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]

Discussion point: have you kept the libertarian faith on freedom of movement?

The Independent reports, Let Us Vote: New campaign launched to give everyone living in UK the right to vote in elections

The “Let Us Vote” campaign, which has the backing of more than a dozen MPs and peers, is seeking new legislation to extend the voting franchise, which has not changed significantly since the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1969

It has been launched by campaign groups the3million, representing EU nationals in the UK, British in Europe, which represents UK citizens in the EU, and anti-Brexit group Another Europe is Possible. The campaign says it is strictly neutral on Brexit and party politics.

In an open letter published in The Independent, supporters including MPs, peers, and NGO leaders wrote: “The outcome of the next few weeks in politics could determine the course of our lives for decades to come.

“But many of the people who are most affected by the current situation – migrants living in the UK, and UK citizens living abroad – have never been offered the chance to have a stake in our democracy.

“Whatever our views on Brexit and party politics, we are united in the belief that it is fundamentally wrong that so many millions of people whose lives will be deeply affected by developments at Westminster are currently denied a vote.”

The letter was signed by Labour MPs Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Clive Lewis, David Lammy and Stephen Doughty, plus Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran.

The “Let Us Vote” campaign’s own website is here.

What was your first thought upon reading this proposal? What would it have been ten years ago?

My first thought was this was David Lammy’s way of ensuring he never again loses another referendum. (My second was, “Leave campaign: use this on C2DE voters.”) Ten years ago I might have said, “It’s a difficult question”. I do not think I was ever unambiguously in favour of complete open borders on libertarian grounds but I knew plenty of people who were and I was open to persuasion. It was seen as one of the questions that sorted the committed Libertarians from the dilettantes. That, I think, is where my instinctive casting of the question in religious terms came from.

My impression is that my loss of belief in free movement of people is shared by many. Is it shared by you? Or have you kept your faith strong? Have you converted to this belief?

A prominent Remainer from the media world gives of his wisdom

David Yelland is a public relations consultant and former editor of the Sun newspaper.

He blesses us with this tweet:

@davidyelland

So many, but not all, the leading Brexiters are unhealthy and don’t seem to care for themselves. So many, but not all, the leading Remainers are healthy in body, mind and soul. It applies right across the country. We smile, they are angry. #PeoplesVote

12:45 AM – 6 Apr 2019

Edit: And it’s gone. Because of Mr Yelland’s kindness:

Have deleted a Tweet earlier which was a tad unkind to some Brexiters. I do think there is a deep unhappiness in the country which fed the Leave campaign but there’s enough conflict out there without me adding to it.

Someone called “Techboy” ensured that Mr Yelland’s original words were preserved for posterity.

Some examples of promises that Remainer MPs made to get elected and then broke

At the height of the Watergate scandal Nixon’s press secretary was a man called Ronald L Zielgler. He became famous for declaring with a straight face that only his latest statement was “operative” and that all previous statements contradicting it were thus “inoperative”.

The following statements by prominent Remain-supporting MPs are all inoperative:

Heidi Allen

This is what the Right Honourable Heidi Allen MP promised to the voters of South Cambridgeshire to get them to adopt her as a candidate at her hustings in 2017:

This is democracy. We might not all like the result. I was a remainer, but the minute we start ignoring the democratic will of the people in this country we are slipping very quickly towards the sort of banana republic I don’t want to live in.

*

The referendum was a different kind of vote. It was a national question, it wasn’t a local one, and I know that probably the majority of people in this room tonight will think “well, we don’t want it”, but we can’t forget that this was a national vote. And I think it’s wrong for us as democratic leaders to be picking and choosing the results that we don’t like.

*

So quite frankly if I am re-elected as your MP, I am not going to waste time, precious time, resisting Brexit from happening. I’m going to grasp that opportunity, leverage that opportunity we have with every fibre of my being and make the best of it.

*

I think those that voted to Leave would think we were treating them as fools and that they were stupid and that we didn’t respect their views. So I think that a second referendum is not what we should be aiming for.

Heidi Allen is now the interim leader of the Change UK party, formerly known as The Independent Group and informally known as the Tiggers or CUKs, whose only significant policy is to force a second referendum.

