Monthly Archives: July 2008

Gordon Brown versus David Miliband (is he really called that? It’s asking for trouble.) Also … “CHANGE” …

I also want to use this bit to talk about the notion of “change”, as it is commonly peddled as a panacea, by politicians and “management” “consultants”. (These latter items are a tautology, and an intelligent space-alien from planet Tharg would gasp in incomprehension at the very concept.)

David Davis

Now, for libertarians, the spectator-sport of watching socialists (who are of course the ultimate enemy – all other classifications: one-nation-Tories, Militant Islamists, modern TV-production-companies, UKIP, the EU, and whatever else, is merely a form of lateral stamp-collecting) tear up each other’s dirty linen in public is a tremendous hoot. It makes up for all the tricoteurish cackling that conservatively-minded individuals of many liberal kinds got in 1990, when the “Tories” axed their ace of trumps and put in a droid instead.

Fraser Nelson at Coffee House thinks that the pub-fight has now extended and is about to spill out into the street.

David Rubberband has either expressly confronted the PM by implication, or has made it look like he has. There are two scenarios:-

(1) Brown will at the first opportunity demote him in a “reshuffle”. This will cost, even though David Rubberband may/will bounce back some months/years down the line. this will make ZanuLaborg look even worse than it does.

(2) There will be a leadership challenge, which Brown will probably lose. If so, then I don’t think people will stand for a second PM being shoehorned in without a General Election, which ZanuLaborg will probably lose. Not by 140 seats, but enough. People forget how hard it will be to overturn entrenched inertia in the many, many Rotten Boroughs in metropolitan districts.

Either way, it’s fun. I’ve also somewhat pre-contradicted my intention to lambast those of the political/enemy class, and “management” “consultants”, who constantly repeat that magic mantra-word “CHANGE”. Rubberband himself either said it or implied it in the last 48 hours.

What I mean by what the commentariat and the Media world call “political” change is the kind I define as being brought about by utopian vandalism. This is not the kind which markets benignly cause to occur naturally. I fear that Rubberband meant more if the kind which socialists invariably do, and always for the worse, to whatever wretched civilisation they get their infected teeth into, is almost invarariably bad, and almost all of which is unwanted and unasked for by ordinary individuals.

There would prbably be no voters for socialism, if socialists did not go about telling people that they could have other people’s stuff. Thus vast amounts of unautorised “change” would never havew taken place.

More good news about the death of green-ness

Good stuff.

Hat tip Moonbattery. We here have always sais that green-nazism was, is and for ever will be a toy-belief-system of rich socialists, who have nothing better to think about.

How socialists got rich in the first place, or whether they got to be socialists via some sort of accident after becoming rich, is the subject of another fruitful discussion, I think.

Blast from the Past: Sean Gabb on “Modern Conservatism”

From Free Life No 18, May, 1993

Modern Conservatism
David Willetts
Penguin Books, London, 1992, 216 pp., £5.99
(ISBN 0 14 015477 9)

The Author of this book is the Consultant Director of the Conservative Research Department, and is a Member of Parliament. Both capacities tend to lower him in my view. I will try nonetheless to set aside my prejudice and to review his book solely on its merits.

This is an easier and a more productive task than I expected, for Mr Willetts has produced a very good book. Though in part a work of exposition, drawing on all the usual sources, old and new, it goes far beyond this limited purpose, and provides a synthesis that both persuades intellectually and provides a complete political agenda.

The case as stated in its opening is the familiar one. Contrary to all the imaginings of the utopian philosophers, we are fundamentally not rational beings. We cannot be perfected. We cannot be made fit for a social order based wholly on light and reason. Certainly, the modes of thought and social organisation that developed chiefly in England, and have since spread in stages throughout the world, can usually be given a powerful abstract justification. But the success – indeed, the continued existence – of these modes owes nothing to rational deliberation, and everything to an often unconscious habit. To abolish, or even to try altering these habits is to risk our enjoyment of the benefits that proceed from them. Anyone who thinks otherwise falls into demonstrable error. Anyone who proceeds from thought to action commits acts that range from the absurd to the catastrophically monstrous.

When, therefore, we come to an examine a functioning social order such as our own, our most proper attitude is one of curiosity mingled with reverence. We are not to seize on its apparent faults and reject it in favour of something else spun out of a single head. Nor, as has been most often done this century in those countries lucky enough to avoid a total reconstruction, are we to advocate sweeping reforms simply on the grounds of “modernisation” or of bringing something “into the twentieth century. We must instead try to understand the inner workings of society – to conjecture by what innumerable and infinitesimal stages the present order of things evolved to its present sophistication. This will require us to look even to those habits and institutions that rest on justifications manifestly absurd, asking whether they might not nevertheless serve a useful purpose. Then, and only then, shall we be ready to consider what deliberate changes may be necessary, and how these may best be combined with what already is. The best change is so cautious and incremental that only those directly affected notice its happening. Even the most radical, sudden change is best achieved so that within only a few years it becomes difficult to tell the old from the new.

Illustrating his case, Mr Willetts gives the usual examples of what happens when the accumulated wisdom of the past is thrown aside in some passion for immediate improvement. I will, however, give my own favourite example.

In 1911, there was an epidemic of bubonic plague in Manchuria. This was large enough to worry all the usual governments and international organisations – there were fears of a new Black Death – and so much effort was put into containment.

Now, it was soon discovered that the carriers of the fleas which in turn carried the Pasteurella pestis bacillus were marmots, large burrowing rodents who were hunted for their skins. It was also discovered that the nomadic tribesmen who had hunted marmots for centuries were largely unaffected. Mostly affected were the Chinese hunters who had just poured into Manchuria following the collapse of the Manchu dynasty and the lifting of all controls on movement into the region.

The reason for this difference was that the native hunters followed certain customary rules that tended to minimise the risk of infection. They never trapped marmots, but only shot them. If an animal moved sluggishly, it was left alone. if an entire colony showed signs of infection, the hunters would at once pack their tents and move on.

Only in 1894 had the causes of bubonic plague been identified. Before then, its means of transmission had been an absolute mystery. Yet here was a nation of illiterate nomads not only doing as the newest research might have advised them, but doing it by custom since time immemorial. Asked why they acted so, they gave the most bizarre mythological justifications that said nothing about the avoidance of infection. There was no talk of some divinely inspired ancestor whose teachings had avoided the anger of the gods, or whatever. All the evidence pointed to a long history of slight and unconscious adjustments to environment. As with a purely natural selection, there had been small revisions of habits. Those contributing to greater well-being had been copied and passed on to later generations as ritual.

Ignorant of epidemiology, the Chinese hunters were rational enough to sneer at these rituals, and to go about the business of catching their marmots in the most cost-effective manner. They died in their thousands, and sent the bacillus down the new railway lines towards the rest of humanity.1

Had the philosophy here illustrated been more generally received, the century now closing might not have been so filled with interesting events.

Yet, all this being said, there remains one obvious problem. As Mr Willetts asks,

[d]oes the conservative simply think that everything which exists is all right?[pp. 74-5]

There have always been pure conservatives, whose answer to this question would be a firm “yes”, who would resist all change, no matter from what or in which direction. There have been conservative defences of slavery and suttee. There are now conservative defences of trade union privilege and of the mining communities threatened by deregulation of the market in coal. In its purest form, conservatism is nothing more than a defence of whatever is, and never mind what it is. At times, indeed, it comes oddly close to the political correctness which tells us that female circumcision is acceptable wherever established among black people.

But this kind of conservatism is only important so far as it can be manipulated by others. The most impeccably conservative thinkers and politicians have been willing on occasion to turn radical. It was, for example, largely by Tory Governments in the last century that the slave trade was put down. By bribery, by threats, and sometimes by force of arms, the rest of the world was made to give up an ancient and previously almost unquestioned custom. The politicians concerned thought nothing of opening themselves to the same charge of utopian meddling as they were laying against the English jacobins and chartists.

The usual language of conservatism presupposes an ideological underpinning of the doctrine that it advances. Above, I use the phrase a “functioning social order”, and discuss the most appropriate means of achieving “such deliberate changes as may be necessary”. These are my words; but this type of wording is scattered through all the great conservative classics. Whatever may be said about the unideological nature of conservatism, it is clear that most conservatives want only to conserve certain institutions. They know how to recognise a functioning social order. They are as good as any socialist or liberal at knowing what changes are necessary. It is what I like most about Mr Willetts’ that he does not raise the usual smokescreen of “tory pragmatism”, but explicitly looks within English conservatism for the criterion by which what ought is separated from what ought not to be conserved.

His first proposed criterion is durability. If an institution has lasted for a long time in undiminished vigour, and without great and obviously attendant disadvantages, he says, the presumption ought to be that it serves a useful purpose. For modern England, this is as an effective criterion. It allows an attack on nearly everything in our national life that is wretched and in need of drastic reconstruction. Trade union privilege, to take a standard instance, though established, dates only from 1906, and has notoriously been one of the causes of our relative economic decline.

It is not, however, generally effective. The slave trade, after all, was more anciently established than the House of Lords, and had not been attended by any obvious disadvantage for the élites by whom and in whose interests social arrangements had previously been judged. If the feelings of the enslaved were now to be considered, it was not in accordance with any criterion of durability. Nor does this in itself tell us what is a functioning social order, or allow us to tell good changes from bad in an age when change, for whatever reason, becomes necessary.

Mr Willetts’ next criterion, though, is the right one. Institutions are good or bad so far as

they rely on state power. Reliance on legal enforcement is obviously not of itself wrong – any conservative understands the need for a framework of law and order – but at the very least, there has to be a presumption against intervening in arrangements reached by mutual consent. If an institution has only been able to survive by deploying such powers, then there is a real need for it to justify itself.[pp. 76-77]

To some extent, there is nothing unusual here. All Conservative politicians believe to some extent in private enterprise: it lets them bribe the lower classes without having the country decline too fast. Mr Willetts, though, has no time for this style of apologetics, or for the more aggressive corporatism that has tended to replace it. “Perhaps” he says,

the most unpleasant term in the political vocabulary is “UK Limited”.[p. 133]

His own defence of the free market is more than an argument for privatising the telephone network and deregulating the opticians. He quietly suggests a cutting back of the State far beyond anything contemplated by the Thatcher Government even in its most radical mood. He suggests a thorough application of the voluntary principle in economic affairs.

Nor does he draw any artificial distinction between the economic and the personal. He stands for a rejection of the moral paternalism within the Conservative Party that has come increasingly since 1979 to determine what we may do with our own minds and bodies.

Of course, there is no explicit mention of the liberty infringement and crime expansion schemes now run by the Home Office under the various names of the “War on Drugs” and the “protection of public morals”. That would have the Party bosses straight at this throat. He might be accused of classical liberalism – of having rejected the true tory path for the “shallow sophisms” of John Stuart Mill. Even worse, he might be denounced as a libertarian: and that would be the end of his career in politics.

Yet, while Mr Willetts can be described as a classical liberal, he is also undoubtedly a truer conservative than the sad, fawning creatures one mostly finds in Central Office or the Parliamentary Party. For all the great British conservative thinkers were also liberals. They taught reverence for the organic institutions of what happened to be the freest and most open society that had – or perhaps has – ever existed. Their speculations were on the growth and defence of such institutions as trial by jury, parliamentary government, and an unshackled press. It may be that some defended freedom because it existed by tradition. More commonly, though, they defended tradition because it embodied the freedom which they had learned to value on more rational grounds.

Their denunciation of ideology came in part from their knowing the weakness of unsupported abstract reasoning. In larger part, it came from a wish to deprive the collectivists and their radical dupes of a weapon of which they themselves had little need. But a hundred years of collectivist triumph have nearly shattered the organic liberalism of Old England. The case remains for moving cautiously, for seeking the latent wisdom or necessity in every institution proposed for reform – for not trying to jump straight to some Libertarian Alliance utopia. Even so, the true spirit of English conservatism now requires an explicit guiding ideology. And that ideology is classical liberal or libertarian. Those who deny this can quote the words of Burke and Salisbury, among others. But, more importantly, they miss the reasoning behind the words.

Though Mr Willetts, quite evidently, does not miss the reasoning here, his book is not equally good in all its sections. For example, his claim that

David Ricardo’s economics showed that government borrowing was just taxation deferred[p. 6]

is false in the given context. Ricardo was a great explainer and systematiser, and the most apparently obvious truths have been – and are – denied by conventional wisdom. But the folly of letting the government borrow money had been fully known – had even been a commonplace of political debate – since at least the 1690s: there are precise complaints scattered through the works of Swift, Bolingbroke, Junius, Adam Smith and Burke, to name only a few objectors. I shall particularly mention David Hume’s essay Of Public Credit. For if somewhat vague about that writer’s epistemology, Mr Willetts has read enough of the economic writings to quote approvingly from the essay Of Money.

Again, his denial of our present drift towards a police state is almost offensive. In case my readers should think that I am now letting prejudice have the better of me, I quote him at some length:

The list of constitutional reforms is quite considerable. The Data Protection Act of 1984 allows everyone access to information held about them on computer records, except for those concerning crime, tax and national security. There is a right for an individual to see his file and insist on changes if the material is incorrect. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984 gives judicial protection to journalists’ notebooks. The Criminal Justice Act of 1988 sets out new, more rigorous rules on treatment of suspects, as well as allowing the press to challenge specific orders restricting their reporting. The Security Service Act of 1989 at last puts the security services on a statutory footing and in the words of the then Home Secretary “for the first time, provides a means of redress for a citizen who thinks that he has a cause for grievance against the service”. The Official Secrets Act, also of 1989, strips “away the criminal law from the great bulk of official information so that budget secrets, draft White Papers on health, correspondence dealing with pension decisions will no longer be subject to an Official Secrets Act.[pp. 159-61]

Anyone who has read the Acts mentioned above, and seen their impact on the case law, will take a less complacent view. In every important respect, they enlarge the power of the State. Such guarantees as they contain of just treatment are rather closer in their effect – and, I believe, in their intent – to the paper rights enjoyed in the old Soviet Bloc than to the solid protections of life, liberty and property that we used to possess under the common law.

But Mr Willetts is a member of Parliament, and, together with wrapping his liberalism in code, turning out smug, emollient drivel of this sort is part of the price that he must pay for his seat. There was a time when no honourable Englishman would have accepted such terms. But today, it is a public duty to accept them: the country cannot be wholly ruled by traitors and buffoons.

Perhaps therefore I should ignore this great blemish on his book – just as I am ignoring his now rather funny praise of John Major as a man of vision and principle.

For the same reason, I overlook his calling Winston Churchill a “transcendently great leader”[p. 18], when everyone with a candid eye for history knows that he was a bloodthirsty old windbag who would have served England far better than he did by drinking himself to death in 1910.

