Why couldn’t Bob Ainsworth have stuck his head above the Parapet Two Years Ago?

Bob Ainsworth(less), a minister of spectacular uselessness even by New Labour standards has come out and said it. The war on drugs is a counter-productive, expensive, damaging failure.

Why the hell did he not do anything about these views when he was in Government? Of course the rhetorical question can be answered: Because of grotesque producer capture by law-enforcement and media; political inertia and cowardice on all sides of the house. Suggest such a “crazy” thing and you will get comments like “I have seen what drugs do to communities…” without considering the counter argument of legalization, regulation and some control would do much more to help the addict, at much less harm to the non-problem user and cost to the tax-payer than the enormously expensive and totally futile attempts to limit supply.

The fact is slowly, one by one politicians are realising that a cheap win is to decriminalise drugs and medicalize addiction, whilst leaving the non-problem user alone. This removes a cause of enormous harm to populations, especially in Britain, poor and ethnic minority populations who don’t use particularly more than their white compatriots but are FAR more likely to have their doors kicked in and their collars felt by plod. The tide is turning. Pot was nearly legalised in California. There are experiments in Holland, Portugal, Spain and others, which have not led to the collapse of society. Nor have they even led to increases in drug use. The fact is the failure of prohibition is so complete that illegal drugs are more available and cheaper than they’ve ever been. Because of the hysteria about booze, in many cases they’re easier to get hold of for a teenager than alcohol. Cocaine, once the preserve of rock-stars and the rich is now available for £30 a gram. It’s cheaper and easier to get high than it is to get drunk, especially after pub closing hours.

The Zero-Tolerance approach could only work when you had worldwide acceptance of that policy. That has broken, and steadily the failed dogma of prohibition will be rolled back. Even in the USA. Once it is seen that legalised pot hasn’t caused a major social problem as promised in “reefer madness“.

The current coalition are, or were, sympathetic to legalisation, and I have spoken to senior people in Law enforcement, politics who will, in private say that the war on Drugs is lost, is unwinnable and it is the war on drugs, rather than the drugs themselves which destroy communities. The only people who say otherwise are the kind of people in the military and police who proudly say “Having never taken drugs, I can say they have nothing to offer”. People who think through the issue, beyond the dogmatic line can see that decriminalization or legalisation would significantly reduce harm, in many cases without increasing use. It remains career-harming for a copper, especially in the lower ranks to say so publicly. Unfortunately, it is still electorally risky to say so publicly, and whilst significant numbers of Tories and Labour MPs are in favour of freedom on the issue in private, there is an authoritarian wing of both parties, which sees something of which it disapproves and thinks “Ban This” and it is this tendency which gets the popular press on their side, because they make a lot of money from pictures of Kate moss snorting a line.

However, David Nutt, for his faults is in favour of a more realistic line, as were the other scientists on the Advisory council on drugs. Law Enforcement against Prohibition are increasingly influential in the USA, and Chief constables, Lawyers and Civil Servants working in the Field in the UK have added their voices. Just about the only people who will consistently oppose legalisation who know the situation in any detail are drug dealers themselves – these guys have the most to lose. Sooner or later, drugs policy will come in from the cold, and the reality of what it is doing to countries like Mexico will mean that something will give. Already, the number of police, politicians and scientists who are prepared to put their heads above the parapet is increasing. Cracks are beginning to show in the dam holding reality back, and one of the good things about democracy is that it usually gets social questions right. Eventually.

At the moment, the prevalent view is that drugs are a moral issue – they represent weakness of character. This is the line deployed against masturbation, extra-marital sex and homosexuality by the authoritarians in the past. It was a fallacious argument then, it’s fallacious now. Moral has nothing to do with whether something should be illegal. The fact is that most of us have had a spliff – find me a graduate who hasn’t – and few of us go on to mainlining smack. Some stoner undergraduates have even gone onto serious careers in the police, the Military the professions. Some however become politicians. Drugs policy IS a moral issue. The current prohibition is grotesquely counterproductive, destructive of societies and communities and astonishingly illiberal. Anyone who supports it is either malign, ignorant, stupid or all three.

My guess is that the Daily Mail is wrong and we will be able to have a spliff after dinner fairly soon.

Labour: Shameless & Despicable

Tony Blair, when arguing in favour of the authorities being allowed to lock terrorist suspects for three months without charge, made the case, over and over that the move was vital for “security”. Three months was a bit much, even for Labour and this was eventually knocked down to 42 days pre-charge detention.

The police demanded it, he said, and the police are all-knowing. They never fit up the local suspicious dusky-looking odd-ball for high profile murders, and would never, ever use flawed intelligence to allow them to lock up, or even better, shoot the local suspicious, heavily bearded religion enthusiast. Intelligence, especially in the hands of those tireless and incorruptible public servants is always faultless, and the police cannot therefore be denied any power they ask for. It’s for the public’s own good, and of course, if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear. Despite the Government’s watertight case, Parliament in one of its occasional fits of contrariness, disagreed. The “compromise” was for suspicious-looking dusky types to be banged up on the police’s whim for a mere 28 days without being told why, if a nod from a judge could be obtained. 28 days is of course many, many times longer than in any other free democracy.

This was of course, never about “security”. Indeed the powers were never used. The plan was transparent. To create such an outrage against civil liberties that the Tories would be compelled to oppose it, thereby allowing Labour to campaign against them as “soft on terror”, because in Labour’s white working-class heartlands, “terrorist” means, “dusky, bearded religion enthusiast” and definitely not “us” or “people like us”. This case would be handy in a fight against the BNP, as the subtle difference between being locked up and being locked up WITHOUT CHARGE is lost on the majority of Britain’s spectacularly stupid electorate.

