Category Archives: DNA

Libertarian Alliance Statement on the New British Government


Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 193
16th May 2010
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc193.htm
Available for debate on LA Blog at  http://wp.me/p29oR-3p4

Two Cheers for the Coalition:
The Libertarian Alliance on the New British Government
By Sean Gabb

I have been asked, as Director of the Libertarian Alliance, to make a response to the forming of a coalition government last week in Britain by the Conservative and Liberal Parties. In making this response, I do not claim to speak in every detail for the other members of the Executive Committee. But what I will say is broadly the opinion of the majority.

Briefly put, we welcome the new Government. However dishonest the individual Ministers may be, however bad may be their ideological motivations, we believe that, in its overall effects, this Government may, by its own compound nature, be compelled to move the country in a more libertarian direction. We understand the dejection of our conservative friends. These regard the Coalition as a disaster. They were hoping for a Conservative Government led by conservatives. Instead, they have a coalition government that will not withdraw from the European Union, will be easily as politically correct as Labour, and that will push forward the Green agenda regardless of cost and regardless of the scientific evidence. This seems a fair assessment of how our new masters at least want to behave. Nevertheless, we believe that the Coalition – assuming it can hold together – is immeasurably an improvement on the Blair and Brown Governments that went before it, and that it may even be rather good. We may find much that is objectionable, and we have no doubt that there will be more. But there is no point in denying that we are quietly pleased.

The worst possible outcome of the general election would have been another Labour majority. The Blair and Brown Governments had created a police state at home, and had involved us abroad in at least three wars of military aggression. They had on their hands the blood of perhaps a million innocents. That had turned the police and most of the administration into arms of the Labour Party. They had doubled, or tripled, or quadrupled, the national debt – no one seems to be quite sure by how much, but the debt has undoubtedly exploded. Though lavishing huge taxpayer subsidies on the Celtic nations, they were far advanced to destroying England as any kind of recognisable nation. Their commitment to the European Union was solely for a procedural device for ruling by decree. They had abolished habeas corpus and the protections against double jeopardy. They were working to abolish trial by jury. It is impossible to find any other government in British – or, before then, in English – history that had destroyed so comprehensively and so deliberately in so short a time. When I saw that Labour had lost its majority, I rejoiced. When I thought it might cling to power in some coalition of the losers, I trembled. When Gordon Brown finally resigned, I opened a bottle of champagne

Nor, however, would we have welcomed a Conservative majority. David Cameron is – unless constrained – an arrogant and untrustworthy creature. Our conservative friends may have expected much of him. Or they may have thought they could extract much from him. But they were always deluding themselves. We knew, from the way he slithered out of his promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, that he had no intention of looking at British Membership of the European Union. We knew that he would never lift a finger against coercive multiculturalism, and that he would drive on the Green agenda. In these respects, a Conservative Government would have been no different in its actions – rhetoric being another matter – than the actual Coalition Government will be.

From our point of view, indeed, a Conservative majority would have been far worse than the Coalition. The Conservatives had promised to roll back much of the Labour police state. They promised to scrap identity cards and the national identity register. They promised to look at the thousands of new criminal offences created since 1997, and to restore many of the procedural rights taken away by Labour. We always regarded these promises as worthless. Conservatives – Thatcherite or Cameronian – have never had much commitment to civil liberties. They know something about economics, and have some regard for the national interest. But they have never been enthusiastic about substantive freedom and its procedural safeguards. If they denounce police states, it is usually because they think the wrong people are in control of them. The Labour police state, after all, was built on foundations laid down by the preceding Conservative Governments. The commitments on civil liberties were simply intended as bargaining counters between Mr Cameron and his traditionalist wing. He would deny his traditionalists any shift in European policy. He would buy them off by shelving the abolition of identity cards, and by cancelling any efforts to bring the police and bureaucracy back under the rule of law.

And an outright Conservative win would have strengthened Mr Cameron’s position within the Party, and the position of all the worthless young men and women who had attached themselves to him. They would have regarded this as a mandate for their own remodelling of the Conservative Party. The purges and centralised control that began when Mr Cameron took over would have been carried ruthlessly forward.

