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He has said it already - and to you too!
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2012 on God's words at The Last Ditch
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Trooper Thomson is indeed correct to point out the Christians elsewhere who are really living their faith - also Syria, Iraq, Sudan. To Tom's original point, I think he is absolutely spot on. There should not be a need for freedom for religions, but what do you do when the law encroaches so fundamentally on religious beliefs? When so much much of the prevailing winds fly in the face of the foundations of our society. To pitch it at its broadest, we in the West live in a society with the values and traditions of monotheistic religions at its heart (I would say the Church, but others have different views!). In many senses that is where I agree with the libertarian perspective - too many laws are bad and should be removed. My difficulty is that is not enough. What about the immoral laws? Or, from our perspective, the application of the natural law? What about laws that supposedly protect freedoms but attack the natural law - or religious values or freedoms? Obama's current efforts, abortion laws, family law, euthanasia, stem cell research. Regrettably we are now in an environment where the religious perspective (not shared by all, but as even Mr Dawkins implicitly acknowledges, is the foundation for where we arel), is aggressively marginalised In the pursuit of legislative morality.....
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2012 on Militant Agnosticism? at The Last Ditch
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Very interesting discussion. I had a meeting with a senior German banker last week, and we discussed this very question. He mentioned that until relatively recently there were different levels of votes given to German citizens (this could have been a regional thing - we didn't discuss the details). In essence, he said the landowners had a certain 'weight' of votes, the taxpayers a second level, and the citizenry the rest. I think the idea has merit, but my own view of seeking simple laws makes it very difficult to come up with the necessary mechanics.
Toggle Commented Dec 9, 2011 on Informed Democracy? at The Last Ditch
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Great post Tom, and I am sorry I missed this. Having worked in Russia and invested in Georgia (what a CV!!). It was a very positive experience to see what the Georgians had done. Not just with the police, as Tom mentions, but also broadly across the public service. For example, they changed the planning laws to make an application presumed approved in 30 days, unless the planning officer objected, again removing the key opportunity for corruption. They also did the same with judges etc. It is a charming country, slightly mad, but a wonderful place to visit and they are making real efforts to advance their economy and are strongly western facing. Unfortunately, despite the affection that is undoubtedly there, it is not reciprocated by the Russians, and they see Georgia as a massive challenge to their influence.
Toggle Commented Jun 16, 2011 on Midday train to Georgia at The Last Ditch
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Tom, I suspect you may need to change the title to this blog, so as to avoid your usual readers skipping over it!! I couldn't agree more with your aggravation at this hypocrisy, but thought I should remain true to character and note that it is not only libertarians who believe in the good of others, but Christians too!! N
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2011 on How can we save the Left? at The Last Ditch
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It is a delight to have you back blogging Tom. What should we prescribe for the journalists at the Guardian to change their behaviour do you think?
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Indeed, Navigator no more, if only for a few short hours! Thank you Mr P. for your excellent company (and also your fine guests), and for the chance to spend some intimate time with Vittoria.
Toggle Commented Oct 3, 2010 on Navigator no more at The Last Ditch
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Mr P., whilst I couldn't agree more with you about the ruling classes and their hypocrisy in outlook, I do not agree that they carry the characteristics of the old money versus new money debate. To me the are a hypocritical nouveau riche, who believe their achievements reinforce a view, shared only be themselves, that they can moralise about how everyone else should live their life. This is very different to my vision of 'old money' - these people are not old money, merely recently moneyed. That is why they do not have the humility or manners to wear it well. I am looking forward to our weekend even more now!!!
