Tag Archives: quislings

Greece and the Eurozone : holding tight to nurse for fear of something worse

Robert Henderson

The   Greek referendum on the terms for a further  financial bailout was potentially  a clever move by  Alexis Tsipras and Syriza. If the result of the referendum   had been  YES to the terms put forward to deal with the Greek debt , Tsipras and his government were off the hook for reneging on their election promises. If there was  a NO to the conditions, Tsipras could  play the democracy card and challenge the Eurozone to go against the democratic will of the Greek people or simply walk away from the mess and  pass the poisoned chalice to his political opponents.

Having asked for a rejection of  the terms offered  by the Eurozone in the referendum and  got an emphatic  61% vote  for rejection,  Syriza   could  have  called the Euro elite’s bluff from a position of strength.   Regrettably for Greece’s hope of recovery they have not had the courage to do so.  Instead  they have  humiliatingly capitulated by signing up to an even more severe  austerity deal than  they could have concluded with the movers and shakers  in the Eurozone a fortnight ago. The stark realpolitik of the situation was epitomised by the Greek prime minister  Alexis Tsipras appealing to the Greek Parliament to accept the deal with the words   “We don’t believe in it, but we are forced to adopt it,” The Parliament  accepted by  his plea by voting 229 for and 64 against, but it required support from the opposition because over 30 Syriza MPs either voted against or abstained. From provisional acceptance by the Greek government  to acceptance by Parliament took three days.   Shotgun marriages often take longer to arrange.

Greece is no longer in control of its economy or its political system.  It is having forced upon it huge changes to pensions and public sector salaries, large privatisations,  and perhaps most humiliating, to sell off €50bn of Greek assets , the proceeds of which will be partially used to guarantee repayments on debts owed to the EU and the IMF. The detailed new requirements are:

“To unlock a fresh €82bn to €86bn bail-out, Greece has until Wednesday to pass laws that:

  • implement VAT hikes
  • cut pensions
  • take steps to ensure the independence of Greece’s statistics office is maintained
  • put measures in place to automatically slash spending if Greece fails to meet its targets on primary surpluses (revenue minus expenditure excluding debt servicing costs)

It has until July 22 (an extra week compared with a draft statement) to:

  • overhaul its civil justice system
  • implement the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) to bring bank resolution laws in line with the rest of the EU

Greek MPs will also have to stomach a move to sell off €50bn of Greek assets.”

This is not the end of the matter. At best the Greek problem and the problems of the Eurozone generally have been simply been kicked down the road. The madness  at the heart of this settlement is that Greece is being further burdened  by a huge amount of extra  debt when the general consensus amongst economists is that the existing  debt was more than Greece could ever hope to repay.  Disobligingly for the Europhile elite,  the IMF  has made it clear since the agreement between Syriza and the Eurozone  that Greece requires a great deal of debt relief and that unless this is forthcoming  the IMF will not take part in the overseeing of the agreement.    But the agreement makes no provision for overt debt relief, although fiddling with the period of repayment and interest rates payable may reduce the real value overall debt (principal and interest)  somewhat.  Nor is this position likely to change, because some Eurozone countries, most notably Germany,  are determined to continue to resist overt  debt relief if Greece is to continue within the Eurozone.  At the same time Germany have made it clear that they want the  IMF involved in the realisation of the agreement. In addition to these obstacles all the other Eurozone countries have got to sign up to the agreement  and this will require some countries, including Germany,  to get parliamentary approval to the terms.  Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has even suggested that Greece leave the Euro for five years.

But even if the Eurozone votes collectively to accept the deal and the IMF  difficulty is overcome,  there is no guarantee it will be realised  for two reasons. The Greek people may be driven by  desperation to  resort to serious violence after they realise that voting changes nothing in Greece and the severe austerity programme takes effect , effects which are aggravated by the fact that   Greece has no real Welfare State.  This could drive the Greek political class to hold further elections with the result that a government is elected which will not implement the deal.

More mundanely,    Greece’s  politics and  public services are severely tainted by cronyism and corruption.  The country  may simply  lack the bureaucratic  structures and expertise to  implement the  complicated and far reaching reforms  which are being sought by the Eurozone.

The sad  truth is that Greece is a second world country which has been masquerading as a first world country.  Before joining the Euro it got by because it had its own currency and  received very large dollops of money from the richer members of the EU.  In those  circumstances its lending was circumscribed by the fact that its debt attracted a high rate of interest because it was seen as a bad risk.  Once Greece had smuggled itself into the Euro by falsifying its accounts,   it was treated as safe a bet as Germany  for creditors who rashly  reasoned that the rest of the Eurozone would ensure Greece did not default.

How difficult would it to be for Greece to re-establish the Drachma? The Czechoslovakian split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993 provides a reassuring  example of how it might be done.  Initially the two new countries were going to share a currency but within a matter of weeks they came to the conclusion that this was unworkable and decided that each country should launch its own currency. This was accomplished with very little trouble:

 The two countries already had capital controls, but all cross-border money transfers between them were halted to avoid further speculative flows into the Czech Republic. Border controls were tightened.

Komercni Banka, a then state-owned commercial bank, glued stamps, printed by a British firm to ensure secrecy, on 150 million federal banknotes. These were trucked around the country with the help of police and the army.

The exchange for notes stamped by Czech or Slovak stamps, at a 1:1 rate, started on February 8 and was completed in four days. Later in 1993, the stamped notes were replaced by new ones.

People could swap a maximum of 4,000 crowns — then worth $136 (87 pounds) — in cash. They had to deposit the rest. The old money ceased to be valid immediately the switch started.

The whole process, which required 40,000 people just on the Czech side, went ahead smoothly. An opinion poll showed 86 percent of Czechs experienced no problems in the operation. Capital controls were essential to stop bank runs. Secrecy in the buildup was paramount.

The Greek situation is not an exact parallel with that of Czechoslovakia because of the massive debt the country has acquired. Nonetheless, if Greece did relaunch the Drachma creditors would be forced to decide  between accepting  the new currency even though this would certainly mean them receiving far less than the face value of the loans  or in all probability getting nothing.

Would Greece out of the Eurozone be a better bet for Greeks than what is on offer within the Eurozone?  It is difficult to see how things could be worse because , as things stand, Greece is locked into many years of austerity at the least. . Most importantly outside the Eurozone  the Greeks could take charge their own destiny. Most importantly they would be able to control how much of and at what rate they would repay their national debt .  Holding tight to nurse for fear of something worse is not the answer here because long experience shows the something worse will always be the EU.

The EU IN/OUT referendum: strategy and tactics for those who want to leave the EU

Robert Henderson

The general strategy

A) How to leave

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty states

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49. (http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-european-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html).

The OUT camp must make it clear that  it would be both damaging and unnecessary for the UK to abide by this Treaty requirement. It  would allow the EU to inflict considerable damage on the UK both during the period prior to formally  leaving and afterwards if  the price of leaving with the EU’s agreement was  for  UK to sign up to various obligations, for example, to continue paying a large annual sum to the EU for ten years . It would also give  the Europhile UK political elite  ample opportunity to keep the UK attached to the EU in the manner that Norway and Switzerland are attached. More of them later.

There is also the danger that the stay-in camp could use Article 50 to argue that whether the British people want to be in or out, the cost of leaving would be too heavy because of this treaty requirement.

The Gordian knot of Article 50 can be cut  simply by passing an Act of Parliament repealing all the treaties that refer to the EU from the Treaty of Rome onwards. No major UK party could  object to this because all three have, at one time or another,  declared that Parliament remains supreme and can repudiate anything the EU does if it so chooses.

If the stay-in camp argue that would be illegal because of the  treaty obligation, the OUT camp should simply emphasise  (1) that international law is no law because there is never any means of enforcing it within its jurisdiction is a state rejects it and (2) that treaties which do not allow for contracting parties to simply withdraw are profoundly undemocratic because they bind future governments.

The OUT camp should press the major political parties to commit themselves to ignoring Article 50. If a party refuses that can be used against them because it will make them look suspicious. Before the vote

B) The parties’ plans of action if there is a vote to leave

It is important that all the parties likely to have seats in the Commons after the next election are publicly and relentlessly pressed to give at least a broad outline of what action they would adopt in the event of a vote to leave.  Left with a free hand there is a serious danger that whatever British  government is  in charge after a vote to leave would attempt to bind the UK back into the EU by stealth by signing the UK up to agreements such as those the EU has with Norway and Switzerland which mean that they have to (1) pay a fee to the EU annually, (2) adopt the social legislation which comes from the EU and (3) most importantly agree to the four “freedoms” of the EU – the free movement of goods, services, capital and  labour throughout not merely the EU  but the wider European Economic Area (EEA).

It is probable that the Westminster parties will all resist this, but that would present them with two problems. First, a refusal to do so would make them seem untrustworthy; second, if one party laid out their position but the others did not, that would potentially give the party which did say what it would do a considerable advantage over the others which did not.  If no party puts its plans before the public before the referendum, there should be demands  from those who want the UK to leave the EU that  any new treaties with the EU must be put to a referendum and, if they are rejected, the UK will simply trade with the EU under the WTO rules.

C) Repudiate re-negotiation before the referendum

Supporting the negotiation of a new relationship between the UK and the EU before a referendum is mistaken because it would seem to many to be giving tacit approval for renegotiation and legitimise the possibility of the UK remaining within the EU.  It is also rash  because  the likelihood  of the EU giving nothing is probably very small.  Indeed, they might well  give something which is substantial,  because the UK leaving the EU would be a very great blow to the organisation. The UK is the country with the second largest population within the EU with , depending on how it is measured,  the second or third largest   economy  and the country which pays the second largest contribution to the EU budget.   For the EU to lose the UK would not only be a blow in itself, it would also create a very strong precedent for every other EU state, especially the largest ones.  If  the UK left and prospered the temptation would be for other EU states to leave.

