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Billy Scott

Billy Scott has 52 articles published.

2018 People’s Charter Conference #BrexitAndBeyond

in Brexit by

Sunday, 24 June 2018 at 10:00-22:00

London, UK

Don’t miss the Brexiteer / populist event of 2018 – our annual convention. Theme: #BrexitAndBeyond

There is a need to make a stand against the establishment which both took us into the EU and tried to make us stay. We need a points-based migration system, to be out the single market, and to regain pride in Britain. #FlyOurFlag #DrainTheSwamp #ThePeopleHaveSpoken!

(Speakers and mid-afternoon protest to be announced. Evening drinks reception. Please RSVP by clicking ‘GOING’ so that we can have an approximate idea of the turnout for the event. Tickets will be available soon.)

All welcome, whatever party- we are all on a ship heading in the same direction, reducing state intervention, even if we disagree about which port it should dock at, so let’s get that ship sailing.

The convention begins with Friday night drinks and a lecture to reflect on and celebrate the victory that was the people’s revolt of Brexit. Saturday will feature speeches on continuing the fight for freedom beyond Brexit. The afternoon will feature a session for young populists, including a speech by Joshua Thomas of the Young Chartists, and workshops on forming a Young Chartists society on your campus. A chance for you to meet passionate believers in freedom from around the UK. To have a refreshing break from the pessimism of “liberalism” found on campus 😉

What a perfect time to welcome keynote speakers from think tanks, and enjoy a number of panel discussions looking at the need for a good Brexit deal, free market economics, improving national security, flying the British flag, localism, free speech, cultural libertarianism / integration, Snoopers Charter, the need to disaffiliate from the NUS, the folly of 3rd wave feminism, points-based migration system, a stronger Commonwealth, benefits of the Prevent strategy, and traditional values.

There will also be workshops on how to form a Chartists group / YBL society on your campus, how to recruit members, how to raise a petition your local MP / student union, public-speaking, and debating techniques.

There are several awards given by the Peopls’ Charter Director to notable young patriots – these usually include:
– The “Young Populist of the Year Award” is the highest award given at at the YBL Convention. It is awarded to a dedicated student who in the spirit of Brexit has gone beyond what would be usually expected by working extra hard ‘in the trenches’, with proven examples of beyond the ordinary activism on campus, despite strong opposition.
– “Defender of the Magna Carta Award” is given to a populist of any age who has be the most outstanding that year in actively campaining for democracy. Likely to be given in 2017 to a Brexiteer who was very vocal in campaigning for Brexit.
– “Campus Freedom Activist of the Year Award” is given to a populist activistswho has be the most outstanding that year in actively campaining for free speech on campus, against SJW / PC crap.
– “The People’s Charter’s Blogger of the Year Award” is given to a leading populist member of the blogosphere.
– “The People’s Charter’s Parliamentarian of the Year Award” is given to a member of Parliament who The People’s Charter Foundation feel has done the most to stand up for for populism, i.e. speaking out for free speech on campus.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Young Chartists at the 2018 People’s Charter Convention

in Brexit by

Sunday, 24 June 2018 at 10:00-21:00

London, UK

This will be the Brexiteer / populist event of the YEAR! The afternoon will feature a session for young populists, including a speech by Joshua Thomas of the Young Chartists, and workshops on forming a YBL society on your campus. #ThePeopleHaveSpoken!

UK politics have become very centrist, with the “liberal elite” influencing all political parties. There is a need to make a stand against the establishment which both took us into the EU and tried to make us stay. We need a points-based migration system, to be out the single market, and to regain pride in Britain. #FlyOurFlag #DrainTheSwamp

(Speakers and mid-afternoon protest to be announced. Evening drinks reception. Please RSVP by clicking ‘GOING’ so that we can have an approximate idea of the turnout for the event. Tickets will be available soon.)

All welcome, whatever party- we are all on a ship heading in the same direction, reducing state intervention, even if we disagree about which port it should dock at, so let’s get that ship sailing. However, this event will certainly *not* be promoting the doomed direction of left-wing philopsophy, such as socialist-libertarianism, so called left free market anarchism.

The convention begins with Friday night drinks and a lecture to reflect on and celebrate the victory that was the people’s revolt of Brexit. Saturday will feature speeches on continuing the fight for freedom beyond Brexit. A chance for you to meet passionate believers in freedom from around the UK. To have a refreshing break from the pessimism of “liberalism” found on campus 😉

What a perfect time to welcome keynote speakers from think tanks, and enjoy a number of panel discussions looking at the need for a good Brexit deal, free market economics, improving national security, flying the British flag, localism, free speech, cultural libertarianism / integration, Snoopers Charter, the need to disaffiliate from the NUS, the folly of 3rd wave feminism, points-based migration system, a stronger Commonwealth, benefits of the Prevent strategy, and traditional values.

There will also be workshops on how to form a Chartists group / YBL society on your campus, how to recruit members, how to raise a petition your local MP / student union, public-speaking, and debating techniques.

There are several awards given by the Peopls’ Charter Director to notable young patriots – these usually include:
– The “Young Populist of the Year Award” is the highest award given at at the YBL Convention. It is awarded to a dedicated student who in the spirit of Brexit has gone beyond what would be usually expected by working extra hard ‘in the trenches’, with proven examples of beyond the ordinary activism on campus, despite strong opposition.
– “Defender of the Magna Carta Award” is given to a populist of any age who has be the most outstanding that year in actively campaining for democracy. Likely to be given in 2017 to a Brexiteer who was very vocal in campaigning for Brexit.
– “Campus Freedom Activist of the Year Award” is given to a populist activistswho has be the most outstanding that year in actively campaining for free speech on campus, against SJW / PC crap.
– “The People’s Charter’s Blogger of the Year Award” is given to a leading populist member of the blogosphere.
– “The People’s Charter’s Parliamentarian of the Year Award” is given to a member of Parliament who The People’s Charter Foundation feel has done the most to stand up for for populism, i.e. speaking out for free speech on campus.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Men’s March – for stronger families

in World News by

19 November at 10:00-21:00

London and California

LONDON and CALIFORNIA (BERKELEY)
UK: Trafalgar Square, marching peacefully to the Courts and on to Parliament
USA: Berkeley campus, California

International Men’s Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on 19 November.

We need your help to march for strong families. 1 in 3 children live without a father (ONS, 2012). 1 in 4 children don’t consider their father to be part of their family (Childwise 2007).

We support fathers’ access to their kids. Family courts presume a mother to be the better parent, and disregard that kids need their fathers. We demand the courts maximise reasonable access in the interests of the children. The family unit is integral to a strong, stable society.

This causes incredible destress to men, who are cut off from their families. Dads are 3 times more likely to die after separation than mothers. (DWP 2015.) The biggest killer of men under 50 is suicide, and 75% of all suicides involve men (Calm 2013).

Little support is offered, because men are not deemed a minority group. Tens of thousands of lives, stolen from us – too many friends, fathers, sons, and brothers.

We want more research into prostate cancer, which many men die from each year.

We also believe false claims of a wage gap distracted people from the serious problems of workplace deaths, which proportionally more men are victims of.

84% of the hidden homeless are men (Crisis 2011).

40% of domestic violence victims are men (Parity 2010). However, women get lighter sentences than men.

Men are 35% more likely to die from cancer (except breast cancer. Cancer Research UK, 2013).

Game Over Corbyn (Brexity Right wing meetup)

in Brexit by

9 June at 19:00–22:00

Old Mary’s Cocktail Bar

24 Craven Terrance, W2 3QH London, United Kingdom

Traditional conservatives, kippers, rightwing libertarians, Labour Leave, populists, Pepe fans, you are all welcome!! Let’s Make Drinks Great Again!

We need to build a critical mass so that we can have a regular patriotic capitalist meet up above a pub, where we can have speakers challenging the globalist establishment that has sold out the British people.

 

Real libertarians should celebrate Trump’s victory

in Brexit/World News by

Donald-trump

“Daddy” won, and we have heard the uproar from generation snowflake, who never lost in their lives but are accustomed to receiving “participation” awards! The screaming lefties kicking in shop windows, the SJWs protesting across the USA, the progressive “conservatives” threatening to kill themselves as they witness the fall of the establishment dynasties that have dominated US politics and funded their lifestyles. As for this supposed Armageddon that is to befall America now, the cause of such would appear not to be Trump himself, but rather the destructive outburst from the ironically named Democrats who are furious when the people don’t vote as the establishment told them to. In reality, the American progressives are Soros-funded, and all these spoilt brats waving vile banners demanding someone “Rape Melania” fear is the loss of their privilege.

Darlings, I invite you to shut up, sit your backside down and state exactly which part of Trump’s 100 day plan backs up your wild absurd claims of racism, sexism, or homophobia? However, I know in advance that this generation brought up with concepts such as “safe spaces” and “no platforming” is not accustomed to defending ideas through rigorous debate, but rather arrogantly enforcing their ideas through student union bullies as “politically correct” and compulsory without question. Crybabies, while few of us admire the skeletons both candidates wish to hide in the cupboard, in fact that applies more so for Hillary, it is your very refusal to listen to and have dialogue on the concerns of the people that caused your defeat. If you would calm down and look at policy, Trump is no great threat to liberty. This is not the the death of America. The only “America” at threat is the privilege of the chattering class; yes, you!

Trump’s notorious statement on Muslim immigration did make me cringe, because I passionately support John Stuart Mill’s call for freedom of religion, for liberty of conscience. The establishment-run media is often quick to state such as an example of Trump’s supposed fascist tendencies. The reality is that he does address audiences in a simplistic manner, which appeals greatly to working class frustrated communities in the rustbelt that have been screwed over by Obama and co, but often lacks both nuance and clarity. Perhaps his comments are intentionally vague so as to appeal to multiple audiences, with their varied demands. However, the manifesto released is worded in a more detailed manner, which explains that the reference was to restricting temporarily immigration from countries which are on the terror watchlist. While people screech that such is illegal, actually it’s certainly very possible under the US constitution, and perhaps they should go back to law school.

A lot of criticism has been directed at Donald Trump for his comments on the wall he plans to build to defend US borders. Meanwhile, people are somehow oblivious, in their wilful ignorance, to the fact that along half of the US-Mexico border, such a fence already exists, being built under Democrat rule. Moreover, this is certainly not an illiberal idea, but fantastically Rothbardian. If you have property, you are certainly entitled to have a fence on the boundary and to dictate who visits it, and a state can do likewise if by the consent of the populace. My dear snowflakes, what is the point of having borders and an immigration policy if the state is not to enforce them? Ironically, these bleeding heart “progressive” liberals may not be able to move to Canada, which they are threatening to run to, for it already has the strict “evil” immigration policies Trump wishes to implement in the USA.

As for the furious claims of protectionism for his demands to move jobs back to the USA, to be honest, I greatly dislike that the elites are making profits out of the low wages they pay to workers in China, who are treated like slaves. The reason they no longer want to recruit American, and also British, workers, is that they cannot treat them little better than animals. Darlings, that is not liberty! We struggled for years to rise above the conditions of the Victorian slums, and anyone who claims the finding of a way around that victory, in the name of globalism, is freedom, well, they are blatantly lying to themselves and protecting the establishment. It is no surprise that some of the most passionate advocates of trade with China, be they politicians, businessmen, journalists, or think tank staff, are from families who directly benefit from such financially.

The reality is that this was a massive win for the people. The establishment may cringe and scream “populism”, but that is just a word the bourgeoisie academics utter when in fear of democracy, of the uneducated hordes gaining influence. How dare the bloody plebs question the “liberal elite” establishment! The chattering class believe the people are too stupid to decide their future, but should just shut up and do as they are told. The idea of the people telling politicians what to do, that spirit of Magna Carta, the People’s Charter of 1838, the Suffragettes, is a terrifying concept – the people telling the government and the legislature to reflect their will. The votes for Trump will be dismissed as the ignorant fears of uneducated rustbelt poor, just as the Brexit win in the recent British referendum on EU membership was dismissed by Jo Johnson MP as the choice of the uneducated. What arrogance!

The establishment is absolutely terrified. They pulled out all the stops, but failed – their power is no longer secure. This is a political shock. They gave it everything they had – they ensured incredible media bias, they hired celebrity actors, they paid Beyonce to shake her bum about (to liberate women??!), they bullied and pressured the people, just like they did during the EU referendum – but once again, the people saw through it and stood up to some abuse. Let us not forget also the massive influence of Wikileaks, Breitbart, and generally, the Internet, in the result of this election – the mainstream media is losing influence on the people.

The “modern liberal” wet establishment, be they LibDems, Tory wets or New Labour, are some of the most arrogant, power-hungry, patronising people that ever existed. Filling their friends pockets with our tax payers money, funnelling it into organisations, while silencing those who dare to question. Ignoring NHS waiting lists, because they have private health care. Ignoring housing shortages, because NIMBY. As their motives are pure selfishness, they need to hide from logic and reason, and resort to mere emotion and political correctness, to silence the opposition, but this year will go down in history, for they failed twice.

The reality is that much of the Trump manifesto is actually incredibly libertarian, or at least, a massive blow to the establishment elites. He has pledged to reduce tax levels. Only the chattering class would cringe at his demand to reduce the numbers of staff for the federal workforce. He shows a degree of localism, by allowing states to decide on education. He’s also hinted in the past that the US Department of Education (ED) should be abolished; a smaller state! He is going to appeal the socialist Obamacare system. He said he will cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs. He is for withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and NAFTA; i.e. an American equivalent to Brexit. Through the Drain the Swamp campaign, he has promised to remove state corruption. All of these are key libertarian ideas, at the core of the Tea Party system, and would only be offensive to a lefty-liberal like Gary Johnson, who is about as libertarian as Nick Clegg.

Whether Trump actually represents ideology we believe in, this is a massive blow to the progressive establishment and it’s comforting to see it crash and burn, after the bullying I have faced in the past few years simply for not agreeing with their ideas. It’s only been a couple of days since Trump won and I’m already almost having a heart attack due to excitement from reading so many “progressive” SJWs tantrum-fuelled posts on Facebook. This are the people who claim Trump or the right in Britain are racist or violent, but beat me up, send me rape and death threats, abuse me constantly online, and oh, now in the USA are smashing buildings up. Who are the real bullies and threat to both peace and liberty?

Thank you to those fellow activists who were supportive and have struggled with me for our freedom over these past years. May we seize the chance created by this shaking of the establishment to build a society in which there is positive free exchange of ideas, rather than safe spaces and abuse; where there is an economic approach which helps people improve their lot in life, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, rather than trapping them in welfare while the elite pocket our taxes.

The cancer of the modern world – a European perspective

in World News by

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By Mart Laar, former Prime Minister of Estonia

Corruption is a cancer. At first, it can look small and harmless. Before you know it, it has taken over your entire body. Likewise, the losses from corruption can start small, but in the end the damage is enormous.

The problem of corruption around the world is well known. Dictators, arms smugglers and warlords rely on corruption to fund violence against their own populations. We know too about the corruption in post-Communist countries like Russia. It’s not just the corruption in the economy; it’s the corruption of the legal and political systems that sustains it, which is so damaging in so many countries.

Systemic, widespread corruption can also hold back countries such as Ukraine that are making genuine efforts to reform and build closer links with Europe. It undermines the inspiring campaigns and aspirations of reformers – as seen in Moldova, for instance – and saps the confidence of potential European partners. In Ukraine and Moldova, it is no coincidence that public dissatisfaction and protest appear to be as much about corruption as they are about anything else. And the public are right: corruption siphons off much- needed investment and slows the growth and progress of Eastern European economies. So I believe that we need a plan for Europe that places anti-corruption right at the heart of the process.

I know about corruption. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. You can no more eradicate it than you can abolish human greed. But that doesn’t mean that there is no hope. Estonia was deeply corrupted, just as other former Communist countries were as they made the transition to independence. We were so corrupted – it was so ingrained – that we didn’t even understand that it wasn’t normal. It had become a way of life. So for us, progress depended on a fundamental realisation: we could only cut ourselves off from the old Communist heritage if we cut out the cancer of corruption.

This was easy to say, of course, but harder to implement. European institutions stressed from the start of the integration process the importance of fighting corruption, but sometimes this seemed to us to be just warm words. To our surprise, as our economy and trade relations grew, several Western companies allegedly offered generous bribes in many common business deals. To them, corruption in Eastern Europe was normal. So, while the West finances campaigns against corruption abroad, it would be significantly more effective if all countries also dealt with the criminal activity and the bribes originating at home.

In many countries, corruption isn’t actually a negative word. It is connected with friendship and taking care of family. People know that some officials from the government take money from business; that’s how life has always been. How do you begin to unpick that? In Estonia, we knew that if we wanted to break free, we didn’t have any choice – we had to end corruption. Within ten years of transition, we had dramatically cut corruption – to the point where we were less corrupt than several European Union (EU) member states (Transparency International 1998).

