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]

In a pig’s eye

Yeah, funny and all, but it is depressing that so many people find an allegation quoted second hand from a single un-named source to be proof positive so long as the accused is someone they dislike. The claim that there is photographic evidence sets the seal on my disbelief. If this photo exists what is stopping this little piggy going to market? Why didn’t he squeal before now? Is the possessor of this photograph waiting for someone richer than Ashcroft to offer him more money or some time better than today for it to get some media attention?

I haven’t got the photo, alas. What a pig’s ear I made of my opportunities there. Like David Cameron, I managed to trot along to Oxford in the early 80’s and yet knew nothing of the Bullingdon Club, the Piers Gaveston Society or whatever. I first heard of the former when Cameron became prime minister and of the latter yesterday. My friends wore anoraks and were into science fiction. Or even science, the weirdos.

The consequences of politically motivated credulity regarding allegations that look increasingly likely to have been porky-pies are sometimes more serious than a lot of bad puns.

Met overstepped mark in Westminster paedophile ring inquiry, says prosecutor

The most senior prosecutor in England and Wales has added her voice to criticism of the Metropolitan police’s inquiry into claims of a murderous Westminster paedophile ring, saying detectives “overstepped the mark” when they stated that the allegations were true.

Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions and head of the Crown Prosecution Service, acknowledged the difficulties of investigating historical allegations but said: “You don’t just take somebody’s word as it is.”

On Monday Scotland Yard acknowledged that a senior detective’s description of an alleged victim’s claims as “credible and true” had “suggested we were pre-empting the outcome of the investigation”.

Pre-empting the verdict of a trial? You don’t say! Why did it take you this long to notice, Ms Saunders?

For those who don’t follow the Dolphin Square soap opera, the claims described by police as “credible and true” came from one source, nicknamed Nick, who claimed that three children were murdered by a VIP sex ring.

Operation Midland has drawn criticism since police forces leapt on unsubstantiated abuse claims against Edward Heath, and the former MP Harvey Proctor condemned as preposterous the allegations of torture and abuse put to him by officers.

Note that Heath was alleged to have been abusing and possibly offing kiddies while a serving prime minister, when his every moment was monitored by bodyguards (most of whom would have been police officers themselves), officials, flunkies and journalists. All in on it, I suppose. I think that Heath was one of the worst PMs we have ever had, but who believes this crap?

The deputy leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, that’s who!

Midland is one of a number of inquiries that began after Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, said in the House of Commons in 2012 that there had been “a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No 10”.

The state really really is not your friend

The Kenyan government didn’t play much of a part in ending the three-hour bloodbath, McConnell reports. By the time security forces arrived, the attack was mostly over thanks to an “unlikely coalition of licensed civilian gun owners and brave, resourceful individual police officers [who] took it upon themselves to mount a rescue effort.” While this little band of saviors would ferry dozens of people to safety, when Kenyan forces did arrive, “it was only to shoot at one another before going on an armed looting spree that resulted in the collapse of the rear of the building, destroyed with a rocket-propelled grenade. And there were only four gunmen, all of whom were buried in the rubble, along with much of the forensic evidence.”

– Tristan McConnell

Read the whole thing.

Samizdata quote of the day

However, like most political slogans, the rhetorical appeal and simplicity of “smash the onion” can easily divert us from thinking about the reality of rolling back the state. Rather than an onion, let’s think about the state as a ticking time bomb. Libertarians are the bomb squad called in to defuse it before it goes off. We could argue for simply yanking out all the wires, or even “smashing the bomb,” but either option is likely to cause the bomb to explode. Defusing a bomb often requires careful thinking about how the bomb was constructed, which parts are linked, and what all those wires do. In other words, safely defusing the bomb requires snipping those wires in the right order.

Steven Horwitz

Discuss 😉

I had the strangest dream!

I had a really weird dream. I dreamt that Japan beat South Africa at rugby 😀 I know, hilarious 😛 Yet strangely I cannot seem to wake up! What the fuck?


Scotland’s vote for independence one year on

It is now a year since the formerly-United Kingdom woke up to an independent Scotland. What is your verdict on developments since the incredible news that Scotland had voted “YES”?

Prime Minister Alex Salmond’s decision to “walk away” from Scotland’s share of the rUK’s National Debt and the subsequent borrowing crisis has proved particularly controversial. Despite Mr Miliband’s softening of his predecessor’s stance in the “war of the gold reserves”, he has not actually agreed to release Scotland’s share until agreement has been reached. Nevertheless Mr Salmond’s groundbreaking use of “Progressive Quantitative Easing” to mitigate the effects on the Scottish economy of the manipulation of oil prices by hostile speculators is widely seen as an example to be emulated by the emerging People’s Union of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Because of the bravery of the IRA and people like Bobby Sands we now have a peace process”

The new Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has apologised for his 2003 remark that “It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table.”