Now, did reading this book dispose me more kindly to the Conservative Party? For a while, it did. It had no effect on my voting intentions. I will vote Conservative nearly regardless of what corruption and misrule I must thereby endorse: the overall result has only to be better than a Labour Government. Nevertheless, for an entire half hour after reading his book I really believed again that the Party was what I thought it was back in 1978 when I first joined it.

That is a remarkable effect for a book to have in March 1993.

Sean Gabb


1. For those interest in following this case further, its full citation can be found in the notes to Chapter 4 of William H. McNeill’s Plagues and Peoples, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1977. Back to document

Amusing and instructive reading for a summer afternoon

David Davis

It’s about the nature of morality. there are many other previous lectures pre-embedded in the post it takes you to first.

We’ve also published stuff like this, from time to time, in our philosphical notes, at the LA archive of publications; see the list of thingies at the top centre of the LA homepage.

The world’s first music video…?


David Davis

A few months ago, we wrote a variant of the old chestnut “How much is a billion?”. My boy ventured an question that demands an extention of the concept. (NOTE: I’m using the generally-accepted definition of a “trillion” as being one million millions, or 1E12, NOT 1E18 as was the original imperial case.)

1E12: A CUBE OF DRIED PEAS…60 metres x 60 x 60. That’s 198 feet or 10,000 peas along each and every edge, or 216,000 cubic metres, or getting on for 200,000 tons I would say. Probably fill a good-sized container ship.

31,711 years is approximately a trillion seconds. As the planet coold as it will,  Al Gore’s house in Tennessee is going to be under several dozen feet of permanently-iced tundra by then. Go and give the lying toad a hard time!

About 2.7 billion years is a trillion days, give or take. No plants (let alone any animals) no sponges even. Possibly the first photosynthetic bacteria, the ancestors of many lines iincluding chloroplasts.

One trillion US Dollars: what Gordon Brown’s stalinists waste in an average year. This is not to say that David Cameron’s less-serious and less-resolute stalinists would waste much less.

The solar wattage (reckoned as Watts per sq metre) arriving at 275 square miles of the earth’s surface at mid-day on the equator. That’s a block of land about 15 by 18 miles. The Amazon Rain Forest fixes less than 2% (2E10 or about 20 GigaWatts, per unit block of 275 sq miles) as biomass.

This 15 x 18-mile block of power (1 TeraWatt) is the same, roughly, as the “mean base load” of electrical energy being used by 340 million Western first-World homes, while 100% of them are cooking Christmas dinner in the Northern Hemisphere midwinter – that’s ALL the houses in Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Turkey and most of the Muddle East.

1E12 watts is also the gross radiated output of 18 square metres, or 21.5 square yards, of the Sun’s surface. In the UK, this is area of a moderately large sitting room, 12 feet by say 16 or 17. (about 56Gw is radiated per square metre, or the total mean amount of generated electric power normally available to the UK on a good day.)

1E12: The number of atoms in a third of a nanogram of Gold (3.27E-10 grams.) It’s about the size of a bacterium, and you MIGHT be able to see it with a good powerful optical microscope. Or maybe not.

1E12: The estimated number of different antibodies (immunoglobulins) which a human immune system is potentially capable of producing.

I may add more!

9/11′s 7th anniversary approaches, and it’s all-but-forgotten. Sean Gabb writes…

Sean Gabb

…thoughts on the 9/11 events just after the event, from a cottage in Greece.

Libertarian Alliance Showcase Publication No-18.

THE FUTURE OF THE USA. (Libertarian Alliance Foreign Policy perspectives, No-36, 2002 (from 2001))

(You may also fly forwards, to a post of 9th September 2008, here.

Light blogging at present (apologies)

See title. We are either out of the country or working hard. Gotta do what we gotta do. Please continue to stop by, for we are stoking up stuff to write about, and the storm-clouds are gathering over the head of Gordon Brown, which will provide interesting commentary-copy for us and others, and may prove problematic for Tony Blair David Cameron.

So, does Lord Carey think the “News of the World” was right that exposure of Max Mosley’s private likes and habits is “in the public interest”?

David Davis

I want humans to become better people, and I want them to want to be that thing. I want them to not have to want to read scurrilous crap, about the sexual leanings of other people, printed by “news papers”. That they want this stuff merely opens doors for supposed “moralists”, which is to say:- stalinists in disguise, to operate controls. My objective is best served by freeing education from the State’s control. Search many earlier posts about education here.

Now, I wouldn’t so sado-masochism if you paid me. (Nor “oral” sex for that matter, whatever that strange and tautologous concept might be.) Or to be spanked, like poor old Sir Max Mosley, in a sexual context? Nah. The “News of the World” , described as a “news paper”, thinks that one person’s private delights ought to be displayed “in the public interest”. Yet, a person described as a “retired archbishop” (does he stop believing in God then, when he “retires” – a strange this for a “man of God” to do, I would have thought…retire?) thinks that such “news papers” ought to be allowed to go on supplying suppurating pus for people, robbed by the State of the ability to make informed judgements, to drink.

I’m not so sure as “Lord” Carey is.

People’s sexual and fetish habits become the property of others in a society where other people have nothing better to do than to want to know about them, for (what is called in Liverpool) “a laff”. This comes about because all other ways to stimulate the brain and mind, such as reading 1950s engineering textbooks on lathe operation, or practising with a reproduction Long-Bow, or learning how to build and drive a computer-aided 5-axis-milling-machine, have been taped off.

It is also reasonable to suppose that what someone wants to get up to in his (or her) bedroom, with or without one - or many - girls (or men) to help, and whether these are paid to help or not, is his (or her) private business. It was obvious to a child of six that a “public interest” defence by the NoW would fail.

Even in a free market, I for one would prefer that “there is no market in the gap” for stories like this, notwitstanding that I would make _no law_ to make publishing them an offence. I would, as I said, prefer that _people_ should find them both uninteresting and intrusional, such that there would be no reason for a “news paper” to publish such a thing.

The solution of course is better people. Perhaps we  libertarians will also have to dissolve them and elect another? Perhaps revolution is harder than it looks?

The interesting thing about the British “Labour” “Party”.

David Davis

The British Labouring-Party wants socialism: its credentials are fine in that regard, for they scoop money from poor-people via “tax-ation”, to be used by themselves. It is after all what socialists are for, and what they have always been for. Just look at the murdering pig Castro, and the other modern murderer Saddam Hussein. Hitler and Stalin were no different. No were the pigs Pol Pot and some robot called “ho chi Mhinh”, nor Mao and Brzhezhniev.

But now it’s faced with a real “di”-”lemma”. (Two problems at once.) It wants to stay in power, so it must get rid of Gordon Brown, or esle its Gauleiters in Westmonster will be out of their jobs at the next election, with nowhere to go since they are institutionally-unemployable. Or, if they wait till then, they’ll go down as a crowd who put in two (or more?) PMs without an election.

Their problem is their lack of Terror-Police. Now, I grant you, they’ve tried hard to instil the terror-factor in the present lot of Fuzz, but in a still-functioning liberal democracy it’s hard to make the Met look quite like the Gestapo or the KGB, even when their squads get to shoot blameless Brazilian electricians and be paid for it.

Labour can’t get out of this jam, for they have not got round, early enough as Lenin and Mao and Castro their friends did, to fixing the opposition via police terror early enough after 1997. They did try but it was too little and too late. Perhaps they thought we were all asleep and it would not be necessary (mostly true I’m afraid.)

They either have to dump an (admittedly inadequate) unlected PM and put in another (unelcted one), which ought to trigger an election which they will lose, or else they have to go on with ths one, who will lose the next election anyway (barring serious accidents.)

What a sad, sad pass for poor socialists, so right as they are, so moral and caring as they are, so correct and so messianically-driven for the common good as they are – to come to.

They are going to get thrown out, again, in a fair fight – as always is the case when one is offered. It’s tru: when people are offered socialism in a free and fair set of choices, they always reject it. So there’s hope, but the big battalions of PR firepower are still on the enemy’s side. 


I can’t blog as much in future. Never mind, for others will take my place, I am working on that matter. Libertarian blogging sadly comes between me and my family, not just in time matters but opinion ones also. It’s called “saving the f*****g world.”

I shall continue to blog when people are not looking. Posts may not be every day.

Sean Gabb to be interviewed by “Tyzden” tomorrow (the main Slovak weekly)

Sean Gabb

1. I shall give a two hour interview tomorrow (Saturday 26th July) to a magazine called Tyzden, which is the main weekly in Slovakia. It will run a four page spread about libertarianism. David D will link it here when it has been published.
2. Derek Jacobi has contributed a puff for the paperback edition of my first novel. There is no link to this review yet, but it will be posted as soon as it appears.

Blast from the Past: Sean Gabb on John Gray

From Free Life, Issue 25, May 1996
ISSN: 0260 5112

After Social Democracy: Politics, Capitalism and the Common Life
John Gray
Demos, 9 Bridewell Place, London, EC4V 6AP, 1996, 62pp, £5.95 (pbk)
ISBN 1 898309 52 3I reached the middle of this pamphlet hoping it was a cry for help. Perhaps John Gray had not become a lefty, but was in fact being held prisoner in the Demos headquarters. Perhaps the odd construction of his pamphlet was a result of the messages concealed within it. I fantasised how Mr Tame and I, alerted by these messages, could dress in black sweaters and break into Demos. We could knock out a few of the sinister, thick-set researchers, untie Dr Gray, and sweep him off to address some Hayek conference in the Bahamas.

Nice fantasy – but I found no messages. I finished the pamphlet convinced that it was all meant to be taken seriously. Its author has reached a new stage in his intellectual wanderings. He has lost not merely his old principles, but also any regard for the rules of composition and good faith.

For example, take, this:

…[M]arket institutions are not freestanding but come embedded in the matrices of particular cultures and their histories. [p.18]

And this:

…’[T]he market’ is not a freestanding institution, the expression of unrestricted freedom and human rationality in the economic realm, but instead an abstraction from an enormous miscellany of practices and institutions having deep roots in social life…. [pp.34-35]

And this:

Market institutions, like political ones, are not detachable from their histories and parent cultures. [p.35]

And this:

…[T]he neoliberal canard that markets are freestanding social relationships, embodying individual freedom and the human propensity to trade to mutual advantage. [p.42]

Or take this:

…[T]he new global freedom of financial capital so hems in national governments as to limit severely… traditional social-democratic full- employment policies. [p.13]

And this:

…[T]he power of the international currency and bond markets is now sufficient to interdict… expansionist policies. [p.25]

And this:

At the century’s end, the global mobility of capital and its power to constrain the freedom of action of sovereign states in economic policy, is vastly greater. [p.28]

And this:

Full employment cannot be promoted by aggressive deficit financing because that is now being interdicted by global bond markets…. [p.32]

And this:

…[G]lobal freedom of capital, and to an increasing degree, of labour, [Dr Gray's punctuation] restricts radically the leverage of sovereign governments in pursuing social- democratic egalitarian goals. [p.44]

These may be good points. But – as Dr Gray must have told his undergraduate students – they are not demonstrated by being thrown over and over again into a rambling stream of consciousness. All else aside, to do so invites the kind of attack that damages without needing to address any substantive issues.

The same is true with bad scholarship. Take, for example:

Macaulay’s observation that the gallows and the hangman stand at the back of James Mill’s utilitarian state… [p.31]

Now, this “observation” is not footnoted. I am not surprised, since I doubt it was ever made; and I am reasonably familiar with the three Edinburgh Review articles that Macaulay gave to the elder Mill’s Essay on Government. But I do know this famous passage in Burke:

On the scheme of this barbarous philosophy, which is the offspring of cold hearts and muddy understandings, and which is as void of solid wisdom as it is destitute of all taste and elegance, laws are to be supported only by their own terrors, and by the concern which each individual may find in them from his own private speculations, or can spare to them from his own private interests. In the groves of their academy, at the end of every vista, you see nothing but the gallows. Nothing is left which engages the affections on the part of the commonwealth.[1]

Though I might have, I do not think I have overlooked something in Macaulay. I have read his entire published works more than once; and I have a memory that seldom lets me down. I simply believe that Dr Gray had Burke in mind, but could not be bothered to check.2

Enough of this, however. I have shown that Dr Gray needs more editorial assistance than Demos is able or willing to provide. But I prefer to concentrate on what he has to say, rather than on how badly he says it. His substantive faults are that he accepts every absurdity that has appeared in The Guardian, and that he systematically – and perhaps deliberately – confuses the meaning of words.

The first of these faults I will not discuss at length. The failure of demand management is the effect of much more than disobedient bond markets. Anyone who cannot now accept this never will. It is the second fault that most interests me. In an earlier work that I reviewed in these pages, I noted how Dr Gray claimed to be attacking the “New Right” but discussed only anarcho-capitalism. In many cases, he took arguments from Hayek without credit and used them against positions that, by default, he alleged were Hayekian.3 This time, he reverses the process. He takes almost every new right argument, and ascribes the lot to every member of the new right. This allows him to describe what are actually differences within a broad coalition as contradictions within a single philosophy. Thus, he can make fun of “us”:

…[T]here arose the familiar paradox of market libertarianism, in which it generated a species of authoritarian individualism resting on the political foundations of a centralist state. [p.31]

Were we governed by market libertarians, this would be more than a stale soundbite. But we are not; and for all he denounces the “unrestrained market individualism of the 1980s” [p.14], Dr Gray is unable to argue otherwise. He ignores the Financial Services Act 1986, and the companies and money laundering legislation of that decade, and the increasing size and sophistication of the welfare state, and levels of personal taxation that no Labour Government had ever dared impose. He ignores that plain fact that, whatever their rhetoric, the Thatcher and Major Governments have been far less concerned with liberating individuals than with stopping the collapse of the corporate state they inherited in 1979. To be sure, some of their measures – ending exchange control, for instance, or deregulating the spectacle market – were libertarian. But that no more makes them into libertarians than a farmer who, for marketing reasons, closes his battery and lets his hens run free becomes a vegan.

It may be pardonable for Andrew Gamble to put out this “free market and strong state” nonsense. But he has the excuse of having been a communist all his adult life. Dr Gray, however, has written for the Libertarian Alliance, and ought to be at least aware of the savage attacks its other writers have made on things like video censorship, Clause 28, the Poll Tax, gun control, the war on drugs, identity cards, and the general shredding of the Common Law. He knows that there are libertarians who believe in free markets and fear a strong state, and that there are tories who believe in a strong state and fear free markets, and that there are others who believe something in between. To obscure this, to conflate wildly different schools of thought into one, is culpable misrepresentation.

