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]

Aunt Agatha gives some wise career counselling

Dear “Switcher,”

No. You need a new career because you obviously have no future in politics since your current party lies second in only 37 seats. I know you are getting on, but your onetime colleague Menzies Campbell took on a new career as a University Chancellor and a peer when he was only a year older than you are now, so take heart. I thought the ideal and undemanding job for you might be flower arrangement, in that everything you do there lasts only a few days before it wilts, and you have to start all over again with something new.

On reflection, though, I think you should start a shoe company, concentrating on sandals. Your name has such good brand association that flip-flops bearing your name would sell like hot cakes.

Agatha Antigone. I wonder who this week’s unworthy supplicant is?

Is there any reason I should not sign this EU petition?

I refer to this petition: Permanent European Union Citizenship.

Main objectives
EU citizens elect the European Parliament and participate in its work, thus exercising treaty rights, enhancing Union democracy, and reinforcing its citizenship. Noting the ECJ’s view of Union citizenship as a ‘fundamental status’ of nationals of Member States, and that Brexit will strip millions of EU citizens of this status and their vote in European elections, requests the Commission propose means to avoid risk of collective loss of EU citizenship and rights, and assure all EU citizens that, once attained, such status is permanent and their rights acquired.

This petition runs under the aegis of a European Union scheme called The European Citizens’ Initiative. As Wikipedia says,

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a European Union mechanism aimed at increasing direct democracy by enabling “EU citizens to participate directly in the development of EU policies”, introduced with the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007. The initiative enables one million citizens of the European Union, who are nationals of at least one quarter of the member states, to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act in an area where the Member States have conferred powers onto the EU level.

In other words, like its British equivalent, a petition will be considered if it crosses a certain threshold. Not enacted into law, obviously – don’t hold your breath waiting for any government to give up that monopoly – but it will have passed the first milestone on the long road to becoming law. The EU scheme does seem a tad more meaningful than the UK one.

Turning to this specific petition, I do not see anything that I, as someone who happily voted Leave, should object to. The petition does not seek to stop the United Kingdom from leaving the control of the European Union. If this became law it would mean that Remainers currently angry at losing their automatic right to work in the EU and their vote in EU elections would not lose out from Brexit at all. Although on every website on which I have seen this petition promoted everyone seems to assume that it will be opposed by Leavers, my instinct is to say “A solution that leaves both sides happy – Great!”

I do have some qualms about voting to change the character of the EU when I don’t want to be part of the it. I also worry that I may have missed some Trojan Horse in the wording of the petition. It worries me that so many supporters of this petition seem to think of it as part of their campaign against Brexit. It looks to me as if it would help reconcile many people to Brexit by removing the aspects of Brexit that they most disliked, but have all those die-hard Remainers seen something I missed?

I should say that I think the chance of this petition cutting much ice with the EU are remote. Its supporters in the UK may not have spotted that it makes Brexit less painful and hence more likely, and more likely to be imitated, but the officials and politicians of the EU are not so naive. This proposal would allow a British person an unrestricted right to work in the 27 remaining countries of the EU, but would not allow citizens of the 27 an unrestricted right to work in the UK. Ain’t gonna happen. However I have signed many a petition that had very little chance of passing.

What do you think? Brits and other current EU citizens, will you sign it? UK citizens, if by some strange concatenation of events this became EU law, would you take up the offer of keeping your EU citizenship?

To avoid confrontation

The Daily Mail reports,

Ex-wife of top chef Albert Roux is forced out of her £5m Chelsea home after scammers change the locks and start renting it out for £835-a-night online

The former wife of Michellin star chef Albert Roux has been advised to move out of her house after being tricked into renting out part of her £5million home.

A fake letting agency managed to convince Cheryl Roux, 61, to rent out the top two storeys of her mews house to a bogus tenant.

Since June, the three-bedroom property in Knightsbridge, west London, has been sub-let to as many as eight tenants at a time for a cost of £835 a night – with Ms Roux not getting a penny.

The locks have been changed on her £5million home and the rental scheme, which has been advertised on Airbnb and Zoopla, has forced Ms Roux to move out of the ground floor of her property.

Ms Roux said: ‘I’m clearly a victim of crime but the police do nothing and these crooks are still renting out my home.

‘They changed the locks so I couldn’t get in and nailed shut the garage doors. I’m at my wits’ end.’

Police told The Sun: ‘Once a property is let and there is a contract between two parties it is a matter for the civil court not the police if a dispute arises.’

And

Ms Roux said: ‘I’m clearly a victim of crime but the police do nothing and these crooks are still renting out my home.

‘They changed the locks so I couldn’t get in and nailed shut the garage doors. I’m at my wits’ end.’