But even if negotiation  produced  nothing of substance as Harold Wilson’s “renegotiation” did in 1975, it would be a mistake to imagine that it would not influence the referendum result. The electorate is divided between the resolute come outs, the resolute stay-ins and the wavering middle.  A claim by the stay-in campaigners that something had been conceded by the EU, however  insignificant,  would provide the waverers with an excuse to vote to stay in because they could convince themselves they were voting for change.

It would be also be a mistake to see the EU offering  nothing  at all as a gift for the OUT camp. This is  because the waverers might simply see that as evidence that the EU was too powerful to oppose and shift their votes to staying in.

Those who want the UK to leave should unambiguously put the case for no renegotiation.  Dismiss anything Cameron (or any other PM) brings back from the EU by way of altered terms as being irrelevant because the EU has a long record of  agreeing things with  the UK and then finding ways of sabotaging what was agreed. In addition, a future British government  may agree to alter any terms offered at the time of the referendum.  The classic example of this changing of agreed terms happening in the past is Tony Blair’s  giving up of a substantial amount of the Thatcher rebate in return for a promised reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a promise which was never met.  That episode produced my all-time favourite amongst Blair’s penchant for lying. Two days before he went to the EU meeting at which he  gave away a  substantial part of the rebate he declared during Prime Minister’s Questions  that  the rebate  was “non-negotiable – period”

It is difficult to envisage any British prime minister not trying to  negotiate with the EU before a referendum, but it might just  happen if whoever is in power when the referendum is announced were to be told privately by the  major EU players that nothing will be given and the prime minister of the day concludes it would be best to pretend that a decision had been made not to negotiate rather than risk the humiliation of getting nothing, perhaps not even a pretence of negotiation before nothing is given.  Why would the EU do this? They might calculate that it would be a gamble worth taking to send a British PM away  with nothing  whilst hoping the referendum vote would be to stay in because then the power of the UK to resist further integration would be shot.

If the EU offer nothing, the OUT camp should welcome the fact and stress to the public that if the referendum is to stay-in the EU could force any federalist measure through because not only would any British government be much weakened in its opposition to more federalism, the UK political class as a whole would more than willing to go along with it because of their ideological commitment to the EU.

D) After the vote

Ideally the government which deals with the EU after a vote to leave will have committed themselves to a plan of action before the referendum vote.  However, as described above,  it is quite possible that this will not happen because  the UK’s overwhelmingly Europhile political class will try to re-entangle the UK with the EU. To prevent them doing so there should be a concerted campaign after the vote to ensure that the  British public understands what is being done on their behalf with a demand for a further referendum to agree any  new treaty.

The terms of the debate

It is essential that the Europhiles are not allowed to make the debate revolve around economics.   If they do it will effectively stifle meaningful debate. As anyone who has ever tried to present economic ideas to an audience of the general public will know it is a soul-destroying experience.  Take the question of how much of UK trade is with the EU. The debate will begin with the stay-in camp saying something like 45% of UK trade is with the EU. Those wanting to leave the EU will respond by saying it is probably less than 40% because of the Rotterdam/Antwerp effect . They will then be forced to explain what the Rotterdam/Amsterdam, effect is. That is the point where the general public’s concentration is lost and the debate ends up proving nothing to most of the audience.

But  although nothing is proved to the general audience by detailed economic argument ,  the audience will remember  certain phrases which have considerable  traction.  In amongst the serious debating on the issue of trade there will be phrases such as three million jobs in Britain rely on the EU and dire threats about how the EU will simply not buy British goods and services any more.  This is nonsense but fear is not a rational thing and many of those who vote will enter the voting chamber with fear of losing their jobs  in their heads regardless of what the OUT camp says if the debate is predominantly about economics.  Shift the debate away from economics and the fear inducing phrases will be heard less often.  If the BIG LIE is not repeated often enough its potency fades.

National Sovereignty

How should those wanting to leave the EU shift the focus of debate? They should put the matter which is really at the core of the UK’s  relationship with the EU  – national sovereignty – at the front of the  OUT camp’s referendum campaign.   Campaign under a slogan such as Are we to be masters in our own house?

Making national sovereignty the primary campaigning issue has the great advantage of  it being something that anyone can understand because it is both a simple concept and speaks directly to the natural tribal instincts of  human beings.   Being a simple concept readily  and naturally understood,   it is a far more potent debating tool than arguments attempting to refute the economic  arguments  beloved of the stay-in camp.  The fact that the natural tribal instincts have been suppressed for so long in the UK will increase its potency because most people will feel a sense of release when it begins to be catered for in public debate.

The appeal to national sovereignty has a further advantage. Those who support the EU are unused to debating on that ground.  That is because uncritical support for the EU has long been the position of both the British mainstream political class as a class and of the mass media.  That has meant that the contrary voice – that which wishes Britain to be independent – has been largely unheard in public debate for thirty years or more. Where it has been heard the response of the pro-EU majority has not been rational argument but abuse ranging from patronising dismissal of a wish for sovereignty as an outmoded nationalism to accusations that national sovereignty amounts to xenophobia or even racism.   These tactics – of excluding those who want to leave the EU from public debate and abuse substituted for argument – will no longer be available to the  pro EU lobby.


The most threatening and energising subject relating to the EU for the general public is immigration. The public are right to identify this as the most important aspect of our membership of the EU because immigration touches every important part of British life: jobs, housing, education, welfare, healthcare, transport, free expression  and crime besides radically changing the  nature of parts of  the UK which now have large populations of immigrants and their descendants.

The public rhetoric of mainstream politicians and the media is changing fast as they begin to realise both what an electoral liability a de facto open door immigration policy is  as the effects of mass immigration become ever more glaring.  The argument is shifting from the economic to the cultural.  For example, here is the Daily Telegraph in a leader of  25 March:

“The fact is that, for many in Britain (especially those outside the middle classes), it is not just a matter of jobs being taken or public services being stretched, but of changes in the very character of communities. Those changes may not necessarily be for the worse: as the Prime Minister says, Britain’s culture has long been enriched by the contributions of new arrivals. But as long as ministers treat immigration as a matter of profit and loss, rather than the cause of often wrenching social change, they will never be able fully to address the grievances it causes.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/9952717/Immigration-and-the-limits-of-the-possible.html)

This new frankness in public debate means that the OUT camp can use the immigration argument freely provided they keep the language within the confines of formal politeness. The subject will naturally dovetail with the emphasis on national sovereignty because the most important aspect of sovereignty is the ability to control the borders of the territory of a state.  Judged by their increasing willingness to talk publicly about immigration, it is probable that the mainstream UK parties will be content to go along with  ever more frank discussion about  immigration.

The economic argument must be kept simple

It will not be possible to avoid  economic arguments entirely. The OUT camp should concentrate on repeating these two facts:

–          The disadvantageous balance of payments deficit the UK has with the EU

–          The amount the UK pays to the EU

Those are the most solid  economic figures relating to the EU.   There is some fuzziness around the edges of the balance of payments deficit because of the question of where all the imports end up (whether in the EU or outside the EU through re-exporting) ,  while the  amount the EU  receives  is solid but it has to be broken down into the money which returns to the UK and the amount retained by Brussels.  Nonetheless these are the most certain  figures and the least susceptible to obfuscation by the stay-in side.

The best way of presenting the money paid to the EU is simply to say that outside the EU we can decide  how all of it is spent in this country and to illustrate what the money saved by not paying it to the EU would pay for.

It will also be necessary to address the question of protectionist measures the EU might take against the UK if the  vote was to leave.  It is improbable that the EU would place heavy protectionist barriers on UK exports because:

1.   The massive balance of payment deficit between the UK and the rest of the EU which is massively in the EU’s favour.

2.  Although the rest of the EU dwarfs the UK economy, much UK trade with the EU is heavily concentrated in certain regions of the EU.  The effect of protectionist barriers would  bear very heavily on these places.

3. There are strategically and economically important joint projects of which the UK is a major part,  for example, Airbus, the Joint-Strike Fighter.

4. the Republic of Ireland would be a massive bargaining chip for  the UK to play.  If the UK left and the EU rump attempted to impose sanctions against Britain this would cripple the RoI because so much of their trade is with the UK  The EU would be forced to massively subsidise the RoI  if protectionist barriers against the UK were imposed.  The EU could not exempt the RoI from the sanctions because that  would leave the EU open to British exports being funnelled through the RoI.

5. The EU would be bound by the World Trade Organisation’s restrictions on protectionist measures.

The economic  issues which are not worth pursuing in detail because they are too diffuse  and uncertain , are those relating to how much the EU costs Britain in terms of  EU-inspired legislation. It may well be that these load billions a year of extra costs  onto the UK  but they are not certain  or easily evaluated costs, not least because we cannot in the nature of things know what burdens an independent UK would impose off its own bat.   Getting into detailed  discussions about such things will simply play into the hands of  the stay-in camp because it will eat up the time and space available to those promoting the OUT cause.

Other Issues

Apart from the economic issues the stay-in camp will use these reasons for staying in:

–          That the EU  has prevented war in Western Europe since 1945.  This can be simply refuted by pointing out that the EU was not formed until  twelve years after WW2; that until 1973 the EU consisted of only six countries, three of them small,  and  of only nine countries until the 1980s. Consequently it would be reasonable to look for other reasons for  the lack of war. The two causes of   the peace in Western Europe have been the NATO alliance and the invention of nuclear weapons which make the price of war extraordinarily high.

–          That nation states such as the UK are too small to carry any real diplomatic weight in modern world.   That begs the question of whether it is an advantageous thing to carry such weight – it can get a country into disastrous foreign entanglements such as Iraq and Afghanistan – but even assuming it is advantageous , many much smaller countries than the UK survive very nicely, making their own bilateral agreements with other states large and small.   It is also worth remembering that the UK has such levers as a permanent seat on the UN Security  Council (which allows the UK to veto any proposed  move by the UN) and considerable influence in institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.