But, thanks to his general dishonesty and to the particular incompetence of his election campaign, Mr Cameron did not get his majority. Instead of being carried in shoulder high, he and his friends were forced to crawl naked on their bellies into Downing Street. He was forced to enter a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. These, to be sure, are not as liberal or democratic as they like to claim. Their belief in liberty is often little more than political correctness. Many of them are state socialists. Their cooperation with the Brown Government to deny us our promised referendum on the European Constitution shows what they think of voting when its result might not go their own way. No one can blame them for threatening Mr Cameron that they would go into coalition with Labour if he did not give them what they wanted. But we can doubt the sanity and goodness of those who continue regretting that there was no “progressive” coalition – a coalition, that is, with tyrants and murderers. Even so, the Coalition Government has now been formed; and there is some chance that it may compel each party to behave better than either might have by itself.

There probably will now be a considerable rolling back of the Labour police state. Identity cards and the national identity register will almost certainly go. We do not believe that the extension of detention without charge will be formally reversed. But we do believe that it will be surrounded with safeguards that effectively reverse it. We hope it will be the same with juryless trials and the DNA database, and with police powers in general. There will be at least a limited return to freedom of speech as it was enjoyed before 1997, and of the right to peaceful protest, and of security of our homes from arbitrary searches and seizures. As said, we never believed any of the Conservative assurances about civil liberties. But the Liberal Democrats will demand their full implementation – plus a little more. They will demand this to settle their own consciences for supporting cuts in government spending.

Turning to the economy, here as well the Coalition may do good work. The Labour Ministers never understood economics. They were fundamentally Marxists in expensive suits. Intellectually, they never appreciated the nexus of individual choices that is market freedom as other than some aggregated box called “The Economy” into which they could dip as they pleased. What they described as their promotion of enterprise never went beyond trading favours with big business.

The Conservatives and many of the Liberal Democrats do seem to understand economics. They know that taxes and government spending are both too high, and that the objects of government spending are often malign. They believe not only that the current nature and scale of government activity is unaffordable, but also that it is immoral. They will deregulate.

Now, economics was always the Conservative strong point, and it may be thought that the Liberal Democrats have nothing of their own to offer. However, we in the Libertarian Alliance have never liked the Conservative approach to economic reform. Their tax cuts favoured the rich. Their deregulations turned those at the bottom into casualised serfs. Their privatisations turned state monopolies into income streams for their friends in big business. They were better in all these respects than Labour. But we are interested to see what the Liberal Democrats will now be able to contribute with their belief in raising tax thresholds for the poor at the expense of the rich, and their belief in mutual institutions to provide public services in place both of the State and of big business.

As for political reform, we hear the complaints of our conservative friends that the Constitution will be overthrown if the electoral system is changed, or if the lifetime of a Parliament is fixed. We are also astonished at these complaints. We are not about to suffer a revolution. We have already had a revolution. Since 1997, Labour has come close to destroying the whole constitutional settlement of this country as it emerged after 1688. However unwise or evil it may have been to do this, it has been done, and there is no going back to the old order. We need a thorough reform of our political institutions to safeguard such liberty as we retain, or such liberty as may be returned to us. We see nothing wrong with any of the changes so far suggested.

Our conservative friends defend the current electoral system as ensuring “strong government”. We know what they really mean. Their fantasy is that they can stage some coup within the Conservative Party and then get a majority in Parliament on about a quarter of the total possible vote. We are still waiting for them to take over the Conservative Party. While waiting, we have endured thirty one years of strong – and usually disastrously bad – government. If neither the Conservative not Labour Parties had got a majority since 1983, it is hard to see how this country would be worse off than it is. It might easily be better.

Another objection we hear to electoral reform is that it would put the Liberal Democrats permanently into government. This claim is based on the assumption that the three main parties would continue in being. In truth, all of these parties are diverse coalitions brought together by history and kept together by the iron logic of the first-past-the-post system. Give us some less random – or perhaps less biased – correlation of seats in Parliament to votes cast, and all these parities will be gradually pulled apart, and their parts may then be recombined into more natural groupings.

