Monthly Archives: May 2010

Richard Blake Signing


by Sean Gabb

I am  able to reveal that the critically-acclaimed and internationally best-selling novellist Richard Blake will be at Heffer’s in Cambridge on the 15th July, to sign copies of his miraculously glorious novel “Blood of Alexandria”, and to discuss his own genius and supreme goodness of mind. No cameras will be permitted….

Gerald Warner on Good Form re the Coalition of the Anointed


Coalition’s doing awfully well, don’t you think? It began as an exciting opportunity for two political parties, instead of just one, to share the spoils of office. Now, at the present rate of turnover, every Tory and Liberal Democrat backbencher should get a shot at ministerial office by the time the five years of power the coalition is gerrymandering for itself has elapsed. Just 18 days into the New Politics, David Laws, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, resigned for reasons that, to the untutored eye, look very similar to the old politics.

In his reply to Laws’ letter of resignation, David Cameron told him: “You are a good and honourable man.” That is good to know. So, why is he leaving the Government?

The little local difficulty was that Laws, over an eight-year period, had claimed more than £40,000 in expenses, against the parliamentary rules. It seems that further expenses remain to be scrutinised. According to The Daily Telegraph: “He also regularly claimed up to £150 a month for utilities and £200 a month for service and maintenance until parliamentary authorities began demanding receipts. Claims then dropped to only £37 a month for utility bills and £74 a month for his share of the council tax. Claims for service, maintenance and repairs dropped dramatically to less than £25 a month.”

It is fortunate that we are dealing here with a good and honourable man, otherwise some people might put an uncharitable construction on those facts. Cameron went on to say in his reply to Laws: “I am sure that, throughout, you have been motivated by wanting to protect your privacy rather than anything else.” Reading that and the similar drivel that has cascaded out of the establishment over the past 24 hours, one would think that Laws was under some compelling duress to take £40,000 of taxpayers’ money in order to protect his privacy. On the contrary, his privacy was only invaded because he had taken public money.

Once an individual claims any kind of state subsidy, his privacy is forfeit: the humblest benefits recipient could confirm that. The one certain way to have preserved his privacy was for Laws to have claimed no money – as he could easily have afforded to do. Laws is a multi-millionaire as a result of his previous career in banking: he was a vice-president of J P Morgan and then the managing director of Barclays de Zoete Wedd, before he was 30. That an MP with that kind of personal wealth elected to take more than £40,000 from the taxpayer says it all about politicians’ sense of entitlement.

It was that sense of entitlement that brought him down. His private life was revealed by Laws himself, in a transparent attempt to claim victimhood. To some degree that ploy succeeded, as the Dianafication of the former Chief Secretary among his colleagues and some elements of the media over the past 24 hours testifies. Cameron’s letter also said: “Your decision to resign from the Government demonstrates the importance you attach to your integrity.” It is good to have that on record, Dave, otherwise we might have imagined it had something to do with greed, media exposure and public anger.

Among the political nomenklatura much emphasis is being put on the likelihood that Laws will return to government. That is an expression of the resentment felt by the Entitled Ones that the public’s unreasonable touchiness about the disposal of taxpayers’ money has momentarily compelled them to abandon one of their own; but if the mug punters of the electorate think they have the final say they will be taught the error of their ways. The significance of the Laws affair is it signals that the sleaze which dominated the last parliament has leaped the fire-break of the general election to infect the New Politics. Anybody who ever imagined it would be otherwise is cerebrally challenged.

Another symptom of business as usual last week was HM Revenue and Customs blocking the peerage Cameron intended to bestow on Sir Anthony Bamford, a prominent Conservative Party donor. A minority of the public has succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome towards the political parasite class, masochistically decrying the exposure of Laws and giving him the “Parnell, my dead king!” treatment. The majority, however, has already shrugged off the momentary euphoria of the New Politics, assessed the situation and rightly concluded of its political masters: “They’re at it again.”

Less than a week ago I wrote that the Cameron project “has the smell of political death about it” – at a time when coalition scepticism ranked close to “climate denial” in establishment obloquy. The coalition is already unravelling, subverted by its own internal contradictions. Vince Cable has been passed over for Treasury office – the only role he deems worthy of his talents – twice in one month: the core of the Lib Dem reactor is close to meltdown. Dave is a loser: he lost the election, he lost the fight he picked with the 1922 Committee and now he has lost David Laws. This Government will end in epic disaster.

David Laws and His Sexuality


David Webb

I feel obliged to give me view on this. As the person who was more interested in cuts, Laws is a loss to the coalition – and let’s be frank, Laws was a more serious Treasury minister than Osborne, and arguably a more serious politician than Cameron too. Of course all ministers have to meet the law with regard to expenses, and I don’t believe Laws’ protestations that even his close family don’t know his sexual proclivities.

I think he was trying to claim victim status to cover up his booboo on expenses. But on the specific issue of whether a “gay partner” is a spouse – no, a gay partner is not a spouse. Sleeping with your same-sex landlord does not make that landlord a spouse. I suppose Laws is hoist with his own petard – he has never spoken against all this gay-friendly legislation. But let’s be clear: marriage is marriage, and nothing that is not marriage is marriage. If he had opposed attempts to define gay partners as spouses, I would accept Laws was in the right on this issue, but he didn’t.

I do feel sorry for him on the privacy issue though. We are moving increasingly towards a state where everyone’s sexual proclivities will be listed in a government database. How can you monitor homophobia if you don’t know who is and is not attracted to the same sex? There was that old folks’ home in the south where the residents were required to state their sexual inclinations. We must resist this. People ought to have the right to privacy – and Laws was right on this one point – and so a relationship that falls short of marriage is simply not something that should be required to be reported to the authorities for any purpose.

In many cases, individual people don’t know the full boundaries of their own sexuality and so could not give an honest answer to the question anyway. I disagree with a sexualised society where all this information is constantly in the public domain. Why not require decorum from everyone? And in fact Laws did conduct himself with decorum – in contradistinction to the vast majority of “gay” men in the public eye.

Review – The Terror of Constantinople by Richard Blake


 

Blake, Richard – ‘The Terror of Constantinople’
Paperback: 432 pages (Jan. 2010) Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks ISBN: 034095115X

The best type of books are those that lift you out of your surroundings and immerse you completely in the action, sounds and atmosphere of another time and place. Blake does just this with THE TERROR OF CONSTANTINOPLE and it was a real shame to finish the final page, as Constantinople was a fascinating place to visit, albeit just in my head. It is so very obvious that Blake, a historian, knows a great deal about the Roman Empire and goings-on at that time. The details in this book are so life-like that they carry you away on a tide of ancient history….and blood.

Aelric, a young and ambitious English man, is sent, by the Roman authorities, to Constantinople, in order to seek out and copy religious texts in their various libraries and solve some of the doctrinal controversies of the new Christian faith. Aelric is smart and streetwise but none too happy at the prospect of leaving his lady and unborn child alone for who knows how long. However, he has no choice in the matter and soon finds out that there are other, more sinister, reasons for his trip. He becomes embroiled in solving a murder and, indeed, has more than one attempt on his own life. He is taken captive, but escapes, is put in impossible situations by the emperor, Phocas, and has to rely on his wits and charm to save not only his own life, but those of his slaves and close companions.

Aelric is an extremely likeable character. He is a delightful mixture of energy, cheekiness, intelligence and, even, vulnerability – although he wouldn’t be at all happy for being described in this way. He longs to just go home and be with Greta, his lady, and wants to be present at the birth of his child. He shows real compassion regarding his slaves and not only treats them well but frees more than one of them in gratitude for their service to him. The book is written in terms of being his memoirs, as he sits in a monastery in England in his old age and reflects fondly on the memories of his somewhat reckless youth.

THE TERROR OF CONSTANTINOPLE is a very absorbing and interesting read. It is extremely well written but at the same time isn’t a particularly challenging book to read – just perfect for reading in bed or on the bus.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
January 2010

Review – The Terror of Constantinople by Richard Blake

Heres mine


Michale Winning

Another Test of Libertarian Credentials


Sean Gabb

This one is from the Center for a Stateless Society – http://c4ss.org/quiz

Here, for what it may be worth, is how I score:

Meetings of the Other Libertarian Alliance


We meet on the second Monday of the month at 7pm at The Institute of Education, just off Russell Square – student bar, Room S16, Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1B 5EA.

On Monday, 14 June Christian Michel will talk on “Our Northwest Passage, How to go from here to a free society”

On Monday, 12 July Jock Coates will speak on “Mutualism”.

On Monday, 9 August Derrick Silver will speak on Global Warming.

On Monday, 13 September Tim Evans will speak on ‘Thoughts on the UK’s Libertarian Movement’

On Monday, 11th October, Detlev Schlichter will speak on “Paper Money Collapse – The Folly of Elastic Money and the Coming Monetary Breakdown”.

Detlev is a long-standing libertarian who has worked for almost 20 years in the financial industry as a trader and portfolio manager. He has recently completed work on a book of Austrian Economics aimed at an audience in the City and the world of finance.”

On Monday, 8 November Anthony J. Evans will present “A Proposal for Sound Money”

All are welcome, admission free. So do come along.
DAVID McDONAGH

Backlash Press Release: Tiger Porn defendant miscarriage of justice averted


 

Backlash Press Release: Tiger Porn defendant miscarriage of justice averted

By Nick | Published: May 28, 2010

BACKLASH PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 28 May 2010

“Tiger Porn defendant miscarriage of justice averted”

The sexual civil liberties organisation Backlash have assisted in
averting a miscarriage of justice.