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2010 on I am tired of the rich at The Last Ditch
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Mr P, I will leave it to you to decide whether my nom de plume requires changing after you have experienced my efforts!! Apparently there is a vacancy for another Stig..... I am very much looking forward to it.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2010 on Taking my ease at The Last Ditch
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Tom, It is a delight to see you posting again, and I will be trying to challenge you to find reason to keep posting. It is not just your efforts to highlight the tyranny that we faced in this country with the last government (and this one) but also many other things that I enjoyed sharing and being challenged about. I look forward to perhaps challenging you to find some interesting items to share, starting with the great gift of hope, which has been of such great guidance to you, as it has me through some very challenging times of my own recently.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2010 on Thoughts about silence at The Last Ditch
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Thanks for post. I agree it was an excellent lecture. I too would be slightly nervous about the 'officials' comment, but he also confirmed that authority was 'accountable' upwards. I don't think he proposed anything too dangerous in that regard. It seems we all agree on the first limb - to simplify the lay. As Mr Paine has posted previously, this is the most vital of the two recommendations he has. If the framework is right, then the officials and authorities can only follow. One extension to that, as witnessed yesterday in the UK with the CPS's announcement on assisted murder(suicide), is that we also need to remind officials and authorities that they may only apply the law, not create it.
Toggle Commented Feb 26, 2010 on The true meaning of law? at The Last Ditch
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Navigator is now following Tom
Feb 25, 2010
I second the motion. If only someone who wanted to be Prime Minister would read this and the light bulb go off.... The Equality Bill that was rejected by the Lords seems to be a prime example of why this government, and HM Opposition, just don't get it. I am coming around to your comment about racism, chauvinism, and homophobia - and I think you can add 'equality' to that list - that their existence is not a barrier to talented people. If a business or person does not wish to hire someone through some form of prejudice, and that candidate is a good candidate, that person or business will suffer, as they have lost the chance to improve their enterprise. The prejudice will come at a price to them, which they have to bear. Sounds about right to me - it is self-correcting (or punishing if you prefer). The candidate, with their talents, will have to find another opportunity. This may seem unfair, but I think there are two reasons why this is not. First, no candidate (should) want to be somewhere by forcing the issue as it will not enable them to flourish. Most of those with talent, ambition and drive wish to achieve on the basis of their talents, rather than their membership of a category of a legislated 'beneficiaries'. Secondly, and more importantly, enough of this world focuses on merit, and will give them that opportunity that their talents deserve. I think it does no-one, the candidate, the ones with prejudice, or the ones who wish to comply with these ever stupid laws, any benefit to make decisions on the basis of a real or imagined sense of duress to follow such laws. It must also be said that those without the necessary talent, drive and ambition, will have to lower their sights to something that is more suitable, just like the rest of us. None of us is entitled to be a brain surgeon/high court judge/celebrity on television/cleaner just because we want to be..... It gets back to the simple equation of equality of opportunity versus the equality of outcomes. Labour has pursued with the full power and resource of an ever expanding state the latter, and in doing so has destroyed, for all, the former. If only there was an alternative in May.....
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Mr Paine, I feel you should have added Mr Bodman's point to your action list (and perhaps then deleting every other one!) - get the state out of education altogether. The more I see, the less I believe that there is any role for the state in the provision of education. And you are right to be so passionate about this. I am now trying to recruit for a new business venture (yes, I am mad to be contemplating such an idea in this broken country) and almost without exception the better applicants, solely on the basis of their ability to express themselves in English, are from Eastern Europe or the Antipodes. To even have the idea to impose this ill-educated underclass on the professions is laughable.
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2010 on Labour; the elite of hypocrisy at The Last Ditch
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I was pondering this same subject today, when seeing headlines about the uselessness of the police 'service' given their New Labour mandate to enforce political correctness above actual crime, and also another court case, or perhaps more properly a tribunal hearing, regarding failed humour about someone wearing shorts. Mr Paine's experience on New Year's Eve is also, regrettably, a part of this awfulness. I know this is a little off point, but my mind got to wondering how we change the prevailing winds? I haven't come up with a good answer. As Mr Paine will confirm, my first instinct is to abolish all of the laws that create such pathetic interactions between citizens; I also suspect another of mandating deportation for any complainants would not be electable (and where could they be sent?); so trying to come up with something that could perhaps be done (by definition, an imperfect solution) the best I could think of was to mandate that the maximum damages for any hurt 'feelings', in any forum, and for any reason, should be a pound, and the complainant, even if they win, pays their own legal costs. Otherwise my grave fear is Tom is right. The direction we are currently in, can only lead to encourage the feckless and lazy to seek advancement using a system that destroys self respect and what little of the social fabric of this country remains.
