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]

Hoist by our own petard? Thoughts on the de-banking of Nigel Farage

In case you are not aware of this – and there is no way you would if you got all your news from the Sky website – yesterday we learnt that political entrepreneur, Mr Brexit, and all-round inconvenience to the Establishment, Nigel Farage, has had his bank account closed. No explanation has been offered. When he attempted to open an account at other banks (6 or 7 according to him) he was turned down in every case.

Wow! just wow.

It’s nothing new of course. Similar things have happened to Toby Young of the Free Speech Union and to the guys at Triggernometry. It comes at a time when any number of people have been kicked off social media or lost their jobs as a result of expressing the wrong opinion. I believe even The Boss once fell into the former category.

But, Patrick, you are a libertarian. Surely, you believe in producer sovereignty? Surely, you believe that a bank or any other private institution has every right to decide who it trades with and more pertinently who it doesn’t trade with?

I do indeed. But cherchez l’état. Once upon a time there was such a thing as the Ecology Building Society. It took in deposits and lent it out to – as it would see it – eco-friendly projects. It wasn’t very big and was eventually closed down by regulation. More recently, some of you will be aware of the travails of Dave Fishwick. He didn’t think banks in Burnley were much cop so he tried to set up his own. Not an easy thing to do as it turned out. So difficult in fact that – IIRC – only one new bank had been established in the UK in the last 50 years. The bank in question was Metro Bank which I believe has also been involved in a bit of cancellation recently. Fishwick eventually got his way but only by a bit of creative loophole exploitation.

So, essentially, a bank is very much a creature of the state. It is subject to the arbitrary whims of a capricious master. All very medieval. What are the chances that all these banks have been lent on? High, I would say. This wasn’t always the case. A hundred years ago – where I spend a lot of my time – there were any number of banks. Some of them were not particularly well run but it would appear that if you were dissatisfied with the banks on offer you could set up your own.

But hang about, if Farage’s de-banking is all to do with state regulation how come all those people got cancelled on social media which has almost no regulation at all? Er…

Update 1/7/23 It would appear that the Ecology Building Society is very much still with us.

The US Supreme Court judgement on affirmative action – a couple of brief reactions

“America doesn’t need more proficiency in Harvard’s Postmodern Nihilist indoctrination. What America needs are thousands of Neo-Enlightenment Revolutionaries.”

From a friend of mine called Steve on Facebook, writing about the US Supreme Court decision about Affirmative Action and its application to university admissions. He is pleased at the ruling, but of course hopes the students who are now able to get into university on merit, rather than via quotas, study subjects that are rather more intellectually rigrous than of late. (See Ilya Somin, who writes about these issues frequently, via Reason.)

Glenn Reynolds, who needs no introduction here, has related thoughts on his substack.

It is going to be bemusing to see the social justice crowd try and argue that Asian-Americans somehow “don’t count” in terms of the grievance bingo game that has been played recently. Popcorn is going to be in demand.

Of course, it would be even better if we stopped the whole hypenated-American thing at all, and treated people as individuals. How wild and crazy is that?

Among Asian-American voters in “blue” states, and those with children trying to get into higher education, this could have an interesting impact on how they vote in 2024.

Samizdata quote of the day – until there are consequences, nothing changes

Lockdown ruined Britain – and our deluded leaders couldn’t care less.

It was a catastrophic error: we should have pursued a liberal Swedish or Floridian approach. Lockdowns saved or extended comparatively few lives but inflicted huge economic, social, health and psychological damage, left behind a ticking cancer time bomb and caused or exacerbated most of the pathologies of contemporary Britain.

Yet there is something very wrong with our national conversation: why are we so reluctant to accept our mistakes, to connect the dots, to link lockdowns with Broken Britain? How is Matt Hancock able, with a straight face, to tell the Covid Inquiry that Britain must prepare for wider, earlier and more stringent lockdowns in the face of future pandemics? The delusion is staggering, the hypocrisy sickening, the mendacity breath-taking.