Andrew Holland was charged with one count of possessing extreme
pornography under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 at the
Mold Crown Court. He stood to be sentenced for the offence, having
pleaded guilty mid trial under advice from his local legal team in
Wrexham. Backlash contacted Holland to offer advice to discover that
he may have been misadvised by his local legal team; and that he did
in fact have a defence to the charge. Backlash provided funds for
provisional legal advice and research to be performed. We put Holland
in contact with our legal adviser, who is a solicitor specialising in
extreme pornography offences, Myles Jackman of Audu and Co in King’s
Cross, London.

Holland transferred representation to the specialist solicitors and
was given leave on Friday the 28th May 2010 by His Honour Judge Rogers
sitting at the Mold Crown Court to vacate his plea from Guilty back to
Not Guilty. That means that he will stand trial again; this time in
the knowledge that he has a defence. However, had he not contacted
Backlash in the first place he would have been sentenced for an
offence which he may have been misadvised that he did not have a
defence for.

Holland’s case gained notoriety as he had previously been charged with
a second, separate extreme pornography charge relating to a video clip
purportedly depicting a sexual act between a human and a tiger. This
charge was withdrawn when it was discovered that the prosecutor had
failed to listen to the video’s soundtrack, whererin one of the
“actors” made a comment about Tony the Tiger from the Frosties
commercials, proving the video was an elaborate joke and the tiger was
not real; leaving the prosecution deeply embarrassed.

Myles Jackman commented that: “it is ridiculous and dangerous that the
CPS are trying to criminalise the posession of dirty jokes”.

Please email for contact requests: info@backlash-uk.org.uk

Notes for Editors

1. Previous coverage of Mr Holland’s case can be found at

The Daily Telegraph:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/6918001/Man-cleared-of-porn-
charge-after-tiger-sex-image-found-to-be-joke.html

And The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/06/tiger_police/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/22/six_second_clip/

2. Backlash is an umbrella organisation providing academic, legal and
campaigning resources defending freedom of sexual expression. We
support the rights of adults to participate in all consensual sexual
activities and to watch, read and create any fictional interpretation
of such in any media.

http://www.backlash-uk.org.uk

3. Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 bans the
possession of various ‘extreme images’ which can include faked images
and depictions of
adults engaging in consensual sexual activities. For details of the law
see:

http://www.backlash-uk.org.uk/wp/?page_id=7

Backlash Press Release: Tiger Porn defendant miscarriage of justice averted

You intellectual blokes might like this


Michael Winning

Interesting review of a new book about Ayn Rand, on Tribune.

Reasons to smoke, revisited


David Davis

Rather more than two years ago, I suggested on here, at this place, some reasons why you might choose to smoke.

Things have moved on, the GramscoFabiaNazis have moved forwards and we that defend liberty and sovereign individualism are retreating still. This is sad but we did predict it.

However,  Over at this blog (which has some excellent photos on it every day) is one of an embattled smoker, in London. The comment thread is interesting as it reveals the emotions of some “antis” towards other fellow human beings. WE here did warn you all, time and time again, about the ineffable evil-ness, and astonishingly detached inhumanity, of “anti-smokers”, which are droids that we have always said that we would conflate with sub-humans, for they do not register human emotions or responses to individual behaviour. Hitler, for example, was a vegetarian anti-smoker. I am sure that Pol Pot and Mao-tse-Tung did not smoke either.

Found commented, at Legiron’s place. Read him, GramscoFabiaNazis, to find out about the seething undercurrent of hatred towards you, that by your repression and by your surveillance-state, and by your control-philosophy, you are stoking – as a fire, for yourselves.

When you will have “won” in your eyes, and there is nothing, for anyone, amywhere, then we shall simply have to come for you, and kill you and eat you.

Kevin MacDonald: Libertarianism under intellectual scrutiny — and a call for papers « The Occidental Observer Blog


 

So the intellectual and moral issues remain.  I have recently become editor of the Occidental Quarterly. (Formal announcement and plea for subscriptions TOQ later, but you can subscribe now, if you want.) Greg Johnson, the previous editor, initiated a contest for the best essay on “Libertarianism and Racial Nationalism.” (The deadline is June 1, but it will be extended to July 1. $1000 to the winner!) Great topic.

Kevin MacDonald: Libertarianism under intellectual scrutiny — and a call for papers « The Occidental Observer Blog

Review of an Old Brian Micklethwait Podcast


David Robert Gibson

http://brianmicklethwait.signal100.com/podcast/2007-10-06-brian-and-antoine-22.mp3

I have downloaded the mp3 then listened to it twice. Initially, I thought how civilised it was, and I liked their approval of Sean’s individualistic approach to libertarianism, and of his recent writing about Epicurus – a worthy subject and one of the greatest philosophers. However, I became a tad *alarmed* – Brian and Antoine gave me the impression of
belonging to the cigar and brandy chattering class school of politics. They disagreed with Sean’s notion of the ruling class, what I call The Regime, looking upon our rulers as mere unco-ordinated incompetents floundering around for a way to compensate for the failure of the Communist economic ideals of their youth, to replace them with the social equivalent. They are probably in part correct, but this world is not a university debating society – out in the real world people get hurt, and even those who don’t directly are, I think like me, developing a growing sense of anomie. Our culture is no longer our own, but rather a plaything for the increasingly interventionist Regime to inflict whatever fashionable Leftist, and lucrative, scheme they choose, and the imported multi-culturalism, which Brian and Antoine appear to welcome, is a *central* part of that deconstruction. The Enemy Class, as Sean rightly calls them, are not a
bunch of Hippies, they have vast power and wealth – our power and wealth – and they are *co-ordinated* in their plan to re-engineer this country. They steal from us to fund it, and they will imprison and kill us if we resist. We should not regard them complacently!

My hatred of modernist culture is not mere idealism but, rather, visceral, and I would love to see a return of much, not all, of traditional English life. That is why I find Sean’s conservative libertarianism both refreshing and comforting. He and I may not agree on everything, but we are not mesmerised by the fashionable notion that if something is new or foreign it must be better. No! – the way culture is, it is almost certainly worse. Freedom, especially responsible freedom, isn’t something invented in the 1960’s in the LSE, the Sorbonne or a Hippy commune. It existed in the minds
of Indian and Chinese mystics and in those of Greek philosophers thousands of years ago. It grew in England during the Protestant Reformation and with the ideas of the Renaissance, given the opportunity to grow during the relatively enlightened reign of Elizabeth I. Its foundations were cemented by the integrity of Pym, Hampden and Cromwell and the victory of Parliament in the English Civil War. Newton, Locke, Hume and Smith (to be fair, these two were Scots, but admirers of English culture), the Mills, Wilberforce and their like helped to develop it, together with the peaceful relinquishing of some power by the aristocracy to the people. All these are English and British achievements. They all began to be undermined by government intervention during The Great War and World War II, which was continued
after 1945, particularly by Socialist governments, little restrained by the Tories, and accelerated by the current one from 1997 – our actions and even our utterances are legally constrained as never before. Consequently, I think a ‘return to the past’ would be a good thing, and I too am nostalgic for it. It would be a vastly sounder foundation for developing liberty rather than the current creeping totalitarianism. Libertarianism focuses upon people, rather than countries, but it is more possible in some countries, and cultures, than others.

I am very pleased that your media contacts despise ‘The Enemy Class’. I have long argued that beating about the bush when criticising, and when possible actively undermining, The Regime only allows them to claim their fraudulent ‘high moral ground’. The Tories have for example, with few notable exceptions, been compromising for decades, to such agree that they are now almost indistinguishable from the Socialists; effectively they are their allies.

New LA Publications


Sean Gabb Actually, rather old ones, but made available on-line for the first time.

35. Alex Stanway, Privatising Foreign Policy, 2000, 2pp.
ISBN: 1 85637 480 7
(html) – (pdf)

34. Roderick Moore, Foreign Policy in the Post-Communist World: The case for Selective Intervention, 2000, 4pp.
ISBN: 1 85637 479 3
(html) – (pdf)

33. David Botsford, Misunderstanding Europe: A Reply to Mark Littlewood, 2000, 4pp.
ISBN: 1 85637 474 2
(html) – (pdf)

32. Mark Littlewood, Why Libertarians Should Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the European Union, 1999, 4pp.
ISBN: 1 85637 467 X
(html) – (pdf)

31. Nigel Meek, Libertarianism and War: A Personal War, 1999, 4pp.
ISBN: 1 85637 p:`6 450 5
(html) – (pdf)

30. David Botsford, Liberty and Language: Further Reflections on Why Britain Must Leave the European Union, 1997, 4pp.
ISBN: 1 85637 381 9
(html) – (pdf)

29. Dr. Nigel Ashford, Open Borders: The Morality of Free Trade, 1997, 4pp.
ISBN: 1 85637 360 6
(html) – (pdf)

I often wonder about North Korea


Michael winning

My colleague David Davis thinks Kim Jong=Il is dead and has been for some years. Perhaps so, perhpas not. There’ll be no shortage of starving sods wanting the job of body-double anyway.

Now it says over at Samizdata that things could be getting rocky over the “torpedoed” S Korean corvette. But secretary-of-state Clinton does n’t seem to get it.

Time’s overdue for people with a more libertarian turn of mind to get involved in foreign affairs theory more. It ought to be an indignity, that state like North korea are still allowed to get away with what they do to their people.

David Robert Gibson on Consumerism


David Robert Gibson

I will try to reply to most, or hopefully all of your points under these
headings (as Kevin rightly wrote, I have also written much on this in the
LAF over recent years):

What do I mean by Consumerism?