Now, in opposition, Labour need back their wet-arsed, mewling, pinko former supporters who hated the Labour government’s outrageous and savage assault on civil liberties. When in opposition, there are no “difficult decisions” just voters to placate, and lefties, who are so brainwashed into believing that Tory=Evil, and Labour=Righteous that they have forgotten, and forgiven Labour in a mere 6 months, whilst not seeing any irony in still blaming Thatcher & the Tories for everything else wrong with the country. At best, this is naive, at worst dumb, lumpen tribalist stupidity. Labour has admitted its mistakes, and the thuggish Ed Balls has said he MIGHT support a move to drop the detention without charge to the still-outrageous 14 days, which is still much longer than in any equivalent free democracy.

Labour, having run for 13 years one of the most savagely authoritarian regimes in the free world in which they systematically and comprehensively demolished most of the safeguards protecting the people from the misuse of executive power, cannot be taken seriously when they say “whoops, sorry! Our Bad!”. I would need to see a lot more evidence of a change of heart before I forgive the party. I suspect Labour’s U-turn is as transparently political as the policy when they were in Government. Their U-turn is welcome, but I don’t trust them nor should anyone who claims to have any love of freedom, until they expunge anyone who voted in favour of 42-day pre-charge detention.

Yes, that means you, Mr Balls. I make much of Labour’s catastrophic economic mismanagement, but it is the profound destruction of freedoms that will be the legacy of the Blair & Brown years long after we’ve paid the financial bill.

Gordon Brown: The UK’s Saviour?

Is there anyone who still thinks it would be a good idea to abandon Sterling and join the Euro? Of course we euro skeptics are enjoying saying “I told you so” to all those who thought disparate economies would all suddenly become Germany simply by adopting the D-Mark. For that is what the Euro is – the D-Mark, and if your economy is running up too fast with unsustainable asset bubbles and construction booms (Spain, Portugal and especially Ireland) then you cannot use monetary levers to calm your boom, unless Germany is too, which means the bust, when it comes is especially painful. Ireland is a case in point. Having lost control of the monetary levers, they lost control of their economy.

Ireland ran a surplus in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, and deficits in 2003, 2005, 2007 so from 2002 to 2007, during the boom, the Irish budget can be said to be broadly balanced, erring on the side of a surplus. Whereas Britain’s deficit was a direct result of idiot policies by a spectacularly venal and incompetent government, Ireland’s was due to a collapse in tax revenues as the boom came to an end and was replaced by an epic crunch. Tax revenues fell from €47 bn in 2007 by 30% to €33 bn in 2009. Expenditure of €41bn in 2007 rose by a modest 9% to €44bn in 2009. Financial services and construction, mainstays of Ireland’s (and Britain’s) boom were especially hard hit.

Spend, spend spend.

Compare this with the UK where tax revenues from 2007/8 to 09/10 fell by 9% whereas expenditure rose by 16%. Remember Britain was running a Maastricht-defying deficit of 4% of GDP in 2007, prior to the ‘credit crunch’. Despite this the response to the crisis was keep spending. Our deficit is as a result of spending. The Irish, a collapse in revenues.

The Irish Government were persuing a reasonable, low-tax, high growth strategy with a balanced budget. Reganomics, this was not. Of course they were unable to do anything about thier boom, nor were they able to devalue their way out of the bust: the Euro remained stubbornly high hurting the Irish badly during the bust. The bust was as bad as it was because for a decade, the Irish economy was subject to inappropriately low interest rates: The bigger the party, the worse the hangover. What happened to Ireland was EXACTLY what the Euroskeptics said would happen to the UK were we in the Eurozone, and for the same reason: Our economy is not aligned to that of Germany.

As it happened, we had an idiot chancellor, who spent a decade firehosing money unsustainably at the public sector, running insane deficits at the top of a boom; but because we are a large country able to borrow in our own currency, and with one of the few flawless track records in repaying debt left in the world, the Government got away with it. Imagine if we were borrowing in Euros. Imagine if we couldn’t devalue our currency in responce to a catastrophic financial crisis.

Leftists will look at that data and conclude, self-servingly, that it was the “stimulus” (by which ‘punk keynsians‘ mean ‘a big deficit’) which kept Britain’s economy, broadly afloat. The fact is that confidence in the UK government’s ability to maintain its AAA rating hung by a thread in 2009, and this was maintained largely due to the expectation of a Conservative victory in the May 2010 election. UK bondspreads were correlated to polling numbers. Had the Labour party won, the markets may have lost confidence in the Government’s plans to bring the public finances under control; there would have been a run on the pound, interest rates would have risen sharply and people would be feeling more like Ireland now, and less like a country pulling steadily out of recession, as Britain is. Where the multiplier effect of government spending works is in a gold-standard country with a small state. In Gordon Brown’s UK the state was already consuming half of GDP, and was already crowding out private sector employment. Ricardian equivalence and the lack of availabitily of credit saw to it that consumers (70% of UK GDP) snapped their wallets shut and deleveraged at an astonishing rate during the crisis. There was therefore no overall stimulus from Government spending, not in the UK, where the effect was more likely to be negative, as people hunkerd down and waited for the inevitable tax-rises. Extra state spending PREVENTED an equal and possibly greater amount of private expenditure.