Allister Heath

Sport with or without performance drugs could work, so long as competition is honest.

“Drug-taking ‘Enhanced Games’ aims to rival Olympics with 2024 launch” reports the Telegraph. It leads with how the proposal has been denounced, but leaves itself some wriggle room in case the outrage leaves early.

London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Anna Meares has slammed a proposed new rival Games with no drug testing as an unsafe “joke”.

Meares, who beat Victoria Pendleton to the women’s cycling sprint in London and was also a gold medallist in Athens, was responding to plans by the London-based businessman Aron D’Souza to stage an inaugural ‘Enhanced Games’ next year.

D’Souza says that the traditional Olympic model is exploitative and believes that, with no drug testing, events like the 100m sprint can be run in under nine seconds. The current official world record, set by Usain Bolt in 2009, is 9.58secs.

D’Souza argues that adult athletes should have the right to decide what goes into their bodies and that the current system has pushed the use of performance-enhancing drugs underground.

He hopes to stage the first Enhanced Games next December in track and field, swimming, weightlifting, gymnastics and combat sports and claims to have the support of several doctors, scientists and former Olympic athletes.

“Athletes are adults … and they have a right to do with their body what they wish – my body, my choice; your body, your choice,” D’Souza told the Australian Associated Press.

“Nothing will improve the productivity of our society more than preventing ageing. It sounds like science fiction now but we live in the future, look at the rise of artificial intelligence and other technologies. We believe that science makes humanity – and sports – better and fairer.”

If the rules of a given competition or league are clearly stated and impartially enforced I do not see a problem with this. It would be better and safer than the current situation in which performance drugs are taken surreptitiously by many. This harms honest sportspeople who do not take them and lose as a result. It has often harmed the cheats as well, because all the protocols that make it relatively safe to put foreign chemicals into one’s body when done openly for medical purposes cannot operate in secret.

And as Aron D’Souza says, adult athletes should have the right to choose what they put into their bodies.

Samizdata quote of the day – Heresy must be suppressed

The cancellation of eminent science writers and statisticians like Dr. Whitehouse and Professor Fenton for ‘wrongthink’ highlights the ever-shrinking boundaries of the discourse around science and medicine and the unwillingness of science’s gatekeepers to challenge groupthink and politically sensitive dogmas. As Dr. Whitehouse says, “science thrives on debate and scrutiny”. Silencing those who challenge prevailing orthodoxies was the approach favoured by the Catholic church in 17th Century Italy and is completely at odds with the scientific method.

Richard Eldred.

I used to read every issue of New Scientist ‘back in the day’ but it has been a bastion of approved high-status groupthink for many years, suitable for cat tray liner only.

Ukraine’s counter offensive (so far) – attrition, adaptation & what next?

More interesting analysis by Perun…

Blyatskrieg in Russia

We live in interesting times…

What on earth is happening in Rostov?

This surreal turn in the 2023 plotline is a bold stroke, but if the writers can pull off the swivel from tragedy to black comedy, I could get to like it.

Russia-Ukraine war live: Wagner chief claims to be in Rostov military HQ; Moscow accuses him of trying to start ‘civil conflict’ – the Guardian. Note that Rostov is in Russia, not Ukraine.

Putin to speak as Wagner mercenary chief accused of mutiny – BBC.

Both those links go to constantly updated blogs, so the headlines will almost certainly change in the next few minutes.

Update 10:30am BST: the BBC’s rolling blog now says “Russian sources are now saying that Wagner fighters have taken control of all military facilities in the city of Voronezh, a halfway point between Rostov-on-Don (where Wagner also says it’s in charge) and the capital Moscow.”

The commoners go off script


Be gone!
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
That needs must light on this ingratitude.


Go, go, good countrymen, and for this fault
Assemble all the poor men of your sort,
Draw them to Tiber banks, and weep your tears
Into the channel, till the lowest stream
Do kiss the most exalted shores of all.

All the Commoners exit.

