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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
It may surprise you but I’m not following the Supreme Court case. I was a commercial not a constitutional lawyer. I have confidence in the quality of the judges at this level and I’ll be surprised if it turns out badly — even though I’m sure (having moved in such circles) they’re every bit as far removed from the thinking of normal Brits as the rest of the establishment. Nonetheless they’ll make a decision based on the law, which while it is pretty damned woolly at the constitutional level where it doesn’t get worked on regularly like commercial issues, constrains them. Judges spend their lives trying to discern intent because legal outcomes turn on them all the time. Crimes have two components, for example — an act and an intent. Kill someone when you believed they posed a threat, for example, and you committed the act but without the criminal intent. In this case, the PM’s intent in proroguing Parliament may or may not be relevant. John Major prorogued to end discussion of a scandal in the run up to an election. Not the noblest motive, maybe, but he’s a politician and all sides were tainted by the scandal so no one objected and the courts never had chance to discuss if that was a legitimate reason. I am sure there are some political considerations every time it’s prorogued. Politicians will naturally consider them in timing something like that. The role of the Executive is fairly clear so the question is whether, in doing something within its legal competence, it did so improperly with an intent to frustrate the competence of Parliament. Let’s see.
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Law vs ethics — again. at THE LAST DITCH
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I agree with your views but I don’t think the communication revolution is to blame. For example John Major should go down in history as one of the worst Prime Ministers ever for having abolished the right to silence — severing Rumpole’s “golden thread”; the presumption of innocence. This “tough on crime”, “populist” measure played out in the dead tree press in the centuries-old way. There were blogs by then but we bloggers deluded ourselves if we thought we had influence. We were just hosting a new version of the political chat down the pub and had about as much effect on policy. What has changed is that we have lost our national unity and fragmented into special interest groups. This has long been a divide and rule objective of leftist intellectuals and they have succeeded mightily. People now tend to sell their votes for benefits accruing to their “tribe”. Brexit has been a salutary shock to this phenomenon because it transcends the tribes. The identity politicians are impersonating headless chickens because their usual tricks don’t work. They attack the usual enemy tribes but find it backfires on them because they hit home on their own tribes too.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Law vs ethics — again. at THE LAST DITCH
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It used to be obvious in England that a good person was a law-abiding one. I was brought up to see the police as my friends and my protectors. I hate that I don’t feel that way now. There was no road to Damascus moment. I had no personal bad... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at THE LAST DITCH
For most member states that’s just what it is. I just don’t get it myself. Every penny I have left (after most were taken by state force) was paid to me under contracts freely entered into by clients with many other choices. So I sleep easy. I would be ashamed to live as a public employee, paid with money taken by force from my fellow men. I’d be almost equally ashamed to be a citizen of a beggar state, though if I was making an honest living myself I guess I’d survive. I don’t understand why any decent human would be happy to be a parasite.
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I can see that it’s a big prize but it’s not exactly a noble one, is it? Not one that brave Scots bled for. Just a shabby quest for subsidy. In its way, an admission of an inferiority their English friends would never ascribe to them. Sad.
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But they don’t want actual independence do they? The magnificent William Wallace would despise the SNP’s shabby aspirations. Their only foreign policy (rather like Ireland in the Brexit negotiations) would be to spite England. They see a United States of Europe as a good way to do that, designed as it is by England-hating France and funded by everyone who thinks they’re as good as Germany-hating Germany. They’re like a flea in search of a juicier dog. Or a dependent teenager snarling at the mum and dad that feeds him. They’d rapidly assume the same stance within a USE and I’d enjoy watching them fall into the same toxic relationship with Germany and France they’ve always had with us. Still love them though.
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Pete North asks if the Union can survive Brexit and “do we really care?” Personally I think this damp archipelago, including Ireland, belongs together. We Scots, Welsh, English and Irish are interbred beyond all separation. I never encountered an unmixed family. More importantly we are unarguably one people culturally. We... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2019 at THE LAST DITCH
Welcome to my blog and thanks for your contribution. With utter respect for yours, we don’t need to *agree* to disagree as we plainly already do. I certainly disagree on your right to speak for “the plebs”. I’m one too and not all of us are as snobbish as you. You write in your style. JRM will write in his. The guidance is only for use in letters drafted by staff to be sent in his name. I used to expect my staff to respect my style when drafting my letters for me. I note that the society-wide style guide of political correctness imposed by leftist politicians on us all has met with no such critique in the media. This rather supports my theory that there is nothing to see here but knee-jerk class-hatred of a quaintly old-fashioned kind.
Toggle Commented Aug 5, 2019 on A chap is entitled to his style at THE LAST DITCH
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I like her way of thinking too. She's younger than me but in some ways far more mature.