How did we do it? A huge part of the answer was the European Union. We received vital encouragement from the EU, including as part of the negotiations on enlargement. Most importantly, we received a very clear message right from the start that the door to the EU would be closed to countries with the usual scale of post-Communist corruption. At first, it was thought that the EU was not serious. But then the Slovakian Government, under Vladímir Mečiar, was ousted from negotiations on enlargement (European Commission 1997). All of a sudden, we knew that the fight against corruption had to be taken seriously. Transparency was important too. Clear data enables you to see very similar countries, like Latvia and Estonia, with very different levels of corruption (Transparency International 2015). So if you could cut it in one country, why not the other? With the help of the EU, independent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were also created, which aided the fight against corruption.

The EU shared with us, along with the other countries hoping to join, all of the best practice and legislation for tackling corruption. This allowed us to take big steps forward very quickly. An important part of this was to regularly publish key officials’ income and its sources, supported by criminal punishments for corruption in the penal code. Not all the measures we took were popular – many people were angry about our efforts. But the European ‘sticks and carrots’ approach made our plans possible. We could privatise public assets, in the knowledge that they could only be sold for legal money moved through European banks that had rules against money laundering and fraud. Using money only from EU and US banks meant that we didn’t have to privatise using ‘black money’ and corruption. When you cut corruption out of banking and the wider economy, it is much harder for corruption to take root in politics.

Helping to tackle corruption in Eastern Europe has also, of course, provided tangible benefits for people in Western Europe. It has helped open up new markets for trade and investment – based on a level playing field and open competition – therefore boosting the prosperity and security of all EU member states, including the big economies of the West.

Many people, including leaders, have asked for the secrets of Estonia’s success in tackling corruption. Every country is different, but here are my suggestions:

One – don’t become corrupt yourself. How can your citizens take anti-corruption programmes seriously if they suspect their government is corrupt? So you need to make it clear from the start: mistakes can be pardoned; corruption cannot. There can be no yellow cards – just red ones.

Two – let the market do the job. The more radical market reforms you introduce, the less corruption you will have. Abolishing subsidies is a good start: they always go to the wrong places, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Simplifying the tax system and cutting taxes helps too.

Three – make government smaller. This is often underestimated in the transition to a market economy. You can’t move your country to the future with the old machinery. So you need to break up the old structures that provide opportunities for corruption. A good way to start is to cut the government by half and double the salaries of those who remain. And then cut the size again by another 20%. Your new public service must be non-partisan and independent. As you go forward, keep government lean. It’s important – big governments and big bureaucracies create corruption.

Four – make everything public. Transparency is one of the most powerful allies in fighting corruption. When information on public spending, government agencies’ work and use of governmental benefits and privileges is freely available, it starts to reduce corruption. Modern technology can help a lot here. Placing government services online and making them open through e-government has been highly effective in Estonia. It doesn’t just cut the misuse of government credit cards and make sure government procurement is clean, it also cuts down on time and paper – and lets trees grow.

Five – let freedom reign. Freedom takes the state official out of the daily situations and transactions where corruption can occur. If you need to have a separate government document every time a house is built or renovated, there is a chance for corruption. When decisions – or the speed of decisions – depend on the will of a state official rather than the law of the land, you will have corruption. Abolish them and you find that nothing bad happens.

These conclusions are really quite simple. More freedom means less corruption, less freedom means more corruption. It’s just the same in sport. If you take away the competition and fair play, you will lose the spirit of sport. That’s what corruption does to all of our efforts, our dreams and our desires – in corrupt societies, they are thwarted and the human spirit is poorer as a result. We showed in Estonia that it doesn’t have to be like this. Together we can change it – together we can do it!

The Red Bourgeoisie

in Brexit by

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Many moons ago during my brief youthful flirtation with trotskyism, the nature of what was then the Soviet Union was debated endlessly. The orthodox line was that the USSR was a degenerated workers state whose ruling elite closely resembled a trade union bureaucracy here in the West. With their privileged lifestyle the leadership of the CPSU were a kind of red bourgeoisie. They have of course been consigned to history but their mirror image still flourishes here in Britain.

The fact that some trade union leaders enjoy salaries and benefits that their members can only dream of in a time of real hardship is a national scandal. Public sector workers where union density is highest have suffered years of wage restraint, on top of what is often already very low pay.

The same cannot be said for their General Secretaries whose annual salaries and other benefits usually add up to six figure sums. As they gather together at the annual Labour conference union leaders and their allies in the party will talk loftily about the prohibitive cost of housing whilst enjoying preferential loans to purchase property paid for from their hard working members subscriptions.

In the case of Unite outgoing joint General Secretary Derek Simpson did even better being given a grace and favour house as a gift following his retirement as part of the terms of the merger which created the super union. His co GS Tony Woodley had to settle for re-employment as Head of the Organising Department no doubt on a very attractive salary.

In the communications union CWU leaders agreed to close their members final salary pension scheme in Royal Mail, substantially worsening benefits. However the unions then boss Billy Hayes retained his non-contributory final salary pension, and claimed an extra £30,000 on top of his £90,000 a year salary for unused holiday! I could go on but suffice it to say the fat cats are not just in the boardroom. The government talks about taking action to tackle excesses in big business but action is also needed on the other side of the divide.

Supporters of individual freedom should always defend the right of unions to exist and workers to organise within them but the behaviour of the top union bosses should be challenged in exactly the same way as any employer. If executive pay is to be put to a vote of shareholders as some in the government are suggesting why not do the same for union general secretaries by making their pay packages subject to endorsement in an individual vote of their membership.

Better still launch a full scale inquiry into the financial dealings of Britain’s unions.

 

David Warren

David is a former trade union officer and a libertarian.

Victories for the Libertarian Movement in the Brazilian local elections

in World News by

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On the last October, 2nd, Brazilians held the first turn of the 2016 local elections. Three groups of Libertarian movements had running candidates and won some seats on the local administrations of important cities.

Among those groups, the Free Brazil Movement (MBL), one of the most relevant libertarian movements in the country, elected 8 city councillors and one mayor (in the Sāo Paulo State city of Valinhos). MBL is not a political party itself, and had its candidates running on different political parties with their support. Among them, one of the leaders of the movement, Fernando Holiday has been elected city councillor in Sāo Paulo with around 48,000 votes.

MBL played a key role on the impeachment of the former President Dilma Rousseff. The group were one of the main organisers of the several protests carried out in almost the whole country, bringing millions of protesters to the streets calling for the President impeachment. MBL also camped in front of the Brazilian Congress and delivered an impeachment request to the former President of the Congress.

MBL also launched a parallel project called “Caras Novas” (New Faces) where the movement will support the definition of public policies and try to influence the decisions of politicians in order to drive their decisions towards more libertarian policies and a more modern and professional management of the public resources.

The movement also supported the campaign of the Sāo Paulo (largest Brazilian city) elected mayor Joāo Dória, a libertarian candidate that won the election in the first turn (cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants in Brazil can have the elections decided in two turns if the first placed in the first turn doesn’t reach 50.01% of the votes) for the first time since 1992. Joāo Dória is an outsider, an entrepreneur whose wealth is worth 70 million dollars and runs different businesses in Brazil.

Dória’s platform includes, among others, the privatisation of several state-run city parks and event premises such as the racing track (where the Brazil’s F1 GP is held annually) and the Anhembi Exhibitions Center (one of the largest in South America). During his campaign, the now elected mayor also promised to donate his entire salary for local charities.

The first Brazilian libertarian political party, the Novo (New) created less than a year ago, also could elect 4 local councillors, a good number for their first elections and considering the small amount of resources and time the party had to organise itself for the elections.

The Workers Party (PT) of the impeached President Dilma Rousseff and former President Lula da Silva suffered a severe blow in these elections. The party lost 60% of its Mayors electing “only” 256 mayors and more than a thousand of city councillors. Numbers that are still expressive and will allow the party to retain a large amount of local administrations but surely worried the party for the upcoming 2018 General elections.

The victories achieved by the libertarian movement in Brazil does represent an important first step towards their growth among the Brazilian society. Their performance will be carefully observed now that they reached some positions in the power and, especially in Sāo Paulo will be possible to see some of the libertarian ideas being implemented and their impacts can be tested. A success of Joāo Dória administration in Sāo Paulo mayorship can have a special impact on the decisions of the voters in the 2018 elections.

It is a great moment for the defenders of the freedom in Brazil!

We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in the EU, just to re-impose them at Westminster

in Brexit by

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“We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”

On the 20th of September 1988, Margaret Thatcher addressed the College of Europe with a speech that is now commonly referred to as “The Bruges Speech”, and featured that clear phrase, “rolled back the frontiers of the state”, that alluded to libertarian ideals and the influence of Hayek on her economic policy. Therefore, this week, at the Conservative Party conference, as a Thatcherite, with strong support of dry and libertarian conservative values, I had very mixed feelings as I heard our Prime Minister, Theresa May’s, speeches, especially her closing remarks on Wednesday.

In her first address to the conference, she showed wonderful humility, setting a fine example to us all, as she, despite having been a Remain campaigner, gracefully accepted the voice of the people and stated that there would be a Great Repeal Bill and that article 50 would be invoked before March next year. The atmosphere was electric and very different to the rather audible groan when Heseltine walked onto the stage. There was loud applause and cheering, as the official television broadcast caught a Union Jack being waved by a Young Britons for Liberty member in the audience. For decades we as a nation had struggled to regain our voice, to have a government that was elected by and accountable to the people. This was a victory for liberty, a realisation of notion of the Bruges speech. Maggie’s influence was present and she had won. Thus, it was bizarre to hear later in the Think Tent the screeches of “Invoke Article 50” by campaigners outside; the focus now needs not be on which month the said article is invoked, but on that we get the deal the people voted for – that we leave the single market and we have a points-based immigration system that reflects meritocracy and doesn’t give preference to 27 predominantly white states.

May’s first speech was truly wonderful – the call for equal opportunity, the demand for meritocracy, and reasonable call to patriotism. Certainly a message that will appeal to people across the political spectrum, whether they be traditional Tory voters or not. I naturally found myself standing and clapping with a beaming smile. It was beautiful to hear the praise of grammar schools, the desire to proceed in ensuring social mobility, despite the hypocrisy of the left, who would send their children to grammar schools while withholding success from the working class. Was this the influence of May’s advisor, Nick Timothy, known for his deep admiration of Joseph Chamberlain? “Radical Joe” was known for his desire to help the working class, to achieve social reform, and the conference being held in the very city he was mayor of. Indeed, if someone has a talent, a skill, they certainly should be supported to achieve that, for at the very least, such is a very worthwhile investment for advancement of the nation as a whole. We should, as Thatcher dreamed of, have a nation where background is not a barrier, but where even a grocer’s daughter can be the head of government.

However, amongst all that excitement, there was a feel of unease during Theresa’s speech on Wednesday, because while the return of Chamberlain, or was it rather Disraeli, may have been welcomed in regards to social reform, there certainly was no joy when it came to the calls for state intervention to increase, rather than for a rejection of Cameron’s blasted fascination with ‘wet’ One-Nation Toryism. At the conference, there were some fascinating fringe events promoting free market economics, but as I walked past Anna Soubry and wished I’d brought an umbrella with me, I noticed, not for the first time, the awful growth of “wet” groups like Policy Exchange, Bright Blue and Tory Reform Group. Those who are by no means opposed to socialism, but wish to in some form embrace it, to combine it with free market libertarianism as some form of watered-down Thatcherism, and therefore, are all too similar to synthesis that was Blair’s “Third Way”. I found myself rewording that famous phrase from the Bruges Speech, so that it became, “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in the EU, only to see them re-imposed at a British level with a British centrist state exercising a new dominance from Westminster.”

This well reflected the position of the modern Tory party, perhaps not that dissimilar from Macmillan’s “Middle Way”. Walking passed a packed out Bright Blue event, and noticing one of their supporters was Ken Clarke, I could not help but notice how close these groups were to, only just slightly right of, New Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Thatcher rightly dismissed such a ‘wet’ approach as “No Nation Toryism”, rejecting the weak approach of the pathetic coward Ted, or I would prefer to say “Red Heath”, who was to the left of Tony Blair. While the Conservative Party is keen to avoid the wilderness years, when New Labour dominated, the reason for such unelectability is often incorrectly deemed to be dry conservatist ideology, when in reality it was simply a PR image; Blair was slick in front the camera – Cameron’s success was in part due to embracing of Blair’s ideology, in that he slipped so easily into the shoes of the fallen Labour leader, but often overlooked is the advantage of his younger image and media savvy; the Tory party had a fresher image, which helped displace the incorrect notion of being the home of “old white men”.

Dry conservative and libertarian ideas are not rejected by the modern voter. Ipsos MORI polls on ‘Generation Y’ (1980 to 2000) show that there is strong opposition to high levels of taxation and a large welfare state. There is always a call for more young people to join the Conservative Party, something not helped by the antics of the careerist Mark Clarke. What needs to be remembered is that an increasing number of young voters are socially-libertarian, but most significantly, fiscally-conservative, yes we believe the government should keep a distance from economics. We have a Labour Party that demands a far larger state, while Liberal Democrats insist on greater spending, but if the Conservative Party also backs increased state intervention, where is the young free market libertarian to go? Young Britons for Liberty is a fast growing non-partisan movement, that aims become a young free market movement like Young America’s Foundation or Turning Point USA. We welcome all dry conservatives and libertarians who share our desire for a free market economy. Just the day before, a room above a pub in Birmingham had been packed out by Young Britons for Liberty, eager to hear Daniel Hannan MEP, a right-wing libertarian and the genius behind the Brexit movement, speak on the need to struggle for liberty today.

Hannan’s words seemed so poignant as we heard our Prime Minister utter the following: “Time to reject the ideological templates provided by the socialist left and the libertarian right and to embrace a new centre ground in which government steps up – and not back – to act on behalf of us all.” We, the dry conservatives, were being described as if the equivalent of Corbynista entryists to the Labour party. However, Birmingham was an economic powerhouse, not built on state intervention, but the hard work and ingenuity of some of the finest minds in engineering. The speeches by Theresa, perhaps very understandably, it so is seemed, were designed to appeal to the whole party, wet or dry, and beyond. The aim being to draw in both people from UKIP, with excellent comments on Brexit and immigration, and New Labour, with comments on appealing to the centre, but I fear this may be too difficult an approach, being impossible to unite such a broad range of so many groups behind common policies that are not actually present.

It must not be forgotten, that for centuries, especially since the days of Thatcher, Conservatives have strongly believed that the role of the state is to ensure people have access to the means to help themselves, and not to patronise them by treating us as victims who need to be molly-cuddled by some nanny-state. Tories are supposed to be the voice, the home, of the free market libertarian, having in the 70s and 80s, implemented economic libertarian reform, under the influence of the likes of Friedrich Hayek, whose book “Constitution of Liberty” Thatcher is said to have boldly brought down against a table declaring “This is what we believe”. This is the kind of ideology the non-partisan Young Britons for Liberty movement was formed to promote amongst young people, and therefore we felt a little uneasy as we heard a call for state intervention into free markets so as to improve them. We passionately believe that reducing the scale and cost of the state is the best way to spread prosperity, and not some patrician attitude. Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “Focusing on the centre-ground might seem to be electorally sensible, but is economically undesirable. This was an alarming attack on free markets and the Prime Minister’s pledge for more state intervention in business completely disregards the evidence that competition, deregulation and a light-touch approach breeds the best results.”

While promoting social libertarianism is a little challenging, there is certainly a lot of fondness for economic libertarianism; in fact, Keynesian ideas are weak, even rejected by the Labour Party, and I see no reason for us to dare go near them. While there is indeed a need to accept the reality of the Overton window, I really don’t think Tories are under any pressure to lean to the centre with Labour not being even a credible opposition or threat – even if the Tories moved further to the right, and be rather Thatcherite, the next election would be a landslide victory. It would be a shame for the Conservative Party to have won a number of elections, to have a majority in the House, but to do nothing with that when it comes to implementing the principles the Party is said to stand for, but rather flirt with the centre-left. No, this is the time we must invoke not just article 50, but the spirit of Thatcher, rather than Disraeli, when we at YBL must find the courage and determination to stand, when we must build a powerful youth movement to call for the free market principles that made our nation great. To quote Michael Portillo’s recent words on BBC Daily Politics, the former potential Tory leader who delivered his now famous “SAS speech” at a past Tory conference, “After 23 years of careful thought about what [the Tories] would like to do in power, and the answer is nothing.”

Why it is fair to cut government spending on education in Ukraine

in World News by

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There is no such thing as free lunch, but there is such thing as scholarships (*a monthly amount of money given by government to 75% of those students, who got a free place at university) in Ukraine. Approximately 30% of Ukrainian state budget is wasted on education, as the majority of educational establishments are publicly funded. Regardless of the fact that there are more than 500 of them, each offers a wide variety of programmes, a budget-funded place and a monthly scholarship, the amount of which is generally 20 euros, while the size of a minimum wage is 50 euros.  Sounds like a fairytale, right?