We will not comment on the proposed fixed term to the current Parliament, or on the enhanced majority needed to bring down the Coalition. We understand that these proposals extend to this Parliament alone. If they are found to be convenient, they may continue by statute or by convention. If not, they will not continue. But these are not libertarian issues.

In conclusion, the Libertarian Alliance wants more – much more – than all this. We want the full relegalisation of drugs. We want the right to keep and bear arms for self-defence. We want complete freedom of speech and association, and this includes the right of consenting adults to free expression of their sexuality. We want the removal of all corporate privilege from the rich and well-connected. We want the poor to be given free opportunity to make themselves independent of both state welfare and wage labour. We want taxes and government spending cut back to where they stood before the Great War – and that is only a beginning. We believe in freedom in the fullest sense. The Coalition will not come close to giving us what we want.

Nevertheless, we do welcome what we have so far seen of the Coalition. Its nature may force both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to do better than either would have done given complete freedom. The Conservatives may be compelled to deliver on their civil liberties promises. The Liberal Democrats may be forced to think seriously about their mutualist leanings now that their preferred state socialist option is off the table. The British electorate is not a single creature. It is only a singular noun that describes several dozen million individuals and a system that allocates votes to seats almost randomly. But we can understand those who claim that the British people, in all their wisdom, have stood up at last and given themselves the very best government that was on offer.

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/ya4pzuh

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BBC News – Full Text: Conservative-Lib Dem deal


Sean Gabb

This all looks very promising.

10. Civil liberties

The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.

This will include:

  • A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.
  • The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.
  • Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.
  • The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.
  • Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.
  • The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.
  • The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.
  • The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.
  • Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.
  • Further regulation of CCTV.
  • Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.
  • A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.
  • BBC News – Full Text: Conservative-Lib Dem deal

    “Is farming the root of all evil?” – the buggers are really having a go at us now…


    ….they’re ‘avvin-a-luff… gotta be.

    David Davis

    Having read a Jared Diamond book a few years ago, I began to think the bugger was suspect at the time (Guns, germs and Steel.) Now I know he’s a member of the Enemy Class after all.

    Labour “Peers” and “cash for law changes”: the buggers get off.


    Of course they will: whatever did we suppose?

    David Davis

    There are two nations now – firstly, the one the Enemy Class inhabits (see Dr Sean Gabb’s site for further clarification of these buggers) into which there is Active Transport of money, up a very very steep Concentration Gradient.

    And then there is the one they chain us in  – fenced in by cameras, terror-police and DNA databases, where the money is produced, and from which it is extracted, as if we are their farm animals.

    At least Old Holborn has said something about this sad matter. Everybody else seems as bored as we are.

    This will be fun to watch


    David Davis

    What’s the betting that poor young James Purnell won’t succeed, and he’s just become a a Brownian Sacrificial Swipe at the New Left, for Brownelectoral reasons?

    The socialists can’t afford to abolish their clientariat.

    They can’t. Just can’t.

    It does not matter what their name is. James Purnell. Frank Field. Gordon Brown. Clem Attlee, Ted Heath (huh?)

    If they do, they will never get their hands on the levers of power again, for “the people” will have abolished these, if truly liberated.

    Sean Gabb on the DNA Database


    file:///C:/user/Sean/Writings/Sean%20Gabb%20Website/flcomm/flc155.htm

    Free Life Commentary,
    A Personal View from
    The Director of the
    Libertarian Alliance
    Issue Number 155
    26th October 2006
    14th June 2006
    |

    On Opposing the DNA Database
    by Sean Gabb

    (Update by blogmeister: this subject is topical and we spoke on this blog about it earlier today, at this link. )

    Last Monday evening—the 23rd October 2006—I was called into the London studio of Sky News to put a case against constructing a database of DNA samples from the whole British population. Tony Blair had been on his hind legs again, braying for the final abolition of freedom in this country. Watched by about a million people, I am told I did rather well in opposing him and his kind. So now, revising an article I wrote back in 2000, I will put my case in writing.

