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Allister Heath tries to wish us all a Happy Christmas but is not himself very happy

Last night I attended the Adam Smith Institute Christmas Party.

Here are ASI President Madsen Pirie and the speaker for the evening, Allister Heath, editor of City A.M., kindly taking the time to pose together for me:


So, there didn’t seem to be any problem about me taking photos. But actually, it rather seemed as if there was. Try as I might, I don’t seem to be able to get away from this theme, in my bloggage of this week.

The most famous personage present was a very recognisable Member of Parliament. And in quite a few of my crowd shots, he is to be seen glaring rather angrily, sideways, at my camera, rather than in the direction he ought to be have been looking, so to speak, as if to say: I didn’t come here to be photoed. I came here to get away from all that crap and to be among friends. Fair enough, no pictures of or naming of him.

Besides which, the public point made by such gatherings, insofar as there is one, and aside from the matter of everyone having a fine old time and fine old natter, catch-up, etc., was not so much the quality of those present, qualitative though it definitely was, as the quantity of that quality. These people were not merely rather impressive. There were a lot of them:


That’s Heath holding forth, and that’s the front of his audience. This is the back of his audience:


Spot the join. Unless my eyes are seriously deceiving me, you can’t. I am pretty sure there is no join to spot, and that there were further people present, to the right of those at the front, and to the left of those at the back. My camera has a gratifyingly wide angle of vision, but was not nearly wide enough in its vision for this gathering, given where I was standing.

As to the content of Heath’s remarks, well, anyone who knows their City A.M. will know that he is in a pretty gloomy state of mind about the immediate prospects of the British economy. There was a copy of City A.M. in the lobby, and I took notes (with my camera) of stories with headlines like UK is facing a lost decade for growth and More Yuletide misery for the City as well as Allister’s own editorial of that morning, entitled Politicians need to stop moralising – and reform our taxes. His editorial today is entitled A case of lies, damn lies and our rocketing national debt.

And as if to match that mood, most of us were dressed in “office attire”, meaning dark and funerial. Even I broke the habits of a decade and dressed funerially. It neither looked nor felt like a Christmas Party. The only thing Allister Heath could think of to cheer us up was to say that for all the governmental mismanagement of our country’s finances, at least technology continues to advance, although no thanks to us. He mentioned, in particular, Google’s robot cars, which is a story that I have been attending to myself for quite some time, and which I intend to blog about here Real Soon Now.

The end of Heath’s talk was hijacked by this guy:


Yes it’s Andrew Ian Dodge, presenting some Andrew Ian Dodge for Senator propaganda to Eamonn Butler, so that Eamonn Butler can exhibit it, somewhere. Now there‘s a man who has no problem about being photographed.

Councillor Harry Phibbs, top right, is not impressed by this pushy American.

This guy, on the other hand, preferred to hide his face behind his iPad:


Well, no not really. He was taking a photo, of me.

7 comments to Allister Heath tries to wish us all a Happy Christmas but is not himself very happy

  • Andy

    Jeez, Dodge is a twat

  • Alisa

    Slow down there Andy, I need to digest all the factual details you swamped me with.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    A good evening; AHeath gave a mostly depressing speech but there is a lot to be fed up about. He mentioned two big positives, though:

    New technology;
    The desire, more than ever, of young people to be entrepreneurs.

    The issue for me is whether these budding entrepreneurs are representative of young folk as a whole or not. That is the key to the future. And of course many of them may choose to emigrate.

  • Just for the record I was going to give the sign to Madsen & Eamonn before the event but Madsen asked me to present it to them after the speech. It was a bit of levity after a good if rather dour speech from Mr Heath (accurate though it probably is).

  • Paul Marks

    Actually, given the vast margin the Democrat (sorry the Economist magazine supported “Independent”) won by in Maine, “Vote Dodge” might not have been bad advice.

    The libertarians in Maine who voted Republican (and some did) did not achieve anything.

    Voting for Mr Dodge would have at least shown there is a libertarian element in Maine.

    “But Paul you are a moderate”.

    So I am – I support voting Conservative or voting Republican.


    If it is hopeless – one might as well vote libertarian as vote Republican. indeed it makes more sense to vote for a libertarian, as it shows libertarian strength.

  • I agree with everything Paul Marks just said.

    “Hijacked” was maybe a bit too strong. It was just very pushy. But, AID is trying to be a politician, and for that you do indeed have to be pushy, especially if you want to be an American politician, because in America the amount of push you can supply, or buy, seems to be reckoned as a measure of how effective you might be.

    It was just a bit of a shock when it happened!

    Nevertheless, I am glad to see AID applying his innate pushiness to something where pushiness is just what is required.

  • Paul Marks

    One of the least pushy people on the planet (at least in public) – Mitt Romney who always appears to be someone from the Osmond Family (not a statement of anti Mormon bigotness – after all Glenn Beck is a Mormon and he is ultra pushy).

    Mitt did not do well.

    “Neither did AID”.

    Well at least Mr Dodge is still fighting.