He has to: he must attend more than one drinks-potty a week with the bastards. But it does shine through.
He has to: he must attend more than one drinks-potty a week with the bastards. But it does shine through.
Saw this in a Daily Paul-Dacre thing earlier but this report is funnier.
People are writing off the PM but I think he’ll climb back, its a plan and we are dooomed
Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 192
28th April 2010
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc192.htm
Available for debate on LA Blog at
“Wait for Us to Fail, Then Vote BNP!”
The Conservative Hidden Agenda?
By Sean Gabb
I think we can all agree that the Conservative campaign in this election has never been more than uninspiring. We have a Labour Government that has come close to bankrupting the country and to destroying it politically. It is run by a collection of unindicted war criminals and traitors, who have plainly been hard at work for the past decade enriching themselves on a scale unknown since the 18th century. All this, and the Conservatives are trying hard to avoid a hung parliament in which Labour may be able to carry on with Liberal Democrat support.
This could be the effect of incompetence and general dishonesty. In part, I am sure it is. However, there may be another explanation, and I feel the time has come for me to make my own small offering in the election campaign.
On Monday the 5th March 2007, I had coffee with someone I will call XYZ, and who was and still may be an associate of David Cameron. Why he wanted to see me, and why he thought it might be useful to tell me all this, I have never been able to explain. I can only say that the meeting did happen – it happened, I might add, in the hotel where Andrew Gilligan had his meetings with the unfortunate David Kelly! Afterwards, as is my custom, I made a record of the meeting in my diary.
Started in 1977, and kept since 1991 in various computer formats, this diary has become a confession of my doings as scandalous or simply bizarre as anything in the novels of Richard Blake. When he was alive, Chris Tame used to lecture me on the value of taking a tape recorder into such conversations. I always refused his advice. Taping conversations is dishonourable. Anyone of intelligence will know that he is being recorded. And recordings are actually less useful for any legitimate purpose than written accounts made shortly after the event. They are certainly less useful practice for the analytical faculties. You may respond that writing out private conversations is as dishonourable as taping them. You are welcome to your opinion, but I do not share it. Where would history be without such accounts of what was said? Or you might say that it is dishonourable to publish such accounts while the relevant parties are alive. You may be right here. On the other hand, where written accounts are concerned, it is always open to an embarrassed party to deny that the conversation took place, or to insist that he was seriously misrepresented.
But this is a digression brought on by the triumph of self-importance over the promptings of conscience. Without further attempts to justify myself, what I give below is the relevant diary entry, edited only to maintain a reasonable anonymity for the person I met.
The Diary Entry
Meeting with XYZ, The Charing Cross Hotel, Monday the 5th March 2007.
[After some small talk irrelevant to this entry, XYZ moves to an explanation of the Conservative strategy]
XYZ – The central fact of this nation is that its political and media classes are rotten to the core. These classes are made up of ageing radicals who’ve spent the past 30 years marching through the institutions, and of younger apparatchiks who don’t fully believe, but who accept the framework within which they operate. And it’s worse than this. A fish rots from the head down, and the rot in this nation has spread deep into the body. Key parts of the electorate may not consciously have embraced the statist and green and politically correct ideologies of the Establishment. But they have been desensitised to them. They regard any alternative as eccentric or even alarming.
SIG – This is, of course, your fault. You did nothing when you were in office about the capture of ideological hegemony by these people. You have certainly been the only political force able to make any serious challenge to it since 1997. You have entirely failed to do this. We are now a couple of years from yet another election in which you will take part as outsiders.
XYZ – You may be right, but that doesn’t change things now. What matters is that a Conservative Party that talks openly about a conservative agenda will be ruined by the Establishment. It will also not be believed even by the uncorrupted parts of the electorate – these have been lied to too often. Our only option is to announce a superficial acceptance of the new order of things. We must become as politically correct as everyone else. We must embrace blacks and gays and the public sector. We must give the Establishment no excuse for destroying us. This has succeeded so far as the Conservatives are now accepted as the next Government.
SIG – And you suppose that lying your way into office will give you a mandate for radical change? If you run as “Blue Labour”, that is how everyone will expect you to behave in office. Besides, I’ve seen no evidence that your friends are as clever as you doubtless are. Very few people can consistently say one thing while believing something else. The problem with any hidden agenda is that it gets forgotten. I saw this with all those Tory Boy politicians who drifted through the libertarian movement in the 1980s. Perhaps they did believe all their early protestations of libertarian purity. Long before they’d crawled their way over broken glass into Parliament, they’d come to believe all the authoritarian platitudes that had been the price of success. I don’t believe what you are saying is a credible strategy for doing more than getting yourself and your friends back into office.
XYZ – I’m not talking about a political coup. The next Conservative Government may do some of the necessary work of restoration. It will do this by undoing much of the centralisation of the past quarter century. [He refers at this point to a deeply unpleasant argument we had over dinner in May 1989. He accepts the critique of the centralisation and constitutional vandalism of the Thatcher and Major Governments, but tries to justify all this as a failed but honourable Leninist strategy of trying to smash the left. He accepts that this strategy was a failure and that it needs to be reversed.]
XYZ – Giving control of police forces to locally elected chiefs will ensure that some parts of the country will escape the political correctness of central government. There will be no scaling back of the police state, but it might be used more for its alleged purpose of fighting what everyone regards as actual crime. This means that safe Labour areas will continue their descent into the gutter. But places like Kent and Surrey will be allowed to save themselves to some extent.
XYZ – Taxes will be cut—but only by a division of the fruits of economic growth with continued high spending on health and education.
XYZ – All else will be done by engineering circumstances in which radical action will seem to have been forced on an unwilling Conservative Government. For example, the European issue will be settled by a strategy that beings with all the Majorite “heart of Europe” rhetoric. Our Government will make solidly Europhile noises, and will give way on matters that cause outrage within the wider Movement. However, we will then engineer a crisis in Brussels, where we are bullied into accepting what we say is unacceptable. The crisis will proceed to the point where we announce we have no choice but to call a referendum on continued membership. And there will be unacceptable demands from Brussels – that is how these things work. We can portray ourselves as forced by circumstances into actions that we find unwelcome but also unavoidable.
SIG – And suppose the people do not vote for withdrawal?
XYZ – Then we face facts. If we can’t engineer a vote for withdrawal – not even in our own carefully chosen circumstances – we’ve lost.
XYZ – We will tackle illegal immigration in the same way. Already, there are calls from within the Establishment for an amnesty of all the illegals. If granted, this will add at least ten million Labour voters to the electorate, and we shall be lost forever. In office, we will do nothing to check these calls. At last, we will give way to them – but only after calling a referendum. We will announce that a measure so bold and so unpredictable in its effect must be put to the people, not decided within the Establishment. We will then produce a ballot paper with a range of options. One of these will be for a complete amnesty. Another will be the rounding up and expulsion of all the illegals. Our Government will insist of having these options included on the ballot paper, and will then be scrupulously neutral during the campaign. We are sure that 80 per cent of the electorate will vote for expulsion. This will give the necessary mandate for getting them out. There will be room for exceptions so that the Establishment is not able to seize on the usual hard cases and discredit the whole policy. But that is our real policy on immigration.
XYZ – Again, we expect something like an 80 per cent vote for expulsion. That will give us the mandate to force the bureaucracy into ruthless action. It also gives us the excuse for ruthless action when the lefty complaints begin.
SIG – Even supposing I wanted any of this, I don’t believe a word you are saying. You forget everything Chris Tame and I were told in the 1980s about how the State could be scaled back by taking advantages of its own inner contradictions. All we got was a more efficient state. Why should I take any of what you are saying as more than self-delusion to lubricate a Tory sell-out to the ideological hegemony of the left?
XYZ – Look, it may fail. If, however, the next Conservative Government does nothing good, that still moves the argument forward. At the moment, most of our people are anaesthetised by a decade of prosperity and by the vague belief that all problems created by Labour can be sorted out by voting Conservative next time, or by voting UKIP. A Conservative failure will be a shot of cold water in the face. It will force people to make serious choices they don’t presently think are necessary.
SIG – The purpose of voting UKIP is mostly to put pressure on a Conservative leadership that understands no other argument than measuring the haemorrhage of its core vote. Indeed, it shows no sign of having understood that argument.
XYZ – Sean, UKIP has imploded. [He refers to an expenses dispute with the Electoral Commission that appeared set to bankrupt the UK Independence Party: this conversation took place two years before the UKIP victories in the 2009 European elections.] This attack was not wholly an outside job. The Electoral Commission bent over backwards to avoid taking the action it did. The problem is that the UKIP leadership is generally arrogant and shambolic. The party is not a serious alternative to the Tories – we never lose large numbers of votes to it in any election that matters. But the impending collapse of UKIP is to be welcomed in terms of short term electoral advantage. Our loss of votes to it is not critical, but is annoying. More importantly, that – plus your anticipated Tory failure in government – clears the way for what may be the next step in British politics.
SIG – This being another two decades of useless Conservative Governments?
XYZ – No. The UKIP collapse is good in the long term so far as it allows the BNP to move further into the political running. UKIP is a useful safety valve. But its leaders are too stupid – or too controlled – to present any serious threat to the Establishment. The [British National Party] is different. It can’t be smashed. The Establishment has tried and failed. Its leaders have known each other for decades, and are used to working together in ways the UKIP leadership and activists could never manage. It cannot advance far at the moment because the Conservatives stand in its way. If the next Conservative Government is the sort of failure you believe it will be, we shall be pushed aside, and the path will be clear for the BNP.
SIG – So that’s your argument. We keep our mouths shut while your people lie their way into office. If they mess up, the way is cleared for the BNP to do the job for you?
That is what XYZ told me. You can be sure this is not a verbatim record of our conversation. It is a summary, made on the same evening, of a long conversation that went back on itself and over itself, and covered several other issues. It is possible that I misunderstood what was said to me. It is possible that I missed something out, and that this is a seriously unbalanced account of what was said. But I have been keeping a diary since I was a boy; and several million words of narrative have given me the ability to record events and conversations with acknowledged accuracy. What I give above is the essence of what I was told.
Now, I will say nothing about the morality of what was said. The real question is what was its meaning? I do not believe I am, or was, a person of sufficient importance to deserve this kind of private briefing. All else aside, I am not sure why I should have been thought to require a promise of what amounts to ethnic cleansing. But, once we move into this sort of backroom intrigue, the range of explanations can be endless.
One possibility is that I was being used as a conduit for propaganda that the Conservative leadership was not able to make for itself. Perhaps I was supposed to publish all this at the time as part of an effort to reconcile the core vote to a strategy that has never been popular. Or perhaps I was supposed to publish it to further some private intrigue around David Cameron. Or perhaps XYZ wanted to spend an evening telling me falsehoods of which he hoped thereby to persuade himself. Was I simply the most convenient excuse for a guilty monologue? I could fill whole pages with speculations that go nowhere. I did not make the conversation public at the time. It was, indeed, the inspiration for my book Cultural Revolution, Culture War, published a few months later. This should be read as my extended response to the conversation.
