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Tiny island in the North Sea still doing well

I’m a very unusual kind of libertarian; I’m an optimist. The fact that libertarians far more impressively credential-ed than I regard positive thinking as little more than a crazed attempt to destroy the last few remains of decency in British culture today, rather like having tea with the Vicar when we should at least be complaining about not having enough guns to shoot him, has never stopped me looking at the full half of the glass.

And listening to the news on the BBC today, I found myself cheering yet again for the greatness of Britain over the dumb arrogance of the rest of the European Union. The Eurozone, we hear, has been forced to halve its economic growth forecast to a miserable one per cent, while the UK, left-wing government and attendant tax hikes notwithstanding, is set to grow by a more-than-double-that two point two per cent.

Now, I am not advocating that libertarians pack up bags and go home to spend the rest of their political lives sitting on cushions of laurels while eating Pot Noodles. Nor do I think we ought to cease our scepticism of all things state-owned, our campaigning for free maket capitalism, or our advocacy of civil liberties and individual freedoms. Bad things are continually happening in the UK of course: this interference with university admissions procedures, for instance, smells very bad to me, even if it is only going to apply to institutions wanting to increase their student fees.

But on the other hand, looking at the wider picture even in that case, although universities will lose out from the new politically-correct impositions, they will also gain from the extra money: so compared to what they were like say fifteen years ago, when I was at Cambridge on a totally free government grant including rent and pocket-money, I’m not sure there’s an argument that things are horribly deteriorating.

Sure, they’re not exactly perfect yet: but what do we expect? The first ever totally libertarian state on the planet, tomorrow? Improvement is improvement, and, as these people say, the perfect society will have to evolve, whether we like it or not. Indeed, its values and practices already are evolving, in the most civilised countries of the West, and slowly spreading. But they aren’t as easy as just wanting them: the nuts and bolts have to be worked out as we go along. The freedom of our country’s future does not depend on whether its government is left, right, “libertarian” (if there were a libertarian political party anyway, of course) or Monster Raving Loony: the freedom of our country depends on what that government actually does.

And at the moment, the United Kingdom is not signing up to the Euro. British people simply do not want the Euro. Hence our economy is more free than that of Europe, and will continue to grow better than otherwise. I predict that the British people will continue to get what they want until long after the Eurozone has fallen years behind in the economic race and given up begging us to join at any price.

12 comments to Tiny island in the North Sea still doing well

  • Paul Marks

    Taxes are going up faster in Britain than in any other E.U. nation (and have been doing so for some years). Although Britain still has lower taxes than many E.U. nations the gap is closing.

    Regulations are rapidly increasing in Britain. And whilst Britian is still (in some ways) less regulated than many E.U. nations there is still no nation in the E.U. where regulations are increasing faster than Britain.

  • Give up the British Pound for the Euro? Aside from the economic entanglements, and please correct me if I’m in the wrong, but isn’t the British Pound part of your culture? It is certainly every bit as much as an icon of the UK as is the Union Jack. Don’t give up the Pound!

  • Richard A. Heddleson

    They gave up the pint. With willpower, they can do anything.

  • JohnJo

    We gave up the pint? I must have been a great deal drunker than I thought last Saturday because I could have sworn I had a good 6 of them.

    mmmmmm, beeeeeer.

  • Phil B

    For some reason, I expected an article about Heligoland.

  • Paul

    There is an even tinier island in the North Sea doing even better.
    It’s called the Isle of Man and it’s economy is growing at over 3%.
    It too has the £ (prints it’s own money, still has the £1 note!).
    Also taxes have fallen in the last six years, income tax top rate from 20% to 18% and the starting rate from 14% to 10%
    A married couple can earn £16,000 total before any tax is payable.
    Add to that no insurance tax, no capital gains tax and no death tax.
    Corporation tax is about to be abolished also.
    We do, of course, have other taxes, NI, VAT and a house purchase tax of £3-60 per thousand.
    The Government here does leave the inhabitants with a great more of the their earnings.

  • Andrew Duffin

    Tiny island, indeed!

    Seventh largest in the world, I think you will find if you check.

    That’s the geography of course; the economy is the fourth largest.


  • So, basically, Alice believes that higher taxes and more regulation lead to a better society.


  • Ted Schuerzinger


    I always thought the Isle of Man was in the Irish Sea. 🙂

    And I was expecting an article on Sealand. 😉

  • Basically, I believe that our society is getting better *despite* whatever the tax and regulation levels are at the moment.

    In other words, that there are deeper trends and influences for change than the last five minutes’s worth of taxation and silly PC legislation. The most important things that influence evolution in this country are far more lasting and significant than any particular democratically elected government.

  • Paul

    Thanks Ted, you are right of course, bear in mind it does get VERY windy here sometimes 🙂

    The rest of the facts were correct.

  • Paul Marks

    Well at least money supply growth is now lower in Britain than in the Euro zone (whichever “M” one chooses to measure). Why are the Euro people doing this?