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on 8 May 2009
I had low expectations of this book; I thought it would contain only platitudes about how referendums and the Internet are going to change politics.

In fact, the Plan surprised me by being well thought out, achievable and radically brilliant.

They recommend the transferral of Crown prerogative powers (such as declaring war and appointing ambassadors) from the Prime Minister to Parliament.

They suggest that continued European integration is not in the UK's best interest and recommend withdraw from the EU and rejoining the European Free Trade Agreement, like Norway or Switzerland.

The main gist of their domestic policy recommendations is 'localism', which means putting public services in the hands of local councils, trying to emulate the competition in government that the united States enjoy.

They suggest that state education should have voucher-like systems to make it more market-driven and to allow parents to choose.

For health, they suggest people should be able to opt-out of the NHS and pay into a health saving account so they're in charge of choosing doctors, facilities etc.

Local police priorities should be decided by democratically elected 'Sheriffs'.

VAT should be replaced with a local sales tax at a level set by councils. This would make councils self-financing and exert downward pressure on taxation.

They propose a Swiss style ability to prompt referendums with enough people to sign a petition, so if Parliament considers an unpopular bill and campaigners can get a petition of 2.5% of electors within the time limit, the government must either withdraw the legislation or put it to a referendum.

There are plenty more of great suggestions but those are a couple that stand out in my mind. I recommend you buy this book and be encouraged that UK politics is salvageable!
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on 17 July 2009
This book offers the UK a blueprint for restoring public trust in government. The simple ideas outlined in the book such as local empowerment and the withering away of unelected state entities are clearly stated. Benefits of direct democracy, local accountability and empowerment and the withering away of unelected officialdom are clearly presented and common arguments against destroyed.

For anyone with an interest in salvaging British politics, this book is a must read.
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on 25 September 2008
As a devotee of their previous publication 'Direct Democracy', it was with great anticipation that I awaited phase two which it turns out lives up to the high quality free thinking of it's predecessor.

Since Direct Democracy there has been great changes both technologically and politically. Blogs and grassroots websites have taken on the mainstream media, and given the public thousands of sources of information where previously they were restricted to TV and Newspapers. Politically, the public are growing tired of a big unaccountable Government and it's various agencies poking its nose into every aspect of their lives.

So how is The Plan different from Direct Democracy? Well for a start the title is a confliction for it conjures up images of Stalin and Brown with Tractor Production figures which couldn`t be more different from its content.

Instead it extends previous ideas with adaptations and additions to deal with different conditions. In the book stays moves to make Councils self financing and election sheriffs to make local services properly accountable. The additions include action to make quangos, senior judges and ambassadors accountable, even more proposed devolution to counties and cities in much matters as social security, and a "Great Repeal Bill" to annul unnecessary and burdensome laws.

The topic I think will really be taken on quickly is the way the internet is changing politics. The old structures of the local Party and Branch, Trade Union's ect are dwindling and a new internet based single issue politics is emerging. As the Authors predict, the political party that realises and "gets" the this will be the one that starts to do so called "digital politics" in Britain correctly.

In summary this is a radical, thought provoking book which sets out a truly democratic accountable Britain and is well worth a read.
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on 5 January 2009
The most refreshingly detailed action plan for restoring Britain (and a few other countries if they cared to consider) to a sense of purpose and democracy, that i have read in years. It is accurately and well written. One wonders where the individual authors drew the line for their specific contributions as the style is consistent throughout. I can easily agree with 95% of their suggestions and I am sure that if either author had the chance to speak to me I might well add the remaining 5%.

The beauty of the book is that it is so reasonably argued and apparently do-able by a new government determined to re-introduce the idea of political accountability to as low down the line as possible - the Councils and in some cases the individuals themselves. We live in a second-hand and second-rate Britain but this book and its detailed criticisms and suggestions offer a new start. I shall be buying a couple of extra copies to send to friends. Once read there is the need to re-tell its contents to whoever will listen - be warned!
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on 23 February 2011
I must declare interests - I am something of an admirer of Daniel Hannan; I am very anti-EU; I am a hardline, small government, low-tax, libertarian Tory. I therefore couldn't help but enjoy this book.

However, it was a wholly different sort of enjoyment from my enjoyment of, say, Hitchens, Sowell or Hayek - this book is not an ideological tract. It is a simple plan to solve the malaise at the heart of British politics and wider life. It identifies the key problems with our country and suggests means to solve them. Simples.

Some will not even get past the first page without spitting feathers of self-rightous leftie rage as their fetishisation of the NHS, a centrally planned Stalinist economy and the welfare system is absolute (but, as Hannan once said, theirs is the wrath of Caliban). Those of us on the right, or those sort of in the middle who don't see the right as politically acceptable because they're in an Islington wine bar, would gain much from this book. Practical arguments, sounds reasoning and genuine political possibility are the key to this great read.
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on 25 June 2012
I, and I am sure many others, are deeply suspicious of government and politicians. It doesn't seem to matter which set of scoundrels are voted in, they pursue roughly the same policies as their predecessors. There may be a different coat of paint, yet the state juggernaut rolls on.
The book asserts that many politicians are powerless to change the destination, or to fulfil election promises due to EU law. This brings to mind a quote from Yes, Minister when Jim Hacker says to his wife "The opposition aren't the Opposition, they're just called the Opposition. The real opposition is the civil service." So the book recommends not remaining in the EU, and making civil servants accountable for their actions, two ideas I heartily endorse. The book recommends being closely allied with european countries, yet not subject to whatever next piece of crazy legislation comes out of Brussels.
Another idea that the book raises is that of offering choice to the voter/consumer in terms of healthcare and schooling. This seems like such an obviously good idea that everyone can agree to, yet I note that some other reviewer wants to force everyone into the one size fits no-one 'choice' that we currently have. Really? Choice is a bad thing?
Devolving power to local councils is yet another idea this book raises, and devolution of power is essential for the world of liberty and freedom I wish to live in. Eventually, (my opinion) power should be devolved completely to the individual, in a world of free choice constrained only by the requirement not to aggress against other individuals or their property. However, this book is an excellent first step, and I will lend my support to those wishing to achieve the goals set out in this book.
Any MP or MEP or councillor who signs up to support these proposals WILL get my vote. I am registered and have NEVER voted, seeing no reason to. This will change IF I can see support for what I want.
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VINE VOICEon 8 January 2011
It's curious to see in politics how most people regard the Left wing as having a monopoly on 'being progressive' & that anything the Right wing offer is reactionary & sending the country in the wrong 'direction'.

