Monthly Archives: May 2012

Aliança-Libertária caption competition, no-666

I Don’t Think the Last Diamond Jubilee was this Tacky

The Battle for the Cato Institute | Politics & Personalities | Washingtonian

The Battle for the Cato Institute

Charles Koch and Ed Crane were once allies in the libertarian movement. Now the former friends are facing off in a fight for control of Cato, the think tank they founded together 35 years ago. By Luke Mullins

Billionaire Charles Koch (left) has emerged as a champion of the Tea Party, while Ed Crane has remained a strict libertarian. Illustration by Steve Brodner.

Ed Crane lumbered into Capitol Hill’s Christ Church on a rainy morning in October 2011. He walked the creaky floors in the 19th-century nave and found a seat in the paint-chipped pews. Mourners crowded the interior as the choir began singing.

Continue reading

Everything You Might Have Wanted to Know about the Jubilee

Thoughts on the Diamond Jubilee

Thoughts on the Diamond Jubilee:
Sixty Years a Rubber Stamp
By Sean Gabb

Those of us who pay attention to such things will have noticed a difference between the BBC coverage of the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and of the present Diamond Jubilee. Ten years ago, the coverage was adequate, though reluctant and even a little stiff. This time, it has been gushing and completely uncritical. There are various possible reasons for my observation. The first is that I was mistaken then and am mistaken now. I do not think this is the case, but feel obliged to mention it. The second is that Golden Jubilees are rare events, and Diamond Jubilees very rare events, and that extreme rarity justifies a setting aside of republican scruples. The third is that the BBC was taken by surprise in 2002 by the scale of public enthusiasm, and does not wish to be caught out again. The fourth is that, while not particularly conservative on main issues, we do now have a Conservative Government, and this is headed by a cousin of Her Majesty. There may be many other reasons. Continue reading

Let us use our power and be thankful

David Davis

I just passed by my facebook page a minute ago, to see how the flowers are growing.

Here’s a picture I used a little time ago. Even though the GreeNazis are beaten and gasping in their horror and ire, they will always come back. LIke weeds. They will never say sorry and they will never give up. This is the last serious chance that leftoNazis have to destroy liberal civilisation, and they strive and strive hard. If they bugger it up this time, they are f***ed, for good. Because once everybody’s cottoned on to the fact that they were “avvin-us-fer-a-laff”, they are dead.


So Long as Government Exists, a Governing Class is Inevitable

by Kevin Carson

It was inevitable, argued English liberal Oliver Brett in his 1921 work A Defence of Liberty, that so-called “state socialism” would become simply another class society — this time with the state bureaucracy in the position of privilege. “So long as Government exists at all” — so went his brilliant quip on the principle — “a governing class is inevitable.” Just as everyone who attended Eton — regardless of their class of origin or what rustic access they originally spoke — “bore the stamp of Eton,” everyone who exercises state power bears the stamp of that power. Government molds everyone who wields its authority into a governing type. Continue reading

Mike Gogulski and the Citizens of Nowhere

by James Tuttle

Note: I met Mike in Slovakia in 2008, and look forward to seeing him again every year. His principled stand isn’t one I feel inclined to imitate. However, it is very much to be admired. SIG Continue reading

Another New Surveillance Law (2012), by Sean Gabb

Another Surveillance Law:
One More Step towards the Big Brother State
By Sean Gabb
(Published in The Barrister, May 2012)

At the beginning of April 2012, the BBC and a couple of newspapers reported that the British Government was considering a new surveillance law. This would allow it to monitor the telephone calls, text messages, e-mails and website visits of everyone in the United Kingdom. There was a flurry of debate about civil rights and the need to protect us all against terrorists. There was a side argument between those who said the law was required by the European Union, and those who said it would be in breach of European Union law. Since then, the various debates have gone quiet. Possibly, the Ministers have decided to drop the matter. More likely, the initial leak was to soften us up for something less ambitious to be announced in the Queen’s Speech. The Ministers will say they have “listened” to our concerns – and will use the lesser measure they had in mind all the time as a precedent for moving to the full measure in later stages. This being so, whether greater or lesser, another step will have been taken to a Big Brother police state. Continue reading

Keep the Gravy Train Coming?

