Loan Sharking: A Brief Defence
By Sean Gabb
The British Government has announced it will cap the rates of interest on the loans people take out to tide them over till payday. It will amend the current Financial Services Bill to give the planned Financial Conduct Authority the power to limit charges.
Now, some of the interest rates charged do look astonishing. The loan companies that advertise on Channel Five all charge about 2,000 per cent. Others are said to charge as much as 4,000 per cent. The last time I borrowed money, I paid five per cent. I avoid going into debt on my credit cards, because of the 22 per cent charged on them. It may seem heartless to defend the right to charge very high interest rates – especially as these are charged to the very poor, who then have trouble getting out of debt. However, limiting the rate of interest they can be charged is not the way to help the poor. Let me explain. Continue reading
by David McDonagh
On Monday of this week, radio 4 had a special three-hour programme on the welfare state that was worth heeding. We were told that seventy years ago William Beveridge wrote a report that was to lay the foundations for the welfare state. He identified the Five Giants that society needed to slay: Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. Using archive from the time, Jane Garvey and Julian Worricker took us back to that extraordinary moment in wartime Britain that has proved so pivotal to the shape of the welfare state today. Continue reading
by Dick Puddlecote
Cameron’s Minimum Alcohol Pricing Car Crash So the rumours were true, today was the day the government announced it was going all-in on minimum alcohol pricing.
It has been reported that this is despite stiff opposition from many areas in Westminster, including the cabinet itself. In fact, it would appear that this policy is being forced on us simply because David Cameron is obsessed with it. Continue reading
I accidentally typed that (in the title) on someone’s facebook earlier today. Perhaps Ian B might appreciate the birth of a new word to describe, er….
Indeed, another internal spoonerism might be “NamscoGrabiaFartzis”.
by Dick Puddlecote
Cannabis Users: Stop With The Smug, Already When viewing articles about smoking – particularly at the Guardian, funnily enough – I’ve always found it quite baffling to see some of the most vitriolic anti-smoking commenters are avid fans of cannabis. Continue reading
by Anna Raccoon
‘Thackerism’™ and the ‘Long March’.
Rudi Dutschke coined the phrase ‘Der lange Marsch durch die Institutionen’ – ‘The Long Walk through the Institutions’ to describe his desired outcome of governmental institutions being infiltrated by those who shared his belief in Marxism and would be in a position to influence future generations; eventually you would end up with a society where all ‘thought’ was uniformly Marxist. Continue reading
by Robert Henderson
An unnamed (because they did not want the children identified) Rotherham couple experienced in fostering have had three of their charges peremptorily removed by Rotherham social services Continue reading
Until recently, one of the shortcomings of the market in recorded music was that a buyer could be led into believing that the great composers were the only composers of their age. Of course, Beethoven wasn’t the only composer in Vienna during the first twenty years of the nineteenth symphony. He was the head of one school among several, and his own students were often men of reputation. Until recently, though, men like Ferdinand Ries were often just names. This is a pity. He’s no Beethoven, but his works are generally graceful and well-constructed. Here is the first movement of his Piano Concerto No.5 in D, op.120.
State-Regulation of the British Press: So What?
By Sean Gabb
Published in The Libertarian Enterprise
25th November 2012
At the moment in England, our masters and their clients are discussing censorship of the newspaper press. After months of submissions, a government inquiry into newspaper conduct has finished, and its report will almost certainly call for what is called “a rule-based framework of regulation.” The surface argument is between those who want controls backed by the law, and those who want “voluntary self-regulation.” No one who matters, though, disputes that something must be done. Continue reading
Note: I feel sorry for the Sudeten Germans. They had lived there for a thousand years. Only a century before they were kicked out, Bohemia and Moravia had been largely German areas. Granted, most of the famous Germans from there were Germanised Czechs – eg, Stamitz, Benda, Vanhal, Krommer, et al. But the Germans have every reason to feel put out by the Benes Decrees.
However, I do like the Czechs. They have the most attractive culture in all Central Europe. Their music is a fine appendage to the German tradition, and has outlived it. Their films are a continual delight. I like even the dumpier parts of Prague, and have fond memories of visits to places like Olomouc and Stary Smokovec. For this reason, I think they should keep the Sudetenland.
And that’s as good a reason as any for taking personal sides in a foreign territorial dispute. SIG Continue reading
My friend, Richard Blake, has just reached 200,000 words in his latest novel. Only two more chapters to write, then he can be free of it.
by Roderick Long
Those Who Control the Past Control the Future
There’s a popular historical legend that goes like this: Once upon a time (for this is how stories of this kind should begin), back in the 19th century, the United States economy was almost completely unregulated and laissez-faire. But then there arose a movement to subject business to regulatory restraint in the interests of workers and consumers, a movement that culminated in the presidencies of Wilson and the two Roosevelts.
This story comes in both left-wing and right-wing versions, depending on whether the government is seen as heroically rescuing the poor and weak from the rapacious clutches of unrestrained corporate power, or as unfairly imposing burdensome socialistic fetters on peaceful and productive enterprise. But both versions agree on the central narrative: a century of laissez-faire, followed by a flurry of anti-business legislation. Continue reading
Despite the lapse of the 1695 Licensing Act, the “press” in Britain, although being called “free”, has enjoyed a large but nominal degree of freedom, limited by such ordinary and perfectly reasonable devices such as the libel laws, and so on.