In this context, I mean a dictionary definition of “Attachment to
materialistic values” – colloquially ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, the
attitude embodied by the Harry Enfield character who proclaimed ‘loads of
money’, by the ‘Yuppies’ with their Champagne and Porsches, and by the “Wall
Street” Gordon Gekko character who said “….Greed is Good”. The cache
attached to acquiring as many materials goods as one can afford (or more
commonly what the mortgage and credit card companies will allow). The cache
attached to owning goods made by Gucci, Chanel, Nike, etc.

Consumerism and Character:

Consumerism is demeaning – its vanguard is advertising, most of which is
trivial, superficial, garish and misleading, altogether tasteless. Its main
body involves travelling through congested roads, parking in narrow spaces,
walking through industrialised aisles picking up goods with a dearth of
discrimination, queuing, then the reverse back home. Its back-end involves
reading bills, paying them, borrowing money, working more than one needs to,
and giving large gratuities to the tax man. IMO in each of these cases,
people would be better off spiritually and psychologically doing other
things – looking at a pleasant country scene and fine art, listening to
Mozart and Beethoven, indulging in some sensual pleasure, watching a good
film (preferably downloaded or purchased from a charity shop so one avoids
tax), prayer, meditation, reading a charming or enlightening book,
exchanging emails with libertarians, etc. We have only so much time in this
life!

Consumerism and Government:

Consumerism increases the wealth and power of government – most goods are
subject to tax, national and local, indirect and direct, and most people
most of the time cannot evade that tax. Governments, again national and
local, derive their major source of power from their income via tax. If you
agree with me that their activities are mostly malign, that malignancy must
be funded so they can employ staff to execute their plans with buildings and
equipment funded also by tax

I am strongly in favour of private enterprise, sellers making a fair return,
buying useful and pleasurable goods discriminatingly, but that is not
consumerism.”]

David Robert Gibson

…but some are more equal than others…


I am a “FAR RIGHT social libertarian”!

David Davis

Sean is a Right Social Libertarian!


My Political Views
I am a right social libertarian
Right: 6.47, Libertarian: 7.39

Political Spectrum Quiz

Richard Blake has updated his Website


http://www.richardblake.org.uk/index.htm

My friend Richard Blake has just updated his website. This contains many links to some most flattering reviews of his novels. Bear in mind that he is not just the acclaimed, best-selling author of “Blood of Alexandria”, which has not even been published yet. There is so much more that you can all buy!

I see that Gold is quite rocky, today…


David Davis

One of my pet achievements is to have been able to paste “widgets” such as the excellent Kitco charts that you see beside you on this sidebar. Not being a tech-guy, and not knowing even the square-root-of-effing-all about something called “HTML”, or even “cascading style sheets” (search me, guv!) I gave myself a pat on the back for these being on here at all.

It is an interesting and fun exercise to watch them, even down to the hour, as they react to what the loliticians on the MSM are saying and doing. Gold seems especially rocky today, I am not sure why, but it has not really tested the heights of the last week or fortnight or so. I wonder why it’s so jumpy, and yet not stratospheric? Can anyone enlighten us?

Well what an absolute surprise


Michael Winning

So we are to be told, now, to “put books in the home”… I wonder what we are to be told that the books ought to be about, then? Is not that the crux or nub? Bettre watch out you book-people, for your books may not measure up, all 20 of them.

If they are not about David Beckham or Cerril Coal and called “my life”, then they perhaps arent allowed. And what if you have more than 20? Are you a dangerous conservative?

You’d be forgiven for thinking the State knew all along about how to educate. Thats what they have always said anyway, is it not?

That’s the end of one bit of political correctness


Male defendants to be granted anonymity in rape cases

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:24 PM on 20th May 2010

Defendants in rape cases will now be granted anonymity under new rules set out in today’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition document.

The move will turn the clock back to the 1970s when the Sexual Offences Act introduced anonymity for those accused of rape, something later repealed.

Officials said details of the change were yet to be decided but it is likely the ban will be lifted once a suspect is convicted.

But it stands in the face of a report by Lady Stern that recommended independent research should first be done into the scale and nature of false rape allegations.

Ruth Hall, of Women Against Rape, said the decision was an ‘insult’ and a backlash against the rising number of rape reports.

She said: ‘More attention needs to be paid to the 94% of reported cases that do not end in conviction rather than the few that are false.

‘If men accused of rape got special rights to anonymity, it would reinforce the misconception that lots of women who report rape are lying.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1279965/Male-defendants-granted-anonymity-rape-cases.html#ixzz0oUNeY1VJ

Robert Henderson Writes on the Descent of Man


Note: I haven’t got time at present to go into this in depth but here are few preliminary thoughts. Below my thoughts are the press release from the researchers involved plus a couple of newspaper reports.

I have always had trouble accepting the present “out of Africa” version of the evolution of modern man because the time scales commonly put forward seem absurdly short for the very considerable differences between humans which we call races to have arisen. Taking 20 years to a generation, the 200,000 years allowed for modern man gives 10,000 generations; the 40,000 years for modern man in Europe 2,000 generations.

There is also evidence from archaeology and history of the stable nature of races. Realistic depictions of human beings go back to at least 3000BC – and perhaps twice as long if carbon 14 datings on some Egyptian artefacts are to be believed – show that racial types have been stable for at least 5,000 years . If racial types have not changed in the past 5,000 years, why should we imagine that the traditional gradualist process of evolution would have radically changed them over 40,000 or even 100,000 years?

The alternative view of human evolution is multi-evolutionary with different races evolving from earlier forms of homo in different parts of the world. That theory has attractions because it would give a much longer time span for evolution to create what we now see as races. The fly in the ointment with that theory is, geneticists tell us, that the genetic evidence across all modern humans points to a common ancestor from Africa.

The idea that there may have been breeding between Neanderthals and early modern man outside of Africa breaths new life into the regional theory, because it provides a possible explanation for the differences between Africans and the rest of humanity. If Neanderthals bred first with those in the middle East and then much later with Caucasians that might provide at least a partial explanation of racial difference between Caucasians and the other non-African racial groups because the time difference between the two interactions would give opportunity from genetic change to occur in the Neanderthal population.

More radically, if Neanderthals could breed with early modern man why not sexual interaction between other sub-species of homo and early modern man, both within and without Africa? After all hominid species earlier than Homo Sapiens were widely spread throughout Eurasia hundreds of thousands of years before the appearance of Homo Sapiens. It would be interesting to see whether any DNA sequencing could be done on them. Perhaps like the Neanderthals they would share more than 99% of their genes with modern man. It might be that if their DNA could be sequenced genes specific to them might be found in modern man in different frequencies or simply present in some racial groups and not in others.

If regular inter-breeding did occur over hundreds of thousands of years this could provide a plausible scenario for the evolution of the group differences which now distinguish the different races, something which could have a very large effect even if the inter-breeding was relatively uncommon because of the small size of the hominid population until the past few millennia. A few individuals with the inter-bred genetic mixture could send their genes down the generations to a very large number of people if that mixture was evolutionarily advantageous. Suppose in the case of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, the Neanderthals being better adapted to the harsh ice age climate might have improved the Cro-Magnom stock for that environment.

How primitive would a hominid have to be not to breed with modern man? The researchers claim that Neanderthal DNA is 99.7% similar to that of easy to see how breeding could take place. But what about older forms of homo? Well, consider the breeding between lions and tigers or donkeys and horses. Is it inconceivable that inter-breeding between more primitive forms of homo and Neanderthals might have taken place? Would anyone like to bet that it would be impossible to fertilise a female chimp through artificial insemination with human sperm or through in vitro fertilisation? Are humans and chimps genetically further apart than lions and tigers?

As for Neanderthals, there is a school of academic thought which thinks that if they were dressed in a suit they would be able walk without causing comment down a busy street. Bearing in mind the amazing diversity of form modern humans display, I have a sneaking suspicion they might be right. I live in central London and on several occasions I have seen a man and a woman – probably mother and son from their ages – on Euston station who are dead ringers for the classic depictions of dwarves and goblins, short squat powerful bodies, very large heads and exceptionally powerful jaw structure. It would be very easy to imagine them as Neanderthals.

The fact that specifically Neanderthal genes may form only a very small part of the modern non-African genome does not mean that it has little effect today. Genes are not equal in their significance. Think of how much DNA we share with chimps and the differences between them and us. Even a few genes might make a radical difference to non-African humans.

The modern liberal view of race is that race is a social construct and that the physical differences between races are (1) trivial and (2) biological variation within a racial group is greater than that between racial groups.

The fragility of the first liberal proposition can be seen simply by noting that differences between races are more dramatic than the differences between many closely related species of animals, for example, compare a pygmy with an archetypal Scandinavian. (If homo sapiens was viewed objectively as any other organism is viewed I doubt whether we would be classified as a species.) There are also the objective differences in physiology such as testosterone level differences and of behavioural differences such as variations in racial IQ. If we add into the mix different genetic inheritances from now extinct or absorbed forms of homo within the different racial groups the social construct argument becomes even weaker.

The second liberal proposition was shaky even before this latest research because it ignored the importance of physical racial difference in assortative mating – human beings overwhelming choose partners of the same racial type even when living in circumstances which permits frequent opportunity to choose a sexual partner of a different race. Indeed, if that was not part of the innate human template there would be no such thing as recognisable races because cross-racial breeding would erased the differences long ago. If it could be demonstrated that there are significant differences in the genotype of the various races which are due not to evolution with the modern man template but are a legacy of now extinct forms of homo the second liberal argument would be completely defunct.