The “stimulus” didn’t save us; the pound’s moderate decline in 2007-09, the continued confidence ability of the British Government to borrow and repay in its own currency saved the UK from a catastrophic financial crisis. We euroskeptics were right, and you federasts were wrong. Keeping the UK out of the Euro will remain the only positive contribution the Rt. Hon. Dr. James Gordon Brown (Ph.D from Edinbrugh on James Manxton & the History of the Labour party) made to his country in a carreer of self-serving ambition, bullying, hypocrisy, willful ignorance, arrogance and socialist lunacy. The real reason for Brown’s opposition to the Euro is probably control freakery: he just did not want to giva anyone else a say. History may just be kind to him for his right decision for the wrong reasons, but it will have to have forgotten his insane (and almost certainly corrupt) fiscal recklessness by the time it does.

Farewell to the Devil…

…So the Devil has joined Mr Eugenides in throwing in the Towel.

There’s still all manner of socialist lunacy to oppose at all levels of Government. Even if I am broadly in agreement with this Government’s approach, there are councils, there are celebrities, there are unions, there are people who’ve lived high on the fat of a profligate government now bleating about “cuts”. They are parading the bleeding stumps of the poor, in many cases kept poor by those policies they’re bleating about cutting. These are the people who need opposing – the needlessly entitled client state that Labour built – help the Coalition smash it.

Of course if your demands are “dismantle the entire edifice of the state by next tuesday” you’re always going to be dissapointed. If you cannot see any benefit from the EU, and think it THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE, and see plots and betrayal where I see a pragmatically skeptical Government which has more important things to do than tilt at the EU windmill, you’re always going to be angry. The election, as far as I am concerned produced a result which may, in time, result in a good government. So I too am losing the rage and throwing rocks at opposition politicians (metaphorically speaking I don’t want to end up prosecuted for “threatening communication”) is less fun than it was when they ran things.

The oppositional mindset of the Blogger prior to May was about the savage assualt on civil liberties. Now, its about whining that you have to stand on your own two feet once more as the state removes the comfort blanket. The blogosphere is going to be a much diminished thing if Liberal Conspiracy is in the vanguard and all it is bleating about is ‘cuts’.

Of course, I will miss the Devil’s cathartic ranting ond forensic foul-mouthed fisking. He’s a good mate in meatspace too. However as someone somewere said “Blogging is like the Hotel california: you can check out, but you can never leave”. The devil will return, of that you can be sure.

Some of you may have noticed a drop off in the volume of posting here. Of course when I am inspried, I write, when I am not, I don’t. At the moment I am busy and Travelgall is away for a couple of weeks. Rest assured, we will stay in harness at least until the Labour corpse stops twitching. I may not be directly opposed to the Government, I am, after all, a card-carrying Conservative. I am, and always will be opposed to “the state” insofar as it affects me and my life, whether by enabling corporate fuckwittery, or by rapacious taxation, or by poor, illiberal law-making.

The Government is not libertarian. The state is still consuming over 50% of GDP. Tax is over 40% of GDP. The civil liberties outlook is, like the country’s finances merely getting shittier at a slightly reduced rate. There is still much for the Libertarian blogosphere to do.

Why I am not a EuroSkeptic

Norman Tebbitt, one of the few Politicians to really get blogging, says

“A sovereignty clause on EU law will place on the statute book this eternal truth: what a sovereign parliament can do, a sovereign parliament can also undo”. That really does worry me. It is a general rule of life that if a man in a pub declares loudly that he is stone cold sober, the odds are that he is drunk

of course this is the central fear of the Euroskeptic, for whom the EU is nothing but Napoleon and Hitler’s attempts to conquer Europe presented with a Ribbon round it. Now I am no fan of the EU, and on balance, were there a referendum on the issue tomorrow, I’d vote to leave, but I have flipflopped on the issue. Such a policy would not be without cost, and frankly, I don’t think it would change much. Most of the x% of British law that comes from the EU is perfectly reasonable attempts to keep the single market on an even keel. People jest about the relative lengths of the American declaration of independence vs. the EU rules for the importation of Duck eggs, but trade standards have to be detailed, wherever they come from. Does it really matter whether we write our own Duck Egg standard? Is that what you’re going to the barricades for?

Of course some of it, EU arrest warrant etc… are potentially more sinister, placing Her Majesty’s subjects under the legal jurisdiction of some foreign courts. And there is some idea that EU law has primacy over British law. And legally, it may do. For now.

But the idea that this cannot be undone, at a stroke is just ludicrous. At the international level, power flows from the Barrel of a gun, and Britain with the 3rd largest defence budget in the world, and the worlds second largest deployable military could simply say “no” to the EU whenever it likes. Who, pray is going to force duck egg standards on Britain? I’ve worked with German troops. They go home at the weekends for some soft drugs and hard sports, when British troops are still digging in. They’ve not the martial spirit of their grandparents.

So… EU law is paramount for now, but crucially it is BECAUSE, for whatever reason PARLIAMENT WILLS IT. In final analysis, whatever “EU law” says, Hague is right.