Fraser Nelson of the Spectator wrote something apposite just now.
However, “la Trahaison des Clercs” has now finally got a jaw-grip into people’s ankles, and recent assaults on the doings of MPs, footballists, “famous actors” famous for being famous, have galvanized the legislature into wanting to “regulate”. I bet it’s for “social” reasons…as Enoch Powell once stated, putting the word “social” in front of another word would (on purpose) completely reverse that word’s meaning.
Perhaps we all ought on here to comment on what we think about the clear desire of this administration (but I guess it wouldn’t matter what political colour it was really) to “regulate” published speech.
by “Archbishop Cranmer”
Note: I’m a little disappointed the CofE didn’t take the plunge, and allow any of its ordained NuLab bureaucrats in dresses and lesbian wiccans to become bishops. It would have been the perfect excuse to bring forward my own conversion to Greek Orthodoxy. SIG Continue reading
by Richard Spencer
Note: I read Moonraker when I was a boy, and greatly enjoyed it. I then read all the Bond novels in quick succession, but found that diminishing returns set in after the third. Even when I was twelve, I found the claim – in Diamonds are Forever – that homosexuals can’t whistle a bit hard to believe. The only Bond film I’ve ever been able to watch more than once is the Roger Moore parody Live and Let Die, in which he was still playing Simon Templar. Richard has done a fine job on reviewing this latest instalment, but hasn’t persuaded me to wait for it to come out on DVD. SIG
PS – My friend Mr Blake wrote parts of Sword of Damascus in the same pub in St Margaret’s where Ian Fleming used to drink when working on Goldfinger! Continue reading
by Nathan Goodman
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when people around the world gather to remember those who have been murdered because of transphobia. This is an opportunity for all people concerned with liberty and justice to come together around an extremely important problem. Violence against transgender, or trans, people, particularly transgender women, is pervasive. According to a 2011 study by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 50% of LGBT individuals murdered in 2009 were trans women and 44% of LGBT individuals murdered in 2010 were trans women. Continue reading
by Rex Poulton
Are you aware of the following about the new (secretive) speed cameras ? See the item below
When speed cameras are widely known for failing disastrously in the purpose given them by an overbearing and dictatorial government, why are more types of camera being tried and installed?
We all know that speed does not cause accidents. Speed cameras do not pick up the inattentive, the drunken, those on drugs or the illegal immigrant drivers having no licence or insurance. And do not forget that 80% of road accidents occur at less than 20 miles per hour and 70% of accidents occur on urban roads.
As a mere 5% of main road traffic accidents are in any way speed related, why is Governmental fixation on speed control so manic ?
As a secretively employed and unmarked means of speed detection, isn’t this further proof of a burgeoning dictatorial police state where “We will catch you breaking the law no matter what it takes”. Isn’t it just to bring more stealth tax money into government coffers? That, and to remind us who is the boss?
And most importantly, funded ultimately by the motoring public, isn’t this most underhand secret criminalisation of drivers an illegitimate use of our tax money?
You may want to watch out for these rather sneaky new speed cameras. Two are already in operation on the A52 dual carriageway into Nottingham (I’m told), see attached photograph, and six further cameras became operational on the A1 between Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire and Oakham, Rutland on Monday 22nd October 2012. Take care.
by Stephan Kinsella
Is English Common Law Libertarian?
In a fascinating blogpost, Michael McConkey asks Is English Common Law Libertarian? Many libertarians tend to view the common law as being quasi- or proto-libertarian. McConkey argues, relying largely on Harold Berman’s classic Law and Revolution, II: The Impact of the Protestant Reformations on the Western Legal Tradition (v. 2), that, Continue reading
by Dick Puddlecote
Don’t Mention Religion! I understand that it’s usually considered inadvisable to discuss religion, but on a day like this … *
Long-standing readers will know that my respect for state education is pretty low. I’ve written extensively – from experience – about how poor some of its priorities appear to be. I’m not going to bore you again, just go click the education tag for back story. Continue reading
Review of “Back to Blood” by Tom Wolfe
“Miami is the only city in the world, as far as I can tell—in the world—whose population is more than fifty percent recent immigrants… recent immigrants, immigrants from over the past fifty years… and that’s a hell of a thing, when you think about it. So what does that give you? It gives you—I was talking to a woman about this the other day, a Haitian lady, and she says to me, ‘Dio, if you really want to understand Miami, you got to realize one thing first of all. In Miami, everybody hates everybody.’”
. . .
try mixing the white, the black, the brown, and the yellow in a place like this! It wouldn’t last one hour! It would explode! Nothing left but blood and sexual debris—
. . .
“You will have a picture of mankind with all the rules removed. You will see Man’s behavior at the level of bonobos and baboons. And that’s where Man is headed! You will see the future out here in the middle of nowhere! You will have an extraordinary preview of the looming un-human, thoroughly animal, fate of Man!” Continue reading