See whe’er their basest mettle be not moved.
They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness.
Go you down that way towards the Capitol.
This way will I. Disrobe the images
If you do find them decked with ceremonies.

The tribunes Marullus and Flavius confidently sent the rude mechanicals off with their tails between their legs in Act I Scene I of Julius Caesar. Their modern successors, lacking the power to have people sewn into a sack and thrown in the Tiber, are finding it a little more troublesome to bring about a suitable attitude of repentance in the populace.

“The Brexit Question Time’s audience backs up what our survey found: no regrets” is the slightly exaggerated headline of an article in the Guardian by Professor Anand Menon and Sophie Stowers of the academic think tank “UK in a Changing Europe”.

A majority of leavers feel they had all the information they needed to make a decision in 2016. And a plurality think that they had sufficient information from both sides of the referendum campaign to make an informed decision. What they resent is the fact that political leaders have not capitalised on the sovereignty for which they voted; 39% of them think politicians have not even tried to make Brexit work.

Yet while they are frustrated, leavers did not expect instant results. A quarter of them think not enough time has passed to judge whether Brexit has gone well or badly; 61% think Brexit will turn out well or very well in the future. There was a sense among those in the audience last night that they did not expect to wake up on 24 June 2016 in a whole different Britain. Rather, Brexit is an ongoing process that, while politicians have messed it up to date, still holds the promise of greater successes to come.

So, it should come as no surprise that many – including most of those in Clacton last night – still back the decision they made in 2016. In our survey, 72% of 2016 leave voters, knowing what they do now, would still vote as they did.

“What we do is restrict freedoms”

– Irish Green Party Chairperson Senator Pauline O’Reilly, speaking on Tuesday, 13 Jun 2023 in the Seanad Éireann debate on the second stage of Ireland’s Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022.

I transcribed the words she speaks in the clip as follows:

“When you think about it, all law, all legislation is about the restriction of freedom. That’s exactly what we are doing here, is we are restricting freedom but we are doing it for the common good. You will see that throughout our Constitution, yes, you have rights but they are restricted for the common good.

Everything needs to be balanced. If your views on other people’s identities go to make their lives unsafe, insecure and cause them such deep discomfort that they cannot live in peace, then I believe that it is our job as legislators to restrict those freedoms for the common good.”

The official record of the whole debate can be read here. Note that, just as Hansard does for speakers in the UK parliament, the Official Report of the Oireachtas presents a slightly cleaned up version of what was actually said, though not enough to change the meaning.

According to that record, just after that clip ended she made another remark which I think needs to gain wider publicity:

One cannot do and say whatever one likes in our society, which is a society governed by laws. This is very fundamental to a legislative system. It should be one of the very fundamentals for any legislators who sit in this Chamber that they understand what we do is restrict freedoms.

Senator O’Reilly is wrong by every moral measure – but on that factual point she is not wrong.

World ends today

Will someone please ask the Swedish Doom Goblin if I have time for another Armagnac?

Samizdata quote of the day – the death of the Tories

Literary critic Cyril Connolly said that the war between the generations is the only war in which everyone changes sides eventually. He was wrong. Politics is war, of course; and the Conservative Party switched en masse years ago. Unencumbered by any meaningful philosophy, they just marched from right to left.

Theresa May sounds for all the world like a Labour back-bencher buttering up the party big guns. It’s difficult listening. That said, I fully understand her desire to put the boot in. Who wouldn’t?

The death of the Tories is not a tragedy in and of itself. The carcass can rot for all I care. It’s what they haven’t done. What they failed to deliver. And all the fucking about.

One thing they did manage to do? Create a hell-ish environment in the institutions. Everything is in place. Labour will REALLY be able to wreak their identitarian havoc. Just wait and see. We’ll probably be asked to express our gender preferences through the medium of interpretive dance. And that’ll be the sensible option.

Seriously though – they’ll finish their revolution. And with it, the country. Nobody will be able to do a damn thing about it.

Dr Philip Kiszely