Now my heart would love what the Devil dismissively refers to “our new coalition overlords” to pick a fight with the EU. But if you were a Government having to pick a fight with the entire public sector, who are quiescent, for now; but are itching to trun the UK into France where the Unions call everyone out onto the streets because the retirement age is being RAISED TO 62, and who are going to resist every single “cut” with every last ounce of their strength. If you were having to take on the Major opinion former in the Land whilst doing so. If you were going to take on the Teaching profession, a fight st. Margaret of Thatcher shied away from, over a policy the public barely understand; would you really, honestly want to fight the EU too? Especially when the coalition contains one broadly Euroskeptic party and one bunch of filthy federasts, and a fight over the EU would split the coalition, and play into the BBC’s hands. If YOU were Dave Cameron, would YOU want to fight the EU under these conditions?

Resistance to the EU will have to come when the damage wrought by Labour is undone, when every school is in the private sector, and parents are given vouchers, when the benefit system has been shrunk from 72 different benefits to a handful, when a flatter, fairer tax system is in place, which makes work pay, when the NHS has been given back to the Doctors from whom it was stolen in 1948, and when the banks are back in the hands of the Private sector, and when the Government accounts are in surplus again. Frankly the most illiberal, authoritarian, jack-booted nonsense as well as the fiscal lunacy and economic incompetence of the last couple of decades has come, not from Europe, but from Westminster. It is Westminster, not Brussels which turned the UK into a bankrupt panopticon.

The EU is not that important, to the UK, to the Electorate, and to the economy. In European elections, the people vote to indicate they don’t like it much, by voting for UKIP in large numbers.. But they don’t vote on the issue in the General election. As I predicted, UKIP polled fewer than a million votes. A Coalition battle over Europe would let Labour back in, and they’re the people who left the UK in its current cancer-ridden state.

The best place for “Europe” as a political issue therefore is under the carpet.

To be, or not to be, (on the birth certificate)

In matters of relationships, I’m a strict libertarian. I don’t care with whom you shack up, and what you do behind closed doors with consenting adults. Marriage should not concern the state one jot, as it is a public declaration to family and friends, and as far as the tax advantages of “marriage” go, that’s what the civil partnership’s for, gay or straight. The state is not interested in the wedding vows, but the signing of the register.

Now the issue of children is a different matter. Deliberate single motherhood, without asking the father’s permission is evil, as is abandoning a woman during pregnancy when you’d promised to help support her. The problem comes when the issue of child support creates an incentive to trap a man into fatherhood, and the issue of benefits forces a potentially loving nuclear family apart. The state has regulated too deep, and intrusively and created perverse incentives in doing so.

However, there is no legal requirement for Milliband minor to be on his spawn’s brat’s child’s birth certificate, though it could in theory (but probably not in practice) affect his legal rights as a parent, but neither of the above cases apply to him she neither entrapped him, nor he abandon her. I’ve no doubt that he’s an admirable father, if slightly awkward and bug-eyed, with an anoying nasal whine, which he will no doubt pass on to the unfortunate offspring. Though I suspect anyone trying to make political hay out of the Millisprog’s bastardy or anything else related the new Leader of the opposition’s unwedded state to be a Daily Mail-reading git, Milliband minor did vote for laws which intrude into the bedroom, in which case, the nastiness is just deserts. Reap what ye sow, interfering socialists.

Labour’s New Leader

So, Milliband minor has pipped Milliband major to the Labour leadership post. And many some a few a tiny handful of people are interested in my opinions on the subject. For the fact is even I am not interested in my opinion on Labour’s new boss. Anyone who thinks they know what this means for the electorate, is lying. But as this isn’t going to stop pundits from all parties and the commentariat, I’m going to guess what this means.

I suspect that Labour will unite under Milliband minor. But this was always not going to be a problem. Labour’s tribal psychology suits opposition. They’re idealists who are quickly revolted by the necessary compromises of Government. They have united quickly around the Balls/Brownite position of opposition to “cuts” under all and any circumstances. And I don’t think “red Ed” will change that. Perhaps Milliband Major would have led the party to come to terms with the need to scale back state spending, but he would have been resisted every step of the way if he did. So the choice for the leader is either economic insanity and party unity OR a reasonable appeal to the electorate and a decade of infighting. They’ve gone, sensibly for unity for their decade in the wilderness.

Now Labour is riding relatively high in the polls. This is for a number of reasons: first the regular coverage granted to the Labour party election helps. Who’s on the news gets a polling boost. Secondly the BBC endlessly describing the cuts as “painful” helps sell the Labour “cuts! Waaaaa!” narrative. Opposition to cuts from the union Barons can coalesce around a leaderless Labour party, who at the same time provide no target for the Government to shoot at. Finally, freed from the pressures of Government, Labour politicians can say what their supporters want to hear and this has led to an increase in membership. The Labour tribe is much happier in opposition to the EEEEeeeeevil Tories than it ever was in Government.

One thing I always notice is that Labour party politicians talk of their party as if it’s the country. Only Tony Blair was able to shake this habit, and he’s reviled in the party. Ed Milliband may talk about “supporting the squeezed middle” but that middle has not forgotten that the previous leader saw them as pips to be made to squeak. He then immediatley goes on to promise a life-time of higher taxes to that “squeezed middle’s” children.

