(Rushed) Thoughts on 2014 and a Few Predictions for 2015


Keir Martland

While it’s still with us, and before the noisy and inconvenient midnight frolicking begins (making it almost impossible to write this later on), I thought I’d quickly offer a round-up of 2014. I must first make it clear that I do not watch the news; only since early December have I been paying the slightest bit of attention to it. If I have missed something, or if I am grossly misrepresenting some event, please jump in and correct me. Happy New Year!

2014: where to start? I won’t do it consecutively, since I can’t think of anything at the present moment that happened in the first months of the year.

In September, we had, or rather the Scots had, a plebiscite on whether or not to remain within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In the first polls on the issue, it seemed that the Scots wanted to leave. But, really, I don’t think any of us for a moment thought that they would.

And why was this? Because, on net, the Scots are tax-eaters and they have become accustomed to an relatively comfortable lifestyle. This was a big factor. That is, a large number of Scots knew from the outset that independence would mean tightening their belts and, men not being angels, when given the opportunity to enrich ourselves at the expense of others, we’ll usually do it.

But this was clearly not the only factor, otherwise the result would have been rather less ‘decisive’ than it indeed was. On Russia Today, Alec Salmond explained the main reason for the defeat of the independence bid was the last-minute promise of ‘devo to the max’ by the mainstream Westminster parties. The promise to the Scottish electorate was that they would be given a range of new powers over their own affairs even if they did not vote for independence. Naturally, presented with the choice between the same security, stability, and welfare payments which the SNP could not really guarantee, as well as more or less the same increase in freedom the SNP was in fact promising, the Scottish public chose the latter.

Of course, the Scottish public did not vote against independence; 55% of those who voted in the referendum voted against independence. The Westminster government, have not, however, brought forward any plans for further Scottish devolution. Again, this ought to have been anticipated: an ultimate decision-maker over a given area certainly will not be in favour of reducing the size of that given area and will only very grudgingly reduce the range of decision-making to be made by the central government. It is not in the nature of the state to push ahead with genuine devolution. It is even less in the nature of the state to allow secession.

Now, while I won’t go as far as Ron Paul and suggest foul play in the Scottish Referendum, i.e. by suggesting it was rigged in the proper sense of the term, libertarians ought not to have been surprised by the fear-mongering and the fraudulent promises made during the campaign by the Westminster parties. If the vote itself was not rigged, then the outcome was.

The Scottish Independence Referendum was a missed opportunity. The Scots, their society so socialistic as a result of generations of tax-eating and the moral, political, cultural, and economic rot that comes with it, had the choice between Socialism and independence, or social-democracy and dependence. That was no choice. And referenda come once in a lifetime.

From one rising star to another, I have suddenly thought of an event which happened earlier this year: the UKIP success in the local and victory in the European elections.  What should libertarians make of this?

The question I am asking here is not what libertarians should make of UKIP or Nigel Farage, but what libertarians should make of the success of UKIP of late. What does it signify?

Put very plainly indeed, the rise of UKIP signifies two things: firstly, a dissatisfaction among the populace with the establishment, with the ruling class; secondly, an eagerness to talk about or see ‘resolved’, issues such as mass-immigration, national sovereignty, and the agenda neatly called political correctness. Both of these developments are to be welcomed: the ruling class is not libertarian, but is rather social-democratic and Marxist by nature, whereas it can be observed that those at the top of UKIP are fairly ordinary people; and immigration in the modern sense, as subsidized trespass rather than an invitation, can only be regarded as aggression against the property rights of the domestic population; and the subordination of national courts to foreign ones, and the national parliament to a foreign one, and the national executive to a foreign one, amounts only to the replacement of a smaller monopoly of ultimate decision making by a larger one making it relatively more difficult to escape state “justice” and thus only ever more expropriation and legislation can be expected; and political correctness, to the extent that it is an agenda which seeks to prohibit all discrimination, can only be realised through forcing unwanted persons onto private property owners.