All I can say now is that the Conservative leadership has spent the past three years of relentlessly accepting the present order of things. I think this conversation was before David Cameron’s embrace of Polly Toynbee. It was certainly before his announcements of – so far unrequited – love for the BBC and the National Health Service. This might really be the Conservative hidden agenda.
If, however, it is the hidden agenda, it is not working. As said, its principals may already have gone native: they may have come to believe their own propaganda. And it does seem that, even otherwise, it has failed. The proposed victims of the strategy have not been sufficiently lulled into acceptance of a Conservative victory; and the Conservative core vote has not held up in the manner required. The Conservatives are just over a week away from an election that they should win more convincingly than the Liberals won in 1906, and there is a serious chance that they will lose.
Why am I publishing this now? It may explain what the Conservatives are really about. Otherwise, though, the conversation did take place. XYZ was at the time a person of some importance in the Conservative leadership. This makes the conversation of some historical importance. I am not fully aware of the arguments that took place within the Conservative leadership before David Cameron had made himself entirely supreme. But, even if I cannot say anything of who was putting it or of its weight, what I recorded in 2007 may have been one of those arguments. Oh – and it may get me a footnote in one of the more scholarly histories of our age.
Of course, I refuse to discuss the identity of XYZ. I will ignore any private questions. If anyone puts names to me in public, my response will be “No comment”. And, of course, all the other many sensitive conversations I have recorded over the years will remain confidential. Some of them, after all, might be embarrassing to me!
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 http://tinyurl.com/ya4pzuh
There is quite a lot in the BNP Manifesto that is worth liking: its rejection of the climate change nonsense, its promise to raise motorway speeds to 90mph, its policy on guns and smoking and tax and government spending. Then there is its promise to withdraw at once from the European Union and to withdraw all British forces from Afghanistan, and never to join in any invasion of Iran. I don’t like the proposal to put drug dealers to death – or the proposal to make it a criminal offence to publish “false information”: that sort of thing sets alarm bells ringing in my head.
I suppose I should hysterically denounce the BNP line on race and immigration. Not to do so, after all, invites smears from the pro-Regime left of wanting to stuff people into gas chambers. However, the party doesn’t seem to be committed to ethnic cleansing, and its policies on immigration seem to be no firmer than those of the Conservative Party before 1970. And I am more interested in what else the BNP has to say.
I think the most interesting disagreement between libertarians and white nationalists is over visions of the future. A nationalist sees the white race as politically and demographically verging on extinction. The best he can imagine is to make the West into a fortress and, at best, somehow get through the next few generations without being submerged. A libertarian looks forwward to a future of limitless scientific and technical and moral progress. We want more wealth and more freedom, and believe that differences of race and culture and religion will be of decreasing importance in a world based on free contract.
This being said, we do often begin from a shared analysis of how the present ruling class is destroying our civilisation. We may also share a certain pessimism about the chance that this ruling class can be dislodged before it is too late. However, the main difference is that libertarians are fundamentally optimistic about the future, and white nationalists are not.
I might also note that the British and American nationalist movements – now they have dropped all nostalgia for the 1930s – are borrowing wholesale from libertarianism. As yet, these borrowings often look like gold teeth in an otherwise indifferent mouth. But what will be our response if the gold teeth begin to outnumber the others? Those of us who are libertarians need to prepare for the day – one or two elections hence – when the BNP Manifesto may be the least statist on offer. If that does happen, we can look forward to some sharp disagreements.
Oh, I notice I’ve already been smeared on on some left-fascist blog almost certainly funded somewhere along the feeding chain by the taxpayers: http://westmidlandsunity.blogspot.com/2010/04/bnp-will-end-islamic-colonisation-of.html
Here is the BNP Manifesto: http://bnp.org.uk/pdf_files/BNP-Manifesto-2010-online.pdf
The bastards’ll find a way to cling on, and we may even be lumbered with lumbering Gordon. A pessimist is an optimist in possession of all the facts.
I like BNP policy on climate change, Europe, guns, smoking, multiculturalism, taxation, and so forth. I don’t like the idea of putting drug dealers to death, though. I think the time has come to stop denouncing the BNP for what it used to be saying, or for its alleged hidden agenda, and to start looking at what it is saying now.
In spite of the imminent unravelling of their government, the zealots carry on screaming
It says so in the Daily Mail.
Look I don’t mind recycling, doen it for years here anyway. But this breaks the bounds of ridiculosity (is that a word?)
….and one more of the roots of English culture goes with him. Take him out of the schools, and he’ll never return, and nor shall we.
Even as a libertarian, I do not disapprove of schools – merely the scumbags who have got hold of them by the windpipe.
UPDATE: There is a discussion going on on Facebook about this.
I’m saving my virginity for this election.
When I was a young boy, we were sometimes being warned, usually by our parents, about people called “nasty men”. We were all of course quite familiar with the history of WW2, as it had just occurred that morning in relative terms, so we wondered if Stalin was the finger-man, or if it was somebody else such as the Gestapo or the SD (as boys, we all were quite familiar with what the SD did and why, for it was only the 1950s). We didn’t think it was German Generals, since we knew all about these by name, and mostly they were “clean” insofar as behaviour on battlefronts was concerned. Even as sx- and seven-year-olds, we accepted a few departures from full Geneva-Convention-Stuff, “in the heat of battle” sort of thing. We even weathered the Cuban Missile Crisis without being “afraid to die”. It was only 1962, sex had not yet been invented, and so therefore we “knew that we were right”, and that “all will turn out for the best, boys!” in the end.
I now know what these “nasty men” were, and one of them is this one here. They were not people that my sad mum called “men who want to play with your wee-wee” ( I have never, ever, ever understood what the attraction of this might be, especially as it now smells most of the time whatever I do to the blasted thing) but actually politicians of the anti-liberal-Political Enemy-Class”.
If Ed Balls wants to come and play with my wee-wee, then everybody has his price, and I have mine. He can fondle my wee-wee, and suck me off (it will do nothing for me as I know this already: the practice of “fellatio”, forced on young men who didn’t see the point of it, by feminist women in the early-70s, appeared to me to be disgusting, un-necessary and totalitarian, since women were already pre-equipped with all the required apparatus anyway and the human mouth was not needed for the process) or do what he wants…but this is the price….. All remaining structures, political, concrete and virtual, that were ever Raised In This Land by the Socialists, and latterly by the GramscoFabiaNazis, will have to come down.
And I mean _/ever/_ .
Soclialism must be eliminated, totally. For ever.
If the nasty-man wants to suck my wee-wee, then that is the cost.
Janet Daley, normally very sound on liberalism in general, thinks UKIP ought to withdraw all its candidates for this election, so as not to let Labour or even the limp-Dems in by default. I don’t think so: for UKIP is taking on the role of the “Conservative” Party that the Tories have abrogated. if Cameron’s “Conservatives” were really conservative, and said what people want really to hear, rather than what their Enemy-Class-Advisers said they ought to say, we would not be in this mess.
You can read the whole diatribe!
Just get a look at this, bloody scary map, it came from over here.
We all know what we think about these matters. The “war on drugs”, like the “war on terror”, is a statist excuse for extension of surveillance, control, occupying-army-style-policing, and the general “choice-editing” of ordinary humans’ paths of action, by the Political Enemy-Class.
Perhaps the invention of actors and theatre is the problem? And politicians are really actors with too much power?
David Davis with Michael Winning (beers)
In the last few days, we have had a lot of stuff about volcanoes. Mainly because our old friend, Iceland, has decided to do its normal thing from over the last 40-or-so-million-years, and produce large volumes of asthenosperic materials, for high-level-projection, in short order. Indeed, an even cursory look at geological maps of Iceland will show an even shorter history of eruptions than that.
The Icelanders ought to be our friends. Indeed, those of us who live here in the North West are probably more closely related to them than you can shake a stick at. But today, I thought I would type rapidly, and without too much affore-thought, about modern civilisation, economics, and (you’ve guessed it) climate change. We people of today, in “New Britain, a YOUNG COUNTRY” as the disgusting and over-grasping pig Blair put it, once, have never seen a real volcano. Nor indeed has anyone else alive today, or even whoever has been alive in the last 70,000 years or thereabouts. (We think….)
What would happen to the AGW movement, which sets out to destroy humanity on purpose, and is by way of almost succeeding now, if there was a real volcanic eruption? You knowof what I speak! The kind from a crater the size of Wyoming, and which carries on for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years? If not thousands? They could,and have done in the past. Planets, especially large and massive rocky ones close(ish) to suns, are big objects with a lot of inertia, in respect of the organisms which might cling tenuously to life on their surfaces. It’s fortunate that they’re mostly as big as they are, or we’d have other difficulties too.
Let’s suppose that Yellowstone goes belly-up, tomorrow. The odds are it probably won’t, but it could. Should we apply the “precuationary principles” to such as event, and indeed could we even do so?
Almost immediately, pretty much all the agricultural land of North America will vanish. Along with it, about half the world’s acreage of grain and other plant crops, in productivity terms. Forget the “people” – to GramscoStalinists, people who live in North America are mere dross or statistics. Unless they are Mexicans or “blacks” but that won’t help much as Mexico and New Orleans (where of course Gramscians say all “blacks” live and all are “disadvantaged”) will be under the ash too. The stratospheric dust and ash clouds will persist for years, maybe decades or centuries. No growing-land will be safe anywhere, and billions may die.
At first, GreeNazis will rejoice. Food will still be avilable, at a price, and the metrosexual kinds will eat, for a while. But the planet has about 66 days’ supply of primary foods for humans at any one time. After the “little local shops” have run out first, and the “locavores” have begun to get restive and angry about “failure of government initiatives to ensure supplies for families, workers and young people”, thngs will start to get exciting. People will start to rob for food and to rob food: Police forces, especially in the UK, will start to behave like they have been itching to for years, deploying all the guns they have been hoarding and training with, especially against “terrorists”. The familes of Police will eat tolerably well, for a time….
The sky will be a dark grey colour most of the time, and it will seem very cold, all the time. The sun will not appear to heat the air at all. Yorkshire-sized icebergs, carrying their own microclimates, will travel as far as Tenerife before melting. The Shetlands may have to be abandoned, along with their oil and gas – which will become a prized commodity. No surviving GreeNazis will dare to speak openly of “bio fuels”, for fear of being made to watch their children being lynched and eaten, before they themselves are spitted and roasted over the fire, fed by their children’s uncollected fat. Saudi Arabia might dry up completely and rains there may fail.
A small Ice Age might be triggered. Two or three thousand years, no more than that, if we are lucky: a mere blip on the paleogeological temperature record.
The precautionary Principle suggests to us two here, that we ought to do the following, given the 1,100 trillion tonnes of Oxygen depositied, for our benefit, in today’s atmosphere:-
(1) Burn as much fossil fuels as we can pump, to make concrete and steel to build as many nuclear power stations as we can fill with nuclides, as fast as possible,
(2) Pay the Chindians to mine as much coal as their hearts can spade up, to help same process,
(3) Raise the atmospheric CO2 percentage to about 1% asap (that’s nearly 30 times the present level!), to promote regrowth of plant life as fast as can be managed, given that air temperature /could/ be a limiting factor.