Nevertheless, I suspect that the Labour party will soon get sustained 40% plus polls. I suspect there will be a “Noo Ledah” bounce as there was for the God-awful shit-bird, Gordon Brown. And Millibrother minor is nowhere near as gut-wrenchingly dreadful as the one-eyed son of the Manse. But there is a LONG way to go to the next election, and Ed Milliband is not a politician in the same class as Tony Blair or David Cameron. With his election, The Coalition will have a target to fire at, one who wrote the manifesto which propelled Labour to its worst performance since 1982. Finally the cuts will be nowhere near as “painful” as the Labour party and the trolls in the public sector unions are trying to make you believe. The Labour tribe may believe that the only growth possible comes from public spending, but private sector profitability is rising, demand is following business confidence up and the Private sector will, by the next election be shouldering the burden of growth in salaries and employment that has been bourne by the tax-payer for most of the last decade, to theextreme detrement to the country’s finances. The Labour tribe’s (in which I include the BBC) promises of “pain” will not be matched by people’s experience of the recovery from Brown’s fiscal insanity. I suspect Labour will enjoy a few months or a year riding in the polls, but as the election approaches, and the economy improves, the Electorate will be asked to choose between David Cameron, and the Ed Milliband, and the Tories will win an electoral mandate to Govern alone, even if they then choose to continue in coalition.

Labour pundits will talk their own book, and talk their man up, but the habits of opposition are already too entrenched in the Labour movement. It is, after all, where they belong. The Unions’ strikes will be the mud that sticks to Ed Milliband, who is already being described as “the Unions’ choice”. The only predicition I will be confident to make about the new leader is that Ed Milliband will never be Prime-Minister.

Labour and the Fall of Man.

I have long argued that the most destructive thing ever to happen to human happiness was the discovery and development of agriculture. In return for much larger populations on any given piece of land, we lost freedom, heath and happiness. The evidence is there in the fossil record. Healthy hunter-gatherers had teeth until they died around 60 years of age. They suffered breaks and injury, but were nursed back to health. It was not, as Hobbes suggested, “Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” life. It was relaxed, happy, lazy and healthy. With natural abundance and a low population, there was nothing to fight over – people simply moved into unpopulated areas in search of game. Subsistence farmers on the other hand were (and still are) lucky to make it to 40, and rarely had any teeth when they died. Disease from living with animals, malnutrition from over dependence on a small number of food sources and an inability to move in response to local shortages were (and still are) part of the lot of settled subsistence agriculturalists. Famines, war, death and disease were (and still are) the lot of peasants.

Humans evolved in bands of relatives, perhaps numbering 30 individuals. Everyone knew everyone else and co-operated naturally. Because agriculture, especially its early iterations was a tenuous activity it benefited from top-down organisation – the management of grain storage, the defense of land and the building of irrigation required the co-option of humans natural ability to co-operate into a system where power flowed down a hierarchy. Religions ceased to be polytheistic and nature-worshipping, and became monotheistic and restrictive, especially in relation to women, who became chattels. Castes of warriors, priests and bureaucrats were able to lord it over the peasantry who toiled in the fields.

Our Hunter-Gatherer forebears were able and willing to care for a sick or injured friend without the need for a potentate to tell them to do so, even though such a friend might be a burden on the community for many years. On the other hand, the atrocities settled agricultural societies have heaped upon each other in war, conquest and the imposition of ridiculous ideas is a monstrous litany of misery, torture, suffering and death imposed from above by the actions of demagogues seeking power and manipulating the natural co-operation of people for base and ignoble ends. Top-down government with a bureaucracy facilitates horrors more than anarchy, where people form their own order spontaneously.

Despite the small, weedy, bow-legged and diseased populations of spirit-broken people, their much greater density allowed agricultural populations to easily shift hunter-gatherers off land and co-opt the passing waves of nomadic pastoralists which occasionally swept over them. Despite the misery, agriculture, and the top-down organisation inevitable in these societies, survived.

The happy time – a folk memory of a hunter-gatherer past – survives in religious myths of the Garden of Eden which has analogues in many other cults and religions around the world. The serpent tempts man into knowledge which causes his expulsion from paradise. Power over nature, in the form of agriculture, did not bring happiness. It is this move from natural self-organisation to authoritarian tyranny which removed most peoples’ opportunity for self-actualisation and it is this tyranny which has created the misery which has been the human lot ever since.

This misery of most of the human species, occurred despite gradually increasing material plenty. Over the past 10,000 years, improving farming methods have delivered increasing yields: New crops and livestock species, ploughs, beasts of burden, crop-rotation but until the industrial revolution, and even more importantly the subsequent green revolution of high-technology, high-yield agriculture, the vast majority of human kind have been stuck in this hell of subsistence agriculture. What changed in response to a better harvest is the increasing number of thugs the local potentate can feed from the surplus, or the extravagance of the priestly castes in their temple building programs. Occasional wars and destruction caused by waves of disease did the destruction before the inevitable Malthusian catastrophe.

The industrial revolution changed everything, and did so as fundamentally as the development of agriculture in the Indus, Yellow River and Mesopotamia all those thousands of years ago. For the first time since then, the majority of people on the planet are not subsistence agriculturalists, they do something else.

The trick society has to pull off is use this ‘once in a 10,000 year’ shake-up of civilisation to create something that runs with human nature rather than build yet another society which needs invent savage religions and tyrannical impositions of state control to try and force people to go channel their naturally co-operative nature against their own interests. Agriculture and the societies it created were a response to periodic shortages. We, in the affluent west at least have solved the shortages and now have abundant plenty, as our hunter-gatherer forefathers did for 250,000 years before they were expelled from the Garden. It’s now crucial to work out what created this plenty, and even more crucial to work out what did NOT create this plenty. Human ingenuity which allowed the scattering of seeds to ensure a crop would grow in the same place next year, through irrigation, the plough, the saddle and harness, crop rotation and so on to the steam engine and Internet, it is the endless seeking of a better way of doing things by people which created the plenty. Whilst top down societies were necessary in the early phase of agricultural development because of the need to ensure the surplus is kept and the need to organise the defense of scarse resources; since the industrial revolution, the LEAST authoritarian societies have become the richest. Free market capitalism channels humans innate potential for co-operation from the bottom up. Companies making things and providing services, have driven progress; not, emphatically not, kings, governments and states directing things from the top down.