For almost 20 years now Ukraine has been struggling to enforce the provision ‘Ukraine is a welfare state’ of the Constitution while the notion ‘under the rule of law’ has been continuously neglected. They don’t care about bribery in courts, unclear laws and uneffective application of those, they care about your welfare. The fact became even more grotesque in 2003, when one of the judges of Constitutional Court said that ‘welfare’ is a compulsory trait of the state and cutting government spending on social welfare in case of financial crises was unfair and discredited the latter. Fairness – is what they always appeal to in Ukraine.

But let’s go back to scholarships. From one point of view, they are seen as motivators. You get ‘B’ in all subjects this semester and here you go — a nanny-state praises you and gives you 20 euros every month. Want to get 4 euros more? Than go get all ‘A’! Do you feel the motivation loading you up? I do not. That may work out if you have 20-euros-worth goals in life. But why go to university than? Furthermore, here is another problem that is worth mentioning. If you enter the university to have a state motivating you to study well and read books, you will most probably expect a big state to play the same role in all areas of your life later on. Motivating you to find a job, to get married, to give a birth to a child. What else? Motivating you to change a haircut? State has nothing to do with motivation. You either have it or not.

On the other hand, scholarships are regarded as financial help in Ukraine. In essence (but not in the laws), it’s all about social welfare, because it is not given on contract basis. Nanny-state understands that as a student you have to study and you don’t have time to work, so it gives you a sum of money to help you survive – 20 euros. In Ukraine (depending on the region) it’s enough for up to two weeks. And what about the following two weeks? The most common options are job or parents. So if it is a financial help, it does not correlate with the economic situation in Ukraine. But who cares? We have to keep scholarships in the way they are. Because −’we are a welfare state and it would be unfair to take money away from students’.

Imagine, someone sending you a basket of cookies every month. You get used to that very quickly. Month by month, year by year you wait for it to come. You never ask where this someone takes money from to buy and send you these cookies. And why would you? You think you deserve it. You are a nice guy, after all. You get all ‘B’s without much effort, so this someone shall never stop sending you cookies. The problem is that there are too many like you, who don’t study really hard and don’t care about the price of these cookies. And even when the crisis comes, prices, unemployment and taxes rise up, all of you still expect to enjoy the generosity of a stranger. Is that fair?

No, obviously, it is not. Fairness is where there is a compromise. But here we have people who want to live at the expense of others without taking into account anything except for their own strong and most silly belief that ‘state must give it to us’. That is one side of the coin. The point of view of the redistributor of goods is a very pathetic one — ‘welfare above everything’. An enormously big number of scholarships and budget-funded places are tools for achieving that in an educational sphere. Another party here are taxpayers, the ones most harshly hit by the financial crisis, caused by the war.

So if fairness is still about compromises, it would be fair to cut government spending on education in Ukraine and create a scholarship system where only top students receive scholarships (10% comparing to 75%), and the amount of which is compatible with the economic situation. It will make life easier for taxpayers and create a competition between students. Competition always leads to a better quality. That will help sort out a second problem — we have one of the highest rates in the world of people with high education, but very few of those are specialists or prominent generalists. Hence, high education will be regarded as valuable, not as the one you have to get in order not to be a black sheep.

Lastly, it will open doors for private funding of education, what will once again result in competition, but this time on a higher level — between educational establishments. Where the government steps out, the competition steps in. Where there is a competition, interests of all parties are respected (ideally), that is there is a compromise — fairness. So it seems it all starts with understanding of the rule of law and its components, such as the latter, not with zombie-like repeatedly pronounced  words  ‘we are a welfare state’.

We are pleased to hear Steven Woolfe MEP is recovering

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We are pleased to hear Steven Woolfe MEP is recovering. As a non-partisan group in favour of natural liberty, we find much discomfort with the suggestions in the media that Woolfe was attacked by a fellow MEP due to his past consideration of defecting to the Tories, following the appalling treatment of himself by the UKIP NEC. We feel that if he had actually wished to move to another party, that is his choice alone, which must be respected in the spirit of freedom of expression, and that this appalling aggression shown to him should never be tolerated in a democratic society.

It is often said that a good democracy requires an effective opposition, which Corbyn certainly isn’t, but Woolfe certainly could be. He is a confident, passionate speaker who could effectively challenge the socialist dominance in the North, while Tories stop the rise of Corbynista ideas down South. Moreover, this would move the centre-ground in politics to the right, allowing for discussion of more dry and libertarian ideas. Further, being dry conservatives and libertarians, we greatly appreciate Woolfe’s frequent references to the Magna Carta, the English Civil War and the Chartists.

Fringe Internet politics has gone mainstream

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There comes a time in every person’s life when they click on one link too many and end up somewhere unusual: a place where logic and reason cease to exist; a place where the harmless becomes criminal; a place where fringe identity politics reaches Poe’s Law levels of absurd. Fortunately, all you do is roll your eyes, close the tab, and remind yourself that these people are confined to obscure parts of the Internet.

At least, that’s the way things used to be. Radical and irrational politics have begun to slip into public view more and more. The real first mainstream exposure was GamerGate: an Internet war that had been bubbling beneath the surface for years finally erupted and made the news, thereby exposing thousands to esoteric political viewpoints they were previously unaware of.

Since then it’s grown: there are thousands of websites, forums, and blogs that have been set up to promote social justice, which has led to thousands of counter-websites, forums, and blogs that are concerned about freedom of speech.

When the Internet is as powerful and influential as it has become, these fringe issues have begun to bleed into real life. And, if they are bleeding into real life, then there is a wound through which they bleed: students’ unions. Bahar Mustafa made the news in 2015 when she organised events that banned white people or men (often both) from attending. When asked about her promotion of racial segregation, as well as her use of the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen, she responded by saying that she couldn’t possibly be racist, saying, “I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men, because racism and sexism describes[sic] structures of privilege based on race and gender. And therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist because we do not stand to benefit from such a system.” (Source). One wonders if the same rule applies to Ntokozo Qwabe, leader of the Rhodes Must Fall movement, who advocated violence against whites in South Africa.

The left is gradually being taken over by those promoting regressive policies, and in just the past year we’ve seen several instances of this new brand of politics manifest in law.

Take, for example, Sadiq Khan demanding that Transport for London ban any adverts that encourage “body shaming”. Body shaming, in this instance, was an advert promoting a weight loss product with the caption “are you beach body ready?” The advert had caused controversy previously, and Khan wasted no time after being elected Mayor of London in outlawing it. It’s important to note that the Advertising Standards Agency refused to ban the poster despite the number of prior complaints. This is pretty worrying: Khan arbitrarily took it upon himself to ignore the ASA and decide that any advert that “demeans people, particularly women” will be banned from the tube. Aside from this being incredibly vague, it also implies that women are too fragile and precious to be able to make decisions for themselves and have a worldview that isn’t dictated by posters on the tube.

While ostensibly seeming rather liberal and progressive, it is, in fact, authoritarian and regressive. By banning adverts that you think might influence women the wrong way, you’re trying to force a social narrative about how society should think; furthermore, you’re saying that if these women draw a conclusion that you’re unhappy with, the solution is to simply remove the advert that’s responsible, thereby removing their decision-making process. The truly demeaning thing here, Sadiq, is the idea that women on the tube don’t know what’s best for them, and that it’s your job to decide for them.

Sticking on the subject of gender politics, it was recently revealed that Nottinghamshire Police are set to start recording misogyny as a hate crime. There are a few immediate warning bells that should be set off when looking at this. Firstly, this, too, is incredibly vague. The police force’s definition of misogyny is, “Incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman.” While a genuine desire to eliminate street harassment is certainly commendable, this definition of misogyny does little to help. By this definition, a simple wolf-whistle would count as a hate crime. Realistically, no one is going to report a wolf-whistle and the police would most likely disregard such a complaint. The problem is that this illustrates the vagueness of their definition of misogyny.

It’s only when you delve a bit deeper that the entire concept falls to pieces. Quoting from the previously linked BBC article, we can see that “Domestic abuse will not be recorded as a misogyny hate crime because it has its own procedure”. This raises the question about what purpose this law serves: if a crime had been committed, then surely there is already a law in place to bring that person to justice? Well, sadly that’s not the case, as the article explains: “The classification now means people can report incidents which might not be considered to be a crime and the police will investigate.”

Of course, “investigate” does not mean “prosecute”, but this is a worrying trend anyway. According to this rule, one can report something to the police even if all parties are aware that no crime has been committed, and the police will automatically open an investigation. It’s an unusual situation that, while certainly well-intentioned, is delivered in a haphazard way that doesn’t address the real problems in society (and is likely to create legal problems down the road). This is simple virtue signalling.

Within the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen Paul Gascoigne plead guilty to telling a crude, unfunny, and offensive joke. Last year, to a black security guard he quipped, “Can you smile please, because I can’t see you?” Unsurprisingly, sympathy for Gazza may be very low, his words not exactly being in the spirit of the ‘search for truth’ justification of John Stuart Mill’s call for freedom of expression. A normal response would be to complain about it on Twitter, review the contract for Gascoigne’s show, or investigate if the remark was workplace harassment (after all, that’s not what Gazza was taken to court for, though it would seem a more relevant route).

Instead the comment was deemed ‘threatening’ speech, and Gazza was fined £2,000 – half of which was punitive, and the other half was compensation to the security guard. You might be keen to note that £2,000 isn’t very much for a man of Gascoigne’s standing – but in the Spectator, Brendan O’Neil called it a show trial, that was designed to make an example. Football has had its troubles with racism, hence the establishment was naturally keen to send a message. Certainly a comment in poor taste, from a man who ought to know better, for sure, though not that different to eyebrow-raising remarks by some popular politicians and journalists for haven’t received such a response.

Meanwhile, there is serious concern about the lack of free speech on campus. Online magazine spiked’s 2016 Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR) stated that 90 per cent of institutions are now censoring speech, with Aberystwyth, Edinburgh and Leeds are among those for being the most restrictive. Recently, University of East Anglia banned sombreros as racist cultural appropriation. Raising for hands to asks questions, or clapping in applause, are deemed offensive. However, the biggest, most worrying trend with regards to free speech is that for all the call for diversity on campus, there is a lack of political diversity.

For the longest time, this flavour of politics has been confined to the outskirts of the Overton window. At last, however, it has entered the wider public eye. Just over a week ago, though, the issue of safe spaces at universities was brought up by Victoria Atkins MP, who expressed her concern that they stifled free speech. There were murmurs of agreement, and even the Prime Minister affirmed her opposition to safe spaces. This would be a good sign, if it wasn’t for what it represented: the beginning of this becoming a mainstream political topic. Victoria Atkins’ very justified concern is only a harbinger. It was inevitable that this would eventually reach the House of Commons – and you can bet that it’ll be back again.

I started this piece by saying that these authoritarian stances had begun to bleed into real life, and the wound through which they bled was the student’s unions. Tomorrow’s leaders are the people who already lead the NUS. This kind of politics is going to proliferate: the Internet is more entwined with the offline world than ever before, and the two are only going to get closer. This means that the next generation’s lawmakers are going to be those who have had far more exposure to the echo chamber world of moonbat illiberalism than the current generation. Many of these people are involved in politics – albeit at a grassroots level – and the leaders of left-wing parties have already begun listening to them; one day, however, they’ll be the party leaders themselves.

Expect statist policies to become more widely considered in the next few years. Then, in a generation’s time, expect absurdity to become the central manifesto pledges of Labour and the Liberal Democrats – I exclude the Greens as they reached this stage long ago.

Corbyn’s Labour: a Party of Permanent Protest

in Brexit by

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The classical liberal is invited to consider New Labour in a number of ways. This is a party that in 1995 abandoned its socialist roots and embraced capitalism and the markets. It was this embrace of free-market principles that, at least in part, endeared Blair and Brown to the public and led to thirteen years of centre left rule in the UK. Indeed, under most of the New Labour years, the Conservatives were lost at sea.

The death of socialism in Britain, then? Not quite. Blair’s mastery of all he surveyed allowed him placate the far left during his premiership, but socialist grumblings continued, albeit barely heard, on the backbenches, even if Clause IV had been ripped from the constitution by the modernisers.

All in all, not bad going, the classical liberal might think. The two main parties have embraced the most effective poverty reduction tool in history, and the Marxists and Trotskyists are consigned to electoral backwaters for a very long while indeed. And while we’ve yet to roll back the frontiers of the state far enough, we are well on the way. This truly is the end of history.

How, then, did we end up here? The reasons are many and complex, but the conclusion is simple: from New Labour, a relentless, vote-winning machine, we have Corbyn’s Labour and the kinder, gentler politics. The situation is dire.

No Leader of the Opposition a few weeks into his tenure polled as poorly as Corbyn did in 2015. This fact is telling. If recent history were any guide, he ought to have been in the honeymoon period of his reign, effectively dismantling the government’s policies and taking the public’s plaudits for doing so. At roughly the same time after their leadership victories, previous Leaders of the Opposition were far more popular: Heath was up by 57 points; Thatcher, 49; Blair, 35; Cameron, 22. Corbyn languished on -8.

These numbers are even worse when we consider the context at the time. Corbyn enjoyed relative calm, the consensus being that he should be given a chance to unite the party and show the country a strong, effective government in waiting. He did not yet have the PLP on his back; Momentum were, for the most part, leashed; he was able to fill the Shadow Cabinet. All the factors, then, that the Corbynistas laboriously parrot today cannot be applied to his numbers in 2015. He has always been deeply unpopular with the country.

Yet Corbyn’s clique will nonetheless seek to blame anybody but themselves for their shortcomings with the public. We need only look to John McDonnell’s unambiguously false assertion that Labour were leading in the polls before the coup and his foolish claim that by-election victories and paltry council gains signal the people’s thirst for socialist policies.

Indeed, moderate voters now see Labour as it is: devoid of new ideas and unwilling to change. If Labour are to have anything but a snowflake’s chance in hell of making any dent in the Conservatives lead in 2020 (or sooner), Corbyn must rebrand his party from a pack of squabbling scolding socialist firebrands to a calm, moderate, modern social democratic force.

But Corbyn has surrounded himself with rank amateurs. His political operatives are hardly Labour’s golden generation, and indeed have shown their inexperience many times. The most apt symbol of Corbyn’s media illiteracy was surely McDonnell at the dispatch box across from the then-Chancellor George Osbourne. In response to one of Osbourne’s jibes, McDonnell produced a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book and proceeded to read from it, ironically advising the Chancellor on economic policy. He was, of course, roundly derided, and rightly so (no other ideology is responsible for more death in the 20th century than Communism), but how poor must Corbyn’s operation be, how tepid his leadership and his command over the party that his closest ally decides to lecture the House with his favoured aphorisms from Mao.

Labour’s current frontbench, furthermore, is a veritable who’s who of party newcomers and lightweights. If McDonnell’s Little Red Book at the dispatch box is the most apt symbol of media illiteracy, then the fresh-faced frontbenchers are the most apt symbol of the PLP’s utter lack of respect for their leader, and it is this fact that should trouble readers. Governments need opposition. The leader across the gulf of the dispatch box must — for the sake of the people whom the House serve — hold the Prime Minister, her party, and Her Majesty’s Government to account. At this solemn task, Corbyn fails.

Regardless of this fact, however, three things are all but certain: Corbyn’s Labour is out of touch, out of ideas, and out of power for a generation – a party of permanent protest.

Young Britons for Liberty XMAS Dinner with Sir Bill Cash

in Brexit by
MP Bill Cash speaks to delegates at an event at Manchester Town Hall during the Conservative Conference 2013.
MP Bill Cash speaks to delegates at an event at Manchester Town Hall during the Conservative Conference 2013.

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8 December at 18:30–22:00

The Mitre – 24 Craven Terrace Lancaster Gate, London, W23QH

Guest speaker: Sir Bill Cash

Bill Cash was described as the leader of the Eurosceptics during the Maastricht Rebellion of the early 1990s, which (as Major later complained in his memoirs) had the support of the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Lord Tebbit. Tory MPs refused to support the government of John Major in the votes in the House of Commons on the issue of the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on European Union) in British law.

YBL’s first ever black tie event. Tickets are £50 for the 3 course dinner.
Early bird discount – £35 (plus £1.50 processing fee)

Dress code: formal wear (jacket and tie mandatory for gents)

Schedule:
6.30 – 7pm : meet and greet (cash bar)
7 – 9.30pm : 3 course dinner with speech by key note speaker: Bill Cash

Menu and guest speaker to be announced in due course.

Get your ticket now!




British PM Criticises Safe Spaces and Calls for Free Speech on Campus

in Brexit by

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(This article was also run by the Mallard mallarduk.com/nus-censorship-lnj0916/)

Last week, many young anti-NUS activists across the UK were both thrilled and surprised to hear that Prime Minister Theresa May, and also Tory MP Victoria Atkins, have heard our voice, as they hit out during Prime Minister’s Questions at the “safe space” policy found on many university campuses. Fascinating words, and potentially a crucial development, as it was just last year that the Times suggested May’s counter-terrorism and security bill’s imposition of a duty upon universities to ban extremist speakers and root out would-be radicals would only further erode the free debate for which universities are renowned. [1] Meanwhile, others are wondering what on earth a “safe space” even is, and why May’s words caused induced such excitement in some student activists.