We might, just might, if we did all this, now, avert a fully-major human disaster, in which billions of people will die. Ought we not to do this for the children? Afeter all, the probability of this is far higher than AGW…
Obnoxio thinks so. Logical conclusion.
How do I insert Vimeo videos?
Saturday 17th April 2010
2.30pm to 4.30pm
CARRS LANE CHURCH CENTRE
Carrs Lane, Birmingham B4 7SX
Dr. SEAN GABB Director The Libertarian Alliance
“The Old Order Yielding Place to New”
STUART NOTHOLT Vice-Chairman Campaign for an Independent Britain
“General Election “Candidate 2010”
DELE OGUN Solicitor in England & Wales
“Democracy Gone Wrong”
Interesting analysis over at CountingCats, of a problem which has been bugging me for some years: how to ensure Order becoming the inevitable daughter of Liberty, as she really is, instead of people thinking that Liberty arises out of imposed order.
THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS OF SMOKING AND NICOTINE
|Smoking lowers Parkinson’s disease risk – More evidence that smoking fights Parkinson – “A new study adds to the previously reported evidence that cigarette smoking protects against Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, the new research shows a temporal relationship between smoking and reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease. That is, the protective effect wanes after smokers quit.”|
|Impact of Smoking on Clinical and Angiographic Restenosis After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention – This large study shows yet another benefit of smoking. This time the benefit concerns restenosis, that is, the occlusion of coronary arteries. Smokers have much better chances to survive, heal and do well. Where is the press? Nowhere to be found, of course; we are talking about a significant positive about tobacco and smoking, which affects the health of people, don’t we? Well, come on! We are also talking about responsible media, here… people better increase their chances of death from cardiovascular disease then getting the idea that smoking may be good for them – a totally unacceptable paradox.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines paradox in these terms: “A statement or tenet contrary to received opinion or belief … as being discordant with what is held to be established truth, and hence absurd or fantastic”. Since the benefits of smoking are too numerous and consistent to be attributable to error or random chance, it follows that the established truth asserting that smoking is the cause of (almost) all disease cannot be true – a reality that dramatically clashes with the gigantic corruption of public health, its pharmaceutical and insurance mentors, institutions and media. Therefore, it is constantly suppressed in the interest of public health, but not of the people.
|Severe Gum Recession, Less Of A Risk For Smokers – In the strange world that anti-tobacco has wrought, any research that deviates from the tobacco-is-the-root-of-all-evil template is noteworthy. Here is a study that shows that smokers are actually at lower risk from gum disease. In this page (scroll down) there is more scientific evidence from other sources about oral health and smoking.Honest scientists have always known that smoking has some benefit. From the apparent shielding effect against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases to the more intangible benefits associated with well-being and tranquility, smoking tobacco in many ways is definitely good for your health.|
|One of the “Health Warnings” on cigarette pack in Canada. There is no solid proof for any of the diseases attributed to tobacco – just statistics and speculative associations, but the ministries of health continue to lie to the public, in a dazzling display of intellectual, professional, moral and political corruption.|
|Twin Study Supports Protective Effect of Smoking For Parkinson’s Disease – “Dr. Tanner’s group continued to see significant differences when dose was calculated until 10 years or 20 years prior to diagnosis. They conclude that this finding refutes the suggestion that individuals who smoke more are less likely to have PD because those who develop symptoms quit smoking.” “‘The inverse association of smoking dose and PD can be attributed to environmental, and not genetic, causes with near certainty,” the authors write.’Total silence from the antismoking mass media droids, of course, on this pivotal, long-range study that shows yet another benefit of smoking. The reasons are obvious, and they need no further comments. If the intention of “public health” is to inform the public about the consequences of smoking on health as it proclaims, why don’t we see “warnings” such as: “Smoking Protects against Parkinson’s Disease,” or “Smoking protects against Alzheimer’s Disease,” or “Smoking protects against Ulcerative Colitis” and so on, alongside with the other speculations on “tobacco-related” disease? Isn’t the function of public health to tell the citizens about ALL the effects on health of a substance? Obviously not. “Public health,” today, is nothing more than a deceiving propaganda machine paid by pharmaceutical and public money to promote frauds, fears, and puritanical rhetoric dressed up in white coats.|
|Does tobacco smoke prevent atopic disorders? A study of two generations of Swedish residents – “In a multivariate analysis, children of mothers who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day tended to have lower odds for suffering from allergic rhino-conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, atopic eczema and food allergy, compared to children of mothers who had never smoked (ORs 0.6-0.7). Children of fathers who had smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day had a similar tendency (ORs 0.7-0.9).”
Kids of smokers have LOWER asthma! You certainly won’t see this one on the health news of BBC or ABC, as they are too busy trying to convince us that smokers “cause” asthma in their kids – and in the kids of others. That, of course, is not true, as smoking does not “cause” asthma.
|Shocker: ‘Villain’ nicotine slays TB - “Nicotine might be a surprising alternative someday for treating stubborn forms of tuberculosis, a University of Central Florida researcher said Monday. The compound stopped the growth of tuberculosis in laboratory tests, even when used in small quantities, said Saleh Naser, an associate professor of microbiology and molecular biology at UCF. … Most scientists agree that nicotine is the substance that causes people to become addicted to cigarettes and other tobacco products.”
“… But no one is suggesting that people with TB take up the potentially deadly habit of smoking.” Of course not.It is much better to develop medication-resistant superbugs than to start smoking…It should be said that the “most scientists” in question are paid off by the pharmaceutical industry for their research; and that most of the aforementioned “scientists” promote the nicotine-based “cessation” products manufactured by their masters — mysteriously without explaining why such an addictive substance becomes “un-addictive” when used to quit smoking!
|Carbon Monoxide May Alleviate Heart Attacks And Stroke - Carbon monoxide is a by-product of tobacco smoke. A report indicates very low levels of carbon monoxide may help victims of heart attacks and strokes. Carbon monoxide inhibits blood clotting, thereby dissolving harmful clots in the arteries. The researchers focused on carbon monoxide’s close resemblance to nitric oxide which keeps blood vessels from dilating and prevents the buildup of white blood cells. “Recently nitric oxide has been elevated from a common air pollutant . . . to an [internal] second messenger of utmost physiological importance. Therefore, many of us may not be entirely surprised to learn that carbon monoxide can paradoxically rescue the lung from [cardiovascular blockage] injury.” The pharmacological benefits of tobacco are nothing new.|
|Smoking Prevents Rare Skin Cancer - A researcher at the National Cancer Institute is treading treacherous waters by suggesting that smoking may act as a preventative for developing a skin cancer that primarily afflicts elderly men in Mediterranean regions of Southern Italy, Greece and Israel. Not that smoking should be recommended for that population, Dr. James Goedert is quick to assure his peers. What is important is not that smoking tobacco may help to prevent a rare form of cancer but that there is an admission by a researcher at the National Cancer Institute that there are ANY benefits to smoking.|
|Smoking Reduces The Risk Of Breast Cancer – A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (May 20, 1998) reports that carriers of a particular gene mutation (which predisposes the carrier to breast cancer) who smoked cigarettes for more than 4 pack years (i.e., number of packs per day multiplied by the number of years of smoking) were found to have a statistically significant 54 percent decrease in breast cancer incidence when compared with carriers who never smoked. One strength of the study is that the reduction in incidence exceeds the 50 percent threshold. However, we think it important to point out that this was a small, case control study (only 300 cases) based on self-reported data.|
|Nitric oxide mediates a therapeutic effect of nicotine in ulcerative colitis – “CONCLUSIONS: Nicotine reduces circular muscle activity, predominantly through the release of nitric oxide-this appears to be ‘up-regulated’ in active ulcerative colitis. These findings may explain some of the therapeutic benefit from nicotine (and smoking) in ulcerative colitis and may account for the colonic motor dysfunction in active disease.”|
|Effects of Transdermal Nicotine on Cognitive Performance in Down’s Syndrome - “We investigated the effect of nicotine-agonistic stimulation with 5 mg transdermal patches, compared with placebo, on cognitive performance in five adults with the disorder. Improvements possibly related to attention and information processing were seen for Down’s syndrome patients compared with healthy controls. Our preliminary findings are encouraging…”
More benefits of nicotine. Of course, it is politically incorrect to say that this is a benefit of smoking – only of the pharmaceutically-produced transdermal nicotine, the one that is terribly addictive if delivered through cigarettes, but not addictive at all, and even beneficial, when delivered through patches….
Antismoking nonsense aside, nicotine gets into the body regardless of the means of delivery. And more evidence about the benefis seems to emerge quite often, though the small size of this study cannot certainly be taken as conclusive.
|Nicotine Benefits – The benefits of nicotine — and smoking — are described in this bibliography. This information is an example of what the anti-tobacco groups do not want publicized because it fails to support their agenda. Some of the studies report benefits not just from nicotine, but from smoking itself. But of course, according to the anti-smokers, all these scientists have been “paid by the tobacco industry” … even though this is not true. Sadly, personal slander and misinformation are the price a scientist has to pay for honest work on tobacco.|
|Parkinson’s Disease Is Associated With Non-smoking – Bibliography of references from studies associating Parkinson’s disease with non-smoking. Certain benefits of smoking are well-documented, but the anti smoking groups, backed by several medical journals (more interested in advertising revenue than in informing the population), are silent. By the way, what about the cost of non-smokers to society due to their prevailing tencency to contract Parkinson’s disease?|
|Alzheimer’s Disease Is Associated With Non-Smoking – “A statistically significant inverse relation between smoking and Alzheimer’s disease was observed at all levels of analysis, with a trend towards decreasing risk with increasing consumption”.|
|Research indicating that nicotine holds potential for non-surgical heart by-pass procedures honored by the american college of cardiology – Dr. Christopher Heeschen of Stanford University was honored by the American College of Cardiology for his research on the effect of nicotine on angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth). His work took third place in the 2,000 entry Young Investigators Competition in the category of Physiology, Pharmacology and Pathology. Dr. Heeschen presented compelling data from research done at Stanford revealing that the simple plant protein, nicotine, applied in small harmless doses, produced new blood vessel growth around blocked arteries to oxygen-starved tissue.|
|Smoking Your Way to Good Health - The benefits of smoking tobacco have been common knowledge for centuries. From sharpening mental acuity to maintaining optimal weight, the relatively small risks of smoking have always been outweighed by the substantial improvement to mental and physical health. Hysterical attacks on tobacco notwithstanding, smokers always weigh the good against the bad and puff away or quit according to their personal preferences.Now the same anti-tobacco enterprise that has spent billions demonizing the pleasure of smoking is providing additional reasons to smoke. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s Syndrome, even schizophrenia and cocaine addiction are disorders that are alleviated by tobacco. Add in the still inconclusive indication that tobacco helps to prevent colon and prostate cancer and the endorsement for smoking tobacco by the medical establishment is good news for smokers and non-smokers alike. Of course the revelation that tobacco is good for you is ruined by the pharmaceutical industry’s plan to substitute the natural and relatively inexpensive tobacco plant with their overpriced and ineffective nicotine substitutions. Still, when all is said and done, the positive revelations regarding tobacco are very good reasons indeed to keep lighting those cigarettes.|
|Does maternal smoking hinder mother-child transmission of Helicobacter pylori infection? – “Evidence for early childhood as the critical period of Helicobacter pylori infection and for clustering of the infection within families suggests a major role of intrafamilial transmission. In a previous study, we found a strong inverse relation between maternal smoking and H. pylori infection among preschool children, suggesting the possibility that mother-child transmission of the infection may be less efficient if the mother smokes. To evaluate this hypothesis further, we carried out a subsequent population-based study in which H. pylori infection was measured by 13C-urea breath test in 947 preschool children and their mothers. We obtained detailed information on potential risk factors for infection, including maternal smoking, by standardized questionnaires. Overall, 9.8% (93 of 947) of the children and 34.7% (329 of 947) of the mothers were infected. Prevalence of infection was much lower among children of uninfected mothers (1.9%) than among children of infected mothers (24.7%). . Click here for more information on smoking and pregnancy.There was a strong inverse relation of children’s infection with maternal smoking (adjusted odds ratio = 0.24; 95% confidence interval = 0.12-0.49) among children of infected mothers, but not among children of uninfected mothers. These results support the hypothesis of a predominant role for mother-child transmission of H. pylori infection, which may be less efficient if the mother smokes. “|
|Risk of papillary thyroid cancer in women in relation to smoking and alcohol consumption. – “Both smoking and alcohol consumption may influence thyroid function, although the nature of these relations is not well understood. We examined the influence of tobacco and alcohol use on risk of papillary thyroid cancer in a population-based case-control study. Of 558 women with thyroid cancer diagnosed during 1988-1994 identified as eligible, 468 (83.9%) were interviewed; this analysis was restricted to women with papillary histology (N = 410). Controls (N = 574) were identified by random digit dialing, with a response proportion of 73.6%. We used logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (OR) and associated confidence intervals (CI) estimating the relative risk of papillary thyroid cancer associated with cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption.