Police told The Sun: ‘Once a property is let and there is a contract between two parties it is a matter for the civil court not the police if a dispute arises.’

I can envisage a libertarian legal system in which all disputes were civil disputes between the parties and the state had little or no role. That might be a fine thing, in Libertopia. But in the real UK of 2018 it looks to me like the police have failed once again to live up to their side of the bargain in which the people grant the police the right to to take the lead in enforcing the law and then don’t enforce the law.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the social scale, I cannot put it better than this post by Instapundit quoting another Daily Mail story:

YOU’LL SEE MORE OF THIS SORT OF THING IN LONDON, WHERE THE DULY CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES ARE TOO BUSY POLICING MEMES ON TWITTERS TO DO THEIR ACTUAL JOBS: ‘That’s what happens when you bring ACID!’: Shocking moment ‘vigilantes’ beat man with a bat then pour milk on him while he cowers on London street after ‘spotting he had corrosive liquid.’

The system will be brought down by its internal contradictions

“Mr Corbyn also suggested a series of proposals for the BBC, including publishing the social class of ‘all creators of BBC content, whether in-house or external'”, reports the BBC, trembling.

That would be fun to watch, but what is to stop the Beebourgeoisie, middle class to the tips of their Shiatsu-massaged toes, from foiling the plan by self-identifying as proletarians?

Watching the debate on self-identification within the Left is like watching a long fuse slowly burning down towards a time-bomb. Though nicer. As things stand this week:

Gender – completely a matter of choice and how dare you say chromosomes. Voluntary efforts to eradicate sexism having failed, compulsory quotas for females must be imposed by the power of the State. But anyone who wants to be included in the quota only has to ask.

Race – is nothing but an oppressive social construct. To cease participating in this oppressive and delusionary social construct is forbidden.

Class – They called it “Catch BBC”. You started working class, worked like mad, finally got a soft job, which made you middle class, so in the interests of social mobility they won’t hire you again. Edit: Or your kids. But their re-impoverished kids will be favoured. Social oscillation, the wave (geddit?) of the future!

What side do I take on all these controversies? None. I’m for freedom of association. It is so restful.

Aunt Agatha threads her needle through the eyelids of another unworthy seeking advice

I spot you’ve never been short of cash, from your days of ‘golden sacks’ to your current take-home of over £800,000 a year. So what you need is the satisfaction of a role that fits your character. With your dark suits, unsmiling face, and the air of gloom you spread like a fog around you, you have the demeanor of an undertaker. You should capitalize on that by setting up a chain of funeral parlours. Your slogan could be something like, “Pass on with certainty into that uncertain future.” People would flock to sign up for your sombre services, knowing that, once dead, they’d be beyond the reach of your gloomy predictions.

– The wise and sagacious Agatha Antigone casting yet more pearls of wisdom before the Gadarene swine on line.

Jeremy Corbyn, cultural appropriator

As all should know, cultural appropriation is Not OK. It is particularly offensive when white westerners imitate the religious practices of others despite having no belief in that religion.

So I was shocked to see pictures of Mr Corbyn assuming the characteristic posture of Islamic prayer on this solemn occasion:

Jeremy Corbyn is seen posing with a wreath under a distinctive red canopy as other politicians look on. This canopy runs alongside the graves of Salah Khalaf, Hayel Abdel-Hamid, Fakhri al-Omari and Atef Bseiso, three of whom have been linked to Black September, the group behind the 1972 atrocity at the Munich Olympic Games

hands held in the characteristic posture of Islamic prayer

That picture comes from this Daily Mail story, third picture down. The caption reads:

Jeremy Corbyn raises his hands in what appears to be an Islamic prayer position as he stands beside other politicians. A source said he was not praying but ‘copying the others out of respect’

One must also question the culturally insensitive way in which Corbyn referred to a convicted Hamas terrorist as a “brother”. From the Evening Standard:

In August 2012, Corbyn (right) appeared on Iran’s Press TV with a convicted Hamas terrorist named Dr Abdul Aziz Umar. “He got seven life sentences for helping to organise a Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2003 that killed seven people,” Rich points out. The bombing at the Café Hillel took place during the second intifada. Among the victims were Dr David Applebaum, head of the emergency room at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and his daughter Nava, who was due to be married the next day.

Umar was charged with providing a safe house for the terrorists and guarding the property as they fitted the bomber with a suicide belt. He was released a year before his Press TV appearance as part of the prisoner swap arranged to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

“You have to ask the question why they are in prison in the first place,” said the now Labour leader. “I’m glad that those who were released were released.”

Umar was appearing on the show by video link but Corbyn pointed out the pair had met before.

