National Sovereignty or EU Membership:
Which is the Least Bad Option?
A Lecture given in Bratislava on the 12th August 2014
to the Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS)
by Sean Gabb
The Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS) held its annual Sean Gabb Lecture on August 12, 2014 in Bratislava. Dr. Gabb is Director of the Libertarian Alliance and one of the leading advocates of individual liberty in Europe and also a renowned writer and author of several bestsellers, focusing on historical fiction (under a pen name Richard Blake).
The lecture was titled: National Sovereignty or EU Membership: Which is the Least Bad Option? Dr. Gabb introduced an inspiring alternative to the usual euroscepticism of British free-market advocates. They consider EU as a socialist, or at least a corporatist, project. They have focused on its liking for increased levels of tax and regulation, and its commitment to environmentalist untruths about global warming. There is, however, an argument against this hostility. The European Union is not, in itself, a liberal project. But libertarians have tended to assume that, free from rule by the European Union, the Member States would become more liberal. This may, in many cases, be an unrealistic assumption. According to Dr. Gabb, the threat to individual freedom coming from the local interest groups is often higher than the threat coming from Brussels.
It is a point of orthodoxy among British advocates of the free market that Britain should leave the European Union. This is an orthodoxy that, between 1999 and 2001, I did much to impose on the Conservative Party. It is, however, an orthodoxy that I no longer fully accept. I do accept that the freedom and prosperity I want for my country are incompatible with membership of the European Union. What I do not necessarily accept is that we should walk away at the earliest opportunity. There may, in the next few years, be a referendum on British membership of the European Union. If it happens, I am not sure how I shall vote in this. But, if it were to happen tomorrow, I know that I would vote against leaving. Continue reading
Note: One must always try to hear the other side. SIG
“Some people think I’m bonkers, but I just think I’m free” was the fifth event in LIFT’s Change for a Tenner! season, dedicated to exploring ideas around social and political change. We were introduced to eight campaigners who demand change through sometimes bonkers and often beautiful acts in The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick. Why do they do it? When will they stop? Are they making a point, or do they really believe that a change is going to come?
First up was Ellie Harrison who pointed out that today’s eccentricity is tomorrow’s common sense, and took us through her (really very sensible) campaign to Bring Back British Rail. The most eccentric idea on her menu was of politicians admitting they’d made a mistake. Wessex Regionalist Colin Bex wasn’t very silly either. A very English secessionist, he upped the non-nonsense by reasonably setting out a localist agenda in the name of autonomy and old school common sense. A lovely man with a fine beard, socked feet in sandals and lots of badges. You know the type. Probably a rambler. Continue reading
Me, Two Nudey Men, and a Theatre Full of Lefties
By Sean Gabb
19th June 2014
The London International Festival of Theatre is an enterprise funded by the Arts Council of England and by the Culture Programme of the European Union. If I ever come to power as the front man for a military coup, it will be on my list of things to shut down before breakfast. This being said, I was happy to take part, on Wednesday the 18th June 2014, in its “Change for a Tenner” evening at the Yard Theatre in Hackney. My main outreach of late, has been to explain libertarianism to schoolchildren and traditionalists. Here was my first chance in several years to address an audience of committed pro-state leftists. The fee offered, plus expenses, was nice, though not essential to my acceptance. Continue reading
A Case for the English Landed Aristocracy,
Speech to the (Other) Libertarian Alliance,
London, Monday 10th February 2014
To understand the rubbish heap that England has become, it is useful to look at the circumstances that prompted the emergence of the modern State in Europe.
Around the end of the thirteenth century, the world entered one of its cooling phases. In a world of limited technology, this lowered the Malthusian ceiling – by which I mean the limit to which population was always tending, and beyond which it could not for any long time rise. Populations that could just about feed themselves during the warm period were now too large. Continue reading
Note: I like my outings to the more traditional areas of the conservative movement. These people often have libertarian prejudices that are not shared by more formally liberal members and clients of the ruling class. They are also more polite in their disagreement. I had a good time last night in London. SIG Continue reading
On Saturday the 14th December 2013, Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, spoke at the Intellectual Minds Conference at the Hilton Hotel in Syon Park, “The European Union and the New British Constitution. Here is a brief summary of what he said:
Part of the consensus within the libertarian and traditionalist movements in England is that membership of the European Union is destroying our free institutions; and that, to recover these institutions, our first step must be to leave the EU.
This claim is not wholly supported by the evidence. For example, many of us blamed the EU for the loss of our protection against double jeopardy at law. Yet Germany and many other EU member states do not allow people to be tried twice for the same offence. Australia, on the other hand, has brought in the same deviation from the rule as we have, and the statutes use the same wording. Australia is not a member state of the EU. Continue reading
by Robert Henderson
The future of England
Meeting arranged by the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP)
House of Lords 20th November 2013
Frank Field Labour MP
Lord Maclennan (Lib Dem)
Professor Wyn Jones ( Professor of Welsh Politics, Cardiff U)
Eddie Bone CEP
There were around 100 people attending including a sprinkling of young faces which is always encouraging. The audience was also pretty hostile to any suggestion that England should not have a Parliament or be Balkanised with regional assemblies. This type of audience reaction has been growing in meetings I have attended over the past couple years which have dealt with the EU, immigration and England’s place in the Union. I would suggest it is indicative of a growing anger and desperation amongst the native population to what they rightly see as the selling out of their country one way or another. People have had enough of what in any other time would have been given its true name: treason.