Women who reported that they had ever consumed 12 or more alcohol-containing drinks within a year were also at reduced risk (OR 0.7, 95% CI = 0.5-1.0). Similar to the association noted with smoking, the reduction in risk was primarily present among current alcohol consumers. The associations we observed, if not due to chance, may be related to actions of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption that reduce thyroid cell proliferation through effects on thyroid stimulating hormone, estrogen, or other mechanisms. “ A history of ever having smoked more than 100 cigarettes was associated with a reduced risk of disease (OR = 0.7, 95% CI = 0.5-0.9). This reduction in risk was most evident in current smokers (OR = 0.5, 95% CI = 0.4-0.7).
|Urinary Cotinine Concentration Confirms the Reduced Risk of Preeclampsia with Tobacco Exposure – This study, though small, shows one of the benefits of smoking during pregnancy. “These findings, obtained by using laboratory assay, confirm the reduced risk of developing preeclampsia with tobacco exposure. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1999;181:1192-6.) ” Click here for more information on smoking and pregnancy.|
|Fact Sheet on Smoking and Alzheimer’s – From Forest UK.|
|Smokers have reduced risks of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease – Of the 19 studies, 15 found a reduce risk in smokers, and none found an increased risk. And smoking is clearly associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, another disease in which nicotine receptors are reduced. The fact that acute administration of nicotine improves attention and information processing in AD patients adds further plausibility to the hypothesis.|
|The Puzzling Association between Smoking and Hypertension during Pregnancy – This large study has examined nearly 10,000 pregnant women. Conclusion: “Smoking is associated with a reduced risk of hypertension during pregnancy. The protective effect appears to continue even after cessation of smoking. Further basic research on this issue is warranted. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1999;181:1407-13.) ” Click here for more information on smoking and pregnancy.|
|Smoking: Protection Against Neural Tube Defects? – Swedish researchers have some surprising news for pregnant women who smoke: a decreased risk of neural tube defects in babies. Click here for more information on smoking and pregnancy.|
Climate Change IV – A THUMB (OR TWO) IN THE SCALES?
I was sent away to learn the corn trade to a firm called Lamprey & Son in Banbury. The old office and shop building still stands next to the town hall and looks much the same today although it has long been converted to other uses.
One day the boss showed me a really beautifully made, brass, Victorian balance that fitted into a polished wooden case which would slip into your pocket. On one end of the beam was a small pot about as big as a good-sized egg cup. The other side of the beam was milled with serations and graduated with a sliding weight which moved along it. If you filled the pot up with a sample of grain and struck it off level, you could slide the weight along until it balanced with the contents of the pot and read off the bushel weight of the grain from the scale.
Bushel weight is a good indicator of quality. Plump, full grains weigh heavier than thin ones. A bushel of reasonable quality barley would weigh 4 stones (56 lb or half a hundredweight) and a bushel of good wheat 5 stones (70lb). So the little pot contained a very small part of a bushel. The sample might represent a parcel of grain which could be anything from 5 or 6 tonnes up to over 100.
The boss let me try this out and in two or three goes I was getting a very consistent reading. He then did the same with the same sample and got a considerably heavier bushel weight. Eventually he showed me the trick. The strike or straight edge, which was used to level off the contents of the pot, had two sides. One was like a ruler and the other had a piece of dowel along it. If you used the dowel side, it pressed a few more corns into the pot than the straight edge. With the effect of scale, this made the sample look considerably heavier and better quality. Even with a correctly drawn sample, a small change in procedure or instrumentation could significantly bias the result. “That’s how they did it in the old days days, boy” he said with a wink “buying or selling, you see, boy”. I should add that this was shown to me as an antique curiosity and was not any part of the trading practices of the firm in my day!
The kit which is used to “sample” the temperature of the climate is remarkably unchanged and about the same vintage as that rather splendid little balance. It is called a Stevenson Screen and was actually designed by the father of Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of “Treasure Island”. It is a standard sized wooden box with louvred sides to allow free circulation of the air around the instruments and keep them out of direct sunlight. Hence the expression “in the shade” when referring to temperature. The thermometer might be a traditional mercury maximum/minimum type or more modern sensors. Stevenson Screens were traditionally painted with whitewash.
It is doubtful whether a character like ANTHONY WATTS could exist in state-controlled Britain. He is an American meteorologist and weather forecaster for commercial TV and radio stations. For his living he depends upon his customers’ satisfaction with the accuracy of his forecasts. He also supplies custom-built weather stations, TV graphics systems and video equipment to broadcasters all over the world. So he is an expert who makes his living from weather but is neither a civil servant (who can be made to toe an official line) nor dependent on tax-funded grants (which require applicants to be politically correct). So he has a certain independence of mind and demonstrates that rugged individualism and tenacity of purpose which used to be the stuff of all-American heroes in many films of my youth.
He noticed that the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service (NOAA/NWS – roughly equivalent to the UK Meteorological Office) had made a small change to its Stevenson Screens. He wondered whether this change would affect the temperatures recorded. Back in 1979 the NWS had stopped using whitewash and started painting the Stevenson Screens with white, semi gloss, latex paint. Whitewash essentially gave a coating of calcium carbonate whilst latex paint used the pigment titanium dioxide which has significantly different infra-red properties.
In 2007, having a little time on his hands, he set up a trial to see what the differences might be. He used three Stevenson Screens – one unpainted, one painted with the latex semi gloss used by the NWS and one painted with historically correct whitewash. He also used a modern stacked plate aspirated thermometer as an additional control. His results showed that the latex paint raised the maximum recorded temperature within the screen by 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit and the minimum recorded temperature by 0.8 degrees Fahrenheit when compared with the whitewashed Stevenson Screen. So that is an average upward bias of 0.55 degrees Fahrenheit. Not very much, you might think but the whole scare about global warming is based on a claimed, observed temperature rise of only 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit in a century.
Anthony Watts then decided to have a look at the NWS’s Stevenson Screens in his locality to see if they were being painted to the official specification. What he found was disquieting. In one case, heat-generating radio equipment had been installed inside the screen, near to the temperature sensors. In other cases the weather stations were near to the outlet vents of air conditioning systems or close to other heat sources – all of which would tend to bias the recorded temperatures upwards.
So he conducted further investigations, eventually recruiting a team of volunteers to observe and photograph as many of the 1221 weather stations as possible all over the United States. 865 of them were visited. NEARLY NINE OUT OF TEN WEATHER STATIONS PROVED TO BE OUTSIDE THE SPECIFICATIONS LAID DOWN BY THE U.S. AUTHORTIES THEMSELVES.
They were near to artificial heat sources, on top of concrete or tarmac surfaces, close to buildings, in the steamy warmth of sewage farms and so on. ALL OF THE OBSERVED FAULTS WOULD TEND TO RAISE THE RECORDED TEMPERATURES. It is a fascinating story of one man’s determination to get at the truth and can be read in full on www.SurfaceStations.org . Anthony Watts also has a regularly updated blog www.wattsupwiththat.com which is one of the most widely read, independent sources of climate information. I particularly like the fact that contrary views are welcomed. Whilst they are vigorously debated, they are treated with respect and normal courtesy – unlike some blogs pushing the official line.
To return to my analogy of that corn merchant’s balance – the few cubic feet of air inside a Stevenson Screen stand proxy for a huge amount of the earth’s atmosphere. Weather stations are often hundreds of miles apart. So those few cubic feet are proportionately much smaller than that egg cupful of grain representing a parcel of some tons. Any change , such as a different coat of paint, a heat-radiating transformer inside the screen or a nearby heat source can have a disproportionate effect on a tiny sample which is claimed as representative of hundreds of cubic miles of atmosphere. Probably unintentionally, the official methods seem to have had an effect not unlike a thumb or two being pressed on the side of the scales indicating a warming, rather than a stable or cooling climate. Yet the taxpayer-funded “climate community” was not at all grateful to Anthony Watts for looking in to the basic data and the methods used to measure it. For them “the science is settled” is the whole of their faith. Forget accurate measurement. They have computer programs to adjust things in ways which only they can understand. Watts is a heretic and that’s that.
HOW THE CANADIAN THERMOMETERS WERE “TAKEN OUT AND SHOT”
When the US authorities began monitoring surface temperatures of the earth’s surface, the 1,221 US weather stations were part of a worldwide total of some 6,000. But something strange happened in the last few years. The number of stations used to record temperature dropped dramatically. Figures were still shown for all areas of the world but they were calculated by reference to far fewer actual observations. They were “adjusted” and “homogenised” . The Canadian blog, “Small Dead Animals” reported as follows on January 16 2010 under the heading
“The Sound of Settled Science”.
“In Canada, the number of stations dropped from 600 to 35 in 2009. The percentage of stations in the lower elevations (below 300 feet) tripled and those at higher elevations above three thousand feet were reduced in half. Canada’s semi-permanent depicted warmth comes from interpolating (don’t you love the word!) from more southerly locations to fill northerly vacant grid boxes, even as a pure average of the available stations shows a COOLING.
JUST 1 THERMOMETER REMAINS for everything north of latitude 65N – that station is Eureka. Eureka according to Wikipedia has been described as “The Garden Spot of the Arctic” due to the flora and fauna around the Eureka area, mopre so than anywhere elese in the high Arctic. Winters are frigid but summers are slightly warmer than other places in the Canadian Arctic”.