Few people would object to the notion that an educational institution should be a space where students feel safe regardless of their race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other protected characteristic – but it is not to this principle that opposition has arisen. Rather, controversy has been borne of students’-union policies that many critics see as an Orwellian muzzling of free debate, and a willingness to stifle speech not just to address and prevent actual danger, but to go a very crucial step further, and do so instead to allay nothing more than the fear of such. All over the country, stories have emerged of emotional cosseting that beggar belief – earlier this year, for example, a student of the University of Edinburgh was threatened with being expelled from a meeting for raising her hand; this was deemed a violation of “safe space” rules. [2] These allegedly heinous crimes of thought or innocent expression can earn their respective offenders a “trigger [of discomfort] warning” from the students’ union; other infractions include clapping one’s hands, for supposed fear of traumatising other students. Laughably unenforceable though these rules may seem, they are becoming more widespread with each passing month, and are seen by many as directly responsible for a climate not dissimilar to that which permeated the pages of Orwell’s famous novel Nineteen Eighty Four.

Perhaps fittingly, an Orwellian Newspeak has been penned to describe these worryingly illiberal policies by their advocates and architects. One term in this new lexicon is “triggering” – that the words or actions of others can cause flashbacks. It is important to stress here that this is by no means an invention; it would be wrong, both factually and ethically to deny that the sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder are genuinely afflicted by such episodes, and it is only right that they are given support. However, true sufferers of trauma are belittled by the protests of these spoilt and arrogant dilettantes, who form a set of pampered elites in the social terrain of indulgent Islington. It is an insult to the genuine sufferers of trauma disorders for this progressive bourgeoisie to engage in such spoilt screaming, simply because they were exposed to a different religious or political view. From cradle to grave, they are catered for so ubiquitously, that, rather than learning to accept and welcome the diversity of opinion which marks free society, they become offended that their bubble of virtuous left-wing purism can ever be punctured by someone with the courage to say, “Hang on a minute…”

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Victoria Atkins MP speaking out passionately for the freedom of British students

It is thus an issue of national importance that our most prized academic institutions are being taken over by these bourgeois bullies. In the name of “safety”, students’ unions now censor any speech or events which left-wing academics (not uncommonly sociologists) fear could possibly make a student feel at all uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of protected characteristics – and, naturally, this list of proscribed opinion has come to represent huge swathes of right-wing political ideology. Two years ago, Derby University Students’ Union refused to lift a ban on UKIP, justifying this with the explicit statement that “students had a right to feel safe while studying on campus”. [3]

There is thus much truth in Tory MP Victoria Atkins’ claim that this “sense of righteous entitlement, by a minority of students, means that their wish not to be offended shuts down debate”. The National Union of Students supports and effectively promotes the system of “safe spaces” around the UK, restricting the expression of any and all ideas that do not meet the regressive-left political agenda it agrees upon at its conferences. As an institution, the NUS believes it has a default, innate and unarguable ideological supremacy – and thus, because any political movement driven by mere emotion is made to feel insecure and terrified of fact-based arguments, it resorts to political hysteria whenever this asserted supremacy is challenged.

Said Atkins, “Freedom of speech is a fundamental British value which is undermined by so-called safe spaces”. This concept of freedom of expression can be traced to John Stuart Mill’s arguments in Chapter II of his magnum opus, On Liberty. To the surprise of some, Mill did actually place upon free speech a limit, though said limit was at once simple and complex. It is simple insofar as the avoidance of harm is the only allowed limit, but complex in that there is much controversy as to what should meet such a definition of harm. Locke, John Stuart Mill, Jefferson, Rand, Rothbard, so many key writers on individual liberty, agreed that the sole caveat to freedom was that it cannot be used to harm others, in a qualification known as the “non-aggression principle”. But let’s be serious about this: as was explicated by Atkins, the right not to be offended does not override freedom of speech. Independently-thinking individuals advance the search for truth by following their thoughts as far as they can – even if doing so yields conclusions that make them, and their fellow citizens, uncomfortable. The 21st-century Newspeak of the safe-spacers would be alien to the pioneering champions of liberty, but I think it safe to say that Locke would not support being “triggered” as justification to silence one’s peer. Offence is taken, not given, and so it can never form part of any objective definition of “harm”.

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National Union of Socialist Safe Spaces: An Orwellian Thought-Police Paradise

However, the National Union of Socialist Safe Spaces would think otherwise. In a recent debate about free speech on the BBC2 Victoria Derbyshire programme, Richard Brooks, the NUS Vice-President, summed up their view with accidental but telling accuracy as he (presumably inadvertently) paraphrased another of Orwell’s great works, Animal Farm, stating that “everyone has an equal right to freedom of speech; however, some people have more equal rights than others”. [4] The leaders of Soviet-like students’ unions claim to represent all students but they enforce a tyrannical ideological homogeneity upon their student bodies, with all the political diversity – or, rather, cult-like loyalty – of a Nuremberg Rally. The environment they create is one in which only the bravest and most principled of students dare to express a contrarian view, and the free marketplace of ideas and arguments is itself seen as the flawed, neoliberal child of a colonialist past. It is only in this repressively hostile climate that one could so innocently quote Animal Farm.

Brooks seems to be blissfully unaware that, for centuries, British legislation and classical liberal ideology has increasingly promoted the idea of individual rights, with no more state intervention in people’s lives than is necessary; he should realise that the individual is always the smallest minority. To this effect, universities are places where free speech is supposed to be sacrosanct. Hence, Section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986 states that every individual and body of persons concerned in the government of universities has “the duty to ensure” that freedom of speech within the law is secured, including “that the use of any premises of the establishment is not denied to any individual or body of persons on any ground connected with: a) the beliefs or views of that individual or of any member of that body”. Simply put, the NUS policy of “No Platform” would appear to be illegal – but you can bet that the NUS has an army of lawyers ready to defend it from the membership that pays for them.

The first casualty of this suppression of free discussion is truth. Mill argued that if the majority silences its opponents, it will never have to defend its belief and over time will forget the arguments for it; hence students must be encouraged to stand up to and rigorously debate ideas, rather than “no-platform” speakers they don’t agree with. Theresa May made it explicit how it should be: “We want our universities not just to be places of learning but to be places where there can be open debate which is challenged, and people can get involved in that.” As Mill continued, it is often the case that neither party has complete truth, which is why it is so important that ideas can meet in the argumentative intercourse of open debate, and birth new orthodoxies and understandings that combine the partial truths of both sides. This is analogous to evolution – and it is not just our indisputable past, but our only positive future.

It’s thus long time we rejected the National Union of Students, and the students’ unions they give succour to; these useless, Orwellian, bureaucratic organisations have ceased to be platforms of representations, and are instead a tool of the radical left; there is no organisation in Western society more uncomfortable with the views of its members, including the Labour Party. Last academic year, four universities disaffiliated from the NUS, and those of us who champion the fundamentally human values of free debate and intellectual diversity, are determined that more will join them this year. A culture in which opinions are subject to challenge promotes the development in individuals of strengths of character that are invaluable to a society, including the ability to engage in critical inquiry, a willingness to challenge beliefs held firmly by oneself and others, and the courage to stand up for convictions that are not widely held. The NUS stands for none of these, and its illiberal and intolerant leaders are long overdue a revolutionary overthrowing of their own. Long live the revolution.

Footnotes:
1. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/comment/opinion/freedom-of-speech-trumps-safety-on-campus/2018189.article
2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/03/student-accused-of-violating-university-safe-space-by-raising-he/
3. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/465257/UKIP-banned-from-speaking-at-student-s-union-because-of-extremist-views
4. http://thomasmoreinstitute.org.uk/orwell-2-0/

Free Rider Phenomenon: A Nationalised Disaster From A Health Economic Perspective

in Brexit by

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Nationalisation:

Socialism has never been shy of severe criticism, whether it is for its utopian moralities, fallacious idealism and for its pervasive statism. But, personally, it is its economic naivety and recklessness that makes me cringe the most, especially its faith in nationalisation. Nationalisation – transferring the ownership of physical assets from the public to the private sector – is the socialists’ incessant need for the state to control all industries and firms and bringing them under state control. The beautifully volatile and fluid dynamics of the markets are displaced by a centralised, anti-democratic and artificial economy. The suppression of neoclassical economics subverts rationalism and pluralism, which is incredibly dangerous because the economics becomes susceptible to homogeneity and stagflation.

Political economy:

Nationalisation plays a significant role in the changing the dynamics of the political economy. En processus of transforming assets, power is shifted from the people to the bureaucrats. It doesn’t stop there. To “protect” bureaucrats [can manifest itself as the principals, such as providers; *in health economics, the role doctors can overlap with the role of bureaucrats], their power is reinforced by unions, formed by the government, who represent these bureaucrats, who pursue their own self-interests: power. It is complex but ironic, the government give power to unions to preserve and perpetuate the hegemony of the bureaucrats, yet the unions only act in their own self-interests, seeking become the alpha dog; the custodian of all power! This is what happens when power – stipulated as legislative and socio-political power – goes to the wrong hands.

Unions thriving under technocratic corporatism:

This is why I slipped the word selfish when describing the nature of the socialist economy and it is a valid point. Just look to at, for example, the NHS pre-1979. When Wilson was in power from 1964-1970, he stimulated a new phase in the NHS: technocratic corporatism. Under central planning, technocracy thrived; where innovation was only pursued by the state. This was combined with a bureaucratic delivery system, where patients struggled to get direct access to treatment. To consolidate this further, management was inefficient, with the medical profession being organised in defined associations and with a highly centralised negotiating structure. This gave the unions [in general, not just in health] more ammunition to attack the state. This continued under Heath, 1970-1974, who did come up with the free market initiative but succumbed under the powers of the unions. Eventually, it was Callaghan’s turn to overcome the unions, instead, presided over the notorious Winter of Discontent, where the unions relentlessly and remorselessly destroyed the country, galvanising its followers to strike against their industries! You see, the unions became too powerful in the public sector, such that whenever they were opposed, they would hold their guns to the government’s head. Selfish? The unions are a mutated Jekyll and Hyde: their opportunism, malevolence and militancy are overlooked by their false innocence, vulnerability and benevolence, all in the eyes of the masses [media and general public]. Just look at what is happening now: the NHS is being belittled from the BMA, who are seizing the opportunity to attack an already wounded NHS in order to satisfy their financial needs. Tragic.

The Free Rider phenomenon:

While nationalisation suppresses the beautiful attributes of free market economics, deprioritises democracy and catalyses the strength of the unions, it leaves itself exposed to the Free Rider phenomenon. Behavioural economics postulates that [quasi-] public goods, like the NHS [since it is funded through individuals’ taxes], are non-rivalrous and non-excludable in which individuals can’t be excluded from using the good as well as the consumption of the good by one individual doesn’t reduce the availability to others. Essentially, using the NHS as an example, it is: “free at the point of use”. Thereby, patients can consume as much good as they like without incurring the costs, besides taxation, which depletes/strains NHS resources. But, the benefits gained are so huge that the taxes are seen as a marginal cost or not even a cost at all. Since the Free Rider phenomenon applies to public goods and the NHS is seen as a quasi-public good, this issue has manifested itself as a moral hazard. This is where one party behaves towards another party in a way where they know that someone else, third party, will incur their costs. For example, consumers decide to have lots – more than they need to – GP appointments because they know that they won’t have to pay for the costs of visiting; the government will. What is worse is the fact that taxation is progressive meaning the rich, who on average don’t consume as much healthcare goods as the poor, will pay more tax to compensate for the moral hazards. Thus, the third party suffering from the moral hazard are the rich. This leads to many problems: the inflation of demand, catalysed by an increasing population [assuming that they’re all free-riders/have such intentions], which erodes the NHS [tragedy of the commons] will be reflected in an increase in taxation. Since taxes can elicit behavioural changes, a proportional increase in taxation to remedy the costs of moral hazards, it can discourage the rich from taking public healthcare or from working, harming productivity. Therefore, there will be a significant economic deadweight loss. The ideal solution to tackle such predicament would be to issue user fees per GP visit with a low flat tax rate to stabilise demand in the short term [you could issue deductibles and co-payments, but this would require some privatisation, where there would be an insurance health scheme or out of pocket system]. 

The Free Rider phenomenon is mostly prevalent in the benefits system. There have been instances where people, mainly the unemployed or low-income families, have relied on benefits as a source of income. This has put people off from looking for work, as they are getting government funding for free. A recent example of this has been a woman using her kids as a source of income, child support. The government has legitimised her opportunism, creating an incentive to have more kids. This leniency, all approved by the unions, exacerbates the problem of exploitation and justifies the need for a privatised benefits system. 

Conclusion:

For the left, nationalisation may seem a miracle to close the “inequality gap”, but it is an exploitative tool which empowers those who fail to thrive in the meritocratic, free market economy. It is a corrupt cheat sheet that encourages fraudulence [information asymmetry, such as Free Rider phenomenon/moral hazard]; provides short-term benefits and has long lasting consequences. The solution is simple: privatise and let the market reward those who work hard and encourage those who don’t to do so. We can start by strengthening, democratising, tightening our legislation and welfare system and pinching the noses of the unions who always continue to intervene and govern our lives.

Zak is a British-Moroccan Global Health student at Queen Mary’s University of London. He aspires to become a nutritional epidemiologist and health economist policymaker [reforming the NHS and carrying out the Thatcher legacy of mass privatisation]. Because of this, his articles focus on the health economics of the NHS, with his views derived from neoclassical economic theory.

Does Free Speech Have a Limit?

in Islamism by

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After a decade and a half of public notoriety, Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary was recently convicted of inviting support for Daesh, a proscribed organisation, and will be jailed under the Terrorism Act 2000. For years Choudary, a former solicitor, used his expert legal knowledge to carefully tread the line between free speech and breaking the law. This automatically leads to a few difficult questions: when does free speech cross into the realms of being illegal, and should it ever?

Spiked wrote an article calling for Anjem Choudary to be freed, not because they in any way agreed with his insane preaching, but because they felt that his sentencing set a dangerous precedent for thought crime to become more common. Proponents of Choudary’s arrest, however, will rightly point out that he wasn’t just expressing an unpopular opinion (he’d been doing this for years before) – he was encouraging people to join an organisation that persecutes the innocent, infringes on the freedom of others, and commits global terrorism. Should we draw the line when human lives are threatened?

Such a viewpoint opens the door to an argument about free will: if Choudary convinces someone to go overseas and fight for Daesh, is the follower not responsible for his own actions? Is it the role of the state to impinge on free speech when citizens begin making the wrong decisions because of it?

It’s easy to sympathise with what Spiked are saying – everyone should have the right to say what they want, and only those who act on said words should be punished. They, however, seem to miss the reality of what Choudary creates: hate preachers like him do increase the number of Britons who go abroad to fight or commit terrorist attacks here at home. It would be a nice world to live in where only actions are punished, rather than words; the problem is that openly recruiting for groups like Daesh directly leads to those actions.

Ultimately we need to question what the role of the state is. We classical liberals and libertarians obviously recognise that while the state needs to be kept small, it should never be removed entirely. In his Second Treatise on Government, Locke presented his vision of the state: citizens enter a social contract with the government, which in turn protects them. This is the central role of the state if ever there were one: to protect the people.

This is why it was right to arrest and convict Choudary. His freedom of speech wasn’t being infringed upon, because he had openly been able to express his poisonous ideas for over a decade. He would lead rallies – which even had police protection – that brazenly called for Sharia law to be imposed upon Britain, and the flag of the caliphate to be raised above 10 Downing Street. As much as he wants to claim that he was a victim, the reality was that he expressed these ideas without consequence. And that’s precisely what they were: ideas. The story changes, however, when he begins to recruit people for a proscribed group. They, at this point, are no longer ideas: they are actions that threaten the lives and the security of British citizens. This is why the state intervened and arrested him, and why they were right to do so: to protect the people, and to ensure the tragedies of Paris, Brussels, and Nice aren’t repeated here.

Choudary is an extreme example, however. Let’s take a more mild, but still topical debate. Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos reached a new level of infamy, even for him, when he was permanently banned from Twitter in July. The ban was a result of sustained abuse, most of it racist in nature, directed at Leslie Jones, the black actress in the new Ghostbusters film. The problem is, though, that it wasn’t Milo who sent her racist abuse: scores of alt-right accounts acted of their own accord to drive her away from Twitter. Milo was declared the ringleader, however, and was banned.

There’s a number of reasons to object to Twitter’s actions. Aside from calling her a “dude” and telling her to get over hate mail, it’s difficult to say what he did wrong. There’s certainly no evidence of coordinating harassment or being racist himself. Milo might pride himself on being an agent provocateur, but as controversial as his opinions might be at times there is no justification for his ideas and words being smothered. While Twitter, as a private company, might have every right to decide who can and can’t post on their website, there is a worrying trend of right wing news being censored on social media, with even an ex-Facebook employee confirming they suppressed conservative stories. Given the turbulent relationship Milo has had with Twitter, going back into last year, it’s not hard to imagine that his crime wasn’t tweeting racist abuse to Leslie Jones.