Having said all that, these findings should be treated with care because (1) genetics is still a science in the academic dark ages and (2) the Neanderthal DNA has not yet be fully sequenced, (3) the sample used were heavily contaminated and (4) the number of Neanderthal remains discovered to date remain in the hundreds rather than the thousands, many of them very incomplete skeletons. None the less, a most interesting piece of research. 22 5 2010 RH

http://www.eva.mpg.de/english/press/PMs_eng/PR_MPI_Neandertal_EN.pdf

But there was no chance of a Conservative Government!


I like Simon Heffer, and I fully agree that David Cameron has betrayed his party. This being said, the Coalition agreement will at least give us a limited return of civil liberties. [SIG]

David Cameron will rue the day he betrayed the Conservatives

As I have argued for the last four-and-half years, Dave is not actually a Conservative, writes Simon Heffer.

By Simon Heffer
Published: 5:09PM BST 21 May 2010

David Cameron will rue the day he betrayed the Conservatives Photo: UPPA Ltd

How sad do we think Dave is at being made to ditch the remotely Conservative parts of his election manifesto in order to stay in his loveless marriage with the Liberal Democrats? I look at him on his many celebrity public relations appearances – for they are all he seems to do these days – and he looks pretty cheerful. Indeed, he appears to be bearing the blow of ditching the reform of badly-drafted human rights legislation, having to maintain inheritance tax, forcing swingeing rises in capital gains tax and abandoning the party’s pledge to support married families surprisingly well.

Of course he is: because, as I have argued for the last four-and-half years, Dave is not actually a Conservative. Like the late and unlamented Sir Edward Heath, he is a technocrat, a bureaucrat and a manager. He is interested only in power, rather than in principle. I always suspected he would prove this the moment he was through the door of No 10 and, by golly, he has.

He still has his supporters in his party, despite having betrayed them by giving the country a Liberal Democrat government, and they will be fulminating if they have read this far. So be it. For the vast majority who voted Tory on May 6, the feeling is different. Can they honestly say that this is what they thought they were voting for if they ended up putting Dave in Downing Street? Of course not.

Dave’s supporters reject such criticism as unfair, because he didn’t know he would have to have a coalition. I would remind them of two points. First, Dave failed to win an overall majority because he fought a shocking campaign against the worst prime minister since Ted Heath, and with a record of economic failure that exceeded even the Grocer’s. Second, he did not need to have a coalition even then. Both Labour and the Lib Dems are nearly broke. The last thing either wants is another election now. Once Gordon Brown had realised the game was up and resigned, all Dave had to do was to meet parliament with a Queen’s Speech based on his manifesto – which itself was so un-Conservative that there was little in it the other parties could find offensive – and dare them to vote it down. They wouldn’t have dared, and Dave, admittedly against all his instincts, could have tried to govern as a Conservative.

However, I don’t think he wanted to. The opportunity to rule with his natural soulmates in the Lib Dems meant he could at last try to put the people he despises most – the “Right” of his own party who do have genuine Conservative principles – back in their box. Any attempt at Conservatism can be shunted off into a siding, or pushed over a cliff, with the excuse that the Lib Dems won’t wear it. Absurdities routinely happen, like Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, removing screeds of offensive remarks about the Lib Dems from his Twitter page because we are all lovey-dovey now. (I am not sure what is the more preposterous – Mr Hunt’s humiliating himself by agreeing to rewrite history in this Stalinist way, or a supposedly grown and intelligent man like him tweeting in the first place.)

Dave will rue the day – and rue it sooner rather than later, I suspect – for rubbing the nose of so much of his party in it like this. The 118 backbenchers who voted against the emasculation of the 1922 Committee show just what he will be up against; I trust, as Norman Tebbit has suggested, that they will form a 2010 Committee, and carry on reminding their leader that we do not yet live in a dictatorship. Dave’s outrageous disregard of his party’s values requires far more scrutiny, not less.

Sean on the Beeb Tonight!


On the back of my earlier news release about price floors for alcohol, I’ve been booked for a debate on BBC Radio 5 Live tonight at 10pm BST (Friday 21st May 2010). The Presenter will be Stephen Nolan. I shall be up against a Professor Ian Gilmore, who is a liver specialist convinced that higher prices are the only path to saving us all from killing ourselves with drink. If you want to listen, Radio 5 is somewhere on the Medium Wave and on Freeview. Otherwise, you can go here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/5live/    

If you want to contribute to the discussion, here are all the contact details:

Call: 0500 909 693

SMS/MMS: 85058

Email: nolan@bbc.co.uk

Boycott Tesco’s!


NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
In Association with the Libertarian International

Release Date: Friday 21st May 2010
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details:
Dr Sean Gabb, 07956 472 199, sean@libertarian.co.uk

For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message
Release url: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/news/nr080.htm

“BOYCOTT CORPORATIST AND ANTI-WORKING CLASS  TESCO’S” SAYS FREE MARKET AND CIVIL LIBERTIES THINK TANK

The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties institute, today calls for a boycott of Tesco’s because of its support for plans to stop the poor from drinking. [The company has welcomed a promise by the Coalition Government to ban shops in England and Wales from selling alcohol at below cost price.]

Speaking today in London, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, comments:

“The Government’s proposal, and the welcome given it by Tesco’s, amount to an attack on the poor. The ruling class politicians who continually whine about alcohol will not be affected by minimum pricing or the abolition of special offers. I might add that none of them can be affected by such laws. Income aside, anyone who lies his way into Parliament can look forward to round the clock drinking in the Palace of Westminster of untaxed alcohol.

“But the measures will hurt poor people, for whom alcohol will become cripplingly expensive and hard to find. They have the same right to drink as the rest of us. Bearing in mind the problems willed on them by our exploitative ruling class, they often have a greater need to drink.

“The claim that drinking ’causes’ public disorder is nonsense. Alcohol does not run about the streets. People do. If people are making nuisances of themselves, the police should be reminded that they are no longer New Labour’s equivalent of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and told to start protecting life and property again.

“But, going back to Tesco’s, this is also another attempt by a joint stock limited liability corporation – which has no right to exist – to limit competition and raise profits. We have no doubt the Company will use the good publicity got from supporting this wicked policy to win planning permission appeals to build more superstores. The incidental misery into which millions of our poorest fellow citizens will be thrown never crosses their privileged, high-salaried minds.

“On behalf of the Libertarian Alliance, I call on all progressive people of good will to boycott Tesco until it stops supporting this attack on the poor and on free competition.

“Drinking is not just for the rich.”

The Libertarian Alliance believes:

* That all the licensing laws should be repealed;
* That all controls on the marketing of alcohol should be repealed;
* That alcohol taxes should be reduced to the same level as the lowest in the European Union, and that there should be no increase in other taxes;
* That not a penny of the taxpayers’ money should be given to any organisation arguing against the above.

END OF COPY

Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. His book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, may be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3. It may also be bought. His other books are available from Hampden Press at http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at sean@libertarian.co.uk

Extended Contact Details:

The Libertarian Alliance is Britain’s most radical free market and civil liberties policy institute. It has published over 700 articles, pamphlets and books in support of freedom and against statism in all its forms. These are freely available at http://www.libertarian.co.uk

Our postal address is

The Libertarian Alliance
Suite 35
2 Lansdowne Row
Mayfair
London
W1J 6HL
Tel: 07956 472 199

Associated Organisations

The Libertarian International – http://www.libertarian.to – is a sister organisation to the Libertarian Alliance. Its mission is to coordinate various initiatives in the defence of individual liberty throughout the world.

Sean Gabb’s personal website – http://www.seangabb.co.uk – contains about a million words of writings on themes interesting to libertarians and conservatives.

Hampden Press – http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.- the publishing house of the Libertarian Alliance.

Liberalia – http://www.liberalia.com – maintained by by LA Executive member Christian Michel, Liberalia publishes in-depth papers in French and English on libertarianism and free enterprise. It is a prime source of documentation on these issues for students and scholars.

British Library newspaper archive plan riles Murdoch


From Sean Gabb

I hope this fails. It probably will. Most efforts to suck money out of Internet users tend to fail. I have increasing doubts regarding the legitimacy of copyright laws. In any event, I wouldn’t wish to see this particular propaganda conduit for the ruling class make even more money. [SIG]

Http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/british-library-newspaper-archive-plan-riles-murdoch-1978970.html
British Library newspaper archive plan riles Murdoch
By Ian Burrell, Media Editor
Friday, 21 May 2010

The heir to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation empire attacked the
British Library yesterday for “harming the market” in print journalism
by allowing online access to its vast newspaper archive. James Murdoch,
head of News Corp in Europe and Asia, spoke out days ahead of his
company’s big gamble in introducing charges for access to the websites
of The Times and The Sunday Times.

Woman died after doctors failed to spot toilet brush in her buttocks


From Sean Gabb

No comment on this. We may have changed the warders, but we still live in an open air lunatic asylum [Sean Gabb]

Http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/7739359/Woman-died-after-doctors-failed-to-spot-toilet-brush-in-her-buttocks.html

Woman died after doctors failed to spot toilet brush in her buttocks
A mother died after doctors repeatedly failed to spot a toilet brush
handle embedded in her buttock.

Climate scandal: new evidence of dubious research


This is old stuff, but I am experimenting to see if I can e-mail stuff directly to the Libertarian Alliance Blog and then have it automatically relayed to Facebook. I think I will turn off this second feature. As said a few days ago, I’d like to be able to send to Facebook and then have stuff automatically forwarded to the LA Blog. From the Blog to Facebook is much less convenient. [Sean Gabb]

Climate scandal: new evidence of dubious research

Published 18 December, 2009, 12:29

Russia is becoming a focal point in the battle of ideas over climate change. Russian weather data appears to have been tinkered with by UK climate researchers to overstate the scale of global warming.