The Industrial revolution flourished in the 18th century United Kingdom, which believed that that state should only exist to defend its borders. Its ideas spread, not least because the vast surplus wealth it created allowed for the creation of the largest Empire the world has ever seen. And that empire was mostly bought, not conquered. The technology of the industrial revolution came from people, not states. The same is true of the Internet and communications revolutions. Of course states have had a role in facilitating, but without the self-organisation of companies of people motivated by curiosity and profit (let’s call them ‘businesses’, shall we?) there would be no Rail road, no television, no cheap bread and no car.

Now modern government evolved from the people who brought you such advances of civilisation as the Motte and Bailey Castle and the Harrying of the North. Government’s aim is the extraction of as much from the economy as possible. In medieval terms, this was then used for self-aggrandising projects like securing the throne of France for the English king or Vice Versa. However in England, the Barons, and later the Commons realised that the tyrannical imposition of royal vanity must be held in check, first for the good of the barons, and then for the good of the people. Government, insofar as it affected day to day life, withered away in the UK and the country prospered as a result.

Britain’s decline can be traced to the moment that the income tax was retained after the Napoleonic wars. After WW1, the state got involved with education and pensions, after WW2 the state destroyed the highly effective health and welfare systems which relied on mutual assistance. Similar narratives can be constructed for most countries. Government, who have a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence has used technological advance and bureaucracy to make money flow to that power. The technology and habit of bureaucracy has allowed states around the world to take between 1/3 and 1/2 of all the productive energy of its citizens in the form of tax.

Now I am not here to argue that there should not be a state. Nor will I argue that some things aren’t best financed out of taxation. But what I will argue for is a new sort of Government. One that respects its role as protector and facilitator – deliverer of the public goods of law & order, secure borders and a sound currency and DELIVERING little else. Funding health and education out of taxation too MAY make sense, but allow people to DELIVER it themselves. The state is emphatically not there to ensure its citizens behave themselves, or be “productive”. People self-organising will do that. Nor is it to ensure that the goods and services available to the people are equally distributed. No government has achieved that, and any attempt to do so leads to economic collapse or a nomenclature who live in opulence amongst a slave population of miserable serfs. Government should not, as Elizabeth I observed “seek to reach into men’s souls”. Nor should it seek conformity to an arbitrary set of societal norms, be that conformity to an established church or a ‘productive’ set of economic behaviours. It should instead seek to reduce the stress of life, by removing burdens of taxation and the layers of obstusificating bureaucracy. Instead the state should be providing a protected space allowing people to self-organise as they will according to a simple, easily understood set of Laws.

Government, in seeking to be the King who provides, seeks to act in the same way as the aristocratic and priestly castes did in Mesopotamia 10,000 years ago and with the same result in term of human misery. People are not ‘people’ they are economic units to be fought over, controlled and taxed. Because ‘the state’ provides whether you want it or not, the state will see to it that you work, whether you want to or not. Top down bureaucracy seeks to influence behaviour – for our good maybe, but who ever thinks they’re evil? So smoking bans, drug prohibition and laws saying when you can and cannot go and have a pint in the pub all limit the possibility of human happiness. Sure, in some stressed societies of marginal people who exist on state handouts, getting off one’s face is all they have. The desire therefore to see that no-one starves perversly sees to it that everyone starves morally.

The state’s charity crowds out the private charity, to the detriment of the welfare recipient’s self-actualisation and the good feeling that altruistic good work generates in the giver. In seeking to alleviate poverty, the government then feels it has an economic stake in everyones’ good behaviour and seeks to alter it, by force if necessary.

Supporters of the cradle to grave welfare state have visions of Victorian England’s workhouses as what would happen if there were no welfare state to support people. But that was a society crushed not only by a state bureaucracy as much as a stultifying state morality which achieved the same ends. The work-house was not the Dickensian horror, Dickens exaggerated, but the foundling hospitals were. And both were state run. They replaced a much more satisfactory system the poor being in receipt of benefit from their neighbours, being ‘on the parish’ which did not tolerate free loaders, but also supported those who could not support themselves – a self-organised, local system. “Wouldn’t work today”, I hear you cry? Switzerland operates a similar system, and that’s not exactly a hell-hole is it?

And what of the costs of the system? Not just economic costs engendered by a state which allows, nay encourages the poor to engage in destructive and misery making behaviour, but also in the costs imposed by the state having a stake in everyones’ private behaviour. Every time you get chucked out of a full pub at “closing time” the state has impinged on your life. Can’t hear yourself think in the pub with the late license? That’s because the late license comes with an obligation to provide “entertainment” lest you just stay and drink. The state is emphatically imposing its will upon you. And that was because the Government wanted to influence the productivity (and these being purse-lipped late-Victorians, morality too) of munitions workers during WW1. The law has stuck, because the dam of allowing the Government to look into men’s souls had been broken. The bureaucratic state comes with regulations about who can live where, with whom and to what end. Whether you’re shagging your tennant matters in terms of what benefits you recieve, and do you think the state should have any rights in your bedroom of your own home? The need to finance the welfare state comes with a need for the majority of the population to tithe 50% of everything we produce to the government. The most tyrannical king in ancient history would have baulked at that. That is a cost not just in economic terms, but in spiritual ones too. For the majority of that money goes in financing a bureaucracy whose ends are control of the population leading to stress, thwarted ambition and misery.