Milo was banned because he sports controversial, pro-Donald Trump opinions. Leslie Jones was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back. Milo’s war with Twitter, starting around the time when he was de-verified, is one over ideas. His ideas are contentious, no doubt – they embody the entire alt-right movement – but they are still just ideas. This is where his Twitter ban differs from Choudary’s arrest: Milo did not recruit people for a racist abuse campaign, and neither did he actively encourage people to harass Jones (whether he did so indirectly is a separate debate). Choudary, on the other hand, had spouted his vile ideas for years without reprisal, but eventually he did cross the line into threatening public safety.

As was touched on earlier, however, Twitter is a private company, and has the power to arbitrarily ban whomever it chooses. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t support the campaign to #FreeMilo – after all, a medium with as much influence as Twitter should roundly be criticised if they descend into Facebook levels of censorship. Ultimately, although it’s their choice whether or not free speech exists on their website, one would hope they were more consistent with it given the number of Daesh-recruiting Twitter accounts that still exist.

And this is where we can draw the line about where free speech has a limit. Milo Yiannopoulos attacks everyone under the sun: feminists, liberals, Muslims, atheists, and even fellow gay men. No matter how controversial his opinions, though, his right to free speech must always be defended. After all, for years we tolerated Anjem Choudary preaching a Wahhabist ideology – and rightly so. The line is drawn when Choudary mobilises his followers to join a terrorist group: a provocation of violence. This is the only time that free speech has a limit, and even then it’s not ideas that are being suppressed. This, surely, is the truest role of the state: to protect its citizens – not from beliefs, or opinions, or even ideology, but from physical harm.  

Right to Save: How to restore the dream of home ownership for Generation Y.

in Brexit by

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In 1991, 67% of people aged 25-34 were home owners; by 2015, this had fallen to a bare 36%. Laboured with debt, and with rises in house prices decoupled from increases in wages, home ownership is a distant dream for many millennials. Government regulation and interference has been a prime mover of this disturbing trend. By unnaturally sustaining cheap credit, and by choking off new house building, state activity has inadvertently cut our generation off from the prospect of owning a place of their own.

The path to wider prosperity must begin with addressing the lack of affordable houses for sale. General planning liberalisation must include the abolition of national land-use strategies, and serious consideration of the laws enacted since the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 which have done much to raise the cost of development and to add to the delays in receiving planning permission. In a business context, this micromanagement mania has erected barriers between different classes of business making improvements more difficult. In one case known to me, an Edinburgh sandwich bar was even told that their establishment was only allowed one and not two panni grills; as for indoor seating, forget it. Time spent waiting on a planning decision, anything between eight to sixteen weeks, is time that those on low incomes or with cash flow problems can ill afford to endure.

Equally, it is an unfairness to provide state support through Housing Benefit only to those with rented accommodation. While in the longer run this benefit might be best phased out, in the shorter term, those on low incomes with mortgages should receive the same kind of support, provided this change was revenue neutral. Too often incentives are geared against working people establishing themselves by gaining access to capital of their own. The aspiration for home ownership is near universal, its benefits presumably known to those who already own their homes; therefore, to exclude our generation from the same chance at this is to seriously damage the bond between generations. Of course, artificially supporting home ownership through the benefits system is likely to prove an unaffordable burden on taxpayers. Far better to save for growth and ownership than to face those costs each year through distorting subsidies.

Modelled on the success of Chile’s Private Retirement Accounts, a new approach to pensions and housing can escape the paradoxical failure of pay-as-you-go benefits; for it is clear that our current system combines the seemingly mutually exclusive faults of being both too expensive and too mean. Taken together, the state pension and housing benefit consume over half of all welfare expenditures, at around £125 billion in 2015-2016, while offering only meagre subsistence payments to many of the people who rely upon them. The basic state pension, for instance, pays out barely over £6000 in a given year, well below even the modest incomes of those working full time for the minimum wage. The phased replacement of housing benefit and the state pension is only possible with the introduction of a new scheme for tax free savings to enable more people than ever before to provide for their housing and pensions independently of the state.

Compulsory saving, in place of the additional and regressive income tax that is National Insurance, can allow people to develop for themselves a fully capitalised account from which to fund both their pensions and to pay for a deposit on a future home. The Chilean system offers savers a diverse choice of regulated private investment funds to manage their accounts, and has on average over 35 years produced a real return of around 8% on their investments. The accumulated value of these investments now stands at about 70% of GDP; a far cry from the situation in this country, where, at the end of a life time of National Insurance contributions, we can only find that the money has already been spent, and instead are required to live of the backs of then current workers. By adopting two different programmes for universal capital ownership, we can correct this injustice. Moreover, if at the end of a period of saving for housing, we chose not to buy a house, or indeed already own one, then these savings could be easily added as a lump sum to our own pension nest egg. Further, if by the end of our lives, the value of our funds have not been depleted, they should be able to be passed on free of inheritance tax to the next generation. For those with insufficient income to save a full amount to provide for themselves, it is cheaper to provide additional top up contributions year on year through government action, than for taxpayers, years later, to fund the full cost without the benefit of the cumulative interest earlier solidarity payments could earn.

Liberal reform now will not only provide greater comfort in old age, and a better chance of home ownership in our working lives, but moreover, release resources for stimulating dynamic domestic investment and growth. With everyone a share owner or property owner, the whole population will have a greater interest in and an understanding of the market economy. This transformation in outlook will have another benefit, for, with a far greater share of the population having the freedom that comes with property ownership, we shall have achieved a society less divided between the capital owning class and the rest. Property is a liberating force, for as self-ownership is the key to individual development, so wider ownership is the key to unleashing the economic talents of the many. Freedom to save, and the expanded material stake this will give people, truly is the way towards creating a popular capitalism.

Blaming the means and not those responsible

in Islamism by

PreventViolentExtremism

The Home Affairs committee published today, August, 25th the report “Radicalisation: the counter-narrative and identifying the tipping point“. Reading report text, you can conclude that everything, but the individual, is responsible for extremism: the social media, the media, the family, the community but not the individual who consciously decides to search for extremist content in the internet and join extremist groups.

Even identifying several of the root causes of the problem, the Report writers and its conclusions draw the impression that instead of searching for solutions, the committee were only worried on identifying third-parties in order to coverup the failure of the Government on tackling Islamic extremism.

Among the conclusions and recommendations, the committee comes with “extremely effective ideas” like asking the media to not call the Islamic State by its english name Islamic State but Daesh (the Arabic acronym with means the same thing).

The usage of vague propositions such as “The vital function that the Metropolitan Police’s CTIRU performs needs to be enhanced, extended and much better resourced to meet the scale of the ongoing threat. Its funding, equipment and operation should reflect the urgency and importance of its crucial work in trying to protect the public from fanatics and criminals.” also shows how the committee was not really worried on bringing up specialists that could really provide insights on the current work being developed by the CTIRU and what kind of additional strategies should be adopted by the very same unit.

In some passages the Report tries to convince the reader that the individuals that decided to join extremist groups do so because of external factors or a sense of not belonging to the community or to the country, but the very same Report presents results of a poll in its first finding saying that actually 90% of them actually do feel they belong to the British society.

Acknowledging the causes, the actors involved and drawing conclusions that are not in line with the findings, trying to deviate the responsibility of the extremism for the means when they say that the Internet giants “consciously failing” to tackle extremism on the web, the committee is just trying, as in many instances of our society to be “politically correct” and not providing the necessary solutions to tackle extremism.

The recognition of the existence of the problem and where it is will avoid the continuity of the narrative of the need of restricting even more the freedoms of all the citizens in name of security while the Government do already know where it has to go to tackle the problem.

Why campus feminism hurts women

in Brexit by

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As of 2016, over two thirds of people support gender equality, but only 7% identify as a feminist. Despite this, some students still believe feminism to be the solution to this. Historically, feminism aimed for women to have the full civil and social equalities that are afforded to men. Since the 1990s, the movement has broadened its parameters to focus on concerns that have been neglected by the previous waves. Presently, University campuses are spreading the word about intersectional feminism.minism.

As coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality is about analysing and discussing how oppression often intersects; creating unique and varied experiences of discrimination.

“Everyone has a combination of unearned advantages and disadvantages,” says privilege theorist Peggy McIntosh. Intersectional feminists believe it’s important for privileged people to listen and develop a deep understanding of others. They need to be made aware of the systems of privilege and oppression.

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There is no problem with using intersectional theory as a friendly reminder to be sensitive to certain groups. Unfortunately, many have taken a rather snarky, pretentious approach. Campus feminists frame intersectional feminism to be immune from criticism. The so-called privileged – especially white men – need to accept other people’s experiences and never critique those deemed oppressed. Condescending phrases such as “Check your privilege”, “You are just mansplaining” and “You don’t understand because you are white” are thrown around to anyone who dares. If a minority disagrees with intersectionality, they have internalised their oppression and simply “do not understand”.

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Many campus feminists fail to mention that intersectionality is actually a conspiracy theory and there are many factors that come into play, which are often ignored. Mainstream feminism is known to spew misleading statistics such as 1 in 5 women will be assaulted on campus and women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, all which have been repeatedly debunked. Whilst it is admirable to live in a society that is protective of women, how can people take a movement that get its facts wrong seriously? It’s true that white men statistically hold the high earning jobs. But, this is not the average white male. Rarely do you hear students speak up about men undertaking the most dangerous jobs, male child custody issues and men having the highest suicide rates. Some students feel it’s fine to mock white men, such as Goldsmith’s diversity officer, Bahar Mustafa, who would not allow white people and men to attend an equality event.

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Black, Asian, Mexican pride events allows ethnic communities to celebrate their strong cultural background within a white system that has historically oppressed them. “We don’t have culture. They have culture.” Many fail to recognise that having a sense of cultural identity is important; it’s a way of giving people a sense of belonging. Thus, many look at other groups, longing a connection they feel with their roots, their homeland, their culture. But, doing this is “appropriating a culture”. In some cases the National Union of Students (NUS) has banned students from dressing in “offensive” manner, such as wearing Mexican sombreros.

 

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The feminism of today is betraying the true values classical feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia fought for (left to right on photo). “It was about being a free, responsible and self-determining being,” claims Christina Hoff Sommers. Camille Paglia adds on that “Universities should never interfere with the social lives of students.” Rather, campus feminists want to use the power of authority, the NUS, to ban things deemed wrong. These include banning page 3, banning debates on abortion and banning the song Blurred Lines. Some universities are even campaigning to hold consent classes for freshers.

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Why are these feminists treating women as weak-minded, delicate individuals that must be protected from scary concepts and ideas? Isn’t University about considering other viewpoints? If we encourage women to retreat to safe spaces, all of us miss out on their voices in public debates. It does not help that the NUS bans speakers that “attack mariginalised people”. To achieve gender equality, women must not be protected from criticism. We should not fight for the right to not have our feelings hurt, as this will threaten our freedom. The truth is, the world is not a safe space. This current campus culture is not gearing young adults into the inevitable challenges life will bring them.

In the Spirit of the Bruges Speech

in Brexit by

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Oval-shaped, sometimes called the Venice of the North, this little city deemed the EU’s very own Oxbridge, is home to just 100,000 people. One may think that Bruges claim to fame would be that it was declared a World Heritage Site, but is was here in September 1988 that a determined, passionate future Baroness would utter those now famous words of her landmark speech to the College of Europe, “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level”. These words are not so different to those that would be uttered by future politicians, Members of the European Parliament, such as Daniel Hannan, Steven Woolfe, or Nigel Farage, in the run up to the EU referendum. Who then would be the modern day Thatcherites?

Let’s reflect on the rise of Thatcherism. The composition of the Tory party is similar now to that it was in 1980s, but the dominant faction changes. Tories have many factions, but they fit into two groups which Thatcher called “wets” and “dries”. The “wets” are the traditional centralist Tories, i.e. he who I dare to call “Red Heath”, Maggie’s forebear, who was in some ways ideologically left of Blair; a man so clearly under the thumb of the trade unions that the Baroness would take down. Now often forgotten is that the concepts which became known as Thatcherism were a sharp break from traditional conservatism. These were totally new ideas, influenced as Thatcher denoted, by the liberalism of Gladstone. The bold Iron Lady in her red chiffon dress didn’t take the path of least resistance, but had certainly “rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain” as she embraced the ideas of the libertarian Hayek. She boldly fought the stubborn trade union leaders and statism to to enable free market economics.

Thatcher bravely took the Conservative party in a new direction; in fact, Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty that she is claimed to have firmly brought down upon a table while announcing, “This is what we believe”, featured the shocking article, “Why I am not a Conservative”. She was a radical; this was a sudden ideological shift. While some may point out she was socially-conservative, she certainly is the most libertarian prime minister that Britain has ever had. Her boldness and determination inspired and opened the way for a generation of young eager activists, who had beliefs that they passionately stood for. Those were the years when the centrist Federation of Conservative Students, before its closure, was taken over by passionate libertarian students. It is this legacy, this adventurous, courageous push for Hayekian economics, that would make the Institute of Economics Affairs famous and open the door to libertarians such as Daniel Hannan and Steve Baker.

The real Tories, the “wets” as she called them, shy of change, nervous of the new, were furious to have lost their party, and would callously stab her in the back for not living up to the party name: conserving tradition; for she was anything but focussed on the past. Movements such as the Tory Reform Group, which arose in 1975 out of the perfectly named PEST (Pressure for Economic and Social Toryism), would operate student groups separate to the main Conservative youth wing, promoting for a softer more centrist approach; something more in line with Blairism. This is the group whose members formed the core of the short lived Pro-Euro Conservative Party, which disbanded in favour of the Liberal Democrats.

From Major forward, the conservatives shifted back towards the centre, becoming very Europhilic, softening the demand for economical libertarianism. This was to some extent a reversal of the ideological shift Thatcher had led. The Tory party would be in the centre ground battling with New Labour and the Liberal Democrats for the neo-liberal crown, and resulting in the most unlikely of bedfellows in the Coalition Government of 2010. The Oxford University Tory Reform Group had closed in 2007 because it felt the Conservative party had “reformed” sufficiently to be of the same ideological outlook.

The “reformed” Tories, Orange Book Liberal Democrats, and New Labour would all have some Thatcherite influences, but none of them were “dry”, and certainly by no means libertarian. In was from this depth of frustration that Thatcherites would launch movements such as No Turning Back and Conservative Way Forward, and embrace the 92 Group. Some, disillusioned by the party’s centrist approach, stepped over to UKIP. It was at this moment that Carswell and Reckless stepped over, though no mass movement of “dry Tories” would occur, due to the fear that “First Past the Post” means a vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour. Brilliant focussed organisations such as the Freedom Association and Young Britons Foundation would make a bold stand against socialism. Ideologically, they all have a lot in common, and members of the CWF, the TFA and UKIP were all found working alongside each other in the Leave campaign, clearly singing from the same hymn sheet, in agreement with the Bruges Speech. Meanwhile the “wet Tories” were more likely to be in the Conservative IN group.

There are red kippers, but many in UKIP are blue and have far more in common with Thatcherites than they realise, or purple kippers with libertarian-conservatives. Stuart Wheeler, UKIP’s former Treasurer, had a portrait of Thatcher on his wall. Though UKIP and “dry Tories” are not identical, we found libertarian-conservatives, then backbenchers such as Daniel Hannan, Steve Baker, and David Davis, standing for Leave, the same position as Douglas Carswell, Nigel Farage and Steven Woolfe. They were all inspired by that libertarian call for localism and democracy. In fact, as we analyse the politicians at the forefront of the Leave movement, including heroes such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, and the now Minister Liam Fox, they all show Thatcherite influences.

UKIP needs to criticise its opposition naturally, and therefore it is quick to seek to draw a distinction from the Tories, as a campaign to win over working class votes. However, as repugnant as the notion may appear to some, Farage is both very Thatcherite and libertarian, and not just in his determination for Britain to leave the EU. More significantly, he embraced the classical liberal tradition going back to Gladstone and beyond, having mentioned John Stuart Mill in an interview with libertarian filmmaker Martin Durkin, where he spoke of less state intervention in personal lives. Durkin himself has made a documentary on Thatcher which was very complimentary. Some would object to UKIP being libertarian, stating that Farage is no advocate of ‘open borders’, but neither was Rothbard, while Friedman spoke of the disadvantages of EU membership.

