by Richard North
Blogging: everyone’s a critic (not) Journalism – and especially political journalism – is about criticism. The meat and drink of the oeuvre is taking people, governments or other institutions to task, either for not doing things, for doing things, or doing them badly.
If they do things well, they are largely ignored. A functioning system doesn’t make headlines (although it might if we ever had a government IT system that worked). By its very nature, the media concentrates on “bad” news, and on criticism rather than plaudits. Continue reading
Transferred from Comments to main posting. SIG
I have long been sceptical of UKIP’s commitment to a referendum. Suppose the Conservative Party scrapes its way back into office in 2015, gives us a referendum in 2017, and the British people vote to leave. What then? We will be outside of the European Union, but that won’t mean much if we have the same parasitical class of authoritarian social-democrats ruling over us. We will still have the Human Rights Act, the Equality Act, the Communications Act and a vast range of other laws codifying political correctness as state ideology. The Proposed New Independent School Standards came from our own ruling class, not from the marauders of Brussels and Strasbourg. People like Michael Gove and David Cameron are the ones who support the ideological encroachment of the state into private education, and their efforts would persist regardless of our formal relationship with the European Union. There are other EU countries which have no such problem and are not being forced by Brussels to clamp down on true independent schooling. Continue reading
by Richard North
Note: Great minds think alike! SIG
Brexit: the lessons of Rotherham
The outrage of the media over the events of Rotherham needs to be taken as much with a pinch of salt as the expressions of regret by representatives of the public services who so egregiously failed in their collective duties.
As much as anything, the media kept the lid on events, only reacting after it was safe to do so, following events tardily and reluctantly, rather than leading the way.
But, as the detail emerges of the 1,400 or so white girls who were “groomed” and sexually assaulted by gangs of Asian (mainly Pakistani) men, the one institution which does not come away with any blame or shame is the European Union. Continue reading
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
by Dick Puddlecote
Who’s Been Misleading The EU? Now this is interesting.
European officials have been wrongly labelling e-liquid as extremely toxic.
The civil servants had been misclassifying e-liquid as either a CLP category 2 product, alongside strychnine, or a category 3 product, alongside formaldehyde. The new report demonstrates that the acute oral and dermal toxic hazards of the strongest consumer e-liquids only merit being classed as category 4 – along with washing-up liquid – while the vast majority of e-liquid (which has nicotine concentrations below 25mg/ml or 2.5%) does not require any type of formal hazard warning.
by Richard North
EU politics: MPs duck out on opt-ins
The Financial Times tells the tale of the House of Commons “rebellion” that never was, with the Guardian (and others) adding more detail. You wonder how well briefed the MPs (and the media) actually are, though, when the still refer to 35 opt-back-ins, when the actual figure has been reduced to 33. But then, what does a little detail like that matter? Continue reading
by Richard North
Trade agreements: is “unbundling” the future?
A little while ago, the Financial Times ran a piece by Alan Beattie on UKIP’s trade policy (above), who argued that it “would leave Britain isolated and vulnerable”. I didn’t write a review then, as there was more to the issue which Beattie raised that, what he termed “Farage’s dream of prosperity” which is to be “born of a US treaty”. This, Beattie thinks, is “a dangerous fantasy”.
The points made, however, are bigger than UKIP’s trade policy, and could have been raised without reference to “Farage’s dream”, one that comes with a promise of a new trade deal “as soon as Britain’s exit liberates the UK from the dead hand of European protectionism”. Continue reading