After leaked data from the University of East Anglia’s climate change unit were posted on a server in Tomsk, conspiracy theorists pointed to Russian hackers.

Yet how would a hacker have known the University of East Anglia had manipulated climate data? Or about the climate researchers’ decade-long history of using the peer review system to silence those who disagreed with the global warming hypothesis? And where to get the emails to prove it? It was an inside job.

Now Russia is back in the spotlight. Research released through Moscow’s Institute of Economic Analysis suggests the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK was selective and forgetful with data from Russian weather stations, and exaggerated the scale of global warming in Russia.

The allegation is supported by one of the leaked UAE emails, dated March 2004, from its former boss Phil Jones to Michael Mann, to wit:

“Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both (peer) reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL. Cheers, Phil.”

Copenhagen doubts

It is well-timed to weaken the resolve of global leaders at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Russia would make more money from selling its pollution credits than any other country, so you’d be wrong to conclude that Russia is simply motivated by its oil and gas reserves.

Russia stands to benefit by tens of billions of dollars from carbon trading. And big oil will do very well out of the lucrative climate change business.

Russia is the world’s biggest country and has got lots of climate data. Its researchers are simply puzzled as to how the Hadley climate unit managed to ignore so much of it.

The Russian research looks at the data from 121 monitoring sites that HadCRUT used and the at least 355 were not used. It plots the data, and finds the 121 sites tending to warmer weather reports than the 355 unused sites. The document in Russian and graphs are here.

The principal findings are that researchers cherry-picked results based on the stations that supported the hypothesis of global warming.

Supporters of global warming have already dismissed the IEA report as “the same old argument” that meteorological sites next to cities show warmer records than those in the wild.

But the IEA has discovered much, much more.

Weather centers with records going back into the 19th Century were ignored, in some cases, in favor of monitoring stations with less data, but which pointed to warming.

“Weather station Uchur has a long and almost continuous series of meteorological observations from 1940; the station Toko – an intermittent series of observations from 1946 and continuous only since 1957; however, the trend towards warming in the 20th Century was more pronounced according to the station Toko. In the calculations of global temperature, HadCRUT predictably uses the data solely from the station Toko.”

Hadley “reduced” data series

Another excerpt from the Russian report:

“It turns out that the data not included in the HadCRUT sample, and not used to calculate the global temperature, is systematically much more extensive. Only one tenth of meteorological sites with complete temperature series are used. Sites with incomplete data series account for two-thirds of the HadCRUT sample.

“Moreover, in the processing of data of the Russian specialists HadCRUT sometimes exhibits an unexplained loss. For example, the Hadley Center reduced the temperature data series for the station Sortavala, provided by Roshydromet,” the report found.

The Russian research concludes that HadCRUT’s pre-selection of weather monitoring sites in Russia affected the scale of warming that it claimed to find.

The Russians tried to reproduce HadCRUT’s conclusions.

They do indeed identify a warming trend, but it is 1.4 degrees C over the 130 years from 1870-2000, compared with the 2 degree estimate HadCRUT exhibited.

The new research suggests HadCRUT actively chose to use weather reports that backed its hypothesis of global warming:

  • Using incomplete records and ignoring longer, unbroken series from other monitoring sites in the same region.
  • Manipulating data or “losing temperature” from the sites they used
  • Choosing sites close to large, warmer, urban areas
  • Selecting sites concentrated in the north and east of Russia, even though Russia has significantly more sites in the warmer west and south. HadCRUT thus ignores 40% of the largest country on earth – not because it doesn’t have the data (the data is publicly available) but for some other, unstated reason.
  • HadCRUT constructs a grid of Russia, some cells containing only one weather monitoring station, others as many as 8. In the case of the cells where weather stations are ignored, the weather stations tended not to support the hypothesis of global warming.

The IEA concedes that temperatures may have increased, but much less than 2 degrees Celsius. It asks: if global warming is overstated in Russia, what errors are hiding in the data on other countries?

Mark Gay, RT

__._,_.___

Whatever Germany does, the euro as we know it is dead – Telegraph


[Hmmmm – Sean may be able to afford a European holiday this year after all!]

Whatever Germany does, the euro as we know it is dead

Angela Merkel’s ban on short-selling is just a distraction from the horror to come

Whatever Germany does, the euro as we know it is dead – Telegraph

BBC Licence fee ‘to fund superfast broadband’ roll-out


Splendid idea! Best just to leave the cash in our own pockets. Far bettr, though, to spend it on fast Internet connections than on morally corrupt PC drivel sent via the Beeb.

Http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/10131375.stm

Test


This is a test post, to see if I can e-mail comments direclty to the LA Blog and to Facebook as well.

Cobden Centre Lecture (Plus Free Food & Drink!)


The Cobden Centre

For honest money and social progress
 
The Cobden Centre is delighted to invite you to its Annual Lecture and Drinks Reception to be held on Wednesday 9 June 2010 between 6.30pm and 9.00pm at the National Liberal Club, On Whitehall Place, London SW1
(nearest tube station: Embankment).
 
The Emperor’s New Clothes:
How to Pay off the National Debt and Give a 28.5% Tax Cut
 
Toby Baxendale

Toby Baxendale is Chairman of The Cobden Centre and a graduate of the London School of Economics. Dedicated to furthering the teaching of the Austrian School of Economics, he and his colleagues are passionate about reviving the Great Manchester School of Cobden and Bright. Toby is an entrepreneur who owns a company that is Britain’s largest fresh fish supplier to the catering trade. He also has active interests in several charities and is a Magistrate and an Ironman triathlete. 

The dress code for this event is lounge suit or small casual.
To confirm your attendance please RSVP Dr. Helen Evans at
hsevans@btinternet.com  

http://www.CobdenCentre.org

“The Blood of Alexandria”, Reviewed by Marian Halcombe


Review Article by Marian Halcombe
The Blood of Alexandria
Richard Blake
Hodder & Stoughton, London, 2010, 502pp, hb, £19.99
ISBN: 978 0 340 95116 3

The Blood of AlexandriaThis is, in its form, an historical novel. It is, indeed, the third in a series of six, of which two others have been published, and a fourth has been written and accepted for publication in 2011. The publisher’s synopsis gives a fair account of the plot:

612AD. Egypt, the jewel of the Roman Empire, seethes with unrest, as bread runs short and the Persians plot an invasion. In Alexandria, a city divided between Greeks and Egyptians by language, religion and far too few soldiers, the Mummy of the Great Alexander, dead for nine hundred years, still has the power to calm the mob or inflame it….

Aelric, the young British clerk who has become a senator and the trusted henchman of Emperor Heraclius, has come to Alexandria to send Egypt’s harvest to Constantinople and to force the unwilling viceroy to give its land to the peasants. But the city – with its factions and conspirators – thwarts him at every turn. And when an old enemy from Constantinople arrives, supposedly on a quest for a religious relic that could turn the course of the Persian war, he will have to use all his cunning, his charm and his talent for violence to survive.

Exactly how the plot snakes its way through more than five hundred pages is a matter I do not care to discuss. I will only say that the plot, as is usual in the novels of Richard Blake, is driven by the working out of the interests of the various characters. These characters behave in manners that are entirely credible – if hardly ever creditable. But the conflicts that arise from their being forced together by circumstances produce a narrative that is both complex and unpredictable.

So much for the plot. What interests me most, however, is what makes this different from every other historical novel I have read. It is set in a particular time and place. Several of the characters are people who really existed. If the plot itself is made up, it takes place within a general scheme of things that is based on a sound knowledge of the period. I could take issue with Mr Blake on a few titles and administrative details. But anyone who wants to understand the interlocking and worsening crises that brought about the transition of the Eastern Empire from its Late Roman to its Byzantine phase could do worse than turn to this series of novels. They are no substitute for Gibbon or Ostrogorsky or Runciman or Treadgold. But, rather like Robert Graves on the Principate, or Mary Renault on Classical Athens, Mr Blake provides a series of novels that are a reliable point of entry.

All this being said, this is not a standard historical novel. Its five hundred pages read like a sequence of nightmares from which you are not allowed to wake up screaming. Though set in Egypt, a land of intense light, most of its action takes place at night or in places without natural light. Much action that is set during the day takes place within the vast and terrifying bleakness of the desert. The rest is set in an Alexandria torn apart by blood-soaked rioting.

Because they have come out almost at the same time, this novel will inevitably be compared with the film Agora, which is also set in Alexandria, though several hundred years earlier, and deals with similar themes. However, Mr Blake was unaware of this film until after he had finished correcting his proofs. He wrote the novel during the last three months of 2009, when he was deepening his acquaintance with nineteenth century grand opera. So far as he had one, his model was Verdi’s Aida. This is largely a quiet work about the tension between public and private duties. When it does open out, it does so in a burst of brutal and immensely prolonged spectacle. So it is with Blood of Alexandria.

As a sample of the whole take this from Chapter Twelve. The Narrator has been bullied into going out of the Greek centre of Alexandria through a gate in the wall that seals off the Egyptian quarter. This is a place of shocking filth and poverty. The stated reason for the visit is to consult an alleged magician on the whereabouts of the first chamber pot used by Jesus Christ. The Narrator and his companions have just entered one of the crumbling buildings:

It was almost like stepping into one of those fogs Constantinople has in the autumn. I say ‘almost,’ because it was worse. It was a cloud of steam made dark and oily from the many lamps in the room, and foul beyond any description I can attempt. A beggar’s crotch at two inches would have been more salubrious. I rubbed my eyes and spluttered, and reached again for my pot of scent.