Regardless of UKIP’s merits and demerits, the above concerns are valid. However, UKIP, to my mind, have wasted their chance of changing Britain. They have become part of the establishment. They are recruiting mainstream politicians. They are attracting socialists into their party qua socialists, not as ant-establishmentarians. UKIP will break up into smaller parties in 2015 as a result of their attempt to be both a broad church and have policies on issues where most of them don’t agree.

Next to be mentioned are the protests in Ferguson, USA, which have been ongoing since August. The protests are the result of very valid concerns that the police in America are racist bastards. What is sad is that the result has been ever more race-baiting. The liberals in America, on hearing of the shooting of young black Americans, have responded by telling the world how terrible it is to shoot black Americans, rather than shooting any innocent. These vile crimes ought to have been used, if used at all, for it is surely vulgar to use crimes such as these for political purposes, to concentrate solely on police brutality and the nature of the state as an aggressor against life and property. But, no, this was another missed opportunity.

Turning now to the events in the Ukraine and Crimea. It is indeed very sad to see that Ukraine has, rather like the Scots, a piss-poor choice to make. As the ‘international community’ – I can’t remember where I heard this phrase, but I hate it – won’t allow them to break up into smaller states, their choice is America, NATO, and the EU, or Russia. Both empires, the USSA and Russia, have behaved deplorably. But, on balance, perhaps because I am constantly told how beastly Mr Putin is, I think Russia’s position and actions are at least understandable and any reasonable man can at least sympathize with the Russians. As for the Ukranians, it is equally understandable that they will not be the least bit disposed, especially western Ukranians, to jumping into bed with the Russians any time soon.

Oddly enough, the fall in the price of oil ties in with this story very loosely. Simply put, the fall in oil prices will be good for the Americans and bad for the Russians. The question, then, is who is behind the fall in oil prices? The answer to that is the Saudis and the Americans. Saudi fiddling with the oil price for political purposes is not altogether unheard of, now, is it? One conspiracy theory circulating, which is vastly more plausible than anything else I’ve heard, is that the Saudis are using their influence in OPEC to keep oil prices falling in return for American intervention to destabilize Iraq, Iran, and Syria. The Saudis have apparently got their knickers in a twist with the Syrian regime over (what else?) Assad’s decision not to allow the Qatarians to construct an oil pipeline through Syria and his decision in 2011 to make a deal with the Iraqis and Iranians to allow them to do so instead. In return for this intervention, the Saudis will keep oil prices low to weaken the Russians, with whom the Americans seem to want to enter another Cold War. Oh, why can’t all conspiracy theories be so simple?!

As I am running out of steam and as I must be sociable very shortly, I will also mention very briefly that both Ebola and Islamic State are scaring the poor British people witless. In addition to the continuation of paedomania, I will have to predict at least three more manias by this time next year, along with the continuation of the Russel Brand madness, a Conservative election victory in May, and a collapse of the dollar hegemony once and for all. I also predict that the Libertarian Alliance will make it’s first few tentative steps into the world of podcasting, though via YouTube, which technically won’t make it’s broadcasts podcasts – just a prediction.

18 comments

  • What an excellent post. I am deeply impressed.

    • Thank you, comrade! I ought to also have predicted that I will be giving a talk to my college Philosophy & Religion Society on The Anarchist Solution to the Problem of Social Order. But, as it’s no longer 2014, I will not predict this, but will simply announce it.

  • Maybe you can post the text of your lecture after you’ve delivered it?

    • Yes I will write up something after I have given it, but I am doing it with the aid of a page at the most of very generalised notes. It is going to be based almost exclusively on the work of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, though.

  • There is no evidence at all that the policeman (Officer Wilson) who was attacked by the drugged up criminal Mr Brown was a “racist bastard”, as for the police of New York being “racist bastard” – most of them are not white (something the moron Mayor seems not to know). Even the sergeant at the scene of the death of the cigarette seller (and I am certainly no friend of the absurd level of taxation on cigarettes in New York City) was actually both black and female – but the video does not really show her (as she just sent in men to do the dirty work of arresting the cigarette seller for her – stupid men who confused “physically large” with “strong and fit”).

