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

“Doing nothing is a full-time job. Don’t imagine that laissez-faire means putting your feet up. All officials want to extend their powers; all bureaucracies will grow if they can. To stop it happening you need to be at your desk before the civil servants come in and still be there when they go home.”

Sir John Cowperthwaite, financial secretary, Hong Kong in the post-war period. (Quoted in this excellent CapX article about the terrible mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.)

Here is a profile of Cowperthwaite for those who want to know more about this admirable person, as different from the London mayor as can be imagined in terms of managerial approach and political philosophy. (Here is an interesting leftist’s blog comment on Khan, proof that he is not universally beloved on that side of the spectrum).

13 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Mr Ecks

    Sad Dick is working to turn Labour into the Islamic Party–assisted by the morons who compose Labour. Once enough importing and subsidised breeding has given them the majority the formal socialistic elements will be dropped–tho’ their creed is collectivist in nature–and replaced with Sharia and all the rest of the capers. At that point ZaNu will have served its purpose and will be discarded. The self-hating white leftist middle-class scum will likely accept their fate apart from a few of their great and good who think they will be kept on because they are an indispensable group. They won’t.

  • Y. Knott

    – The Money Quote, the first-among-equals* from the John Cowperthwaite article linked-to; and applicable to so many things the Left insists we must do “for the children”…

    “I regard education as a good thing. But we must still ask what a good thing costs, how much of it we can afford and who is going to pay for it.”

    *(I was gonna’ use the Latin form of this, to show how suffistycated I am… 😉

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Y. Knott, you should have written this in ancient Greek, because Latin is a bit middle class.

  • Penseivat

    Every time I type “Sadiq Khan” my auto correct keeps offering “Sick C__t”.
    Perhaps it knows more than it’s letting on!

  • Runcie Balspune

    Every time I type “Sadiq Khan” my auto correct keeps offering “Sick C__t”.

    Mine corrects it to “stab it again”, strangely.

  • Albion's Blue Front Door

    @ Mr Ecks

    It is the old cry of the human food for hungry tigers: ‘Eat me last, please, because I was always your biggest friend.’

    But eaten they will be, even if the hordes of socialist supporters haven’t realised it yet.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Mine corrects it to “stab it again”, strangely.

    Artificial intelligence is great, no?

  • Mr Ed

    Of course in colonial Hong Kong, there was no democracy, no politicians, just the rule of law, and the Common Law at that. IIRC, at the time of the handover, Dominic Lawson wrote about the importance of the legacy of the bewigged judges at the handover ceremony, who stayed on after the hand-over as the most important legacy.

    The last Governor was Fat Pang Chris Patten, sent there as a consolation after losing his seat in Bath in 1992, his defeat aided by Dr Alan Sked standing for the Anti-Federalist League and stirring up apathy. Fat Pang’s last act was to sign into Hong Kong law rules about collective bargaining, as if that were a gift in keeping with Sir John Coperthwaite’s legacy. However, Hong Kong’s loss was ultimately the UK’s gain as the Anti-Federalist League morphed into UKIP and that surely contributed to the 2016 independence referendum.

    What we cannot know is what harm 10 years of Blairite/Fat Pang rule post-1997 might have done to the economy, or the freedoms of the Hong Kong population (what is their collective adjective?, ‘Hong Kongers’ sounds wrong).

  • […] to the sentiment expressed by Cowperthwaite, the outgoing Governor of California Jerry Brown has […]

  • Andrew Duffin

    Well Khan’s stupid gesture failed in at least one respect: I watched that firework display on the TV, in the company of a whole room full of fanatical Remoaners, and I am pretty sure nobody noticed that it was EU propaganda. As fireworks, though, it was wonderful!

  • Paul Marks

    Excellent post.

    If one “does nothing” then government spending and regulations expand-and-expand-and-expand.

    Government benefits and “public services” grow like cancer – unless action is taken to prevent this happening.

    And officials pass ever more regulations – again unless action is taken to stop them.

    So libertarians who just want politicians to “do nothing” and who welcome “gridlock” in Congress (and there are many such libertarians) are horribly mistaken. It takes ACTION to prevent the growth of government spending and regulations – and vast amounts of action (work) to actually REDUCE government spending or regulations.

  • Paul Marks

    Cowperthwaite was right – one needs to work to make a place better.

    Just celebrating a lot of stuff bought on credit – whilst men die of drug abuse or blowing the tops of their heads off by putting a firearm deep into their mouth (pointing up) and then squeezing the trigger – that will not do.

    But one also needs KNOWLEDGE – just saying “things are awful, society is falling apart [which it is], we must do something!” (Tucker Carlson style – even if NOT his exact words) is a bit like Dick Dastardly talking to Mutley “Do something Mutley! Do Something!” And I am NOT denying the desperate nature of the situation.

    Pretending all is well is indeed horrible (utterly horrible) is indeed wrong – and one does need to work to set things right. But, as Cowperthwaite also knew – one must know what to do. Just “do something” (no matter how desperate the situation) – is NOT the right thing.

  • Stephen Houghton

    What we need to know is how to clone Sir John Cowperthwaite, then put him in resposable positions.