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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 can’t disagree with that. Thank you for stiffening my spine. Yes we *can* blame the politicians as usual!
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One of the Misses P long ago said "People think Dad is cynical, but he's not a cynic – he's a disappointed idealist." That makes me sound less grumpy (and on a personal level I am generally a happy chap) so I take it as a compliment. I guess that's why I still (wisdom of age notwithstanding) keep raising my hopes that one of these rascals will actually do what he or she says. Had Margaret Thatcher never existed, I guess by now I would be lost to despair. She and President Reagan seem to have been alone in my lifetime in having gone into politics with honest, non-depredatory intent. Maybe they were disappointed idealists too?
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That works for the US of A. My problem is that I can't (as usual) blame the politicians. I actually believe the "Conservative" government in the UK would have adopted a more classically-liberal approach (publishing information, advice and recommendations but not invoking criminal law) were it not for the public outcry. OK, that was maybe whipped up by the media, but the Labour Party on the Left was initially critical of the government for being too drastic in its approach so the pressure could have been resisted. The politicians simply felt that they would be blamed by the public for any deaths. So the fundamental problem is not HOW they used their powers, as that was in line with the peoples will. The problem is that they should never have had such powers in the first place!
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This is one Australian journalist’s take on the situation in his home state of Victoria. It’s the kind of voice I grew up with; thoughtful and robustly sceptical. It’s the kind of voice that belongs to, nay is essential to, nay forms a free society. It’s the kind of voice... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at THE LAST DITCH
I cannot be sure and must beware of the post hoc fallacy, but I think I may once have done some good in the field of public education. I asked a question of Trevor Philips, former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission at the "Battle of Ideas" conference... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
I joined the Conservative Party as a young man (having recently recanted my teenaged Maoism) because of Margaret Thatcher. She was not headed to the same destination as me, ideologically, but she was at least pointing in the right direction to be my fellow-traveller. She was socially-conservative in a way... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
To the precise extent they “protected” their industries, they impoverished their people. Protectionism at best shelters industry from competition, reducing the pressure to deliver good value. At worst it removes the need to keep up with industry trends so that the business withers and dies.
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The Covid-19 pandemic has had the most significant impact on the world since er… the last pandemic. This statement which conveniently forgets WW1, forced starvation in Russia and Ukraine by the Soviets, Chairman Mao’s antics in China and WW2 highlights a problem. We are being bombarded by statements about the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2020 at Crafted Outcomes
The wage disparity is a price signal. We buy the stuff lower Chinese wages (converging steadily anyway) provide and make ourselves richer by increased purchasing power. Intellectual property is another problem. When I was managing partner in China colleagues were trying and failing to enforce some rather famous IP in China but the client eventually told us not to bother. Chinese consumers bought the knock off products because they lusted for the real ones. As wages rose they were giving the knock offs to their kids and buying the real ones BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THEY REALLY WANTED. A fake Rolex that fools a customer is a problem, but how many fakes do? A fake one you know is fake is an expression of a desire for a real one. Governments should use the WTO to press for better IP protection and the big brands will lawyer up to protect their brands and IP of course, but as China et al develop more of their own IP (and with their excellent education and increasing number of entrereneurs they will) they will grok IP's imortance.
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Whoops! Thanks, I will correct that error.
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I am reading an excellent book at the moment, "Factfulness" by Hans Rosling. I remember enjoying this, his first, fantastic TED talk in which he turned statistics into entertainment to great effect. I am enjoying the book and recommend it to you. I have already taken two graphs from it... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
I am English (Welsh if we're playing rugby) and Mrs P is Indian. Who gives a damn, really? I am not saying racism is dead in the UK – we have buffoons of all kinds a-plenty – but I don't think there are a significant number of racists (certainly white racists) in decision-making roles. As a political issue it is very much on life-support from the intersectional, identarian Left. In particular from their policy-based evidence-makers in soft academia. I actually worry that they will raise it from its death-bed. Already, if I were a young pupil in a British school, I might think it safer to steer clear of fellow-pupils who could blight my life with a single false accusation. Young boys given power will use it, no? I ticked off many fellow-pupils when I was a lad. A couple ventured a false accusation or two to teachers in order to get me in trouble as revenge. Imagine the power they would have had if they'd been able to call me a racist.
