Below is a non exhaustive list of policy areas James is interested in and his overall drivers, motivators or opinions about them currently. He is always learning and developing his ideas but this is a rough guide to his thinking on some of the biggest issues of the day.
Rural Affairs: The countryside is what sets this country apart from others. It is a travesty that rural voices are often unheard in Parliament and the views of those in small towns and villages across the country are often drowned out. This must change, farming and rural business must be respected and government must intervene in a limited way to both protect and facilitate these communities to prosper.
Social Mobility: An absolutely key concept, core to Conservative belief. Mobility however means going down as well as up, which government policy should protect against. Social mobility upwards occurs not when the government force or fake the process but when individuals are empowered to aspire, themselves. The responsibility remains with the individual to achieve their potential.
Welfare: Benefits should be structured so that work is incentivised. However James is a huge believer in the post war consensus and believe those who are unfortunate or unable must be cared for to a minimum standard by the state ie their countrymen and women. The removal or cutting of benefits should not always be seen as an evil or a disadvantage until it is proved as such with quantitative evidence. Better life outcomes should be the goal and money isn’t always the way to achieve this.
Defence: A national conversation must be held to agree on what our Armed Forces are for. This, combined with the strategic defence review, should guide spending and policy decisions. The UK should remain a Tier 1 military power and integrate hard and soft power and our international aims better. James would seriously consider voting to cut the foreign aid budget to contribute to defence spending. We must not allow our spending on defence to drop below 2% GDP and should endeavour to increase it to 3%.
Health: The NHS must remain free at the point of use but there must be sensible considered debate on its breadth of treatment. Throwing money at a growing problem does not stop the growth of the problem, in some ways it exacerbates it. The NHS is a glowing beacon of ‘the possible’ in a world which is becoming more and more cynical. We must think critically and creatively to make the most of this phenomenal national asset.
Social Care: We are all going to die, being precious about it helps no one. The National Health Service cannot cope under the weight of the burden of an ageing population. A solution must be found which involves individuals contributing to their own care, whilst being able to pass on a certain amount of their wealth to their families or personal causes (in order to incentivise wealth creation throughout the duration of individuals lives).
The Economy: Cutting business tax has increased the tax take and encouraged entrepreneurs. Making money, creating wealth and value is to be celebrated not denigrated. Market forces need minimal regulation from the government but those rules and regulations which are imposed must be enforced in order for the system to run effectively and fairly. Financial literacy must be treated more seriously and extended. Experts need to demonstrate how they have arrived at their conclusions and be held accountable for their forecasts if the wider public are to regain trust in the system.
Home Affairs: Prisons must be places of rehabilitation and training. Immigration must be managed. Visible Police numbers must be increased and technology must be utilized as much as possible, whilst respecting individuals liberties and freedoms. Minority communities must be engaged in local policing methods.
Equality and Diversity: The best achieving teams are hierarchical and diverse. Quotas are wrong and individuals should be promoted/praised/hired on their merits. That being said where there are industries, roles etc which are not diverse, sensible efforts should be made to demonstrate those industries and roles are open to minorities should they wish to engage in them. Discrimination should always be dealt with at the lowest level first. Communication, conversation and apologies are key but undervalued social salves. We are different, we have different strengths and weaknesses, we are all part of the United Kingdom and must respect one another.
The Environment: Switching to renewables over a period of time makes sense. It shouldn’t be at huge detriment to businesses and consumers however. Environmentally friendly policies are sensible and necessary. Scaremongering e.g. ‘there’ll be no trees in ten years’ etc is patently false and sends the wrong message to younger people and those easily influenced. Action should and will be taken but with a sensible long term and holistic view. Animal cruelty should not be tolerated under any circumstances.