By ilana mercer
From their plush apartments, over groaning dinner tables, pseudo-intellectuals have the luxury of depicting squalor and sickness as idyllic, primordially peaceful and harmonious. After all, when the affluent relinquish their earthly possessions to return to the simple life, it is always with aid of sophisticated technology and the option to be air-lifted to a hospital if the need arises. Read more
Category Archives: Reflections
By ilana mercer
The first past the post electoral system seems to survive in England purely by virtue of its utility to the powers that be. This voting system excludes challengers to the main parties, even though the main parties are struggling to garner 60% of the support of those who will vote in the forthcoming general election (and a minority of the electorate as a whole, once those who don’t vote are included).
There are all sorts of reasons to retain the traditional system, including inertia and the perceived need to represent specific areas in Parliament and not simply choose candidates from a party list.
I have a solution. Traditionally, in England there were the burgesses (knights who represented individual boroughs) and the knights of the shire, two per county, suggesting there is some traditional basis for regarding each county as a single multi-member constituency. I suggest we go with the knights of the shire concept, and regard each county, in its traditional borders, as a single constituency, electing an appropriate number of MPs to represent the English population therein. [Note: it is my view that only the English population should be represented and that therefore the number of MPs should reflect the indigenous population only.]
For example: Hampshire in its traditional borders included the Isle of Wight. The traditional county of Hampshire is represented by 18 or 19 MPs. As a single multi-member constituency electing, say, 18 MPs, the 18 could be chosen by proportional representation. For example, if the Conservatives got 50% of the vote in Hampshire, 9 Conservative MPs could be selected from the party list. That way, there is still a regional link: these are not simply MPs from a party list, but MPs with a link to Hampshire alone on a party list. We could also require that candidates show descent from a Hampshire family to ensure that Hampshire’s interests were properly represented.
Bringing back the other traditional counties, we can see that Middlesex would cover much of Greater London and be a single constituency. Yorkshire would be the greatest prize. In all these cases, the MPs would be chosen by proportional representation from a multi-member constituency in just the same way that Euro MPs are chosen by PR to represent a multi-member European constituency.
This would be superior to first past the post and to pure PR, because the regional link would still exist. A voter would be free to contact any of the county’s MPs or to contact the one who lived nearest to him.
The City of London with a small population would have at least 1 MP. Rutland as the English county with the smallest population would have at least 1MP. The traditional counties of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be represented in the same way.
This would lead to a opening up of politics — a genuine democratic renewal.
Of New York Times columnist David Brooks it has been said that he is “the sort of conservative pundit that liberals like.” Not being a conservative or a liberal, I find him consistently wishy–washy and inane, without a controversial or interesting thought in that head of his.
Although it comes close, Brooks’ “Act of Rigorous Forgiving,” dealing with the antics of NBC’s Brian Williams, is not a complete dog’s breakfast of a column. The aspect of the Brooks column that piqued this scribe’s curiosity is that of forgiveness. Read more
I have outlined in many blogs a unique perspective on libertarianism—and one not universally shared—although I believe my argument has been welcomed as a springboard for debate. I have made clear that actually I am a social conservative, and libertarianism is, for me, not contradictory to the traditions of England in the pre-war period. Then, social conservatism and freedom from too much state intervention were both the norm. I argue that conservative traditions are the very reason why the state was kept out: strong families do not require state intervention. Read more
by D.J. Webb
There seems to be great confusion among libertarians on moral issues, including, most notably, the central importance of marriage in society. It is held by some that in a “free society” people may behave as they please, or even ought to do so, and that any attempt to uphold fundamental social values that underpin the fabric of society is simply equivalent to the imposition of an authoritarian conservative social agenda. Read more
Various prominent British libertarians seem now agreed that The Endarkenment approaches. The signs have been increasingly clear for some time. The fact that liberty is the mother of order and not its daughter is inconvenient for those that mean to boot the vast majority of Mankind – except themselves – backwards, cruelly, painfully and hard into pre-enlightenment misery, starvation, disease and servitude.
Being a scientist myself by training and thought-modes, and therefore by definition not an intellectual – I have never figured out why humans get to want to bring about – and worse, specifically for others than themselves – what I described above.
It always seems after careful analysis of their plans, that they would like to visit upon the whole of humanity what Churchill described as “the torments that Dante reserved for the damned”.
[Incidentally, I think that “intellectual” (the noun) is is a mere imaginary literary concept, applied by primitive pre-scientific mystics to themselves and their friends who still work according to neolithic non-tribe-male-skull-crashing theories of how to behave towards others, and are driven by emotion and wishful thinking. This may become the subject of another discussion, but perhaps I may accidentally have defined “conservatives” as definitely not these people. We shall have to see, when I have time to try to write something again.]
by D.J. Webb
After reading unpleasant news today, I have to say the first thing I would do if I were in power is to release the Marine framed for a “crime” in Afghanistan and sentenced to life imprisonment today . I have clarified repeatedly that libertarianism has nothing to do with the idea there should be no nations and no borders. There need to be borders so we can defend our nation and its culture. Freedom can only be realised as part of a free society, not a ragbag of individuals, and so that society needs to be defended. There are going to be foreign opponents of the UK that our soldiers confront in battle – it is irrelevant for my purposes that the stated objective of bringing democracy, sweetness and light to Afghanistan was unachievable from the outset and had no connection to our national interests.