Canada. Just give Quebec full fiscal autonomy and then cut off the equalization payments that allow them to live far beyond their means. Make them grow up.

One thing is for sure. The UK electorate (aside from Scotland and Wales) has impressed me. This is the beginning of a period of liberty, prosperity and security for the UK, and I for one am envious that they are getting a head start on it, while we have to wait another year and a half before we join them by electing a Republican president, and holding the House and Senate.

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How the UK government penalizes stay-at-home moms and pushes kids into daycare

Dina sent me this must-read article from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

For years, parents like me who believe that the best place for a young child is at home with a loving parent have been ignored or mocked as smothering, over-protective mothers. Go back to work and put your child in nursery where he can socialise, we were told by ‘experts’ and feminists. Don’t feel guilty.

Unfortunately, the politicians listened — and state-subsidised childcare grew as a result. Between 1995 and 2010, mostly under the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, for children under five years old it grew by 36.4 per cent. It’s been an unmonitored social experiment on a huge scale.

[…][T]he tragic irony is that the plethora of unruly children ill-fitted to school coming out of our nurseries is a direct result of successive governments’ tunnel vision childcare policy.

It’s a policy which, through tax advantages and financial incentives, encourages mothers to go out to work, leaving young children in nurseries.

Under Labour, working mothers were championed and childcare was considered best left to state-subsidised nurseries. It was taboo even to suggest that stay-at-home mothers were performing an equally valid role.

The tragedy is that the Coalition seems to be continuing in the same vein.

[…]The most comprehensive research studies have shown that daycare nurseries breed bad behaviour.

A study in the U.S., which followed 1,000 children from birth to 15, found that those children who spent long hours in early daycare were more aggressive than those who had been cared for at home.

This is because young children are not designed to socialise in large groups of their peers. It may promote a quasi independence — but of the wrong kind.

It leads to children bullying or being bullied for social survival. ‘We let them fight it out,’ is how one helper describe her nursery’s approach.

[…]As a result of writing about childcare and bringing up children, I hear frequently from mothers who are distraught that they have had to return to work, leaving their children in daycare, because the Government has made it financially impossible for them to remain at home.

Not only has it withdrawn child benefit from households where a single breadwinner earns £60,000, while families in which both parents work and pull in a combined income of up to £98,000 will keep every penny, more recently it announced that families with two working parents will get tax breaks worth £2,000 a year.

The message is loud and clear: neither Cameron nor Clegg genuinely value the role of stay-at-home parents.

Their policies are cruel to mothers and to children, and they don’t bode well for the mental health or resilience of future generations.

Cameron and Clegg should create, at the very least, a neutral tax system that does not penalise mothers for staying at home.

And they should stop ignoring what all studies, mothers’ instincts and millennia of evolution have told us: that the best place for a very young child is with their mother or  father.

I have some pretty strong feelings against daycare, unless it’s a last resort. I think this article is helpful because a lot of people who vote for Democrats are women who one day hope to marry and be stay-at-home moms. They believe that socialism is somehow compatible with a strong marriage, a man who provides for the family, and a mother who focuses on the needs of her toddlers as they grow up. But socialism isn’t compatible with that, because socialism is wed to feminism. Feminism is the idea that women need to act like men in order to be equal to men. And the way that social engineers on the left achieve that goal is by creating taxes and incentives to push women out of the home. A stay-at-home mom has no value to the government because she isn’t paying taxes for the government to spend, too. They want her to work, both for ideological reasons and for financial reasons. People on the left think that society is more “equal” when parents are separated from their children and the children are raised communally by strangers. That’s “equal”. Some of the women in the UK who are complaining now undoubtedly voted for these policies. Maybe they had no choice since the Conservatives are the least bad option. But we have choices here, and we need to think carefully when we have the opportunity to vote.

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Does science support mothers who leave their young children to go to work?

Dina is very concerned about the UK’s leftist coalition government’s attempt to punish women who stay at home with their young children. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

Under plans unveiled in the Budget on Wednesday, families will only benefit from the generous new deal, which will come into force in 2015, if ‘all parents’ have a job. If one parent works but the other stays at home looking after their young children, they will get nothing.

It is the second time in just a few months that the Government has triggered controversy with its changes to the tax and benefit systems, which appear to penalise stay-at-home mothers.

As a result of the recent child benefit changes, a couple can both earn £50,000 and keep their child benefit, worth £1,752 a year for two children.

But a couple where one parent earns £60,000 and the other earns nothing – but have a far lower joint income – do not get a penny.

Again, this week’s initiative favours those couples where both parents go out to work. It will even benefit parents who each earn a salary of £149,999.

Note that this plan is being put forward by socialist Liberal Democrat Party, as well as the “Conservative” Party.

Dina thinks that the science is pretty clear that children suffer if their mothers leave them at a young age. Take a look at the video above, and then the brain scan below.

Brain scans of 3-year old children: normal vs neglected

Brain scans of 3-year old children: normal vs neglected

Here’s the article that goes with the brain scan from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

Both of these images are brain scans of a two three-year-old children, but the brain on the left is considerably larger, has fewer spots and less dark areas, compared to the one on the right.

According to neurologists this sizeable difference has one primary cause – the way each child was treated by their mothers.

The child with the larger and more fully developed brain was looked after by its mother – she was constantly responsive to her baby, reported The Sunday Telegraph.

But the child with the shrunken brain was the victim of severe neglect and abuse.