Robert Henderson

1 April 2013

You must be mad if you don’t believe in the liberal globalist credo

Robert Henderson

Anders Breivik has been declared insane at the time of his mass killings on 22 July 2011 by Norwegian  psychiatrists, Synne Serheim and Torgeir Husby. They claim Breivik was psychotic  before and during  his bomb attack in Oslo and shooting  attack on  Utoya Island which together  left 76 dead.  Prosecutor Svein Holden said Beivik has been diagnosed as  insane and that  “He lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe”.  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/norway/8922760/Anders-Behring-Breivik-not-accountable-for-attacks.html).  If this diagnosis is upheld ,  first by a Norwegian  legal medical commission and then by  the Norwegian courts,    Breivik will  be  incarcerated in an asylum, most probably for the rest of his life.

The question of whether Breivik will have a chance to speak at length in open  court  is  still open, viz.:  “The trial will proceed in much the same manner as if Breivik had been found sound of mind. Evidence will still be examined, and the court has the final say as to whether or not they believe Breivik is guilty of having carried out the attacks.”( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15954370). However,  if the question of insanity is the primary issue for the court to decide,  that could mean that Breivik is not allowed to testify  either at all or as freely as he would wish. They could well decide that he was guilty of the crimes without any testimony from Breivik (the facts are scarcely at issue and Breivik admitted his responsibility soon after the event (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14265526)  and then decide on the question of insanity based only on the “expert” evidence.  It is also possible that any court hearing could be held in camera. (It is only too easy to imagine politically correct Norway claiming that as the man was judged to be mentally disturbed,  he should  not be subjected to public scrutiny).   Unless Breivik has a  trial in open court he will disappear from public view without any opportunity  to speak his mind in public.

The matter is further complicated by the question of how Breivik will plead. If he rejects a plea of insanity and wishes to plead not guilty, he will have the obstacle to overcome of having admitted the fact that he did undertake the bombings and shootings.  If he pleads  not guilty  that could result in the court excluding any testimony from Breivik  relating to motive and deciding the matter purely on  his admission to the facts and the question of whether he is or was insane at the time of the killings.  If the Breivik is to plead justification for committing the killings he would need to do so in a way which it would be difficult for the court to refuse him the opportunity to speak at length.  I  think the most probable way he could do this is by arguing that he was acting in self-defence because he believed that the policies of his ruling elite were putting his society and by extension himself at risk. The weakness in his argument would be that he has not attacked those with the actual power and influence but the  youth wing of the party with power..

Breivik’s alternative would be to plead guilty and then use whatever chance the court offers him to speak in mitigation to put forward his justification.  However, if he does that  it would be both easier for the court to restrict what he might say and hold the proceedings in camera.

It will be interesting to see if Breivik is allowed to bring the  witnesses he wants or, indeed,  any witnesses at all,  to court.  These could be to support his claim of sanity or his belief that Norway (and the rest of the European world) is being betrayed by its elites through their  permitting of mass immigration and suppression of dissent about the effects of the immigration.   Those  relevant to supporting his political position could be distinctly embarrassing as Breivik could try to call those politicians he blames for Norway and Europe’s betrayal.  Such applications would almost certainly be refused, but  Norwegian officialdom’s refusal  of them would add to the impression of an elite determined to not hear Breivik’s case.

A taste of the way the things are likely to go in any trial  can be gleaned from this report of Breivik’s court appearance of  15 November 2011: ‘He [Breivik]  then questioned the competence of Judge Torkjel Nesheim “because (the judge) has a mandate from organizations that support multi-culturalism in Norway. Multi-culturalism is an anti-Norwegian hate ideology designed to destruct the Norwegian ethnic group.” He got as far as adding that “destructing the Norwegian ethnic group is the same as ethnic cleansing…” before the judge cut him off, saying the court only wanted to hear from Breivik about his impressions of prison life.

‘Breivik later said he had no problems with the conditions of his custody, but said he “doesn’t accept” his imprisonment because he’s a “military commander.” He recommended Norwegian police look to Saudi Arabia for other “methods of torture.” The judge cut him off several times, refusing to allow Breivik to use the hearing as a “soapbox” to spread his beliefs. As reported earlier, his request to directly address survivors and victims’ families was denied.’ (http://www.newsinenglish.no/2011/11/15/breiviks-altered-sense-of-reality/).  This refusal to allow Breivik to explain himself goes along with the keeping him in solitary confinement and denying him any knowledge of what was happening in the outside world.

Is Breivik  mad?

The psychiatric assessment  is that “He lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe”.  The problem with this judgement is that while  Breivik’s  political views can be rejected on the grounds that they  are unpalatable,  they are not  based on fantasy. There has been massive immigration into Western societies.  Vast numbers of Muslims have come to Europe. Post-war non-white immigration has both radically altered the societies into which they have come  and  resulted in European elites who suppress dissent and ceaselessly promote multiculturalism.  If immigration continues at a similar rate it will be a fact that over the next half century societies, especially ones with small populations like Norway, are in danger  of seeing their native populations become minorities in their own lands.  To be insane, at least in the English legal sense (McNaughton Rules), Breivik would have to have been  captured by delusions which rendered him unable to understand  reality, for example, a hearing voices in his head directing him to kill people or suffering from a paranoid belief that someone was trying to kill him.    Clearly this is not the case with Breivik’s political ideas. Those are based in reality and long considered.

There is also  the evidence of the meticulous  planning Breivik undertook and his extensive writings  which show someone fully aware of what he wanted to do and, most importantly for an insanity plea , why he wanted to do it. Breivik clearly understood that what he was doing would have been immoral as uncontexted acts, but these were given (he believed)  a  moral context because of the political and social circumstances  created by the liberal elites.

Nor could Breivik’s killing spree be reasonably used to decide that he is insane. There are innumerable terrorists who have killed with the same callous disregard but they have not been adjudged insane or, indeed, has there been any official  attempt to suggest that they were insane.   Evil, bad, immoral maybe, but not mad.

Compare  Breivik’s s assessment of the world  with the modern  liberals’ belief system. His is a recognition of what mass immigration and political correctness has actually wrought: theirs is a fantasy world  in which humanity is one big happy family with its human atoms readily interchangeable between place, culture and time regardless of race or sex.

An elite stitch up?

The diagnosis  of insanity  comes as no surprise.  Shortly after Breivik’s arrest his lawyer Geir Lippestad  conducted a press conference (on 26th July)  in  which client confidentiality was non-existent and Lippestad’s adverse opinions of his client were given full reign  in a way which is astonishing to  British eyes.   Apart from telling  the world that Breivik was a “a cold personality” ;  assuring them that Breivik hates “anyone who democratic” and that he thinks Breivik’s ideology as outlined in his manifesto is irrelevant to the case (which is a pointer to how his defence may be conducted),  Lippestad  made the astonishing comment  “This whole case has indicated that he’s insane “ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14292212).  I listened to  press conference as it was taking place and I noted  Lippstad as saying he was  discussing  an insanity plea with the prosecutor, although he has not seen fit  to tell his client that he is doing any of this.  (I have not been able to track down a full version of the press conference and the excerpts  which  are publicly available do not contain these  statements. Nor can I find it reported anywhere  in print. The longest extract I have found online is around 14 minutes long http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtXIGw0BvbM&feature=related).  A diagnosis of insanity would appear to have been the tacitly  or overtly agreed Norwegian  elite solution to the acute problem Breivik represents for not only them but  for elites everywhere  in countries whose governments  have signed up to the globalist multiculturalist creed. As for Breivik’s chances of controlling his defence, Lippestad stated baldly The “I won’t take no instructions [from Breivik]”  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtXIGw0BvbM&feature=related –  enter at 2 minutes 14 seconds).  On the face of it Breivik has a lawyer who will be unwilling to present a defence as Breivik wishes it to be presented.

How does  Breivik view the situation? He is reported as  describing the insanity diagnosis  as insulting   (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15954370). However,  he might not be too perturbed in reality because such a ploy by the  Norwegian judicial system would bolster his claims of a  corrupt and treasonous political elite who will stop at nothing to enforce their will and ideology.

Breivik’s  choice of lawyer Geir Lippestad  is interesting. Lippestad is a member of the Norwegian Labour Party.  He  specifically asked for Lippestad to represent him. Bearing in mind Beivik’s penchant for planning and research, it is improbable that he did not know Lappestad was a member of the party he despised. Why did he choose Lappestad?  Probably to ensure that his trial was seen as seriously flawed, to demonstrate publicly through the manner of Lippestad’s  defence how biased and controlling the Norwegian elite has become. The choice of Lippestad also has the advantage of placing a member of the Norwegian liberal establishment in the excruciatingly embarrassing situation of defending the man who has waged war on the young of Lippestad’s  own political party. (I have had the sneaking feeling ever since the killings that Breivik is working the Norwegian liberal elite with his foot).

It has been suggested that Lippestad was chosen because he defended  the white  killer of a mixed race victim in 2002 and Breivik asked for him because he thought Lippestad would be the best defence lawyer  because of the way that Lippestad conducted the 2002 case.  This is very implausible because Breivik could have had no illusions about being found either not guilty or insane.   The best Breivik could hope for  was a trial in open court with his ideas put before the public.  The quality of the defence  lawyer is irrelevant  in such circumstances (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/norway/8663525/Norway-killers-lawyer-Geir-Lippestad-defended-neo-Nazi.html

Doubtless a public trial in which he has his chance to speak at length  would have been Breivik’s preferred outcome, but the sinister act of having him declared mad – a tactic all too familiar from regimes such as those of the Soviet Union and  Communist China – could fit into his general purpose of demonstrating the  mentality he accuses Western elites of possessing. A flawed trial caused by the wilful inadequacies of his lawyer would reinforce the point that the Norwegian elite are determined not to allow any view but their own politically correct one to have a public hearing.

Can Breivik get a fair trial?

