THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Is Boris playing 4D chess?
People and profits: who would benefit from the end of the city

A Socialist Britain: what are we in for?

I spent today at this seminar co-hosted by the Ayn Rand Institute and the Ayn Rand Centre UK. I am not myself an objectivist but the speakers and the subjects were appealing. It was an interesting afternoon beginning with Yaron Brook’s presentation on the long-standing historic links between anti-capitalism and anti-semitism, going all the way back to Marx himself

There followed a panel session on The Nanny State: Could Labour Outdo the Tories? featuring Douglas Carswell, Chris Snowdon, Lucy Harris and the indefatigable Dr Brook (who contributed at length to every session except the last).

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Chris Snowden said he wished, as someone who opposed both Socialism and the Nanny State, that he could simply link the two. He then presented a sadly convincing case that, whatever other damage a Labour government might do, it was unlikely to be worse than the “Conservatives” in terms of interfering in our personal lifestyle and health choices. There is even a chance that it may be genuinely more liberal on the issue of soft drugs.

Lucy Harris, MEP for The Brexit Party and founder of Leavers of Britain said that to call the phenomenon "Nanny" statism is too kind. It’s not a nanny it’s a boss. Dr Brook said that the world needed bosses and that such people are actually tyrants. Lucy thought that the real problem in both the EU and the UK in this respect is Quangoism. I think she's right. Far too many nanny staters are not driven by genuine concern for our welfare. They are rent-seekers making a good living from creating jobs for themselves telling us all how to live. Lucy said she regularly re-reads Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier, which perfectly sums up the attitude – veering between "sniggering superiority" and contempt – of middle class socialists for the working people they profess to serve. I confess I haven't read that since my schooldays. I must do so again!

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Douglas Carswell was the most optimistic member of the panel. He believes that Brexit has been a game changer in that voters will never take our incompetent rulers seriously again. He thinks social media has also made it permanently impossible for them to set the national agenda and steer debate as they always have. I think he underestimates the kind of sociopath attracted to the political life, but I hope I am wrong. 

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The next panel was called Can We Disagree? Cultural and Legal attacks on Diversity of Speech and the speakers were Toby Young, Yaron Brook, young Twitter sensation,  Soutiam Goodarzi — @Soutiam21 — and Dr Brook again. 

Toby Young spoke of a friend's experience in appearing on the BBC's "Question Time" show in Birmingham at the time Muslim parents were protesting outside a school about the "sex education" programme which contradicted their conservative beliefs. An audience member had asked the panelists simply to state whether they sided with the parents or the school authorities. All but his friend said emphatically they sided with the school. At dinner afterwards, all admitted to his friend that they did sympathise with the parents but had been afraid to say so for fear of being "monstered" by the "woke" lobby. He also spoke about the dishonest way in which the "no platform" types allege the risk of physical harm (e.g. "hate crimes") and psychological harm from mere speech. He pointed out that the much-bruited claims of a rise in hate crimes after the Brexit Referendum didn't show up in the statistics and that there was simply no evidence of psychological harm from speech.

He is planning to launch a Free Speech Union to support students, academics and others facing sanctions for speech and invited anyone interested in helping out in its formation to email him at [email protected]. 

Dr Brook said that successive governments have failed in their key duty to protect free speech against violence. The problem began with Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses. Governments did nothing to defend him. Then no newspaper in the US was prepared to publish the Mohammed cartoons from a Danish newspaper that triggered Islamist violence. He didn't blame the press because it was very clear the US Government wouldn’t defend them against the violent reactions they very reasonably feared. The current US Government, for all its bluster, won’t defend people against antifa violence either. He described the "woke" extremists against free speech as having a "Pre-enlightenment attitude". In those days the medieval church defined the range of acceptable truths that could be discussed. Now it is leftist academics who define it, but the outcome is the same. 

All panelists agreed that it was necessary to fight back if freedom of speech is not to be lost. Soutiam’s youthful confidence was remarkable. She says the behaviour of Britain's university authorities in relation to suppression of free speech is more dangerous that that of government but she’s prepared to take them on. I am not sure if she's fearless or naive and I hope her prospects are not damaged by her courage. I weighed in during Q&A with a couple of examples from my own experience of just how lost Britain's universities are to liberty.