While it sought to avoid the image, a faction within UKIP often came across as a “High Tory” party, as it embraced the spirit of the Bruges Speech in the push for an EU referendum, it stood up for free markets, it opposed political correctness and it called for less government. They are a modern version of the Fourth Party of the 1880s. While his words may be controversial and face much debate, former Tory minister Jonathan Aitken said Thatcher would be “secretly cheering on Farage’s Ukip”. In many ways UKIP was certainly more Thatcherite than the Tory Reform Group, as it showed no qualms about standing for positions that would be taken by any real conservative or right-wing libertarian. While they call themselves libertarian, perhaps paleo, Farage, Bloom and others are most likely Burkean conservatives. Actually UKIP was, while many things, certainly, whether intended directly or not, a libertarian-conservative ginger group, reinforcing the voice of Tory backbenchers, pressuring Cameron away from the centre and forcing there to be the referendum.

The political climate is dominated by statism, such as that of the regressive left, and the true meaning of liberalism has been lost. Groups such as Conservative Way Forward speak out for values Thatcher stood for, but are not the dominant faction within the Conservative Party. Meanwhile, UKIP, a party whose constitution once claimed it is libertarian, doesn’t know any longer what is stands for. There is a desire to take advantage of the loss of respect for Labour in the North and Wales, and to win seats, though there seems to be some possibility of an end of that loud voice for libertarian-conservatism, a turn away from the uneasy, unrecognised but highly effective cooperation with Tory backbench. Woolfe would have carried forward and transformed Farage’s version of Thatcherism, as a nuanced message to win over seats amongst working class communities who feel overlooked by the left’s political correctness and who want less state intervention, but now it looks more likely that Duffy will destroy UKIP by turning it into the authoritarian hard-left populist party people often have incorrectly accused it of being.

Nonetheless, the public demand for liberty is not reduced. This year, 2016, libertarians and conservatives from various parties were found standing side by side in promoting the spirit of the Bruges Speech. Further, the broadchurch non-partisan Young Britons for Liberty movement has arisen on campus. We take our name from Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty, and we share his desire for minimal state intervention. We seek to identify, educate and mobilise young activists (aged 35 and younger) interested in the traditional British concept of liberty, which is based on the writings of Locke, John Stuart Mill and Hayek. These ideas of individual rights led to Magna Carta, the end of the slave trade, and women’s rights. We promote secularism, tolerance, private property rights, free market economics, and the non-aggression principle.

Bitnation: Borderless, decentralised, voluntary governance services

in World News by

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A blockchain is a nearly immutable database that is distributed and updated across the members of a network. Blockchains serve as public or private records for all sorts of transactions. They allow for immediate processing without bottlenecks, automation, including of government services, getting rid of buraeucracy and waste, and depending on the use case, make central parties irrelevant at all.

The first blockchain use was Bitcoin, launched in 2009. Since 2013, cryptocurrency-like tokens were used as shares and dividends, called “Bitcoin 2.0”. Since 2014, blockchain use cases are explored for many areas, by pretty much all big organisations, including governments – in the UK for example, the government`s recently partnered blockchain service provider is Credits. You can look up Outlier Ventures` startup tracker, where you can see the amount of impacted areas.

In this article, I am going to focus on the politically most interesting blockchain company, Bitnation, of which I am a co-founder.

Bitnation is the first DVBN (Decentralised Borderless Virtual Nation), which uses blockchain technology to provide governance services, not only in partnership with, but also intended as alternative to governments.

The difference between government and governance is that governance can be provided by everyone for everyone, whereas government is governance provided by the state. Bitnation is a governance company, aiming to show that you do not need a government to have the most modern governance services possible.

Bitnation would solve the old problem of the government not having to compete for customers. There is a limited amount of nation states, and you normally do not have the opportunity or do not know about the ways to opt out.

Bitnation is one way of how this can be changed – by applying blockchain technology to all use cases where it makes sense, the cost of running the UK can become a tiny fraction of what it is today, which then could make taxes irrelevant.

Bitnation wants to enable everyone to build private governance services as they wish, and let everyone use them. It also has a partnership with E-Estonia to provide a public notary, which people can use to upload documents like contracts, for which they can choose whatever law they like.

It all started in July 2014, when entrepreneur Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, being upset about the US government`s interventionist foreign policy, decided to create a better, peaceful alternative: Bitnation, where people`s money would only be spent on what they directly buy, and would never go to anything people disapprove of, as there are only voluntary taxes, which would go to a privately organised welfare system.

In the same year, Bitnation conducted a blockchain marriage and a world citizenship blockchain ID pilot, and started working on land titles in Ghana. That pilot, as well as a birth certificate pilot and the launch of the Bitnation Pangea platform`s alpha, were conducted in the first months of 2015. The platform included the public notary mentioned above.

During the refugee crisis in summer 2015, Bitnation launched a package of services aiming at refugees – Blockchain IDs where people can also include and mutually verify their family members, a map where helpers can put in their open doors, and Bitcoin donations. In December 2015, Bitnation partnered with E-Estonia.

In 2016, Bitnation launched a constitution and a so far non-blockchain reputation system, of which currently a blockchain-based version is being built until the end of the year.

Aside from volunteering at Bitnation for almost 2 years now, I am also involved in other blockchain companies, currently mainly Cashaa, a cash-to-cash remittance company offering 0% fees, which gained users in more than 1000 cities in 119 countries during testing only, and we are launching in September, see cashaa.com. As we work without the need for a bank account or even a smartphone, and without the customer having to know about bitcoins or blockchains, this is a simple but powerful, liberating use case for people previously impacted by centralised organisations` unnecessary rules.

If you are interested, get in touch with me @blockchaingirl.

Labour’s Civil War, and why we should be worried (Part 2)

in Brexit by

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Welcome back to this two-part analysis of Owen Smith’s policy proposals. This time round we’ll finish looking at some of his proposals, and then we’re going to speculate what this means for the future of the Labour Party – and why it should worry anyone who advocates a smaller state.

Reverse the reductions in Corporation Tax due to take place over the next four years.

Never underestimate the left’s contempt for business. We in the UK recently hit 4.9% unemployment, which many economists believe constitutes full employment (as it is difficult to further reduce that number), and we now have record numbers of people in work. Sadly, Labour now believe that such a historical achievement isn’t worth preserving, and so wish to reverse the reductions in corporation tax, which can only result in higher unemployment. At least they will have more money for the inevitable JSA claims that will follow. There is, however, another danger that we must be extremely cautious of. Whether or not you supported Brexit (for the record, I did), you cannot deny that we now need to do our best to look appealing for foreign investment and new businesses growing here in Britain. Leaving the EU brings the risk of certain banks and companies moving to Dublin or Paris (though recent news stories have shown that the Remainiac’s fearmongering was overblown). We need to convince these industries that Britain is a place of investment, and that it is in their interest to stay here. Increasing corporation tax only hastens their exit.

Reverse cuts to Inheritance Tax announced in the Summer Budget.

I cannot stress enough how much I oppose this simply on moral grounds. Nothing screams “politics of envy” more than a death tax imposed on the grieving simply because they are wealthy. This, however, is endemic of Labour: instead of presenting a study ladder to those at the bottom, they instead attempt to pull the rich from their rung.

Introduce a new wealth Tax on the top 1% earners.

Smith elaborated that this new tax would be imposed on “unearned” wealth generated from investments. The problem is that said investments are already taxed! This would be an additional 15% on top of the existing 50%. There comes a time when one wonders if Ayn Rand might have actually had a point when she referred to socialists as “looters”.

A British New Deal unveiling £200bn of investment over five years.

Smith later clarified that we would indeed be borrowing more money in order to fund these investments. We may have abandoned our surplus target, but does that necessitate widening the deficit?

Ending the scandal of fuel poverty by investing in efficient energy.

While I support any initiatives for cleaner and more reliable energy, perhaps Smith should consider that fuel poverty could be reduced by an increase of competition in the energy sector. We shouldn’t be inhibiting the free market; we should be inspiriting it. The ordoliberal ideals that led to the Wirtschaftswunder are something that all governments should model their own economy on. The free market, with just enough state intervention to keep it competitive, drives prices down for the poorest while encouraging innovation for the nation’s benefit. Encouraging our own economic miracle will ensure that the scandal of fuel poverty becomes a thing of the past.

A pledge to focus on equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity

Although this was first on his list, I have left it for last on mine, as I feel it is the more egregious and offensive example of state overreach that he has championed. Let us reiterate what he is saying: it isn’t enough that everyone is given the same opportunities in life, instead the government must hang the private sector with a noose of red tape so as to produce an ostensibly egalitarian society. The reality is, though, that striving for equality of opportunity is what produces an egalitarian society; intervening in the private sector to impose your vision on Britain means that this country ceases to be a meritocracy, which will only hurt our economy. As always, this makes the poorest suffer the most, in a bitter twist of socialist irony. Smith has no specific proposals on how he will attain “equality of outcome”; perhaps, as an example, it could be worth harkening back to last year’s general election, when the Green Party had a manifesto pledge to enshrine in law the requirement that 40% of all Boards of Directors were female. Unenforceable, statist, and economically detrimental. While it’s not fair to blame Smith for the Green Party’s ludicrous proposals of positive discrimination, it is fair to assume that his own methods will be just as impractical, and are likely to punish those who work hard regardless of their background. .

So, where does that leave us moving forward? In reality, Owen Smith is unlikely to wrest the leadership from Corbyn. Does that make his policies irrelevant? Not at all – indeed, they speak to a far more worrying trend for the future of the left. As I said some 2,000 words ago, Labour are no longer pitching moderate, centre-left candidates to combat Corbyn. Instead, they are waking up to the fact that they are a part of an unhappy marriage between the grassroots socialists and the PLP moderates. Should they present a Blairite candidate against Corbyn, the Trotskyist membership will strike him down in a brutal landslide. Now that the MPs are acquiescing to the fact that they are no longer a true party of the working class, they are simply seeking a “unifying” candidate; that is, a candidate who is far enough to the left to please the membership, but competent enough to please the PLP.

The worrying thing here is that if this is the beginning of a trend of hard-left candidates, it means that the Overton window is shifting too far towards socialism and statist economics. While it can be easy for we on the right to celebrate the fact that Labour continues to rally behind “socialist yahoos”, as Rees-Mogg would call them, the thing we need to be aware of is the fact that eventually public opinion may swing away from moderate politics. We need to come to terms with the fact that Britain will one day re-elect Labour; we live in what is effectively a two-party system, and no matter how successful one party might be, their days are always numbered. At least when Labour had a centre-left candidate you could stomach their politics. Sure, they wanted to increase corporation tax and meddle in the free market, but at least they didn’t advocate class war by re-nationalising industries and using the 1% as a scapegoat.

The question that we classical liberals, libertarians, and other small-state folk need to ask is, when the political mood inevitably swings back to Labour, do we want their leader to be someone like Owen Smith, who is just as red as that man he’s trying to depose, or do we hope that they elect a leader whose damage can at least be mitigated?

Rockitics: How Staind’s Price to Play attacks Statism

in Islamism by

live-music

Introduction:

Music of all genres is a precious art; the instruments draw emotion; the voice heals and nourishes the soul; the lyrics convey a message. But, music can also be, unintentionally at times, an effective platform to illuminate political problems. This is the case with alternative rock band Staind, whose 2003 hit, Price to Play, emphasises that:

“life isn’t a game, but it’s the price we pay to play this game that we call life.”

In other words, life is not simple; it is an organism itself that suffers from imperfectability. While this may be a cynical perception of life, it is true; life is remorseless and the solutions that the left propose that equality will cause celestial utility is…well, utopian! 

Statism’s Price to Play:

The intro of the song follows:

“Fail to see how destructive we can be
Taking without giving back ’till the damage can be seen
Can you see? Can you see?”

Although Staind is referring to the nature of life, it fits well with notions and attributes of statism. If we were to replace we from the verse to the State, then makes better sense. This poignant verse suggests that the State are detrimental to society because they take: entrepreneurship, people’s freedoms, principals’ utility and agents’ incentives to innovate, people’s jobs and livelihoods away and that the State will not respond to the costs, the damage, is not only visible to them but affects the stability and power of the State. With the tempo increasing, the end of the verse – Can you see? – is sang in a nonchalant way because it reflects the exasperation from classical liberals, conservatives and libertarians; it is clearly counterproductive, yet nations like China, Russia and even, Singapore still implement complete, if not residual statism.

“The more you take, the more you blame
But everything still feels the same
The more you hurt the more you scream
The price you pay to play the game…
And all you step on will know shame
There are no rules, no one to blame
The price to play the game”

The chorus really consolidates the flaws and consequences of having a centralised state controlling political, social and economic policy: the more the State regulates our industries and our lives, the more they blame for their failures; for the job losses caused by radically intervening and creating an artificial, rigged market that only benefits them! Ironically, everything feels the same in the sense that the outcomes stay the same; the rich get poorer (possibly richer through corruption, where the State pacifies the rich to prevent curtailing nationalisation) and the poor get poorer. Margaret Thatcher’s response to Simon Hughes’ income inequality rant perfectly illustrates the intentions of statism.

The more you hurt the more you scream simply implies that when the State; the nation suffers from the pains of statism, the more they will yell, via the media, to us and go in denial, claiming that the resulting economic decline is all due to the rich. But that’s the price for playing the game; at the end of the day, the public has to endure the costs for the State’s greed and irrationalism: giving the green light to centralisation, regulation and nationalisation is simply unfeasible and fatal to society. And all you step on will know shame berates the State for the upheaval caused by statism and yet, they still continue – all you step on – and don’t learn from their lesson. Why? Because there are no rules, no one to blame and that’s the issue with the dynamics of statism: they are too powerful and so, can’t be accountable. Ironically, there are rules for us on how we should live our lives but not for the state. Hypocrisy? Undemocratic? That is statism for you!

Decapitate Statism’s ugly head:

It is clear that statism is the evils of governance, whether you look at the USSR and communism, Fascism/Nazism, Radical Islamism or at North Korea, where statism is so radical that North Korea is viewed as totalitarian.

We need to end statism of all sorts; cut the roots of statism and replace it with a seed that grows and bears a ripe fruit of democracy, tolerance, free speech, free market economics, pluralism, autonomy. Then, there will be no price to pay!

Live and let live!

Zakariah is a Global Health student at Queen Mary’s University of London. He considers himself to be a ‘Modern Thatcherite’, a classical liberal who shares Margret Thatcher’s economic liberalism and fiscal conservatism but is more socially liberal towards various socio-cultural attitudes and less authoritarian. He believes in a federal Britain, privatising the NHS, limiting the scope of foreign aid to humanitarian aid and supporting non-interventionism on military grounds [only participate in international free trade].

Brexit: A Jeffersonian Victory (Part 3)

in Brexit by

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In my last essay, I discussed the concept of secession in response to tyranny my and petitioning for redress, and related these two concepts to Britain’s recent decision to withdraw from the European Union. In this final essay, I shall discuss the concept of good governance, as opposed to centralised authority, as well as why we can and should view the European Union, like the American Colonists viewed Great Britain, as Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

Good Governance, not Centralised authority

A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

On the one hand, the British People may have given some well-deserved respect to David Cameron if the EU had a genuine desire to reform itself; to become more accountable, to reduce and restrict itself to protecting our basic rights and to do nothing more; but it doesn’t. It never has, and it never will. Jean Monnet, one of the EU’s founders, had this to say- “Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.” Here he has stated himself his desire for a centralised, European state which deceives the people in terms of its existence and what it does.

The EU has clearly demonstrated, throughout the entirety of its existence, that it was never about creating a trading bloc. It was about creating a United States of Europe. Tony Blair himself, stated that the EU is “No longer about peace, it’s about power”. Whatsmore, with over 40,000 legal acts, 15,000 court verdicts, 62,000 international standards, and an even greater amount of EU regulations on business and commerce, the political institutions that form the European Union have demonstrated themselves to be deliberately incompetent at defending freedom. It has only proven competent at abusing it. As we have persistently attempted, and failed, to prevent EU centralisation and its abuses on our freedom and liberty, in the form of negotiation and diplomacy, as well as the political process. It is therefore only just that we the British People have voted on whether or not to remain in this Union, and I consider it the catalyst of our independence, and the reclaiming of our freedom, that we voted to leave.

Primarily, those who voted to leave the European Union did so because they were against the excessive regulations, the ongoing centralisation, the anti-democratic nature of the EU’s political and economic institutions, and the the EU’s attacks on the individual freedoms of the people. Therefore, because of these grievances alone, I consider it proper that we should follow the advice that Thomas Jefferson; advice which he gave to the colonies after they themselves failed to reclaim their rights and liberties from the crown, after the list of grievances.
Enemies in War, Friends in Peace

We must…acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.”

Thomas Jefferson, like many of his peers, believed that the American Colonies should pursue peaceful friendship with other nations, and should regard other nations as friends during times of peace. 15 years after writing the declaration, Thomas Jefferson stated in his Presidential Inaugural Address that his government would pursue “Peace, Commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”. By saying, he outlined his belief in the independence of the United States as a country from foreign influence, as well as a desire for peaceful friendship and commerce between the United States and the rest if the world. Mr Jefferson knew, like every good economist, that free trade is a necessity for the happiness and prosperity of the people.