Beivik has been kept in solitary confinement and denied any knowledge of what is happening in the outside world. When he has appeared in court it has been mostly in camera. What we  know of Breivik’s attempts to speak at his court appearances show a judiciary determined to disallow any attempt to explain his motives.  Breivik’s lawyer has made it abundantly clear that he has no intention of doing what Breivik wants.  To cap it all, psychiatrists find Breivik insane.

The solitary confinement might just about be explained by fears  that other prisoners would attack Breivik, although he could have been placed with prisoners without a history of violence. For the  rest it is simply an attempt to

denial of knowledge of the outside  world there is no security excuse and it can only have been  done for the petty reason of denying  Breivik any chance of deriving satisfaction from seeing what effect he has had. However, it has the unintended consequence of  making  it impossible for him to properly instruct his lawyer or  assess the advice given by his lawyer,  things which would seriously mitigate against a fair trial.   It also means that Breivik cannot use the response of politicians and the media to the attacks in any justification based on his  political position.

The liberal’s fear of Breivik

Why are liberals so very terrified of Breivik that they cannot bear the idea of him being thought sane or willingly countenance his  justifications for the attacks being presented to the public ?  After all,  this is a mass murderer  who presents his ideas in a distinctly eccentric form by wrapping his idea for a revolution against the ruling elites in the highly anachronistic clothes of the mediaeval military order of the Knights Templars, a group to which he considers himself and fellow spirits to be the heirs to.   Here is a sample of his curious mixture of ancient and modern:

“3.12 Re-founding of Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici – PCCTS, the Knights Templar The European Military Order and Criminal Tribunal (the PCCTS – Knights Templar) was created by and for the free indigenous peoples of Europe. One of the primary purposes of the tribunal and order is to attempt/contribute to seize political and military control of Western European multiculturalist regimes and to try, judge and punish Western European cultural Marxist/multiculturalist perpetrators (category A, B and C traitors) for crimes committed against the indigenous peoples of Europe from 1955 until this day.

“Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici – PCCTS (the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon), the Knights Templar was re-founded in London in 2002 by representatives from eight European countries, for the purpose of serving the interests of the free indigenous peoples of Europe and to fight against the ongoing European Jihad (referred to as the “third Jihad”). The Knights Templar was re-founded as a pan-European nationalist military order and a military/criminal tribunal with two primary objectives. The order is to serve as an armed Indigenous Rights Organisation and as a Crusader Movement (anti-Jihad movement). “  2083 – A European Declaration of Independence

The original Breivik  link to the manifesto – http://andersbreivik.co.uk/2083/ – has been nullified,  but the full document can be found at (http://www.kevinislaughter.com/wp-content/uploads/2083+-+A+European+Declaration+of+Independence.pdf).

Nonetheless,  in between all the romantic eccentricity are  ideas which strike deep into the heart of the liberal fantasy:  that Islam is compatible with Western society, that mass immigration is treason and that  feminism enfeebles a society by feminising men.   Breivik  is a challenge to   the entire politically correct edifice on which the liberal rests.    Worse, the liberal, like all ideologues, knows in their heart of hearts that their  ideology cannot withstand contrary argument because ideologies are always  incomplete description of  the world and consequently erroneous guides to action.

In the case of liberal internationalism  the ideology is especially vulnerable.  The liberal knows that the society they wish to see conflicts with  the way in which human beings actually behave  in the most fundamental way. That does not discourage the liberal because they do not believe in human nature and ascribe all behaviours to social conditioning. Consequently, any behaviour of which they disapprove can be changed by altering the conditioning.  Any failure of the re-conditioning is ascribed to it being applied over  insufficient time or of the re-conditioning not being rigorous enough.  There is never a natural point for the 24 carat liberal believer to say this will not work.

But although the liberal is certain that success will be eventually attained, they know that during the re-conditioning period the old social habits will remain and can still be powerfully appealed to.  That drives the liberal to believe that suppression of any dissent directed at the imposition of the new “liberal”  behaviours is morally justified on the grounds that the ends justify the means. The problem is the liberal’s view of how human beings  work is wondrously wide of the  mark and the re-conditioning will never succeed because it goes against basic human desires. The best the liberal can hope for is to suppress dissent to give the appearance of a step change in human behaviour.  Breivik is a frightening  challenge to that strategy of suppression.

No matter what the evidence to the contrary is, the true believers will continue to  believe because to do otherwise would be emotionally impossible for them. They believe still that it is simply a question of time and “education”, a word which is unreservedly sinister in the mouth of the modern liberal.  But  many , probably most, ostensible  liberals understand that there is such a thing as human nature and know that what they are asking of people is unnatural and will never be accepted. The problem for such people is that they are trapped into a situation where they have to keep pretending the ideology is correct for reasons of self-preservation.  At best they risk the loss of their privileged position if the liberal censorship is broken ; at  worse, they  could  be held to account for the treason which is mass immigration. Those fears  drive them to support the unreconstructed true believers  when they  behave ever more tyrannically in their suppression of dissent, which in Breivik’s case means  doing their best to censor his words and pretend that he is simply an unbalanced aberration which has nothing to do with their ideology.

Perhaps the most telling moments during Geir Lippestad  press conference of 26th July were  when he   answered the question “Why did he [Breivik] think it was a good idea to start a war by  attacking  members of  the Labour Party  rather than Islamics?”  With “I cannot understand that”  followed by repetitions along the same lines.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnbOtoJHUZI – go into the recording at  33 seconds). This was unbelievable because Breivik had  a clear and obvious motive, namely, Breivik was attacking the  next generation of the class whom he had identified as being responsible for the political and social problems which had driven him to act.   In  his mind Breivik  was culling those he saw as the future traitors and  sending messages to both the Norwegian elite and general public that the permitting of mass immigration = treason.   Yet Lippestad could not bring himself to either acknowledge what was obvious or even  offer an alternative explanation.  Interestingly, it was during this  answer that Lippestad  appeared to be at his most stressed during the press conference.

The right-wing broadcaster Glen Beck likened the youth wing whose members Breivik shot to the Hitler Youth: “”There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler youth, or, whatever. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics. Disturbing,” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/26/glenn-beck-norwegian-dead-hitler) .  It would be more accurate to liken the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing  the Workers’ Youth League (Arbeidernes ungdomsfylking, AUF) to the Soviet youth organisation  Komsomol . The AUF is  affiliated with the International Union of Socialist Youth and  Young European Socialists  and the Nordic Labour Youth Movement (FNSU).  Many members of the AUF have gone on to high positions in the party. Indeed, the present Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, was once a member.  It is in that context that Breivik’s decision to attack the AUF  members should be seen.  I would agree with Beck that “a camp for kids that’s all about politics” is disturbing under any circumstances; in the context of Norwegian politics it is verging on the sinister because of the dominance of the Norwegian Labour Party over a very long period of time.

A de facto one-party state

How ideologically one-dimensional Norwegian society has become can be seen from the position of the Norwegian Labour Party (NLP).  Between 1945 and 1961 it held an absolute majority in the Norwegian parliament.   Since 1935 there have only been 16 years when the Norwegian Prime Minister has not been drawn from the Party.  It is presently the dominant party in the Red-Green Coalition which governs Norway.  (The coalition is formed of the  Socialist Left Party  and the Centre Party).

The history of the NLP  over the past thirty years  mirrors that of the British Labour Party. It began the period as a social democratic party, then shifted to supporting economic liberalisation and a programme of privatisation. At the same time it became every more ideologically committed to what is now called political correctness.

Interestingly, In 2011, the Norwegian Labour Party (Det norske arbeiderparti)  dropped the Norwegian and became simply the  Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet).  This was ostensibly on the ground that the electorate was confused  by the term Norwegian Labour Party because it was known commonly as the Labour Party. I suspect that the explanation will strike most people as simply absurd as the Norwegians had been returning the Party to the Norwegian parliament in droves for over seventy years.

A more likely explanation is that the “Norwegian” part of the title sat uneasily in a party which was firmly committed to internationalism in general and to Norway’s eventual  membership of the EU in particular.  The EU dimension is more important than it might seem. It is true that the Norwegian electorate thwarted the Norwegian political elite’s wish for Norway to sign up as a full member of the EU, but  the lesser relationship which Norway  agreed to  – its membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) – still allows the EU to exercise profound influence over Norway (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/if-we-leave-the-eu-we-mustnt-be-another-norway/ ).

EEA membership requires that subscribing states have to accept the “four freedoms” of the EU: the free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital among the EEA countries as well as those comprising the EU.  This the prime reason for not joining the EEA or having a bilateral relationship with the EU similar to that of Switzerland.  These “four freedoms” mean amongst other things that  EEA members cannot meaningfully control immigration, protect their economy, prevent foreign takeovers or  freely engage in any new taxpayer funded  subsidy  for  which is judged to interfere with the market (article 61).

These restrictions on Norway’s sovereignty mean that the Norwegian political elite can obtain much of their internationalist politically correct ends . Most importantly for the Breivik case, the four freedoms mean that Norway cannot prevent immigration from the EU.  This has allowed the immigration which has disturbed so many Norwegians.  Before the “four freedoms” Norway could control its immigration: now it cannot. Take away the immigration and Breivik may well have never even contemplated doing what he did.

What drove Breivik from ideas to action?

In  Right Now! magazine in July 1995 (issue 8 The Treason of the Liberals (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/the-oslo-massacre-and-the-treason-of-the-liberals/ ) I examined the reasons which led Timothy McVeigh to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. I attributed the cause to the creation by white liberal elites of circumstances which utterly alienated the white masses in whose interests they supposedly exercised power. The permitting of the mass immigration of those who by their nature could not or would not assimilate into white European societies and their overseas offshoots such as the USA by itself undermined the national cohesion.

If that was not damaging enough, the liberal elites used the upheaval wrought by mass immigration as a launch pad for what has become a rigid ideological creed by the name of political correctness. In the name of “anti-discrimination” all the old certainties were overturned: the dominance of the white population in white societies; the traditional place of the man; the distrust of homosexual behaviour all went by the board. The white male who was outside the liberal elite was left high and dry, constantly hemmed in with criticism and accusations about what was permissible.