    Agreed about the “protests” – they are mixture of Red Flag socialists and Black Flag communal “anarchists” – all “social justice” swine (like the Mayor) who hate private property (apart from their own). If they had their way New York would return to the period when there were thousands of murders every year and people were also robbed and raped as a matter of routine (the “Occupy” utopia).

    The Ukraine – pro E.U. social democrats, versus Putin’s thugs who dance around statues of Lenin.

    AGREED – a “piss poor choice”, yes indeed it is.

    The American government certainly does not want a Cold War with Russia – like the pathetic Mr Bush before him, Mr Obama has bent over backwards to try and make friends with Mr Putin. Mr Obama even seems to have believed that his Marxist background would make Mr Putin like him – not understanding that in the KGB people in the West who actually believed in Marxism were known as “shit eaters” (Mr Putin thinks about as highly of Mr Obama as he does those drunken thugs he has hired in the Ukraine).

    As for the House of Saud – they are more interested in attacking the American “Fracking” industry than it is Russia. The House of Saud has been conning American Presidents since the time of Franklin Roosevelt. Although in this case Mr Obama hates the American oil industry (Charles and David Koch and so on) as much as he hates the coal industry – so there may be no conning going on (the Saudis and Mr Obama may have a shared objective – hitting American competitors).

    As for the government of Qatar – their “Al Jazeera” is much the same as Mr Putin’s “RT” on “Fracking” and so on (similar interests). Its anti Americanism is much the same also – “racist police” and the rest of that crap.

    Further Qatar has backed people in Syria that even the Saudis would not back.

    Money has gone from Q straight to ISIS. Although giving weapons to other groups is pointless if they just run away (as the weapons then go to ISIS anyway).

    As for the Sunni V Shia feud (going on in Bahrain and Yemen as well Syria and Iraq) it is just one of those things. America did not cause it (it has been going on for a thousand years) and America can not end it.

    And neither can anyone else.

    As for 2015…..

    More money spent on the “Social Justice” Welfare States – just about everywhere.

    Bankruptcy – economic and cultural marches on.

  • Sadly, I think you are quite right about UKIP.

    As a (roughly) libertarian party they had a chance to become a strong and coherent force in UK politics, even if their numbers would have been quite limited, with most supporters being in south east England. History contains plenty of examples where such small parties have exercised quite disproportionate influence.

    Instead they decided to sacrifice coherence for populism in order to gain support in places like Rotherham, where there are plenty of voters who are fed up with immigration but always keen to have another helping of welfare.

    The result is now a larger and superficially stronger party, but one that is likely to break up if it ever gets close to power – assuming that it does not just collapse under its own weight well before that.

    I take no pleasure in saying that, but that’s just the way it looks.

  • UKIP appears to be very fluid – to judge by the local UKIP in this county I do not think they have yet made up their minds where they stand. For example, if they are opposed to the European Union why put up candidates against Members of the House of Commons who are openly opposed to the European Union? That can only benefit the Labour party, which is fanatically pro E.U.

    If UKIP really thinks the Cameron government is spending too little on the Welfare State and so on, then I do not think cooperation is possible – after all “right wingers” like me are on record as saying the Cameron spends too much (not too little) on just about everything (apart from defence). However, I am not sure that UKIP really believes that the government is spending too little – as I say they are still fluid, where they stand has yet to become clear (we shall just have to see). Full disclosure – my coffee mug still has “David Davis” printed upon it, I do not think anyone in the Association thinks of me as a fan of the present leadership (although I fully accept the results of the democratic leadership election which went against us).

    On Scotland – I am a Unionist by sentiment (not a bad thing). This is the year of anniversaries – Waterloo (the charge of the Scots Greys), the 70 anniversary of World War II (all the sacrifice for freedom of Scottish regiments). The 50 anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill – as much the Prime Minister of Scotland as of England (in the 1950s a lot of Scotland was a Conservative place – this is almost forgotten now, even the election of 1964 is ancient history).

