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Tom
London, England
An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about threats to liberty in Britain
Interests: liberty, travel, photography, writing
Recent Activity
I am glad I asked! I am also glad I got out of the game before bantering, flirting and wooing became such a minefield. It's not an easy time to be a young man in the West, but those in the first furlong will find a way just as we did. There are powerful drives in play in this respect and most humans are more kindly and practical than fanatical. It's an index of the pressures they face however that — opinionated and "difficult" though some have called me — I hesitated to press "publish" on this one. The new orthodoxies are in danger of becoming as hateful and repressive as the old ones. Just observing to a young female of my acquaintance that if the Patriarchy existed I would certainly have been invited to the meetings got me a spurning a Victorian prude would have been proud of! As to the name of your blog, my late wife's father was a man of the turf. His way of saying he was getting old was that he would soon "be crossing the Melling Road for the last time". I thought you might appreciate that reference. PS. Judging by your spelling of "maneuver" you might need this link to appreciate the reference. Sorry. http://www.grandnational.org.uk/fences.php
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on What went wrong with feminism? at THE LAST DITCH
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I think you can only do that with other WordPress blogs. Feel free to link and quote. More importantly, please feel free to comment and let me know what you think! I am on dangerous ground and need guidance.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on What went wrong with feminism? at THE LAST DITCH
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Woman and men are in this life together and bound by the most powerful of bonds. By which I don't mean sex. Sexual partners (and not just heterosexual ones) often move seamlessly from love through hate to damnable indifference. But that rarely happens to the love of mothers and sons,... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at THE LAST DITCH
It is very odd to me that Canada, which I always think of as one of the most civilised places on Earth and Canadians, several of whom I am happy to number among my friends and whom I think of (even when they are naively Leftist) as intelligent, humorous and kind, should have fallen so hard for this student politics type stupidity. Free speech is good for society, liberty and science. The merest glance at history would suggest that the application of such modern laws in the past would have led to the petrification of thought. God knows what stupid ideas would have been preserved unchallenged. After all, historians will one day look back on today's orthodoxies and find them just as bizarre as we do our ancestors unshakeable convictions. Ethics aside, it makes no practical sense to drive underground ideas that thoroughly need to be engaged with and defeated or to make martyrs of nasty idiots. For example "Black Lives Matter" activists are engaged across America at present in what any reasonable person might call hate speech as well as actual incitement to murder. Sensible Americans don't want such useful intelligence as to the location and inclinations of violent criminals suppressed. It's a shame every German hadn't read Mein Kampf before the Nazis came to power, and just bloody stupid to suppress it now. I would argue the same for the "Islamist" hate speech that Western governments are foolishly trying to suppress in order to cover up their own betrayal of our values. At least until our intelligence services have recruited enough agents thoroughly to infiltrate terrorist groups, the more hate speech the better. If only *all* our enemies were daft enough to make their intentions so apparent as the occasional blustering idiot we are immorally locking up for mere speech. It's the actual killers, rapists, traitors, destroyers of cultural artefacts and violent misogynists we need to deal with, not the armchair jihadis, who are useful idiots.
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Thanks! Not me at least. It's surprising how illiberal these liberals can be. :-)
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In the final analysis Mr Micawber is always right but, as Orwell said, there are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual can believe them. My own experience is like yours. I didn’t study economics but, in thirty years in business, I lived them. In semi-retirement I read Sowell’s excellent introduction and followed the blogs you mention with interest and they mostly seem to confirm (or explain) my own experience. If the academic followers of the other views HAD any experience of the business world, perhaps they would detect their own errors? But then if they had any experience of production they would be ashamed to be parasites.