To enforce the new politically correctly regime the state became ever more intrusive and the white person, and especially the white male, found themselves ever more marginalised. Whites became actively disadvantaged in ever sphere as far as it was in the power of governments to arrange this. Minority groups were given preference in employment (especially state employment) and higher education; political parties and corporate bodies rushed to ensure they could present a “diverse” face to the public and. To speak against this courted loss of employment or even jail.

At the same time Governments throughout the First World wrapped themselves ever more tightly in international treaties such as those of the UN, the WTO and the EU. More and more was taken out of the hands of national governments. More and more liberal elites insisted they could not do anything other than the politically correct because it would breach a treaty or be illegal. Democratic control was sucked  from national politics. Anyone who disagreed with what was being done under the liberal internationalist banner had no democratic path to follow.

The dimension of violence

Many in the West like to imagine that their societies are  beyond not only the crude politics of violence, but  of  socially approved violence generally. This is a myth.  Western societies value many purveyors of violence;  the police, state security organisations, armed forces and private  security guards.  The rich and powerful  have no doubt about the value of personal bodyguards, celebrities routinely use “minders”, clubs use bouncers and everyone but everyone is only too glad to see another use violence to defend them should the need arise.

Liberals will of course recoil at the idea that they are comfortable with  violence, but they are as willing as anyone to embrace those with a talent for violence. Look at the war-mongering propensities of Blair and Cameron which have ensured Britain has been at war since the late 1990s. Even if they do not war-monger they keep their mouths shut when  it suits them. Take the state massacre at Waco (http://www.serendipity.li/waco.html). That happened under Bill Clinton’s presidency. Were the government agents responsible brought to justice? They were not.   Did liberals generally rail against that monstrous act which resulted in women and children being burnt to death? They did not. Somehow the people at Waco were not quite the right sort of victim for liberals to care deeply about.

But it is not just violence which might seem legitimate in as much as the state  overtly  sanctions it  for reasons which are ostensibly at least for the defence of the individual and society at large, whether that be the maintenance of law and order, the defence of  national territory or the etiolated  national interest claims which cover the aggressive wars  in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya that is accepted as legitimate. Anyone who enjoys watching a sport which involves violence and danger is not merely saying this is violence which is regrettably necessary, they are actively enjoying the violence.  If you wish to see the excitement at its most explicit  and primal go to a an evening of professional boxing.  The men will be excited,  but it is the women you want to watch. They will be in a state of what can only be described as sexual arousal.

Then  there is the very considerable appetite for violence in films, plays and pornography.  War, gangster  and violent super-hero films are perennially popular.  There is a current fad for “torture porn” offerings such as the “Saw”  series.  Sadomasochistic websites are legion – I put “sadomasochism”  into Google and it came up with 2,490,000 results.  People routinely stop to gawp at road accidents. Going back into history the popularity of the Roman games  and the large crowds public executions point to the fact that the interest in violence is deeply imbedded in human nature.  It needs an outlet.  A society which too rigorously controls  such desires  may cause people to satisfy their inclinations  in much more harmful ways than  one which takes a relaxed attitude and offers relatively harmless outlets for the desires.

Why does violence hold such a fascination for humans?  It is dramatic. It causes the adrenalin to flow.   Fictional depictions of it at least offer an innocent escape from a world which is generally not only violence free but physically risk free. Perhaps most pertinently for the Breivik killings, depictions of violence in fictional form may  have a special attraction for men living in a society which is tightly controlled not only in matters of violence but generally. Films such as the Godfather  trilogy show a world in which people are not constrained by the rules of society, a world  in which men respond to even petty irritations with unbridled and disproportionate force. That has an obvious attraction for men  living in societies  which are  subjected to  the petty tyrannies of  political correctness which require  men to deny  all their natural instincts.

Norway is just such a society, one in which feminism is especially strong.   For example, there is a    legal requirement for  women to form at  least  40%  of  the boards of both  private enterprise  publicly quoted  companies  and state owned companies – the latter  include  any company which is  two-thirds owned by a municipality (http://www.nordiclabourjournal.org/i-fokus/gender-equality/article.2011-03-06.0387074773). At the level of mainstream Norwegian politics at least, masculinity is severely marginalised. One of Breivik’s complaints is that he was feminised by Norwegian society because of its emphasis on feminism. It could be that at least part of the reason he moved from thought to dramatic action was because his natural male instincts towards violence had no adequate outlet within the  society, that he felt suffocated by the cloying feminism.

His capacity for and willingness to use violence  sets Breivik  apart. It is one thing to hold dissident views, quite another to translate them into dramatic action . The psychological  power of violence is immense. It gives significance to all who use it. In the film Bronson, Tom Hardy plays Britain’s longest  serving prisoner  Michael Gordon Peterson who adopted the name of Charles Bronson.  At one point in the film Bronson is being transferred to a new jail. There he is  interviewed by the prison governor who says “Bronson, you are ridiculous and pathetic”, which would have been true but for one thing: Bronson’s amazing  capacity for violence.  This simple quality made him anything but ridiculous and pathetic  because it introduced the  most disabling  of emotions “fear”  into the equation.  That  is what saves Breivik from being pathetic , ridiculous and impotent, his capacity for violence and his will to use it.

Breivik put himself beyond the Pale because of the incontinent  manner of his killings, although they were not random because his targets were members of a type of Norwegian Komsomol. But  here is a question: what if Beivik  had killed only those with power, those who had committed  that most fundamental act of treason, namely, the covert conquest of a homeland by mass immigration?  Would it be quite so easy to see his actions as maniacally evil?

No 10 ‘interfered to push through £600m plan for virus superlab’

London Evening Standard
Mark Blunden
20 Jan 2011

Campaigners against a maximum security “superlab” in the heart of London are calling for a parliamentary inquiry claiming that there was political interference in the bidding process.

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, behind the British Library in St Pancras, will be capable of containing flu viruses, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer cells and HIV.

Residents living close to the centre are calling for an inquiry into the £600 million project after Cabinet Office emails, seen by the Standard, revealed that the previous government was keen to “make it happen” before the tendering process had closed.

They also claim Camden council failed to inform residents fully of the severity of the diseases to be tested at the 3.6 acre site and is stonewalling their questions.

Today, it can be revealed that in July 2007, Jeremy Heywood, a Cabinet Office civil servant, emailed officials, including the Department of Health and the Chief Scientific Officer, stating: “The PM (Gordon Brown) is very keen to make sure the government departments are properly co-ordinated on this project – and that if there is a consensus that this is indeed an exciting project, then we do what we can to make it happen.”

The email, released under the Freedom of Information Act, was sent the week before the first bids were due in and six weeks before the shortlist was finalised.

Other documents reveal that among 27 competing proposals for the site were a multi-faith centre and hundreds of affordable homes in a borough with 18,000 people on its housing waiting list. Both of these proposals complied with Camden’s brief for the site, but it is alleged the superlab initially did not.

Resident Robert Henderson, a retired civil servant, 63, said: “Camden went against their own original plan for a mixed-use development.

“There’s been political interference with the bidding process as well as the grave security issues. There should be a parliamentary inquiry because £250 million of public money is at stake.”



Letter sent to Evening Standard 21 Jan 2011
I can expand upon Mark Blunden’s report “No 10 ‘interfered to push through £600m plan for virus superlab'” (20 Jan) .  
I am the person who obtained the evidence of Brown’s interference using the FOIA. I have a mass of documents showing that Brown was pressing for the sale to UKCMRI before the formal  bidding process had ended and afterwards before a formal decision was made. Here is an example of the documents: 

  Sent: 27 November 2007 13:09


Cc: _[40]_____________

Subject: RESTRICTED – Land to the North

 Hi Nicholas,

 Jonathan spoke to Jeremy Heywood this morning. Jeremy said he needed the bid to be agreed by next Wednesday – 5 Dec (or Thursday latest) as PM wanted to get MRC in then (or possible public announcement.

Jonathan explained that there are two issues from our point of view: .No revised formal offer has been received by DCMS .HMT are not being helpful of recycling returns – without an improved offer from HMT JS said it would he v hard to justify.

JR said he thought the offer was sent to us yesterday – have checked but nothing in JSs post or email – JH will chase. JH also said he would go back to HMT to see what  more they can do, but that ultimately PM may have to arbitrate.


 Private Secretary  to Jonathan StephensDepartment for (Culture, Media and Sport 2-4 Cockpur Street, London SWlY) 

  This was a public bidding process. The decision was supposed to rest with the the Minister heading the DCMS. Brown as Prime Minister should have played no role in the decision. There were 28 bidders of whom 9 were placed on the short list. It would be interesting to know how they feel about the conduct of the bid.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

See also


Metropolitan Police refuse to say how much is spent on “equality and diversity”

Dear Sirs,

I have been trying to discover the Met Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10. I would be grateful if you could let me know what it is and under what heading it would appear in the budget of the Met Police.

The only reference I have been able to find is a 2006 Mail article – see below.

 Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Daily Mail

Outrage as police spend £450m on ‘equality and diversity’

Last updated at 12:29 27 October 2006

Paper author Sir David Calvert-Smith, QC

Scotland Yard has spent almost £450 million on promoting ‘equality and diversity’ in the past three years. In the past year alone £187 million – six per cent of the Met budget – went on ‘equalities-related expenditure’.

This included recruitment, training and research within minority communities, as well as crime fighting and prevention.

It covered not just race issues, but those of gender, faith, disability, age and sexuality. Since 2003, more than £21million has been spent on interpreters’ fees…..

The statistics were obtained by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats. Graham Tope, a Lib-Dem policing spokesman and member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said: “The rise in the number of reported racist incidents against police officers is concerning.