It is for this reason that a majority of the British People voted for Britain’s exit from the European Union. Britain can not only survive outside the European Union, but flourish. By joining the European Union, we were forced to abandon the relationships that we had with other nations and surrender that to the European Union’s institutions. This stands in contradiction, I feel, with Jeffersonianism, because the EU as a political union is, by definition, isolationist. Once we are out of the EU, Britain will be able to make and regain peaceful relationships; not just with the European Union, but with the rest of the world as well. Also, as an independent country, we will be able to pursue commerce with other nations, whilst retaining our national sovereignty.

Conclusion

To conclude, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is, truly, a Jeffersonian Victory. It is such because it proclaims a belief in civil government, in secession in the face of tyranny, and a commitment to protecting our rights. As an independent nation, the United Kingdom will be able to escape from the tyrannical chains of the European Union. We will be able to regain our sovereignty, and institute a new system of government that is representative of the people, that will protect their rights, and that the people can remove if they wish to. I truly believe, due to this modern application of Jeffersonian principles, that a bright, positive, independent and prosperous future is on the horizon for our country. As John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail after signing the Declaration of Independence- “Through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction”.

In his first draft of the Declaration, Mr Jefferson wrote of the Colonies’ former relationship with Great Britain, whilst providing optimism and faith in the colonies’ independence. I believe what he wrote may also be used to describe the former relationship between Britain and the European Union, and provide a sense of optimism and faith, in our independence.

We might have been a great people together; but a communication of grandeur and of freedom, it seems, is below their dignity. Be it so, since they will have it. The road to happiness and to glory is open to us too. We will tread it apart from them and acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our eternal separation!”.
Thomas Jefferson

Mark O’Kane is the Press Officer for Young Britons for Liberty. He is studying a BA Degree in Philosophy and Politics at the University of Central Lancashire. He considers himself a Jeffersonian Libertarian, and is inspired by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Murray Rothbard, John Locke and Adam Smith.

Please Donate to Promote Liberty to Young People

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Young Britons for Liberty (YBL) is the largest and fastest-growing libertarian, classical liberal and liberal-conservative youth organisation in the country.

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Pit closures were a Labour policy; Wilson shut twice as many as Thatcher

in Brexit by

 

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My not so distant ancestry would be English dockers and Welsh miners, who worked in the valleys as well as southern Africa. Hence it would be assumed that I must vehemently despise the Tories, especially Thatcher. People may be rather confused to discover that I, a classical liberal, was disgusted by all those self-righteous passive aggressive people cheering the death of a frail old lady. On a tour of a mine in South Wales, I wasn’t the only person who looked rather bored and unimpressed when the tour guide diverged into a tired old rant on the evil witch who ruined the mining industry; he didn’t back up his statements with facts, but rather he had actually clearly ignored them.

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Of all the mines shut, an incredible two-thirds were shut during the rule of left-wing hero Wilson; hence most had been shut before Thatcher even became Prime Minister. In 1964, 545 mines where open, but Labour governments shut down 326 of them, more than half. When Thatcher took over, the pace of closures actually slowed, with only 6 closing in her first year as Prime Minister. Overall she only shut 154 mines over 11 years, while in just 4 years more Labour had shut more than double that number down.

Nonetheless, why am I not angry about these pit closures? Yes, the Welsh economy collapsed, and many people did have to leave their homeland and move to London or Australia for work. My family moved into other areas of engineering, including sales and digital. However, beyond the fact that Labour shut more mines, what we notice is a situation, whereby in 1960s with the burden of excessive wage demands and cheap imports from China and Eastern Europe, coal mines became ineffective. As a classical liberal, I support free markets; the role of the state is not to prop up unprofitable businesses – but rather, businessmen should have been shifting their attention to the fast-growing emerging digital market.

Long gone were the days of coal-fed industry, with trains switching to diesel. Coal was gone; both Labour and Tories knew it. The Industrial Revolution was a part of distant history, and coal would increasingly be seen as dirty, or simply too expensive. Times had changed, and while Tories do believe in small government, even Labour socialists decided they couldn’t just prop up a dying industry. Governments, left or right, from the 60s right up until today, including those of Blair and Gordon Brown, have closed pits. It’s clear that Thatcher did not go out of her way to shut mines just to be evil or just to profit the elite, and neither did she come up with this plan or decide upon it, but simply completed what was not a Tory, but a Labour, policy!

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The great irony is that Thatcher is condemned vehemently for sticking to a Labour policy despite the undemocratic opposition of Scargill and the trade union thugs. In 5 years from 1965 to 1970, Wilson shut 211 mines – the highest number per year ever. He shut more mines in 5 years than Thatcher did in 11; hence mine closures were actually reduced, not increased, by Tory rule. Therefore, any criticism of Thatcher is a desperate attempt from a left-wing minority to criticise a right-wing politician, especially anyone who is not a ‘wet’ Tory. However, why should someone on a low income, struggling everyday to pay their bills, to feed their children, to keep a roof over their heads, be paying to prop up the failings of businessmen?

There is this human tendency of ‘confirmation bias’, where we think of an idea then try to make the facts fit, selecting those we like while ignoring those that are too awkward to face. When people are frustrated with their lot in life, we want someone else to blame, and scapegoats are found, be it the Jews in Nazi Germany, the whites in Zimbabwe, the Indians in Uganda, or just the middle-class in Britain. Many people angry with Thatcher don’t analyse how many mines were shut and by whom, and neither do they want to hear the facts; they just want some posh toff to bash. When I hear their comments, I notice that they fail to realise it’s not the middle, but upper, class who are the rich elite; and after they fail to make this basic distinction, their attempt to comment on history or economics is rather weak.

The reality is that the economies of Wales and Northern England will remain weak for as long as the people will instead of retraining, prefer to romanticise the trade unions and their illiberal influence as the voice of the people, as working-class freedom fighters resisting a government representing the elite. Recounting history in such a manner is so naive, because the government is appointed by the people, as our accountable representatives, and most voters are actually working class. The predominantly working class electorate had voted in Thatcher as their voice; Scargill’s influence on the state was dictatorial, not in the spirit of what John Locke wrote, and a subtle attempt at coup d’etat. Thatcher won elections fair and square; she was the voice of the people, with approval ratings of circa 50%.

Long gone are the days when kids where shoved up chimneys, not all workers even wanted to strike, and a minority was trying to force their political preferences, rather akin to the pathetic riots outside the Tory conference in 2015. Hence for the sake of democracy, for the continuance of what Magna Carta stands for, for the working class to have a voice, the arrogant aggressive trade union bullies absolutely did need to be reminded how Britain works. While trade union bosses earn six figure sums, even more than the Prime Minister, they fight for workers tax to be spent on feeding an already dead industry.

We must stop yearning for the industrial revolution; time to adopt the digital. We were a world leader in engineering and we would be now, if we were a little less stubborn but accepted the need for change the trade unions resist even today as London moves to a 24-hour Tube service. We invented the railways, etc., and led the world in industry, building incredible ships, aeroplanes, and so on. This incredible momentum should have seen us now still in the position of world power; Wales or Northern England could have built Microsoft, Google or Apple out of perhaps not a garage but the British boffin’s garden shed. We invented both the computer and the Internet; so what went wrong?

At Bletchley Park, the birthplace of the modern computer, I heard a volunteer moan about how Thatcher’s reforms had ruined the industry; this was absurd and lacked any logic. The reality is that we lost focus, and became stubborn. We failed to see the potential of all this new digital technology because we were obsessed with coal; we were living in the days of Brunel and not building on that legacy. The British economy suffered as we ignored the digital future and demanded to live in the past. Until recently, the name Arthur Scargill was better known than either Alan Turing or Sir Tim Berners-Lee. While people from overseas take this technology forward and migrants keep London tech companies going, British people sit around crying for the ‘good old days’ of coal. We need to realise it’s 2015, not 1815!

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It could be said the great failure was not closing the mines, but in that the government didn’t retrain, but let’s not forget that the left-wing socialist Labour government was in power during most of the period of mine closures. Moreover, blaming the government the resultant unemployment is totally unfair – this is not communist USSR; the government is not to be a nanny state that holds our hands and makes all decisions for us. The fact is consumer demands change, and there have been so many opportunities to train, especially as the IT industry boomed. The real failing is in the lack of British digital start-ups, the lack of effort to built, yes this ridiculous expectation that some saviour will appear and reopen old businesses there are no customers for.

Being from mining stock and having lived in Wales, I know what I am talking about when I say it’s easier for people in the valleys to bitch about the past while claiming benefits instead of make the effort to retrain; there will only be a strong Wales if we build it. If we want a strong Wales – and the North England powerhouse, if we want a sustainable Wales, if we want a Wales that Welsh people do not move away from to find work, but rather return from London to home and keep the culture and language alive, what we need is silicon valleys, not coal pits. Therefore, as surprising as it may seem to some, I finish an article positive towards Thatcher with the phrase “Cymru am byth!”

(Sources of data referenced in article: http://www.conservativehome.com/leftwatch/2013/04/wilson-closed-more-coal-mines-than-thatcher.html)

The Illiberal nature of BDS

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I am proud that like those who support Young Britons for Liberty, that for many years I have stood up for the values of freedom of expression, individual freedom and free markets. It is for these reasons I am so opposed to the movement of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

One of the key reasons given for those who support BDS is that it’s about showing solidarity with Palestinians, but nothing could be further from the truth. When you put up barriers to trade, you often harm they very people you say you are doing it for and the BDS movement against Israel is no exception to this rule. When it comes to the economy and jobs, the Israeli and Palestinian economies are entwined. Yet, as an advanced economy Israel can deal effectively with the threat BDS could have on their economy. Contrastingly, as a less developed economy, BDS is much more harmful to Palestinians. Indeed, if successful BDS would hurt Palestinians who will lose their jobs, due to economic sanctions directed against firms that employ them.

Palestinian human rights activists, Bassem Eid, explains this well when he says “BDS spokespeople justify calling for boycotts that will result in increased economic hardships for the Palestinians by asserting that Palestinians are willing to suffer such deprivations in order to achieve their freedom. It goes without saying that they themselves live in comfortable circumstances elsewhere in the world and will not suffer any such hardship.”  I believe in the power of markets to help connect people and as a way where conflicts are avoided between people, as when it comes to business hatred is left at the door. BDS by contrast encourages hatred and puts barriers to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Those who support BDS hate Israel more than they care for the Palestinians, singling out Israel for opprobrium, compared to countries that have far worse human rights records, such as Iran, China and Belarus.

As a believer in free expression at universities I am extremely concerned about the chilling effect BDS could have on freedom of expression and academic freedom. I believe that BDS rather than boycotting Israeli universities, Israeli academics and many academics across the world who have collaborated with Israeli universities, is actually boycotting academic freedom. This is because it puts up barriers to the free exchange of ideas which is central to rigorous academic inquiry and through the delegitimisation of Israel paints a picture of the conflict which is very one sided and an anathema to academic rigour.

It also undermines the peace process, because for peace to be achieved between Israelis and Palestinians there is a need for Israelis and Palestinians to talk to each other. Israeli and Palestinian universities are one of the areas where Israelis and Palestinians interact most with each other, and they provide an opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians to express their views peacefully and look at how they can bridge the gap between their positions. In essence what BDS does is gag Israelis and Palestinians from engaging with each other.

These are just some of the reasons why I believe those who love free markets, individual freedom and free expression should oppose BDS. If you want to hear more about the case against BDS, you can hear me speak at Young Britons for Liberty’s monthly gathering on Monday August 22 at 7pm. Details about the event and how you can RSVP can be found here.

Stephen Hoffman is the Campaign Executive for We Believe in Israel. You can find out more about the work of We Believe in Israel at www.webelieveinisrael.org.uk 

Don’t Let Them Tread on You

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Resplendent with colour, and shimmering with character, there are few sights more evocative than that of a flag dancing in the wind. For centuries they’ve been used to convey the unifying values, beliefs and aspirations of humanity’s many different peoples, from the marriage of three colours in the Union Jack as an important symbol of the indivisible bond between the United Kingdom’s constituent countries, to the crescent moon signifying the prominence of religion in many Muslim countries. Flags are a basic, artistic human expression of the identities which define and distinguish us.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that as Western governments become evermore intrusive in their attempts to regulate the cultural and political discourse of their people, one flag is now being unjustly dragged through the gutter, and sullied in the rancid water there, with a false history that is the confection of leftist cultural imperialists.

The Gadsden Flag was created by the eponymous Christopher Gadsden, a general in the American army, and used as an official flag by the Continental Marines. The text, “Don’t Tread on Me”, intimates a strand of the American view of liberty, of striking not first, but in deadly fashion when attacked oneself, and the snake was (on account of the rattlesnake’s superb vision and concomitant lack of eyelids, and in infinitely greater eloquence) described by Benjamin Franklin thus:

“She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders.”

Predictably, however, such emotive and captivating defences of liberty could not be permitted to endure, by a US government machine seemingly sclerotically obsessed with treading over everyone, every second of every day. The Newspeak-named “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission” has declared this flag potentially racist – and yet despite the lunacy of such a decision, it’s their rationale for doing so which should terrify we beleaguered defenders of liberty the most.

Like many statesmen of his period, Gadsden was a slave owner, and this status seems to have been what justified the EEOC deciding to further investigate the complaint of a black government employee, who claimed racial harassment simply because a coworker refused to remove a cap bearing the Gadsden’s emblem. It is only further investigation that is being authorised, not conviction itself, but the rationale of the EEOC in doing this is worrying in the extreme. Despite affirming that the flag originated in an entirely non-racial context, and connotes many political themes entirely separate from racism, the EEOC justified continued investigation in one chillingly Orwellian paragraph:

“However, whatever the historic origins and meaning of the symbol, it also has since been sometimes interpreted to convey racially-tinged messages in some contexts.”

The precedent being set here is encapsulated in one single word: “interpreted”. In establishing interpretation as a potentially valid reason for restricting political expression, the EEOC is fundamentally redefining what free expression is, as well as how its limits are defined. Gone is the balance of objective judgement, and the primacy of intent in determining a message’s legality, to be replaced by the interpretation of the offended individual. It is no longer the job of the offended individual to recover from this heinous act of aggression, but rather the responsibility of the perpetrator to never cause offence in the first place. Never has there been an idea so dangerous to freedom of speech as the above.

How can I be expected to know what anyone and everyone else finds offensive? Presumably, almost every opinion anyone ever expresses could be shown to offend someone, somewhere.

Such judgements therefore threaten the most sacred principles of our legal system, for if acceptability is determined not by a universal standard, but by the individual reaction of the person taking exception, then there can be no claim of equal protection before the law.

More than anything, though, the questioning of the Gadsden Flag’s legitimacy is an attack on colour, culture and creativity; though slight, it’s an attack on the core of humanity itself. The brave pioneers who built our societies’ bedrock of civil liberties did not achieve this through bland and tolerant speech. No, they achieved it through inspiration, through aspiration, and through demonstrating to us all that there is no political currency to be had in bland and ineffectual speech. Across the world, the Stars and Stripes flies, and is idolised by billions who associate it with freedoms which they are deprived.

Our right to express opinions must therefore always take precedence over the “right” of others to avoid offence. Not only can offence not be quantitatively measured in a person, but it cannot be said to be in any way universal, either. Therefore, I urge anyone with a Gadsden Flag who is reading this to fly it higher than ever before, with as many other flags as you can; don’t let the opponents of human emotion and excellence threaten you into silence, and don’t let them transplant their morals into the place of your own. Don’t let them silence you, don’t let them intimidate you – and don’t let them tread on you

Freedom to care: the way ahead for a reformed NHS.

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The central objective of our NHS is the provision of universal healthcare on the basis of need rather than ability to pay. This is a laudable ambition, and one that in principle is wholly compatible with the tenets of liberalism. Conceived at the beginning of the post-war period, the NHS remains bound by the then fashionable ideologies of top-down managerialism and nationalisation. Conceding a role for the state in ensuring broad and equitable access, however, need not be predicated upon state control and ownership. Effective reform of our healthcare system will require that we learn from best international practice, and moreover, will necessitate a willingness to open the closed systems of central planning in favour of patient choice and clinical innovation.

As the NHS is not truly ‘national’, but rather operates under different systems across the UK, an analysis of missed opportunities is difficult. There are, conversely, distinct patterns of long waiting lists for elective procedures, limited patient choice, and mid-table outcomes for conditions ameliorable to healthcare. Despite considerable increases in funding over the past fifteen years, the UK still lags behind other advanced nations in terms of cancer treatment, ischaemic stroke mortality rates, heart disease, and provision for good mental health. England, which has enjoyed a limited experiment with competition and GP commissioning, leads the pack in terms of waiting lists and mortality rates, but has been beset by overly bureaucratic administration. The critical point is that these problems are not products of temporary circumstance, but innate features of a system in which the government interferes too often with the patient-doctor relationship. Our remedy must be founded upon the principles of subsidiarity, voluntary cooperation, and transparency.

