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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
Quite. That said, I was approached when chairman of my university's Conservatives to go onto the party's candidates list. I would like to say I turned it down on principle because of my disgust at the idea of living parasitically and bossing strangers about. In truth, my reasons were more mundane. I thought it would wreck my planned career as every employer would know I wasn't committed to my future with them. I would have needed to take leaves of absence to fight at least one impossible election and then (with luck) a winnable seat. Even the best-case scenario would have involved years of uncertainty during which I couldn't provide a stable home for the wife and family I had in mind. The best I can say is my lust for power was less than my desire for a stable family life. That puts me in a higher category than most rent-seeking sociopaths (aka politicians) but it was not as fully moral a decision as I would now wish it had been. In fairness I wasn't a libertarian at that point.
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One of my earlier disillusionments (I seem to be afflicted with remarkable naivety for someone who led a business life inter alia in Russia) was when I had to leave Liberty – then under the direction of Lady Chakrabati of Palestine – because I realised it was (and always had been) another left-wing "front" organisation with no actual interest in liberty at all. I should have known better than to join it in the first place. The National Council for Civil Liberties as it was then called was the organisation which, with Harriet Harman working for it, had PIE (Paedophile Information Exchange) affiliated to it. It was always a Left/Labour front – only interested in "rights" that others must be forced to pay for with the state's knee on their throats. One of the difficulties of modern political life is that the Left has taken the teachings of Goebbels firmly to heart and uses words like "liberal", "civil liberties" and "liberty" in utterly dishonest ways. In the final analysis, if you aim to have the state dominate national life and direct economic activity, there is no way you CAN care about liberty, correctly-understood. So you warp the words, lie, cheat and get yourself elected precisely to destroy the things you say you love. That's a given. What was NOT a given before COVID-19 (though the Tories have always had a paternalistic, squirearchical dimension to what passes for their ideology that often makes them speak with forked tongue about Liberty) was that a "Conservative" government might wallow in totalitarianism like BoJo's has.
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That is exactly my fear and, it seems, Lord Sumption's. That politicians desire power is no surprise. Who else would be attracted to living parasitically on their fellow-men while bossing them about? I fear the desire for such status is a kind of mental illness and that, just as paedophiles are drawn to work in children's homes, those who seek political office or a place in the state administration are more than averagely likely to be dangerous. We would be better with a parliament selected at random from the electoral register, but the random decent people who got the job would not want it so would side with the rent-seeking power fiends if it's ever proposed. Best of all would be for the state's power to be severely limited. Given the attitudes revealed during this crisis, I fear than any written UK constitution prepared now would not be nearly as good as America's, which is itself under constant attack. Frankly, I am more disappointed by my fellow-voters of whom I naively expected better than by the politicians of whom I expected nothing.
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Liberal democracy will be the biggest casualty of this pandemic. I tweeted several paragraphs from this excellent article before realising the way I used to do this was better and turned to my blog. The article lifted my spirits because Lord Sumption, pillar of the legal Establishment, is articulating all... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2021 at THE LAST DITCH
I would cheerfully die for Enlightenment values. As my personal life is usually a delight, perhaps it’s as well the gods seem not to be offering that reward for such a sacrifice.
Toggle Commented Feb 6, 2021 on History's greatest tweet? at THE LAST DITCH
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That’s a good one! I hope you’re well. I remember our lunch together very fondly.
Toggle Commented Feb 6, 2021 on History's greatest tweet? at THE LAST DITCH
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It occurs to me that the greatest Tweeter of the Age of Reason might have been Diderot. His "Mankind will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest" was very much in the violent, hateful style favoured by many Twitter users.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2021 on History's greatest tweet? at THE LAST DITCH
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If we embraced Socrates' wisdom (and I certainly cringe at the memory of my youthful arrogance when I knew almost literally nothing) there would be no call for Twitter at all. The Huxley one is a good 'un and almost entirely contrary to the spirit of Twitter, which typically has all the scepticism of the baying crowd at a witch trial.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2021 on History's greatest tweet? at THE LAST DITCH
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One of Cameron's few recorded instances of wit. I remember correctly he was much condemned for it and retreated into safe verbal beigeness. I love your optimism that someone interested in financial prudence might one day be attracted into politics.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2021 on History's greatest tweet? at THE LAST DITCH
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Good suggestion. If anyone had the skills to make Twitter work positively it was Marcus Aurelius.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2021 on History's greatest tweet? at THE LAST DITCH
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Two excellent suggestions, but the first is just history's most famous boast, isn't it? Not really persuasive (but then if you were leading the world's first professional army against naked savages, you didn't much need advocacy skills). Personally if we're going for boasts in Latin, I think a less famous one is even more elegant; "Peccavi", Sir Charles Napier's one-word telegram home to announce that he had captured the city of Sindh.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2021 on History's greatest tweet? at THE LAST DITCH
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Good one, especially as the Lady was often right but rarely pithy.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2021 on History's greatest tweet? at THE LAST DITCH
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At first I only used it to publish links to posts here. As the blogosphere faded and Twitter became the online forum of choice, I made the foolish error of being drawn in. Sadly (and more sadly not because of my participation) it has now become so influential that decisions... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2021 at THE LAST DITCH
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Mordre wol out, that se we day by day. Mordre is so wlatsom and abhomynable To God that is so just and resonable, That he ne wol nat suffre it heled be, Though it abyde a yeer, or two, or thre. Mordre wol out, this my conclusioun.