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2019 on A chap is entitled to his style at THE LAST DITCH
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I try not to be provoked by ill-judged political outbursts by my friends on social media. Life’s too short to fix everything someone gets wrong on the internet. Or so my wife tells me. Today, for example, I almost wasted an hour of my life responding to attacks on Jacob... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2019 at THE LAST DITCH
Harsh but there’s a grain of truth in that. Selfishly, it’s a highlight of my life I would have hated to lose however. Kennedy was a bad man in many ways. If ever I think feminists overstate historic male mistreatment of women, for example, I think of him and his brother Ted to remind myself just how bad men could be during my lifetime. But I owe him for Apollo.
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2019 on The only state agency I ever loved at THE LAST DITCH
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I have been meaning to read that for years. Thanks for reminding me. I fear my book pile is already more years of reading than an actuary would give me but I will be an optimist and add it anyway!
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2019 on The only state agency I ever loved at THE LAST DITCH
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I think I would have liked your mum! Thanks for your reminiscences and comments. You make a very interesting point about the Apollo programme having warped perceptions of the practicality of space exploration. I fear you may well be right.
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2019 on The only state agency I ever loved at THE LAST DITCH
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You make an excellent point and I stand corrected. Thank you.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2019 on The only state agency I ever loved at THE LAST DITCH
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Is there no hope of a peaceful solution that avoids such chaos? I believe the current global wave of “populism” is essentially people protesting at the hijacking of their states by entrenched elites. Beat a gilet jaune enough and he may resist violently. Thwart a democratic vote or scorn millions as “deplorables” and a whole people may rise. Surely we’re not looking forward to such violent horrors? I’d like to live my life in peace and die hoping my daughters can do so too.
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That’s a false dichotomy. The state is just a special kind of corporation. It is a legal fiction, like a limited company. Corporations can only do good (or harm) through the actions of the actual people working for them. The legal construct is all about limiting their liability by pretending these “legal persons” are as real as those “natural persons” they employ. No, the French police assaulting gilets jaunes did not make the laws authorising their violence. Nor did they give the violent orders they act upon so thoroughly. But they don’t get to use “the Nuremberg Defence”, sorry. They’re “only following orders” but (unlike most Nuremberg defendants) they freely signed up to do so. I get it. You want a bigger state than I do. But surely we both want a state that behaves more decently? So again, I ask the question. How can a state become more decent when decent people can’t bring themselves to work for it?
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Mankind would have advanced into space without Kennedy bilking the US taxpayers to flaunt his political manhood. State involvement (as always) cost lives private capital would never have risked and involved waste (of money and labour) investors would never have tolerated. At one stage Apollo was costing 2.5% of US GDP. That stage lasted for 10 years! Yet without it we would still have had satellite navigation and communications and all the other practical benefits. The state always screws it up, but that doesn’t detract from the achievements of the scientists, technicians and astronauts who signed up to a flawed programme in good faith. The project that won the Cold War was not Apollo but one that never got off the drawing board — Reagan’s “Star Wars”, the Strategic Defense Initiative. At best Apollo contributed to that win by convincing the Soviets that America could pull the SDI off — and were crazy enough to try.
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2019 on The only state agency I ever loved at THE LAST DITCH
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As a young boy I was a fan of NASA. I was born the year Sputnik was launched — the dawn of the Space Age — but, impressive though the Soviet space programme was, I — as a fan of Rawhide and DC Comics — was rooting for the Americans.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2019 at THE LAST DITCH
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I was brought up to respect policemen. I still do. Even a libertarian state would ask good people to put themselves in harm’s way to enforce its few laws. The harm they do is rarely the fault of the (mostly) good policemen enforcing our current monstrous state’s thousands of bad... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2019 at THE LAST DITCH
Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed reading it. It’s a relief to write about joys when the usual fare on my blog is the whinge, the rant and the moan.
Toggle Commented Jul 4, 2019 on Home again at THE LAST DITCH
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Small world. I grew up just over the Welsh border from Chester and that was where I shopped, pubbed and clubbed when I was young so I can certainly see why you hear “Spezza” in Scouse! Ta for sharing lad.
Toggle Commented Jul 4, 2019 on Home again at THE LAST DITCH
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All good things do have to come to an end. Safely back in London our honeymoon is already a happy memory. Any nervousness about attempting such a trip in a ten year old car — it’s Speranza‘s birthday this month — seems silly now. She acquitted herself magnificently. It’s not... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2019 at THE LAST DITCH
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We took our time over a shorter drive from Beaune to Épernay. French autoroutes somehow sit more lightly on the landscape than British motorways. They lack the embankments to screen them from their neighbours, the gantries to monitor and nag their users and the ugly safety infrastructure that makes a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2019 at THE LAST DITCH
It *was* cool and in both senses of the word. We are glad to have you along virtually. You are the patron saint of this marriage. Mrs P II sends her love.
Toggle Commented Jul 2, 2019 on Beaune, idle at THE LAST DITCH
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Today was one of the more ambitious in terms of driving. Our South of France idyll over, we reluctantly locked the door of our friend's villa and headed to the autoroutes. Our destination today was Beaune, which is 370 miles from Mougins. We decided to make the trip slightly longer... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2019 at THE LAST DITCH