THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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January 2007
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March 2007

February 2007

Egyptian blogger jailed for criticising Islam | Breaking News | News | Telegraph

Link: Egyptian blogger jailed for criticising Islam | Breaking News | News | Telegraph.

Every political blogger in the world should spare a thought for Abdul Karim Nabil Suleiman today. There, but for the grace of God, goes any one of us. Those of us lucky enough to blog about governments who cannot (yet) inflict such harsh punishments on critics should pause for thought. We should take care not to overstate our cases by comparing ourselves to those living under real repression.

On the other hand we should also take warning. Freedom is easier to lose than to win. Damage inflicted on our civil liberties tends to be cumulative. Mr Suleiman's fate could one day easily be ours, especially if the intolerant influence of Islam is allowed to grow.

The City reacts to Peter Hain

Link: Alex cartoon.Telegraph.

I have been a fan of Peattie & Taylor's Alex cartoon strip since it was in that most tedious of rags, the Independent. I still recall the relief when the strip moved to the Daily Telegraph and I realised I need never buy the Indescribablyboring again.

It was only to be expected that Peattie & Taylor would react in some way to Peter Hain's latest idiocy.

Guest Authors

Over at Blogpower HQ, I have suggested a new initiative; namely inviting other Blogpower members to write pieces on our blogs as "Guest Authors." So far reactions have been mixed, but I will give it a try and see how it goes. I am sure we all have slightly different readerships and this idea might introduce at least some of our readers to other Blogpower blogs.

I have started to issue invitations, so watch this space.

Blair's wealth gap: voters want City bonus curb | Uk News | News | Telegraph

Link: Blair's wealth gap: voters want City bonus curb | Uk News | News | Telegraph.

So 73% of the British people think they have a right to decide how others spend their money. Isn't that what "something should be done" means in this context? Living in post-Communist countries for fifteen years I have regularly heard Western experts explain that respect for property rights and for freedom of contract are the essentials of a free society. They are right, but even as former Communists strive towards that understanding, the battle of ideas is being lost in Britain.

The City of London is a legacy centre of excellence in an otherwise mediocre nation. It competes on a global scale, attracting talent from all over the world. It is handicapped by the poor infrastructure of London, its high costs of living and the perception (not helped by London's mayor being a fan of Castro and a supporter of terrrorists) that it is a hostile political environment. It is a filthy, unpleasant and dangerous place to work. Operating costs are high, not because of salaries and bonuses, but because of taxes, property costs and costs of compliance with (mostly unnecessary) laws. To run a big business in the City (as anywhere in Britain) you must employ many costly drones to interface with Government and regulators and to collect taxes for the Treasury.

There is no particular reason that London should be Europe's financial capital. The real City is not a square mile of land in the capital of a once-important nation. It is a collection of people and equipment which could easily be moved to any decent-sized city in Europe. If that happens, the incomes of envious Brits will suffer in absolute, not relative, terms.

As anyone would have known

You Are a "Don't Tread On Me" Libertarian
You distrust the government, are fiercely independent, and don't belong in either party. Religion and politics should never mix, in your opinion... and you feel opressed by both. You don't want the government to cramp your self made style. Or anyone else's for that matter. You're proud to say that you're pro-choice on absolutely everything!

'One man dead after city shootings'

Link: 'One man dead after city shootings'.

The social contract under which we surrendered our arms in return for state protection has broken down, because the state has defaulted. It has so arranged matters that only the criminals and its own henchmen are armed. Sometimes it's hard to tell them apart while living in the crossfire.

I think it's time we honest citizens got our guns back - and the right to use them in defence of ourselves and our property. For some reason, it seems the police can't make these scum afraid. I think the possibility of facing any one of millions of Englishmen defending their "castles" might just do so.

A reflection

This has been a tragic, humiliating week for Britain. The latest murder in South London coincided with a UNICEF report which suggested our children have the lowest quality of life in the developed world. This has caused many commentators to pause, briefly, and take stock. We have an opportunity, before the stale debates resume, to take a new and better path.

I doubt it will be taken. I could have choked that hypocrite Roy Hattersley for example, when on Question Time he blamed these problems on the "heartlessness," he claimed was "brought in by" the Thatcher Government. Just minutes before he had angrily accused David Dimbleby of making a "cheap political point" when he asked if Labour, after 10 years in power, was in any way to blame.

His point was as irrelevant as it was cheap. Pre-Thatcher Britain might or might not have been "heartless." The economic situation was such that the bailiffs of the International Monetary Fund were at the nation's door. Kindness without resources is as useless as a kettle without water.

Not only do you need resources to do good, you must use them wisely. New Labour has "kindly" doubled expenditure on the NHS, yet hospitals are closing and doctors and nurses being fired. NuLab promised "joined-up" government, but by closing local hospitals they are causing patients and their families to travel thousands of additional miles, with all that entails for carbon emissions. They are going to bus children between schools in prosperous and poor areas in the name of "social inclusion" - to similar effect.

But this is really not a time for party points. All of us, political activists and bystanders, are to blame for the situation our children now face. While I would strongly argue that the educational and social policies at fault originated on the Left, they were neither seriously opposed nor ratcheted back when the Conservatives were in government. Education and training has never been a priority for either of the big Parties, when they should always have been at the head of the list.

Continue reading "A reflection" »