The Brussels Diary: John Terry, Candidate Assessment and more...

Another busy week between Surrey, London and Brussels, capped off with some good news, but with the usual measure of EU lunacy between...

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A criminal matter? Really?
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Alexandra Swann
On 13 July 2012 15:17

As ever, it has been rather a busy week. Last Friday's Young Independence Ball was a spectacular affair – all credit to Sanya Jeet Thandi and the YI committee for organising. It was wonderful to see such a mix from our MEPs to YI members who haven't yet left school; UKIP's demographic is certainly changing.

For my part it was a distinctly sober affair for reasons I will come to but still an absolute joy to see so many of the people I miss while in Brussels.

The week in London was very busy indeed and on Wednesday I spectacularly missed the Eurostar so on Thursday I was up at 5.30am to catch the first train back to over a thousand emails, an overflowing to do list and a quickly emptying city.

Next week is a Green Week which always sees the EP plunged into near silence and then Summer Recess is upon us without a hint of the accompanying Summer! I adore my job and I love the spirit of Brussels, the ex-pat, transient sort of existence with its carousel of inhabitants. But for the first time, having realised another of my new friends is leaving, the downside of such a life is apparent.

The reduced workload of the summer means that few new people will join until September and Place Lux will be virtually deserted. I am speaking at UKIP's South East conference on the 21st July so might spend another week back in the UK then one or two somewhere warmer with a laptop to keep on top of everything.

CANDIDATE ASSESSMENT

As mentioned last week, on Saturday I had one of the most important interviews of my life to date, the UKIP Candidate Assessment Day to get on our approved candidates' list.

When I applied back in April I had no idea that it would be such an intense affair until I received an email from our Party Director stating there would be a policy test, a current affairs test, a personal interview, three recorded media interviews and I would give two pre-prepared speeches and be given five minutes on the day to prepare another from a set list. Ah. UKIP are taking this very seriously and rightly so.

I actually enjoyed the process; the panel and interviewers were tough but delightful and I am starting to embrace public speaking. My first speech was to be my closing remarks at a hustings and, because I probably shouldn't discuss the interview process in detail, I thought I might share an edited version of my chosen speech on my favourite subject of taxation.

I originally planned to give a very tongue-in-cheek inaugural speech as the first UKIP Prime Minister but sense prevailed.

Tax. We all pay too much tax. And why? Because governments will have us believe that there is no alternative to excessive, taxpayer funded public spending.

Not only do we pay too much tax but the way in which we pay is unfair, counterproductive and intensely complicated.

Robert Nozick was right to place equality of liberty above equality of distribution; if someone is taxed at 20 percent they lose one hour in five through forced labour whereas if they are taxed at 40 percent they lose two hours through this accepted form of slavery.

What is more, the highest rate of tax actually costs the economy while depriving the individual of nearly half of their income, yet Cameron and Osborne were too afraid of the liberal-left media and their Coalition partners to cut back the top bracket altogether.

UKIP are right to advocate a flat tax of just 20 percent to be combined with National Insurance, but this should only be the start.

We must raise the tax threshold, taking the poorest out of tax altogether, and abolish Employers' National Insurance, a tax on jobs, to boost the economy and cut the welfare bill. We must abolish the death tax, a cruel tax on choice that causes financial strife at a family's lowest point. And we must slash regulations on all businesses, while abolishing the EU's VAT to be replaced with a Local Sales Tax.

Taxes used to be collected to fund wars. And we are in a war.

Only the enemy does not have horses, spears, guns or tanks. They have the politics of envy and the media - and our job is to break through the lies that say tax cuts are impossible at a time when our country's finances languish in turmoil - for it is now that tax cuts are most necessary.

We must rebuild our prosperity, and, once we escape from the clutches of the EU, tax cuts are the first step to growth.

Thankfully, after two days of oscillating between watching and hiding my phone, I received the call to say I passed successfully and am now an approved candidate! I'm a combination of excited, honoured and relieved.

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