As my eyes adjusted, I could see we were in a large room. An oblong of about twenty by perhaps sixty feet, it had neither opening in its low ceiling nor any windows. It was hard to tell from the carpet of filth, but the floor seemed to be of crumbled brick.

The steam was coming from a low table to my right. Packed tight together, about a dozen men sat round it. Each with his neighbour shared a small bowl of liquid that was kept bubbling by the sort of charcoal burner used in better establishments for keeping depilatories soft. As one sat upright, the other would hunch over the pot and breathe in his share of the steam. The continual up and down motions, and the low chorus of pleasured moans, had a soporific quality even to watch.

I heard the door close behind me. I pulled my eyes away from the table and reached inside my cloak. Macarius gently touched my arm.

‘That will not be needed, My Lord,’ he whispered in Latin. ‘I know the doorman’s cousin. You are in no danger here.’ I relaxed. Once we’d turned left and were moving deeper into the room, I saw another of the druggies. He’d fallen away from his place at the table, and sat on the floor, his back against one of the brick pillars that held up the ceiling. I looked at him. His clothing had gathered around his waist, showing the hard, throbbing erection. What was left of his lower face hung in folds, the saliva glistening on blackened teeth as he groaned from the long, continuous orgasm the drug had finally brought on.

‘A mixture of Carthaginian berries and some of the metallic poisons,’ Priscus said learnedly. ‘Never tried it myself, though – all else aside, I’m told it can produce spontaneous castrations.’

A pity his father had never tried it, I thought. This was the last thing I’d imagined for the evening entertainment. I needed to get Macarius in private to discuss how to get most effectively hold of Leontius. Instead, I was stuck in some low drug den full of wogs and with Priscus for company. (pp.84-85)

This is a world made universally disgusting by its history, and kept disgusting by those born within it. The Imperial Government is ruthless and exploitative. It rules Egypt through a landed nobility that is allowed to wallow in luxury so long as it keeps up the shipments of corn on which Imperial rule elsewhere depends. The common people, whether Greek or Egyptian, are vicious animals kept in line by threats of terrible and arbitrary violence and by the occasional bribe of free bread. Christianity has had no beneficial effect on morality. Its leaders show less interest in following the Precepts of Christ than in arguing at swordpoint over His Nature. Not surprisingly, nearly everyone seeks refuge in mood altering substances or in various shads of superstition that all border on lunacy.

The Empire is facing threats on all its active frontiers, any one of which would take its whole strength to contain. Coming all at the same time, they have brought on a military collapse. The last toehold in Spain has gone. North Africa is going. Italy has been mostly swallowed by the Lombards, and Rome survives only as a semi-independent principality ruled by the Pope. The Balkans as far south as Corinth have been overrun by Slavs. Squat, yellow-faced men on horseback turn up regularly under the walls of Constantinople itself. Worst of all, what began as a border war with the Persians has turned into a disastrous conflict in which control of all the Eastern Provinces has been put in question.

It is against this background of horror and catastrophe that young Aelric has been sent to Egypt. Since the lat novel in the series, Terror of Constantinople, he has become one of the leading members of the Imperial Council in Constantinople. Working with the Greek Patriarch, Sergius, he has come up with a scheme of reform that might save the Empire. The central government is to become less grasping and oppressive. Landed estates throughout the Empire are to be broken up and given to the peasants, who will be armed and trusted to defend their stake in the new order of things. The religious dispute between the Orthodox and the Monophysites is to be settled by a compromise in which neither side need give up its main point, but both must accept a third position that is incompatible with neither side of the dispute.

As a matter of fact, this is the scheme of reform that did ultimately save the Empire. Few readers in the English world study the Byzantine Empire. Those who look beyond the loss of the Western Provinces in the fifth century face an apparent narrative of court intrigue and unlikely heresies within the capital and of lost battles outside. The picture only steadies again in the late eleventh century, when the armies of the First Crusade lit their camp fires outside the walls of Constantinople.

Yet the five hundred years that separate Belisarius from Bohemond were ages first of endurance and then of success. By a process largely confined to the middle fifty years of the seventh century, the Imperial Government scrapped the oppressive apparatus of the Later Empire. Landed estates were broken up. The people were armed. Taxes and regulations were scaled back. Slavery never disappeared, but was mostly confined to the households of the remaining rich. Yet there was no collapse into serfdom. The majority of the Empire’s population were free peasants.

While these reforms were being made, the Empire hit back against the Persians and utterly crushed them. A conflict over the Near East that had rumbled on since the second century, and that had, for a moment, threatened the Empire with dissolution, was settled in a five year campaign that destroyed Persia as a credible force. If almost immediately after this victory, it lost Syria and Egypt to the Arabs, the Empire lost nothing else of its core territories. While reconstructing itself internally, and while fighting off wave after wave of barbarian assaults from the north and west, the Empire looked Islam in the face and stopped it dead. We, in the West, celebrate the Battle of Tours in 732, when Charles Martel defeated an Arab invasion of France. But the Arabs here were operating well over a thousand miles from their core territories, and with supply lines to a Spain that had been conquered but not pacified. Already, however, the Empire had confronted the Arabs in all their force and enthusiasm, and had thrown them back from the walls of Constantinople with terrible losses. They drove off the Arabs in 668 and again in 717. They did so with a weapon of mass destruction that we still do not wholly understand – and that is the subject of Mr Blake’s next novel, completed though as yet unpublished – but also with a Greek and Orthodox patriotism that was born in the downsizing of the Roman State. And then, over the next few centuries, the Empire went on the offensive against Islam. With perhaps five per cent of the population ruled over by the Caliphs, the Empire remade itself as the richest and most powerful nation in the known world – as the Terror of Islam and the last citadel of ancient learning and culture.

It is the beginning of this remarkable transformation with which Blood of Alexandria deals. As said, the Narrator lives in a world made universally disgusting. But he knows that, given the right determination, it can be improved. This is, indeed, an explicitly libertarian novel. Themes briefly and incompletely stated in the earlier novels are here brought into sharp focus. As well as an atheist and a man of reason, Aelric is also as near to a classical liberal as his age makes possible – and perhaps more so. He states his full agenda in Chapter Twenty. He has been taken prisoner by an armed resistance group, and is trying to bring about an escape by enraging his chief captor:

‘You are mistaken,’ he repeated, now emphatic. ‘The loyalty of the people to their Pharaoh was always freely given. How else could we have endured in peace and plenty for ten thousand years? How else could we have developed all science and all mathematics that the Greeks then stole from us?,’ I laughed outright. Oh, he could have reached forward and struck me. But that would have broken the mood of triumphant dignity he was trying to impose. And if I was eventually to be done away with in some grotesque way, oiling him up wouldn’t make that any better. But pissing him off might be both enjoyable and useful..

‘Freely given?,’ I sneered. ‘Ten thousand years?,’ I’ll tell you this, my lad – Phocas himself never put up images of himself standing three times the height of his nobles, nor the nobles three times the height of the poor bloody people who worked to make their lives easy. All government, in every time and place, rests on fraud and force – the force of soldiers and officials hired by the rulers, and the fraud of the priests who assure everyone that the force is just. You’ll need to work much harder to convince me you didn’t have ten thousand years of that, before you had a thousand of the same from the Greeks.

‘As for what you dare call science and mathematics, you had nothing beyond the crude ingenuity to build those pyramids and all the other ugly things that haven’t yet fallen down. – and to build them with slave labour. Before the Greeks showed up, you were as ignorant as any other barbarian race of mathematics as an abstract science able to explain all of nature. Your cosmology involves a flat earth with some naked goddess stretching over it as the sky. Your history is of kings ten feet tall and reigning for a hundred years. The glory you speak of is just more of the usual plunder mixed with bloody murder.

‘And – let’s face it, my poor, dear Lucas, you can no more read the picture writing of this literature than I can. All you have to read in the alphabetic writing your people learnt from the Greeks is a mass of third rate polemic against the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon. What little they know about your brand of heresy makes you an embarrassment to the Monophysites of Syria. You’ve already acknowledged the debt you owe for alphabetic writing. Well, just accept that you owe the Greeks everything else in your culture that isn’t actually a joke.’ I paused to draw breath. I didn’t bother swivelling my eyes: I could feel Martin’s look of horrified despair. But I was enjoying myself, and I did have a more constructive purpose.

‘It has never, I’m sure,’ I went on, ‘crossed your tiny minds that there is in human affairs, as in the world around us, a natural order in which your kings and their priests – of whatever faith – have no place.’ His mouth was working. But Lucas had no words to throw at me. So I let my own roll straight forward over him.

‘Let us imagine a state of nature,’ I said – ‘that is, a world in which all in at “perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man”.’ I was quoting here verbatim from Epicurus – His Second Letter to Scatodotes of Cyrene. ‘This being given, let us suppose that everyone uses his freedom to supply himself with all his needs. Some he will abstract directly from the earth, which is common to all. Others he will acquire by free exchange with others. Therefore, some will raise crops. Others will take materials from the ground. Others will refine these things into other products. All property in this state of natural freedom will be based on the efforts of the possessor.