As for his repetitive talk of “freestanding institutions”, this also is delusive. If we take all his above statements – if we regard them as “freestanding” – they are plainly true. Actual markets are not separable from the societies in which they exist, but are things that arise from particular moral outlooks – these being varying degrees of respect for life, liberty and justly-acquired property. It is also true that one set of market institutions cannot be copied unchanged between societies with different moral outlooks. But this is the libertarian consensus. It is what Hayek says, and Rothbard, and both Friedmans, to name just a few. So what is Dr Gray trying to prove? That markets are inherently undesirable? He might as well use the fact that the Rhine flows west and the Danube east to disprove that water runs downhill. To argue against market reforms, it is not good enough to show that different societies have different market institutions. It is necessary to show that there are not certain regularities of human conduct that governments ignore to the disadvantage of those they rule.

Dr Gray does not show this, because it would require more ability to reason than he has lately been able to show. But he does try; and it is one of his assumptions. Look at page 48, where he deplores “those liberalisms” which

foster a legalist and constitutionalist mirage, in which the delusive certainty of legal principles is preferred to the contingencies and compromises of political practice, where a settlement among communities and ways of life, always temporary, can alone be found.

There is a tendency for these soft, Latinate words to drift through the mind without registering. But they are an argument for politicising justice – to let fewer disputes go before the judges to be decided by due process of law, and to give more discretion to people like Michael Howard. Beyond this, they show that Dr Gray has fallen into a moral nihilism that does not allow different ways of life to be compared even on instrumental grounds. For him, there are no regularities of conduct, nor universal standards of well-being. He cannot denounce female circumcision as a barbarous act, or praise limited government as a benefit to which all peoples should aspire. His view of humanity is one without any common standards of right and wrong, in which strength alone determines what rules are to be followed.

This pamphlet is formally about what social democrats should be thinking in the 1990s. All it really shows is that, having taken a stand in every other part of the political spectrum, Dr Gray is now drifting towards the “third way” national socialists. In a sense, he is already there, with his earth-worshipping mysticism. Is Demos happy about this? Are Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s happy to continue funding an organisation that is?

To conclude, After Social Democracy is in every sense a regrettable pamphlet. It succeeds only in illustrating the cultural decline that it often laments. There was a time, I believe, when an undergraduate at Oxford would have been sent down for producing something so incoherent and feeble. Today, it seems, any tenured academic there can get it published by Demos, and have it cried up as the last thing in political wisdom.

Sean Gabb


1. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), “Everyman” edition, J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1910, pp. 74-75.

2. I believe this partly because Burke expresses so well the charge that Dr Gray is trying to make – and partly for reasons very flattering to me. I quoted the above passage in a review of another of Dr Gray’s works [Beyond the New Right: Market, Government and the Common Environment, Routledge, London, 1993, reviewed in Free Life, No.20, August 1994]. As is my custom, I sent him a copy of the review. As seems to be his custom, he ignored my invitation to reply. I now think, however, that he did read it. For I also quoted Macaulay there; and it may be that, writing in haste, Dr Gray garbled the names and quotations into the wrong order. Of course, I hope that I am wrong. Though flattering to me if true, this would be quite damning to his scholarly reputation.

3. For details, see note 1. above.

I like this creative solution. Comments from our blogateriat welcomed.

David Davis

Little Man, What Now? has an interesting suggestion about the British Socialist (= deliberate-education-destroyer) Government’s predicament in which it find itself. this predicament is about how to up-spin this year’s SATS results for the children of the People’s Proletariat – to make it look as if even more non-teaching means even more success than ever before for state schools.

Little Man is a very sound blog: he is much more intellectually rigorous about morality and liberalism than perhaps even we are. I wish I had his patence.

Strong and weak horses

David Davis

Interesting takes on the current anti-religious chappie, who is currently pretending to be an “Archbishop of Canterbury”. You either love Peter Hitchens or you hate him, like Marmite or Vegemite. I take no official position on any of these three.

Osama bin Laden, while he was alive, interestingly compared the natural liking, by Men, for a strong horse, with something interesting in a Sartro-Gramscian sense: it was the liking (by other men, with whom he implicitly compared our own western stalinist lefties who try to engender in us and especially our children, an institutionalised hatred for our own culture) for a weak horse.

And here’s some Peter Hitchens’ earlier stuff, on the deliberate destroying of education for the “masses” (have you every wondered why British Wireless Tele Vision “programmes” are so bad and so full of live invective?) and why it’s going on, which echoes something of my writings here from time to time, I am happy to say.

Glasgow East….Getting what they deserve…or what the stalinists decree?

David Davis

This piece from Devil’s Kitchen contains perhaps the most thoughtful and insightful comments from respondents that I have seen recently about this sad place. Here’s one in full, with which I can personally agree from experience of having to teach some of these poor, miserable, robbed youths:-

” …if you live in shit and continue to elect the people who keep you in shit simply because, historically, your family has always voted for shit, then possibly all you are going to get is… well… shit. “Yup. Exactly. And Tories and Liberals are exactly the same. I’m nearly 56, pity it took me more than 45 years to learn that for myself.I bitterly regret the day I first picked up a copy of the Guardian; and the same for the day I first watched the beeb. Long time ago now.Too late for me … but I’ve taken to talking to gangs of youngsters when I come across them hanging around on street corners. I was shocked (really) when I first discovered that almost none of them even know the names of any political party other than Labour (really). Shocked to discover that none knew anything at all of our pathetic electoral processes. Don’t you learn Civics in school? Politics? No. Don’t you do Citizenship classes? Yes. What do you do in them? Islam. Yes, seriously – I’ve been told exactly this. And I do not ask leading questions.

Then they start asking me questions, always questions. And naturally enough, I give them answers  :) . I’ve been as long as an hour trying to get away to get back home – but there’s always one more question.

These kids aren’t stupid. They KNOW that something’s wrong in their lives, but they don’t know enough to know what it is (LA italics). No adult ever takes them seriously, and when someone like me comes along and does take them seriously then they start asking their serious questions – give them straight unpatronising answers and they can’t get enough of it – every answer leads to more questions.

They aren’t thick – they’ve just been kept deliberately ignorant. And they know it.

7/13/2008 03:33:00 PM  

Brilliant hammerblow, Devil, well done. Here’s Peter Hitchens, on the same tack. I’ve also flagged him in a post to appear in the future, since blogs enable time-travel.

I have “nothing to add”.

David Davis

Have the Trash Who Rule Us Done Something Half-Decent?

Sean Gabb

(For those not familiar with the background to this story, the Blogmaster adds a comment:-

Since the Socialists set out to destroy British civilisation in earnest for what they thought would need only to be the last time, in May 1997, there have been carefully-disguised but also sharply-rising crime levels against the person.  In particular a recent spate of lethal stabbings of (mostly) teenagers and young men, in the citadels of New-Labour-urban-Stalinist-Soviets, such as Britain’s major cities – where their Political Writ runs most surely.

So……the government seems intent on letting citizens take back some of the burden of law-enforcement and retribution. Truly, we are heading backwards into the future. The real solution is of couorse based on only two things:-

(1) Better people, this to be ensured (but it will take some time) by abolishing all the trappings of politically-correct socialist “education strategy” in the UK,

(2) Armed people, which is to say that weapons, possibly up to and including semi-automatic firearms, may be kept by Freeholders or (nett) taxpayers.)

(3) And here’s some other stuff about crime statistics and “reporting” of same.

Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (c. 4)
  Main body
  Part 5 Criminal law

Reasonable force for purposes of self-defence etc.
This section applies where in proceedings for an offence
an issue arises as to whether a person charged with the offence ( D) is entitled to rely on a defence within subsection (2), and
the question arises whether the degree of force used by D against a person ( V) was reasonable in the circumstances.
The defences are
the common law defence of self-defence; and
the defences provided by section 3(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 (c. 58) or section 3(1) of the Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 (c. 18 (N.I.))(use of force in prevention of crime or making arrest).
Click to open 76 Reasonable force for purposes of self-defence etc.Prospective - this provision has not yet been brought into effect


The question whether the degree of force used by D was reasonable in the circumstances is to be decided by reference to the circumstances as D believed them to be, and subsections (4) to (8) also apply in connection with deciding that question.
If D claims to have held a particular belief as regards the existence of any circumstances
the reasonableness or otherwise of that belief is relevant to the question whether D genuinely held it; but
if it is determined that D did genuinely hold it, D is entitled to rely on it for the purposes of subsection (3), whether or not
it was mistaken, or
(if it was mistaken) the mistake was a reasonable one to have made.
Prospective Version Click to view attributes for this levelProspective - this provision has not yet been brought into effect

Self-defence etc.

But subsection (4)(b) does not enable D to rely on any mistaken belief attributable to intoxication that was voluntarily induced.
The degree of force used by D is not to be regarded as having been reasonable in the circumstances as D believed them to be if it was disproportionate in those circumstances.
In deciding the question mentioned in subsection (3) the following considerations are to be taken into account (so far as relevant in the circumstances of the case)
that a person acting for a legitimate purpose may not be able to weigh to a nicety the exact measure of any necessary action; and
that evidence of a person’s having only done what the person honestly and instinctively thought was necessary for a legitimate purpose constitutes strong evidence that only reasonable action was taken by that person for that purpose.
Subsection (7) is not to be read as preventing other matters from being taken into account where they are relevant to deciding the question mentioned in subsection (3).
This section is intended to clarify the operation of the existing defences mentioned in subsection (2).
In this section
legitimate purpose means
the purpose of self-defence under the common law, or
the prevention of crime or effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of persons mentioned in the provisions referred to in subsection (2)(b);
references to self-defence include acting in defence of another person; and
references to the degree of force used are to the type and amount of force used.

GOLF: It’s the “British Open”, at the Royal Birkdale

David Davis

ITEM: I’ve just been castigated by the same chum (mentioned below) for calling it the “British Open”. it’s the “Open Championship”, and then if you beat everyone, it is indeed a bonus because you get £750,000, and it’s all yours. No team mates as in “Foot Ball” (see “Foot Ball”  wikilink below, if you don’t know what that stuff is.)

Traffic chaos in town, espec round the Royal Birkdale, where the Open is going on now. Even so, parts of it looked very exciting on the Wireless Tele Vision. (The Golf, that is: not the traffic…)

Golf, although I can’t begin even to know how to play it, seems to me a more libertarian game than “Foot Ball“. None of this “team” stuff and all that collectivist nonsense, to worry about. You just try to play better and better, and if you beat somebody else, it’s a bonus.

It is to be hoped that all our local traders will take the opportunity to make plenty of money.

Oh, and the British Police will just have to go. One made an issue of my waiting (with engine on and flasher lights going) at a pre-arranged rendezvous in Gainsborough Road to pick up my old friend, a golf fanatic, and fined me £30 (about $60 USD.) His Gestapo chum, at the junction, had let me drive down there 3 minutes before. I had the purpose of plastic yellow cones explained to me, in public, in front of 20,000 exiting visitors.

If the Police in the UK have nothing better to do than to issue parking tickets to non-criminals, then they really have served out their usefulness. I think that a “Libertarian administration” – if that is not tautological – would find better things to do with policemen, or maybe it would contract out Law & Order to real householders.

Interestingly sinister extension of “Political Correctness” into other language-denial-areas.

David Davis

The Blog of Walker comments on criticism by the Racist left, of alternative use-of-language.

Sean Gabb on Neville Chamberlain and Two Stupid Wars

Sean Gabb

Free Life Commentary,
an independent journal of comment
published on the Internet

Issue Number 99
9th April 2003

Neville Chamberlain, Appeasement and the British Road to War
Frank McDonagh
Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, 1998, 196pp, £14.99 (pbk)
ISBN 0 7190 4382 X
Reviewed by Sean Gabb

I read through this book during my lunch break today, sat in an unusually warm and sunny Kensington park. An old man saw the cover with its bold title and rather nice line drawing of Chamberlain. “Neville Chamberlain?” He said to me with an accusing stare. “What a wanker he was.” I thought of putting the book down and starting an argument about the realities of British foreign policy before 1940. But lunch breaks for me are far too unusual for wasting on argument with someone who would only start ranting about Saddam Hussein and plastic shredders or whatever—and I get quite enough of that from the Internet. So I smiled and carried on reading.

His reaction, though, was no more than the conventional wisdom. Despite more than 30 years of revisionist scholarship, Neville Chamberlain is still seen by the world exactly as those in and around the first Churchill Government wanted him to be seen. That view is of a weak and confused man out of his depth in the snakepit of European politics. With his rolled umbrella and wing collar, he blundered round Europe in the late 1930s, deceived at every point by bad men of greater intelligence, but hoping that he could settle German demands for territory as peacefully as he might settle a strike in a Birmingham button factory. In the process, he refused to let the country re-arm sufficiently to face the inevitable conflict in defence of liberal civilisation. His name has become shorthand for weakness and self-delusion in foreign policy. “Appeaser” has become one of the ultimate insults in political debate throughout the English-speaking world; and every argument over the present war with Iraq must include some slighting reference to Neville Chamberlain and some lavish praise of Winston Churchill, his apparently more realistic and courageous antithesis.

In fact, this view of Chamberlain has largely disappeared from the scholarly literature. What we have instead is a cool understanding of the limitations of British power in a changing and increasingly hostile world. This book expresses the view briefly yet fully, and it gives useful extracts in support from contemporary documents, and contains a good bibliography for further reading. As such, it is an excellent introduction to the subject for students and for those simply interested in the approach to the greatest war ever fought by this country and the last in which it entered as a primary belligerent.

And that is all I will say about the book. I am reviewing it simply as an excuse for writing more about British foreign policy – this time from the perspective of the 1930s.

Undoubtedly, the Great War had been a disaster for this country. It was an act of stupidity to enter it, and even more stupid not to try for a negotiated settlement in 1916. It had killed nearly a million men, and left many more maimed. Its financial cost had been immense, requiring heavy taxes and a devaluation of Sterling, and a tenfold increase in the national debt. It had also distorted patterns of investment. The vast overseas portfolio built up during the previous generations had been partly liquidated and replaced by heavy indebtedness to American interests. Internally, capital had diverted into an unsustainable expansion of heavy industry—areas in which the country had for some time been losing its comparative advantage, and the products of which could no longer be readily sold in an increasingly fragmented and economically hostile world market. The years before 1914 were not some long, golden summer. But to those looking back from the years after 1918, that is how they often seemed.

But while disastrous, the Great War had not for us been a catastrophe. It was, if in various ways, for Germany, France, Russia and Turkey—but not for us. It had not been fought on our territory. Nor had it been followed by any serious challenge to the established order. Though these did not at all justify the heavy costs, it had even been attended by certain benefits. Germany and Russia and Turkey were destroyed by defeat and revolution. France was prostrate. The United States had briefly emerged as an active great power, only to return to a determined isolationism. In terms of naval supremacy and imperial security, the country was restored to something like the position it had enjoyed after Waterloo. And, while taking the German colonies was of no value, the despoiling of Turkey had given us control over the Middle East and its increasingly important oil reserves.

