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]

Samizdata quote of the day

However, even if £40bn were enough for the EU, many would ask why the UK should stump up anything at all. This is a political judgement that can perhaps only be made by the people in the room. In favour, £40bn (or more) might be a small price to pay in return for a ‘good deal’ with economic benefits potentially lasting many decades. Looked at this way, £40bn could be thought of a one-off payment equivalent to only a few billion each year (and much better value than HS2!). What’s more, since the ‘divorce bill’ is money that the UK would have to pay anyway if it had remained a member, it would be wrong to regard it as an additional cost of Brexit.

Against this, what would the British taxpayer be getting in return, especially if the default position is that the UK could walk away without paying a penny and ‘no deal’ would not be the disaster many fear? ‘Goodwill’ alone is surely not enough, and should in any event be shown by both sides.

At the very least it seems reasonable to expect the EU to agree to fast-track talks on a comprehensive free trade deal, including an explicit agreement on a time-limited transition period where trade remains as frictionless as possible. The UK could then make some of the money conditional on the success of these talks – perhaps anything more than the €30bn (£27bn) or so required to cover the period until the end of 2020 and something for pensions.

This might just about be acceptable to the British public too. But I don’t envy the job of those trying to sell it.

Julian Jessop

Samizdata quote of the day

Doctor Who is a bit like the NHS, a mediocre product that many Brits bizarrely think is world-class, and which is forcibly funded by taxation.

– Perry de Havilland

Samizdata quote of the day

I have nothing against 16-year-olds. In fact, some of them are my best friends. Well, not quite. But the current campaign to extend suffrage to them deserves to fail, and not just because it is so obviously a cynical vote-grabbing ploy by the parties who stand to gain most from it.

At 16, I couldn’t be trusted with the kettle, let alone the future of my nation. Anyone who thinks today’s 16-year-olds are imbued with the deep reservoir of knowledge and life experience which qualify older voters to elect and remove governments plainly hasn’t met one.

Paul Embery

Samizdata quote of the day

One claim by campaigners is that this will ‘help the poor’, who are disproportionately more likely to suffer from alcohol-induced ill-health. How making poor people poorer will improve health is a real head-scratcher. This is typical of the missionary attitude of public-health zealots – imposing policies that poor people don’t want ‘for their own good’. Neither will minimum pricing do anything to solve the problem of weekend revellers ending up in A&E – bars already charge way above the minimum price. Instead, this new policy will target those trying to relax with a cheap drink at home.

Rob Lyons

Samizdata quote of the day

A Tory MP on the other side of the debate, Jacob Rees-Mogg, told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that the leaks which brought down Patel had probably come from Remainers inside the Foreign Office: ‘There are still some people who are still very bitter about the result a year ago and inevitably that colours their behaviour.’ That bitterness was evident recently, when Rees-Mogg’s own reactionary-but-principled opposition to abortion made outraged headlines. Why was this Conservative’s well-known backward view of abortion suddenly made the stuff of scandal, at the time when he was being discussed as a possible successor to Theresa May? Not because anybody seriously believed that an imaginary Rees-Mogg government was about to outlaw abortion, but because they wanted to discredit and delegitimise the most eloquent Tory Brexiteer.

Mick Hume

Samizdata quote of the day

Imposition of tariffs hurts the poorest in society, who spend a larger proportion of their income on food. To quote Daniel Hannan’s new Institute For Free Trade, in regards to industries that have been artificially propped up by government, “we must not shy away from the fact that some people lose out from free trade. But it is vitally important to clarify the scale on which this occurs. Many more people lose out from protectionist policies. The overall effect of an open trading environment on the economy is undoubtedly positive.”

In sharp contrast, Jones laid out his vision of post-Brexit Britain as follows: “What we can’t do is have free-trade deals that deliver cheaper goods in Britain but end up with us exporting jobs to somewhere else.” Like many protectionists who have come before him, Jones ignores both jobs lost to protectionism (more expensive inputs lead to more expensive outputs) and the very concept that for the last two hundred years has made his own nation prosper: comparative advantage.

Alexander Hammond

Happy Guy Fawkes Night

Samizdata wishes you all a happy Guy Fawkes night. Have fun. But perhaps not as much fun as the fellow in the above photo.

Samizdata quote of the day

Yet, socialism still has sympathizers in the West. Many Americans believe that socialism is good, whereas communism, fascism, and Nazism (National Socialism) are violent and anti-democratic. A public-opinion survey published last year proved that general assumption: 43 percent of respondents younger than thirty had a favorable view of socialism; only 32 percent had a favorable view of capitalism. This is a powerful warning. The anti-capitalistic mentality has brought suffering and mass murder in all socialist countries and has reduced standards of living and the quality of life in mixed economies.

The Soviet Union is now gone, as are the huge statues of Marx and Lenin that littered the East, but ideas have consequences, and no body of ideas attracted a greater following than Marxism-Leninism. A Russian aphorism says, “The only lesson of history is that it teaches us nothing.” For too many people this is as true as ever.

Yuri Maltsev

Samizdata quote of the day

Reducing trade barriers is far more effective at improving the quality of life for those in poor areas of the world than sending aid or technocrats to help design government programs. To get serious about eradicating poverty, countries should pursue policies of economic freedom. Because, ultimately, countries don’t fight poverty. Individuals free of excessive regulations and able to participate in global trade do.

Chelsea Follett

Samizdata quote of the day

The intersectional worldview is obviously incompatible with the basic tenets of life in a liberal democracy. That doesn’t bother intersectional activists, however, because they believe liberalism itself to be an elaborate sham that uses the illusory equality of procedural democracy – free and fair elections, courts, the rule of law, the Bill of Rights – to paper over vast social injustices. In the eyes of the intersectional Left, the very idea of universal rights is fatally flawed – or “problematic,” to use a frequent, lazy phrase – because those rights can benefit the wrong people, such as white supremacists (in the case of free speech), or campus rapists (in the case of due process and the rights of the accused).

J. Oliver Conroy

Samizdata quote of the day

Neo-Socialist Macron is ‘pro-free market’ like wolves are anti-sheep abortion.

The Dissident Frogman

Samizdata quote of the day

The news around Europe is that the Dutch have formed a government after a record 208 days of negotiations; Austria has elected an anti-immigration leader in a notable lurch rightward; and the Czechs have chosen a Eurosceptic as a prime minister (h/t Adam for the roundup). You’d have thought this would be a major point of discussion in the British media especially with the ongoing Brexit negotiations, but what was the BBC’s main headline yesterday afternoon? This one:

Widow of dead soldier hits out at Trump

Never mind European populations swinging to the right and voting Eurosceptic politicians into office, what is important is who is saying what about Trump on Twitter.

Tim Newman