How has the Labour party, once the party of workers’ co-operatives become the party of the state bureaucratic leviathan, with all the coercive violence that entails? How has the global left been so completely co-opted by the successors to the kings and potentates they once resisted? How can the hypocrisy of leftist moralising be accepted by a sane brain without spitting it out? The labour party in seeking to control every facet of peoples lives (for our own good) via a massive and intrusive surveillance infrastructure controlled by a bureaucracy accountable only to itself. The Labour party is therefore the representative of everything which has made people miserable, diseased, powerless and poor since the fall of man 10,000 years ago.

Freedom to self-organise. The smallest bureaucracy you can get away with. State funding a bit of desirable stuff, but emphatically NOT providing. By not providing for people, it has no incentive to control the rest of us. We, not the Government will provide for the poor, as we used to before the work house, before the bureaucratic tyranny of the state got involved in herding them into workhouses, slums and council estates. John Donne:

No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee…

I just want the state to leave me alone. That does not mean I want to sit in a cave eschewing company and hoarding baked bean tins awaiting the revolution. It means I don’t want to have anyone control my moral and economic choices, which include my moral and economic choice to serve my fellow man, which I would do were there any money and energy left over once I’ve paid my tax bill. That is why I hate the Labour party – for they are seekers of control, just like and for the same reasons as the first kings of the first city states. Labour are therefore the intellectual descendants of the architects of man’s fall from grace and the bringers of misery, hate, envy and thwarted ambition and wasted human potential, for the last 10,000 years. Human freedom is the paradise of the Garden of Eden was all about, Labour: the agents of the devil, offering fake sustenance which merely brings doom. Which makes Gordon Brown the serpent. Which makes Ed Balls, a skin louse on that serpent. Which is a metaphor I like. That is why I am a libertarian.

Drug Decriminalisation, again.

Another day, another sensible person in the public eye bravely puts his head above the parapet and says “isn’t it time we decriminalised recreational drugs for personal use?” In this instance, it’s Chairman of the Bar Council, Nicholas Green QC. I wonder if he’s to suffer the same fate as the unfortunate professor Nutt.

A growing body of comparative evidence suggests that decriminalising personal use can have positive consequences. “It can free up huge amounts of police resources, reduce crime and recidivism and improve public health. All this can be achieved without any overall increase in drug usage. If this is so, then it would be rational to follow suit.

In the Telegraph’s report, we get the same facile rent-a-quote arguments against this sensible proposal. First up is savagely illiberal Labour crypto-facist and serial Hypocrite, Keith ‘I cannot believe I’m still an MP after the shit I’ve pulled‘ Vaz, who offered the “message” argument:

I am shocked by the suggestion that drugs should be decriminalised for personal use. The legalisation of drugs would simply create the mistaken impression that these substances are not harmful, when in fact this is far from the truth

There’s a law against procuring malfeasance in a public office, Mr Vaz, you corrupt little maggot, and that didn’t prevent you accepting a peerage to vote in favour of locking your co-religionists up for 42 days at a time on a Governmental whim, did it? So you’re shocked that someone expresses an opinion, mr Vaz? I’m shocked you’re not in gaol, fuckwit.

OK, so I’m playing the man, not the ball there, but the law is about setting the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, and the savage penalties for drug use are out of all proportion to the harm they do, especially when compared to Alcohol. The law is not there for public health, and shouldn’t seek to protect people from themselves. It should certainly not be used to “send a message”, because the law is a powerful, but blunt tool that can bitterly oppress. The law creates victims if overused. It should not be used to express disapproval.

Next up we’ve got the “slippery-slope” argument from Tory MP James Clappison.

There seems to be a very strong link between recreational drug use, leading to drug addiction leading to crime fuelled by drug addiction. I would have thought the chairman of the Bar Council would have seen that for himself.

How many people have tried Canabis and never tried any other illegal drug? The answer to that question blows the slippery slope argument out of the water. Some 25% of young people enjoy a joint. Fewer than 10% report use of anything else, though the article linked seems to claim that this does show a slippery slope! If that won’t wash, try anecdotal evidence: How many people were enthusiastic tokers at University and then don’t touch anything else afterwards? The slippery slope argument is facile.

Next up, we’ve ex-Asda checkout boy and wet-back Tory MP Phillip Davies who offers the “well why don’t we legalise crime argument”:

It is a ludicrous argument to say let’s legalise drugs to take pressure off the police and the courts. That is an argument to legalise everything.

No it isn’t because one chap selling another chap something he wants does not create a victim. Why are we policing something that thousands of people take regularly the vast majority of whom do not cause problems? Why are we prosecuting people for possession of small amounts for personal use, when moderate canabis, extasy or cocaine use causes less problems than Alcohol, which leads to blood and vomit on every high street in Britain every friday night?

MPs shouldn’t ask “why should we legalise”? they should ask “why are we banning when we allow people to get pissed”. An absurd percentage of the court’s time is taken up with “drug-related” offences. Legalising the trade would remove a hugely profitable industry from organised crime, remove profits which are fought over by rival gangs, remove the introduction to criminals by otherwise law-abiding users and allow users to be confident in what they are taking. Legaised drugs would be safer, less harmful, create less crime AND help the exchequer. The Governmnet would have lower enforcement costs (by some billions a year) AND have a revenue stream they could tax.