D. J. Webb

I’m a great supporter of lower taxation, and so the report released on Sunday evening by the 2020 Tax Commission, supported by the Taxpayers’ Alliance under the chairmanship of Allister Heath, attracted my attention. Of course, as a libertarian, I would prefer to see the state spend around one-third of GDP, as recommended in the report, which would be an improvement on the current level of around 50%. But the report struck me as incredibly unambitious. Why should the state even spend as much as one-third of GDP? In Hong Kong, the figure is closer to one-fifth. The conclusions of this report are therefore a long way from libertarianism, amounting to a proposal that would keep the gravy train coming for the bloated public sector. A glance at the image below shows that the proposals in this tax reform report are far from amounting to a genuine closing down of the public-sector sinecures. All the income streams indicated below are required to keep the state show on the road: Continue reading

Christianity and Homosexuality: The Textual Sources

Note: I republish this text as background matter to the long discussion that followed David Webb’s essay on homosexuality. I was also put in mind of the textual debate when Robert Henderson made emphatic claims about the meaning of Islam from his reading of the Koran in translation. Religious text are generally hard to understand in their details. SIG Continue reading

Liberals in a multicultural denialfest

by Robert Henderson

Note: This is an alternative view of the Rochdale sexual predation case to the one we published the other day by Yamin Zakaria. Probably, our readers are more likely to agree with it. Indeed, I agree with a lot of it.

Where the meaning of the Koran is concerned, however, I am more cautious. We know that undoubtedly sincere Christians have adopted interpretations of the first five books of the Old Testament which are at variance with the natural meaning of the text. Even where the New Testament is concerned, something as apparently obvious as the condemnations of homosexuality depend on the meaning of words like malakos and arsenokoites – words that do not appear to have had clear meanings until about a century after they were used in their specific context.

Over the past 1,300 years, Moslems appear to have adopted interpretations of the Koran and Hadith that are equally at variance. Understanding the “meaning” of any religious text requires more than a reading of its words in their plain sense – especially when the text has been translated from a radically foreign language. All we can say is that some present interpretations of Islam by Pakistanis resident in England sanction sexual predation against natives.

This is something which imams and believers in places like Rochdale need to address. We cannot say that “true” Islam promotes any of the things that Robert says it does. SIG Continue reading

Marriage: Politics vs. Society

by Thomas Knapp

The late William F. Buckley, Jr., stated the mission of his publication (National Review), and by implication the mission of his brand of political conservatism, thusly: “Standing athwart the tracks of history yelling stop.”

If we extend that analogy to other areas of political ideology, it’s reasonable to think of political progressives as firemen on a train rolling down those tracks toward Buckley and his compatriots, building up a head of steam to run right over their barricade and bust through pursuant to a theory of where those tracks must necessarily lead. Continue reading

Richard Blake: It’s That Time of Year Again!

612 AD.

Decadent, desperate Athens is the Roman Empire’s most vulnerable city.

Aelric – senator of the Roman Empire, fresh from a bloodbath in Egypt that may or may not be regarded in Constantinople as his fault- is forced to divert the Imperial galley to Athens for reasons the Emperor has neglected to share with him.

He finds a demoralized and corrupt provincial city threatened by an army rumoured to contain twenty million starving barbarians.

Not to mention an explosive religious dispute, an unexplained corpse, and hints of something worse than murder. Is he on a high level mission to save the Empire? Or has he been set up to fail? Or is the truth even worse than he can at first imagine?

He will have to call upon all his formidable intellect and lethal ingenuity to survive his enemies inside and outside the city walls . . .


‘Vivid characters, devious plotting and buckets of gore are enhanced by his unfamiliar choice of period. Nasty, fun and educational.’


‘He knows how to deliver a fast-paced story and his grasp of the period is impressively detailed’


‘Fascinating to read, very well written, an intriguing plot and I enjoyed it very much.’ 


