Modern England: A Nation of Sheep

I listened to an item on this morning’s Today Programme (BBC Radio 4, 3rd July 2012, c.8:35am) about a man who was “victimised” by a loan shark. Apparently, he borrowed £250 when he was 17 to buy a car. He was then fraudulently squeezed by his lender to pay back a total of £90,000. There was a long interview with the “victim,” in which he behaved and was treated as if he’d been robbed at gunpoint. There was much rejoicing at the news that the lender had been sent to prison – moderated only by disappointment that the “victim” would not be able to claim back his repayments from the taxpayers.

I have no doubt that many small scale lenders are nasty people, who prey on the ignorance of their customers. This being said, the borrower here looks like a fool according to the facts as presented. No sensible man borrows money without first establishing the term of the loan and rate of interest, and so on and so forth, and getting it in writing. And, unlike some illiterate farmer in the third world who is forced to borrow immediately and at usurious rates to replace livestock or buy seed, this borrower only wanted to buy a car. It was the kind of purchase that could easily be put off while he made the normal enquiries.

I don’t think oral, or even written, agreements of this kind should be enforced by the courts. English equity law, indeed, allows the courts to vary or set aside burdensome contracts made by “poor and ignorant people.” The reasonable corollary of such laws, however, is that the poor and ignorant should be barred from voting. If they can’t be held responsible for their own decisions, they shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions that affect the lives, liberty and property of others.

Unless a deliberate fraud, mass democracy is based on the assumption that the overwhelming majority of voters are of normal intelligence, or at least act with some degree of common sense. One of the problems with modern England is that numbers of the unintelligent are rising all the time, and these are protected by various bureaucratic and policing agencies from the consequences of their actions – and they are allowed to vote.

No wonder England is in such a mess!


  • So, in a ‘Libertarian’ world, what would have taken place?

    Would the borrower have been backed, or would the lender have been allowed to undertake usury?

  • Nothing

    The deal was verbal. Two men of honour might honour a deal made in good faith. This “deal” was crooked scum exploiting an idiot. There is no agreement so no enforceable deal exists and the idiot long ago discharged any honourable amount of payment the crook might morally be due–his money back plus a reasonable amount of interest–it doesn’t need lawdogs to know that much more than market rate interest is a rip-off. The loan shark obviously would not agree. So long as his protest remained verbal that is his right of free speech. If he went to violence–well even an idiot can shoot and there would be plenty of firepower in a free society. Of course, a man weak and dumb enough to let some arsehole turn a 250 pound debt into 90000 in interest is likely to be a victim under almost any set up.

  • If he was 17 when he borrowed it, assuming he was in England, it wouldn’t be enforceable anyway (unless the loan was for necessities, if I remember correctly). A car is probably not ever going to be regarded as a necessity). I think it would be enforceable in Scotland as he was over 16, but I’m not sure.

    Of course, being denied access to enforceable credit does deny people access to credit through the regular channels and force them to borrow from irregular lenders if they really need to borrow.

    Maybe ignorant people, especially young people, should be protected from the effects of their ignorance, or maybe they should be allowed access to credit so they can live their own lives. I can see both sides of the argument, although certainly I think the presumption should be that a loan to a 17 year old at a market interest rate (which might be quite high given the actuarial risk) to buy an motor car should be enforceable.

    Note that he wouldn’t have been able to vote at age 17 when he took out the loan anyway, although it sounds like he kept making payments for years after that.

    I haven’t listened to the programme but from your description he does sound pretty stupid.

  • Concerned Briton

    I’m sorry to be off topic, and I do not know the whole story with this following situation, but as Libertarians I suspect there might be some interest here in this seeming manifestation of a police state and imprisonment by secret courts.

    It is happening now, this week. It has already happened.


    It may help if it is already understood by the reader the basics of being a “freeman”, the standpoint of “lawful rebellion” and what the differences are between acts of law and common law, and such concepts as people being legal fictions tied to their birth certificates (but they, as a human being, are not their birth certificate).

    It is hard to get across unless you take time to study it quite deeply, but even on the face of it, without that knowledge, if the reportage is true, a man has been imprisoned without a jury, whilst inside a secret court.

    However, there is much more to this – as Roger Hayes is a direct threat to the continuation of the ‘establishment’ and the International Monetary System.

    Seeing as rapists and murderers are given due course of a trial, and sometimes left to walk the streets again afterwards, it appears to me that Roger Hayes is a political prisoner because he poses a threat to ‘the-powers-that-be’, and is being made an example of as a warning, because they know if others follow suit, the whole lot would probably crash down in a heap.

    I am only wishing to make you all aware of it, as it may be of interest to people on this site.

    I am not an expert on this case, a Freeman, a ‘lawful rebel’ or an expert on the finer details of being a Freeman or currently partaking in Lawful Rebellion, although I grasp the overall concept.

    As others, I am awaiting more of the details and facts of what has happened.

    What seems to have happened so far, according to the links, is surely a disgrace and a frightening situation for the future of all of us in the future.


  • So with the points that you obviously aimed for and digressed to were as follows. 1. People that are poor are ignorant. 2. Poor & ignorant people should not be able to vote as a result of the bad decisions of some other people. 3. Yes, some people are really stupid!!!

  • Re: Roger Heyes. He seems to be embroiled in a challenge about council tax. Whether from economic reasons or political I don’t know.If, as seems to be the case it has been ongoing then the local council will probably have taken it to court and Roger will have been summoned, which, I understand he ignored.Would like to know more about the ‘secret trial’though.

  • Concerned Briton

    Patricia, I am not sure whether you are familiar with the Lawful Rebellion situation or premise, so I cannot quite tell from which angle you may be seeing this from.

    In fact, when I told my own mother this evening about how terrible it was that somebody was taken away and imprisoned in this way, all she could say was “well, he should have just paid it then, shouldn’t he?!”.

    However, there is a point being made by this man and the British Constitution Group which runs quite deep and is a particular point of principle, one which is designed to bring down the control of the current political hegemony through lawful acts of rebellion and becoming “free men” that live under the British Constitution, Magna Carta, Bill of Rights etc.

    It gets into technicalities of how an Act of Law is just that, an Act, as in acting and playing a role you agree to abide by, but which you do not need to abide by under the rights of the British law that have been established by our forebears.

    Similarly, apparently, you do not have to attend a Summons to court. A summons is purely an invite. Once you go along and snare yourself in the system, they can “have you” because you have then entered into a contract.

    Other examples are entwined in legal-ese, the language of law. The most ready layman’s example I can think of is when a policeman says “do you understand?”.

    In ordinary English, this means to the average person – and often does mean – “do you comprehend what I am saying?”…..but in terms of the law and legal matters, it actually means “Do you stand under me?” – ie, “Do you agree to go along with this charade and enter into a contract with me and the state?”

    It can get quite technical – which is why I am not confident in expressing any special insight or expertise into this event – but I take my hats off to them for coming up with this overall movement to try to break down the system that is getting more than a little out of control.

    Maybe look up the British Constitution Group, Lawful Rebellion, and the UK Column. Some of it is perhaps a little quirky and conspiratorial, I would agree, but it can be quite interesting.

  • Concerned Briton

    I see that Sean has discovered the story via another source. Sorry to have derailed this thread. I have commented on the new story Sean has added – and expressed the need for a bit of further investigation in order to put this affair into proper and accurate context. Cheers.

  • My conception of a properly libertarian way to deal with such issues is to allow either party to call of the agreement at any time, claim back whatever they paid into it and return whatever the other party paid back, all discounted at a normal rate. My two cents anyway.

  • Sean, whatever the merits of your arguments regarding enforcement of verbal contracts, your last paragraph is absurd, illiberal, and did I mention that it’s absurd? There is no assumption in democracy that the masses be “sensible” (define “common sense”?), nor any evidence that the number of “unintelligent” people is rising. Perhaps the most obvious observation is that the modern illiberal state has been constructed by, and is managed by, and provides income, privilege and sinecures to, those nominally deemed “intelligent”. They have degrees in PPE and law and all sorts.

    This kind of snobby ranting just makes Libertarianism look daft, and if we, as libertarians, do believe these things, then heck, we are daft. It certainly won’t win us any friends.

  • Well, the right to vote means nothing to me – it is just a Smartie – and you will probably find this man who borrowed from a loan shark has never voted, as most young people don’t bother. So I would not at all object to some revision to the categories of people who vote – in particular, those living off the public purse should not vote.
    But, however stupid this man was – and he did borrow from someone he thought he knew – he did not owe this man £90,000 for a £250 loan! Even in rip-off Britain, that is pushing it! He was silly to give the man his £8,000 redundancy cheque!
    Look! This is just demanding money with menaces – the loan shark was committing a crime – and the man should have just said he didn’t have the money and should have reported this man’s behaviour to the police, presuming he was acting in a menacing fashion. He should have told the loan shark to apply for a County Court Judgement as he didn’t have the money to pay – end of story!
    I’m surprised he didn’t go to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or someone like that long before he had handed over £90,000 – but doesn’t the “nation of sheep” argument over the way the man handed over £90K for nothing apply a fortiori to our funding of the state? At least in countries like Greece people realise they don’t actually “owe” the state its exactions!