By 1920, it was clear that the Great War had ripped holes in the financial web that had once bound the world to the City of London. There could be no exact return to the position of 1914. But, if it had shaken the foundations of British power, the War had not undermined them. Something like the old position could still be restored. It was necessary to make a complex and difficult set of changes. At home, it was necessary to cut taxes and spending back towards the levels of 1914, and to force down the price level to the point where the gold standard could be restored at the old parity. At the same time, the over-expansion of heavy industry had to be reversed, so that labour and capital could flow into the more productive new sectors—cars, chemicals, electricals, general light engineering, and so forth.

In the Empire, it was necessary to reduce the commitment to India —returning to something like the system of indirect rule used before the Mutiny—and to shift the balance of imperial interest to the now more valuable Middle East. Outside the Empire, it was necessary to restore as much as possible of the old financial and trading system.

Any one of these required much effort and some luck to achieve. Astonishingly, most of them had been achieved after a fashion by the 1930s. The Great Depression had put an end for the moment to hard money and free trade, but caused little harm overall to the domestic economy. The unemployment and other hardships were mostly confined to the declining heavy industries. From the Midlands down, the country was enjoying a steady increase of output and living standards. Indeed, looked at from about 1935, the Great Depression seemed to serve British world interests rather well.

After 1918, the only potential challenger was the United States. Its size and wealth appeared to place it beyond all hope of competition. If it wanted to outbuild the Royal Navy, it could. However, its prevailing constitutional and moral order made a challenge unlikely. Though it might take an occasional interest outside the Americas, it was essentially isolationist. Though it might have the cash to challenge British primacy, it lacked the will. It had been tricked into the Great War to serve British interests. Now, it had largely withdrawn. The Great Depression seemed to confirm its impotence. The general collapse of its economy after 1931, and the emergence of mass unemployment—averaging, I think, around 35 million—threw it proportionately into a scale of suffering quite unknown in this country. Moreover, the election of Franklin Roosevelt had opened it to a departure from economic orthodoxy that opinion in this country rightly saw as likely to keep it in depression for as far ahead as could reasonably be seen.

All this country needed to consolidate the recovery was time – time for the new arrangements at home and abroad to take full effect. What had to be avoided at all costs was another big war. That would destroy all the cautious but solid progress made since the removal of Lloyd George from power in 1922. The Treaty of Locarno had got us out of all practical European connections after 1925—the guarantee to both France and Germany was in effect a guarantee to neither, as it justified a refusal to enter into close military relations with either. The League of Nations was a useful means of imposing British will elsewhere in the world where it was no longer convenient to act unilaterally.

By 1935, the country had never in living memory enjoyed such profound home and imperial security, or spent so little of the national income on defence. Let all this continue, and by 1960, the financial and strategic costs of the Great War would have scarred over as surely as those of the Napoleonic wars had a century before.

This is the background against which Adolf Hitler was viewed by this country’s ruling class. There is no need, I think, to argue that he was a thoroughly bad man. He turned Germany into a semi-socialist police state, and tainted with his embrace what had previously been one of the homelands of liberal civilisation. However, I share the official perception of his early years that he was no threat to this country. His published writings and speeches at the time, and his private conversations made available after his death, all point to a settled ambition. This was to expand German power deep into Eastern Europe. He wanted to gather up the Germanic fragments of the Habsburg Empire under his own rule, and to conquer large colonies of settlement for the German people in Poland and western Russia. That was the consistent purpose of his foreign policy in the east. In the west, his only declared and perceptible aim was to reach a settlement with Britain that would give him a free hand in the east.

Yes, we are told endlessly that his eastern policy was just his first step to conquering the world. Give him Poland and Western Russia and their great resources, the claim goes, and give him the lack of an enemy to the east—Soviet Russia being destroyed—and he would surely turn eventually on Britain. I suppose he might have. But he might also have died his hair green, or applied to join a kibbutz, or had an early sex change operation. In deciding what someone might have done in circumstances different from those he actually faced, we can say nothing for sure. If we want to say anything at all, we can only do so in the light of his stated or revealed intentions. For Hitler, there is no evidence that his ambitions stretched to a conquest or even a humbling of Britain.

He had a sincere, if not always well informed, admiration of Britain and the British Empire. He respected our victory in the Great War, and wanted to avoid another conflict. He did not share the desire of other German nationalists for a return of the lost German colonies. He had no interest in naval construction, and went out of his way to condemn the naval race that had poisoned Anglo-German relations after 1898. He signed a naval agreement with us in 1935, and I think this is the only treaty he ever made that he took care to observe. When the Arabs rose against us in Palestine, they sent emissaries to him in Berlin, seeking financial support. Since they were all good anti-semites, one might have thought they would reach a deal. But Hitler refused all help, declaring in effect that he would not lift a finger against white rule over the coloured races.

It is possible that victory in the east would have raised his ambitions in the west. We cannot be sure that it would not. But neither can we assume that he would have been any more successful in his invasion of Russia than he actually was after June 1941. Without facing us, he would not have had to divide his forces between France, North Africa and the Balkans. At the same time, he would not have had forces hardened in those wars, or the record of invincibility that for a while silenced his internal critics. And the Russian winters would have been no less ruinous of invaders than it had always been before. He would probably have taken Moscow and Leningrad. But I do not know how much further into the Eurasian landmass he could have reached. He would have faced much the same war of attrition with the partisans, and would probably have had to keep a vast army of occupation in the east before it could be made safe for German settlement. He might well have been able to present no threat of any kind to the west. His only contact with us might have been endless requests for loans, and complaints at our unwillingness to join his crusade against Bolshevism.

Even otherwise, he would have dominated much the same area as Stalin did after 1945, and done so at a comparative disadvantage. Most obviously, he was not the acknowledge head of an international conspiracy to spread his rule. He had no bands of committed followers stirring up trouble everywhere from China to Peru. As its name suggests, national socialism was not an ideology for export. It was an ideology of Aryan domination. Even in other Aryan countries, it had little following. Oswald Mosley made a big noise in this country for a while, but never came close to electoral significance. Under Soviet rule after 1945, the Slavs of Eastern Europe went into their factories and film studios and, for a while, worked with something like unforced gratitude for their masters. Under Hitler, they had to be coerced from the start.

Granted, his economic policies were less insanely destructive. At the same time, the expectations of his people were higher, and they had been less frightened by his tyranny out of expressing them. And he was a socialist. If he had presided over a recovery from the Great Depression, that recovery was running into trouble after 1938. Inflation could only be hidden by wage and price controls, and was evidenced instead by shortages of consumer goods—see, for example, how the German forces sent into the Czechlands in March 1939 stripped the shops in Prague bare of things like razor blades and overcoats. Not all the frenzied rhetoric in the world could have saved Hitler’s revolution from running out of steam after 1940. It was only the war that kept up a semblance of prosperity into the middle of the decade.

A German domination of the east might have involved us eventually in a cold war. But ours would have been an unexhausted, unbankrupted, unhumiliated Britain and British Empire. There would have been no American support. Neither though would there have been need of any.

There are two further points to be made against me. The first was made by a friend last week, as we sat arguing over what I have just written. Suppose, he asked, Hitler had not only failed to conquer Russia, but had lost. Suppose Stalin had all by himself beaten Hitler and conquered all the way to Germany. Would this not have been worse for us? There would have been no limit to the prestige of Communism, and every Comintern agitator throughout the world would have had a glorious time against liberal civilisation. At least in the real war, the victory was shared between us and them.

I have no answer to this point. It requires more detailed understanding than I have of the relative balance of forces in hypothetical circumstances between Russia and Germany. But while it strikes me as reasonable to say that Hitler might not have won very easily, I find it hard to believe that he could have lost to Stalin.

The second point is the atrocities committed by the Germans. These are often used as justification for going to war. Do I not care about these? My answer is that I do not think they were grounds in themselves for war. An individual has all manner of moral responsibilities, and looking to these will by no means be always in his own interest. A government, however, is a trustee of the nation to which it is accountable, and must look only to the interests of that nation. It would be wrong for our government to visit positive evils on foreigners. It would be right for it to perform such good offices for them as did not involve much cost to us. But it has neither the duty nor the right to go about the world acting as some knight errant, putting down the bad and raising the good. When we talk about the British Government, the adjective is at least as important as the noun.

It must also be said that the worst atrocities were committed towards the end of a general war, and do not seem to have been long premeditated. They happened at a time in which fear of defeat and a misplaced desire for revenge had extinguished the usual moral feeling, and in places far removed from the battlefields that most attracted western curiosity. I have no doubt that an invasion of Russia after about 1943 would have resulted in great atrocities. But I do doubt if these would have been so bloody as the ones actually on record.

Of course, we cannot be definite on what would have happened had there been no outbreak of war in 1939. But the worst I can imagine for us is no worse than did happen after 1945. And it could easily have been better.

This being so, it was not our business if Hitler wanted to tear up the 1919 settlement in the east. It involved us in dangers that can only now be demonstrated behind a mass of subjunctives. Nor, to be fair, was there anything we could have done to stop him. Our guarantee to Poland was a nonsense, bearing in mind our lack of ability to send help. Even if we had—as is often urged—intervened to stop the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, or the union with Austria, or the occupation of the Sudentenland, we probably had not the military power to enforce our will, even against a Hitler weaker than he became. Nor would there have been the public support at home or abroad to legitimise such pre-emptive actions.

And so the policy of Neville Chamberlain was neither cowardly not absurd. It reflected the realities of British power and British interests at that time. I do not accept the accusations of some American conservatives that Winston Churchill was equal to Hitler or Stalin in his infamy. They are angry that he got their country into a war from which it emerged supreme abroad but ruined in its constitutional and moral order at home. I sympathise with this complaint. But he was in every sense a better person.

Even so, did ruin this country. He did so because he never understood the true foundations of British greatness. He saw that splash of red on the map of the world, and never realised that he was looking only at the effect, not at the cause. His ambition was “to make the old dog sit up and wag its tail”. In fact, what he wanted for us before 1940, and what he did to us after, was the equivalent of making an invalid get up from his bed and dance too soon after an operation. He brought on the collapse that the Great War had only threatened. He undermined the foundations of our greatness abroad, and at home acted as the front man for a socialist revolution. For five years, he dressed and spoke and acted as if the traditional order was safe in his hand—while quietly behind his back it was taxed and regulated and smeared out of existence. “Why worry? We’ve had a Labour Government since 1940″ was the comment of one observer after the 1945 general election.

All considered, the 20th century as it actually ran was not too bad for this country. We did not lose any big wars, or have a revolution or civil war. We did not even suffer a real economic or financial collapse. Within a few years of each of the two big wars, we had recovered our old living standards in full and were making rapid continued progress. We ended the century as the third or fourth richest and the second most powerful country in the world. We are even remarkably free in practice to live as we please. We did far better than I think we deserved. But it could have been better still. If only we had kept out of those dreadful wars and remained masters of our own fate, the whole world, I have no doubt, would have been a better place.

Teen, crime, boredom, knives, murder, work.

David Davis

Thank God somebody’s got round to saying it. I wish we had first, but you can’t have everything in life.

Truly, it is impossible to face reality, without being a conservative first.

Thank you, Johnathan Pearce!

More about “Fairtrade” and fraud-scams.

David Davis

The Torygraph has this today.

John Say, of our gentleman-type-writer team, said this a few months ago too – 18th March 2008.

“Fair Trade” kit does not solve any problems – a typical erroneous fascist left “solution” for the wrong problem. Sadly, and expensively, the right solution is to abolish (it may have to be colonially, but I’d hope not) the socialist dictocracies set up in the wake of “decolonisation” by the denizens of the Bandung Generation – egged on as they were by well-meaning but cretinous Western governments.

We’ll also have to clear out most of the current crop of teachocrats in Britain’s state schools and (most of) its Universities too. I’ve no idea what they will do to earn a crust, so therefore I am so very very sorry for them and their families in this eventuality: it’s their problem for they brought us to it – but they won’t be allowed near a school, a university, or a computer, or a telephone, for a very very very long time, if at all. I guess that they will just have to learn to be sensible plasterers or brickies’-mates, or just drive tractors…no, that’s too responsible a job, they might run over a Libertarian non-politician accidentlaly-on-purpose.

This is a very un-Libertarian solution to a problem not of our making. All we were was asleep. (I suppose that’s bad, yes.)

I’m beginning to think that pure, passive Libertarianism, unleavened by some revolutionary activity, is not going to be enough any more.

Sometimes I get very angry. Sorry.

The Lords

David Davis

I have a proposal, not necessarily supported by the Libertarian Alliance, but I blog, therefore I think it ought to be discussed. The UK House of Lords ought to be hereditary. If the Zanu-Laborg scum have abolished most of the heredits, that’s their problem, not mine. the remiaining ones will have to do, until they can beget more. Here’s some stuff:- (We’ve got to start winding the clock forwards somewhere, from the cesspit of socialism into which we have allowed ourselves to fall while we were celebrating, shagging, drinking or whatever, to the “end of communism”) so here’s a good place to start.)

The point about “Lords” is that they ought, in the 21st century, to represent property interests. All that can be taxed, in the end, is property. If we are to agree that people ought to be taxed, to pay for whatever nugatory stuff government feels it has to do under a Libertarian Dispensation, then there ought to be a “house” which represents the most major taxees.

If property is to be allowed to be passed down generations, then the concept of a “Lords” is universal: if I have “property”, then my children ought to be allowed to have it after I die. If they cannot, then I and they are state property, to be farmed.