    It was actually sentiment (not the desire for English tax money) that turned the tide in Scotland – older people who could remember World War II, and Korea and Malaya and even the Falklands War (it came as a shock to me that the young generation had no memory or knowledge of this conflict) were loyal to the United Kingdom, the young (the brainwashed products of the schools and universities) were not.

    I think that bodes ill for the long term future of the United Kingdom. Unless experience of the real world changes the attitudes of the young.

  • Keir, 2014 was one of the most important years in recent times – see http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/top-five-events-2014#axzz3NfBwq4N5 for discussion. I think we have to see the rise of UKIP in the context of the further decline of Europe, which means that even within the British Establishment there is a degree of disquiet over the way we are linked to the least dynamic part of the world economy. The Russia/Ukraine thing is a further sign of movement in geopolitical affairs, coupled with the further rise of China vis-a-vis America. I personally think it is a mistake for the EU to do the bidding of the Americans in opposing Russia. While it can be “spun” that Russia a threat to the EU, it is much truer to say that US meddling in Kiev is the real threat to the EU, when EU relations with Russia and the Ukraine were stable prior to the coup. We can’t see the final dénouement, but I think the Atlantic alliance is well beyond its sell-by date, and countries adjacent to Russia need to find a way to live with Russia, one that includes Russia and doesn’t attempt to exclude it. I want to find time this week to write a blog on a new form of EU that embraced our common identity as Europeans of Christian heritage and that found a way to bring Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus in from the cold.

    • I will read the link provided later today. And I agree with you completely in everything after the link. Sounds crawly, but it’s true.

  • Good post.

    I disagree on Scottish independence. Independence would have meant more socialism, not less than the status quo. The referendum was not on secession per se, in the abstract, but on the Scottish National Party’s White Paper. The SNP hardly promotes a vision of an independent Scotland within a free market, or anything else a libertarian could sympathise with.

    That said, I did find George Galloway’s defence of the Union from a socialist perspective quite interesting: he argued that in a formal currency union with the United Kingdom, a pseudo-independent Scotland would basically be forced to impose the UK Conservative government’s economic policies and be ruled by proxy from Westminster, only without a voice in London. He foresaw, in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote, a “race to the bottom” with competitive taxation. Galloway seemed to be a lone voice among Scottish leftists in opposing a ‘Yes’ vote, although his arguments made sense to me based on socialist principles, according to which class divisions are of greater negative significance than cultural or national differences. Socialists should, except where there is genuine oppression by one group of another in the same country, stand against all forms of nationalism.

    I do not think UKIP will split in 2015 unless they fail to do as well as they expect in the General Election. This year is arguably the most crucial in the party’s history: if they peak this year with unimpressive results, it will be the end of the road for them unless they replace Farage with a long-standing party member, which is with its own risks anyway as long as UKIP is perceived as a one-man band with its current leader as the main face and appeal to the electorate.

    What is certain, though, is that the obsessive pursuit of ‘professionalisation’ means becoming part of the Establishment and moderating its line. I have not yet worked out why: the mainstream media, nonplussed, have admitted that that the mud thrown at UKIP does not stick (hence the moniker ‘Teflon Nigel’); UKIP’s success so far has been because of, not despite, its wanton disregard for political correctness and professional, career politics. Farage has traditionally done very well publicly in not only saving, but boosting, his party’s appeal in the face of controversy, abuse, and attack. The disconnected, forgotten White working class was already switching from Labour or apathy to UKIP before the party took a leftwards shift on a few key issues; even their immigration policy has been appreciably softened, not that you would realise by reading a newspaper.

    And that highlights the point: the media will always be against UKIP and fire as much manure as the cows can shit at the party, so ‘respectable’ (in the eyes of the ruling class, of course) policy changes will go wilfully ignored. Why bother, UKIP?

    We are in politically unprecedented time, I feel. 2015 will be one to watch.

    • I predict – though I have stopped reading all newspapers, and only get the 7am bulletin on Radio 3 – that the Conservatives will win this year’s general election, and that UKIP will do badly. The reason is that, outside the public sector workers and those of the ethnic minorities who care to vote, no one wants Labour back. That means voting Tory. Add to this that the SNP will probably do well in Scotland.

