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

“The cliche goes that the UK is a former empire in search of a role. That is not strictly true. The NHS has become Britain’s all-consuming project, the millstone around its neck and the cloying source of confected national pride. Its hold over the country is so powerful that even a libertarian Conservative PM decided this week to risk sacrificing our ordinary freedom rather than dare to reform it.”

Sherelle Jacobs, Daily Telegraph, 13 July (£) My only quibble is the appellation “libertarian”, in this case. Mr Johnson’s libertarian views increasingly resemble entities of myth and legend, such as the Loch Ness Monster, Atlantis, or the 1966 English World Cup winning football team.

18 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Boris made it clear there is nothing whatsoever libertarian about him. What a truly worthless lump of lard he turned out to be.

  • staghounds

    Because it’s a right the government pays for, and the ones selling it define what it is, there will never be enough “health care”.

    My State tried to bring in a very limited managed care system and it almost bankrupted us in two years. But then again we can’t print money.


    “total annual budget for TennCare increased from $2.64 billion in 1994 to more than $8.5 billion in fiscal year 2005, with essentially no change in the number of participants enrolled.”

  • Roué le Jour

    I’m so old I can remember when the NHS would pay for itself by reducing the working days lost to sickness.

    And while we’re on the subject, state education would also pay for itself by increasing the value of the workforce so they would earn more money and pay more tax. Happy days, eh?

  • SteveD

    Boris Johnson is a libertarian if by libertarian you mean someone who lives to boss other people around.

  • Andrew Douglas

    Sherelle Jacobs, despite the odd overwrought passage, Allister Heath, despite being a rather dull Scotchman, and Charles Moore, barking but brilliant, are just about the only people writing sense in the Telegraph these days. Hague is a sad mouthpiece for globalist tosh, Daley more intermittent than an old light bulb, Nelson wetter than a Wednesday afternoon in Scarborough, Pearson right but unreadable, the rest meh.

    Trouble is every other rag is worse.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    You may have to update your beliefs. In this week’s New Scientist, page 20, they talk about Icelandia, a sunken continent on which Iceland rests. They don’t call it the North Atlantean Plateau, but I do! The North Atlantic is full of anomalies. One day, and I think it will be soon, they will admit that Atlantis existed….

  • Paul Marks

    I was taken in by this “Mr Johnson has libertarian instincts” line – even though Mr Johnson had a bust of Pericles (the statist who ruined Athens – plundering its allies, turning them into enemies, in order fund wild government spending) in his room at Oxford. The evidence was staring me in the face – and yet, desperate for hope in an ever more tyrannical world, I refused to see it.

    Today, more than a year of lockdowns and some 400 Billion Pounds of spending (on top of an already huge government budget) later, some people are still pushing the “Prime Minister Johnson is a libertarian” line – for example the despicable liar Mr “Steve” Richards (who lies as easily as other men breath), and the leader of the “Opposition” Sir Keir Starmer – who claims that Prime Minister Johnson is “reckless”, not reckless for obeying the international establishment in imposing more than a year of lockdowns and other restrictions, not reckless in spending some 400 Billion Pounds on-top-of an already massively bloated government budget – no “reckless” in talking about ending this policy.

    It is quite true that Prime Minister Johnson is not the creator of policy – that was clear even before Covid 19 when he “decided” to go ahead with the absurd HS2 railway project (what is a Hundred to Two Hundred Billion Pounds to build a railway line between places that ALREADY HAVE a railway line between them) – having previously denounced the scheme.

    With HS2 and everything else elected politicians have followed the “advice” of officials and experts – who are often following international (yes international) policies.

    But this is cold comfort, if it is comfort at all. For what does this mean? It means that either democracy is a hollow sham with elections and political debate being all sound and fury and signifying nothing, OR it means that politicians could say NO to the officials and “experts” but lack the strength of character to do so.

    It is very easy indeed to fall into line with the endless training events and policy briefings – even local councillors get these every day (I know of what I speak) and I am told it is vastly worse for ministers and the Prime Minister – but surely it is still possible to say NO and stick to NO.

    When, for example, officials say “it is long standing policy minister” and if asked say “this goes all the way back to agreements made in John Major’s time” (they mean Agenda 21 – now called Agenda 2030 or just “sustainable development”) why not reply – “yes but I am going to CHANGE policy”.