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Whilst I agree with your comments totally (and also have a reference point of several years spent working, if not living, in Russia to measure an alternative), I suspect you are not going far enough. In addition to now getting the politicians we deserve, we are also getting the society we deserve; the corrupting influence of the welfare state and absence of a common morality that binds us as neighbours is destroying any sense of responsibility and community. I fear that until we re-learn that it does matter how we, and those in office, conduct themselves, and to raise our expectations for our own behaviour and of those in office, we are going to be mired in this sorry state for some time. This is not just a legal challenge (the absence of the rule of law, Russia's gravest problem, not being the core issue here), but one of manners and morals.
Toggle Commented Dec 28, 2009 on Woman of the year at The Last Ditch
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Indeed. I have no photo, and indeed one would not do it justice, to the magnificent bottle of Claret that washed down our Christmas dinner today. A very kind and thoughtful gift from a dear friend earlier this month. Happy Christmas to you and your family, Mr Paine.
Toggle Commented Dec 25, 2009 on Merry Christmas at The Last Ditch
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Mr Paine, I trust you are settling in well to your new home. I think that you raise some very interesting points in your post, and am delighted that you are dangerously drifting away from from your libertarian roots here.... However, one point that I think is missing from the analysis is the moral position in one particular sense; very few people seem to be discussing this with the starting proposition that Tiger should not have done what he did. He made a moral commitment to his wife to remain faithful to her, and he broke that promise. She and their two children should not have had to suffer his breach of his commitment. I wonder whether we should be holding each other to our promises a little more.... I tend to agree with your basic theme though- the 'legalisation' of marriage and its breakdown is a bad law, and creates distortions of the underlying relationships in so many ways. In relation to the other comments, i don't see a huge conspiracy theory here. TIger Woods, in that particular American way, set himself up as the 'All-American' family man, and it was enormously lucrative for him. When this came crashing down the 'brand' was irretrievably tarnished, and that is why the sponsors are leaving him. I do wonder if his colour has anything to do with the speed of his downfall- if so, it does not reflect well on those who have hastened it, but don't forget he, and he alone, could have stopped any of this from happening!
Toggle Commented Dec 21, 2009 on Bad law corrupts at The Last Ditch
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I suppose Tom must have some Catholic readers other than me? How interesting that this should be raised in Advent, leading up to Christmas. Tom, your point for us to consider is not at all challenging if one considers the circumstances in which Jesus came to teach at the temple and was sent to save us. The temple and the society it served were corrupt to the core, and he was sent to redeem it and the society, and it cost him his life. Should we find ourselves in such a position again, and if the Church is failing in its true purpose, then I would agree he would not be willing to enter St Peter's. What he would think of the wealth of the Church I couldn't say, but I would be disappointed if the great art and architecture dedicated to the glory and worship of God was not required. I also appreciate your utilitarian support for the Church's independence and means. As for Stephen Fry, he seems to be on some sort of vendetta. He recently identified the Catholic Church as being responsible for the holocaust (for a commentary on this see http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100012872/stephen-frys-slur-against-polish-catholics-remember-which-side-of-the-border-auschwitz-was-on/). I used to enjoy watching him work, as I found him learned and occasionally funny. However his vitriolic attacks on Catholicism are of no interest to me. Finally, I do not suggest for a moment that the Church is above criticism. It, like most churches or institutions, has made many grave mistakes (and has had large periods where it would have justified Jesus' intervention), and perhaps as the oldest of the Christian faiths it has more failings which warrant criticism - I think the Church is broadly open about acknowledging these, particularly the present Holy Father. What is disappointing is that in a time where Europe is facing its deepest cultural challenge ever, it seems that the prevailing debate is determined to destroy Europe from within by attacking the Christian faith which is, in my view, the principal cultural characteristic of this once great society.