“I met many of the brothers, including the brother who’s been speaking here when they came out of prison, when I was in Doha earlier this year,” he said.Rich also notes that this appearance on Press TV took place seven months after the channel lost its Ofcom licence. This followed a £100,000 fine for broadcasting the forced interrogation of a Newsweek journalist held prisoner in Iran.

You can hear Mr Corbyn saying those words at 15:55 – 16:05 in this video clip from The Muslim TV.net: [12 Aug 2012] Israeli prisons increase repression during Ramadan – English

As everyone ought to know, the use of the terms “brother” and “sister” among Muslims implies that the speaker and the person being addressed or described are both Muslims. Surah 49:10 “Al-Hujarat” says, “The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” How shocking that Mr Corbyn would crassly insert himself, a non-Muslim, into this expression of shared Muslim faith.

Samizdata quote of the day

It is a pity that the lifeblood of industry in this country is small businesses, and by small I don’t mean the UK definition of “SME”, I mean a handful of people, mostly one person, doing their trade.

The Conservative Party is transfixed on big business, that they can regulate, and the Labour Party wants more public services under government control, there is literally no-one standing up for the one-man bands of the country that keep us afloat.

Under many of the big enterprises are a collection of qualified individuals, major service companies frequently use freelancers. For them, there is no requirement to commit under the company banner, and subsequently the consequences of not having holiday, sickness, guaranteed work, etc, so it is not a great choice but one many people are willing to take nevertheless.

Every time there is some form of new regulation or taxation it is the one-man operations that suffer the most. The big business can suck up expenses or tax increases without a problem and the public sector is exempt, just ignores them, or gets someone else to pay for it.

The Tories and the Left hate the single operators – and it shows.

Runcie Balspune

Samizdata quote of the day

And do note that interesting little difference between London and New York. In NYC you must have a medallion to gain a taxi permit. The money from the restriction on the number of cabs flowed to those who owned the medallions, to those who controlled access. London Black Cabs were not so restricted – so it was the drivers who gained the higher incomes from the customers being screwed. But if we restrict the number of drivers with a middleman like Uber controlling the access then it’s going to be Uber – as with the medallions – who gains, not the drivers.

Seriously, this is nuts, Sadiq Khan really is proposing that Uber should have monopoly profits thrust upon it. And why the Hell is a Mayor of London proposing that? Evil or ignorant, your choice.

Tim Worstall

Samizdata quote of the day

“Perhaps Corbyn really is just unlucky. But it seems more probable that he’s not. And that, far from being the decent man of legend he’s actually thoroughly indecent. The only possible alternative is that he’s thunderously, crushingly, toe-curlingly thick. On balance, however, it seems more probable that he is, in fact, both. Enough of this. Enough, already.”

Alex Massie (Spectator is behind a registration paywall.)

Samizdata quote of the day

“I heard the other day of a quite senior minister who has not been rung for the last six years by the political editor of the newspaper in his local city because he, the minister, can be relied on to say absolutely nothing. No one has ever written a profile of this minister. As he transacts the business of his department, he might as well be wearing a cloak of invisibility. One cannot help wondering whether his own family have any idea of who, politically speaking, he is, for even if he knows himself, he lacks the command of language needed to explain himself to anyone else.”

Andrew Gimson, musing on the terrible communications skills and speech-making calibre of our political class.

The dream of peace

“Jeremy Corbyn: I was present at wreath-laying but don’t think I was involved”, reports the Guardian.

Jeremy Corbyn said he was present but not involved at a wreath-laying for individuals behind the group that carried out the Munich Olympic massacre, a partial admission that led to a row between him and Israel’s prime minister.

The Labour leader had been asked if Palestinian leaders linked to the Black September terror group were honoured at a memorial event he attended in Tunisia in 2014, at which victims of the 1985 Israeli airstrike in Tunis were remembered.

Corbyn said “a wreath was indeed laid” for “some of those who were killed in Paris in 1992” and added, in response to a question: “I was present at that wreath-laying, I don’t think I was actually involved in it.”

The Guardian picture shows Jeremy accidentally holding a great big wreath.

He added: “I was there because I wanted to see a fitting memorial to everyone who has died in every terrorist incident everywhere because we have to end it. You cannot pursue peace by a cycle of violence; the only way you can pursue peace [is] by a cycle of dialogue.”

Rowan Atkinson hits the nail on the head yet again

These remarks are as apposite today as when they were first delivered in 2012. The Boris Johnson ‘burqa’ furore is actually not about burqas at all (nothing happened when Ken Clarke made very similar remarks in 2013), it is a nakedly obvious ploy to bring down the main political threat to Theresa May, by using profoundly illiberal notions that politically designated groups are beyond ridicule or criticism.