The same has happened to US thermometers, South of the Border. The computer expert E. Michael Smith joined forces with the Certified Consulting Meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo and appeared in a TV programme on www.kusi.com on 16 January 2010. They reported that the number of weather stations used as a starting point for the world’s average temperature calculations had been reduced from around 6,000 in the Seventies to about 1,500 now . “That leaves much of the world unaccounted for. The greatest losses were in areas where NOAA and other data centers claim the warming was greatest like Siberia and Canada”. D’Aleo added that “In these regions NOAA “estimates” temperatures based on stations that may be 700 miles away”.
Smith noted “When doing a benchmark test of the program, I found patterns in them input data… that looked like dramatic and selective deletions of thermometers from cold locations…….The more I looked, the more I found patterns of deletion that could not be accidental. Thermometers moved from cold mountains to warm beaches; from Siberian Arctic to more southerly locations, and from pristine rural locations to jet airport tarmacs….”
Even as a very new, trainee corn merchant I knew better than to draw a sample from only the best part of the bulk. It would lead to the actual delivery being rejected and to great extra expense to my boss. He never liked that sort of thing. There seems to be no similar sanction for scientists drawing bad samples of climate and temperature with equipment known to be faulty. If the results are what the politicians want to hear, they are fine. The enormous bill for remediating “climate change” will simply be passed to the taxpayer – even if it isn’t actually happening.
A few days ago I had a Facebook argument with somebody about this firm. The prevailing terms of discourse everywhere, especially among the Articulate Classes, seemed to be that it’s out to imprison farmers in its customer-base, sue those who grow its stuff quite by accident, and to generally destroy the world.
As is right and natural, most of these people have not ever been nearer to sowing things than the pot-plant section of Dobbie’s Garden World, let along planted a whole field of anything.
Of course, as we all understand and accept, this is the “correct” Line-To-Take as regards capitalism, and specially towards outfits that provide “essential” goods or “the basics”, such as seeds, wonder-drugs and universal software which mostly works most of the time.
But I don’t think so. I’d like to write more about Monsanto in particular but I have a busy week coming up. What does anyone else think?
Perhaps Dr Sean Gabb’s book (Culture Revolution, Culture War) and C S Lewis’s ideas about Bulverism have something in common.
I was idly scanning “Underdogs Bite Upwards” – as you do – earlier, and it says there that the Green Party actually want to do these things. If it was not scary – these are the kinds of people that truly believe what they say, just like we do – then it would be droll. But it’s not droll, for if they got anywhere near such a heavily-empowered State as this one, then they would really get started.
Somebody popped up yesterday on the incoming links from here, and while rooting around at his end I found this, which contains the beginnings of sense and order about the Darwinism-Evolution/Intelligent-Design fracas.
Saw this just now, the mood seems the same, I cam smell the rat I feel floating in the air…
I wonder if there’s a corelation between the keeping of “power dogs” and Labour Rotten/Pocket Boroughs?
A Pit-Bull a day keeps the MP at bay.
I came across Antony’s work in the early 1980s, when I first discovered David Hume. I admired Antony without ever supposing I’d meet him. We did eventually meet in June 1992. I was sitting in my office in the Prime Minister’s Palace in Bratislava. The telephone rang. It was one of the guards on the main door. He told me there was a strange old man with him who understood a little German, but no Slovak, and who was unable to make himself understood. I went down, and found it was the great Professor Flew. He’d arrived at the main railway station to give some lectures for the Jan Hus Foundation, but hadn’t been met. So he’d wandered the streets of a Bratislava where almost no one in those days knew any English. Eventually, for some reason I was never able to discover, he’d been pushed towards the Prime Minister’s Palace. I took him off to his hotel and got him booked in. Before we parted, he asked if I’d like to go with him the following morning to the site of Austerlitz (Slavkov) to inspect the battlefield.
Next day, I went off with him as his interpreter, and spend the day translating all the inscriptions there out of Czech and French and Latin. It was a jolly outing.
Back in England, I found myself bumping into him at an increasing number of libertarian and conservative events. Most people, I regret to say, regarded him as something of an old bore. He liked the fact that I always regarded him with awed admiration and enjoyed discussing his favourite subjects – empirical epistemology and so forth.
I remember walking with him to Charing Cross Railway Station in late 1997. He surprised me then by wishing for a Christian revival to counter what he regarded as the much more malign force of Islam. This did sort of prepare me for his later conversion to theism – though I was always surprised at his acceptance of the argument from design in terms that our common Master, David Hume, had already demolished. I was too polite in any of our later conversations to press him on this. Instead, I let him talk and talk about the quite irrelevant facts of DNA and its complexities. And, since I’m a sceptic rather than an atheist, I’ve never tried to argue anyone out of a belief in God that might well be correct, even if I don’t feel terribly drawn to it myself.
During his last few years, his mind began to fail him. I met him once while he was wandering lost in London. He recognised me and was grateful that I was able to get him onto the right railway train back to Reading. But he was increasingly vague about everything except philosophical issues on which he’d spent his entire life working, and that were unlikely to leave him even after he’d most much sense of his own identity.
He lived long. He lived well. If there is a God, I don’t think He’ll hold against him the little matter of sixty years of philosophical atheism. I bid farewell to a friend and a guide:
E tenebris tantis tam clarum extollere lumen
qui primus potuisti inlustrans commoda vitae,
te sequor o Graiae gentis decus inque tuis nunc
ficta pedum pono pressis vestigia signis….
Film: Capitalism: A Love Story
Director: Michael Moore
You don’t go to see a Michael Moore documentary for impartial reporting and “Capitalism: A Love Story” is as ideologically one-eyed as his previous offerings, although he seems to have dropped for the moment at least his habit of outright lying.
There is the usual parade of cartoon villains – in this case bankers, mortgage sellers and politicians who allowed the sub-prime bubble to run uninterrupted -, a large serving of Moore’s faux surprise and naivety and the trademark laboured stunts such as running a crime scene ribbon the length of Wall Street and arriving with a bank security van outside US taxpayer bailed-out institutions and demanding the taxpayers’ money back. Taken at that level the film is no more than a crude piece of propaganda .
And yet and yet…. as with “Fahrenheit 911″ and “Sicko”, in amongst the self-satisfied posturing and intellectual dishonesty Moore has a tale to tell worth anyone’s time. That story is the facts themselves, such things as the grotesque rewards gained both before and after the crash by those who controlled the banking and allied sectors, the gross inflation over the past thirty years of the ratio between the pay of CEOs and rank-and-file workers, the depression of the wages of the ordinary working man, the poignant testimony of those who have lost out in this economic calamity, often through no fault of their own, and the stark scenes of wholesale desolate abandonment of property, not in hick towns but major cities such as Boston and Detroit, scenes which I have never seen the like of in modern Britain.
But Moore goes beyond showing the untrammelled greed and the dire consequences of the sub-prime madness. Simply by delineating the movement of financiers and senior figures from large corporations to positions of power and influence within governments over decades – the number of Goldman Sachs employees who have achieved such positions is truly extraordinary – he raises the question of exactly who has been controlling the US economy for the past thirty years and in whose interest?
The relaxation of legal restraints such as the Glass-Steagle Act – which divided retail banking from investment banking in the US – the ever more negligent enforcement of regulatory controls over banks and their ilk since Reagan was elected in 1980 and the amazing willingness of America’s politicians to pump vast amounts of taxpayers’ money into the banks since Lehman Bros went down in 2008 strongly suggests that the interest being followed was not the national one.
Moore turned up is one particularly chilling piece of newsreel of a Reagan speech when a banker-turned-Treasury-official moves close to Reagan and says “speed it up!” in a peremptory manner to which Reagan responds “Oh!” and then proceeds to do precisely as he was told. This was clearly a servant (Reagan) responding to his master.
The dishonesty which lies at the heart of the film is the failure to ask of those who have fallen by the economic wayside the obvious questions about personal responsibility: “Why did you borrow that which simple arithmetic told you was impossible to repay?”, ” Why did you lie about your financial circumstances to get a mortgage?”, “Why did you pay no heed to the future?”
This is a serious deficiency because a significant proportion of those caught up in debt must have had the wit to know that they were taking a tremendous risk. Yet there are serious pleas of mitigation for those who came a cropper, even for those who knew they were taking a risk and willingly took it. The first is the simple human need to have a secure home, because without that it is impossible to raise a family and plan for the future . The housing bubble inflated not only house prices but rents. For many the only realistic hope they had of obtaining a home they could raise a family in was by buying and hoping for the best.
This very natural desire was incontinently fed by politicians and the mortgage providers whose message was not only “You can afford it” but “”You deserve it “.
This behaviour raises the question of what is the responsibility of politicians. It may be a comfortable political message, especially in America, to pretend that everyone is a responsible individual capable of making rational decisions but a pretence it is. Take just one stark fact, around ten per cent of the population in the US and Britain have IQs of 80 or less. (That means there are around 30 million people in the US and 6 million in Britain with IQs of 80 or less). An IQ of 80 is the point where most psychologists working in the field of psychometrics think an individual begins to struggle to live an independent life in an advanced industrial society. These will be people who are ill-equipped to make such a major decision as buying a house . Add in the educational deficiencies of a large part of those with IQs of 80+ and the number who are poorly equipped to make decisions about running into large scale debt swells considerably. Politicians need to take the capacity of all sections of those they govern into account when they make policy decisions. Manifestly they calamitously failed to do this over the past thirty years. .
The consequences of political failure have been dire for much of the populations of the US and Britain. The big lie both sets of political elites have propounded is that laissez faire economics, both at home and abroad, is the surest way to national wealth. That is becoming an ever worse joke for large numbers in both the US and Britain, as unemployment rises, wages stagnate and housing is pulled ever further from the reach of the ordinary man and woman.
The natural end of laissez faire economics is a plutocracy which is a de facto authoritarian regime because as one of my old history masters never tired of saying “money is power”. The natural end of laissez faire plus political connivance in illegitimately promoting the interests of business in particular and the advantage of those with wealth and power generally, is not only an authoritarian regime but one in which those outside the elite have little chance in joining the elite. Over two centuries ago Tom Paine complained that the English elite had “made poverty hereditary” by an ever more selfish political elite. .That is what is happening now in both the US and Britain. .
Despite its faults the film is is persuasive. It is a pity that Moore has yet to learn that letting the facts tell the story is the most effective form of polemic and that his thrusting of himself into the action with lame stunts merely distracts from what he is trying to say.
Robert Henderson 13 4 2010
The last Station – Depiction of the last months of Tolstoy’s life. worth seeing only for Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Tolstoy’s wife. Christopher Plummer is a decent Tolstoy but the tiresome old hypocrite, who claimed to despise property but somehow managed to remain in possession of his inherited property to his death – had very little of interest to say at that point of his life and was nothing more than a weary old man.
Nine – This was a film inspired by Fellini’s 8.5 and is centred around an Italian director making a film. I went to see it simply because it has the man whom I believe is the most charismatic film actor presently working, Daniel Day-Lewis. It would have been a decent film except for one thing, for some bizarre reason they decided to turn it into a very odd musical with people who were not accomplished singers doing the singing. .