‘Men may gather together to appoint judges for those disputes that cannot be resolved by good will or by individual force of arms. They may further appoint generals for the defence of the whole community. But they’ll never voluntarily establish the system described in the Greek histories of your country or shown on your monuments.’ Well, that wasn’t direct quotation from the Great Man, though it was fair summary. I could have gone on to my own belief about the limitless improvement that might result from free exchange and the steady use of reason to understand the world about us. But it didn’t serve my purpose – this being more attack than exposition.

‘Don’t waste more of your hot air on how all this is for the people of Egypt,’ I said, my voice rising to a shrill scorn that could be noted if not followed by his men. ‘If that poor bugger you tore apart on the boat is any guide, I know exactly what you think about the people. I’ve heard that your sort refer to Greek rule as a cup of abominations. That may be a fair description. Perhaps they haven’t followed through in their actions the ideas they gave the world. But, let’s be honest, you don’t want to dash that cup to the ground. What you really want is to transfer it from Greek hands to your own with as little spillage along the way as can be managed.’ (pp.141-43)

All else aside, it is this that makes the novel remarkable. For many years now, the arts in England have been dominated by the left. In varied though consistent form, nearly all fiction that touches on politics has done so to preach doctrines of submission to a big government ruling class. Mr Blake would never wish to compare himself to Ayn Rand. Nevertheless, it is remarkable that a mainstream British publisher has brought out a novel that openly proclaims a belief in rationality and progress and human freedom.

At the same time, however, the novel is not didactic. The various libertarian utterances are integral to the plot. And Aelric hardly shines. If better than the other main characters – not hard, bearing in mind who they are – he is himself less than reputable. Part of what drives the plot forward is his desperation to keep his own financial speculations secret. Though he justifies these in terms that a Victorian economist might have approved, everyone else might assume that he had played a leading role in pushing up the price of bread beyond the reach of the poor. He also knows that, if he preaches doctrines utterly subversive of the established order, he is, at the same time, a leading servant of the world’s greatest and most absolute despot.

In a sense, he is much like all those other well-intentioned rulers of an ancien regime that tries to liberalise itself. Or perhaps he is like one of the English liberals who tried to reshape India in the early nineteenth century, and who, ignorant of Indian ways, helped bring on the Mutiny. As the head of the Monophysite sect in Egypt says to him in Chapter Thirty One:

‘You have been in Alexandria just over four months,’ he reopened once we were alone. ‘You were sent here from Constantinople, without any of our language and without any understanding of our ways. You came to impose a new settlement on the land that has much to commend it in the abstract, and that I can hope will, on the Last Day, set off what I believe to be considerable derelictions elsewhere in your attitude to the Faith. But it is a settlement not suited to the ways of our land.

‘I know you have little time for His Imperial Highness the Viceroy. But Nicetas has been here far longer than your have. He may not have the words to tell you all that he knows – he may not be aware of all that he does in fact know. But I assure you that Nicetas has a sounder understanding of Egypt and its ways than is present in your tidy, philosophical mind.’ (p.218)

Aelric is in a hurry to impose his new settlement on Egypt. Even though checked by the generally useless Viceroy, his efforts do much to produce an explosion that reduces much of Alexandria to stinking rubble, and that is only stopped from going further by official atrocities that horrify him.

The world of this novel is a disgusting place. The novel proceeds from one act of nastiness to another. Mr Blake even tells me that he felt unwell for the rest of the afternoon after writing Chapters Thirty Seven and Thirty Eight, which are set in a torture chamber. I will not quote from these, but they describe the sort of things that all governments do when they find it convenient.

One further point. Aelric spends the whole novel proclaiming to all about him and to himself his eminently eighteenth century opinion about the natural and predictable causes of all phenomena. Even so, he is surrounded on all sides with evidences to the contrary. Who, for example, is the brutal and all-powerful Mistress? What connection might she have with his survival in extreme old age from a dipping in the River Tyne, and much earlier from what should have been a fatal encounter with the Alexandrian Mob? Is she perhaps on holiday from the Caves of Kor, where she awaits the return of her long dead Kallicrates?

But I have said enough. To conclude, this is a very good novel. Buy it if you want a good read. And buy it if you have any interest in making Mr Blake as rich as J.K. Rowling!

Sad Announcement


Sean Gabb

I have just heard from Robert Lefever that his wife Margaret died suddenly the other day of a brain haemorrhage. I wish to express my own deepest sympathies and to pass on the news to all those who knew her.

There will be a memorial service on Wednesday the 2nd June 2010 at noon in St Luke’s Church in Sidney Street, Chelsea.

The buggers have missed the point


Michhael Wining

Have a look here and see if you agree. It’s all “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Bit of harmless fun


David Davis

Richard Blake New Novels


The Blood of Alexandria

My dear friend Richard Blake informs me that his publisher has accepted his latest novel without alteration. “Sword of Damascus” has been described as “a masterpiece without blemish” – apart from the typos, that is. Sadly, you will have to wait another year to see this stupendous achievement. But his “Blood of Alexandria” has already found its way into some bookshops. It will be in Waterstones before the month is out.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Alexandria-Richard-Blake/dp/0340951168

New government, same old Gestapo


David Davis

Look at this.

Libertarian Alliance Statement on the New British Government


Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 193
16th May 2010
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc193.htm
Available for debate on LA Blog at  http://wp.me/p29oR-3p4

Two Cheers for the Coalition:
The Libertarian Alliance on the New British Government
By Sean Gabb

I have been asked, as Director of the Libertarian Alliance, to make a response to the forming of a coalition government last week in Britain by the Conservative and Liberal Parties. In making this response, I do not claim to speak in every detail for the other members of the Executive Committee. But what I will say is broadly the opinion of the majority.

Briefly put, we welcome the new Government. However dishonest the individual Ministers may be, however bad may be their ideological motivations, we believe that, in its overall effects, this Government may, by its own compound nature, be compelled to move the country in a more libertarian direction. We understand the dejection of our conservative friends. These regard the Coalition as a disaster. They were hoping for a Conservative Government led by conservatives. Instead, they have a coalition government that will not withdraw from the European Union, will be easily as politically correct as Labour, and that will push forward the Green agenda regardless of cost and regardless of the scientific evidence. This seems a fair assessment of how our new masters at least want to behave. Nevertheless, we believe that the Coalition – assuming it can hold together – is immeasurably an improvement on the Blair and Brown Governments that went before it, and that it may even be rather good. We may find much that is objectionable, and we have no doubt that there will be more. But there is no point in denying that we are quietly pleased.

The worst possible outcome of the general election would have been another Labour majority. The Blair and Brown Governments had created a police state at home, and had involved us abroad in at least three wars of military aggression. They had on their hands the blood of perhaps a million innocents. That had turned the police and most of the administration into arms of the Labour Party. They had doubled, or tripled, or quadrupled, the national debt – no one seems to be quite sure by how much, but the debt has undoubtedly exploded. Though lavishing huge taxpayer subsidies on the Celtic nations, they were far advanced to destroying England as any kind of recognisable nation. Their commitment to the European Union was solely for a procedural device for ruling by decree. They had abolished habeas corpus and the protections against double jeopardy. They were working to abolish trial by jury. It is impossible to find any other government in British – or, before then, in English – history that had destroyed so comprehensively and so deliberately in so short a time. When I saw that Labour had lost its majority, I rejoiced. When I thought it might cling to power in some coalition of the losers, I trembled. When Gordon Brown finally resigned, I opened a bottle of champagne

Nor, however, would we have welcomed a Conservative majority. David Cameron is – unless constrained – an arrogant and untrustworthy creature. Our conservative friends may have expected much of him. Or they may have thought they could extract much from him. But they were always deluding themselves. We knew, from the way he slithered out of his promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, that he had no intention of looking at British Membership of the European Union. We knew that he would never lift a finger against coercive multiculturalism, and that he would drive on the Green agenda. In these respects, a Conservative Government would have been no different in its actions – rhetoric being another matter – than the actual Coalition Government will be.

From our point of view, indeed, a Conservative majority would have been far worse than the Coalition. The Conservatives had promised to roll back much of the Labour police state. They promised to scrap identity cards and the national identity register. They promised to look at the thousands of new criminal offences created since 1997, and to restore many of the procedural rights taken away by Labour. We always regarded these promises as worthless. Conservatives – Thatcherite or Cameronian – have never had much commitment to civil liberties. They know something about economics, and have some regard for the national interest. But they have never been enthusiastic about substantive freedom and its procedural safeguards. If they denounce police states, it is usually because they think the wrong people are in control of them. The Labour police state, after all, was built on foundations laid down by the preceding Conservative Governments. The commitments on civil liberties were simply intended as bargaining counters between Mr Cameron and his traditionalist wing. He would deny his traditionalists any shift in European policy. He would buy them off by shelving the abolition of identity cards, and by cancelling any efforts to bring the police and bureaucracy back under the rule of law.

And an outright Conservative win would have strengthened Mr Cameron’s position within the Party, and the position of all the worthless young men and women who had attached themselves to him. They would have regarded this as a mandate for their own remodelling of the Conservative Party. The purges and centralised control that began when Mr Cameron took over would have been carried ruthlessly forward.

But, thanks to his general dishonesty and to the particular incompetence of his election campaign, Mr Cameron did not get his majority. Instead of being carried in shoulder high, he and his friends were forced to crawl naked on their bellies into Downing Street. He was forced to enter a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. These, to be sure, are not as liberal or democratic as they like to claim. Their belief in liberty is often little more than political correctness. Many of them are state socialists. Their cooperation with the Brown Government to deny us our promised referendum on the European Constitution shows what they think of voting when its result might not go their own way. No one can blame them for threatening Mr Cameron that they would go into coalition with Labour if he did not give them what they wanted. But we can doubt the sanity and goodness of those who continue regretting that there was no “progressive” coalition – a coalition, that is, with tyrants and murderers. Even so, the Coalition Government has now been formed; and there is some chance that it may compel each party to behave better than either might have by itself.