‘A rollicking and raunchy read . . . Anyone who enjoys their history with large dollops of action, sex, intrigue and, above all, fun will absolutely love this novel.’

Historical Novels Review on THE TERROR OF CONSTANTINOPLE

‘Blake’s plotting is as brilliantly devious as the mind of his sardonic and very earthy hero. This is a story of villainy that reels you in from its prosaic opening through a series of death-defying thrills and spills.’

Lancashire Evening Post on THE SWORD OF DAMASCUS

Kevin Carson Awarded C4SS’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory

by James Tuttle

We congratulate Kevin Carson SIG

The Center for a Stateless Society has named Kevin Carson the inaugural holder of its Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory.

Carson, a C4SS senior fellow, is the author of three books—Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution—as well as C4SS research studies on topics including land ownership and intellectual property and articles in publications including The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. Studies in Mutualist Political Economy was the focus of a symposium in the Journal of Libertarian Studies.

The chair honors Karl Hess, who played a key role in fostering the alliance between libertarians and the New Left that briefly flourished in the 1960s. Hess’s writings on topics ranging from appropriate technology to the reconfiguration of the political spectrum have helped to shape the left-libertarian project to which the Center is committed.

“Kevin Carson is one of the most creative and influential thinkers on the contemporary anarchist and libertarian scene,” said C4SS board chair Sheldon Richman. “I can’t think of a better occupant for this chair.”

“Being able to appoint Carson to this chair is an honor for the Center for a Stateless Society,” said Center director Brad Spangler. “We’re proud of him, and we believe this appointment will highlight the importance of his work to all aspects of the freedom movement.”

The Failings of the Crown Prosecution Service: A Barrister Writes

by Howard R. Gray

Note: This is a comment on a thread about the defects of the Crown Prosecution Service, but is worth posting in its own right.SIG

Two nuggets of experience about the CPS rather set the scene for what is happening. These took place years ago in the first year or so of the service when the majority of the lawyers were extraordinarily green and frankly of dubious competence in some quarters. I was defending a case when I was given an offer by the prosecution before lunch and it was then summarily withdrawn after lunch upon instructions from the prosecution lawyers “boss”. Continue reading

Rochdale Sex Crimes – Are they a product of the Pakistani Ghetto or Liberalism?

by Yamin Zakaria

Note: This is a point of view seldom encountered in our circles. Without necessarily agreeing with it, I think it worth publishing. SIG

Rochdale Sex Crimes – Are they a product of the Pakistani Ghetto or Liberalism? Continue reading

America the Victimised!

Heartwarming Poster

Advertising Standards Authority Persecution

by Sean Gabb

Archbishop Cranmer says that he is being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority for carrying the advertisement shown below. I thought the ASA was a private body with jurisdiction only over its own members. However, we do live in a country where the laws have no stability, and in which formally private bodies are increasingly given policing and enforcement powers.

The Libertarian Alliance takes no corporate view on homosexual marriage. But we do believe in freedom of speech. So here is the advertisement in question.


Blast from the Past: Sean Gabb Speech to the Conservatives

Note: I was almost shouted down after this speech by the Party “realists.” Three years on, and who was right? SIG

Text of a Speech to Conservative Future,
Given in The Old Star Public House, Westminster,
Monday the 16th February 2009
by Sean Gabb

I want to begin by praising your courage in having me here tonight to speak to you. I am the Director of an organisation that tried hard during the 1980s to take over the youth movement of the Conservative Party. The Libertarian Alliance provided a home and other support for Marc-Henri Glendenning, David Hoile and Douglas Smith, among others, when it looked as if libertarians might do the same to the Conservative Party as the Trotskyites nearly did to the Labour Party. Sadly, our efforts failed. Since then, the Conservative Party has become more watchful of people like us. It has also, I must say, made itself progressively less worth trying to take over. Continue reading

No 16-year-old in an English gumment school could design this today

David Davis

(A reheated post from the Libertertarian Alliance Blog in 2007.)