Let the right one in – hopelessly over-hyped. Not a bad film, but something much more ignominious, a mediocre one.
A Prophet – also hopelessly over-hyped. The French frequently don’t do gangsters well, all too often trying to mimic American gangster films and failing dismally by not understanding that violence has to be linked the plot not be an end in itself. The violence is also unrealistic more often than not because it has a stage-like over-emphatic quality of gesture about it. In this film there is also the wearisome, for the non-French audience at least, of a running Corsican Separatist theme (in the words of Captain Queeg, I kid you not).
Since 1997, Gordon Brown has presided over an explosion of state spending – and of the taxes needed to fund this. He has also more than doubled the British national debt. Most of the money has been spent on salaries and pensions for the ruling class and for its various clients. One of the main issues in British politics is how to stop this haemorrhage of our money into their pockets, and also how to get some of it back to help pay off the principal of the debt.
Here’s a proposal for quick and easy spending cuts.
No one in the public sector should be allowed to earn more than £40,000. No one in the public sector should be allowed to collect a pension of more than £20,000. This should include everyone from dustmen all the way down to Cabinet Ministers. Well, it should include everyone but those tax eaters – Trevor Phillips, Peter Mandelson, et al – who would just be sacked and deprived of all pension expectations.
This is a proposal that might allow cuts to some of the grosser salaries, but doesn’t, in itself, touch those pensions already granted. Everyone in politics seems agreed that the “public faith” shouldn’t be broken by arbitrary changes to contractual rights and obligations – as if the tax payers have an obligation to pay every bill run up by our tribe of hand-in-till politicians! Indeed, as if faith had ever been kept in more than the formal sense with the rights and expectations of those targeted by the State.
However, we could achieve the proposed reductions for everyone in the public sector by using the tax system. We don’t need to unpick contracts and tear up old pension agreements. The Government simply needs to impose a supplemental tax on everyone whose income is derived from the State. Therefore, Rupert Snottleigh, former Chair of the Lifestyle and Social Engineering Directorate for the South West Region, may feel snug with his £120,000 a year pension. My proposed supplemental income tax would take that straight down to £20,000. In the same way, the salary of the Prime Minister would be cut from £194,250 to £40,000 – would that cause any shortage of candidates for the job? Could it possibly reduce the quality of candidates? Of course, “Dame” Betty Woad, Head of the England Walking! Initiative at DEFRA, would see her salary cut from £247,000 to zero. She could also go sing for her pension.
These people have spent the past few decades talking rapturously about what high taxes can enable in the way of state solutions. Well, here are some taxes that certainly enable a few solutions. It would cut public spending by billions upon billions of pounds. It would also make me very happy!
Why should these people have pensions when ours have been made worthless by the burden of paying theirs? Or when our pensions have been made worthless by their regulatory efforts?
It might be worth imposing the same kind of tax on the management of all the banks we were forced to bail out the year before last. Certainly, my proposal is not restricted to those directly and wholly employed by the State. It also applies to everyone in the various quangos and executive agencies set up over the past quarter century. The test should not be formal corporate status, but the origin of an organisation’s budget. Therefore, the proposal also covers the BBC and the Church of England.
Bearing in mind how utterly useless she has been at remembering her Coronation Oath, it might also cover the Queen and her various hangers on.
So come on, Mr Dave – give us a reason for voting Tory!
Free Life Commentary,
an independent journal of comment
published on the Internet
Issue Number 13
28th February 1998
How to Get Rid of New Labour,
and Why it Will Probably not be Done:
An Open Letter to William Hague
Dear Mr Hague,
This Open Letter is being faxed to you at Conservative Central Office. It is at the same time being sent out by e-mail to about a thousand subscribers to Free Life Commentary; and it will, in the next few days, be placed on my Web Page.
My reasons for writing to you now are that as of tomorrow, Britain will have had a Labour Government for ten months. This will be celebrated by Labour in the usual way, with a flurry of news releases and pictures of a smiling Tony Blair. There will be good reason for them to celebrate. just about every other British Government in living memory has been at least sliding into trouble after so long in power. With this one it is different.
On the current evidence from the opinion polls, an election tomorrow would produce much the same outcome as last May. There would be some recovery of seats by the Conservative Party—especially from the Liberal Democrats. But there would be no real impact on the present Labour domination of British Politics.
Of course, there are exceptional circumstances at work here. The Conservatives were kicked out last year in a wave of popular revulsion that has almost no equal in a modern democracy. The Major Government had discredited itself in almost every respect; and Tony Blair had made sure that no middle class voters needed to repeat the teeth-gritting required in 1992—that is, to overlook the awfulness of the Tories in the knowledge that Labour would be far worse.
As after 1832 and 1945, it will take time for the Party to recover; and it would be unreasonable if anyone were to judge your performance as Leader since last summer on the basis of the present opinion polls.
This being said, I am disturbed by what I have seen of your performance as Leader. I may refuse to blame you for the depressing state of today’s opinion polls, but I will question your ability to do what is needed to change these polls next year or the year after. We have different reasons for wanting another Conservative Government. So far as I can tell, you simply want to be Prime Minister. For myself, despite increasing—and lately almost overwhelming—reservations, I have remained committed to the Party as the best vehicle for advancing an agenda of liberty in economic, social and political matters. But while our reasons may be different, we do both want to ensure that the New Labour Government will not remain in power too far into the next century.
The problem is that I cannot see how the Tories under your leadership can win another election. You do not seem to recognise the new circumstances of British politics, and seem determined to keep yourself and the Party out of power for at least the next generation.
The New Circumstances of British Politics
Your prime fault is to see Tony Blair as just another Harold Wilson, and “New” Labour as a clever marketing trick that has put a nice facade over what remains essentially the Party of Michael Foot and Tony Benn. The resulting strategy is to wait until “true” Labour shows through in an orgy of tax rises and nationalisations, and hope for a return to power with nothing learnt and nothing forgotten.
Now, this is a false view—a laughably false view. Tony Blair must really be seen as John Major with the brakes removed. Rather than an interloper who has taken advantage of Tory disunity, he represents the Thatcher consensus in ways that you do not and cannot.
This is clearly the case in economic policy. He can do things that the you and your colleagues wanted to do while in power, but never dared imagine possible. You always wanted to cut welfare, but were frightened of what Labour would say and do against it. Had you and John Major done to single mothers and the disabled what Mr Blair is now doing, there would have been mass-demonstrations in Trafalgar Square, and all the concerned interests would have lined up against you in the media. Mr Blair can get away with it. The concerned interests are emotionally committed to Labour, and cannot imagine opposing a Labour Government. They may turn nasty in the next few years, but for the moment feel required either to keep quiet or to turn the necessary intellectual somersaults.
As for opposition in the House of Commons, people like Stephen Dorrell and Peter Lilly have tried to make their hearts bleed in public—but no one really believes they give a damn about the poor.
It is the same with what is obviously the privatising of schools, and the continued introduction of private finance into health and other public services. The agenda is almost relentlessly Thatcherite. No wonder people like Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute are looking so happy. They have spent the past eight months brushing the dust of plans that made Tory Ministers throw up their hands in terror.
Turning to social matters, here also the old restraints have been taken off. Michael Howard was a thoroughly nasty Home Secretary who came close to scaring the life out of me with his Criminal Justice Acts and his talk of identity cards. But there were limits to what he could actually get away with. In Tory hands, Thatcherism was always formally about freedom—it could be nothing else for a Party that historically is a coalition of English traditionalists and classical liberals. This was hardly ever reflected in legislation outside the economic sphere, but it did have the effect of hobbling the more drastically authoritarian initiatives.
New Labour, on the other hand, has no such inhibitions. Its leaders have dumped Old Labour for good and bad. They have become masters of expediency. If they want to crank up the War on Drugs, or censor the racists, or advance the health fascist agenda against smoking and cars and enjoyable food, or unleash the social workers against parental freedom, or make illiberal gestures to the greens – they will go ahead without regard for the libertarian streak that did run through Old Labour no matter how bad it was on economics.
The Conservative Response
This being said, what can the Conservative Party do to shake Labour’s grip on power? Your answer so far has been simply ridiculous. There is no point trying to challenge the Government from within the Thatcher consensus. The present Government is manifestly better at working this than the Tories were under John Major. From a Thatcherite point of view, Gordon Brown is an excellent Chancellor, with his determination to keep taxes and spending within a tight corset. Other Ministers, as said, cannot be faulted on their plans to privatise the State and deregulate and bully the unemployed into jobs.
Looking at personalities, the New Ministers are equally unassailable. They stand head and shoulders over the seedy non-entities who sit beside you on the Tory front bench – non-entities who messed up when they had the chance, and who would probably be just as bad if ever given another chance.
How about Europe? Here, you think you have an advantage, with your talk of opposition to European Monetary Union. You are wrong. I hate the idea of a single currency and further integration, but I also doubt if Tony Blair much likes these. For all his emollient language on Europe, he knows that it gets in the way of economic Thatcherism. The lectures he likes giving European leaders on labour market flexibility are a flat challenge to the Continental economic consensus. Many Tories insist—and perhaps rightly—that Europe has become the most important issue in British politics. But it is not a party political issue, because there has been no fundamental change in policy since the election. Or if there has been a change, it has been the replacement of a Prime Minister who painted himself into a corner at Maastricht by one who can do as he pleases. On Europe, Tony Blair is not so much an advance beyond John Major as a reversion to Margaret Thatcher at her most Euro-sceptic—which is surely why both she and elements of the normally pro-Tory media did nothing for the Tories at the election.
And look at current events in the Persian Gulf. On a superficial level, there is no British advantage to had from siding with the Americans. We have no imperial interests in the region nowadays, and no national interest whatever in who dominates the Middle East. Nor since the end of the Cold War have we had any need of American goodwill. British policy on the Gulf only makes sense at the moment as a symbol of English-speaking solidarity against Europe. A Britain that follows America, in policies to which the Continental powers are opposed, is advertising its incompatibility with any pan-European foreign or defence policy.
You and your colleagues talk about opposition to EMU as if it were a potent weapon against the Government. But the Government has declared its intention not to consider joining until after the next election—by which time it will either have collapsed or have been revealed as an obvious and avoidable attack on national independence.
The Transcending of Thatcherism
The only way to break the New Labour stranglehold on power is for the Conservative Party to repeat its intellectual revolution of the late 1970s. It may then have established what has become the Thatcher consensus, but this plainly no longer works in Tory electoral interests. Equally important, that consensus was, in Conservative terms, not so much a final destination as only a staging post on the road to something more radical. That something—call it free market libertarianism or, more accurately in local circumstances, liberal English nationalism—is what the Tories should now be embracing.
They did sort of embrace it in the 1970s. As said above, it was the window dressing of Thatcherism, and it often got in the way. For Thatcherism was never really about freedom even in the purely economic sense. It was a minimal solution to relative economic decline. It liberalised just enough to make British economic management slightly better than that in other countries. Bearing in mind how collectivist most other countries remain, this meant far less than liberalism in the 19th century sense. It meant making life easy for big business—with tax breaks and a mass of regulations to shield it from unfettered competition. This was an improvement on the Attlee-Macmillan consensus, and on the mismanagement of the Wilson-Heath-Callaghan years. But it remains no more than a stabilisation of the social democratic mixed economy that grew up after the 1930s. And it is open to a savage and effective attack from a truly free market position. It is time for the window dressing to take over the shop.