In the Daily Mirror, ‘Fleet Street Fox’ pours scorn on McDonnell’s apology, particularly on McDonnell’s claim that he only said these things in order to shore up the then-faltering peace process in Northern Ireland. (The title quote about the peace process comes from further comments he made in an effort to smooth over the controversy caused by his earlier remarks.) To praise the efficacy of “bombs and bullets” seems an odd way of waging peace, but when you are a man with McDonnell’s hitherto unsuspected influence on negotiations in which he played no part, perhaps an appearance of oddity is merely the equivalent of Clark Kent’s dorky glasses. There is a Twitter hashtag #McDonnellFacts recording Shadowchancellorman’s other thrilling deeds, all made under cover of his alternate identity as a mild-mannered fringe politician.

Me, I just admire the sheer anti-gravitic effrontery of the quote that makes the title of this post. In The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defined chutzpah as “that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan”.

Samizdata quote of the day

While the risk-averse policies of universities have long been open to abuse, it is students’ unions that have done the most to popularise the illiberal logic the government is now adopting. Over the past few years, censorious student activism has hit new and ridiculous heights. Take one look at the NUS-led clampdown on lad culture – which recently received government approval – and you can see where Dave has been getting his ideas from. SU bans on rugby teams, lads’ mags and pop songs, all in the name of protecting women from offence and dunderheaded men from coming under the influence of a mythical ‘rape culture’, chime perfectly with Cameron’s insistence that we should clamp down, not only on terrorist views, but on those ‘intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish’. He may as well have called it terror culture.

So don’t be fooled by these hypocrites and opportunists. If we want to fight for free speech on campus, we need to take on the illiberal views of blue-haired campus nutjobs as well as doublespeak Dave. And if you want to join the real fightback, check out our Down With Campus Censorship! campaign today.

Tom Slater for Spiked.

A disturbance in the force…

Yes, Samizdata had some technical issue earlier today but the hamsters have been fed and all is now well again.

On the use and misuse of the term “authentic”

“An anti-brand is still a brand, as the proto-Corbynite “No logo” movement of the late 1990s discovered. The new politics doesn’t imply the death of spin: it is merely its next, logical step. Voters want a different, more distinct product to which they can better relate. It’s like the appeal of micro-breweries: the successful ones are smart, professional, well-managed businesses. People would never buy foul-tasting, dirty products from a disorganised, useless firm. Being authentic in the beer business is no guarantee of success, and neither is it in politics. The despicable BNP was authentic – but thankfully it has all but vanished.”

Allister Heath, writing about the supposedly “authentic” appeal of the new Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

It is an interesting read. When I see people claim they want politicians to be honest, “real” and “authentic”, I sometimes doubt it. An “authentic” Marxist, Fascist, Islamist fanatic or general thug is no better for the “authentic” bit. And in fact one detects that this word has become present-day cant expression, in much the same way that one sees the use of the word “natural” as a term of approbation or “artificial” as somehow bad. Or think how terms such as “organic farming”, “natural remedy” can disarm criticism and analysis. Much of human civilisation is about artifice – the paraodox being that it is human nature to create artificial things (property rights contracts, keyhole surgery and the complete works of Ludwig von Mises, etc).

As for honesty, one of the most honest politicians of recent times was the late Sir Keith Joseph, who, in the early 1970s, said out loud that he thought his previously-held mixed-economy, paternal Tory views were mistaken, and played a central part in advising Mrs Thatcher on moving in a different direction. He once, for example, said that Britain needed more millionaires. When he made comments that used the expression “national stock” he was lambasted and, given his strong character, said openly that he did not feel suited to lead the Tories, and stood aside. Such candour and general moral decency are unusual. For his efforts he was dubbed the “Mad Monk”.

Samizdata quote of the day

The Scottish and the Welsh NHS are the closest thing to a counterfactual, because they are still more or less run like the old (and, if the Corbynistas get their way, the future) English NHS. Even though they are, in per capita terms, better funded and generally better staffed than their English counterpart, their performance lags on most measures. Rates of mortality amenable to healthcare are higher than in England, waiting times are longer, and hospital infections are more prevalent.

Kristian Niemietz

Samizdata quote of the day

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is in trouble again – this time for publishing two cartoons about drowned Syrian refugees. And anybody who believes in unfettered free speech needs to stand up for Charlie’s liberty to offend the pro-refugee and anti-racist lobbies just as staunchly as its right to offend Islam.

Mick Hume

A funny thing happened in my local bank…

Earlier today I was standing in line waiting for a teller in my local bank, when some chap who was clearly a few cards short of a full deck started complaining at the top of his voice:

“This is how a run on a bank starts! People see an unusual number of customers waiting line and become alarmed, and the next thing you know, it becomes a national crisis with banks collapsing!”

The rather well dressed fellow standing behind me immediately quipped:

“With a grasp of finance and human nature like that, this gentleman is clearly a contender for the Corbyn Shadow Cabinet.”

A great many people laughed. Made my day.