This is Ribblehead Viaduct, in the middle of nowhere on the Settle and Carlisle line, which British Rail (whatever that was) tried to close 25 years ago. It is now one of the busiest lines in the UK.

I didn’t shoot this picture, but tried there to get one like it a few days ago on my phone. It was not very good, so I borrowed this one from wikipedia. Brian would call me a “billion monkey” I guess.

The viaduct, and the scenery in which it stands, symbolises lots to me about the North, about how far down we have come in the degree of education out State now deigns to “give” children, and how future projects like this will probably be driven by Chinese and Indian engineers. I do not mind that one bit, from the point of view of the human race as a whole; nevertheless, it will be sad that through the depradations of socialism, which the British cannot seem to find in their hearts the guts to cast out, we will lose our place in the future as the drivers of such projects.

But our record can still stand proudly.

Dr Sean Gabb:

Over a year!

Originally posted on The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG:

by Sean Gabb
I have just heard about the reported death of Osama bin Laden. I believe the Americans had been watching him for several months in Pakistan. I know that words like arrest and trial seem horribly dated nowadays. Even so, to have arrested the man would at least have allowed the world to know if it was Osama bin Laden who had been found. To have given him a trial would have let us know if he was guilty of the offences alleged against him, and that there was nothing embarrassing about the nature of his dealings with western governments. As it was, a house appears to have been raided, and the main occupant was shot twice through the head. His body was then dumped at sea. We shall never know if this was indeed Osama bin Laden, or about the nature of his guilt.
I might suggest that the …

View original 240 more words

Suppose this were advertising English Workers?

I believe that people should have the right to discriminate in any way and on any grounds that take their fancy. However, if this poster had been advertising English workers as superior to foreigners, the place where I saw it would long since have been raided by two vanloads of sweating, self-righteous plod. Because it implies that our own people are shiftless and bone idle, the authorities don’t care. Anyone who believes the anti-discrimination laws are for any other purpose than oppressing us need only look at this. SIG

What’s Wrong with Libertarianism? (2012), by J.C. Lester

What’s Wrong with ‘What’s Wrong with Libertarianism’:
A Reply to Jeffrey Friedman
J. C. Lester

Philosophical Notes No. 85

ISBN: 9781856376532
ISSN 0267-7091 (print)
ISSN 2042-2768 (online)

An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance,
Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6HL

© 2012: Libertarian Alliance; J.C. Lester

J. C. Lester is a Senior Fellow with the Libertarian Alliance.
He is a libertarian philosopher and author of Arguments for Liberty: a Libertarian Miscellany (University of Buckingham Press, 2011)
and Escape from Leviathan: Libertarianism Without Justificationism, paperback (University of Buckingham Press, 2012).
His magnum opus is A Dictionary of Anti-Politics: Liberty Expounded and Defended (forthcoming).


Vallentyne and Zwolinski on “Libertarianism” (2012), by J.C. Lester

Vallentyne and Zwolinski on “Libertarianism”:
Some Philosophical Responses to Their Encyclopedia Entries
J. C. Lester

Philosophical Notes No. 84

ISBN: 9781856376518
ISSN 0267-7091 (print)

ISSN 2042-2768 (online)

An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance,
Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6HL

© 2012: Libertarian Alliance; J.C. Lester

J. C. Lester is a Senior Fellow with the Libertarian Alliance.
He is a libertarian philosopher and author of Arguments for Liberty: a Libertarian Miscellany (University of Buckingham Press, 2011)
and Escape from Leviathan: Libertarianism Without Justificationism, paperback (University of Buckingham Press, 2012).
His magnum opus is A Dictionary of Anti-Politics: Liberty Expounded and Defended (forthcoming).


The Myth of the Closed Mind: a book by Ray Scott Percival.

by David McDonagh

Here is a good book on our biased, erring minds and our dire need to spot, and thus to eliminate, our errors. It might even become a classic.

The Myth of the Closed Mind: a book by Ray Scott Percival.