I saw that speech on the video “Heidi Allen Hustings 2017 Best Bits” posted to YouTube by Tom Harwood. The video of Sarah Wollaston’s hustings linked to below was also posted by Mr Harwood. I thought it was very useful that he added subtitles to the videos, as that makes it easier to find and cite the most strikingly dishonest passages in the MPs’ speeches. By writing out the speeches and the contents of the election flyers and leaflets here in this Samizdata post I hope to make it still easier to spread the word of how these Remainer Members of Parliament are not to be trusted.

Nick Boles

This is what the Right Honourable Nick Boles MP said to the voters of Grantham and Stamford in an election leaflet:

60 SECOND Q&A
NICK BOLES

Q: How do we know you won’t betray us, if we elect you?

A: I will publish all my expense claims online and I will never claim for food or furniture or household goods. I think that MPs elected for one party should have to stand down and call a by-election if they defect to another party.

On 1st April 2019 Nick Boles resigned from the Conservative Party following the announcement of the results of the second round of indicative votes on exiting the European Union. He now describes himself as an Independent Progressive Conservative. His previous belief that defecting MPs should have to stand down fell by the wayside when the time came to apply it to himself.

That leaflet can be seen at the URL https://staging.electionleaflets.org/leaflets/full/58310/ uploaded to the site electionleaflets.org. The fact that by the standards he himself had proclaimed Boles had betrayed his constituents was highlighted by Guido Fawkes in this post. The post reminded me that when Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell left the Conservatives for UKIP they both voluntarily resigned their seats and stood for election again under their new colours. Both were re-elected to their old seats.

Yvette Cooper

This is what the Right Honourable Yvette Cooper MP said on an election leaflet addressed to the voters of Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford to solicit their support in 2017:

Yvette Cooper MP
– Securing the best Brexit deal for the Five Towns
– I voted to trigger Article 50 in Parliament
– I want to reform freedom of movement
– I will not vote to block Brexit
– I want to secure the best deal for the Five Towns not just the cities

I took the picture of the Yvette Cooper election leaflet from a tweet by Paul Embery of the Firefighters’ Union.

Sarah Wollaston

This is what the Right Honourable Sarah Wollaston MP promised to the voters of Totnes in order to solicit their support at her hustings in 2017:

It was extraordinarily divisive, the referendum, and we need to move on from that. But what we must do, in my view, is accept the result, but now make sure that just because we are leaving the European Union, we are not leaving Europe. Taking all of the people within this constituency into account, this constituency voted by 54% to Leave. I think this is one of the things that annoys people is telling them that they didn’t know what they were voting for. That was the purpose of the referendum; we accept the result; we move on and make it as constructive as possible. There are real problems with how the Common Agricultural Policy has worked, and we have an opportunity now to redesign something that does more to protect Devon’s farmers and to look at how we balance that with protecting our environment.

A second referendum to take us out of the European Union: it is a direct incentive for us to get the worst possible deal. We have to go into this absolutely understanding that the principle here is that we respect the outcome of the referendum and I think it would be a huge mistake to go into this promising that I’d be prepared to vote to actually overturn the deal and send us back into Europe. We shouldn’t be going back and saying that we don’t accept the result of the referendum, I’m afraid.

From the video “Sarah Wollaston’s 2017 Husting Highlights” posted to YouTube by Tom Harwood.

On 20 February Sarah Wollaston resigned from the Conservatives and joined The Independent Group / Change UK. Wollaston’s pledge to respect the referendum thus joined in the inoperative bin her belief that MPs who cross the floor ought to face a mandatory by-election. As the Wikipedia article on Sarah Wollaston says she actually supported a Private Members bill to make this the law:

Call for mandatory by-elections for MPs switching parties

In March 2019 it emerged that Wollaston had supported a 2011 bill which required MPs who switch parties to face an automatic by-election. Wollaston herself switched parties on 20 February 2019, yet refused to let voters have a say on her switch. Chair of the Labour Party in Totnes and South Devon, Lynn Alderson, said Ms Wollaston “made her views clear”. Wollaston acknowledged the likely calls for her to face a by-election but refused such a proposal, stating “neither this nor a general election would answer the fundamental question that is dividing us”.