Toggle Commented Jun 3, 2020 on Checking my privilege at THE LAST DITCH
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Racism is stupid. Humans come in different shades for obvious biological reasons to do with the intensity of sunlight where their ancestors grew up. Apart from calculating intake of Vitamin D when living in cold climates, it shouldn’t matter. Yet people keep on making it matter — for all kinds... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
How funny that your bait brought an ex-poly lecturer onto the hook. Exactly the type of amtog I described in the post! And of course he went straight for the ad hominem - their traditional mating call. Tell me at least that his photos are good. Point me to them please so that I can offer encouragement. We should try to persuade *all* authoritarian statists to distract themselves harmlessly with the arts. ;-)
Toggle Commented May 22, 2020 on Where we are and what we see at THE LAST DITCH
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It’s another language and we are all influenced by it, whether consciously or not. I’d like to think exposing myself to it is making me better. It’s certainly healthy to try to understand what *everyone* is trying to express — in words or images — whether we share their positions or not. I just wish fewer people were saying “I want my fellow men to subsidise my choices” or “look at how nice I am; so much nicer than you!”
Toggle Commented May 21, 2020 on Where we are and what we see at THE LAST DITCH
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I provoke thoughts so I can hear them. Don’t hold back!
Toggle Commented May 21, 2020 on Where we are and what we see at THE LAST DITCH
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Nine years after I gave up legal practice, I have stopped calling myself a lawyer. If you ask me now, I would say I am a photographer. I devoted my professional career to words and now I am trying to develop my visual sense. I don't do it professionally. I... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
I have not blogged about Coronavirus. Why? Because I have no relevant scientific knowledge or skill and this is a scientific problem, right? Everyone says so. Epidemiology is certainly not my subject and humility (not always my strong suit, to be honest) is definitely in order. So I have been... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
Many of us who have moved on from careers in corporations, law or accountancy firms or other large organisations work happily from home in the next, more relaxed, stages of our careers. Technology has made it easy to stay in contact and deliver services, whether by email, videoconference or (how... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2020 at Crafted Outcomes
Thank you for that. It’s another excellent, cool-headed article. I have tweeted links to both of them.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2020 on Life in the time of Corona at THE LAST DITCH
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That article makes an interesting point about the precautionary principle. At a conference I attended a few years back the then editor of the FT said we could not blame politicians for excessive regulation until we, as an electorate, were prepared to accept more risk.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2020 on Life in the time of Corona at THE LAST DITCH
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I agree. We really can and should leave politics aside at present because this crisis, or rather the political response to it, is possibly an existential threat. Our usual political arguments might well be fiddling while Rome burns.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2020 on Life in the time of Corona at THE LAST DITCH
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Private Eye reports that the Criminal Cases Review Commission will send the case of the 1970s “flying pickets” back to the Court of Appeal. Six of these violent thugs, including the actor (and former member of the neo-Nazi National Front) Ricky Tomlinson, who intimidated construction workers into voting for a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
I worry that the statistics are so inconsistently collected as to be useless. The oddly low death rate in Germany for example might mean they are following the hygiene and separation advice better than we are. Or it might mean we are not detecting/recording as many of the non-fatal cases, so that our percentage of deaths appears to be higher.
Toggle Commented Mar 21, 2020 on Life in the time of Corona at THE LAST DITCH
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My conventional-thinking, main-stream media reliant friends sneer at the blogosphere; dismissing it all as "fake news". Yet at present they are furiously emailing, Facebooking, Whatsapping and Tweeting coronavirus disinformation by the shedload. Clicking on and deleting all this "fake news" from them affords me some amusement in a dark time.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH