Extracts from the radical book by Sir Torquil Norman – founder of the New Roundhouse.

“Rather than endlessly tinkering with the problems we need a root and branch reform of the way we live.”

“If Albert Einstein had been given the job of complicating our system of benefits so that it became completely unusable he could not have come close to what we have achieved.”

“Make no mistake. Means testing is an invention of the devil. Almost on its own it has turned this country into a toothless tiger who prefers to lie out in the sun and swat flies than get up and hunt for food and shelter for his family.”

On Britain today:

“We must face the facts. The country is not fit for purpose. We can either just coast along, accepting things as they are, or get on with doing something about it.”

“Most ministers have little practical experience but are given huge responsibility. They are mostly moved on to their next posts before they have either the time to learn about their departments or the possibility of working out a well thought out long-term policy for reform. But it is quickly enough for them to avoid personal responsibility for their past mistakes.”

“We have been turned into a semi-nation of indolent softies by endless rules and regulations that control every aspect of our lives. Self-reliance and initiative have been the casualties.”

On Tax:

“I suspect no one in authority will remotely comprehend the enormous power and energy that would be unleashed in this country by the combined, huge increase in the tax threshold, the virtual elimination of means testing, the radical simplification of the benefit system and the re-introduction of strong incentives to work through the reformed tax credit system.”

“Youth unemployment should be banished forever. My new proposals are likely to be far more cost-effective (and get far more done) than the present system of paying people not to work.

“People with the lowest 20% of income pay an all-inclusive tax rate estimated at 38% and those with the highest 20% of income pay 35% in tax. No wonder poverty persists!”

“A better way to make poorer people better off is to free them from paying any tax at all. This is also very good for the future prosperity of the country.”

On Local Government:

“We must get rid of the dead hand of central government control of our lives. We have a right to manage them ourselves – and would do so far more effectively. The byproducts would be more confidence and self-reliance.”

“There would also be a further huge advantage – particularly welcome during these torrid times of massive government over-borrowing. After having devolved government to local authority level, recent international research suggests that there would ultimately be a saving of around £70 billion per annum as the system provided more efficiencies and better local control.”

On Communities:

“Strong communities should be the backbone supporting all our social services.”

“We must bring back the strength of strong families who support each other and can always be relied upon for help.”

On Prisoners:

“The appalling way we treat our prisoners, our lack of compassion, our inability to rehabilitate, educate them or to treat their illnesses, has been benignly watched over by countless ministers throughout my entire life.”

On Drugs:

“The present war against drugs clearly does not achieve its goal of reducing addiction – in spite of vast cost in terms of expenditure and huge police time and effort. Addicts still commit many thousands of serious crimes. It also does little to assist the health of many thousands of addicts which could be greatly improved by diverting some of this huge cost to their treatment and rehabilitation.”

On Funding:

“Neither the rich nor the trade unions should be so powerful in their funding influence that they can demand and receive favoured policy changes.”

Latest News

Sir Torquil Norman – an Inspiration

By Mary Couzin published in Global Toy News 11 April 2011.

During the London Toy Fair, I attended the brilliant UK Inventor's Dinner and sat next to the most intriguing person - Torquil Norman. He was engaging, entertaining, charming and a proper English gentleman (the latter until he told stories of past inventor dinners and running across table tops to elude the police and such).  read more »

Letter to the Press

Torquil writes to the Financial Times March 2011.  read more »

Article: This welfare web is snuffing out the will to work

Torquil Norman writes in The Sunday Times 8 August 2010.  read more »

London Evening Standard: Roundhouse man has got a manifesto for Britain

Sir Torquil Norman, the man who restored the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm to glory as an arts centre, has more ambitious plans.  read more »