Broken promise on respecting result of EU Referendum

During her election hustings when campaigning for re-election at the 2017 General Election, Wollaston promised her constituents she would “accept the result” of the EU Membership Referendum, noting that 54% of her constituents had voted Leave. She went on to state that “one of the things that annoys people is telling them that they didn’t know what they were voting for” and completely rejected the idea of holding a second referendum. Wollaston later switched to the Independent Group, all the member of which oppose to respecting the result of the EU Referendum and committed to holding a second Referendum, therefore meaning Wollaston had broken all her election promises on the issue.

Let’s get thrown out of the EU!

Jacob Rees-Mogg tweets,

If a long extension leaves us stuck in the EU we should be as difficult as possible We could veto any increase in the budget, obstruct the putative EU army and block Mr Macron’s integrationist schemes.

The Independent reports that the EU has slapped him down:

Brussels has slapped down Jacob-Rees Mogg after the leading Brexiteer suggested the UK should wilfully cause chaos at the EU institutions if Brexit was delayed.

Mr Rees-Mogg will be pleased his threat has got through to its intended audience.

A spokesperson for the European Commission suggested that the Tory MP was essentially irrelevant and not involved in negotiations.

No one said he was involved in negotiations. He is suggesting a course of action to be applied by newly elected Eurosceptic Conservative, UKIP or Brexit Party MEPs when and if they find themselves elected to the EU Parliament. Jacob Rees-Mogg is famously mild mannered. The type of candidates elected by a massive bloc of voters who have just had it demonstrated to them that voting does not work are likely to be less so.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, also piled in. Seizing on Mr Mogg’s comments, he said: “For those in the EU who may be tempted to further extend the Brexit saga, I can only say, be careful what you wish for.”

Mr Verhofstadt is correct.

Edit: in the comments – OK, in the comment – Stonyground asks a very good question: “As I understand it, the EU parliament has very limited powers. How much trouble could the awkward squad realistically cause?”

Going by recent dramas in the Mother of Parliaments, quite a bit if they place their votes with ruthless indifference to the merits of the motion in whatever way will lead to stalemate.

There is also something to be said for complete randomness. And it’s “plobble”. (Slaps self round side of head.) What I meant was they could vote with the extreme Right on Monday, the Extreme Left on Tuesday and with an unconventional part of their anatomy on Wednesday.

April fool, suckers! It was me all along!

French literati embarrassed after Marxist hero admits to murders

An anguished debate has erupted among French intellectuals after an Italian Marxist whom they lionised as a victim of oppression and injustice confessed to being a murderer.

Cesare Battisti, 64, a former member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism…

Who could have guessed that a member of Armed Proletarians for Communism might have been violent?

…embarrassed the French literati who were his most ardent defenders when he admitted last week to a series of killings and knee-cappings in Italy in the late 1970s.

Battisti lived openly in France for 14 years from 1990 despite having been convicted in his absence in Italy of carrying out two murders and aiding and abetting two others. He earned a living as a crime writer, a television scriptwriter and an occasional contributor to Playboy.

When a French court upheld an Italian extradition request in 2004, authors, artists, philosophers and politicians sprang to his defence. They denounced Italian justice as biased, proclaimed his innocence — even though he refused to do so explicitly for many years — and said that he should be able to live freely in France.

Battisti fled to Brazil then Bolivia.

…but was arrested there in January and extradited to Italy. Under questioning he not only admitted to the crimes but said that he had “never been a victim of injustice”. He went on to say that his backers had been interested only in his ideology and not in his innocence or guilt.

Ho ho, what a joke. Except for the people he murdered and their families.

She falsely accused nine men of rape and six of sexual assault on four separate occasions but still the BBC puts scare quotes around the word ‘liar’.

Jemma Beale’s repeated lies caused an innocent man to spend two years in jail, and untold anxiety to many others. Part of Beale’s motive appears to have been to make her lover jealous, but she told a former girlfriend that she did it in order to get compensation money from the government. She was tried and convicted for her crimes and is now in jail.

You’d think that after all that her guilt would have been established beyond reasonable doubt. Yet with what strange new respect for the presumption of innocence (even after conviction!) does the BBC report her case:

Jemma Beale: Rape claim ‘liar’ loses conviction appeal

A “serial liar” who invented false rape and sexual assault allegations has failed in a bid to clear her name.

Jemma Beale, 27, from Hounslow, west London, was jailed for 10 years in August 2017 after claiming she was sexually assaulted by six men and raped by nine over the space of three years.

