How Glorious was the “Glorious Revolution”?
(Adapted from an address to the 11th meeting of the Property & Freedom Society)
By Keir Martland
I would like to begin by thanking Professor Hoppe and Dr Imre Hoppe for their generosity in inviting me to speak on 2nd September to such an august gathering as the Property and Freedom Society – and at such a young age. The topic of the speech I gave was the so-called Glorious Revolution, although it might as easily have been titled “On Politics and Religion”, so central were these two themes to my own speech. Therefore, at the beginning of this essay I cannot help but recall an anecdote told of G.K. Chesterton. The great man was offered a column by the Illustrated London News Company and he very humbly asked on what he could possibly write for them. More…
How do you solve a problem like the proletariat?
19th August 2016
I was particularly struck on reading The Servile State by what appears to be a banal or asinine point:
A man politically free, that is, one who enjoys the right before the law to exercise his energies when he pleases (or not at all if he does not so please), but not possessed by legal right of control over any useful amount of the means of production, we call proletarian, and any considerable class composed of such men we call a proletariat.
Indeed, when lefties come out with such a statement, we are right to ignore them; they usually follow this by advocating state socialism, i.e. centralised control of the means of production by bureaucrats. When someone like Hilaire Belloc writes something like the above, however, I sit up and take note. Belloc, Chesterton, &co advocated not state socialism, nor state capitalism, but distributism, which they saw as the mediaeval economy adapted to modern times. The distributists often have a point, although I’m not necessarily a convert. More…
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We humbly ask our supporters to help us improve our website, blog, and archive. Already a big “thank you” goes out to Derek Bernard for supporting our appeal.
The Libertarian Alliance currently has two websites (thelibertarianalliance.com and libertarian.co.uk, the former used as a Blog and the latter as an Archive).
There is here a mass of original high-quality libertarian, anarchist, and conservative literature published over the decades since our establishment in 1979 which needs to be better organised and more widely available. There is also a need to merge the old website with the new one. In addition to more than a thousand essays in our archives, there are also multimedia files of lectures at Libertarian Alliance conferences, along with our appearances in the media. More…
Is the realignment happening already?
By Keir Martland
(26th June 2016)
At about midnight, the globalists in the Parliamentary Labour Party began their coup. Blairite Hilary Benn told socialist anti-interventionist Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn that he had no confidence in his leadership and the latter had no option but to give him the sack. Today we have seen a string of resignations, with half the Shadow Cabinet allegedly ready to resign to remove Corbyn. At the moment, Corbyn seems ready to put his own name forward to fight off the leadership challenge, but this may change if it becomes apparent that he doesn’t have the confidence of his Parliamentary Party. You do need the support of your MPs if you are to lead your Party.
The challenge to Corbyn is very interesting. What may be happening is a long overdue realignment in British politics. Of course, all of this is taking place following a vote from the British people to leave the European Union, and following Jeremy Corbyn’s own insistence that this vote should be respected. Since roughly 90 per cent of the Parliamentary Labour Party are determined to keep Britain in the European Union, this cannot have been taken well by people like Hilary Benn. More…
What happens after the EU referendum?
(4th June 2016)
During the May 2015 General Election, David Cameron hinted that he would stand down during this Parliament, “Terms are like shredded wheat; two is fine, three might just be too many.” This means that at some point before 2020, Britain will have a new Prime Minister.
For foreigners reading this, Britain does not have a presidential system of government. Instead, we have Cabinet or Parliamentary government, meaning we elect representatives to the legislature, from whom a government is then formed. Therefore, if our Prime Minister resigns or dies, this does not trigger a General Election. More…
Friends of Attack-the-System.Com, Sean Gabb and Keir Martland, discuss the pantomime that is the European Union referendum and whether a “Brexit” is really a good idea after all.
Brussels: Déjà vu
By Keir Martland
I remember watching with horror on the night of the 13th November 2015 as the news of the Paris atrocities came through. RT, the BBC, and Sky were all of them thoroughly confused by the events and yet I stayed up until the small hours of the morning. When I woke up, the death toll was well over a hundred. It made me, and countless others, almost physically ill. It also made me very angry.
