The Reith Lectures – Niall Ferguson

I have just been listening to the 4th and final of the BBC Reith Lectures presented by Niall Ferguson. Despite his conceit and reputation as a media tart, I like Prof Ferguson. I have read a couple of his books, Empire and The Ascent of Money both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. In my view he is a bright man with sound ideas

Ferguson was born in Glasgow and educated at the Glasgow Academy.

The subject of the Lectures this year was The Rule of Law And Its Enemies

I am not sure if you can still find the first 2, but the 3rd and 4th are available and worth listening to, especially the last which is presented up in Edinburgh. Ferguson advocates more individual involvement in all aspects of daily life including social activities and private education, especially education and less government interference. His audience seems to entirely comprise Glaswegian left-wing academics and trades unionists; add to that the BBC’s Sue Lawley and he appears to be in a minority of one. But I find it difficult not to agree with almost everything he says and it leaves me depressed that there are so many who would oppose his views.

Have a listen if you can. I think Mr Mackie in particular would enjoy them.

It is the Sixth of June

And do I see any sign in the press that, sixty-seven years ago today, the greatest sea-borne invasion in history took place on the beaches of Normandy, beginning the end of the Great Patriotic War, excuse me, World War Two? I see that Hugh Bonneville is up for the Gentleman’s Club role, whatever the hell that may be, that Bob Geldoff has been rocking them in the aisles with his tales of love, that Wayne Rooney has had a hair transplant…

I’d like to revive a post I put up some time ago…

Cognitive Teasing or Quantitative Easing?

Quantitative Easing supposes to improve the economy through purchase of British Government bonds (gilts) and high quality (investment grade) bonds from private sector companies (banks, pension funds, insurance companies and non-financial institutions). By doing this the Bank is able to inject money directly into the economy and the companies that need it. This is in the belief that printing money and rising prices mean that they are creating value. But wait a minute ‘purchase government bonds’? That is, buy gilts to provide the exchequer with money that the government needs to meet a budget deficit! Gilts that creat more debt that the government needs to honour in terms of returning any capital invested plus any promised interest. A debt serviced through taxation. An article by Frank Chodorov with the title Don’t buy Government Bonds puts it this way: –
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Whacko of the Week

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell who is to give 19 million hard-earned taxpayers pounds to UNRWA.

The UNRWA was founded in 1949 to deal with the refugee crisis caused by the invasion of the new State of Israel by five Arab armies. 61 years and billions upon billions of pounds later, it has demonstrably failed. The Arab refugees of Palestine have been kept in misery by the neglect of the states in the region, the intransigence of Arab States in refusing to recognise the State of Israel and the pouring of billions of pounds into armed attacks on that State, instead of into the provision of basic necessities for refugees and the means for them to remedy their own misfortunes by their own efforts. I present the example of Cyprus, a small country burdened with a huge refugee problem by an Invasion by a foreign Country in 1974. Find a refugee camp in Cyprus. Find refugees from Famagusta or other areas occupied by Turkey still living in squalor and poverty. Hint. You can’t.

Another 19 million pounds of British tax-payers’ cash flushed down the toilet.

Taxpayers’ Cash Paying for Politicians?

This is another of my earlier blogs – which seems quite forward thinking, two years after the fact 🙂

Not with my bleedin’ cash they ain’t!  We are now informed by our lords and masters that the way to avoid any more scandals like the recent cash for honours nonsense is to fund political parties from general taxation.  Let’s examine this proposition.  At bottom it means that the government will confiscate a sum of money from me and give it to a political party which I might otherwise not support.  It is a forced donation over which I will have no say.  Since I must work to get this money, what is being proposed amounts to the imposition of forced labour on behalf of the largest party, with no say in how that party should represent me, or what policies I am prepared to support – unless that is, I happen to be a supporter of that party.  It seems to me that this is in direct violation of the rule; ‘No taxation without representation,’ whcih, if I recall correctly, led to an insurrection by British citizens against the then government in the 1770’s and early 80’s, (1775 – 1783, to be exact.)
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Do We Have a Right to Self Determination?

The original concept of Athenian Democracy was to give the citizens of the City-State a say in key policy decisions of the nation.

Should we have that same right today? Or is it right that parliamentary democracy acts in what others believe are our best interests?

Let’s have your views.

I hope this makes for an interesting debate.

You can read background source material on the structure and methods of Modern Parliamentary Democracy and about the Athenian System on my political site resource.