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I suspect more politicians share these views than you think. By definition they are more than averagely interested in economic questions and not all stupid. Miss Paine the Younger has now worked in and around Parliament for some years and assures me that electors’ expectations that all their problems can be magicked away are the real toxin in our society. Having managed MPs inboxes and drafted their correspondence in her time, she says those expectations are uniformly unrealistic. Perhaps their predecessors (especially those of the “from cradle to grave” welfare tendency) are to blame, but for many current legislators the problem is not to know what to do, but how to win elections while doing it. How can they promote the Austrian School of economics when it is guaranteed that their opponents will use crypto-Keynesian policies (even Keynes would, I am sure, disown most of them) to justify expansionism? When they say they want to pump money "into the economy", the correct question to ask is “from where?” For all our lives the most truthful answer would have been “From the future. We are borrowing against the taxes of the children without votes or as yet unborn”. A major component of public expenditure now is servicing that imprudent debt. Only Margaret Thatcher ever pointed out the simple truth that you can’t go on borrowing forever to fund current, as opposed to capital, expenditure and look just how much she is now hated and how little even she succeeded in rolling back the advance of the “money for nothing” state! Just look how, in times of austerity, the government’s first resort is to cut the capital expenditure (on infrastructure etc) that it SHOULD be making rather than the current expenditure (on welfare and other electoral bribes) that it should NOT. I have joined the Mises Institute and made a modest donation towards funding “The Mises Reader” which promises to make the great man’s work more accessible to lay people such as us. In America it, and the Cato Institute, are working hard to promote sound economics to young people. The Adam Smith Institute and the IEA do their humble best here but they are hampered by the total dominance of Marxists in British academia. Any IEA researcher advancing realism will be poo-pooed on the BBC by any number of rent-a-comrade professors, some of whom are economic idiots and some actually intent on promoting an economic collapse from which the Revolution can be born. Dismal it may be, but economics remains a science - unlike politics which is mere institutionalised bullying. Political distortions of economic truths are the curse of modern politics. Mr Trump’s 17th Century mercantilism would be only marginally less damaging than Mrs Clinton’s crypto-Keynesianism, for example. in what passes for Jeremy Corbyn’s brain, there is some childish vision of business-people sitting dragon-like on untold hoards of stolen gold. He has never produced economic value. He never intends to. He has total contempt for those who do. And the glee with which the media is currently expounding the “broken window fallacy” in the context of Louisiana’s natural disaster would be hilarious if it were not so stupid. This last one is least inexcusable given that GDP is a measure of flows not stocks and will therefore actually rise in the USA, despite the fact that it is obviously poorer by the value destroyed.
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Socialism: The World's Greatest Generator of Poverty | Mises Wire. "Why have death, destruction, and abject destitution become so hip and cool? Because of effective propaganda and utopian promises of “free” everything." ...and an education system infested with freeloading Marxists. Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2016 at THE LAST DITCH
Comedian Fined $42,000 for Telling a Joke | Heat Street. Can any Canadian reader explain to me how the "Quebec Human Rights Commission" acquired the power to fine a comedian for making a joke? I would be interested, especially if it involved an attempt to justify the power. Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2016 at THE LAST DITCH
You are too kind. Maybe we're both just right?
Toggle Commented Aug 16, 2016 on Where Freedom stands now at THE LAST DITCH
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Mankind is emerging from poverty at the greatest rate in human history. 100,000,000 souls a decade are graduating from subsistence to having disposable income. Yet in the West because "poverty" is measured in relative terms apparently inspired by Christ's words that "the poor are always with us" we are told that people living better material lives and having longer life expectancies than the rich in the 1960s are "poor".
Toggle Commented Aug 16, 2016 on Where Freedom stands now at THE LAST DITCH
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Thank you for the welcome. Yes, whatever happened to "the end of history" eh?!
Toggle Commented Aug 16, 2016 on Where Freedom stands now at THE LAST DITCH
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At the risk of sounding like a Marxist, I don't think real free market economics have been tried yet! I was advising international banks in the run up to 2008 and they were very far from being criminal enterprises. That's just a lazy smear by politicians to mask their own guilt. On the contrary the banks were struggling manfully (expending fortunes both on in house "compliance officers" and external advisors like me) to comply with lots of regulations. The problem was more that, once they'd complied, everyone (managment, regulators, shareholders, depositors) assumed all was well. Compliance was seen as the height of prudence, rather than a chore to get out of the way before addressing the real issues of debtor reliability and adequacy of security. There was a lethal combination of pressure to lend, the absence of the usual "safe" sovereign borrowers who were taking loans from China instead, and a false sense of security afforded by the supervision of the sort of easily outwitted, lazy losers who inevitably end up as regulators. And of course the usual moral jeopardy of their being safe in the knowledge that if it all went wrong their governments would prop them up. Scrap the regulations but remove the actual or implied guarantees and prudence (the absence of which was the problem) would return. I would have bailed out none of them. By the way all the loans I worked on performed (were repaid in full with the agreed interest). Why? Because they were to Russian entities about whom the banks were cautious enough to exercise sensible, prudent judgement. Also they were outside the Eurozone and therefore lacked the implied guarantee that the ECB would be directed by Germany to rescue them if it went wrong. If they had behaved the same in Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece the crisis would not have happened. Far more damage has been done by Germany using the ECB and the EU apparatus to save German banks active in such places from the consequences of their imprudence than would have been caused by sensible enforcement and writing off of bad debts. Greece has not really been bailed out. The German banks that overextended themselves there have.
Toggle Commented Aug 16, 2016 on Where Freedom stands now at THE LAST DITCH
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The rising inequality meme is fake. It's SJW propaganda, based on "research" by Marxist academics. Even if it were true, inequality is objectively far worse in socialist countries where resources are allocated by a gangster class of politicians with the power not just to divert wealth to their friends but of life and death over their enemies. Ask anyone who lived in CEE during the Soviet times. There are inequities in modern Britain, yes, but they are largely the product of state sponsored crony capitalism. The value destroyed each year by regulatory barriers to market entry alone, for example, is incalculable. And the bankers may get the blame for 2008 but the perverse incentives and moral jeopardy created by regulators were the main causes. And what, in the name of all that is holy, is "honest and principled" about socialism? Corbyn's only solution to any problem is what, when done by anyone other than the state, would be armed robbery. At least Ronnie and Reggie Kray were honest and principled enough not to claim to be honest and principled. That alone makes them Corbyn's moral superiors.
Toggle Commented Aug 15, 2016 on Where Freedom stands now at THE LAST DITCH
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America has forgotten that Small is Beautiful I feel lucky to have lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. I never saw it coming. The bad guys in the Cold War seemed to have all the advantages and the abject grovelling of the West's politicians seemed... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2016 at THE LAST DITCH
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The names by which we know Native American tribes are those given by their enemies. They are hostile and insulting. That's because in the languages of the Plains Indians the word for one's own tribe simply translates as "human". The "other" tribes in their notions when their languages were formed... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2016 at THE LAST DITCH
Not too long ago, I would have shrugged my shoulders and said "probably nothing". The only hope was the long, slow haul of education – the sterling work done by such excellent bodies as the Adam Smith Institute or the IEA in the UK and the Cato Institute and the Mises Institute in the USA. Optimism is growing in me again, however, as on both sides of the Atlantic there seems to be a rebellion. The "Establishment" – solidly culturally Marxist, Keynesian etc. – has cried wolf too often and has lost credibility. People who don't find economics interesting are developing an instinctive appreciation that "our leaders" don't know what they are doing and are borrowing us into oblivion. I think it's the next generation down from ours that feels most strongly about it. They may object to getting less than us (no free university, no maintenance grants to study, fewer benefits generally) but logically that must surely lead them to the questions of how and why our generation and the one before ours took more than could be afforded.
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http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/savers-lose-out-as-bank-cuts-interest-rates-to-0-25-8kdl8qxsp?shareToken=dad7c3ec8284b32778318c518061326e If you have worked hard and saved for your old age this is a bad day for you as the Bank of England bails out the feckless and the over-borrowed by reducing interest rates in a vain attempt to stimulate the economy by encouraging more feckless over borrowing as... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2016 at THE LAST DITCH
Revealed: Cameron’s honours for cronies | News | The Times & The Sunday Times. Remember all those business folk who spoke out so strongly for the "Remain" campaign; predicting economic collapse in the wake of their threatened withdrawal of investment? Remember how they retreated from their threats when the result... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2016 at THE LAST DITCH
Gotcha. Me neither. :-)
Toggle Commented Jul 30, 2016 on Crime in London at THE LAST DITCH
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This post is about the London average. Current national statistics can be found here http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingmar2016
Toggle Commented Jul 30, 2016 on Crime in London at THE LAST DITCH
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I resisted the temptation to reference the licensed thieves in their crumbling state housing. The Met's writ very much runs there – I took a tour with an elderly relative last week and they were all over the shop, and very heavily armed with automatic assault weapons.
Toggle Commented Jul 30, 2016 on Crime in London at THE LAST DITCH
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Yes, but what's interesting at the current juncture is just where the nation divided on Brexit. Norman Tebbit commented a few years ago that no-one is talking to "Margaret's voters", by which he meant those from the aspirational working class who were attracted to her honest promotion of self-help as life's main engine. I think her voters re-registered for the referendum and that they can be recruited to a small state approach. As can the much maligned millennials who have a sense of grievance that they are picking up the bills for previous generations' self-indulgence; benefits paid from government borrowing. Over the pond, Trump's an idiot, but he's an honest idiot and that resonates, particularly when opposed by a candidate who has long lost any grasp of truth. Boris Johnson is no idiot (though he averts anti-intellectualism by clowning) but he is himself. He doesn't pretend he follows football or eats Big Macs. He was on the Bullingdon Club group shot with Cameron and Osborne. It hurt them but not him. Jeremy Corbyn is a loser, but he's never been anything but what he is now and couldn't pretend if he tried – not even to succeed in his life's goals. The great temptation of politics is to lie for votes, to over-promise and either under-deliver or deliver at greater cost than voters understood. If I am reading the runes correctly, there is an upswell of resistance to dishonesty. "Don't be slick", the voters seem to be saying, "be real." We may be on the verge of the political equivalent of punk rock.
Toggle Commented Jul 30, 2016 on Reawakening Europe, but to what? at THE LAST DITCH
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The Metropolitan Police crime map makes for interesting viewing, particularly when you drill down to the more specific data. My own manor shows as "Low or no crime" for burglary and violence (hurrah!) but "High" for thefts from vehicles. I am puzzled why that should be, but happy that Speranza... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2016 at THE LAST DITCH
Reawakening Europe by Joschka Fischer - Project Syndicate. If you find yourself in a dark and dangerous place and you need to find your way to safety, there is usually more than one route. Once you have set out on one of the possible paths, however, that's easy to forget.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2016 at THE LAST DITCH