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]

David Davis MP awarded a very honourable title by Malcolm Rifkind

Thus reports the BBC:

Conservative MP David Davis said the Intelligence and Security Committee had been “captured by the agencies they are supposed to be overseeing”. And ex-chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind acted as a “spokesman” for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ rather than a watchdog.

Sir Malcolm said the criticisms were “ludicrous” and had no basis in fact. He said Mr Davis had been “captured” by the civil liberties lobby.

If David Davis is the nice fellow that I think he is, he should send Rifkind a friendly ‘thank you’ note for making such a kind remark ;-)

Sometimes I think David Davis is the best Prime Minister we never had, the British Barry Goldwater. But instead we got that twerp David Cameron.

O Good Green Earth, swallow me up

Play the audio in this story and see if you can suppress an involuntary wince of sympathy: Incredibly Awkward Interview With Natalie Bennett. (Ms Bennett – a Samizdata commenter – is currently leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.)

Kudos to Nick Ferrari who can evidently do what so many media folk cannot: order-of-magnitude mental arithmetic.

Life is unfair. If The Boris had been on the hot seat he’d have said, “Oh cripes, you’ve ker-splonked me there!” and everyone would have loved him all the more.

“If Britons want to join Isis, let them go”

So argues Mary Dejevsky in the Guardian. Her piece could have done with a clearer separation of the several different issues involved; freedom of speech, freedom of movement, state surveillance of all travellers, targeted spying on individuals, and above all the question of what difference it makes when the potential recruits to ISIS are minors. Nonetheless I broadly agree – the British state should not seek to prevent adult citizens leaving the UK merely because it suspects they wish to become members of ISIS – or to kill members of ISIS. Whether state assistance in the form of weapons or subsidy should be available to the latter admirable group, or whether any of the former group seeking to return should be allowed to do so in exchange for cooperation with MI6, are questions that even the purest of libertarians might find worthy of debate.

The crimes of ISIS have been so flagrant and atrocious that the world is entitled to see any adult, male or female, volunteering to live under its standard (let alone bearing arms) as hostis humani generis and to exterminate them without any fuss about human rights – but wait till they get there. It is the burnings, beheadings and rapes that are the crimes, not getting on a plane to Turkey.

An angry voice for UKIP

Another Angry Voice seems to be a bog-standard lefty-green blog bashing out mostly boring and predictable articles about how all the political parties are too right wing and if only proper lefties could get in power we could have an even bigger state and poor people would stop being wage slaves and… yawn. What bores me most is the obsession with rich vs. poor, when the real battle is state vs. individual, so it all misses the point and does not seem worth engaging with.

But some of his UKIP-bashing is doing the rounds on Facebook. And it is making me want to vote for UKIP even more.

According to AAV, UKIP are Thatcherite ex-tories, which just makes them sound like the proper Tories that the current lot are not, which is, if not ideal, an improvement.

In another article in which AAV is confused about the meaning of “tax avoidance” and “tax evasion”, he points out that “Farage declared that ‘straightforward’ tax avoidance isn’t ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ and that most tax-dodgers are only good-hearted people trying to rip off the rest of the taxpaying public for the good of their children!” Translation: Farage understands that of course people should not voluntarily hand over more tax than they are required to pay. I like Farage even more.

We also learn that UKIP MEP members do not bother to turn up to the European Parliament (why encourage them?), that Farage did not bother to engage with the EU on fish policies (let’s just ignore them and leave the EU), that they voted against clamping down on ivory trade (it makes more sense to legalise it) and that they have not voted in favour of taxing foreigners for some imagined benefits to the UK.

Finally, we learn that the Green Party is the only other route out of the EU, but unlike UKIP, they will not give us any “neoliberal orthodoxy of privatisation, deregulation, tax cuts”.

That seals the deal, then.

Addendum: In unrelated news, my current favourite computer game has been labelled Thatcherite by an idiot. I should read these kinds of bloggers more to discover more good things that they hate.

Samizdata quote of the day

This obsession with tax avoidance is not the mark of a morally enlightened society. It is the mark of a society that is refusing to face up to the real problems in its midst. There is no moral clarity to be gained from gawping at individuals’ tax returns, only moral scapegoating.

Tim Black

Samizdata quote of the day

We are now living in a corporate economy. We are living in an economy where capitalism, free markets, enterprise and ambition have been replaced and are often crushed by a modern form of corporatism, which is supported by all three political parties and the trade union movement.

Nigel Farage

I by no means agree with Farage on everything (to put it mildly) but I cannot argue at all with that remark.

Samizdata quote of the day

HMRC seems to be a law unto itself. Another inept quango making arbitrary decisions as it goes along

DouglasCarswell MP

In some ways it is better when there is no pretence

Obey and you have nothing to fear.

Sometimes Big Brother is a Big Sister

Many people in the UK clearly think the book 1984 was an interesting suggestion rather than a warning. I know what that reminds me of.

MPs and Rabbis join forces to ban free speech

It is fascinating to see Members of Parliament and Rabbis joining forces to ban free speech. Indeed it is even more fascinating to see Rabbis and Imams (and indeed the Pope) all steadily uniting to undermine one of the primary pillars upon which modern liberal western civilisation rests, which is to say freedom of expression. And of course I mean liberal not in the nonsensical debased American sense of the word (by which they mean something that is illiberal).

This is what they call a whinge-whinge scenario

Tesco come, Tesco go, John Harris whinges either way. Here he was writing in the Guardian in August 2011:

Supermarket sweep

In Britain a new Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s or Asda opens every other day. But across the country people are battling the relentless march of the ‘Big Four’. John Harris, who has taken up the fight himself, reports

And here is John Harris writing in the Guardian in February 2015:

‘We feel betrayed': the towns abandoned by Tesco

Tesco’s profits crisis means that plans for 49 shiny new stores have been ditched. Where does that leave places such as Kirkby, Bridgwater and Wolverhampton, where regeneration schemes linked to the supermarket chain now lie in ruins?

There is a fair point to be made relating to the bad effects on a town of endless shilly-shallying about whether a supermarket will be built, but John Harris isn’t making it. One of the commenters, DrRic55, is:

Seems this is less about Tesco, and more a grubby and poor quality class of local politicians.

I know from my old line of work how eyes light up at the mention of Section 106 agreements, and all manor of pet projects appear to be funded – sometimes assisting and enabling the development, sometimes nothing to do with it.

If we didn’t have such ridiculous planning laws the private sector would get on and build where there was demand. Instead we have a system not far off bribery of the local bureaucrats, and endless consultations that drag on forever. If you want to see another effect, look at the state of housebuilding in the UK.

Tesco has obviously failed in some pretty big ways, but I can’t help but see the dead hand of local government all over these disasters.

Alert: police in Britain seek man for exercising free speech

If you see the man shown in this article, please do not inform the Police of his whereabouts.

But do tell the bloke, who it must be said may well be a low IQ scumbag who likes to insult strangers on a bus, that he is quite mistaken if he thinks people in the UK have a right to freedom of expression. That is not the case, for it is only politically approved speech that passes a Guardian/BBC sniff test that is permitted. Mutter the wrong things on a bus and you are likely to end up in front of the Beak, with your arrest applauded by those valiant custodians of truth, the Press.

Well what I would do is this…

Shared Parental Leave: How should business prepare for its effects? … so asks an article in City A.M… and surely the correct answers are to reduce your workforce with improved automation, find ways to outsource off-shore, or just move the whole business somewhere the state does not run your affairs to quite the same extent, unless the nature of what your company does precludes those options.