In order to achieve more localised control and greater hospital autonomy within the health service, policy makers should borrow from the successful example of UK general practice. Traditionally seen as the gatekeepers for the rest of the service, primary care consumes just over 7% of health service resources in Scotland while seeing the significant bulk of all patients. By effectively triaging patients, and in the provision of good community care, vaccination services, and minor surgery, the UK primary care sector is able to reduce the overall costs of providing universal access to medical services. Almost unique within the NHS, general practice maintained a distinct status as independent contractors, and therefore continue to be managed, for the most part, by partnerships of self-employed clinicians. The conversion of District General Hospitals and specialist clinics into standalone independent trusts, replete with their own profit and loss centres, and led by a partnership of self-employed clinicians, each with a real stake in the management of their hospital, is essential in order to repeat this success.

Decision making power ought to be decentralised, such that each hospital is best able to provide for the immediate needs of those whom it serves, and moreover, such that there is a dynamic and diverse social market from which patients can choose. To paraphrase Ludwig Erhard, the freer the hospital the more social it is, precisely because it is only through freedom of action that individuals can creatively make use of their own knowledge. The conceit of central planners, whatever their intelligence, is to imagine that information of best practice and of human wants can be aggregated, and that a better order can thereby be calculated.  Quite apart from the arrogance of coercing individuals into their grand projects, the inflexible and remote nature of such schemes gives rise to repeated errors in resource allocation.

If money is power, then transferring the right to choose from planners to patients is essential to secure the agency of individual patients within the service. Such a structure for financing care would sit much more closely with many European systems of healthcare. By empowering the individual consumer, countries like France, Germany and the Netherlands have escaped the dangers of producer monopolies, and moreover achieved startlingly better outcomes for their patients. The Commonwealth Fund reports that in those countries, the percentage of patients who waited over four months for elective surgery was 4%, 3% and 1% respectively, in contrast to 21% in the UK. Equally, though the UK has a marginally better record of preventing death when amenable to healthcare than Germany, the NHS preforms significantly worse than the French, Dutch, and Australian systems, all of which promote a greater emphasis on choice and competition. The necessary spur to improve quality of care and outcomes is that patients should be free to seek better health wherever they may find it. To that end, patients should no longer be compelled to conform to set paths for care, but once referred by their GP, should be enabled to access care at a hospital of their choosing in either the public or private sectors on a fee for service basis as weighted by their diagnosis-related group. The NHS tariff, which already in England provides set payments for an innumerable set of medical and surgical procedures, should be extended across all parts of the UK, and opened to patient commissioning to allow for resources to follow their decisions. In effect, the NHS would be transformed from a body actively concerned with providing and controlling our healthcare, to an institution sitting somewhere between a single-payer insurer, health-maintenance organisation, and public regulator. Though unlike many of the Continental systems, it would be better if a single-payer NHS were funded out of general taxation rather than through  economically damaging statutory insurance schemes financed by payroll taxes.

To make sure that choice works most effectively in the interests of patients, there ought to be a new focus on transparency. Following the French model of carte vitale, smart cards might be introduced to integrate medical records, and to allow for the speedy transmission of vital information about a patient, including notifying their chosen physician of any care received in A&E, and the time and results of their hospital discharge. Additionally, and again following the French example, the cards should serve as a means of payment for services purchased by immediately reimbursing hospitals or specialists up to the value stipulated by the NHS tariff, with any additional costs in the private sector to be borne by the patient or their insurer. In making a choice of provider, patients will of course be guided by the advice of their GP or by a specialist, but additionally should be supported by the introduction of care comparison exchanges that might combine both multi-index reporting of hospital cleanliness, care outcomes, inpatient accommodation levels, and waiting lists by a public inspectorate with additional information provided by anonymous but accredited patients with experience of care in the hospital.

These three reforms amount to a liberalisation of medicine. While the NHS has many excellent doctors, nurses, and support staff, and while the care it provides is better than in a great many parts of even the developed world, other systems have had still greater success. We should not be afraid of learning from those success stories, and copying aspects of their structures where they are compatible with our own existing system, even if this entails rapid and considerable evolutionary change. Equally, we should be confident enough to conserve that which is best about our system, most particularly family and community medicine, the teaching hospitals, and our provision for certain conditions like Hepatitis C. Above all, we should recognise that freedom is a moral virtue in its own right. It is by respecting the actual demands and desires of patients that we best ensure their satisfaction. Only by putting the individual at the heart of the decision making process can we be certain that we have a truly human health service. 

SHARE: Don’t Tread on Me Flag !

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The Washington Post recently covered the USA’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission review of the Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. The WP report implies that wearing attire with the Gadsden flag or similar insignia could be deemed racial harassment and made a punishable offence.

The Gadsden flag has long been a symbol of libertarianism, which opposes collectivism, including racism. Libertarianism requires that people are judged by individuals on the basis of merit.To quote Students for Liberty, “Rather than a symbol of racial animus, for us it’s a reminder that every human life is valuable and worthy of self-direction without excessive interference from the government or anyone else.”

Banning the Gadsden flag would be victory for political correctness but not for freedom of expression.Please help us – use the hashtag #SaveTheGadsden and share our banner:

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Or, share a photo with your “Don’t Tread on Anyone” t-shirt, sticker, or banner! Tag @younglibbers on Twitter and we’ll be sure to retweet!

Brexit: A Jeffersonian Victory (Part 2)

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In my previous essay on this subject, I discussed the American Theory of Allegiance; that the colonies owed allegiance only to the king, and that they were free from this allegiance once he abused his side of the social contract. I also discussed how prudence has often lead men to believe that radical change in government, even during times of despotism, is somehow not for the best, and that mankind would be better off by enduring the despotic government in question. In this part, I shall discuss the need for a people to secede from their government’s rule in response to oppression, and the concept of petitioning for redress.

Secession in the face of oppression

“…But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

So far, it has become fairly understood. The European Union is bent on route to becoming a centralised, bureaucratised state. It has exceeded and ignored the political restraints to its power (we know this because for one, there was no provision in any of the treaties for them to bail out multiple countries). Overall, this excessive centralisation and misuse of power has had grave consequences for the liberties and democratic institutions of the individual and the nation states. Speaking in the European Parliament, Nigel Farage declared- “This European Union is the new Communism. It is power without limits. It is creating a tide of human misery, and the sooner it is swept away, the better.”.

Britain’s decision to withdraw from the EU, and the American Colonies’ Declaration of Independence 240 years ago, both cite the dangers of excessive and unwarranted use of power by the state, and the duty of the people to “throw off such government” when it tries to oppress its own citizens.

Petitioning for redress

In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.”

Britain’s membership of the European Union has had grave consequences not just for ourselves but for others as well. As I sit writing this essay, I have been reminded of George Washington’s admonition to avoid entangling alliances. Reflecting on this quote and comparing it to our situation, I believe President Washington would be crawling in his grave. One of the consequences of our membership is we have repeatedly been forced to finance EU projects and bailout other EU member states. The most recent example is the Greek Bailouts. This is bad on our part because we are continuously giving our own money away for nothing in return, and bad on their part because it teaches other nations and institutions to be dependant.

Before the British General Election in 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron said that if re-elected, his government would attempt to “renegotiate” the terms of our membership before putting our membership to a referendum. After reelection, the eurosceptic prediction was that any attempt at renegotiation of our EU Membership, would be nothing more than a con, and they were not disappointed. The Eurosceptics wanted total national sovereignty, the ability to control our own borders, a veto on EU Legislation, and the ability to determine our own trade deals. It was the height of absurdity, therefore, during the so-called renegotiation, to witness David Cameron staying up until 5:30am arguing over how he would be able to spend £25 million of child benefit, which barely amounts to 0.1% of our total welfare spending.

As I said before, the eurosceptic view of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation, his supposed attempt at peacefully shaping Britain’s EU Membership into something which suited Britain, was that it would be laughable, and they were right. The bureaucrats in Brussels rejected almost all of the Prime Minister’s proposals, and also said outright that there would be no negotiations if Britain chooses to remain. I believe that this in itself made the case for independence.

In part 3 of this subject, I shall discuss how the European Union is NOT an example of Good Governance in a Free Society, and why the United Kingdom, as an independent nation, should regard the European Union, like the rest of the world, as “Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”

Libertarianism and the Public Breastfeeding Debate

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There is objection to some cafe owners telling female patrons to breastfeed discretely, while others are said to have told people to leave. This is clearly an emotive topic, and personally, I don’t see how it can be an issue to discretely feed a baby in public, but what is the ideological perspective when it comes to liberty.

The traditional approach has been as follows: The notions of dress code, modesty, etc., that Western society revolves around go back to traditional ideas, partly influenced by religion, that the body must be covered because it can be sexually provocative; this effect drives the ‘adult’ industry; people claim they have a right not to see what could arouse. Hence we find people objecting to nudist beaches, topless sunbathing, or indiscrete breastfeeding in public.

Some people feel these are dated impractical ideas. The reasoning often taken to defend breastfeeding in public is a claim such is libertarianism, that people can do anything in public, if it doesn’t physically harm others, including being topless. Some say men are permitted not to wear shirts. Often claim is made that traditional ideas of morality are prudish nonsense. However, these issues of morality aside, Is this actually related to libertarianism?

First, follow this reasoning through; such would mean people have the right to walk down any pavement nude, because it is not a violent act of physical aggression. Likewise, another example, for consenting partners to have sex anywhere they want in public, including the park or public library, etc., because it causes no injury to anyone. The proponents of the toplessness would often object to the two examples just given; many people understandably feel that ‘flashing’ should not be tolerated. Thus they call for implementing inconsistently a sense of social morality; the thing is, if we approach this logically, either we fairly keep to this concept of modest dress code, consistently permit some degree of social convention of morality, or we have none.

More significantly, back to the question of what is libertarianism; it is based on a notion of private, not public, property, and that all land should be such. John Adams wrote that “[t]he moment that idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the Laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be sacred or liberty cannot exist.”

Property owners would determine what dress code was relevant to their piece of land, including setting aside a breastfeeding area or asking for discretion, just as they could demand all visitors wear fancy dress or be nude; if you don’t like the rules, you don’t have to get a coffee there. Again, people will object to nudist cafes in public view on the high street where people smoke weed; but it is private property; though it is at the end of the day public demand that dictates the free market and such a shop may not stay in business. If public opinion is that breastfeeding in a cafe is acceptable, most owners will tolerate such; in cases where there is objection, it is driven be fear of loss of trade – it is public opinion that drives the free market.

As for the current existence of public property, such as parks or libraries, and so on, this is a form of collectivism, and while it would be present in a minarchist state, certainly not to the degree currently, but only to the minimum necessary. The only real demand being that such should be administered by democratic representatives, and any ruling on dress would be down to whom the people elect to speak for them – if the majority of women feel breastfeeding in public should be permitted, the law will change.

Labour’s Civil War, and why we should be worried (Part 1)

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Last week saw Labour leadership contender Owen Smith unveil 20 policies that he intends to champion in his challenge to Jeremy Corbyn. While one has to respect the fact he is being forward enough to lay down 20 (relatively) clear proposals, as opposed to Corbyn’s vague promises to end austerity and renationalise the rails, any libertarian-minded individual should be worried not only for his proposals, but also the future of the British left.

When Corbyn was elected leader last September, the moderates of the Labour Party were rightly worried about his radical proposals, and whether it would affect Labour’s electability. Now, however, the coup against Corbyn has abandoned any pretence of moving Labour back towards the centre-ground. Make no mistake: Owen Smith is every bit as radical and statist as Jeremy Corbyn. Short of no plans to renationalise the rails, Smith should be considered to be on the hard-left of Labour, not the soft-left that he has claimed to be a part of.

To demonstrate, this two-part blog post will look at some of his proposals, and then analyse what this means for the future of Labour, regardless of who wins.

Scrapping the DWP and replacing it with a Ministry for Labour and a Department for Social Security.

Splitting one governmental department into two seems to be a needless attempt to expand the state’s reach. One can only presume that the DWP would be abandoned in order to wipe away negative connotations connected to Iain Duncan-Smith, but aside from creating an unironically Orwellian-themed “Ministry of Labour”, the purpose of this split is a bit of a mystery.

Introducing modern wages councils for hotel, shop and care workers to strengthen terms and conditions

As if Corbyn’s statist approach to politics were not enough, Smith has decided to go one further. Hotel, shop, and some care workers are all part of the private sector – and yet Smith believes it is the state’s role to dictate what pay they receive. Separate from a minimum wage, it seems he believes it is his obligation to ensure that concepts such as supply and demand of the workforce are swept away and instead replaced with a centrally-planned recruiting scheme. There are multiple problems with the state dictating how much the private sector should pay. Firstly, if he wishes to push their wages significantly higher than the living wage (which is already increasing over the next four years anyway), you are guaranteed to see a rise in unemployment. Secondly, it would be rather easy for employers to simply rename a job title in order to avoid paying someone the higher wage. Finally, as alluded to earlier, the market has this wonderful habit of adjusting to pay employees a wage appropriate to their value. History has, again and again, shown that when the state interferes in this, it is those who are poorest who suffer the most.

Banning zero hour contracts

You have to feel a bit sorry for Labour in the 2015 election. They realised that the Coalition had done a fairly good job with the economy, had created two million jobs during their parliament (averaging out at 1,000 new jobs being created every day for five years straight), and had turned Britain round from the brink of catastrophe. Miliband was forced to adopt a philosophy of “austerity-lite”, meaning the general public had no real reason to vote for him. Short of any real proposals, Labour were forced to make their flagship policy the banning of zero-hour contracts. The “two million jobs” figure, Labour claimed, was misleading: too many of these people were actually on zero-hour contracts. In order to prevent supposed exploitation, they planned to outlaw said contracts. Of course, this argument shoots itself in the foot: according to the Office of National Statistics, as many as 800,000 people might be on zero-hour contracts. Ban them, and your unemployment rate will skyrocket. The solution they propose is often introducing 1-hour contracts. There are issues with this, however: aside from interfering with the free market, it would still force employers who have uncertain work to lay people off, as well as damage the prospect of running a small business. Labour need to come to terms with the fact that many businesses depend on zero-hour contracts to survive, and many students relish in the freedom it grants them. Heavy-handed regulation amounts to little more than damaging virtue-signalling.

Ending the public sector pay freeze

Another proposal that sounds lovely on paper, but in reality can be nigh-impossible to deliver on. The ONS tells us that there are around 6 million people working in the public sector. While Owen Smith hasn’t specified who, exactly, would get a pay increase (and how much it would be by), one has to imagine that we’re looking at billions of pounds worth of extra money being spent. Spending billions more will be a recurring theme in this pseudo-manifesto.

Increase spending on the NHS by 4% in real-terms in every year of the next parliament

Commit to bringing NHS funding up to the European average within the first term of a Labour Government.

A 4% increase in their annual budget works out at around £4-5 billion extra a year. While this might seem good on the surface, it is half of what NHS England needs in order to survive, according to Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England. If one wants to continue with a state-funded health service, and not consider alternative models that have proven success (Singapore, for example, was ranked the most efficient healthcare in the world by Bloomberg in 2014), then we must tackle it seriously. If Labour insist on spending more money, it could be worth pledging the full amount in an area where it actually matters, rather than delivering only half. Their commitment to bring spending up to match Europe, however, seems rather bizarre. The practical numbers, such as what has been proposed by Stevens, are surely more important than arbitrary figures that, again, serve as little more than virtue-signalling.

Re-instate the 50p top rate of income tax.

Labour are not interested in searching for the fabled Laffer Curve, which would in fact increase the revenue being brought in; instead, they adopt the politics of envy, attempting to squeeze the richest for as much as they can. The top rate of tax has become a battleground between the ideologically impractical: either you try to lower taxes for everyone and Labour attack you for daring to include the richest, or you attempt to attack the Tories by increasing the tax for the “1%”. If Owen Smith isn’t going to even attempt to explore the economics of what the most viable tax rate is, but is instead going to treat the richest as bags of money that can fund all of his proposals, then let’s at least hope that they have enough money to let him ride them until we suffer from capital flight.

In our next blog post we’ll finish looking at Smith’s policies. After this, however, we’re going to digest what this means for the future of British politics, and why we libertarian folk should be worried even if Labour suffer electoral oblivion.

MON 19 SEP AT 19:00, LONDON Liberty Drinks – Guest Speaker: Haydar Zaki, Right2Debate, Quilliam Society

in Brexit by

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We are excited to welcome you to another LibertyDrinks Networking session with Guest Speaker: Stephen Hoffman, the Campaign Exec for We Believe in Israel, will consider whether boycotts of business, such as the BDS campaign regards Israel, conflict with the classical liberal concepts of free market economics and freedom of expression and association.

WHEN
Monday, 19 September 2016 from 19:00 to 21:30 (BST)
WHERE
The Mitre – 24 Craven Terrace Lancaster Gate, London, W23QH

Get a ticket now
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/liberty-drinks-guest-speaker-haydar-zaki-right2debate-quilliam-society-tickets-26876756101

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