This morning, I sat down with my breakfast and switched on the television set with the intention of getting my 5-10 minutes of BBC propaganda. Instead, I was very nearly late for college. Just as in November, I was glued to the screen, only this time I don’t feel the same anger. Yes, I am repulsed. I would hope that the very idea that any one of us could be blown to smithereens by some lunatic while on the way to work or waiting for our luggage – in our own country – would repulse any sensible person. But I am incapable of reproducing the emotions of last year.Instead, what I mostly feel is déjà vu.
by Keir Martland
Another year is over and as exactly one year ago to this day I wrote a review of 2014, I shall do the same today for 2015.
The General Election
The first political event to spring to mind is of course the May 2015 General Election. A longer campaign than usual, it was perhaps more overtly leftist in its tone than any of the twenty first century. UKIP, itself having veered to the left to accommodate new Old Labour members, proved no counter-weight to the leftism of the other parties.
By Keir Martland
There’s a lot of talk of the recent debates over the Cameron regime’s proposed Syrian adventure being a good thing and that we are learning from the mistakes of Iraq and Libya.
No we aren’t. The vast majority of voices we are hearing are in favour of a military solution. While the wisdom of bombing is being questioned, it is the wisdom of ‘bombing only’ that is being questioned, with even a young lady from the Adam Smith Institute calling for working “with countries all over the world” in a Grand Coalition, arguing that boots on the ground “probably is necessary”.
by Keir Martland
I disagree that it is crude to make a political point out of atrocities such as that in Paris yesterday. Bad politics causes these attacks and better politics can prevent them. Here are a few political points I’d like to make.
In the first place, most of us have imperfect information about the events of last night. I was flicking back and forth from Sky to BBC, who, in turn, were getting their most reliable information from BFM. Even as I write, the death toll is disputed as is the question of whether the terrorists definitely were Muslims.
Terrorism scares people in this country. It scares them to the point that they will lie back and think of the State as the anti-terror legislation is rammed through Parliament.
I imagine attitudes are similar in France. I don’t know the specifics of the anti-terror legislation in France, but I don’t think it would be unreasonable to assume that powers of the state have increased since January, though I understand they may presently have rather more rights to privacy and so forth than we have. Last night, I predicted that President Hollande would respond one of two ways: either he would argue that without the existing surveillance and police powers there would have been more deaths, and leave it at that; or he would demand more such powers. From his statement today, it seems he has opted for the latter.
The “international community” has responded. Obama says this is an attack on “humanity”. Cameron has pledged his support. In France, 15000 military men are in Paris. The French border is closed. There is a “state of emergency.” With such a response, I think, rather like after 9/11, we can kiss goodbye to any open debates on the collection of metadata. All the usual “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” legislation will be passed. Furthermore, Britain’s intervention in Syria will once again be on the cards. If the Commons rejects it again, Cameron will use the royal prerogative powers this time. All-in-all, this is not good for freedom.
by Keir Martland
Not long ago, I wrote something nasty about Margaret Thatcher for the Libertarian Alliance. Yet even I will concede that in order to be so cruel about the old cow one must inevitably come across as sympathetic to some less than civilised people. In order to attack the Thatcher government and its record one must to some extent deny the existence of the many problems this country faced in 1979: the rampant inflation; the militant trade unionism; the lack of self-respect as a nation; the high rates of direct taxation; the low levels of home ownership. I will concede that even if one takes a dim view of the Thatcher government, there are many allowances that can, and indeed must, be made.
However, when considering the latest tax credits debacle, I am unable to make similar allowances for Mr Cameron and his government. This particular episode is a perfect example of economic illiteracy, legislative incompetence, and constitutional ignorance.
By Keir Martland
Margaret Thatcher won the 1979 General Election after the vote of no confidence in Jim Callaghan’s government. Callaghan had not been particularly disastrous as Prime Minister until the winter of 1978/9, the so-called Winter of Discontent. Thatcher then proceeded to transform this country from a largely free one to a largely unfree one.
Yes, we are told that Britain was the Sick Man of Europe in the 1970s and emerged into the 1990s a prosperous and libertarian country. Yes, the scandalously high tax rates were slashed, for example the top rate of income tax was cut during Thatcher’s time in office from 83% to 60%. Yes, union power was reduced. Yes, people were allowed to buy their own council homes. Yes, we went to beat up the Argies in the Atlantic.
However, was Thatcher a Good Thing for Britain? It’s my own opinion that the best thing about the woman was her rhetoric. She could talk about liberty and property with great passion and vigour, but when it came to the delivery of those two things, she failed. She spoke very well about rolling back the state, but under Thatcher, the state grew in both size and scope.