In social matters also, there is now room for a more libertarian alternative. The intellectual case for the War on Drugs is has been largely recognised by the voters as nonsense on stilts. And the War has been lost. On any weekend night in London, two tons of cannabis are smoked. The street price of all drugs has fallen in the past two decades, and their purity has improved. The War smashes lives and benefits a range of special interests—drug dealers, the Police, the banks who launder the proceeds, and the authorities set up to try stopping the laundering. With its imperative of increased police powers and powers of inspection and control over financial transactions, it is the biggest single enemy of freedom today, far eclipsing even the health fascists and the greens.
If you stood up and told the truth about drugs, your party would lose scarcely one vote. The notion of a British public foaming at the mouth over drugs is an illusion created by a few newspapers. It remains a fiction even applied to the remaining membership of the Conservative Party. Bear in mind that perhaps a majority of Tory activists have been exposed to libertarian arguments in the past two decades, and are prepared at least to debate applications of these in a fairly sensible matter.
At a stroke, though, by talking about legalisation, you would cause uproar in the Labour Party, as its more libertarian fringes turned in rage on people like Jack Straw—who would in turn be forced to make a serious defence of arguments that have no defence.
Much the same can be said about pornography, and video censorship, and Internet regulation, and consenting sexual acts, and the continued degradation of the criminal justice system from a machine for enforcing the Common Law into an instrument of despotism.
Turning to the Union, the idea of a United Kingdom is probably dead. Devolution is only the first step to full independence. It is in Tory interests to embrace this fact. It should abandon what remains of its organisation in Scotland and Wales and become an English Party. This would put Labour on the defensive—a transnational Party drawing much of its support from nations increasingly independent of London. An English party talking of English traditions of limited government and free markets might win an election in England next time round, and could tear a Labour Government to pieces that survived on non-English votes.
An additional argument in support is that, freed from Central Office control, the Scottish and Welsh Conservative Parties might revive and challenge Labour in those places where it has been supreme since the 1960s. Their conservatism would be far less liberal than the English sort; but a decent regard for the Scottish and Welsh peoples involves helping them towards the best government of which they may be capable.
The Chances of Success
There are obvious risks to this strategy. The English people might not be entirely ready for libertarianism; and you might not win the election after next—the next one being written off in any event. On the other hand, the present Tory strategy is only more secure in the sense that it will certainly not win you the election after next, or even perhaps the one after that.
So what holds the Party back? Part of the answer is the scale of the defeat last May. In the 1970s, the revolution was achieved by dumping enough of the Heathites to let Margaret Thatcher appear a break with the past. This time round, there are no young alternatives to the Majorites. Their grip on the Tory front bench rests on the fact that they really are the brightest and best the Parliamentary Party has to offer. And what could we think of Michael Howard and Peter Lilly arguing for spending cuts and limited government, when they delivered neither when they had the chance?
But where there is a will, there is usually a way. The real answer lies in the fact that in you, the Tories may have chosen the least imaginative and most intellectually timid leader since records began. What else are we to think of a man who, unbidden, has actually gone on record as saying he will never even consider legalising drugs? Despite your wild ambition, your faults may already have condemned you to being the first Tory Leader in the past 200 years not to make it to Downing Street.
And that is why we have—and may continue far into the future to have—the once unlikely spectacle of a Labour Prime Minister clothed in the purple of the Thatcher consensus, and not a hope in hell of doing anything about it.
I may have reason to change my opinion about you and your strategy in the future. If that happens, I will make a full retraction. But this is how I see things at the moment.
The UN is getting nasty as its bid for world domination gets stuck in the (warming) mud
And I would not mind going to Cancun(*) for a nice conference thing (is there supposed to be another letter after the “n”? is that why they go there?
Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 164
11th September 2007…
…republishes some reflections in the light of an impending General Election in 2010….
on the Failure of Political Leadership
by Sean Gabb
Bearing in mind the date, I could write about the American Bombings of September 2001. But I really have nothing to say about these and the consequent wars that I have not said many times already. Besides, just about everyone else is writing about these things; and I am vain enough to think myself a soloist and not part of a chorus. And so I will write about what I see as the main failure of political leadership in this country since the forced retirement of Margaret Thatcher in November 1990.
I grew up in a country where nearly everyone voted, and where of those who did vote nearly everyone voted for one of the two main parties. Since 1997, there has been a collapse in turnout. In 2001, fewer than two thirds of the electors bothered to vote. There was little improvement in 2005. At the next general election, it is conceivable that less than half the electors will vote. And perhaps half of these will not vote for either of the two main parties. Certainly, in elections other than to Parliament, the voting figures have become a scandal that casts doubt on the democratic legitimacy of whoever wins. Indeed, we are looking now at a general election in which the most relevant question is not who will win, but who will not lose.
For some while into the 2001 Parliament, Labour politicians could excuse low turnouts with the claim that people were too satisfied with the new order of things to worry about voting. Since then, it has been generally accepted that something is wrong. The debate is between those who are wrong and those who are half right.
Those who are wrong are headed by the Liberal Democrats. For them, all can be made good by a combination of proportional representation and regional assemblies. They have been pushing the first of these ever since the old Liberal Party began losing elections under the present system. They appear to believe that the changes they want can solve every problem from public drunkenness to alleged global warming. The truth is that these changes will solve nothing, but only raise up further problems. A more moderate approach is to suggest that changing election days from Thursday to Sunday, combined with enabling voting by text message and via the Internet will raise attendance figures. This might improve the official turnout, but raises further problems of electoral honesty.
Those who are half right realise that people do not vote because there is no one in or near office worth voting for. Politicians are corrupt, incompetent, generally out of touch, and increasingly unattractive. I agree with this. Where I disagree is that the solution is for the politicians to keep asking the people what they want, and to try looking and sounding like ordinary people. This would only increase the present vulgarity of politics, and produce further lurches into a mad authoritarianism that will make people even less happy with the political leadership we have.
Let me summarise what I see as the true reasons for popular disenchantment with politics. We have a ruling class that sees itself not as a committee of trustees for the nation but as a committee of proprietors. This ruling class has increasingly stripped us of our traditional freedoms and of our national independence. With the legal changes of the past two decades, even I have given up on keeping track of what it is still legal to say or do. Anything the authorities do not like is either overtly against the law or subject to indirect punishment through the laws on town planning or consumer protection or health and safety or child welfare. The tax gatherers are rapacious. Other officials enforce regulations that crush individuality and that frequently cannot even be explained.
Political authority no longer emanates from a sovereign Parliament elected by us and accountable to us, but from the unaccountable institutions of the European Union or various other international institutions that are often invisible to ordinary people. We have been subjected to several generations of mass immigration that has changed the face of the country in ways on which we were never consulted. The presence of these newcomers has been made an excuse for claiming that the historic nation into which we were born no longer exists and that new institutions and laws are needed for its management. We have been pushed into wars in the Islamic world that defend no national interest and that have driven parts of the new population to the verge of rebellion. Recently, the wave of immigration has quickened—and let me say that I am thinking here mainly of entry from parts of the world where I have a strong family connection—to the point where working class living standards are in open decline, and where even the middle classes are feeling the pressure on property prices and public services.
All this, and our ruling class responds with a combination of denial and repression. Little wonder that increasingly few people bother voting. Little wonder that increasing number of those who still do vote no longer vote for the main parties.
Now, I had tea a few months ago with a Conservative Member of Parliament. I put parts of this case to him. His reply was that his constituents—and he meets hundreds of these every month—barely ever mention these heads of complaint. He would love them to complain about Europe and political correctness. Instead, they complain about poor standards in the schools and about hospital closures. I was an intellectual, he told me. I might want the world to be as I claimed it was. But he was a politician. He had to deal with a very different real world in which people had fundamentally changed even since 1997.
The conversation moved after this to matters on which we could talk more amicably over the teacups. But he was wrong and I was right. The truth is that few people think very well, and most people do not think at all. They are unhappy with England as it has become. But they are not able to say what are the causes of their unhappiness. On immigration and political correctness they are frightened to say what they probably do think. On the other issues they are unable to speak because they do not know what to say.
There should be nothing strange about this fact. A man can moan about the weather and the burden of advancing years, and never realise that the cause of his tiredness and dizzy spells is the hardening of his arteries. He may not even know about the circulation of the blood. It is the purpose of a doctor to diagnose and suggest treatments for conditions of which his patients understand nothing, but from which they suffer much. It should be the purpose of those who offer themselves for election to do the same with regard to ills of the nation.
This is not to say that individuals are incompetent to run their own lives, or should be regarded as such. Most people, in fact, manage to shuffle through life without making themselves and those around them particularly unhappy. Even otherwise, it would be still worse to give direction of private life to a class of guardians convinced of their ability to make us happier than we can make ourselves. It may be sad that so many people smoke or drink or eat themselves into early graves, or watch mind-rotting television programmes, or listen to morally corrupting music, or contract unhappy marriages, or do less than they might for their children. But the consequences of taking control of their lives are always worse. Some individuals do rather badly. But no one else would do better. And, again, most people do rather well.
It is different when it comes to politics. People may not give much informed thought to the nutritional value of the fish fingers they buy. But they give far less to the matter of the laws and institutions of their country. Everyone wants to live in a country where his chances of making himself and those around him happy are maximised. That does not qualify him to know how the country should be governed.
Again, this is not to say that ordinary people should be allowed no say in government. Given the minimal intelligence that most European populations seem to possess and some national feeling, representative government is generally better than despotism. But there is more to restoring our democracy than trying to guess what a majority might want on any particular issue and giving effect to it in Acts of Parliament. I suspect that a plebiscitary democracy in this country would—assuming the right media frenzy—give us ethnic cleansing and on the spot castration of accused paedophiles and the renaming of London as St Dianaville. None of this would make for a set of laws and institutions likely to enable the public good. It would probably lead, in the long intervals between each frenzy, to the sort of disgust for politicians that a foolish heir traditionally feels for the whores and panders who grant his every wish.
A political leader, as opposed to a demagogue, has a duty to listen, but also to educate. This means on occasion resisting the will of the majority. It means the sort of patient explanation of truth that I last saw in the early 1980s, when several dozen Conservatives, in or out of office, went about the country telling often hostile audiences why the calls for reflation had to be resisted. Now, it means explaining—among much else—why government spending must be cut, and why we need to go back to a system of criminal justice in which real criminals are generally punished with great severity, but in which they seem to have every chance of getting off.
We do not have this. Instead, we have politicians who claim simply to be listening. In fact, those who talk loudest about listening to the people only want to listen to the echo of their own babbling. I do not believe that the English people have fundamentally changed since 1997—or since 1979. Perhaps millions joined in the collective mania that attended the death of the Princess of Wales. More millions, however, did not lay flowers outside Kensington Palace, and did not grieve for a stranger more than they grieved for their own dead. Most people look at what their country has become and are revolted by the sight. The English nation exists now much as it always has. The problem is that the best people to whom the nation has entrusted its thinking and political leadership have neither imagination nor courage. And the worst are obvious traitors and petty tyrants.