Re: [eurorealist] Fw: The coming police state – Lords to be neutered: the police to be centralised 
Date: 15/07/2008 15:41:22 GMT Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Looking at the crooks and charlatans that now appear to make up many in the House of Lords, I want the heredity peers back. At least they knew which country they represented, and I do not care how old some of them were.
                         Terry Pendrous
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 8:13 AM
Subject: [eurorealist] Fw: The coming police state – Lords to be neutered: the police to be centralised
—– Original Message —–
From: “Robert Henderson” <>
To: “Robert Henderson” <>
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2008 4:31 PM
Subject: The coming police state – Lords to be neutered: the police to be

daily telegraph

Number of peers in House of Lords could be nearly halved By Patrick
Hennessy, Political Editor, and Jon Swaine Last Updated: 9:07AM BST

The number of peers in the House of Lords could be reduced from 735 to
400 under proposals to be unveiled today by Jack Straw, the Justice

Lords could also become full-time parliamentarians, elected for fixed
terms of between 12 and 15 years by large regional constituencies and
paid a salary of about £60,000, under the plans. A range of potential
measures for reforming the Upper House will be detailed today by Mr
Straw in a White Paper. The document will expand on options granted by
votes last year in the House of Commons, in which MPs decided that the
Lords should be either 80 or 100 per cent elected.
No final decision will be made until after the next general election,
which is expected to take place in 2010. The three main parties are all
expected to put their proposals for Lords reform to voters as part of
their manifestos. Parliament will then vote on the exact details of the
reformed chamber’s make-up following the election. Mr Straw’s
preference, thought to be shared by the Prime Minister, is for the Lords
to be 80 per cent elected and 20 per cent appointed under a similar
method to the present system. Several ministers favour all peers being
elected, while others favour leaving the House of Lords as it is. In
last year’s vote, David Cameron backed an 80 per cent-elected Lords, but
there have been no official Conservative plans for Lords reform since
then. A final decision on the most contentious issue – how to replace
those already in the Lords – is likely to be delayed, potentially for
years. However, Mr Straw’s White Paper will suggest a series of options
such as waiting for peers to die or forcing parties to remove some of
their existing numbers. The remaining hereditary peers – numbering
about 92 after a deal done between Labour and the Tories in 1999 –
would have no place in the new-look Lords and would be phased out.

daily telegraph
Police force mergers back on the agenda
By Christopher Hope, Home Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 1:16AM BST 14/07/2008

Police force mergers are the only way to preserve frontline jobs,
ministers will disclose this week.

The prospect of combining forces will return to the agenda, when the
Police Green Paper is published on Thursday. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith
has included a suggestion to let forces merge voluntarily. Under
controversial plans proposed three years ago, around half of the 43
forces in England and Wales were set to be scrapped, creating as few as
17 “super forces”.
The Green Paper will say that while officials are happy to see forces
merge, there will be no coercion from central Government. Officials
believe that there is a strong economic case for bringing forces
together, not least for the money that can be saved by having fewer
forces ordering IT and police cars. Police sources said there will be a
greater incentive on forces to merge as police budgets are progressively
squeezed over the next three years. Candidates for mergers included
Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, Lancashire and Cumbria and Warwickshire
and Northamptonshire. A major stumbling block could be that the Home
Office is reluctant to pay for mergers. Last time the total bill was
estimated to be £800million. Rather, ministers are understood to have
told some forces that any merger costs should come out of the likely
efficiency savings over the following 10 years. Police force mergers
were raised by Home Office minister Tony McNulty in evidence to the home
affairs select committee two weeks ago.
He said the logic still remained for mergers – but they will not be
“enforced from above”. Rather the Home Office would welcome forces which
came to it with merger plans.
He said: “I still start from the premise that I think, without
re-opening the entire merger debate, 43 constabularies for the best part
of 50-odd million people in England and Wales is too many.”
The Home Office was forced to drop the plans two years ago after an
outcry from some forces and MPs. Part of the problem was that ministers
were forcing mergers on reluctant forces.
Plans to merge forces were first proposed by a report from Her Majesty’s
inspectorate of Constabulary which said most forces were too small to
tackle terrorism and cross-border crime.
But the scheme was dropped amid complaints that there would be a lack of
local accountability and that the plans would be too expensive. The
Green Paper is also set to adopt some of the proposals set out in Sir
Ronnie Flanagan’s report earlier this year on red tape which could free
up frontline officers’ time. It will also suggest that more than half of
the police authorities in England and Wales are made up of directly
elected members of Crime Reduction Partnerships. Ministers will be
hoping that this will increase local people’s involvement in their
police forces.

Robert Henderson
Blair Scandal website: blairscandal/
Personal website:

More on Sean Gabb at the Oxford Union, 6th November 2008

Sean Gabb

As blogged earlier, I’ve been invited to speak to the Oxford Union this coming autumn term.

The topic will be officially announced later, and speaking to it, I shall explain why our Labour Government does not need a police state to fight the war on terror: it wants the war on terror as an
excuse for a police state.

Report on Property and Freedom Society Conference in Bodrum

Sean Gabb
Free Life Commentary
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 173
4th July 2008

The Third Meeting of the Property and Freedom Society,
Bodrum, May 2008:
A Brief Record
by Sean Gabb

I dreamed last night of the Hotel Karia Princess in Bodrum. I do this perhaps once a week. Last night, though, the dream was unusually vivid. I was walking down the stone steps from the Migros supermarket, a bag in each hand. On my left, at the foot of the step, the taxi drivers were gossiping loud in Turkish and chain smoking. The sun beat down on me from overhead. I could smell the dust of the road and of the aromatic plants all around. Directly across the road, the Hotel shimmered vast and white.

I cannot remember going in through the revolving doors into the cool, marble interior. But as I write, I can imagine the smiles of the reception staff, and the endless loop of the Third Movement of Mozart�s Jupiter Symphony, and being called over by Paul Gottfried checking his e-mail, or Justin Raimondo, or by one of the semi-permanent German guests.

It is now two years since my first conference there with the Property and Freedom Society. I got the e-mailed invitation out of the blue from Hans-Hermann Hoppe. How he found me and why he wanted me I have never thought to ask him. But his conference was set to happen in the middle of my summer term, and I was minded at first to send a polite refusal. But I discussed it with Chris Tame as he sat in his hospital bed waiting for death.

“You�ve got to go, Sean” he had said, looking up from the list of attendees. “Whatever people say about him—and, let’s face it, all his enemies are envious windf*ck*rs who don’t like us either—Hoppe is the Big Man of the Movement. Now Rothbard is gone, he�s it.” He brushed aside my whines about teaching commitments, and sent me off to book my ticket.

And so, just over two years ago—after a journey that involved the failed theft of my wallet at Heathrow, and a most civilised encounter with a Turkish customs official who found Chris� Swiss Army knife in my camera bag: the Heathrow machines had failed to spot that!—I found myself sat with Hans beside the Hotel swimming pool, sipping chemical cola and discussing the failed war in Iraq.

Since I wrote at some length about the first Property and Freedom Society Conference, I will avoid repeating myself. But I was back for the second—this time with Mrs Gabb. And I wrote about that one too. This year, I was back for the third—this time not just with Mrs Gabb, but also with the Baby Bear.

And it was an astonishingly good time. I will try not to say more than I already have about the Hotel, beyond that it is the sort of place you read about in novels or—always with nostalgia for what is long past—in the memoirs of people who are or soon will be dead. Bodrum can be a hectic place come June. As the temperature goes about the hundred mark, so the population rises from 30,000 Turks to around two million tourists. Within the Hotel, though, all is quiet; all is ordered; all is, without ostentation, civilised.

The Turkish State, sad to say, had this year decided to flash its European credentials by forbidding smoking in enclosed public spaces. And, to my surprise, the police were showing a certain zeal in enforcing the ban. But when you are used to lighting up outside in the high thirties and the pouring rain of London at any time of year, stepping out into the gardens for a cigarette is hardly worth a moan.

It may be the venue—though I doubt it—but I do believe the Property and Freedom Society is an indispensable part of what Americans call the paleo-libertarian movement. If you think libertarianism is defined by wanting to privatise the paving stones while mouthing politically correct platitudes, these gatherings are not for you. These conferences provide a time and a place where nothing is off limits. There are no forbidden subjects, no polite suggestions that whatever is being loudly debated over dinner by the swimming pool might be “inappropriate”. The only rule is the obvious one—that you listen to the other side before making reply.

These are conferences where social conservatives sit down with anarcho-libertarians, where Czechs and Chinese discuss where history went wrong, where English is the preferred language, but a knowledge of half a dozen other languages will frequently come in handy.

They are also conferences useful for what everyone nowadays describes blandly as networking, but what the old Marxists, with a more sinister and accurate turn of phrase, called “cadre building”. It is in Bodrum, every May, that the connections and ideas that will be the future of the libertarian movement are first to be perceived.

I will not bother summarising the actual conference speeches. This year, I made video recordings of everything, and have already uploaded it all to Google Video. Of all the sessions, though, I think most people enjoyed the debate over Ron Paul and what he means to the wider Movement outside America—particularly within Europe. Justin Raimondo and Robert Groezinger were particularly eloquent on this.

My own favourite speech was John Lott on guns.  I live in a country, where gun ownership has been made into a crime except for the police and the very rich, and where being caught with a peashooter will probably soon carry the same prison sentence as rape. I liked the relentless piling up of cases and the statistical analyses. I will use them myself the next time I go on television to talk about guns. Should I also say that, however degraded it may have become, I am part of a culture that has more respect for proven fact than for elegant hypotheses?

Hans was profound on the nature of the State. Paul Gottfried was at his venomous best about the roots in American Protestantism of political correctness. Mustafa Akyol and Peter Mentzel were interesting on Turkish and late Ottoman history. I was quite good on the nature of financial markets in the ancient world. But, as said, all the speeches are recorded, and—allowances being made for the air conditioning and the public address system—are pretty well recorded.

Let me return to the cadre building. I knew we were in for a good conference when Paul Gottfried walked into the hotel lobby, his bags carried behind him. He threw a benevolent glance at the Baby Bear and then demanded of me the aorist of χαίρω.

Εχαίρα? Εχαίρον?” I hazarded. He gave a contemptuous sniff that I really should investigate, and asked if I could help him connect to the Internet. Over dinner, he went into full flow—in two languages denouncing the Germans for their gutless historical masochism. Perhaps they were to blame for 1939: it is at least arguable. But 1914? he sneered. That was at most a no fault car crash. And some Germans are even blaming themselves for 1870!

Then there was Justin Raimondo. I first discovered his writings during the Iraq War, when large stretches of the British and American libertarian movements had come together and agreed what fine things maiming and killing and torturing were when called “assisted regime change”. It was good to find someone even more forthright in his condemnation than I was of the neo-imperialist project. I rather envied the fear and loathing I discovered he could inspire in all the right people. I greatly admired his biography of Murray Rothbard—it is a model of how to summarise and judge the life of a turbulent intellectual. Now we were together in Bodrum, there was all the time in the world for getting to know each other, and for argument and debate.

Narrating all that we covered in ten days as we puffed away in the open would take a short novel. But one recurring argument was over the coming Presidential elections in America. Justin supports Barak Obama, which is fair enough, bearing in mind the only alternatives at the time were a geriatric warmonger and a venomous old harpy. But he also believed Mr Obama could win. I accept I know little of America, but I was unable to agree. “Whatever they tell the pollsters” I kept insisting, “the American people will not vote in sufficient numbers to elect a black man as President. Our only hope of avoiding war with Iran is for the money to run out in Washington.”

Another discussion that stays prominent in my memory is towards the end of the conference. It was late, and there just a few of us sat at a table beside the swimming pool with G�l�in Imre, the owner of the Hotel—since last year, she has been G�l�in Hoppe. After a general conversation, we focussed on happiness. Rather, we focussed on why so many people in the rich world appear to be unhappy. Most people no longer die at absurdly young ages. Most people do not bury half their children cough and sweat their way to early graves. We all have enough to eat. We have soap and water and warm clothes. We have an endless succession of shiny electronic toys to divert us. In another decade or so, what we have now will doubtless seem as inadequate as MSDOS and video cassettes now do to us. But we already live in something approximating the utopia of the early twentieth century science fiction writers.

So why so much unhappiness? Why are the streets of every Western city teeming with plainly bored and aimless sheep of every age and condition? Was it always this way? We agreed that it probably was not. Most of us were old enough to remember a time when there seemed to be more quiet contentment, even though there was much less in the material sense to be contented with.

No one thought to raise the silly old argument that wealth and happiness are and must be inversely related. I can understand that the rich have generally tried to impose, and the poor have too often taken comfort in, the belief that three meals a day and the chance of living past thirty five are to be pitied rather then envied. But I see no reason whatever for sharing the belief. Certainly, some of the people round that table were rather well off, and were not obviously unhappy. Speaking for myself, I have been moderately embarrassed in the financial sense, and moderately comfortable; and I know which state for me is more conducive to happiness.

We did briefly touch on whether mass enrichment has been accompanied by a loss of freedom and of identity. Very few people may want to do any of the things that have been banned over the past century. But everyone is in some sense aware of the immense structures of guardianship that shapes our lives. And everyone to some extent has noticed the rise of a new and utterly malevolent ruling class, that enriches and privileges itself behind a palisade of words about “equality” and “diversity” and “tolerance”.

What more interested us, however, was whether happiness in the long term is not so much about bodily pleasures and material consumption as about being able to follow some self-chosen mission. What mission each person might choose will depend on his inclinations and general abilities. For one, it might be bringing up children in a respectable family home, or building a successful business. For another, it might be collecting classifying every species of butterfly in the Falkland Islands. For someone else, it might be understanding and opposing the ambitions of our new ruling class. Whatever mission is chosen, it gives meaning to life. Anything short of catastrophic failure gives some protection against becoming just another of those depressed, apathetic sheep in the street.

Nothing novel here, of course. But it was a good conversation, in good company. And it was a conversation this part of the world must have heard many times before. The cities of Asia Minor seem to have been places where Epicurus and his philosophy were always particularly honoured.

Yes, it always for me comes back to the ancient world. Modern Turkey, the Ottoman Empire and Byzantium all have much to commend them. But I can never go to the Mediterranean without feeling the endlessly renewed thrill of realisation that it was here where the human race went through the first of its two great enlightenments; and that this particular enlightenment was wholly spontaneous. Miletus, the birthplace of scientific rationalism, is just a drive up the coast. Cos is a ferry ride away. Barely anything remains in modern Bodrum of Halicarnassus. But you can stand on the beach at sunrise, and ask if it was here that Herodotus once stood, looking out to sea and wondering what lay beyond the horizon….

There is much else I could mention about the conference and its attendant comforts—the belly dancers, the boat trips, the visit to Ephesus, and the opportunity for sitting down with intelligent Turks to discuss what it is really like to live in the most dynamic and interesting country in the whole Mediterranean. But I will not do more than mention these things. If you are really interested, contact Professor Hoppe, and try to find out for yourself.

And so, for the third time running, I commend the Bodrum conference of the Property and Freedom Society. Any libertarian or conservative who has not managed to secure an invitation at least once is very much to be pitied.

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from

David Davis is returned as MP in Haltemprice and Howden

David Davis (not that one)

The Barclay Bugle has the main report here.  Interestingly, there are other repercussions: the Tories recognise the ball-and-chain that Davis has put round their ankles on this one. And here’s Philip Johnston, always a sound read.

Notice how the lefties are all wailing that the by-election “cost £200,000 to the taxpayer”. Talk about the Pot Calling The Kettle Black…. I bet Ken Livingstone’s wie-store in his office was  more than that, and we could have had a new ballistic-missile sub for only 10,000 times as much, or else a couple of mine-proof, IED-proof vehicles in Afghanistan, for only the basic 200-grand!