    If politicians can not (in defiance of officials and “experts”) can not CHANGE policy, on health care or anything else, then yes indeed elections and political debate are all sound and fury signifying nothing – but even I am not cynical enough to accept that yet.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the National Health Service.

    What would have saved lives and prevented pressure on hospitals during the Covid 19 pandemic?

    Early Treatment with a combination of long standing medications (such as hydroxychloroquine, zinc and, for non viral inflections that may hit the person in their weakened state, azithromycin – but also invermectin) would have saved a lot of lives and prevented a lot of people from having to go to hospital with Covid 19. We can go on to the website of American’s Frontline Doctors and other groups – we know this, we know this but most people do NOT know this. They do not know this because neither the authorities or the media have told them.

    The authorities and the media have not (in the main) not even told people to have dozes of Vitamin D. Dr Fauci in the United States takes a lot of vitamin D every day, but he does not tell OTHER PEOPLE to do that. And if Tony Fauci (or some other establishment person) got sick – they would, at once, take the very same Early Treatments they sneer at in public.

    All this has been known for a long time – yet the establishment have either been silent on Early Treatment or they have, disgracefully, chanted TINET (there-is-no-early-treatment) – and the media has largely been silent on this matter, and that is also a disgrace.

    The international authorities have neglected the Early Treatment of individual patients or actively smeared it – out of an obsession to push the Collectivist “Public Health” agenda, a blatantly POLITICIAL agenda.

    This has been the worst scandal in the Western World in my life time – hundreds of thousands of people have died, who could have been saved. And the media have acted as Hand Maidens of an international establishment that has blood upon its hands.

    This is a lot bigger than the National Health Service – this has been in many countries. This has been an international policy.

    And, in this comment, I have not even touched on the origin of Covid 19 – and the Western establishment’s connection with this and other diseases that have “by chance” arisen in Wuhan China. For Covid 19 is not the first disease that “by chance” arisen in Wuhan – and Tony Fauci and his international associates have been backing this unsafe research lab in Wuhan for years.

  • Roué le Jour

    I’m afraid I had already formed the view that Boris stands in relation to the British government as Ronald does to McDonald’s.

  • JohnK

    I think Boris Johnson is a libertine, not a libertarian. Important difference.

  • APL

    Roué le Jour: “And while we’re on the subject, state education would also pay for itself by increasing the value of the workforce so they would earn more money and pay more tax. Happy days, eh?”

    Here’s another one.

    Immigrants who received no education in their own country, because it was too poor, will boost the economy of an advanced technological country, by magically becoming doctors, lawyers or engineers.

    What actually appears to happen, they bumble along at the bottom of society looking for a grift

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Roue du Jour: I’m so old I can remember when the NHS would pay for itself by reducing the working days lost to sickness.

    That was the claim of Nye Bevan, the 1940s health minister in the Attlee government and a blowhard who believed in his own nonsense.

    “Allister Heath, despite being a rather dull Scotchman” ….writes Andrew Douglas. Er, Allister, whom I know well, is French. He came to the UK in his teens. Like many Frenchmen, he has developed a hurricane-force loathing for the EU, and for socialism in general.

  • Jame Hargrave

    Surely the word is ‘libertine’ for the spineless blancmange: all arse, no bottom

  • Andrew Douglas

    Apologies for being wrong. I don’t know which is worse, to be born French or Scotch. I love what M.Heath writes as far as content is concerned, I just find his mode of expression rather turgid.

  • staghounds

    It was said that Wilhlemine Germany, instead of a country with an army, had become an army with a country.

    Britain is becoming a health service with a country.

  • APL

    staghounds: “Britain is becoming a health service with a country.”

    An operation that calls itself a health service but isn’t. The NHS is a farce. When, last year it was claimed that NHS wouldn’t be able to cope with the annual sniffles, it was then that the whole organisation should have been shut down.

    It’s been the tail wagging the dog ever since. (- actually since about 1949 ).

  • Paul Marks

    Staghounds – that was decided early on.