I think the Queen made a serious mistake ten years ago when she was persuaded not to face down the demands for that tasteless funeral in Westminster Abbey. She should have made a firm appeal from the people drunk to the people sober. There would have been some personal risk in this—though I fail to see how it would have made any permanent increase to the body of republican sentiment. But it might have done much to frustrate the culture of shallow and unEnglish sentimentality that has prevailed ever since.
Just as importantly, the Conservatives missed an opportunity that will not be repeated for intelligent thought of how to counter the Blair Revolution. I did write about this at the time—see Free Life Commentary 13 from February 1998. They were out of office. They would be out for some while. That gave time to think about the mistakes of the Thatcher and Major years and to purge themselves of the corporatist and authoritarian that had accompanied and undermined the relative liberalisations that, even now, make us the preferred destination for almost every foreigner who wants a better life. Opposing the totalitarianism of public life that Labour set out to complete would have made them unpopular at the time. But I cannot see how a tenacious and intelligent defence of liberty and tradition would have put them in a worse state at the end of ten years than the jumble of short term gimmickry on which they did embark.
Of course, this assumes that the Conservative leadership was not by nature corporatist and authoritarian. For the most part it was. The Conservative failure of the past decade stems in large part from their inability to disagree with more than the incidentals of what Labour has done. But not every Conservative politician has been a Quisling Rightist. The one with whom I had tea is no villain.
However, the Conservatives really have missed their opportunity to set out a proper case. With David Cameron, they do seem to have embarked on a rebranding from which there is no going back. It may be that, whatever follies he commits, Labour will lose the next election—and this means he must become Prime Minister. But this will not give him the mandate—and I do not believe he will have the inclination—to do anything very conservative. If, on the other hand, the Conservatives manage to lose, I do not believe that any further rebranding will be accepted. A broadsheet newspaper can turn itself into a sensationalist tabloid. This may gain it more readers than it loses. But if the gamble fails, it cannot simply turn itself back into a broadsheet. The old readers will not easily forget the intervening horrors. It could be the same with the Conservatives.
And so, we have politicians, but no leaders. The main parties, indeed, seem structurally designed to prevent the emergence of leadership. Sooner or later, a leader may emerge. He will come, of necessity, from outside the mainstream. More likely perhaps, he will be a demagogue. Whether and when and who are not questions I feel competent to discuss. But I end this run of political commentaries without any of the offers of comfort that may often be found in my earlier efforts.
Sorry frgot to put name
We seem, within the conservative and libertarian movement, to be going through a Hate Saul Alinsky phase. No doubt, the man was a Communist dirt bag. However, he was also no fool, and his Rules for Radicals are worth considering for our own purposes. I found this helpful summary on Wikipedia:
Through a process combining hope and resentment, the organizer tries to create a “mass army” that brings in as many recruits as possible from local organizations, churches, services groups, labor unions, corner gangs, and individuals.
Alinsky provides a collection of rules to guide the process. But he emphasizes these rules must be translated into real-life tactics that are fluid and responsive to the situation at hand.
According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.”
There is a tragic human confusion and dilemma. It invloves these two concept: on the one hand that of astonishingly beautiful Cosmic Order and underlying logic – which can be observed and is of course validated by the study of Physics and Maths. And it involves also the seemingly innate yearning for some kind of “supreme being” who has (of course) supervised all this created order …. (it MUST have been created, mustn’t it…? Er?) This yearning must have arisen sometime in the last 80,000 – 90,000 years, a timeframe in which modern humans seem to have practised formalised burial-rites, with “grave-goods” and the like. This indicates beliefs in the possibility of an “afterlife”, or an esistence in the presence of others whom we can’t perceive, either “souls” or a “god” or both.
As a scientist, I have never had problems in appreciating the high degree of order that we observe, while also being quite relaxed about the _/possibility/_ (a hypothesis that we cannot currently test as we don’t know how) that there _/might/_ be a divine Intelligence (you can call it what you want) which initially set up some numbers, and them left the mathematical-model running “to see what it might do”. Perhaps “it” was just messing about. We of course do not know and right now we cannot know.
The problem starts to arise in a context where a tribal set’s beliefs become so formalised, and so “having to be adhered to” (in fear of…what exactly?) that any sort of sleight against the vulgate of that tribal set is taken really really personally. Specially if the “offence” is committed by a competing tribal-set. I don’t know if this emotion-set springs from primeval conflicts about access to usable grazing-land, or to oases, or to cattle to farm and milk, or to women for breeding with: perhaps it might.
But what seems to happen is that the symbols – such as (supposedly) Mosques in this case or even churches, become confused with the reality of the beliefs. As I said over at the Daily Mail, no Moslem can possibly think that Allah lives in any particular Mosque, just as no Christian would believe that God inhabits “any” church in particular. If He – Allah or God – exists as God, then he is nowhere and everywhere simultaneously, just like “God” is. The dangers arise when irrationality about the nature of The Person of God, and what (if anything) He inhabits, other than the minds and hearts of individual human beings, interferes with one’s judgement about how other people behave.
My secular-oriented-guess about this little matter is tha some passing GramscoFabiaNazi has spotted these firing ranges near Bellerby (quite pretty, only 90-odd-miles from here), and has tipped off the local Imam, to see if any “p-p-p-political capital” can be made for the race-hate-religio-hate-industry.
The Moslems in the UK ought to wake up and calculate that they are being set up as useful idiots through their more hot-headed “respected scholars”, by this government. This is as a precedent for a group that can be made unpopular, so that “when THEY COME FOR THEM, nobody will speak up for them.” Everybody will say…”bloody Islamic Terrorists! Always complaining and whingeing about something unimportant! Good riddance!”
The Jews – who could be portrayed as even more barbaric and unpopular than Moslems, as many are or have been “bankers” – can’t be publicly demonised as the first “out-group” quite yet, as it’s still too near the Holocaust (which you’re not allowed to deny either) and this “topic” has not yet been successfully removed from the history “syllabus”. Although “Universities” are starting to denounce jews with “links to Israel”. The rot is setting in – it won’t be long now, before we are back to the 1,000-year-European norm in this matter.
But then THEY’ll come for you….one day…and there’s designed to be nobody left. Sadly, the Moslems here have their “useful idiots” too, who will happily whoop and whinge at inconsequential supposed sleights, over purely sumbolic matters.
Fixed-term-parliaments? Isn’t that what we already have with a 5-years-max? Nasty man, liar, snake-oil-salesman.
And as of now, we can even get rid of them earlier too
From our own comment thread on here.
Stuff was in red, because at the time when the Nissen-Hut-chimps lifted stuff bodily from what people other than they themselves had typed, the supervisor-chimpanzee insisted that it ought to be highlighted. Chimps, while being ever so politically-savvy, are not – by socialit-Nazi-standards very intelligent: and so it was merelydecided that the colour of the text would be altered to show external authorship – a rather simple solution. All the chimps agreed, and gyrated about in return for bananas, so it just sort of, er, happened.
Sean, I don’t think voting makes much difference at this stage, but as I said before, better to vote counter-hegemonic (UKIP, LPUK, even BNP) than pro-hegemonic. Cameron’s entirely a creature of the Enemy- indeed his plan for 5000 state activists, funded via the Proggie Network, will just broaden and deepen their power. A Tory government certainly won’t help us a single jot. A Tory lose however may throw that useless bunch of quislings into terminal disarray.
I also don’t think Chris Tame’s worthy plan- of influencing the ideological hegemony- is going to ever work. It simply isn’t in their class interest to listen to us, even if the occasional maverick does. The reality is that the Gramscian methodoloy works for people seeking to expand state power, in their own interests. We need a better political strategy that will work for people trying to abolish the ruling class.
So one way of looking at it is, we have to achieve what the Marxists failed to achieve, which is the mobilisation of the proleteriat- in our case, our proleteriat being everyone outside the government, rich or poor. The big problem is that over the past century the state has expanded into every area of life. It’s not going to be easy.
One thing in particular libertarians have to stop doing is attacking weak people. You mentioned in your book the political error of banging on about welfare recipients, and I entirely agree. The Enemy succeed because they always, always, ally themselves with some perceived weak group (the poor, blacks, gays, etc) so that even when they’re doing something ghastly, it’s “in a good cause”. Attacking poor people etc is equivalent to being seen kicking a cripple in the head. Even when you explain he stole your wallet, people will still think you’re a bastard. No wonder the “right”, or the non-left, or whatnot, have consistently lost with such dunderheaded ignorance of human nature.
We may need to rebrand ourselves. We certainly need to start working under non-libertarian banners. Greenpeace may be a socialist group, but they don’t call themselves that. We need to pump out philosophy and propaganda, we need to make whatever alliances we can, and we need to pull together realistic programmes that show how a society can transfer from state dependence to liberty without millions collapsing into poverty, rather than the libertarian habit of arguing constantly about what the Glorious End State will be after some miraculous transformation. We’re in the position of wanting to free some poor desperate population from a ghastly Victorian institution. But the fact is, they’ve lived there their whole lives. They don’t know how to cook, or get a home, or go to the shops. If we threaten to fling the doors open and turf them out onto the streets, we’ll just get terror, not gratitude.
Five more years of Labour, or five of the Tories, it makes no real difference. Whichever we get, things will be more desperate and ghastly in 2015 than they are now. But, things are better for us than they were five or ten years ago. The message is getting out. The Methodist State is reaching its apotheosis, the political class become more transparently fascist and disconnected with every day.
And, we must always remember that the State we’re in is not the inevitable consequence of government. It has the form it has because of specific politicking by specific groups that stretch back a century and a half or even two- kicked into gear by evangelists from nutty sects (Methodists, Quakers etc here, Yankees in the USA (Rothbard wrote a lot on this without quite following it through)). They are our enemies, and they have to be rooted out of the nests they’ve built. The dumb politicians who do their bidding are barely of consequence. Their grotesque schemes nearly fell to bits in the twentieth century, and it was only the marxists who saved them. Well, the marxists are gone now. Once people have lived a while under the new progressive puritanism, that’ll start collapsing too (it’s cracking in places already) and this time there are no marxists left. This time, it must be us who are waiting to take the opportunity.
We can win this thing.
The Labour luvvies are going to go for Cameron’s windpipe about “class”. And I read somewhere that the Tories are fielding “21 old Etonians”. Mirror I think it was, my labourer brought one in the othey day, I used it to stuff-line a flue in the outhouses. All the “21 Etonians” says to me is that the place trains you to think on your feet. Not a bad skill I’d say, but a shame the guys went into politics.
and it doesn’t make any difference which party you vote for: the government will get back in. It will get in if you vote Labour, Tory or illiberal-dem. It will also get in if you vote UKIP, Libertarian Party, Loony or whatever. The regime is the problem, as Sean said below: no individual party with a hope of forming a majority will change anything.
WE’ve lost our AAA credit-rating anyway. The announcement will be delayed till sometime after 6th May, “to bury bad news”. The chavetariat will not care, and everyone that’s left on duty will be working too hard to notice.