Toggle Commented Jan 15, 2021 on Lost for words at THE LAST DITCH
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We could be, but I don’t think so. As the truth emerges, what trust remains in our corrupt Establishment will die. For example, people will discover that they’ve been bullied into being injected with a vaccine that the manufacturer would *only* release if given a legal guarantee against all claims for side effects. Even if it turned out to be a new thalidomide, there would be no claim. That’s not Nanny protecting her “children”. That’s her betraying them. Pfizer has not been given rights. Every British citizen has had his or her civil law rights removed. Usually manufacturers complain that regulators delay the release of medicines the companies believe are safe. Here their political masters have ordered the regulators to approve medicines the manufacturers are not willing to take responsibility for. If that realisation doesn’t wake us all up to the truth about our “masters”, nothing will. Nothing short of understanding that the state can’t make our problems go away and that we are responsible for our own lives can save Western civilisation.
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2021 on Lost for words at THE LAST DITCH
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One person in my street started the clapping. He or she lasted about thirty seconds before realising no-one was joining in. I am not sure virtue is really what you're signalling when you applaud your own oppression.
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2021 on Lost for words at THE LAST DITCH
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Thank you, Matt, you are too kind. It will be something, I suppose, for historians to find this exchange and learn that not all Britons submitted meekly as their liberties were (let's hope) "suspended". We're not exactly John Hampdens though, are we, with our clicktivism? At some point, the tree of liberty *will* have to be watered. I don't advocate violence of course, but I could enjoy seeing our men of power get the 18th Century treatment from the London Mob – pulled from their carriages, de-bagged and "Liberty" written on the soles of their shoes.
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2021 on Lost for words at THE LAST DITCH
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Thank you for your kind remarks. I can only hope your prayer is answered, but it's rumoured that Jehovah will only help those prepared to do something themselves.
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2021 on Lost for words at THE LAST DITCH
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I hope you had a pleasant Christmas and that it's not too late to wish you a happy new year. I hardly feel able to call myself a blogger now, given how infrequently I post. I blogged because I thought it better to light a candle than curse the darkness,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2021 at THE LAST DITCH
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Rather than give up on my exercise regime during Lockdown #2 (a mistake I made during Lockdown #1), I resolved to walk the Thames Path in sections from Hampton Court to Canary Wharf. Walking is less efficient as exercise than swimming. According to my tracker, today's walk burned only the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
This is one of the shortest sections of my planned walk, but richest in photo-opportunities. From the MI6 Building to the Houses of Parliament, Lambeth Palace, the more famous bridges, City Hall and (more poignant to me) the various buildings I worked on when I was a young property lawyer.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
You’re not wrong. There were some places I could imagine living but it’s mostly pretty anodyne.
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I took a couple of days to let my damaged feet heal. Then I took another couple because Mrs P the II and I embarked upon a project at home that provided plenty of exercise! Today we took to the path again, this time on the North Bank. Returning to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
They're healed thanks. I took my exercise in other forms moving furniture, books, computers and other chattels up and down stairs to convert a bedroom into a study but I plan to resume the walk tomorrow, weather permitting. I am glad you like the photos.
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I think you’re right. Thank you. I knew it was filmed somewhere there. When Mrs P2 and I were dating I took her to see the Pythons live show at the O2. It was amazing to watch her as (probably alone in the audience in this respect) she saw the Parrot sketch for the very first time even as thousands around her filled in the gaps Cleese deliberately left, like the congregation’s responses in a church service.
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2020 on Thames Path Day #1 at THE LAST DITCH
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