    In the early 1860s the Prussian first minister, Otto Von Bismarck (appointed by the King of Prussia) increased taxation WITHOUT the consent of the Prussian Parliament – because he wanted to expand the army in order to invade other countries (Prussia was to invade Denmark in 1864, Austria and other Germanic lands in 1866, and France in 1870 – after the French were tricked into declaring war, by a series of carefully calculated insults – Bismark was subtle, unlike the German government of 1914 which just blatantly lied in its Declaration of War upon France). The Prussian liberals did NOTHING.

    They did even clearly oppose the tax increase and the expansion of the army – they were prepared to accept all that (as they also wanted Prussia to conquer lots of places – so called “German Unification”) – they just wanted a clear statement that the government was responsible to Parliament.

    Bismarck did not even give them that fig leaf – he totally humiliated the Prussian Parliament, and no John Hampden stepped forward to lead the Prussian people in armed revolt. Essentially that was it for the rule of law in Prussia and then Germany.

    By the way the story of “Italian Unification” is not really better – it is really the story of relatively high tax Piedmont using its army to crush lower taxed places in Italy and impose its tax rates upon them.

    The hero of 19th century British liberals, Prime Minister Cavour of Piedmont, stole property (for example from the Church – but also looted the banks in Naples and so on), rigged elections and referendums, jailed his political opponents, and used taxpayer money for railways and lots of other stuff.

    No wonder that Karl Marx was so cynical about 19th century liberals – although his theory (that their talk of freedom was just a mask for the class interests of the “capitalists”) was wrong. In reality most 19th century liberals with their support for German and Italian “unification” (and other bad things) were just muddle heads – who mistook talk of liberty for the reality of liberty.

    Religious persecution in Germany by Bismark – look the other way “it is only Catholics”.

    Language persecution in Italy during and after “unification” – look the other way, as Italy “needs” a standard language.

    Higher taxes and conscription in Sicily?

    “I do not want to know”.

    Same story in Japan from the 1870s?

    “I still do not want to know”.

    The Liberals did not become useless recently – they have been useless a long time.

  • Paul Marks

    The place the NHS has in British life can not be understood without understanding the historical context of “Social Reform” here.

    As far back as 1867 (“The English Constitution”) Walter Bagehot defined the new liberalism he stood for as “conceding everything that it is safe to concede” – not exactly an inspiring vision of rolling back the state. He was prepared to increase government spending and regulations – as long as it was done in a gradual and peaceful way, supposedly to appease the new voters (under the Act of 1867) who he assumed would want more government spending and regulations – more “Social Reform”.

    Even in the early 19th century the followers of Jeremy Bentham (such as James and J.S. Mill – and Sir Edwin Chadwick) never met a new form of government “Social Reform” spending that they did not like – at local or national level.

    And in the 1870s (1875) Disraeli put unions above the Common Law (thus starting the relative industrial decline of Britain – as unions were not above the law in the United States till the 1930s) and mandated about 40 things that local government must do (again this did not happen in the United States till the 1930s – if even then, as cities and States could say NO to Federal money) – whether local voters wanted them or not.

    Already, in 1870, the Liberals had accepted the “we must educated our masters” line of Forster – with his Board Schools. The Board Schools did not “fill the gaps” they basically chased out private schools which were aimed at the poor (rather than the rich), just as the Acts of 1908 and 1911 did not “help the Friendly Societies” (as David Lloyd George falsely claimed) – they pushed them into decline.

    Government must always do more and more – never LESS. That was the line of both the Liberals and the Conservatives from the 1870s onwards – so long before 1948 and the NHS.

    If someone was AGAINST “Social Reform” (i.e. ever more government spending and regulations) that put that person outside the mainstream of British politics – off on the fridge with the Liberty and Property Defence League and so on.

    John Morley (himself a Social Reformer for most of his political life – who came to the conclusion that it actually harmed the people it was intended to help) argued that when Gladstone lost the fight over the income tax (failed to abolish it – because he lost the election of 1874) it was all up for limited government in the United Kingdom – that from then on government would just expand and expand and expand.

    Morley was most likely correct. Especially as the Civil Service (that child of Sir Charles Trevelyan) would carry on the agenda even in the face of Prime Ministers, such as Margaret Thatcher, who opposed it.