The final session was on People and Profits: Who Would Benefit From the End of the City? The speakers were George Grigoropoulos and Andrew Boff. George pointed out that Conservatives have, since Thatcher (whose tenure he described as “a blip in the history of regulation”) been responsible for a massive increase in financial sector regulation. Labour is not blameless but has not been historically any worse.

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He said the only real difference has been in “the intensity of application of the same principles and assumptions” —namely,  that risk can be regulated away (it can’t) and that regulators are inherently wise (they're not). He pointed out that it takes 200 full time employees per bank to comply just with the Basel III regime. For the whole EU that’s over 75,000 expensive staff taken out of production to collect and submit data to regulators he doubts are even capable of analysing it. He highlighted the moral jeopardy inherent in such detailed risk management regimes. Instead of actually assessing risk, banks are “ticking regulatory boxes”. When (inevitably) some unforeseen risk causes a crisis, they will line up to be bailed out, saying “we did what you said this isn’t our fault”.

Andrew’s presentation was more party political. He accepted that his party’s Theresa May had been the worst PM in living memory but said Corbyn and McDonnell were “lost to reason” and would make her seem good by comparison.

It’s always good to be reminded that the routine idiocies of our political class are neither unnoticed nor unopposed. The rest of the audience members were mostly very young reminding me that, despite what one hears, not all our young people are submissive to the busybody state.


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My thanks and apologies to George Grigoropoulos who wrote to correct my report. I had confused him with his co-speaker Andrew and attributed the costs of Basel III compliance for the whole EU to just the City of London. I have made the relevant corrections. My apologies to my readers as well.

Lord T

In which case lets get there quickly so we can settle down.

I don't have anyone to vote for that upholds democracy and freedom. None of the parties in my constituency offer that.

Lord T

Better move quickly then. The Dims want Gun Control, Trump is open to it and the way he gives them everything they want means that soon there will be gun control. Only people that have guns now will have them. They are having the same issues we have with a powerful corrupt elite supported by a corrupt MSM pushing a tyrannical agenda.

The West is doomed unless it changes direction soon. There is pushback atm but not enough and it must get much worse before it will be recognised by enough to make a difference.

We must make a point at this election that Tories moving to the left is not acceptable and that most of this current bunch are traitors.


A vote for labour is a vote for communism. Corbyn is not a leader he is a figure head for left ideals. The person who he is taking advice from is john Mcdonnell a Marxist.

In my opinion voting for labour will not produce the fall you mention. It might lead to an oppressive society, quite the opposite of of what our society (although not perfect) is today.

My vote will be for someone who upholds democracy and freedom. Maybe a voice from within the party they represent.


It was a rhetorical statement on my part. Of course I know your answer to that question.


It’s a temptation, if only to educate those who have no knowledge of history — the 70% plus of young people who don’t know who Chairman Mao was, or the leader of the Labour Party who attributes China’s economic success to Mao’s multi-million mass murder in “the Great Leap Forward” for example — but really? We’d expose our Jewish fellow-citizens to danger, cut our intelligence services off from their Western colleagues and cause massive economic destruction. Buy some Hayek for all your young friends for Christmas instead. Light a candle in the darkness, don’t set the place on fire! If we ever do resort to accelerating the inevitable fall of this house of cards at least let me move to the USA first. I want guns at hand when it happens.


“Should government intervene...”. Come on CherryPie, you know my answer to that! Are we responsible for the consequences of our words, maybe (if we yell fire in a theatre or order someone else to do harm) but for the consequences of our thoughts?!

Lord T

When bloggers were encouraging people to join the Labour party to vote for Corbyn as leader I despaired. Cameron was due for a kicking and people just don't understand how bad socialism that Corbyn represents is. Having no opposition is why we are in the situation we are.

As far as I am concerned this country is screwed. Our only hope is for people to wake up and reverse the course we are taking. To this end we must make the fall come quicker. That is why with no Brexit candidate in my constituency I'll be voting Labour. To bring about the fall quicker and hence the recovery.


"Dr Brook said that successive governments have failed in their key duty to protect free speech against violence. The problem began with Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses. Governments did nothing to defend him."

This thought is challenging...

We are free to say what we think but we are also responsible for our own thoughts and words (and their consequences). Some people are deliberately provocative in the way the express themselves, complaining about the counter attack on their actions.

Should the government intervene in these circumstances...

Is that one step closer to a communist state where freedom of speech and thought is suppressed?

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