    The main problem whenever this sort of proposal is made, is that debate is constructed in terms of either consenting to exactly whatever is proposed, or doing nothing at all about crime. Within this structure of argument, opponents can be presented as indifferent to crime, or even as more interested in the rights of criminals than of their victims.

    The secret of winning such debates lies in persuading enough people to reject the assumptions that underlie the structure of debate.

    Let us briefly examine these assumptions.

    First, it is assumed that a DNA database is essential if crime is to be reduced. This is not so. It would be better to legalise drugs. Millions of consenting acts that are presently illegal would then drop out of the crime figures. At the same time, competition from legitimate suppliers would bankrupt the criminal gangs that have turned parts of London and Manchester into low-intensity war zones; and lowered prices would reduce the vast number of burglaries and street crimes now committed by drug users.

    For those acts still criminal we could have much stronger punishments. The notion that serious threats to lock criminals away for very long periods, or to flog or mutilate them, or to hang them, will have no deterrent effect is so laughable, that only someone with a Sociology degree could propose it; and only a fool could really believe it.

    Then the laws regarding self-defence could be changed. It is a scandal that respectable people in this country are not allowed to use whatever force they think necessary to defend their lives and property. Tony Martin was put in prison for the bizarre crime of “murdering” a burglar. If he was to blame for anything, it was for his moderation in not going after the other two thieves who broke into his house, and executing them as well.

    Each by itself, these reforms would take us back to the crime figures of about 1970. Combined, we might find ourselves back in the 1950s. Of course, the authorities affect horror and even incredulity at the thought of doing these things. They would rather have their DNA database.

    Second, it is assumed that a DNA database would reduce crime. Undoubtedly, it would have some effect, but this would be mostly against those criminals likely to be caught and punished in any event. There might at best be a small drop in the cost of policing.  But anyone aware of the optimistic claims made when finger printing was first introduced must know that the more intelligent criminals will simply take more care to hide their identity. That will need more this time than wearing gloves. But I doubt if it will need anything very hard or expensive.

    It is, of course, true that some crimes would be solved by having a DNA database. In his comments the other day, Mr Blair mentioned various rapes and murders that were only solved decades afterwards by accidental matches of DNA samples. But something still more effective in the fight against crime would be making everyone in the country go about with a bar code tattooed on his forehead. This would reduce any number of petty frauds. Given the right sort of scanning machines in public, it would allow lost children to be found in minutes, and allow the authorities to keep an eye on known criminals. I can easily multiply the number of alleged benefits a salesman for the big computer companies might make to the Home Office. But I ask instead—would you willingly present your face for the tattooist’s needle?

    This brings us to the third assumption of the debate—that a DNA database would be used only for crime control. Even granting that our present rulers are entirely to be trusted—at the very least a dubious assumption—we cannot be sure what they will be like a generation from now. But we can be sure that a database set up now to cover those who are arrested will, without any positive extension, soon cover most of the population. It would a useful tool for any government wanting to exercise the tyrannical powers it now has only in theory.

    As Albert J. Nock once observed, every time we give a government power to do things for us, we also give it the power to do things to us. I cannot think of a better illustration of this truth than a DNA database.

    You may huff and puff and insist you have nothing to fear from a database of your DNA. After all, the authorities keep promising how much safer it will make you. But do you want your children to go on that database? Can you be sure that some demented government scientist two decades from now will not decide that the surest way to heaven on earth is to stop certain people from breeding? Can you be sure that your children will not show up negative on a DNA database that will have enabled an old authoritarian fantasy to be made into bureaucratic reality?

    Are there no criminal tendencies somewhere in your family background? No racial or sexual characteristics that may one day be again be as unfashionable as they have been in other times and places? No bad eyes or flat feet? No predisposition to obesity or illnesses that it will for the foreseeable future be expensive to treat on the National Health Service?

    Bear in mind that, with a certainty not known since the 1940s, the relevant scientists are proclaiming that your destiny is in your genes. This may be true. Whatever the case, it is and will remain the consensus. Can you believe it will never be attractive to politicians ignorant of the science, but struggling with the problems of crime control and ballooning health budgets?