This book rightly repudiates the idea of irrationality, as did a few forerunners like  The Myth of Irrationality (1993) John McCrone and The Passions (1976) Robert C. Solomon, to cite but two earlier books that suggested a similar thesis. However, this latest book is more cogent and consistent than those two earlier books.  Continue reading

How surprising is that, then

David Davis

It says in the Daily Mail collectivist-mob-justice-news-sheet  that the Euro’s predicted flaws and inconsistencies had to be shoved under the carpet, even before 1997, when the forthcoming project was being trumpeted. And it’s the German government that’s been forced to “reveal secret papers” about it.

One wonders if Her Majesty’s Government would have been so forthcoming in a similar situation. Probably some excuse would have been proferred about “national security” or “not deemed to be in the public interest”, and some goon would have been wheeled out of the torture-management-office to spout on the Wireless Tele-vision about “we’re in Europe for the Long Haul, not to stand on the sidelines but be at the heart of positively-focussed decision-making going forward” etc.

The Policeman’s Your Friend — As Long As He Can Afford to Be

Note: American pigs, so far as I can tell, have always been more piggish than the English pigs. But our own have become much more brutal and trigger-happy over the past few decades. For example, Mark Duggan may have been a nasty creature no one should have had as a neighbour. That didn’t give the pigs the right to drag him unarmed from a mini-cab and “execute” him on the tarmac. Then there was the electrician from Brazil and that man in East London who was shot to death while in possession of a chair leg. Oh, and there was the newspaper seller they accidentally beat to death at a demonstration the other year. I don’t suppose anyone remembers Stephen Waldorf and Cherry Groce (approx. spelling)?

Lately, of course, they have begun to enforce politically correct laws and policies with the same enthusiasm as the religious police in Iran. Even otherwise, there is systematic persecution of airgunners, and of real shooters before victim disarmament became total, and the harassment of motorists.

These people are not some thin blue line who keep us from being murdered in our beds. They are a ruling class militia recruited from the dregs of society, who, in exchange for keeping the rest of us in a continual state of low-level anxiety, are allowed to enrich themselves through bribe-taking and petty theft, and to entertain themselves with casual violence against unfashionable ethnic minorities and the white working classes.

I say abolish them, and replace them with armed citizen militias.

I don’t think our esteemed Blogmaster would disagree. SIG Continue reading

If politics was a dog

by Richard North

It is easy to be wise after the event, as is Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked. But we were right before the event, and have been consistently so.

But you can give O’Neill his moment of glory, letting him say exactly what we have said so many times, as he acquaints us with “further proof” that the political class inhabits a different moral universe to normal human beings. Continue reading

The Source of Structural Inequality

by David D’Amato

Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman reflects (“Plutocracy, Paralysis, Perplexity,” New York Times, May 3) on the correlation between “rising inequality” and “the Lesser Depression we’re now living through.” To Krugman and his ilk, present conditions demand “strong action” from the state. Continue reading


Note: Because this has attracted nearly a hundred comments, and is one of our most active threads, we have decided to stick it back to the front page. SIG

by D.J. Webb


Homosexuality is in many ways an awkward subject to write about. In the old days, such things were not mentioned in polite conversation. Even today, the continual discussion of sexual orientation can grate: surely such things are meant to be intimate and private? However, conservatives do not set the tone of public debate, and for good or ill homosexuality has become a high-profile topic of political discussion. Continue reading

“There is a fault: do not adjust your set”

David Davis

This story seems to have appeared twice, and is attracting comments in two different places. I am trying to figure out how to move one set of comments to the other story and delete one whole copy of the story, as it makes us look like a plie of internet-tyros.

This is never good in the world of libertarianism, where everybody from the age of five is a nettie-wizard who drinks coffee all night and brings down governments with a click of a mouse, and knows about “Linux” and “Red Hat” (whatever those things might be.)

Does anybody know how I could do that? I have rotating squads of chimpanzees lying upside down in the bowels of the nissen hut, with screwdrivers and soldering irons, gasping for air. But they don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Any help would be appreciated.