There probably will now be a considerable rolling back of the Labour police state. Identity cards and the national identity register will almost certainly go. We do not believe that the extension of detention without charge will be formally reversed. But we do believe that it will be surrounded with safeguards that effectively reverse it. We hope it will be the same with juryless trials and the DNA database, and with police powers in general. There will be at least a limited return to freedom of speech as it was enjoyed before 1997, and of the right to peaceful protest, and of security of our homes from arbitrary searches and seizures. As said, we never believed any of the Conservative assurances about civil liberties. But the Liberal Democrats will demand their full implementation – plus a little more. They will demand this to settle their own consciences for supporting cuts in government spending.

Turning to the economy, here as well the Coalition may do good work. The Labour Ministers never understood economics. They were fundamentally Marxists in expensive suits. Intellectually, they never appreciated the nexus of individual choices that is market freedom as other than some aggregated box called “The Economy” into which they could dip as they pleased. What they described as their promotion of enterprise never went beyond trading favours with big business.

The Conservatives and many of the Liberal Democrats do seem to understand economics. They know that taxes and government spending are both too high, and that the objects of government spending are often malign. They believe not only that the current nature and scale of government activity is unaffordable, but also that it is immoral. They will deregulate.

Now, economics was always the Conservative strong point, and it may be thought that the Liberal Democrats have nothing of their own to offer. However, we in the Libertarian Alliance have never liked the Conservative approach to economic reform. Their tax cuts favoured the rich. Their deregulations turned those at the bottom into casualised serfs. Their privatisations turned state monopolies into income streams for their friends in big business. They were better in all these respects than Labour. But we are interested to see what the Liberal Democrats will now be able to contribute with their belief in raising tax thresholds for the poor at the expense of the rich, and their belief in mutual institutions to provide public services in place both of the State and of big business.

As for political reform, we hear the complaints of our conservative friends that the Constitution will be overthrown if the electoral system is changed, or if the lifetime of a Parliament is fixed. We are also astonished at these complaints. We are not about to suffer a revolution. We have already had a revolution. Since 1997, Labour has come close to destroying the whole constitutional settlement of this country as it emerged after 1688. However unwise or evil it may have been to do this, it has been done, and there is no going back to the old order. We need a thorough reform of our political institutions to safeguard such liberty as we retain, or such liberty as may be returned to us. We see nothing wrong with any of the changes so far suggested.

Our conservative friends defend the current electoral system as ensuring “strong government”. We know what they really mean. Their fantasy is that they can stage some coup within the Conservative Party and then get a majority in Parliament on about a quarter of the total possible vote. We are still waiting for them to take over the Conservative Party. While waiting, we have endured thirty one years of strong – and usually disastrously bad – government. If neither the Conservative not Labour Parties had got a majority since 1983, it is hard to see how this country would be worse off than it is. It might easily be better.

Another objection we hear to electoral reform is that it would put the Liberal Democrats permanently into government. This claim is based on the assumption that the three main parties would continue in being. In truth, all of these parties are diverse coalitions brought together by history and kept together by the iron logic of the first-past-the-post system. Give us some less random – or perhaps less biased – correlation of seats in Parliament to votes cast, and all these parities will be gradually pulled apart, and their parts may then be recombined into more natural groupings.

We will not comment on the proposed fixed term to the current Parliament, or on the enhanced majority needed to bring down the Coalition. We understand that these proposals extend to this Parliament alone. If they are found to be convenient, they may continue by statute or by convention. If not, they will not continue. But these are not libertarian issues.

In conclusion, the Libertarian Alliance wants more – much more – than all this. We want the full relegalisation of drugs. We want the right to keep and bear arms for self-defence. We want complete freedom of speech and association, and this includes the right of consenting adults to free expression of their sexuality. We want the removal of all corporate privilege from the rich and well-connected. We want the poor to be given free opportunity to make themselves independent of both state welfare and wage labour. We want taxes and government spending cut back to where they stood before the Great War – and that is only a beginning. We believe in freedom in the fullest sense. The Coalition will not come close to giving us what we want.

Nevertheless, we do welcome what we have so far seen of the Coalition. Its nature may force both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to do better than either would have done given complete freedom. The Conservatives may be compelled to deliver on their civil liberties promises. The Liberal Democrats may be forced to think seriously about their mutualist leanings now that their preferred state socialist option is off the table. The British electorate is not a single creature. It is only a singular noun that describes several dozen million individuals and a system that allocates votes to seats almost randomly. But we can understand those who claim that the British people, in all their wisdom, have stood up at last and given themselves the very best government that was on offer.

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

More crime


David Davis

More crime is a result of socialism, and is planned as part of the “project”. Socialism needs crime for self-validation. It is the initial objective of socialism, to raise crime levels, especially in civilised pluralist democratic and classical liberal polities.

The most proximal reason for any crime is the individual voluntary decision to commit it. The objective of it is the abatement of the property-rights of another person. This is why socialism is cool about crime, cool about the causes of crime.

The purpose of this tactic is to get people to agree to things like “putting more police on the beat”. It is to accustom societies to the presence of “more police”, more “types of police” (an interesting one, this) and to having more police “carrying arms”, coupled with an increasingly disarmed population. Except for the classes of persons designated officially as “criminals”, who may arm to the teeth without any restriction.

The purpose of more police is so that they can do more policing. More policing means that more people will be subject to the attentions of the police for more time. This is entirely in tune with the notion that people are essentially bad, and need policing. The logical conclusion is that in time, we shall all either be police , or else criminals.

We should all vote for the next party that says “we will put fewer police on the beat, for we know that you will all then behave as better people”.

Very interesting…


Michael Winning

…That this very conservative old-Labour man should at last be asked to contribute, which is what that Blair fella wanted but got slapped down.

I don’t go for “czars”, me. But if those buggrs down south are tring to pretend that they are trying to pretend that they care, then I guess they could do worse. Field is a good MP up here in Birkenhead and the chaps like him because he is an honest fella.

Friday night is Earth night


David Davis

It should be a source of abiding relief, to us, that we as a species have only ever seen little volcanoes.

Only a tiny one, planet not very affected.

The Brown bugger’s down, but…


David Davis

This is a rather threatening small cloud on the horizon.

Good poem about Gordon


Michale Wining

It gives me no pleasure to say, Gordon Brown,
“As Prime Minister’s go, you were shittest in town!”
It’s hard to recall whether anyone faster,
Could’ve turned our great country into a disaster.

Not elected to office was Gordon, but plucked,
From a short-list of one – that’s the reason we’re fucked!
With democracy held in contempt from the start
Gordon, unchecked, could tear Britain apart.

The man who dared not in the voters put trust,
told us “Never again will our country go bust”!
But he set out at once on a mission of doom,
wasting no time at all in abolishing boom.

Bent as he was upon wrecking the nation,
The plebiscite promise was quickly forsaken.
Our hard-won and cherished self-determination
Was swapped for a zone in the New Federation.

Nothing’s been spared from his wanton destroyment:
You voted for Labour, you got unemployment!
Indebted forever – your future’s been sold
at a knock-down price (just like Brown gets for gold)

So with all we once had, flushed away down the pan,
We held our breath, waiting to hear Gordon’s plan:
“DNA-che’ yer wains! CRB-che’ yer gran!
Dinnae say tha’ ye’r white, or ye’r straigh’ or a man!”

“Ah ken juist hoo tae handle th’ public purse!
Ye’r jammy tae huv me! th’ Tories ur worse!
Tax-payer’s homes whiles git repossessed!
Ah kip weel ilk nicht! Dinnae s’pose a’m depressed”!

“Among th’ G20 th’ view’s widely shared
That cheers tae mah leadership Earth haes bin spared
Fae certain American sub-prime catastrophe!
Mind? Ah kin cure cyclical atrophy!”

England’s been purged of your mental delusions.
You were the problem, pal, not the “sul-yoo-shun”.
Good riddance, wrecking-ball “Son of the Manse”!
Now that you’re gone, we might stand half a chance…

I saw it at Guiod’s place here.

BBC News – Full Text: Conservative-Lib Dem deal


Sean Gabb

This all looks very promising.

10. Civil liberties

The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.

This will include:

  • A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.
  • The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.
  • Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.
  • The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.
  • Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.
  • The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.
  • The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.
  • The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.
  • Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.
  • Further regulation of CCTV.
  • Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.
  • A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.
  • BBC News – Full Text: Conservative-Lib Dem deal

    In Memoriam


    In honour of Gordon Brown’s outstanding contribution to the life of the nation, I’ve decided that in future posts, I will try to refer to the Labour Party as the Bigot Party.

    Since one should always be aware of the important distinctions to be made between, for instance, Old Labour and New Labour, I shall likewise try to remember to refer to Old Bigots and New Bigots.

    A fitting tribute, I hope you’ll agree.

    A coalition of the unwilling, heading for its undoing, pursued by bears


    David Davis

    James Delingpole dissects the future of the torylibs.

    Morning Has Broken


    William Hague as Foreign Secretary? Yuk! He was the worst ever Tory Leader apart from Churchill and Cameron. However, I suppose he’ll enjoy visiting all those foreign parts.

    A Time for Unity


    Sean Gabb

    I will begin spewing venom at our new rulers tomorrow morning. For the moment, I will observe a dignified silence.

    Cameron Year-Zero caption competition


    David Davis