    Do you want grandchildren? Or do you want to risk seeing your genes scientifically combed from the general pool?

    Or do you want your DNA samples handed over to foreign governments? I imagine data will soon be shared between the various governments of the European Union, which will certainly include Rumania and Bulgaria and possibly Turkey as well.

    Or do you want your DNA samples at risk of theft from thieves? I cannot imagine what use it might be to them. But who can say what things will be useful in the future?

    Or do you want the police to use your DNA samples to get you falsely convicted of a criminal offence? This has been happening with fingerprinting as long as it has been around. With finger prints, it is a matter of using sellotape to copy prints from one object to another. I imagine the police will soon find ways to do this with DNA samples. And the courts will be just as willing as with finger prints to take DNA evidence as effectively conclusive proof of guilt.

    If your answer is what it ought to be, let us turn back to an investigation of what other measures may be available for the fight against crime.

    This is the framework within which debate on the DNA database should proceed So long as the present framework of assumptions continues unchallenged, there can be no effective opposition.

    I am pleased with how well I put my case last Monday evening. But I am sure that others can and will do better.

    Extremely satisfying news…for a change.


    UPDATE 2: Sean Gabb commented on 26th October 2006, about this same problem when the DNA database was, reltively, in its infancy, and was being masturbated over in public by Tony Blair.

    UPDATE 1: Philip Johnston in the DT has opinions about what the Stalinists government will now decide to do.

    David Davis (not that one, no, I’m just the duty-bumpkin )

    The Police are going to be “asked” (I guess that’s what it will be) by the European Court of Human Rights to “wipe” the DNA records and perhaps other info on “about one million people”. Knowing today’s British-State-Policing-Strategy-Directors, whoever they may be, as we suspect that we do, we wonder how soon this landmark event will take place – think what it is…..the absolute destruction of pinpointing information on about a million British males.

    Of course 99% of them are males: what did you expect? And a higher-than-average percentage of them are “black” too, and “young”. This is also wrong and should be addressed, but there may be other socialist-based reasons for this apparent crime-apartheid, such as the education system being designed to fail young males in particular as this is deliberate, and the multicultis deliberately separating the socialisation of “young black males” from the culture they live in, via media-music, “rap” (whatever that may be) State schools, Maxo-Gramscian teachers, and ministers who “groom” the said teachers to be lefties, and the like.

    Do you think for one minute that the feminazis would have kept so quiet about such a terror-tool, as they have done – their silence is deafening – if even a slightly appreciable percentage of wimmin (of any sort whatever) were on it?

    Nay: it is good that there is a “ruling”. I can’t say, personally, what notice the “Police” “Forces” of this state will take, yet, or at all. They may, they may not. They may make a show of “destroying” “records”, of a sort. This will be for Sir Paul Dacre’s benefit.

    But it is good that the EU Soviet is at least pretending to look out for people’s interests, in some things, sometimes. Sean gabb and I both agree that the EU is “a” problem for liberty, but ultimately it is not “the” problem – which is our home-grown (sadly) bureauNazis.

    I have recently been criticed on here for bandying about the word “Nazis” too freely. I have therefore decided, that, in the manner of Margaret Thatcher, who read the Guardian each morning and then decided to do the opposite of what it recommended, that I do not use it freely enough. Stalinists of even more kinds than before will now be dubbed what they are: Nazis.

    The essence of freedom and individual liberty lies in the free use of language, its ability to adapt to changing threats (threats change all the time: Nazis are no more stupid than we are: just wrong and thus bad becuase they have freely decided to forcibly promote socialism.)

    They, the leftie Database-promoting-bastards, such as the Home Office, and some Police chiefs here I expect, must live and be and bear it, to thank the German language and its colloquial orthography, for the spoken grammar that gave rise to the single most sound-bitey word I can find, which describes best all that socialists stand for and do. Remember that Stalin was always Hitler’s ally: his only mistake in the war, which was I guess fortunate for him and for the USSR (sadly) was that he had not properly read “Mein Kampf”, and what it said about which brand of socialists Russia was going to be for.

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