She challenged her convictions for perjury and perverting the course of justice and her sentence.

Her bid was rejected by three judges at the Court of Appeal.

Beale’s lawyer Gillian Jones QC argued the trial judge should have given the jury directions about the “danger of assumptions, myths and stereotypes” relating to victims of sexual offences.

I agree with Beale’s lawyer. The trial judge should have warned about the danger of the currently fashionable assumption, myth and stereotype that “women never lie about rape”. Fortunately the jury saw through Beale anyway.

The European Union has passed Articles 11 and 13 of the Copyright Directive. How can this be reversed?

The European Parliament has voted in favour of Article 13, reports Wired:

European politicians have voted to pass Article 13 and Article 11 as part of sweeping changes to regulation around online copyright. The European Parliament passed the legislation by 348 votes to 274.

As Guido put it, “348 MEPs you’ve never heard of overruled 278 MEPs you’ve also probably never heard of. So much for all that democratic accountability Remainers like to go on about…”

Previous relevant posts:

Anyone know how the new EU internet censorship & link tax law will affect the UK? June 13 2018

Two days before the EU (probably) votes to end the free internet. Should we care? June 20 2018

EU votes yes to copyright reform, also June 20 2018

Those MEPs, eh? September 14 2018

And just to show that Samizdata has been warning of this for a long time (hey, at least Cassandra had the satisfaction of being right), here is a post from 2002: The European Copyright Directive.

If I have missed any posts that should be in that list, let me know.

So how does one repeal a bad EU law? As the politicians say, I am glad you asked me that. Let me direct you to yet another past post in which a denizen of Reddit Europe called Ask_Me_Who explains:

MEP’s can not create, amend, or reject proposals. They can act as a method of slowing them, requesting changes or rethinks of proposed policies, but if the other (unelected) parts of the EU want to force through a proposal they can just keep pushing it until it gets through in the knowledge that elected MEP’s will not have the power to propose future updates, changes, or abolition of legislation.

The European Commission only has to win once and it can never be repealed without the European Commission wishing it so.

Noooooooo!

Gender pay gap expert among top professors quitting Brexit Britain

Leading academics in climate policy and economics have also had enough of hostility – and funding goes with them.

(I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right.)

Calm down, dear

I had planned a day of rest with perhaps a little light blogging about kittens. You’re all probably sick of me going on about Brexit. I’m sick of me going on about Brexit. But the latest article from our old friend Baron Heseltine, Companion of Honour, Member of the Privy Council and Lord of the Jungle, is something you need to hear.

But it is in the next phase of negotiations that the details of the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be fleshed out. Depending on what happens in those negotiations, either we will see virtually no change to our current status – in which case, what is the point of leaving? Or, as is much more likely, the Brexiteers will demand significant changes to reflect their own views – views that will appal and frighten much of the electorate when they realise the enormity of what is being done. In essence, Brexiteers want to dismantle much of what we regard as the underpinning of civilised life in the modern world.

He is but the latest prophet to issue this warning. The prophet Tusk spoke thus before the referendum, but the people heeded him not.

What should we be doing while they make art?

Let’s be honest, the huge size of the People’s Vote demonstration and the huge number of signatories on the petition to revoke Article 50 are both very impressive. They show that millions of people want very strongly to remain in the European Union.

But of course they will have very little effect on whether Brexit actually happens or not. Don’t mistake me, I am seriously afraid that it will not happen – which will send a signal to every supporter of every cause, whether related to Brexit or not, that trying to gain their objectives by democratic means is pointless. However the million marchers and four million signers are not the reason for my fear. They are not doing anything significant to stop Brexit. They are performing for each other. We should rejoice that they thus distract each other from actions that might have more effect.

Why do I think these great manifestations of opposition to Brexit do so little to stop it? Because the people who can stop Brexit know that the marchers and signers can do and will do nothing for them. Those people are MPs, mostly but not entirely Conservative MPs.

Not one Conservative MP stands in danger of losing their seat because four million people who would never vote Tory anyway sign a petition. Quite a few Labour MPs do stand in danger of losing their seat because it is beginning to dawn on habitual Labour voters who voted for Leave in the referendum, who disproportionately live in marginal seats, that their victory in the referendum might be stolen from them. John McDonnell can work this out, and he can tell Jeremy Corbyn. This is why both of them were conspicuously absent from the People’s Vote march. Meanwhile I do find something ironic in all these “Revoke Article 50” petition-signers thinking that the government should do something just because a lot of people have said that they want it.