Is The Crown Prosecution Service Using Racist Bigotry To Foment Hate, and to Undermine Common Law?

Note:This is a duplicate posting. Because there are two comments attached, we can’t take it down. But we have removed the duplicate of the article. You can find it just above this one on the main page.

Apologies from me on this. SIG

Is The Crown Prosecution Service Using Racist Bigotry To Foment Hate, and to Undermine Common Law?

Note:  I don’t know who Tony Shell is. But this is a most     interesting analysis of how our laws and their enforcement have been     made into instruments of politically correct tyranny. SIG

Is The Crown Prosecution Service Using Racist Bigotry To Foment Hate, and to Undermine Common Law?
Tony Shell

A False and Racist CPS Narrative

Research published by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 2003, and subsequently used in the preparation of major policy and procedure guidelines for the Criminal Justice System (CJS), incorporated the lie that it is native English people who commit all racist or religious hate crime: 1  The CPS chose to give credence to such jaw-dropping stupidity, despite the fact it’s own analysis of prosecution case-files (of “racially aggravated” offences) emphatically contradicted such a perverse opinion. 2 Continue reading

Private Eye, 11th September 1970: Nothing Changes, Except for the Worse!

 Note: I am presently trying to sell my semi-complete run of Private Eye between 1979 and 2005. I’m having little success. But I have been nudged into looking again at some of the very early issues that I found in a cupboard when I was at school.

They make for a depressing read. With a few exceptions, none of the villains named in the old issues ever came to a bad end. Instead, he continued lying and defrauding his way to the grave. Everything identified back then as a problem has got steadily worse.

Here is a set of pieces by Auberon Waugh, just as he was coming into his prime. At the time, I recall his vicious contempt for the Heath Government was not thought entirely reputable journalism. Looking back, with the hindsight of 40-odd years, at the multiple catastophe that Government was, his attacks seem almost gentle. I don’t think anyone believes nowadays that politicians do other than lie or prevaricate all the time.

I have included a few notes in square brackets for those who might not know or recall some of the nicknames or references. SIG Continue reading

Who Needs Drugs? (This only works for me when I have my spectacles on)

The Police are your friends

David Davis

The f*****g Merseyside Police have got nothing better to do, yesterday and today. I spotted them hiding in an ATV (an “all-terror-vehicle”, which is to say: a white hatchback with blue and yellow squares down its side) at the junction of Sefton St and Scarisbrick new Rd last night, and also this morning when I turned in.

I was immediately hauled in, a few seconds later, outside my house, and given what is called a “fixed penalty notice” for £60, for “not wearing a seat belt.” It did take quite some time. The wind was cold, I was wearing only a shirt and I was freezing to death, but I declined  the little Police-girl’s invitation to “step into the car please”. Also I wanted my neighbours to view what was happening. And you don’t know what they have there in their ATVs, these people.

It’s hard to know how to begin to explain, in particular to these eyeless goons “following orders”, that one has NOT worn a seat belt on principle since it became compulsory on 1st Jan 1993. It probably would not do any good anyway: so, why is that then?

Because the enraged British masses are unlikely to rise in anger at my subsequent exemplary punishment, and carry me triumphantly from the torture-house, my shackles having been smashed with the sledge-mauls and stihl-saws of 100,000 righteous white-van-men, trashing the state-machinery in their victorious progress through the ministry-malls of the guilty.

Interestingly, all sorts of details were asked for: like (1) Is this your car? (2) Where do you live? (ans: here,) (3) What was the purpose of your journey? (4) How old are you? (5) What is the nature of your business and what is the vehicle used for (please list…) (6) Have you had a fixed penalty notice before? (I suppose that’s to track returning clients for modifying the marketing…) (7) Does your partner live with you and why is the vehilce registered to her?

The little Police-girl then went online to the great-Gestapo-database-in-the-sky, to check that the car’s papers were in order (they are) via some sort of monkey-house-control-room-cum-torture-chamber, wherein I could hear all the various conversations and barked codewords of strange unknown droids doing identical things to other miserable people.