Though this may be somewhat true in the areas of social equality, it is manifestly not true in economic progress & devolving power. In these fields the old maxim of 'small is beautiful' holds true, although the tendency of many 'progressives' is to centralise power & expand the role of the state.

Which is why this book is such a breath of fresh air. Normal political treatise want more regulation, more centralised power & greater spending on government (e.g. New Britain - Tony Blair). This book calls for quite the opposite & is a clarion call against the ratcheting tendencies of centralisation & in favour of a policy of 'localism' & a small state.

Essentially the idea of the book is based on the 1994 'Republican Contract with America' where the Republican party wrote a manifesto of only two to three pages (printed as Appendix B in the book) promising a fixed list of policies they would enact in the first 100 days in office. So it is with this book, where all the ideas could be instituted within 12 months of a new Government (printed as a detailed & practicable Appendix A in the book).

Within its main pages there are excellent, good-sense ideas for almost every field of government, from the NHS & education, through to our policy towards Europe (which now writes 84% of the legislation that goes through parliament). Each time, the arguments of the opposition are taken to task & the authors cite what other countries have done in similar areas of government (e.g. the US benefit reforms, Denmark's education system & Singapore's Healthcare).

I found each argument to be compelling, pithy & full of in-depth research &, although I did not agree with all of them, I do wish that the government would at least give some of its highly sensible policies a go.

A couple of criticisms though.
First off, I got the distinct impression that Daniel Hannan wrote the vast majority of this book & that Douglas Carswell barely got a look in (with the exception of the areas about Parliamentary sovereignty). As Hannan often praises people such as Tony Benn &Enoch Powell, I fear that this book may be like so many prophetic voices - lost in the wilderness, rather than building consensus within the corridors of power.
Second, two huge major areas of government are missing: taxation & debt policy. US Commentators such as Glenn Beck have suggested that excessive borrowing is the route to impoverishment in America, yet it doesn't even get a mention here (even though the UK is 20% poorer than it was in 2000 owing to this problem).
As for taxation, surely having the longest tax-code in the World (& the most accountants per head) should suggest that our messy tax system should be cleared up but, again, not a mention.

All that being said, I implore people to read this book & form their own opinions. You may not agree with its findings, but I feel it is on the right side of most of the arguments &, crucially, is on the side of personal freedom & liberty against our increasingly overbearing and overweening state, which now consumes 51% of our National Output.
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on 23 January 2009
Utterly brilliant, worthy of 6 stars.
I came across this book on the TaxPayers Alliance website, and having read 'The Bumper Book of Government Waste' from the same source, was not disappointed.
Each chapter is a scathing critique of where British politics has become diluted and emasculated, and the 30-point plan at the end is clear, concise and, ultimately, achievable.
Here we have a foundation on which the electorate can build a real engagement with politics, rather than suffer the continued marginalisation since joining the EU, which has accelerated over the past 10 years.
I can't help but feel however, that vested interests in Whitehall and the house of commons & lords would try everything to thwart the roll-out of 'The Plan', as any politicians signing up for it would be like turkeys signing up for Christmas!!!
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on 6 November 2008
It is clear that the political system is broken. Have you tuned in to the Parliament Channel and watched debates in Parliament recently? Mostly it's seven or eight MPs in an otherwise empty chamber, each reading out their speeches, with no attention paid to what anyone else says. Then a vote's called, and somehow about 300 people vote - without having heard any of the arguments. I guess they're all out in the "lobbies" (whatever they are) counting up the value of their gold-plated pensions and fur-lines "allowances". And do you know that some 70%-80% of our laws and regulations are NOT passed by Parliament? So why do we pay these people? They have given away most of their power - and worse, our sovereignty - to a multitude of hugely expensive quangoes (including the big quango in the sky called the EU). And we have no say.

And there's a lot more that's wrong with things in Britain today.

This book, in simple language, analyzes what's wrong with the state of our nation. It then proposes solutions, all of which sound like simple sanity to me. If the "Party of the Plan" were to stand at the next election, I'd vote for them in a trice.

So, if you care about Britain's future, read this book! Of course, you may not like the solutions offered. But at the very least the thoughts put forward in the book are a breath of fresh air.
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on 5 May 2009
I am one of the despairing classes. Your recognise my kind if you're like me. A centre right voting individual who although is pleased by the impending self destruction of the Labour party despair that the left wing establishment is now so powerful that almost nothing can be done. That Cameron will be in office but not in power. That the growth of the state now renders all effective political control a contradiction in terms.

Well The Plan is just that. It is a well explained, and most of all surprisingly simple 30 point plan to save this country, or at least get us into a position where the work can begin. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn what can be done to fix Britain. I read the whole book in one sitting, and now I'm back on Amazon to get another copy I can send to my MP.
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