According to research reported by the newspaper, the brain on the right worryingly lacks some of the most fundamental areas present in the image on the left.

The consequences of these deficits are pronounced – the child on the left with the larger brain will be more intelligent and more likely to develop the social ability to empathise with others.

But in contrast, the child with the shrunken brain will be more likely to become addicted to drugs and involved in violent crimes, much more likely to be unemployed and to be dependent on state benefits.

The child is also more likely to develop mental and other serious health problems.

Professor Allan Schore, of UCLA, told The Sunday Telegraph that if a baby is not treated properly in the first two years of life, it can have a fundamental impact on development.

He pointed out that the genes for several aspects of brain function, including intelligence, cannot function.

[…]The study correlates with research released earlier this year that found that children who are given love and affection from their mothers early in life are smarter with a better ability to learn.

The study by child psychiatrists and neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found school-aged children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus, a key structure important to learning, memory and response to stress.

The research was the first to show that changes in this critical region of children’s brain anatomy are linked to a mother’s nurturing, Neurosciencenews.com reports.

The research is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Lead author Joan L. Luby, MD, professor of child psychiatry, said the study reinforces how important nurturing parents are to a child’s development.

This is why I argue that feminism, which is the ideology that demands that women work outside the home in order to be “equal” to men, is harmful to children. If we really cared about children, then we need to not be subsidizing the child abuse schemes of Liberal Democrats like Nick Clegg. We need to be clear that gender feminism (third-wave feminism) is an anti-child ideology and it should be opposed. The science is settled on this issue. Feminism harms innocent young children. And feminism isn’t just opposed to the rights of born children. They oppose the right to life of unborn children, too.

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UK offers more money to working women and single mothers, nothing for stay-at-home moms

Dina sent me this UK Daily Mail article about the “Conservative Party” of the UK.

Excerpt:

Mothers who stay at home to look after their children do not need as much financial help as those who work, according to the Treasury.

The insulting claim was inadvertently published yesterday as part of a briefing on the Government’s new childcare plans.

It fuelled accusations that the scheme will deliberately discriminate against traditional single-earner families in an attempt to force more mothers back to work.

Critics described the new policy as a ‘slap in the face for two million stay-at-home mothers’.

The Treasury briefing, designed to help press officers ‘rebut’ criticism, stated: ‘Working families who are struggling with their childcare costs, or families where parents want to go to work but can’t afford to are in greater need of state support for child care than families where one parent chooses to stay at home and look after their children full-time.’

David Cameron and Nick Clegg yesterday confirmed that working couples who each earn less than £150,000 will qualify for child care tax breaks worth up to £1,200 a year per child from 2015. 

That means they could have a joint income of nearly £300,000 and still qualify.

They will receive 20 per cent – equivalent to the basic rate of tax – of their yearly childcare costs, up to a total of £6,000 per child. This will save a typical working family with two children under 12 up to £2,400 a year.

Single parents who are employed and earn less than £150,000 will also be eligible.

But, in a move that will anger Tory traditionalists, the Government confirmed that families in which only one parent works will not receive a penny.

David Cameron is also pushing gay marriage really hard, in spite of public opinion. I’m not even sure why he calls himself a conservative.

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More than 100 Conservative MPs express opposition to gay marriage law

Dina sent me this article from the UK Daily Mail about the push by Prime Minister David Cameron to legalize same-sex marriage in the UK. Although Cameron calls himself a conservative, I can’t think of anything that he’s done that’s conservative. It’s nice to see that there is a sizable minority in his party that opposes his plans to legalize SSM.

Excerpt:

The full extent of the revolt among Tory MPs over plans to allow gay marriage was revealed last night. In all, more than 100 Conservatives out of 303 have written to constituents indicating their unease. If they all vote against, it would be the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times.

[…]The vote could happen as early as January after Mr Cameron decided this week to ‘get it done and get it done quickly’.

[…]The sheer scale of the opposition means Mr Cameron is facing what has become the biggest Tory rebellion in recent history.

Even though No 10 has signalled that it will be a free vote in the Commons, ministers will be under huge pressure to back the measure because the PM has staked so much personal authority on the change.

Even though the policy was not in the party’s election manifesto, his Old Etonian-dominated kitchen cabinet have told the PM that this legislation is a litmus test of his efforts to ‘decontaminate’ the Tories’ image on social issues.

[…][A] survey by the polling organisation ComRes found that 62 per cent of voters and 68 per cent of Tory supporters believe marriage should continue to be defined as a ‘life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman’.

A further 65 per cent said that plans to legalise gay marriage are ‘more to do with trying to make the Conservative Party look trendy and modern’ than a matter of conviction.

These findings are reinforced by a petition set up by the lobby group Coalition For Marriage (C4M) which has been signed by 612,000 people. It declares: ‘I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.’

The Prime Minister has exacerbated tension on the Tory benches by issuing what has been described as a ‘guillotine’ – rushing the Bill into the Commons to fast-track the reform.

[…]One can only assume that the Tory whips have drawn Mr Cameron’s attention to this growing rebellion. In any case, it is now patently clear that the PM cannot write off opponents of his policy as the usual hardline right-wingers who have never been reconciled to his modernisation efforts.

The UK has a Parliamentary system that normally does not allow free votes. I would expect that even a view people in the Labour Party might vote against the legalization of same-sex marriage.

UPDATE: The actual number is up to 118 now.

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