I said on the 18th that No Deal would be the best option for Theresa May. I am no longer sure that May will be in power long enough to get to choose her best option, but the same calculation applies to her successor as Conservative leader and (possibly interim) Prime Minister. As I said in that post, the most committed supporters of the Conservative party are exactly the group who want Brexit most. Their anger is to be feared by the people with whom power to stop Brexit rests. It is scant reassurance to worried Tory MPs to say that Tory Brexiteers are scarcely likely to vote for Corbyn the extreme left-winger or for the Europhile Liberal Democrats or Independent Group. In fact Tory Brexiteers don’t even have to vote for UKIP or Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party in order to punish Conservative MPs for failing to honour the referendum result. All they have to do is slack off. The Conservative party is desperately short of active members, particularly young active members who are physically capable of going house to house delivering leaflets and talking to potential voters.

Which brings me to the question I asked as the title of this post. I have thought of one suggestion for something Conservative Leavers can do to secure Brexit: tell your MPs and your local Party chairmen and chairwomen that the Tories had one job, as the meme goes, and if they cannot bring themselves to do that then you cannot bring yourself to pound the streets on the Party’s behalf in the coming General Election.

Note the mildness of this threat. That, I believe, is what makes it effective. It is literally no effort for you to carry it out. It is less effort than not carrying it out.

I know that many local Conservative Associations have been working to deselect overly pro-Remain MPs. I think it is too late for that strategy. Brexit does not need more formerly-Conservative Independent Group MPs, it needs scared Conservative MPs.

There is my suggestion. But it only applies to members of the Conservative party, which I’m not. I honestly wish I had joined months ago so I could credibly make this threat now.

I throw the question out to you, dear readers. During WWII Churchill used to write “Action this day” in his own hand on documents. What action can we take today that will make betrayal of the referendum result less likely? I do not exclude performative art of our own, such as this petition to honour the referendum result, but in the end such things do not apply any new incentives to those who have power. What would? What should we be doing?

Lord Heseltine forgets to mention a detail

Lord Heseltine, writing in the Telegraph today, explains “Why I am joining the People’s Vote march on Saturday”.

Of course I argued from the beginning that we were better off in the EU than out of it. Better off resolving our differences from within the European family than as an isolated onlooker chipping in from the side-lines.

It is indeed the case that Mr Heseltine has used that line of argument before. Perhaps the passage of seventeen years has dimmed his memory of the exact context in which he did it. But the internet remembers:

Tony Blair came under growing pressure last night to declare that Britain is to join the European single currency as the clock ticked towards tonight’s historic launch of the new money.

The increasing impatience of pro-euro campaigners at No 10’s fence sitting exploded as Lord Heseltine, the former Tory deputy prime minister, joined Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy and the head of Labour’s MEPs, Simon Murphy, to urge the prime minister to take a lead and call an early referendum.

Lord Heseltine effectively accused Mr Blair of a lack of nerve as he dismissed the government’s five economic tests as a “protective barrier” behind which it could “cower in order to have apparently intellectually defensible reasons for putting things off”.

the Guardian, 31 December 2001

Mr Frisby and the rats of IN

Guido gleefully points out that this song by Dominic Frisby is currently the second best selling album on Amazon music. Presumably he just means UK Amazon, but that is quite an achievement. I am getting automatically generated adverts for it. Yours for a quid! However please note before you serenade the street with your new purchase that it is a tad sweary. Honestly, there’s about seventeen million F*** O**s in it.

It will not be news to regular readers of Samizdata that Mr Frisby is both a respected financial writer and an entertainer so good that he can make it despite being an open libertarian. Brian Micklethwait (repeatedly), Johnathan Pearce, Patrick Crozier and Rob Fisher have all posted about him. My finally joining the club to say he has a nice voice and a cool hat is something of an anti-climax. But he does have both of those things. And I get the feeling he’s a sporting bloke who will forgive me for being the millionth-and-first person to make irrelevant mention of this book just because it has the name “Frisby” in it. I also recommend the book, which I loved as a child and now I come to think about it as an adult has an almost John Galt vibe to it.