Inevitably when this subject is covered in the papers we get some Mother who’s son (usually it’s ‘died’, but in this case it’s merely) developed “severe personality changes” when he started smoking canabis at 14. First, is there any evidence that Canabis causes mental health problems. Yes, but it’s not certain that Canabis is worse than Alcohol in this regard. But Post hoc Ergo Propter Hoc – find me a teenager who doesn’t develop “severe personality changes”! Of course no-one’s going to pretend recreational drugs are good for you. But it is a personal choice. And in this instance, a developing brain is more likely to be kept from dope, were it legal and the trade regulated. This is NOT an argument against decriminalisation, but an appeal to the emotion of the reader.

Every argument against decriminalisation falls down because the assumption is that banning has any effect at all on supply, and a negative effect on demand. It doesn’t. If you’re in a town in the small hours, illegal drugs are easier to come by than legal alcohol. If you’re 14, illegal drugs may be easier to get than booze. There are many pieces of evidence that if you want to reduce USE, especially amonst the young, then legalisation or decriminalisation are the way to go. I’ve dealt with this in more detail here, but principally it boils down to the fact that the easiest way to sustain a habit is to become a dealer. This leads to a highly efficient pyramid marketing and distribution scheme.

If you want to reduce harm, then safe, legal and regulated drugs are the way to go. If you want to reduce crime, then remove the profits from THE MOST PROFITABLE TRADE THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN from organised crime and give it to businesses which pay tax and produce safe, reliable products. As well as improving the health of the users, This will reduce enforcement costs, which can be redeployed elsewhere, and the create revenue. Much drug related crime is fighting over the profits. Remove the profits, remove the crime.

Anyone who cannot see this is an idiot. Anyone who thinks there’s a moral issue here about what should be allowed in the face of these utilitarian arguments is a cunt. It really is that simple.

Labour’s Desperate spin

The Labour line for today is that the Budget deficit is just an excuse for CUTS that Osborne & Co. would have made anyway. The Liberal Democrats are left-flank protection. And in repeating the self-serving lie that cutting expenditure now is “taking money out of the economy” at a point where the “recovery is most fragile” they demonstrate a most profound lack of understanding.

Every pound that the Government borrows, it must borrow from either domestic savers or foreign investors. Every pound borrowed by government is unavailable for lending to business. Every pound taxed is unavailable for private spending or investment. I simplify – at the margins, a bit of extra government borrowing can create demand, but the jury’s out on whether this is possible beyond the automatic stabilisers like unemployment benefits.

So on a superficial level, firing a diversity outreach co-ordinator loses some demand in the economy as one family’s take-home pay falls by £22,000 (the £30,000 these creatures are paid, less the extra benefits he’ll receive once he’s on the rock ‘n roll. This will reduce demand for goods and services and a rapid cut in the public sector wage bill by getting non-jobs off the payroll will be noticed in the short term in the GDP figures. It may even “cause” a double dip in the figures.

But if you’re not a filthy parasite in a non-job, does this “recession” affect you? Not very much, because to offset the demand drop from your local 5-a-day support worker, local businesses find it slightly easier than they otherwise would have to secure finance because the Government has to borrow £22,000 less next year, which will be available to the private sector. The money not raised in taxes is money that can be spent in shops. Whilst the victims of cuts are obvious, by all means protect front-line services. There will not be a need to fire a single nurse, police officer or school teacher because of “cuts” when there are still ‘Healthy Workplace Advisors’ or ‘5-a-day coordinators’ being employed. Even the most cursory google search will reveal that these jobs are not mythical. the beneficiaries are dispersed. And given those “victims” of cuts are some of the most generously remunerated, securely employed, idle, bolshie, people in the country some of whom have been taking massive salaries to do very little worthwhile, it is time the public sector party at our expense was brought to an end.

Finally the benefits system which keeps a boot on the face of the very poorest must be reformed. Withdrawal rates must be improved. Bureacracy must be removed. The insecure border between welfare and work must not present a risk of losing benefits as a reason to not take an insecure first job, because the benefits system does not accept that insecure first jobs flipping burgers can and do lead to more secure and rewarding employment. Maximum benefits must be cut so that people cannot make a comfortable life on the state’s teat.

One by one, the recession caused by the deflating of a US property bubble has leaked through the home-loans companies, into the Banking system and finally into the obscenely profligate governments who were running deficits during the boom. However much they may try to blame the financial woes for Government bankruptcy, the fact the UK’s Labour Government was running a serious deficit in 2007, at the height of the boom reveals the lie.

Labour’s crocodile tears about “their people” as well as revealing the profound corruption at the heart of the Labour project, demonstrates that they will do it all again if they ever get power. They will take your money and give it to their client state of welfare junkies and public-sector union slugs. Labour accuse the Tories of wanting to cut come what may – they’re just reversing what they think: Labour never saw a problem to which ‘tax, borrow and spend’ is not their favoured solution.

As a result of the profligacy, it is necessary to cut as much as possible as quickly as possible from the public sector fat. TO fail to do this is a much bigger risk than the tiny risk of a statistical recession which doesn’t affect the private sector. Just like the recipients of ‘sub-prime’ loans, Governments overreached themselves. Today’s budget is the reckoning for those who have not yet endured their recession.

I’m aright though. I’ve had my recession and it was tough. If you’re in the public sector, enjoy yours!