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

“…my great grandparents who were Manchester free-trade liberals who read the Manchester Guardian, which was a liberal free trade newspaper, would I think be astonished to pick up the modern version of the Manchester Guardian to find that it has leapt the fence from being a free trade newspaper to being a luddite newspaper.”

– Alan Beattie, World Trade Editor of the Financial Times, in this speech.

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • A fitting speech for the opening of the Globalization Institute I thought.

  • Chris Harper

    The Guardian conceives of itself as a quality broadsheet, but it is, in fact, nothing but a hate mongering rag.

  • Chris: And it’s readers get astonishingly patronising about what terrible rags all the other broadsheet newspapers are. (On the whole they are, but one or two of them have slightly more respect for facts than the Guardian does).

  • Ian

    A Jew-hating rag, too.

    I stopped buying it over ten years ago when I realised how snobbish it was. There was an interview with Renee Maguire, the mother of a man framed for an IRA atrocity. It went on about the decor of her working-class house, faux-fur slippers, fake gas fire, that sort of thing.

    So I switched to the Telegraph….

    Until they stuck the knife into Portillo. Now I buy Le Monde when I need something to read on the train.

    Anyway, back on topic, it’s a vicious rag, and even a fair few of my lefty friends won’t buy it for its Jews-are-bad, cultural-relativist outlook.

  • Paul Marks

    There were indeed some very free market Liberals in the 19th century. However, too many (even then) defined “liberal” in the sense of liberality (broad, generious) rather than liberty. This was less of a problem in France (perhaps because of the difference of language) – there liberal really did mean something close to libertarian and continued to do so.

    In the United States, Whigs tended to be called liberal and the Whigs were shit (think of Henry Clay) with their liberal (broad) interpretation of the powers of the federal government.

    In Britian the Whigs or liberals of the 1830’s were also pushing into law things like the Birth, Marriages and Deaths Registration Act (1836 if memory serves).

    A limited government has no need of such stats, and nor does one set up elected local authorities (under the Act of 1835) if one does not want these local councils to do anything. First education annual subsidy from 1833 (and so on).

    The liberals built council H.Q.s like vast palaces. And by the 1860’s men like “Radical Joe” head of the Birmingham Liberals were already bringing back Bentham’s (and Edwin Chadwick’s) ideas for the administrative state back into play.

    You see an state controlled by landowners should be limited, but a state controlled by a more broadly elected parliament should not be – this was the depth of the “argument”.

    In the final part of the tragedy first old Gladstone and then Roseberry were outplayed by “we are all socialists now” Harcourt (he of inheritance tax and graduated income tax) – Lloyd-George (who never met a government program he did not like) did not come out of clear blue sky – the liberals were already rotten.

    Even today one can get Liberals who talk about free markets (I can remember Joe Grimmond), but the party is statist to the core – and has ALWAYS had this element within it.

    The “Guardian” did not come from hell as some sort of dark curse upon British liberalism, it grow naturally from British liberalism.

    Even in the 19th century Liberals were thin on the ground in organizations like the Liberty and Property Defence League.

    There was always that element in liberalism as seeing “liberty” as the vote. Control of the government – not limiting the government.

    Of course many Conservative party people (worst of all Dizzy) were also vile. Such is politics.

  • Rob

    I think the Financial tabloid should have a quick mote check.

  • Julian Taylor

    Ian wrote

    … Until they stuck the knife into Portillo. Now I buy Le Monde when I need something to read on the train.

    I guess you won’t like this [LINK] story about a rather nasty little example of anti-semitism in Le Monde. It may well be the lesser of 2 evils but I think I might slightly prefer The Guardian to the disgusting Le Monde.

    PS: Apologies to anyone with a problem regarding honestreporting.com, but the Wall Street Journal in Europe regrettably requires a subscription to view is pages.

  • As Rob said, the FT is a Blairite, Pro EU rag. It has little moral authority to question the Guardian.

  • Gordon

    Why sneer at the Luddites? They had good intentions didn’t they?
    Like the Bolcheviks.
    Like Procrustes.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so. Whilst there are a few good people on the Financial Times, the paper is statist.

    Nor is just “New Labour” and the E.U. – there was a long tradition of Marxists working on the F.T. And nor was it simply a matter of a financial paper being a good target for infiltration – some big business interests and communists have a long record of cooperation.

  • Ian

    Thanks, Julian. I didn’t take the train that day…