  • I have to agree with Ian B.


  • Sean’s last para interests me, because perhaps he is confusing “intelligence” with what we here in Lancs call “nous”. (I suspect this is a fossil locally-acquired 1,200-year-old Norse word for “common sense”, loosely.) I have not read the story of this borrower-fella, but I can predict exactly what it says, and the probably train of events and also the geometric up-ramping of the demanded sums.

    The strategic problem of Britain today is that a very large majority of the population _has_ been “educated” and carefully programmed to _not_ be critical, enquiring or skeptical. The intellectual structure of almmost all broadcast material, at least on the government channels, confirms the truth of this. Nor indeed are these poor wrteched people aware of how to be “on the QV” (look it up if you don’t know what it meant) which roughly is to say: aware (for example) of the implications of the sort of inveigling that this fella was subjected to initially.

    It means also that relatively large masses of individuals can and do succeed in getting to the “top”, in a sociopolitical environment designed to be more and more statist, and in which power and authority are centralised in the very over-large public sector taxed for and designed to be a vehicle for employment of these very people. That they do nothing of real social or market value is quite irrelevant to them, and a charge of this nature would be met with horror, incredulity and hatred.

    That said, I’m not certain quite yet about restricting the Franchise, or to what degree. Certainly, anyone who derives his/her income even more that partly, say 10% at most, from the State should be barred from being issued any form of electoral polling card. All we’re doing there is giving away labour and libdem votes. So, whether socialist parties ought even to be allowed to field candidates in a proper liberal society – since socialism is both imaginary and mortally coercive – is a matter for another debate i want to have here, but not to upset this thread right now. (I’ll prepare to “receive” the custard pies, rotten cabbages and eggs thrown by enraged fundamentalist-libertarians later please.)

    It may be that a Franchise that gives any hope of survival to liberal-minimal-statist ideas through the coming Endarkenment, will have perforce to be based on Freehold property-ownership, such as land, houses or businesses, and also (a necessary and insufficient condition on its own) not being in State employment in any form.

    In effect, it’s “no representation without taxation”. If one “has nothing”, then in the end it is futile and destructive to tax that person. Similarly, if all one’s income is derived from taxation, it’s mortally dangerous to allow that person any sort of chance to express an opinion on what the “government” ought to be doing.

    As Brutus says again: “I pause for a reply.”

  • I note a certain lack of agreement with my posting. I will only repeat that competent human beings do not behave in this manner. They do not borrow money, even from “friends,” without establishing some terms of the loan. If the friend turns out not to be such a friend after all, they do not hand over 360 times the principal during 17 years. Competent human beings stand up for themselves. When challenged, they either know what their legal rights are, or know how to establish them.

    This pathetic creature is just the sort who provide excuses for Mummy State and all her sinister agencies of control, which in this case include the “Illegal Money Lending Team.” Here, by the way, is a Daily Mail report of the case:–borrower-lost-home-attempted-suicide-debts-racked-up.html

    I repeat that people like this should not be held to their word, when they make catastrophically stupid agreements. I also repeat that there seem to be more of these people about than even when I was a boy – that, or they get more publicity and sympathy, which almost amounts to the same thing. And I repeat that large numbers of these people make democracy impossible.

    I agree with DJW that no one who makes more than a certain percentage of his income from the taxpayers. – pensioners excluded – should have the vote: and this should include the owners and employees of organisations that derive their income from the taxpayers.

    I disagree with Ian B about the intelligence of our rulers. Every ruling class has some ballast. But ours mostly contains people of more than average intelligence. The problem is that they are bad and ignorant people, made worse by various malign ideologies.

  • Here is a line from the Daily Mail article: “Mike was awarded a Trading Standards Institute Hero award at the Trading Standards Institute conference in Manchester last week.”

    I’d rather hang myself than show my face in public after this sort of idiocy.

  • “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” — Robert A. Heinlein


  • If you look at the Mail story with a critical eye, you will see that it’s probably a fabrication.

  • I have a rather long, older post that would serve as a bit of rebuttal to Dr. Gabb on this issue. “The Irrationality of Politics”

  • ”’He started to give threats that if we didn’t pay him he would hit us or would start taking stuff out of the house,”

    This sounds like extortion with threats rather than usury. Although I do wonder about the mental competence of the victim. If he is really that feeble minded then he does need some form of protection as he is obviously unable to competently exercise his rights as a free man.

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