We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

FCUK

Future Conservative UK? It might stand for something else too and no, I did not have ‘French Connection’ in mind. You choose.

Over on the Adam Smith Institute blog, there is much speculation going on about the shape of the future Tory front bench.

I am only passingly curious as to who will be presiding over the continuing erosion of our civil liberties in the next government, regardless of which statist party wins, but I realise other people live for this stuff, hence the link to the worthy ASI blog… I will be pleasantly surprised if it makes a whole lot of difference. Presumably the tax burden will be (slightly) less under a Tory government.

However if you like what David ‘Big’ Blunkett has done to civil liberties in the UK, might I remind you that all he did was successfully implement most of the measure than Michael Howard was pushing for (largely) unsuccessfully as Home Secretary in the previous Tory government. Now imagine such a man not as Home Secretary but as Prime Minister. Lovely, eh?

And I don’t suppose I need remind anyone here who it was that introduced the complete ban and confiscation of handguns in Britain, except those used by the state of course… any takers on that question? And would anyone like to remind us by how much gun crime has fallen now that they are completely illegal in the UK? Any one?

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VK

16 comments to FCUK

  • Guy Herbert

    Howard may be due for rehabilitation. Possibly.

    After many years of thinking of successive Home Secretaries, “Oh no, he’s worse than the last one!” I have finally come to the conclusion it is not the man, it is the office. The Home Office itself the greatest threat to freedom in all forms in Britain, and the incumbent ministers just defend their departmental policy with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

    Perhaps this should have been obvious from the first, but I needed to grow in cynicism before I saw it this way. A bureaucracy responsible for police and prisons will be driven by Parkinson’s law to try to encompass the entire country as a single prison. That ministers will eventually include thugs such as Blunkett and Bob Ainsworth (ugh!) is the percentage play that wins the department ground. Ministers who aren’t in sympathy will still have had to appear responsible for cerberus, even while restraining it.

  • Tony H

    I defer to no-one in my distrust of Howard’s authoritarian tendencies, but as a matter of record I must point out that the word in informed gun circles post-Dunblane was that he was initially against a sweeping handgun ban. Only after the senior Tory whose seat included Dunblane supposedly threw a tantrum in Cabinet (should remember his name but it escapes me) and insisted that his political survival demanded a handgun ban, and after (e.g.) Major made a public gaffe in summer 1996 by stating in advance of Cullen that handguns would be banned, did Howard come on board for the ban.
    BTW Perry, apart from those handguns “used by the state” you neglect to mention that the ban had no impact whatsoever on the undoubtedly larger armoury of handguns in criminal hands. For some unaccountable reason these people have not only failed to surrender their guns, but are employing them more than ever.

  • Andy Wood

    …the senior Tory whose seat included Dunblane supposedly threw a tantrum in Cabinet (should remember his name but it escapes me)…

    Michael (now Lord) Forsyth.

    He was usually regarded as one of the most pro-free market Tories.

  • Brian

    “I am only passingly curious as to who will be presiding over the continuing erosion of our civil liberties in the next government, regardless of which statist party wins… I will be pleasantly surprised if it makes a whole lot of difference.” – Perry Ferguson

    “The mentality of the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to be in a position of power.” – George Orwell

  • Good points about Howard’s record on civil liberties. He foreshadowed and paved the way for many of the attacks this govt has made on civil liberties. Mind you I take the point about home office. ISTM anyone seriously considering reversing the attacks on civil liberties should abolish the Home Office and create a new ministry of justice staffed by new employees.

    Returning to the Tories, they’ve opposed many of the govts attempts to attack civil liberties under both Hague and IDS, sometimes successfully. If they’re led by a man who’s seeing his earlier agenda put into practice with these attacks, they’ll be less able to maintain their opposition to those attacks credibly due to provoking credible charges of hypocrisy aimed at their leader.

  • “It’s the office, not the man.” – I think that is exactly right; consider Reno vs. Ashcroft.

  • Julian Morrison

    There is a major advantage to having a “conservative” government, which is why I hope they win. Namely: it’s a lot easier to rile people against what they do wrong.

  • JohnJo

    I cannot support Howard. Even though, as some of you suggest, he may have initially not been keen on a ban of handguns (except .22 cal) he did finally support and push the ban through.

    If we want to judge a politician let’s do so by examining his deeds, not his suposed hesitation.

  • Dave O'Neill

    The gun ban, heh. A silly piece of legislation which in reality affected a pretty small part of a percentage of the population.

    The Criminal Justice Act, a heinous piece of legislation which oblitarated a lot of protections and rights affected everybody and is a far bigger indicator of Howard’s personality than anything else.

    That he only sounds milder now is thanks to the antics of Mr Blunkett.

    Under Howard the Conservatives are just as doomed – I am astounded that, yet again, the parliamentary party leads them ever closer to obscurity.

  • Tony H

    Dave, I presume that in playing down the damaging effect on liberty of the 1997 Firearms Act – the “handgun ban” forsooth – compared with that of the more sweeping CJA, you are not saying the former is less important? I mean, because “only” a little over 56,000 handgun owners had their property confiscated and their sport obliterated, and a significant proportion of the gun trade was driven out of business or damaged, you’re not saying it’s not such a big deal..? I know your views differ from mine on the merits of a libertarian attitude to gun ownership, but surely laws affect everyone indirectly: the vast bulk of the population might have had no interest in jumping through the legal hoops required to own a handgun, but their rights were curtailed just as those of the 56,000 were.
    I hope no-one thinks I’m at all pro-Howard: I was just trying to set the record straight, and point out that he’s not so much a knee-jerk authoritarian as a cynical pragmatist. I dare say he doesn’t care a toss about handguns one way or the other.

  • Antoine Clarke

    The Young Conservatives rebranded themselves as Conservative Future a few years ago and tried to do a line in ‘CFUK’ t-shirts. A well known brand of clothing took exception to this on the grounds that it was bad for their image to be associated with weirdos and freaks.

  • JohnJo

    Over the years it has become apparent to me that to discount the position of others on the basis of their number is democratically sound but morally wrong. It’s this feeling that has brought me, and others like me, to samizdata and to a consideration of libertarianism.

  • Snide

    The gun ban, heh. A silly piece of legislation which in reality affected a pretty small part of a percentage of the population.

    Quite so. What if one day they decide to ban Jews too? After all, they are only a small percentage of the population so it doesn’t really count.

    Well at least you don’t even make a pretense of morality, which I appreciate

  • Dave O'Neill

    Tony, I didn’t agree with the ban, I thought it was stupid myself. But to answer your question, I think the CJA was a massively worse thing than the gun ban on what was an already excessively regulated hobby. You can, at least for the time being, legally own a firearm in the UK, some of the other “features” of the CJA are gone for good.

    Snide, within the context of what hoops handgun owners had to jump through your comment, while entertaining, is quite irrelvent.

  • Rob Read

    “Over the years it has become apparent to me that to discount the position of others on the basis of their number is democratically sound but morally wrong. It’s this feeling that has brought me, and others like me, to samizdata and to a consideration of libertarianism.”

    JohnJo

    What a fantastic quote! It should be quote of the day IMHO.

  • Mike

    Speaking of civil liberties, the November 2003 edition of National Geographic magazine has an article titled “Watching You”. It’s essential reading as it says cover surveillance in “free” societies.

    Unsurprisingly it focuses on Britain, with their comment;

    “Cameras are becoming so omnipresent that all Britons should assume their behaviour outside the home is monitored”