Read more at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-412948/Outrage-police-spend-450m-equality-diversity.html#ixzz14o254LHk


17 December 2010

Dear Mr. Henderson

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2010120000102

I write in connection with your request for information which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 30/11/2010.  I note you seek access to the following information:

“I have been trying to discover the Met Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10. I would be grateful if you could let me know what it is and under what heading it would appear in the budget of the Met Police.”

This letter is to inform you that it will not be possible to respond to your request within the cost threshold.  

In order to ascertain whether or not the information you have requested could be retrieved within the cost threshold, searches were conducted at the Directorate of Resources – Financial Services, and the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate.

You have asked what the Metropolitan Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10 were.

The MPS undertakes a range of work that could be considered in support of diversity and equality issues.  For example this could include responding to and investigating a range of hate crimes across London, community engagement with London’s minority communities including encouraging them to join the police, training, work to support the progression of staff from under represented groups and so on.  The total expenditure on these functions will include the salaries of officers and staff doing the work and other budgets.  It should be noted that this type of work will be carried out by all borough operational command units (OCU) as well as central MPS OCU’s, and so providing an overall spend on equality and diversity issues is difficult. This is also in addition to the work conducted within the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate, which has equality and diversity issues at its focus.

Obtaining the information that you have requested would exceed the limit set under the Act as these costs cannot be extracted easily from MPS financial systems.  This is because the MPS finance system operates using General Ledger codes (GL) to allocate expenditure within a cost centre (a different cost centre code is allocated to each department within the MPS for financial purposes).  The information that you have requested doesn’t relate to one specific budget line and there are no specific GL codes relating to ‘diversity and equality’.  In order to assist, Financial Services have looked at the GL codes which could be of relevance.  There are two specific codes which could be looked at, which relate to ‘Corporate Positive Action’ and ‘Race and Diversity Learning’ , but these only cover a minor aspect of what would need to be included in a search to answer your question, and these are in fact budgeted for within HR, and not even DCFD.  This goes to show that in order to answer your request fully, we would require far more GL codes to be assessed.

As budget lines do not cover ‘diversity’ in this broad sense, but in fact go into more detail (such as travel expenses, catering, training etc), it would mean that to determine this information would take an individual well beyond the 18 hour threshold.  It would be extremely time intensive to conduct searches against each possibly relevant GL code for each departmental cost centre.  In addition, it would be impossible to ascertain whether or not the GL code for travel expenses, for example, related to equality and diversity without manual searching of relevant claims.

In order to demonstrate the difficulty in extracting this information, I believe it helpful to explain that a previous request which asked for how much DCFD alone spent on hotels and catering for seminars in the 2008/9 financial year, which is an extremely small aspect of diversity and equality spend and not even MPS wide, was also refused on cost grounds.  This is despite it being a much more specific request, because “the information was stored within several hundred dockets which would need to be located and searched through individually.”

We therefore estimate that the cost of complying with this request would exceed the appropriate limit. The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations and for agencies outside central Government; this is set at £450.00.   This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours [at a rate of £25 per hour] in determining whether the MPS holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter therefore acts as a Refusal Notice.

Section 16

Under Section 16 (duty to assist) we are required to provide you with advice and assistance on how to submit a narrower, new, request whereby the information is likely to be able to be located, retrieved and extracted within the 18 hour cost limit.

As the GL finance codes which would need to be searched are very specific and do not follow broad themes such as ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’, I believe the most helpful thing to offer you is the budget for DCFD.  This is the most accurate figure which it would be likely to provide within the cost limit.

The MPS coordinates diversity and equality issues through a central team in the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate (DCFD). During 2009/10 this Directorate transferred from Territorial Policing (TP) to the Deputy Commissioner’s Portfolio (DCP). The 2009/12 Business Plan included the costs of DCFD within the overall TP numbers. The 2010/13 Business Plan included the costs of DCFD within the overall DCP numbers

The budget transferred for DCFD to DCP was £3.420m in 2009/10. This was after committing to savings of £0.412m for the current financial year. Therefore the 2009/10 overall DCFD budget was £3.832m. This budget includes the salaries of officers and staff undertaking roles within DCFD as well as the costs of projects undertaken by them.

A link to show you the work they do can be found here:


If you wish to discuss how to submit a further new request which will fall within the cost threshold, please contact me using the details below.

Legal Annex

Section 17(5) of the Act provides:

(5) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is relying on a claim that section 12 or 14 applies must, within the time for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that fact.

Section 12(1) of the Act provides:

(1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.


Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details your right of complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write or contact Sunita Maraj on telephone number 02071612750  quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Sunita Maraj

FOIA Information Manager


Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and assist with any problems.


If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint

Public Access Office

PO Box 57192




In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your complaint within 20 working days.

The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner please visit their website at http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.  Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane




Phone:  01625 545 700

The Metropolitan Police Service is here for London – on the streets and in your community, working with you to make our city safer.

Consider our environment – please do not print this email unless absolutely necessary.


FOI Complaint

Public Access Office

PO Box 57192




18 January 2011

Dear Sirs,

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2010120000102

I appeal against the refusal  to provide a figure for the Met Police expenditure on diversity and equality issues for 2009/10.

A figure was produced  for the  London Assembly Liberal Democrats in 1986 – see Daily Mail article. If it could be produced then, why not for me now?   If you refuse the appeal please explain why it could be done then but not now.

Generally, I am sceptical of about the  £450 limit being exceeded because  the Metropolitan Police like all other public  bodies has a legal obligation to monitor diversity and equality practice within their organisation. This would require the  keeping of records which could be easily collated.  At the least there must be some individual figures beyond those already released.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

The “Free markets” con

Because they have the word free in them,   the terms “Free markets” and “free  trade”   have seduced  those  of all political colours to  treat them uncritically as ideas.  They are  considered good or bad but their intellectual coherence is rarely questioned. 

Neo-liberals   believe in a childlike quasi-religious fashion   in  the workings of  Adam  Smith’s   “invisible  hand”,  which,    moved   by enlightened self-interest,  supposedly creates the best of all possible material worlds through the operation of the market.    Socialists  see “free markets”  and “free trade” as economic “state of natures”   which must  be  ameliorated by the state before a civilised society  can   be realised.   Conservatives in the traditional sense no longer exist as a recognisable  political  force in the West,   but when they  did  exist they opposed “free markets” and “free trade”  primarily  on the grounds of  national security and the general disruption to  society that  they caused.  Nationalists of the fascistic kind have traditionally opposed the ideas because they see the nation  as a single organism  which  can only  be  strong  if it is master of its own destiny,  something  which an  only be achieved (they believe)  through state direction   of  both the internal market and of external trade.

There  are  varying  quantities  of  truth  in  all  these  ideological responses,    but their  utility is seriously tainted   by the lack  of any objective  or  even properly defined  and  permanent  prescriptive truth in the concepts of “free  markets” or “free trade”.  The reality of  these   ideas is  that they  are   arbitrary  chosen  bundles  of behaviours  which  are excluded  or included  at  the  will  of  their proponents. Moreover, the bundles of behaviours are not static.

The widespread  negligence in examining the coherence of these ideas is all the more remarkable because  their incoherence as theories and  the arbitrary and dishonest  nature of their practical realisation   is not only readily apparent but fundamentally undermining of the claims  made for them by their champions.

There  is a splendid  irony in the objection of the self-defined  “free marketeers'”  and “free traders”  to state intervention for the natural end of a  truly free market is  monopoly – or at least greatly  reduced competition resulting  in  oligopoly and the  rule  of  cartels.   All so-called   “free market”   societies  recognise  this   by   passing anti-monopoly laws. The “free market” is in fact a market controlled by the state in the most fundamental  way, that is, to prevent its natural workings.   It is one of the great propaganda triumphs of  history that “free  markets”  have been successfully  sold as  being  what  happens naturally  without  state intervention.   Call a  spade  a  spade  and substitute  the truthful “state regulated non-monopolistic market”  for “free  market”   and  the psychological shape  of  the  idea  changes dramatically.  (Some casuistical “free marketeers”might argue  that the “free” in free market  applies to the workings of the market rather than the market as a natural phenomenon.  That explanation falls because “free marketeers” invariably   make the blanket claim that markets only work  efficiently without  government  interference.  Their honest position would  be  to state  that they want state regulated markets to prevent monopoly. They will  not  do that because it would be an  acknowledgement  that  state regulation  of  the market is legitimate and hence remove  any  general argument  against  regulation.   That in turn  would mean any  form  of state regulation would be potentially reasonable and consequently  each form  of regulation  would have to be argued down individually  on  the merits of the case,  rather than simply empty-headedly dismissed on the grounds of no regulation = good; regulation = bad.

The  state regulated “Free Market”  is not even  a  natural  phenomenon made somewhat artificial by rules to exaggerate the natural  phenomenon in the same way that we breed animals to exaggerate nature.  Rather  it is just about as  far from being a natural phenomenon as anything  can be for  it goes against all Man’s inclinations,  both  individual  and social. 

Economic history is overwhelmingly a catalogue  of market   regulation, local  and   national,   from   guilds to governments.    It  would  be surprising  if  it  were not because   human  beings,  like  all  other organisms,  naturally behave to secure their own advantage or  that  of their  group.  Extended to the nation state,   this natural   behaviour has commonly  resulted in  domestic markets  being  protected  against foreign competition.   Whether this is a good or a bad thing is another matter  – a question I shall deal with later – all I am concerned to do at  this point  is  to nail down  that  the  fact  that  protectionist behaviour is  what is natural.

Historically,  whether  you were anything from  a rich merchant  to   a poor day  labourer it was obviously not in your personal  interest  to allow others free access to your markets to offer the goods or servicesat a lower price or to work for lower wages.     The merchant  might bedriven  to   bankruptcy  by competition, the  labourer  from  his  job. History also tells us that   whatever their  previous economic station, such people  will probably  not be able to find  equivalent or  better paid employment and often may not be able to find  any  employment  at all where structural unemployment arises.   What was historically  true not only   remains  true  today,  but its  effect  is  much  magnified because the  opportunities for competition are  greatly  increased  by modern communications and the ease of travel and cargo transportation.