On a lighter note, I wonder how Labour’s fire-sale went last night? Or was it cancelled as nobody would turn up?

… Would YOU want to bid, huge amounts, for any of this stuff?

… or, like me, would you PAY to have it antiseptically removed? Zanu-Laborg is in trouble, and very very bust. It is having a car-boot-sale.

As follows:- Here are the lots. Everything is in RED as it’s quoted from “New” “Labour’s” “web” “site” :-

Last year’s sports celebration dinner at Wembley Stadium was the most successful fundraiser in Labour’s history. We raised a fantastic amount of money that continues to make a big difference up and down the country. The live auction was at the heart of this success with so many people playing their part by bidding for the unique lots on offer.

On Thursday July 10, to help raise funds for Labour’s campaign to fight and win the next General Election, we are having a second sports celebration dinner at Wembley. And, we’re offering you the chance to bid for many exclusive items.

We’ve a fantastic array of amazing items on offer. This is a great opportunity for you to not only have a look at the items, but for the very first time, to have the chance to bid in advance.

If you’d like to attend the Sports Dinner click here>>
If you’d like to bid on an item click here>>
Important information for bidders about donations to political parties


Specially commissioned Antony Gormley work of art
A tennis match with Tony Blair

Visit to museum on Robben Island in South Africa

Lunch with Sir Alex Ferguson and watch Manchester United train

Joe Calzaghe fight tickets and signed boxing gloves

Swim with Little Britain star, David Walliams

Aston Martin race day experience

Day in the studio with Pete Waterman

VIP days at the races

Sculpture by Kirsty Tinkler

Be a character in Alastair Campbell’s new novel
Table tennis coaching with Matthew Syed
Join Devon Malcolm at England – South Africa test match
VIP Formula 1 Grand Prix race tickets
A day with Dickie Bird
Tea for two with Ruth Rendell and signed copy of her latest novel
X-Factor tickets and meet the panel
Manchester United, Portsmouth and Tottenham signed football shirts
Tea with Nancy Dell’Olio at Claridges
Signed bottles of House of Lords Port
Signed bottles of Speaker’s Malt Whisky

Gerald Warner has some interesting asides about it too. (He’s more uncharitable than I am – he thinks it’s a “fire-sale”.)

I have to admit, being a liberal neocon bumpkin, that I have no clue what about half of this stuff actually is. Who, for example, is “David Walliams”? (is this a misprint?) Or, what is a “Kirsty Tinkler”, or a “Joe Calzaghe”, or a “Devon Malcolm?” Is he (or she?) a generic person from Devon?

Would I perhaps want to pay NOT TO HAVE TO PLAY tennis with Tony Blair?

These people continue, triumphantly in their mistakenly-courageous fashion, to display the awesomely deep, and perhaps terminally-unbridgeable chasm, between themselves and others.

Others? This is to say, normal, uncorrupted, un-Fabianized, human beings, who like music, sport, Ford Mondeos, computer games, pubs and smoking convivially together, and want the best for their children.

In the unlikely event of our ultimate victory, agaisnt these forces of darkness, for whom even Alastair Campbell is having difficulty raising interest, I have no clue about what is to be done with such persons, at all. Discuss.

PS and who are “Antony Gormley” and “Ruth Rendell”? they sound dangerously like politicians to me, which is what they probably are if they are in bed with “New” “Labour”.

More about the deceipt behind the “global warming” manufactured scam

More here today.

I’d whoop with joy if Paul Marks of “Samizdata” is wrong, but I fear he is right.

David Davis

Read it here.

If the USA goes down to totalitarianism, then we are – or could be – all f****d. (But we survived before…?) 

But while there is Israel, and it is Nuclear, there is hope. Even in the West fails, Israel I think will go down fighting for us: it is sad and un-necessary, since we ought to have taken on board the lesson of Leftism that the Jews have been force-fed in spades.

Tolkien’s stories teach us that there is always hope.

Sean Gabb to speak at the Oxford Union, 6th November 2008

Posted on behalf of…

Sean Gabb

Sean Gabb (away from home computer)
Director, The Libertarian Alliance

I have to find out what the title of the debate will be, and will let all of you eager commentariat, wetting yourselves with anticipation, know what it’s about asap.

No doubt, Sean has – as usual - got himself stuck in a waterlogged trench opposite the Socialist Politically-Correct-Deaths-Head-Hussars, about something or other, and it will be an amusing show…. – DD

Grand article by Bob Geldof


LA Director’s Bulletin, first half 2008 (reprinted by request)

Director’s Bulletin
1st July 2008

Libertarian Alliance Conference, London, October 2008
Jim & Sue Thornton Garden Party
David Davis Campaign
Libertarian Alliance Blog
Sean Gabb Radio Discussion with Marxist Labour MP
Sean Gabb Radio Discussion with Simon Hughes MP
Sean Gabb Latest Publication
Property and Freedom Society Conference Video Files
Recommendations for Summer Reading


I am at the moment tearingly busy. I have examinations to supervise and mark. I have one novel to finish and another to begin. I have two commissions for political books. I am trying to finish my long report on the Property and Freedom Society conference in Turkey. I am also looking after the Baby Bear whenever Mrs Gabb goes up to London to make money.

All this explains why I have done so little this month for the Libertarian Alliance. However, I have not been completely idle. This Bulletin, though not a record of exceptional activity, is not completely blank.

Libertarian Alliance Conference

Our 25th-26th October conference will, as usual, be at the National Liberal Club just by Trafalgar Square. This will be a fine event, with speakers from all over the world, including Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Aubrey de Gray, Guy Herbert, and Christian Michel – and ME!

If you are European, you may think London far too expensive to visit just for a conference. If so, think again. The New Labour Terror has now brought on a collapse of the Pound. My wife was in one of the big London department stores earlier today, listening to some Czech tourists. They were crying out at the low prices, and buying everything in sight. If you are from the Eurozone, or if your own currency is pegged to the Euro, you will find London as cheap as I used to find Eastern Europe. If you do your Christmas shopping in Oxford Street – and the sales by then will be in full swing – you will probably save the cost of your flight, your hotel booking and the conference fee.

If you are American, bad luck – the Dollar is going down even faster than the Pound. But we can offer “free” coffee, and the conference fee includes a really decent London club dinner. NO SMOKING is permitted on British territory in any structure enclosed by three walls and a roof – or the Metropolitan Police will either shoot you dead or detain you without charge until Christmas. You decide which is worse.

Go here for more information and to book your place. If you are British, hurry – in the next few days, I will put the price up by £15!

Jim & Sue Thornton Summer Garden Party

On Saturday the 21st June, I braved our extortionate petrol prices – most of it tax for HMG – and drove off to Nottinghamshire, where Jim and Sue Thornton were having their summer garden party. I spoke for about ten minutes to a mixed group of Conservative Party activists and doctors from various local hospitals. This being England and in June, it rained steadily throughout the afternoon, and I spoke under cover.

Because we had to keep the camera under cover, the sound quality is not brilliant. But here is a video record of the event:

David Davis Campaign

Further to our promise made last month, we have now sent our donation of £100 to the David Davis campaign. We did hope that Mr Davis would roundly condemn all detention without charge beyond 48 hours. Even so, his campaign is the closest the people of this country will have to a referendum on the police state that Labour has given us.

Here are our publications on the David Davis campaign:

Libertarian Alliance Blog

For nearly two years now, the Libertarian Alliance has had its own blog. Filled with the writings of David Davis – our one, not the other one! – and virtually no one else, this is building up a reputation on the Internet for prompt and forthright comment on the horrors of England under the Brown Heel. You can find it here:

Sean Gabb Discussion with Marxist Labour MP

Last 12th June, I had a radio discussion with a Labour Member of Parliament about the new law brought in by Labour that allows six week internment of political prisoners. At the end of the discussion, I was asked if I would like a drink with the Honourable Member. I replied that if I met her, I would be unsure whether to laugh at her or vomit on her

When I publicised this to a few members of my list, the recording of the discussion got 3,000 hits. I notice it was much enjoyed by members of the British National Party. One of my American friends suggested the wretched woman would be a waste of good vomit. Here is the discussion in full:

Sean Gabb Radio Discussion with Simon Hughes MP

On Tuesday the 24th June, I was called on at the last minute to discuss with Simon Hughes, a senior Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, whether voting should be made compulsory in England. He spoke about the need to “renew” our democracy. I gave the man a good roasting over how he and his colleagues voted to deny us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The discussion is most notable, however, for being my daughter’s first ever media appearance. Mrs Gabb had left her with me, and the BBC was good enough to accept both of us.

Sean Gabb Latest Publication

Here is the text and video of my speech to the Property and Freedom Society last May in Turkey. I spoke on Ancient Financial Markets. This may seem rather a dry subject, but is of some importance, bearing in mind the Marxist capture of Classical Studies during the past half century. The fiile is here:

Property and Freedom Society Conference Video Files

I will finish my conference report, but it has expanded to considerable length, and I feel some parts of it could be trimmed. But video files for the whole conference are now on the Internet. Some of these are of acceptable quality. Others have been savagely downgraded by Google Video. Of particular note, given the Supreme Court judgment of the past few days, is John Lott talking about guns. Here is the link to all the video files:

As ever, I do most strongly recommend the Hotel Karia Princess in Bodrum:

And here is the Property and Freedom Society:

Recommendations for Summer Reading

Many of us are preparing to go on holiday. I will therefore make my recommendations for a good read on the beach.

First, we have what has been called the novel of the century – a blazing masterpiece set in early mediaeval Rome. Conspiracies of Rome by Richard Blake was published by Hodder & Stoughton in February to immense acclaim, and translation rights have been sold for Spanish, Italian and Hungarian, with Czech rights presently in negotiation.

The hardback sold out within a week. The British market is being supplied with the export paperback. The mass market paperback comes out at Christmas. I think EVERYONE on my list should run out and order ten copies, for distribution as presents to friends and loved ones.

If one of your friends or loved ones is a film mogul in Hollywood, you should certainly give him a copy for Christmas or Hanukkah. It will make the cigar fall from his lips as he reaches for his chequebook!

Here it is:
And here are some reviews if you doubt my word:

Oh, but I will quote one of the reviews – this one from someone living in Italy:

“I have not even finished reading the book and I feel safe in rating it 5 stars. Living in Rome, I should be better informed as to its history and this book has given me not only the motivation to read more Roman history but a very good starting point! Buy this book! Keep it in your library forever!”

Second, we have Crap: A Guide to Politics, by Terry Arthur. This is a revision and updating of a classic, first published in 1975, that helped me discover that I was a libertarian and not raving mad. The new version is just as entertaining as the original. You can buy it here:

Third, we have Licensed to Hug by Frank Furedi and Jennie Bristow. This has already made a splash in the newspapers with its denunciation of the Sexual Offenders Register maintained by the British Government and the requirement that about a third of the population should be checked against it before being allowed near children. My last mention of a book from Civitas was so damning that the book had to be withdrawn, and there was a crisis in the Conservative Party. But this one is well well worth buying:

Fourth, we have Old Nick’s Guide to Happiness by Nicholas Dykes. This is a long philosophical novel in the tradition of Ayn Rand. Because Nicholas put an invalid ISBN on the cover, you cannot buy the book through Amazon. But you can order it directly:

Fifth, we have Lodging of a Wayfaring Man by Paul Rosenberg. This is another philosophical novel – about how freedom fighters create their own alternative society on the Internet. You can buy it here:

In closing, I wish you all a happy summer. The world economy has been messed up by big government and its handmaiden big business. But the sun still shines – everywhere, that is, except in England!

Sean Gabb
Director, The Libertarian Alliance
Tel: 07956 472 199

FREE download of my book – “Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back” –
Wikipedia Entry:

Libertarian Alliance home

IRAQ. Help, we’re winning! Don’t mention the War! (I always found “Fawlty Towers” very unfunny, didn’t you also?)

This is going to be about Iraq, but I have to get this off my chest, as I borrowed part of the headline from a major 1970s/80s British TV series…..

Did anybody find “Fawlty Towers” (don’t mention the war!) as excruciating, embarrassing and unfunny, in the way only John Cleese can be unfunny, as I did? Please discuss, for I need help, and I feel so terribly, terribly left out of something clearly very universal here where “British” modern humour is concerned. Even though he drove a Rover 2000, I can’t love the man or especially his humour. (Perhaps, tell it not in Gath, I’m not really a libertarian….? Not THAT sort, anyway…? ….[YOU know!...he DOESN'T LAUGH at MONTY PYTHON STUFF.......!!!] )

And I found “Life of Brian” even worse – possibly I was offended to religious reasons, but I watched in in the company of several “English Old Catholics” who all found it an uproarious hoot, and I was frankly mystified.

David Davis

Now then.

I have been wondering quietly over the last couple of weeks and months about Iraq. As everybody here knows, I have never ever failed to oppose, often vociferously, those who said we (which is to say “The West”, which is to say in practice, Britain and our assistant the USA, plus any Anglosphere nations such as Poland who wanted to come along) had no business there.

The probability that, providing whichever Gramsco-Marxian succeeds Bush as our President in 2009 pursues what Petraeus has been doing, Iraq will finally succeed as a project, is high. this was noted today on Kerplunk, a sensible Australian blog. While the main point of the post was about the “West’s” mediarati dis-reporting success in Iraq, the blogger also wondered why the “left” don’t want people to be successful and free. Well, they’d have no job, and would have to break stones or fill shleves like proper people do, as I opined there:-

First of all, thank you for a sensible and grand blog. I have always particularly admired your “Ten Signs that you’re a Moral idiot” essay. It ought to be resyndicated lots.

The left does not want nations, any nations at all, to be successful and free. Why?

Because the very fact of freedom, coupled with success or even relative failure – and most nations fail, just like people – utterly negates any premise that the left (Nazis or other types of left-wing-communists, or “Trotzky-ists” (whatever those may have been) Marxists, Maoists, Polpotists, Sartristas and the like) has any reason for existence, other than in “public-sector” jobs as a bureaucracy.

This latter loophole is the only way they can get “gainful” (yay!) “employment” inside “advanced” (which is broadly to say, liberal capitalist) nations which are peculiarly resistent happily to armed or subversive revolution on the Leninist model.

The “left” is not Mankind’s solution: it is the problem, and the main problem. The uncomputable number of deaths and individual sorrow, which it and its musings have caused, is probably water under a bridge by now…but the scenario in former Warsaw Pact countries now liberated – after a fashion – from pre-capitlist barbarism, shows what can be done with little, even half-heartedly, in a very little time.

No. The “left” does not want you – or anybody – to be lifted out of atavistic misery and servility to barbarous, unsocialised beasts masquerading as human beings. Once everybody is free, and has no need to listen to the buggers, they are f****d. Terminally. Good.

That is why they are so, so very very pissed off about Iraq and the results.

Libertarian Alliance Quote of the Day … from Angry Political Optimist…

…who is one of the Twelve Angry Men:- ( this is just their homepage – see the link below for the post-subject.)

Is America perfect? — Hell no. And everyone in the world understands that. What makes America unique is its optimism that one person can change the world — that one person, working from nothing can become rich and influencial. For all the rhetoric and venom cast at America, when people of the world want that chance to succeed, they head for the United States. Do they succeed? Not many of them, but they understand that also. Any chance is better than the no chance they have where they are.

David Davis

You can read the whole of their fun, uplifting post here.

I’d love to know who “Angry Biologist” is.

… and words fail me, about this (a rare occurrence)

David Davis

The BBC excels its Gramsco-Marxian self, yet again, by throwing up this report __without__ simultaneously relegating it to “remaindered Marxist fiction” (a book-section we had in the Alternative Bookshop) or, failing the existence of said shop, passing it to the “April Fool Pranks Desk”.

AND… it was not the first time this deeply wicked organisation has pandered to its institutionalised Sartro-Trotskyist leanings – see here

I don’t know whether to laugh – a defence mechanism in the face of utter despair – or to merely shrug, and carry on working. Racist toddlers? My trousers!

My wife, who is Polish, utterly refuses to eat curry. Now she defends her position by saying … “but the food does not any more taste of itself! It tastes of curry…wghegh…” (wghegh is my approximation of a Polish “ugh”, it is said glottally if you can.) Is my wife therefore a racist?

I think we are also on dangerous ground here, as she works in a nursery. She therefore is now enjoined to “perform and record regular observations” on “the progress of _all_ early-years-children”, under the brand new Stalinist State nursery-initiative/dispensation.

And look at this for f***’s sake…

Updated today 8th July…we have this from the Times; hat tip Englishman. What a shower of bossy jackboots nannies we have allowed to dominate us while we enjoyed a brief period of Thatcherism.

Nice food, Gordon! Hope he’s not going to send any back? Lectures about not wasting stuff will not go down well with poor people around these parts. if I was his press adviser, then I would be earning thousands a moth by keeping this data out of the public domain.

David Davis

Hat tip Guido, for Gordon’s gourmandism.

How not to waste food, and what Gordon Brown ought to have said on the eve of the G8

David Davis

Honestly! The sheer bloodyminded brass neck the blasted man has! One recalls the Scottish jokes we use to be allowed to tell, that hinted at a certain parsimoniousness in their national character….like the one about how you can tell you are flying over Scotland….(I’m sure the Scots are not like that really; only the leftist politicians among them.)

Here we have a government, riding around in armoured Jaguars, pilfering the public purse to the extent of an extra £50,000-odd per head per year, for “expenses” and “home improvements”, then having the immortal crust to vote themselves a large pay rise, and then….lecturing us to stop wasting food?

Perhaps this is a form of transferred admonition: I’m sure the psychologists and head-bashers would have a word for it. He wants, really, to berate the bloddy foreigners for something or other, but can’t get away with that ‘coz that funny little man at the Foreigners Office would “brief against” him.

Firstly, about food in the modern world of a first-world-industrial nation:-

(1) We have never had it so good – or at least until recently. In the 60s, I learned with pride that Britain “IS THE MOST EFFICIENT MECHANISED FARM IN THE WORLD”, with wheat yields in tons per acre that were double those of North America (held up as a model continent too); also with livestock densities and tonnages of shipped butchered meat higher than anywhere except the USA (and much of it “local!) OK so the Greens have made this go out of the window while our back was turned, along with their murdering Pol-pot-ist chums peddling destructive education syllabuses containing Gramsco-Marxian-Sartre-ist nonsense and other falsehoods, but since capitalism does survive here, just, despite efforts to the contrary, we are still able to spend only about 9% of our net income on food and live, indeed fairly well.

(2) The madness of “sell-by” and “eat-by” dates, coupled with the Gramsco-Marxian effect on public understanding of science (see above) has made today’s UK population hypersensitive to the most innocuous Daily Mail headline about the latest “food scare”. Otherwise sane people routinely throw away stuff which could easily keep another day (soft fruit), a week (cheeses, meats – some of which taste even better if a bit high), a month even (most frozen foods) – and I’m being rather conservative here. The mere mention of “E Coli” (99% of Daily Mail readers probably don’t know what it is or where it lives.) No wonder they throw away so much food: they have not been given the information with which to trust their common sense, and they listen to false gods in the absence of real ones, which are the facts and the people’s subsequent ability to decide what to do for the best, when faced with the “Fridge That Time Forgot”.

(3) A few days ago, local (that is to say, a British) Stalinist EU bureaucrats, ordered a market trader to destroy (or send back to the supplier) 50,000 Kiwi Fruit that were “undersized”, in the interests of “consumer protection. He was NOT even allowed to GIVE them away to schools, hospices or even poor-people who could not pay, on pain of a criminal conviction. Gordon Brown should look to the beam in his own eye first, before taking out the mote in our eye.

(4) In 2000 and 2001, Brown’s august predecessor had nearly 9 million healthy animals, in England mostly, slaughtered and burnt. This was on account of the slight risk that some of them had contracted foot-and-mouth disease, for which vaccination in the UK was forbidden by the very same government’s DEFRA (the Department for Ending Farming and Rural Affairs). Yes, foot-and-mouth would cause a fall in animal tonnage yield, and probably make a prodicer miss his delivery-date of cuts of known wieght to a supermarket, but why not let the Market sort it all out?

So Gordon is going to the G8, then? Here’s what he could berate the others for:-

(a) Russia: for being an authoritarian one-party state dressed up as a liberal pluralist democracy, which tyrannises secessionist ethnic minorities, and uses its vicelike grip on Europe’s energy-windpipe to make smaller nations comply with its foreign policy.

(b) The USA: for going soft on the war on terror the war against Western civilisation, and for even thinking of entertaining the possibility of electing one of a pair of democratic Marxist Presidents, rather than someone else.

(c) Germany, for trying to pretend that the EU unitary state constitution Lisbon Treaty is still a goer.

(d) France, which is to say, West Germany, likewise.

(e) Canada, for even thinking of allowing the rise of Show-Trials in Stalinist Courts “Human Rights Commissions”, one of which recently tried to ruin Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant and McLeans, for simply saying something in a publication.

He ought to have a go at the other ones too, about something, but I can’t think what right now. I’ll email him while he’s on the plane.

Finally, he ought to have a go at the UN, for continuing, via the hegemony of its Bandung generation, the generation of oceans of blood, mountains ranges of sorrow, and millions of corpses, which we of the West still try to clear up today. this is caused by its fanatical and continual espousal of monarching pre-humanist tyranny, at the expense of the lives and prospects of billions of people.

Finally, he should say that the Green Terror is over, that Al Gore will be pensioned off to a mud hut in Nigeria, where his carbon footprint can be low, and that all the money we were going to spend ratifying Kyoto will be diverted to providing clean drinking water for all people on the planet, for ever.

But he won’t, will he.

Suitably well-chosen words to follow later tonight, regarding politicians telling us not to waste food.

And we might even bring John Prescott, and pies, into it.

… and some timely backup for the opinions below …

The Englishman in his Castle writes more creatively than us.

Years ago, the Libertarian Alliance owned a badgmaking machine, which I think was kept in the Alternative Bookshop (I wonder what became of the thing?) We did one which said : “Would you educate children about the Government in schools owned and run by the Government?” I have a copy somewhere.

Foreign readers beware! This is what happens to your education system when your back is turned for a second … very long post.

Look carefully upon the sad lesson of Britain. Don’t do what we (failed to) do, by not arresting all the Gramsco-Marxian Fabiano-pre-capitalist-barbarian people-wreckers, while we had the chance, when there were about five of them.

David Davis

[eurorealist] Fw: The marching morons – Adults stumped by primary school tests


06/07/2008 06:06:31 GMT Daylight Time




Sent from the Internet (Details)

—– Original Message —–
From: “Robert Henderson” <>
To: “Robert Henderson” <>
Saturday, July 05, 2008

12:40 PM
Subject: The marching morons – Adults stumped by primary school tests

Note: That’s what 40 years of “progressive” education achieves. RH

daily telegraph
Adults stumped by primary school tests
By Graeme Paton, Education Editor
Last Updated: 11:08PM BST 29/06/2008 | Comments 4 | Have Your Say

The majority of adults in Britain struggle to answer questions fit for a
seven-year-old, according to a report today.

Only one-in-20 were correctly able to answer 10 questions taken from
primary school syllabuses. The study revealed that most adults were
stumped by the correct spelling of a basic word – skilful – with only 23
per cent getting it right. More than six-in-10 people quizzed also
failed to identify the planet closest to the sun.
The questions – given to 2,180 adults this month – were adapted from the
curriculum for seven to 11-year-olds in England. It will raise fresh
concerns over the standards of basic skills among the workforce.
According to the study, three per cent of adults got just one question
correct, while the average person aged over 18 rightly answered just
six. Of those failing to spell the word “skilful”, the most common
mistake was using too many ‘Ls’, researchers said. Only half were able
to identify the capital of
Sweden, with many people wrongly answering
Oslo, Gothenburg or Helsinki. Some 12 per cent suggested that
Shakespeare’s first name was Walter and seven per cent said that Henry
VIII was on the throne in 1900. Adults in the North West of England were
the worst performers – correctly answering an average of three questions
- while most people in the South East and South West scored seven. Andy
Salmon, founder of, the general knowledge website which
carried out the research, said: “Considering that these questions could
be answered by at least a seven-year-old, you might say the test was
easy and so an average score of six out of 10 is pretty weak. It’s not
that any of the questions were particularly difficult, we have all been
taught this information, it is retaining the knowledge that is the hard
1. Which is the correct spelling? skillful, skilful, skilfull,
skillfull. (Answered incorrectly by 77%)
2. What is the playwright’s Shakespeare’s first name?
(Answered incorrectly by 12%)
3. What is the capital of
(Answered incorrectly by 58%)
4. What is the longest river in
Great Britain?
(Answered incorrectly by 48%)
5. How many sides does a heptagon have?
(Answered incorrectly by 35%)
6. What is the cube of 2?
(Answered incorrectly by 58%)
7. What are the dates of the second world war – what years did it start
and end?
(Answered incorrectly by 25%)
8. Which monarch was on the throne in 1900?
(Answered incorrectly by 39%)
9. What is the medical term for your skull?
(Answered incorrectly by 56%)
10. Which planet is nearest to the sun?
(Answered incorrectly by 63%)
1. Skilful
2. William
5. Seven
6. 8
7. 1939 – 1945
8. Queen

9. Cranium
10. Mercury
“Write ‘f*** off’ on a GCSE paper and you’ll get 7.5%. Add an
exclamation mark and it’ll go up to 11%”

“To gain minimum marks in English, students must demonstrate “some
simple sequencing of ideas” and “some words in appropriate order”. The
phrase had achieved this, according to Mr Buckroyd.

The chief examiner, who is responsible for standards in exams taken by
780,000 candidates and for training for 3,000 examiners, told The
Times: “It would be wicked to give it zero, because it does show some
very basic skills we are looking for – like conveying some meaning and
some spelling.”

E-mail leak of ‘degree inflation’

BBC News education reporter

A leaked e-mail shows how university staff are being urged to increase
the number of top degree grades to keep pace with competing

The internal e-mail from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) tells
staff to “bear this in mind” when they do their student assessments.

The university told the BBC this in no way related to university policy.

Last week, the higher education exams watchdog warned that the
university grading system was “rotten”.

We do not award as many Firsts and 2.1s as other comparable
institutions so there is an understandable desire to increase the
proportion of such awards
E-mail to staff at Manchester Metropolitan University

The MMU e-mail, sent to computing and mathematics staff by that
department’s academic standards manager, calls for an increase in the
number of first class and upper second degrees.

The e-mail, sent several months ago and now obtained by the BBC News
website, reveals how staff have to consider more than the quality of
students’ work – and the tension between rigorous academic standards and
universities’ external ambitions.

Student satisfaction

“As a university we do not award as many Firsts and 2.1s as other
comparable institutions so there is an understandable desire to increase
the proportion of such awards,” it says.

“Please bear this in mind when setting your second and final year
assessments, especially the latter.”

The e-mail goes on: “We have never received any external examiner
criticism that our ‘standards’ are too low so there should be quite a
lot of leeway available to us all when assessments are set.”

The e-mail also includes a joke about boosting the student satisfaction
rating. Earlier this year, staff at Kingston University

were caught
urging students to falsify their responses to improve the university’s
standing in league tables.

It says: “Please do not complain when all the BSc (Hons) mathematics
students gain first class awards next summer. Now that really would
increase our student satisfaction!”

Higher grades

The leaking of the e-mail provides further evidence of the concern among
academics over the pressure to manipulate degree awards to improve the
public image of universities and to make them more attractive to

The number of students achieving a first class degree at UK

has more than doubled since the mid-1990s.

Among last year’s university leavers, 61% achieved a first class or
upper second class degree.

Such is the level of concern that Phil Willis, chair of the House of
Commons select committee on innovation, universities and skills, wants
to examine the threat to higher education standards.

Manchester Metropolitan University

confirmed the e-mail was genuine.

A spokesman said: “This is an informal comment by a member of staff
below the level of head of department to immediate colleagues.

“It is merely the interpretation of a single member of staff which
reflects the increased awareness of comparable and publicly-available
statistics, and in no way relates to university policy.

“Decisions about degree classifications are made by boards of examiners
in accordance with the university’s assessment regulations, which
specify how classifications are determined.”

Financial pressures

This is the latest warning about university standards, following a
whistleblower’s account of postgraduate degrees being awarded to
students who could barely speak English.

This prompted thousands of academics and students to get in touch with
the BBC with their own worries – including that financial pressures were
leading universities to recruit and pass overseas students who did not
reach the adequate academic standards.

The response from BBC News website readers also included e-mails showing
how an external examiner had been persuaded to change her mind over
criticisms of a degree course.

Many have described the conflict of interest between universities’ self-
regulation on degree grades and their need to compete in league tables.

The chief executive of the Quality Assurance Agency, Peter Williams,
reflected some of these concerns about an over-dependence on overseas

He was also explicit in his criticism of the current system: “The way
that degrees are classified is a rotten system. It just doesn’t work any

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/07/01 12:32:32 GMT
Daily Telegraph

Twin boys sent to primary schools a mile apart
Last Updated: 8:24PM BST 29/06/2008

A mother said she is “horrified” that her twin sons will be separated
and sent to different primary schools, nearly a mile apart.