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2009 on Let the debate continue at The Last Ditch
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The glove has been thrown to the ground, hasn't it! I am not sure which of the several points are most worthy to debate - the liberty of individuals to worship as they see fit; the liberty of a society to determine their common heritage and identity and to set boundaries for those within that community to adhere to them (which is decidedly not libertarian, and not something in this instance I would support, but I would in others); the essential element of defining Europe's identity and the Church at the heart of this; a comparative debate about religions and how they differ from cults (admittedly a wide discussion....). I think where I find this most lazy is to render the Church and Scientology fundamentally equivalent. Accepting your position as an atheist (with sorrow!), I think even on a rational basis (and trying to leave the religion out of it) you must be able to distinguish between the Church that has been at the heart of the development of the European peoples, progress, civilisation and identity, and a cult invented in the last century that no link to any community or history, that targets (as it did me once) the young and disaffected, is effectively a secret society. and has at its core a message that so bizarre that it is not permitted to be disclosed outside the sect - although it did to its credit give South Park the material for one of their better episodes... But several of your points are lazy: to say that both are equally unverifiable is a lazy statement (disputable perhaps in relation to the Christian faiths, but not unverifiable); it was the French judiciary which made this judgement, not the Catholic Church, and the government of France is robustly secular. Further, the Catholic faith has co-existed, and shares a common heritage with other faiths, in particular Judaism (although admittedly not always an easy relationship). Catholics will of course resist (or should) any other religion, as the basic tenant of our faith is that ours is the one true faith, etc. etc. That should be open to criticism, and we should be prepared to defend it. But I think you have implied that an act of a state was an act of an act of another faith, and further sought to assert that the core religion of Europe is the same as what is essentially a Hollywood sect. I think you could have made your point, again, with which I broadly agree, in a much more coherent and reasoned manner?
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2009 on Law (0) Religion (1) (o.g.) at The Last Ditch
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Mr Paine, you would not expect me to agree with this post, but I am disappointed in the laziness of this argument. I will respond in kind by not wasting my time in responding to the shallow and unmeritorious attacks, on this, All Souls' Day. I can only note that you could have made your point (with which I agree) without attacking the Church of Europe.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2009 on Law (0) Religion (1) (o.g.) at The Last Ditch
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The thing I don't understand here is why she (and others) have not already been charged with fraud, or obtaining money by deception. There is, it seems to me, sufficient evidence in the public domain - I would have though the police or fraud squad should have arrested at least one of them. Can one launch a private prosecution? They are not above the law, and the absence of this element is worrying about our broader society and reflects poorly on all of us. I agree with the comment about retrospective amendments to the law, but they were in breach of both the rules, and also the law of the land. It beggars belief that the reason she was caught was the record of her police protection team!! I appreciate my thoughts are not very coherent, but my blood boils at this....
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I always have a fondest for cities that have trams, which reminds me of my birthplace, Melbourne!!
Toggle Commented Oct 12, 2009 on My first new city for a while at The Last Ditch
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This is just about the final nail in the coffin of this government, or if not, this once fine country deserves the misery this government and social environment it continues to create. Matthew Parris wrote very well addressing this point in Saturday's Times (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article6831413.ece) although I am not fully with his summary at the end of the article. If this is not the trigger for either what passes as mass protest (and given even the BBC seems to get that this insane it might be), or, as Parris highlights, this is surely a law that goes too far and by necessity results in mass breach, rendering it useless. Sadly, the unintended (?) consequence is likely to be that fewer people will provide the support, guidance and effort that children need to grow and develop, with the obvious consequences for us all. My grave fear is that then these clowns, or the ones from the next circus, will say this hasn't worked, and then insist on further and better laws.
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Moggsy, I haven't reviewed the earlier posts to confirm the nuances, and I can't remember what Tom argued precisely, but to me the simplest response to your comment 'You more or less refuted, or more like sidelined, almost identical arguments when I used them in favour of getting a helping hand to bow out. It seemed to me you almost junked some of your libertarian values to do it.' is to relate back to a fundamental principle that human life is paramount. On this basis these two points are inextricably linked. And once we let go of this basic principle, then it doesn't matter what our views on government (although I share yours totally!); we are opening up our society to a place where personal liberty is at the whim of others.
Toggle Commented Sep 4, 2009 on A very British death at The Last Ditch
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