      Oh, and before Ian B jumps in, let me say that this is a prediction, not a wish. Mr Dave is awful, and his Ministers are lower than vermin. But they will pick up the anti-Labour vote.

      My advice to UKIP is to wait for whatever English-Votes-for-English-Laws settlement emerges, and for Labour to implode, and then become the main alternative to the Conservative Party. Seriously trying to win seats in this year’s general election will almost certainly end in disappointment.

    • I agree that independence would have meant more socialism. However, this would not have lasted. Just as the Soviet Union had to abandon full socialisation of the means of production and allow some private ownership and some decentralisation, Scotland would not go all the way and would slowly become a Singapore of the North (to borrow a phrase I heard Andy Duncan use).

      And re: Galloway, I like the man. He’s sound on the Middle East and, yes, as you said, he’s nothing if not a consistent socialist. I prefer someone to be consistently wrong than to meet me halfway. That’s why I sometimes find I can have better conversations with nationalists, socialists, etc, than with a minarchist. But I digress.

      UKIP, I’ll repeat, will have to split. They have peaked as far as their libertarianism is concerned; they are no longer a party of the right. Shortly, it has been said, they will release details of a range of leftist economic policies to please their Old Labour supporters. UKIP may or may not win a few seats in May, but that’s largely irrelevant.

      I predict that this year, Farage will stand down to make way for – that’s just it! Who? It will be rather like the British National Party: Griffin was a ‘moderniser’ and a white nationalist leading a party of thugs and national socialists and now they’ve rid themselves of him they are back to squabbling and insignificance. UKIP is led by a man who is (in public) libertarian-leaning – in private, and in the past for that matter, he’s rather more radical – but UKIP is increasingly made up of your average 1970s Labour voters. These people are an interesting bunch since most of them have not voted since the 70s and 80s.

      When Farage leaves he will be replaced by, so far as I can tell, one of three types: someone like Paul Nuttall, someone who has been in the party for a while and who would be happy to stand by each of UKIP’s previous manifestos – someone sincere and harmless; someone from the new leftist wave of membership – someone sincere and clueless; Douglas Carswell – a modern day Whig and a faux libertarian.

      As I don’t have time to dwell to much on each of these scenarios in turn, i.e. Nuttall as leader, an Old Labour-style socialist as leader, or Carswell as leader, I’ll simply say that these three groups are not compatible and to refine my prediction a little further I will say that the end result of UKIP will be something like three parties, a Paleoconservative party, a National Socialist party, and a ‘Libertarian’ (Cameron with lower taxes) party. As for Carswell, it seems plain that he is now regretting joining UKIP, hence his politically correct sermon in the Mail on Sunday about how UKIP needs to love foreigners and the modern world: has he forgotten that he’s a UKIP MP suddenly?

      • Well, at least one of your predictions has come true.

        Yes, I also think Farage will stand down either this year or next; UKIP’s GE performance will dictate exactly when, I predict. Nuttall would be, for me, at a quick glance, the best replacement: a young Scouser from deprived Bootle, he could appeal to Northern voters (as if UKIP has not already appealed to them) without having to shift to the Left on any issues, with the added advantage of being a long-timer within the party. I am not expert on internal politics, but he seems to me to be well-liked, and he can hold his own in the public eye.

        I am not sure whether Carswell regrets joining UKIP, but he is certainly intent on changing it. Maybe he fancies running for leader himself? I do not wish to imply he has self-serving, devious agenda, but I would not discount it either.

        If UKIP splits, I reckon there will be two groups: ‘old UKIP’ (the Bloom, politically incorrect, contrarian, classical liberal cloth) and ‘new UKIP’ (the Carswell, moderate, professional, bit-of-a-catch-all brand).

        I cannot help but wonder why and how UKIP has become so wrong-headed on strategy. These developments are very recent — within the last two years, I would say. The party of old army majors, dyspeptic conservatives, and the wealthy, southern middle class is now the party of Old Labour, the professional politician, and the angry White worker.

        It grates on me to concede that a huge opportunity has been wasted, but I know deep down that this is true.

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