Education officials said the three-year-old boys Connor and Brad Terry
must attend separate schools due to a shortage of places. Their mother,
Samantha, 40, is battling to overturn the decision which she fears will
damage the strong emotional bond between the twins. “To read they would
go to different schools, I thought there was some mistake. I was
horrified when I was told it was not a mistake. I cannot consider the
consequences of separating the twins at such a tender age.” Born 24
minutes apart, Connor and Brad are virtually inseparable said their
mother. But she said there was no space on the application form to say
that a child was one of a twin.
As a result the boys, who want to go to Wainscott primary school, in
Medway, Kent

, were processed separately. Connor claimed the last place
while Brad was ordered to attend Hilltop primary school a 15 minute walk
away from his brother. Mrs Terry, an accountant, said: “I cannot be in
two places at the same time – it’s impossible. But the computer
selects the places on a specific criteria and being a twin does not come
into it. They have been together their whole lives and the council is
ordering me to separate them.” A spokesman for Medway Council said: “The
way in which a council deals with applications for schools is set down
in law, and must comply with School Admissions Code, which Medway does.
“The family’s circumstances are extremely rare and changing the
application form to indicate twins or multiple births would not have
prevented the same outcome.”

daily telegraph
Universities will be forced to give poor pupils preferential treatment
By Joanna Corrigan
Last Updated: 8:28PM BST 29/06/2008

Universities will be told to give preferential treatment to pupils from
poorer backgrounds under new proposal.

The plans, in a report commissioned by Gordon Brown, are likely to lead
to applicants from state schools being asked for lower A-level results
than those from private schools. Experts are already saying that the
move would damage British universities’ international standing, but the
Government is expected to publicly endorse the plans. Children from
poorer backgrounds account for only 29 per cent of all students. At
Oxford and Cambridge the level is even lower, at 9.8 and 11.9 per cent

Continue reading

If Zanu-Laborg can’t find anyone to stand in Glasgow, then a Libertarian should offer to do it for them …

… on certain conditions.

David Davis (not that one…)

Here’s a report of what’s happening, for the benefit of foreign readers.

A Libertarian, keen to make this a proper contest, for the benefit of representative democracy, could offer him/herself to Zanu-Laborg, as a prospective Parliamentary Candidate. Since there will be nobody else with a brain, all the other possibles being “gamma-minus” semi-morons who think Labour is a good thing, the local committee will have to accept the Libertarian.

He/she will insist on campaigning on a minimal-statist, pro-capitalist, anti-EU, post-barbarian, liberal civil liberties platform, or else he/she will refuse to stand, and the buggers will have nobody who can win against the SNP – their worst nightmare.

This libertarian candidate will succeed in hoovering up all the “pocket” labour votes, (since none of them will read the detail of what he/she says) and Labour will win, and Brown will live to fight another … hour. The Tories should support this as the longer Brown stays in power, the better the Tories will do in the end in 2010, and the further down into the cesspit Labour will be cast, for longer.

In return for selling its soul to liberalism as defined by libertarians, Zanu-Laborg will get more life, for a bit longer. This will also have the benign effect of shifting all the parties’ positions firther towards freedom and further from helotism.


Cheshire Moonbattery here we go.


It’s so funny, sometimes, what you find when you read around a bit. The things that are going on, sort of in the shadows; a little bit here, a little bit there, a sort of drip, drip, drip…

Moslems are people, just like other people. They may be mistaken about the nature of their collective religious belief, or perhaps not. But, apart from within the British State “Education” “establishment”, there appears to be some debate, among many individuals all over the world, about whether Islam is a religion or not. Until that problem is settled authoritatively, it seems excessive to suspend or detain Christian (that is to say, secular-English or even irreligious, as is possible and indeed probable) 12-year-olds for declining to take part in some ill-judged role-play. It’s not very libertarian of the teacher concerned, and I hope she “stays away” a bit longer. 

Perhaps the teacher asked them to do what she did, on purpose. I do not know.

Guns. People. Defence. Crime. Time for a re-think.

David Davis

I could not help but feel so sorry for the two French science students in this murder-story. And the girlfriend of one of them, who looks just like my wife looked 20 years ago. (Lucky me (then), lucky him (recently) but sadly he’s dead now, and so the poor wretched girl is now alone.) What a bloody embarrassment it causes too, because of statism, and the socialist policies that engender it. It makes us, as a nation, look like prats, that we seem deliberately to produce buggers like whoever did this, via (the enemy class’s) “education system”.

Science students: researching at ICL. What a f*****g waste of talent and future help for humanity, that socialism, and Nazi-gun-control, causes, and will cause.

IF WE ARE TO HAVE completely-unsocialised adult hominids (I assume it was an adult or adults who did it) roaming our cities and our country, then a rethink about our protection is overdue.

The British State (crazed as it is with fear of worker’s-uprisings-since-1917) has signally failed to safeguard our bodies from the evil acts of products of its education experiments (which it performed on purpose, because its socio-droids have hated, hate, and will hate, us and what we believe in and stand for.) There is not one remaining group of liberal English-cultural-people  – which includes the French, who ought to be our friends - for which socialism and Fabian ideas have not reserved the torments that Dante categorized as being explicitly for the damned.

It is time for ordinary, good people to carry guns. Small but lethal ones at short range. Today. Always, and until further notice. Perhaps it’s not time to arm ordinary taxpayers with automatic rifles, but that time may come. We shall have to suck it and see.  If people can’t go about their lawful business, like playing computer games at home, without this protection, then guns (and, more important, ammunition for same,) is what they must have.

But the opposition will be vociferous, massive, numerous and well-funded. This is the nature of modern state Stalinism.

I’m not suggesting, however, that in retaliation, all the puchchair-wielding yummy-mummies from Harpenden and from Formby and from Limpsfield, who will be featuring in the anti-gun-demonstrations as being against “all guns”, and all of whom are to be well-filmed by the BBC, should be mown down in a hail of automatic fire. No. Guns will simply have to be made freely available to all those non-crims, such as French science students, who want to play computer games without hinderance, and without any fuss.

I’m sure there’s a EUroLaw somewhere that will allow it: there seems to be for everything else. Clever chaps these enarques – they want to be seen to have thought of everything.

As if we couldn’t have guessed!

David Davis

Apparently the real rise in world food prices caused by “Bio-fuels” is 75%.

The only thing that needs to be decided is how long to send the deliberate perpetrators of this scam to prison.

What shall we do about the BBC? (again…)

Jeff Randall of the Daily Telegraph has a suggestion here.

David Davis

The position of the Libertarian Alliance remains the sam as ever. Either the BBC should (a) forgo the licence-tax, take paid advertising like everybody else (even the Guardian), clear out its institutionalised leftism, and grow up, or (b) be closed down, its better staff to go and work in other broadcasters or else just blog, and its archives and copyrights auctioned off.

Let’s hear it for the Tayside Police! (Good chaps, they know that a dog is Man’s best friend)

David Davis


“Gordon Brown to resign this month” report …

David Davis

WEll, no. Sorry. But it’s a comforting thought that some of his own party would like him to. An even less libertarian Prime Minister than Tony Blair or Anthony Eden is hard to imagine.

The UK took on the IRA (we lost because the silly-prat Major Blair was a chicken and he bottled out) … but …

… Would the EU like to take it on instead? The EUrobank turned into the Euroskeleton? Glass everywhere?

Fellow Europeans! Do not go there! Do NOT take on the Irish!

Even we, the English, can’t subdue them although we foolishly tried, so we have honourably let them go. They are our brothers and sisters, after all. (You could be, too: get rid of your political elites and we will interview you….) 

Do the same!

For your lives!

David Davis

  [eurorealist] Fw: When Irish eyes stop smiling – - 
Date: 01/07/2008 21:29:14 GMT Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)


—– Original Message —–
To: prime ; spec
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 1:30 PM
Subject: When Irish eyes stop smiling – -
It would seem that the Irish are taking heart from the way the rest of Europe’s peoples and media (NOT the politicians of course) are siding with Ireland against “THE BULLIES”. 
The second piece  treats the whole schmozzle in a somewhat frivolous way. I liked it anyway! 
1. Cowen denies Sarkozy visit is ploy to win new Lisbon vote

THE Government last night insisted the forthcoming visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Ireland was not aimed at increasing pressure for a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
Yesterday, it emerged that Mr Sarkozy’s visit will be marked by anti-treaty protests. ‘No’ to Lisbon campaigners accused the French premiere of attempting to “bully” the Government into re-running the referendum through his visit next month.
An umbrella group of anti-treaty campaigners and groups, including Socialist Party leader Joe Higgins, anti-war protester Richard Boyd Barrett and former Green MEP Patricia McKenna, has pledged to get up to 500 people on the streets to demonstrate against his “finger-wagging” visit to Ireland .
During a news conference in Dublin yesterday, People before Profit spokeswoman Ailbhe Smyth said it was outrageous that Mr Sarkozy was attempting to bully the people into accepting a treaty they had already rejected.
“To use the slogan from the women’s movement — ‘What part of ‘No’ do you not understand?’” she said.
Anti-war protester Richard Boyd Barrett, who narrowly missed out on a Dail seat last year in Dun Laoghaire, said the Sarkozy visit was part of a campaign to “lay the ground” for a second poll on Lisbon.
“A second vote is not a fait accompli,” he added.
A Government spokesman dismissed the claims that President Sarkozy’s visit was intended to increase the pressure for a second referendum.
“President Sarkozy is president of Europe (from today), and, as such, he is welcome to come to Ireland, just like any other head of state,” he said.
The spokesman said that Mr Cowen had made it clear that the Government would “take time” to review what had happened in the Lisbon referendum and would not be making any decision on a second referendum until a Department of Foreign Affairs research survey was completed. The results of that survey are not due until the autumn.
The 15 groups in the Campaign Against the EU Constitution — which range from the Communist Party to Sinn Fein — seized on the remarks of Mr Sarkozy’s official spokesman Axel Poniatowski, who has said there is no other choice for the Irish Government but to hold a second referendum.
Sinn Fein Cllr Daithi Doolan said: “We’re not going to be lectured or be finger-wagged by a political leader who is denying his own people a say.”
=============AND —->
2. Life of Brian is one long dead parrot sketch
POST-REFERENDUM, we’re all living in a Monty Python world. On the ‘Yes’ side of the vote, there is Eamon Gilmore and Brian Cowen re-enacting the Dead Parrot sketch:
Eamon marches into the Taoiseach’s office, brandishing a copy of the Lisbon Treaty.
Brian: What’s wrong with it?
Eamon: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. It’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!
Brian: No, it’s, eh, resting.
Eamon: Look, matey, I know a dead treaty when I see one and I’m looking at one right now.
On the ‘No’ side, meanwhile, a gaggle of nay-sayers reminiscent of the People’s Front of Judea from Python’s ‘Life of Brian’.
This CAEUC (Campaign Against EU Constitution) could also be described as an umbrella group of politically diverse leftwing organisations, who have brokered a truce from their internecine warfare to jointly oppose a referendum re-run.
Or one could apply the alternate description offered by then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who hailed the alliance as “a whole lot of loo-lahs of every kind and shape”.
Certainly, every kind and shape of leftie was solemnly seated in the conference hall of trade union Unite’s city centre offices, yesterday morning, to announce a protest march on July 11 — when that arch-imperialist-federalist Nicolas Sarkozy is due to visit Dublin.
The gang was all there: the Communist & Workers Action Group, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the People Before Profit Alliance, Sinn Fein, the People’s Movement, and, with more than a hint of the People’s Front of Judea/Judean People’s Front split, the Socialist Party, Socialist Workers’ Party and Worker’s Party. The 12 spokespeople present outnumbered the assembled media.
At one end of the table sat Patricia McKenna, representing the People’s Movement, trying to quieten her livewire twins. And at the other end was Richard Boyd-Barrett, wearing his Irish Anti-War movement hat, and distinct from the chapeaux of his many other interests — including the People Before Profit campaign, the Save our Seafront campaign to preserve Dun Laoghaire baths, the bin charges protest, and his leading role in the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP).
This company of comrades would usually be knocking seven bells out of each other in various ideological turf wars.
But yesterday, all were agreed on one thing — the French President had no business swaggering into Ireland with his middle digit hoisted like a baguette at the Irish electorate — or hatching a cunning plan to overthrow democracy with the help of his capitalist running dog Brian Cowen.
Joe Higgins of the SWP muttered darkly about Sarko’s “Gaullist delusions” and Napoleonic intent.
“He and all the European leaders think they can bestride the world as a major economic and military power,” he warned.
“We’re supporting the protest because we’re not going to be lectured to or finger-wagged by a political leader,” declared Sinn Fein’s Daithi Doolan — who has obviously never had to endure one the finger-wagging lectures regularly given by his own party’s president, Gerry Adams.
Richard Boyd-Barrett, a sort of fresh-faced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of the Left, said Sarkozy “and the other Euro bullies” were “trying to soften the Irish public up into accepting a second vote”, with Brian Cowen’s complicity. Sections of the media were in on “the plot”, too, he said.
All the buzzwords got a trot — so to speak — around the room. Lisbon was about “casino capitalism”. It was the subversive work of “militarists, neo-liberals, federalists and bureaucrats”.
All terribly alarming. Surely, in the face of such a dire threat, the Irish proletariat is poised to take to the streets on July 11 in their thousands, pitchforks at the ready, joined at the barricades by farmers brandishing burning sheep . . .
“We’re expecting about 500 people,” reckoned Brendan Young of the campaign.
Sensing the audience was less than impressed, he snippily added: “There are significant organisations here who certainly represent more on the ground than Libertas did.
Granted, Libertas is the sort of right-wing movement which makes Genghis Khan look like a bleeding-heart leftie, but surely they’re on the same side on this one. Could it be the one thing the People’s Front of Judea-like campaign hates more than the French president is the Popular Front of Libertas?
And who’s going to be the first comrade in this precarious coalition to break ranks and hurl the S-word?
Not Sarko of course. But that bigger insult: Splitter.



More lovely stuff, from a Texan this time, about CFLs and Incandescent Light Bulbs

David Davis

What a Nazi-leftist-anti-progress-anti-individual-clever-non-moonbat load of shysters we have allowed to dominate us, while our back was turned.

What shall we do about this?

For one thing, there is more Tungsten ore on the planet, mineable, than for Mercury. As far as long term predicted reserves of either are concerned, both are effectively unlimited as is the case for every element - but Mercury has more interesting and esoteric uses, such as the flotation surface for glass-production. Too sad to use it in lighting devices instead.

The LA. The Director’s Bulletin, 1st July 2008 (well-wicked stuff!)

Sean Gabb

The entire bulletin is here.

Comment to follow later today on selected issues. Everyone is massively busy today trying to earn a little money.