The idea behind ‘Referism‘ is to cease the practice of politicians ‘raiding our pockets’ through taxation in order to fund their grandiose schemes, ones which they probably have not fully ‘costed’ – or ‘thought through’.
If any one of us were to contemplate having work done for us, of whatever nature, the first thing we would request is an estimate or a quote for the works involved – so why don’t we ask the same of our political class where taxation is concerned? After all, are they not ‘working for us’? Are they not ‘contractors’ to the taxpayer? Does not the piper call the tune?
Why do we ‘sit back’ and let our politicians continue extracting from our pockets yet more money to fund a programme that encounters problem after problem purely because they have not ‘thought things through’- and continue to demand payment under the threat of imprisonment if we (the taxpayer or ‘milch cow’) fail to ‘pay up’; or a programme with which the majority of the people disagree?
From FlexCit (Page 374/375) we learn:
…the executive must refer to parliament each year for approval of its budget. Without that, it runs out of money. Our problem – and the nub of all our problems is that this process has become a ritual. No parliament has rejected a budget in living memory, and none is likely to do so. The public, therefore, takes control of the budgets. Every annual budget must be submitted to the people for approval, by means of a referendum. The politicians must put their arguments, and the people must agree, before any government can levy any tax or spend any money in the relevant period. Confronted by government demands for cash, the people have the power to say no. Crucially, though, this system applies nationally as well as locally, giving voters the power to reduce central government taxation. It also enables voters to control spending.
The question must then be raised that, were ‘Referism’ possible, do we need an ‘estimate’ or a ‘quote’? It is obvious, to any ‘thinking person’, that there is a big difference twixt an estimate and a quote – the former can be ‘amendable’, while the latter is not. except under ‘exceptional’ circumstances. It is also obvious, to any thinking person, that some aspects of government expenditure are, indeed, difficult to ‘quantify’, regardless of how much forethought is input into the ‘equation’.
Why can there not be two levels of taxation, one local and the other national? The first could cover every item not ceded to national level such as defense, immigration, foreign affairs – to name but three topics . Whether it be national or local taxation, we who provide the monies must be the arbiter on how it is spent; and on what it is spent.
We all complain about taxes and query why this or that has not been done; and what do we pay taxes for – do we not? Politicians expect us to live within our means, so why should not they?
To revert to an earlier question: it matters not whether one receives an estimate or a quote – what is important is that the provider can be halted in their tracks if what is being provided is not that which the client wishes.
There is no point in ‘bringing in’ Referism without the introduction of direct democracy – and if anything would hasten the latter it must surely be the question of the taxpaying electorate being able to control their taxation.
If The Harrogate Agenda is to progress within the minds of the electorate – and thus generate interest in the idea of direct democracy – then is not the question of taxation a starting point?