Of  course,  any individual or sectional advantage causes strains in  a society  and if the material privilege of any person or  group  becomes excessive,  sooner or later there will be a successful revolt  and  the wealth in a society will either be shared more fairly through a  change in  the  way the  society is  structured,  for  example,  through  the abolition of tolls, the  ending of state monopolies  or even through a removal  of the rich as a class without any increase in the  wealth  of the majority.

But wherever wealth distribution through social change has occurred  it has normally  been done with the express  intention  of  benefiting  a particular group or even an individual in the case of monarchs. The odd thing about “free marketeers”  is that what they ostensibly advocate is not to privilege any particular individual or group but  to  benefit society as a whole. Whether free markets do so  is another matter,  but that is their claim.

The  “free marketeer”  says to a population, do what I say and in  time society will become richer.  He does not say this person or that  group will become richer or even all will become richer,  but merely that the society as a whole will become richer.  This is an extraordinary  thing to ask people to trust in.  It is also the most wonderful  blank cheque ever  written to a politician because not only does it absolve  him  or her of any  need to take the responsibility for regulating the economy, it  also  means  that he or she can never be  held   to  account  for dishonesty   by any individual if that individual is  personally  worse off.  All a  “free marketeer” politician has ever claimed is that  his economic  way  will make society richer.  Provided society  overall  is richer, he has met his met his promise.

It is also telling for their intellectual credibility and honesty  that “free marketeers”  will oppose government interference in such  matters as subsidies,  quotas,  embargoes,  wage rates and working  hours  and grumble  about tax rates and public expenditure,   but   are  generally quite happy to see other gross distortions of the market  deriving from government   action.  They  not only tolerate  patents,  copyright  and trademarks,  but  often defend them as  property in themselves  and  asdevices  which   actually  improve economic  performance  because  they encourage invention, investment and expansion.  In addition,  those who constantly  bleat about Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”  sorting out  the business  wheat  from  the  chaff  insist  that  limited  liability  is necessary.  This  of  course is also a violent  interference  with  the market because it means that the individual shareholder  never  takes full responsibility for their investment.  (It is worth noting that the British industrial  revolution  –  the  one  and  only   bootstrapped industrial revolution  – took place before  limited  liability  became legally possible (Limited Companies Act 1862) and at a time when patent rights  were insecure and in practice limited to the  domestic  British market.)

It  is  true that none of these things are actually part  of  what  the concept of  a “free market”  is and that they are inimical to  such  a market,  but the fact that almost all modern  “free  marketeers”  have  tacitly incorporated them into their vision of what a “free market”  is demonstrates their   intellectual  confusion  (or  dishonesty  if  you prefer).

 The “free market” as its proponents conceive it

Let us put aside for the moment the fact that “free markets”  are state regulated markets and ask the question  what  is a “free market”  as it is conceived by “free marketeers”?    A jolly good question.  Even  if market distortions which appear acceptable to “free marketeers”  such as patents and limited liability did not exist,   that would leave many other   things which prevent unfettered domestic competition.   In  an advanced modern economy these include:


Non tax fiscal measures, eg control of interest rates

The state of the currency

Exchange controls

Overall Government expenditure

State Subsidies

Industry and trading standards,  official and otherwise

Public sector employment

Transport costs

Public ownership


Direct and indirect Government intervention

Copyright, trademarks and patents

The moral  and social climate, eg, a tradition of Welfare The feeling of the people, eg, the national feeling of Japanese Practical cultural barriers such as the difficulty of a language


Transport costs

Working hours

Trading laws

Labour laws

Wage rates

Bureaucratic differences

Company laws – particularly the attitude towards foreign ownership

Banking laws

Banking system

Social policy – welfare, health etc

Physical infrastructure

Honesty of public servants

Foreign policy

National strategic considerations

Education – The amount spent, school leaving age, curriculum,

Limited Liability

Environmental laws

Some  of these things such as subsidies,  patents,  quotas and  limited liability  could be obviously and  legitimately  ruled out of order  by a “free marketeer” because they are deliberate state interferences with competition,  but what of items such as the provision by the  state  of education  or  the  physical  infrastructure of  a  country?  They  are undeniably distortions of competition at some level,  but they are  not deliberate attempts by the state to distort competition. A purist “free marketeer”  could  just about  say such things were no business of  the state  and still be intellectually coherent because it is  possible  to conceive  of  a  society without such state  provision.   But   however purist they might be,  sooner or later the “free marketeer”  will  run into features which undeniably restrict competition  but  which  must exist  simply because they are an inescapable part of society. The most obvious is tax.

Any modern state needs a large tax revenue to sustain itself,  the only questions  to determine being how large should be the revenue and  what it should be spent on?   Some things such as defence and  policing  are inescapable  expenditures  for any state,  although   even  there   the amounts to be  spent are debatable and elastic. Items such as education and  welfare are  more subject to variable  expenditure.   Nonetheless, substantial amounts are as a matter of contingent fact invariably spent on such items by all advanced states.  Such countries also engage to a lesser or greater degree in all the forms of regulation listed above.

In  theory,  and even more in practice,  the notion of a “free  market” seems to rest on little more than anti-monopoly laws,  wages and prices set  by  the market (although in practice this does not  happen  purely through the market because of welfare provision, tax regimes etc) and a lack  (or at least a minimum)  of  state interference in such areas  as health and safety, employment law and  company law. 

The  inclusion of these narrow criteria are merely a subjective  choice made  from a much larger menu of man-made distortions of   the  market. Consequently,  there  is no objective coherence to the concept  of  the “free market”  as it is conceived by the “free marketeers”.   It is  an arbitrary  ideology based on subjective choice.

Blind obedience to the law is the dictator’s friend

The great historian of British politics Sir Lewis Namier described the government of 18th century England as “aristocracy tempered by rioting.” There is something of that in any society, for all who exercise power become corrupted in some degree by the identification of their interest  with the common good.  Even in a place as politically placid as modern Britain, rioting has played its part in fundamental change, the last time being in 1990 when the Thatcher Government was finally frightened into dropping a tax in which Margaret Thatcher had invested a great deal of her personal prestige – the Community Charge, popularly known as  the Poll Tax – by a serious riot in Trafalgar Square in central London.

That is the reality of politics. Democratic theory is rather at odds with the reality. “The law must be obeyed” and “violence is always wrong” are two of the most chanted modern political mantras in those states which seriously pretend to democracy. Not bad chants as political dicta go, for the law is the skeleton upon which society rests and violence can become an endemic social disease with a ghastly ease.  Yet the  logic  of an absolute bar  on disobeying  the law or engaging in violence  for political ends  is  that  an elite  may behave  as  badly  or dangerously as they want without fear of punishment.

Suppose the House of Commons passed a law which extended the life of a Parliament to 50 years – this the Commons could do quite legitimately, because there is no constitutional restraint on Parliament on the Acts it may pass. Would we simply accept such a gross political abuse because it had been achieved legally, that it was done within the form of democratic procedure?  The sane answer has to be no.  But if we do not accept it, how do we act against those who abuse power without provoking something approaching anarchy or simply replacing one abuse of power with another?

The general answer can be found by addressing another question, namely what is such extra-democratic action (which includes everything from passive resistance to full blooded civil war) a substitute for?  The answer is that it replaces the formal  democratic political process and  becomes  legitimate where  a society is  so ordered that there is no normal democratic process, where meaningful participation in a formal democratic  process  is  denied by those in power, either overtly or  covertly, or when the behaviour of the ruling elite constitutes treason.

That is all very well as a general description of the circumstances in which extra-democratic action should be taken, but how in practice do we determine both when such action is legitimate and the extent to which it is legitimate in any particular situation?

When is it reasonable to disobey the law?

When the law is made by made without democratic authority; when the law is not equally applied; when the law in principle disadvantages one man but not another; when the law amounts to treason.  When, in short, the law is incompatible with a free, self-governing society.

What are the political requirements for such a society?  I suggest these: there must be free expression, for a free society must be democratic and a democratic society cannot outlaw any aspect of life from debate and be called either free or democratic. The mass media must be both free  of  government control and give opportunities for the  expression of  a wide range of political opinion, for example through the same sort of laws which are designed to ensure “balance” during general elections and a statutory “right of reply”.  All adults must have the vote and meaningful opportunity to engage in mainstream political activity. Political parties and individual candidates must be allowed to operate freely and not only at the discretion of the state. The state must not place obstacles, such as deposits, in the way of candidates for election which disadvantage individuals and smaller or new parties.  The state must not use force against its people which is disproportionate nor have a monopoly of force. To that end the people should be allowed weapons and no weapon forbidden to the people should be used against them by the forces of the state.

That is the ideal. The important thing is not perhaps that all these goods are met in full measure in any society, although in principle all could be given the force of  law, but that sufficient of them are observed to make democratic participation and control of the elite to be such that extra-democratic action is not required. Of course, there can be no absolute standard by which that may be judged. Ultimately the moral decision as to when political circumstances are such that they fail to allow proper control of the elite by the masses is a personal one for each individual.


Extra-democratic action should be proportionate to the political circumstances and the ill to be cured and as moderate as is compatible with effect.  Faced with an unambiguous, brutal and efficient dictator, the masses are left with little alternative but extreme violence such as assassination, because other and lesser forms of protest are effectively denied.

That is not the case in societies which have at least the form of representative democracies. In such societies other forms of political disobedience, including non-violent methods, can be effective and violence is inappropriate as anything but a final resort, when all else has failed and the damage being done by those in power is considerable.

In practice, governments in states which have both the form of representative democracies and some of the content are peculiarly vulnerable to non-violent resistance, provided it is truly widespread or arises from a strike in a vital industry. Such governments are bound by the pretence at least that they are not dictatorships. Thus strong-arm measures which are the common currency of the dictator cannot be used with impunity because they are publicly observed and sooner or later elections must be held.