You see, it’s not even worth whingeing to friends, neighbours or (most of all) my dear wife. Everybody has been so conditioned by the Big-Brother-State apparatus that my non-wearing of a belt will just be regarded as a stupid pointless libertarian affectation, and will be “my own fault”. My wife especially will loudly publish the list of all my (very very many other non-liberty-related) faults to me, in front of my sons, no word allowed in edgeways, So I shan’t even tell her. It’s rather tragic really.

Was it the Jews’ own faults that they tried to hysterically protest at the doors of the gas-chambers, realising what these finally were? Should they have gone in more docilely? I truly fear, I really do, for the future of liberty in Britain when one has got to the point that it’s not worth making even a gesture against tyranny.

Paging Dr. Sous

by Thomas Knapp

Over the course of the last decade or so, “western democracies” have put Stalin’s Russia, Saddam’s Iraq, even Orwell’s fictional Oceania to shame when it comes to constant monitoring of people’s daily lives. Continue reading

House of Lords “reform”…and some sound suggestions following yesterday’s post

David Davis

The first three comments on our tract of yesterday, just below this post and also here, were sufficuently constructive that I thought they should receive full post status in one piece, unedited. and,I must add that this is _not_ a rather thin excuse to keep promoting IanB’s perennially hyper-sensible and humorous thoughts up to “writer” level instead of regular commentator…..

Ian B | 1 May, 2012 at 8:11 pm | | Edit

The best we can say about the old Lords was that it was better than the Commons. But that is like saying somebody is more charming than Gordon Brown. Faint praise indeed.

It has ancient roots, but those roots are feudal, and we no longer live in a feudal society, in which the majority of the populace are bonded to a Lord. There is no constitutional justification any more for a special place for “lords”. But then neither is there any justificaiton for the pretense that the Parliament is an advisory body to a monarch’s power, that the effective president of a republic-with-a-figurehead is just “first lord of the treasury”, or for any of the other antiquated paraphernalia of a system which is now entirely discredited. Rome went from sorta-representative republic to dictatorship to oriental despotism over several centuries; England has moved from fedual monarchy to reasonably functional imperial oligarchy to dictatorship-by-committee in less than four.

One constitutional reform would be to replace the “Lords” with a house appointed by lottery; half of it each year. Remuneration should be generous, since nobody can make a career of being there. It would offer a broad cross-section of the electorate, and should have the power of absolute veto of any rubbish the Commons throws at it. It might be objected that such randomly appointed commoners would be ignorant, stupid, lazy or mad, and this is true, but the proportions would certainly be lower than in the Commons.

Alternatively, something involving gunpowder.

Patricia | 1 May, 2012 at 9:00 pm | | Edit

Even if it were desirable to return to the old Lords we couldn’t. So much damage has been do it under nu-labour any idea of it as being a check against excessive and damaging government has long since disappeared.
I would be in favour of an elected chamber provided certain conditions were met. Candidates must be born here and have roots back for at least three generations. Equal weight should be given to commerce and industry; the church; public sector;the armed forces. Also, candidates should be at least forty years old.
Actually, this sounds like a good idea for a representative democracy.
Perhaps we should have one of those too.

Dr Sean Gabb | 1 May, 2012 at 11:00 pm | | Edit

I agree. The ancient constitution has been destroyed. I hoped its forms would last a little longer than they did. But, if I could never myself have destroyed them, I see no reason for trying to bring them back. Any constitutional reconstruction must begin with such safeguards on power as may presently be found convenient. I agree with Ian B that some kind of jury system would be helpful – though we do need to think of institutions that would have immediate popular legitimacy. I think of the various constitutions that failed in France between the destruction of the ancien regime and the Buonaparte coup.

House of Lords “Reform:” Traditional Britain Speaks out

The Traditional Britain Group strongly condemns the government’s planned “reforms” of the House of Lords. These plans are a betrayal of Britain’s history, heritage and constitutional traditions, and any party worthy of the name ‘Conservative’ would not even consider supporting them. Continue reading