But if non-violent protest may be effective in an ostensible democracy, it often in practice needs a focusing act of violence or the threat of violence to bring those with power to a decision to change their policy or behaviour. Thus it was with Thatcher’s Poll Tax. The tax collapsed primarily because hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, refused to pay the tax. The courts could not cope with the consequent numbers served with summons’for non-payment. Yet that alone did not bring about the end of the Poll Tax. A serious riot against the Tax was needed. It took place in the most famous modern London site for demonstrations, Trafalgar Square. Within a few months the Tax was dropped.

Generally, the more broadly power is spread in a political system, the wider the range of extra-democratic action available and the less extreme it need be.

When is violence unambiguously justified?

This is the most difficult of questions. In an outright dictatorship the answer is morally unambiguous; it is justified because there is no meaningful opportunity for any lesser action. Anything less than an outright dictatorship and the moral waters become muddied.  Where an outright dictatorship does not exist, the question can best  be answered  by adhering to the rule that all non-violent means should always be exhausted first.  That in itself will act as a good yardstick to judge whether nothing but violence will do.

But there is one instance in any society where violence is unequivocally justified, namely where the political elite as a class engages in behaviour which is objectively treasonable. It is justified because such a matter becomes a question of self-defence.

Treason is a slippery word, yet it clearly has an objective meaning. In a dynastic context it is betrayal of the sovereign. In a democratic context it is the betrayal of the population to an external power for the general population has become the sovereign.

Of what does treason consist? Generally it must be the conscious decision by those in power to act in a way which will weaken the integrity of the nation.  To give up sovereignty is by definition to weaken the integrity of a nation.

Proportionality of violence

Violence should be minimised for moral reasons, but selective violence is also arguably the most effective. Elites do not care about violence perpetrated on the masses unless the violence threatens to provoke public unrest which the elite is not confident of controlling.  What they really care about is violence directed at the elite.  A good example of this mentality concerns the IRA and successive British governments in the years 1969-1984.

The IRA practice of public bombing continued for 15 years after 1969 without gaining anything from British governments of any political colour.  The IRA then attempted to kill Margaret Thatcher and members of her cabinet in the Brighton bombing of 1984 during the Tory Party conference.  Within 18 months the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which granted a foreign power (the Republic of Ireland) legal rights in Northern Ireland, had been developed and signed by Margaret Thatcher and the Irish Prime Minister.

The restriction of violence to those in the elite has another great advantage, the mass of the population will not feel threatened.  This means that they are less likely to become viscerally antagonistic to the perpetrator of the violence. Moreover, if the ends of the perpetrator of violence are reasonable, then the mass of the population will probably support them tacitly or at least not violently oppose them.

Hence, for both moral and practical reasons,  violence should always be kept to a minimum and directed at the elite, especially those who wield political power.

A lesson from the past

In the twelfth century there was developed the doctrine of rightful tyranicide. It has lessons for us.  The first and probably the most famous of its proponents was John of Salisbury (“He who usurps the sword is worthy to die by the sword.”)  John’s world is seemingly far removed from ours in custom as well as years, yet it has striking political similarities with our own, for in practice the power of European rulers was very far from absolute. Mediaeval monarchs were commonly confronted with parliaments resisting taxation, fractious towns and ambitious nobles.  In many ways the late Middle Ages was more democratic, in the sense of power being shared, than any subsequent time before the nineteenth century. The consequence of this was a need to define the relationship between ruler and ruled in a way which had not been done since the ancient world struggled with the problem.

For John the distinction was between power legitimately and illegitimately exercised. In his work Policraticus he puts it thus:

“Between a tyrant and a prince there is this single or chief difference, that the latter obeys the law and rules the people by its dictates, accounting himself as but their servant. It is by virtue of the law that he makes good his claim to the foremost and chief place in the management  of the affairs of  the  commonwealth.”

(Policraticus Bk. IV. ch. i; Dickinson’s trans. p. 3.)

In our world, formal kingship with political power is a rarity, yet we have what are, in effect, elected monarchs in our presidents and prime ministers and an abundant and never ending supply of unelected tyrants.  Even in the best of the “liberal democracies” power is remote from the masses.  Moreover, the signs are not encouraging for the future as national sovereignty is increasing constrained by the coils of supra-national agreements and organisations such as the EU.

Have we reached the stage where such action is legitimate in Britain? Well, it is for each man to judge that himself, but we can test what actually is happening against the criteria I have already given for judging the democratic validity of the formal political system.

Recent developments in Britain are symptomatic of what is happening throughout the West. Our elite is gradually squeezing out of our political system such democratic control as has been grudging conceded over the past two centuries. We have only two parties with a realistic chance of forming a government in their own right. Increasingly they offer no more than variations on the same theme. The only real choice a British voter has on almost all important areas of policy  is between having more or less of the same general fare. Worse, much of that fare is self-evidently designed to remove more and more power from the political institutions we have. Indeed, in large part the similarity between both the theory and practice of British parties and governments is the result of the wilful giving up of sovereignty through our membership of the European Union and various organisations such as the UN and WTO with their concomitant treaty obligations.

But the situation is even bleaker than a bald description of the policy vacuum suggests, for what a party or politician says at any one point is next to meaningless. There is in practice no means of holding a party or a politician to a declared policy, because the only choice is to elect another party which will in all probability do much the same once they are in power.  Not only that, but politicians of all parties frequently refuse to give a clear and unambiguous statement on anything, which allows them to weasel word their way to a new position when they think it necessary. Where a coalition is formed, as we are presently seeing in Britain, what little democratic control remains within our political system evaporates as both parties to the coalition simply trot out the mantra that a coalition is a compromise and no manifesto commitment is sacrosanct.

Because of this ideological coming together of the major parties and the draining of power from Westminster to supranational bodies and interests, there is a growing need to suppress dissent. Where there is no real electoral choice on policy, substantial minorities at best and the majority at worst are effectively disenfranchised. To that obvious disenfranchisement may be added the persistent failure of the British media to honestly report and debate many issues. Not one British national newspaper has as its editorial policy the withdrawal of Britain from the EU. Questions of race and immigration are, as a matter of course, only discussed within the narrow parameters decided by the liberal elite, namely those which almost invariably represent the immigrant as a victim of circumstances and the native population as the source of all racial evil. Those who wish to put forward views seriously unpalatable to the liberal elite are rigorously excluded from the media and from the mainstream political parties.

How did we get into this sorry state? Our immersion in the EU since 1973 speaks for itself, with all parties and all prime ministers since being culpable. The erosion of our liberties is less starkly obvious, being an insidious creeping towards authoritarianism.  Margaret Thatcher began the process by showing a cavalier disregard for the law on occasion, most notably during the miners’ strike. The miners came close to success, but more importantly it caused the British state to take action against miners and their supporters which were essentially those of the police state. This began the attack on  those features of our legal system which had long offered a safeguard to the individual such as the absolute right to silence.

The Blair government followed the example of Thatcher with a deluge of measures such as Anti-Terrorism Acts (which allow the Government in practice to define any individual or group as terrorist if they engage in public protest), The Regulation of Investigative Powers Act (which amongst others things allows the State to electronically spy on people without a warrant),and such authoritarian delicacies as the abridgement of the right to jury trial and control orders.

The general treatment of protestors in Britain has become ever more violent and cynical. Would-be protesters against the Chinese president’s visit in Blair’s time were rigorously policed to the point at which no meaningful demonstration could be held and the Countryside March – one of the largest and possibly the largest public protest in modern British history – encountered an astounding degree of police belligerence which extended to protestors being battered with riot sticks. This police violence was  made all the more unwonted by the fact that the Countryside Marchers were probably the most pacific and law-abiding bunch you would ever be likely to find on a mass protest.

Recently, we have seen protests by students against the proposed raising of tuition fees to as much as £9,999 per annum. Many will not approve of these particular protesters, but what of protesters of whom they approve? Will the great mass of people be cheering if they are oppressed and silenced? As the Leveller, John Lilburne never tired of saying by way of exhortation to others, “What they do to me today, they may do to any man tomorrow.” Every time the state is allowed to  extend the limits of its oppressive behaviour that sets the benchmark for the future. Freedom is gradually eroded.

The question which John of Salisbury addressed in the thirteenth century is an eternal question, the central problem of politics in fact, namely,  how shall those who wield power be prevented from abusing the mass of those they govern? The only rational answer when formal democratic methods fail is action which goes beyond the normal democratic structures and habits, because the alternative is simply the acceptance of what is, no matter how oppressive that reality is or may become.

Have we reached in Britain the point where extra-democratic action is the only meaningful action for those outside the political elite?   The answer I would say is indubitably yes if we are not to stand by helplessly while our freedoms are remorselessly removed. The betrayal of our sovereignty to the EU indubitably meets any reasonable definition of treason, because it has given foreigners power over our lives. This has been achieved by an extended and on-going act of deception whereby the British political elite constantly deny sovereignty has been surrendered, whilst ensuring that the electorate is never offered an opportunity to repudiate the giving away of sovereignty through a referendum or to vote for a party which realistically might be expected to form a government that advocates withdrawal from the EU.

Alongside that treason lies an ever tightening noose of censorship of what may be publicly said; a censorship which is enforced by the law which punishes those who breach the politically correct credo, the very real threat of the loss of employment if someone is accused of a politically correct “crime” and the willingness of the mainstream media to mount hate campaigns against those judged to be politically incorrect. It is impossible to have a functioning democracy if people cannot put forward their political ideas because they are deemed illegal. That also is an adequate reason for going beyond the normal political process.

But it cannot be said too often or too emphatically that the dangers of extra-democratic action are great. If it is not to be merely the prelude to anarchy or the assumption of power by another group of oppressors, it must be taken within a moral context. It is to be a means to an end, not an end in itself. That end must have a clear and limited moral purpose if law-breaking or violence are to have any foreseeable limit. The end must be to create or restore those structures which are necessary to a free and democratic society, nothing more or less than that.

%d bloggers like this: