Free Life Commentary,
an independent journal of comment published on the Internet
Issue Number 26
Thursday 31st December 1998

Hard Labour, Worthless Tories
by Sean Gabb

Free Life Commentary,
an independent journal of comment

published on the Internet
Issue Number 40
16th May 2000

Double Jeopardy
and the Conservative Party,

by Sean Gabb

This coming Thursday the 18th May, William Hague, Leader of the British Conservative Party, will give a lecture to the Police Foundation on his party's approach to law and order. In the course of this lecture, he will comment on the issue of double jeopardy, which has come recently under much discussion. If I were he, I would comment as follows:

"Double jeopardy is a rule of our Common Law which prevents a person from being tried more than once for the same or for a substantially similar offence. Undoubtedly, it sometimes allows a criminal to escape his just punishment. Either his lies are believed by a Jury, or the prosecution does not find compelling evidence of guilt until it is too late.

"However, the alternative to this rule, which is to give the prosecution the right of appeal against acquittal, is attended by far greater risks to the administration of justice. In any country, the prosecuting authorities have a vast and permanent advantage over every person accused of a crime. The authorities choose whether, what, when and how charges should be brought against an individual. They have unlimited money and access to the best lawyers. They are usually more intelligent, and always more experienced in the workings of the system, than a defendant. So far as the media and many judges and magistrates—and even many juries—are concerned, there is a certain bias in favour of the authorities; and the evidence of a police officer will often be heard with greater respect than that of a defendant.

"It was to counter these advantages that our ancestors, starting many hundreds of years ago, evolved a systematic bias in favour of the defence in criminal trials. Thus we have habeas corpus, to prevent a person from being held in captivity without charge or conviction. We have the presumption of innocence, so that the whole burden of proof falls on the prosecution, and that any substantial defect in the prosecution case must result in an acquittal. We have trial by jury, to ensure that judgments of guilt or innocence shall be made by a defendant's peers, and not by a judge employed by the Crown. And we have the double jeopardy rule, to ensure that an acquittal is the complete end of a prosecution, and that a defendant need not live under fear of being tried again before a different judge and jury or in a different climate of opinion.

"Such is the wisdom of our ancestors as evidenced through thirty generations, and as revered throughout the whole English-speaking world. As the Leader of the Conservative Party, I consider myself bound by that wisdom. I see no good reason for changing the double jeopardy rule. There is no public emergency that seems to require any departure from the rule. Indeed, in the far greater emergencies of war—in the French war of the early 19th century, for example, and in the two German wars of the 20th century —there was no departure from the rule.

"It has been suggested that the rule should be modified in the gentlest manner—that a case can be reopened only if evidence is later found that would almost certainly have produced a conviction as the earlier trial, and in cases where a conviction would lead to heavy punishment. As I have already stated my presumption in favour of our ancient laws, and denied that any reason can be found for change, I do not need to consider the details of this proposal. I will only say that to depart from a rule is very often to establish a new rule. We have seen this in recent years with the presumption of innocence. The Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 reversed the burden of proof as regarded confiscation orders against drug dealers. We were told at the time that this was an exceptional change from the ancient rule and that it would not be allowed to form a precedent. Within two years, the exception was quietly accepted as a new rule; and we are today on the verge of accepting the full American system of civil asset forfeiture—as corrupt and arbitrary a procedure as ever was seen in a civilised country.

"Moreover, while the proposal to change the double jeopardy rule is in form domestic, I cannot help but see a European Union agenda in its substance. My audience will surely know of the proposed Corpus Juris, which is the draft of what may become a single European system of criminal justice. If adopted, this would set up a European Public Prosecutor on the continental inquisitorial model. This person would have an overriding jurisdiction throughout the European Union, to instruct national authorities to issue arrest warrants, to have suspects to other countries in Europe, and to hold them in detention for up to nine months without the need to produce evidence of a crime and with no right to public hearing. Trials are to be held before professional judges sitting alone, 'and not simple jurors or lay magistrates' (Article 26). And so there is no place in this new system of law for either habeas corpus or for trial by jury.

"Nor is there any real place for double jeopardy. Article 27(2) reads: In the case of total or partial acquittal, appeal is... open to the EPP as a prosecuting party.... "Though the Government has promised to resist the imposition of Corpus Juris, it is quietly enacting it into domestic law. This is the reason for the limitations on trial by jury now proposed by Jack Straw. It is the reason for the proposed recognition by the British courts of all European judgments and orders and warrants without prior investigation. It is the reason for the Lord Chancellor's proposal to abolish the ancient system of lay magistrates and to replace them with professionals. The Government has promised to resist Corpus Juris, while quietly removing those ancient constitutional rights most incompatible with its eventual imposition. The questioning of the double jeopardy rule must be seen in this context.

"All this being the case, I promise that the Conservative Party will put up a hard and uncompromising fight against any efforts to change the double jeopardy rule. And if we are unsuccessful in opposition, then we shall, on returning to government, make its restoration a matter of urgency."

That is what I would say in Mr Hague's position. That, I think, is what any English conservative would say in his position. He, however, has decided to call for the rule to be abolished. Or so his publicity people told the newspapers last Sunday. I could almost see the wolfish smile on the Ministers' faces as they denounced him for going further than they intend. Instead of facing a resolute opposition when they introduce their own change in the rule later this year, they will now be able to cry it up as a moderate compromise; and no one of any importance in Parliament will say a word against.

It is at times like this that I despair for the country. We have a Government half Jacobin half traitor, opposed by a Conservative Party under the most childishly stupid leader in its entire history. During the past three years, the Tories have opposed nothing of substance. We have been repeatedly to war for reasons unconnected with our national security. No opposition from the Tories. We live under a mildly Orwellian tyranny, where what used to be the nuttier whims of local government officers have become the law of the land. No opposition from the Tories. The Government has announced that it will use the security services to destroy political movements that it finds offensive. No opposition from the Tories. The Representation of the People Act 1999 removes most of the safeguards against electoral fraud we have built up over the past hundred and fifty years, so that the result of any referendum or general election can now be rigged in favour of the Labour Party. No opposition from the Tories. They have made an immense noise about the age of consent for homosexual intercourse and the teaching of homosexuality in state schools—as if these things really mattered. But they have not opposed the Government on any important issue.

Mr Hague does sometimes go through the motions of opposition, but everything he says sounds like a cheap insurance policy. Every tempting main clause is balanced by a mass of exclusions or by a lack of means of enforcement. He wants to keep the Pound—for five years. He wants no more treaties of European integration—but ignores that nothing more is needed to bring on a United States of Europe. He "sympathises" with the outcry over the conviction of Tony Martin, imprisoned for killing a burglar—but carefully avoids endorsing anything as traditional or popular as the right to defend life and property with lethal force.

There is something deeply cynical in this pretence of opposition. Time was when systematic dishonesty worked for the Conservative Party. Its leaders used regularly to play at articulating popular discontents, and then sit back while the votes flooded in—and then do nothing in government. The problem for the Tory Party is that dishonesty no longer works. The various elections at the beginning of this month show that. We have an atrociously bad Government approaching a general election. Under normal circumstances, Labour would have been slaughtered, losing a swathe of authorities to the Conservatives. What the Conservatives in fact managed was a half decent performance in the council elections and a by-election lost to the Liberal Democrats—only the second loss of its kind while in opposition, I am told, in the past hundred years. It is certain that many voters, goaded by misgovernment, are willing to hold their noses and vote for a change from Labour—even a change to the Quisling Right. But it does not now seem likely that they will vote Conservative in enough numbers to drive Labour from power at the next election. Most discontent is expressed by not voting at all.

Of course, it can be said that Mr Hague has now stopped pretending to oppose, and is making a big effort to pick up support across the country. Though feeble and therefore suspect on first appearance, his comments on Tony Martin and bogus asylum seekers do go beyond the normal bounds of political discourse. Some of the Labour rage at his recent comments does reflect a fear that he might be on to something. His problem, however, is that his comments show as little understanding of these issues as a drunk at a bus stop might have. He has no idea of how to maintain order and freedom within a constitutional framework. A true conservative would reach out to the people and explain how the troubles we now face are the natural effect of departing from our ancient ways. He would argue that the first defence against crime must come from an armed citizenry, and then from a system of laws that imposes real punishments for real crimes. He would argue against the mass of "victimless crimes" that now waste police time and blight innocent lives, and against the horde of social workers and probation officers who serve only to corrupt the administration of justice. Having done this, he would cherish the constitutional freedoms and privileges that we inherit from the past and that have been won and defended with so much blood.

But that would mean having a conservative in charge of the Conservative Party. Luckily for the police state fascists who now rule this country, there is only William Hague to worry about—and why overly worry about a man who is so busy in their interest?

It’s Happening There: Britain’s Emerging Police State

[Peter Brimelowwrites: Nearly forty years ago, I was immensely impressed with The New Totalitarians a brilliant study of Swedish political culture by Roland Huntford, making the point that totalitarianism, in the sense of complete political control of society, can be brought about by bureaucracy as well as brute force. (To my amazement, this book’s influence on my own book on Canada, The Patriot Game,iscited—currently—in its Wikipedia entry.) Sean Gabbreports here that it’s coming soon to another common law country near you—Britain. Indeed, the British government’s current driveto force the anti-immigration British National Partyto admit immigrant minorities to membership is the very essence of totalitarianism: no private sphere can be allowed; in Mussolini’swordsEverything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”. This is why the passage of the so called Hate Crimes legislation, lauded by President Obama in his recent State of the Union address, was such a disaster—yet almost unopposed by the Beltway Right. It’s happening there. It can happen here.]

By Sean Gabb (Published by VDare on 27th January 2010)

At the moment in Britain, the Labor Government’s Equality Bill is completing its progress through Parliament. The purpose of the Bill is to bring all the various “equality” laws and rulings made since 1965—race, sex, sexual preference, age-based, religious, etc—within a single statute, and to enable a single scheme of enforcement, the quasi-judicial Human Rights Commission. It also tightens these laws so that such “discrimination” as has continued to exist will be made illegal.

The exact meaning of any proposed law is hard to judge in advance. We need to see the final Act of Parliament. We need to see the hundreds of pages of regulations that it enables through its delegated legislation sections. We need to see how it will be enforced by the authorities, and how the courts will rule on its interpretation.

But outlines of the law are already reasonably clear. It is, for example, illegal for a Jewish school not to accept gentile children. It is illegal for a Christian hotelier to refuse to let two homosexuals share a bed together. It is illegal for an employer to exclude job candidates who belong to a group of which he might—for whatever reason—disapprove, or to confine recruitment within those groups of which he does approve. The same applies to landlords.

It is also illegal for the British National Party to confine its membership to those it regards as indigenous to the British Isles—an unmistakeably totalitarian violation of the principle of freedom of association.

After a recent rare defeat in the House of Lords, the Government will not be able to force religious schools to employ teachers who are outside of or hostile to their religious values. But this defeat may be reversed when the Bill returns to the Commons in the next few weeks. Or it may be reversed by separate legislation. As said, a law cannot be exactly understood until it is in force.

Even so, the Equalities Bill must be regarded as one of the most important measures in the consolidation of what can only be described as the British police state, which has been emerging since the election of Tony Blair and his “New Labor” allies in 1997. (For more details, see my monograph Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, downloadable for free here).

The problem with opposing this sort of law is that opponents can be smeared as opposed to equality in general, or even as bigots. This has completely cowed the opposition Conservative Party, which has offered only token resistance. (My own Libertarian Alliance’s opposition statement is here).

Needless to say, this is an illegitimate tactic. As with freedom, everyone nowadays believes in equality. The real question: what is meant by “equality”?

According to the liberal tradition, as it runs through Locke, Hume, Mill and Hayek, everyone has—or should be regarded as having—an equal right to his life, liberty and property.

This means that everyone should be equal before the law. A married woman should not lose the right to own property, unless she agrees in advance. A Roman Catholic should not be prohibited from inheriting under his father’s will. An atheist or Jew should not be denied justice because he will not swear as a witness on the New Testament. Everyone should have the same right of access to the courts. Everyone should have the same rights to freedom of thought and speech and faith, and to freedom of association, and to freedom from arbitrary fine or imprisonment.

And that is it. The liberal tradition does not insist that everyone should have the same right to a job, or residential letting, or service in a restaurant or hotel. No one should have the right to be loved or accepted by others.

If the owner of a business puts a note in his window advertising that he will not deal with Jews or homosexuals, or the disabled, that is his right. As a libertarian, I would regard this kind of announcement with distaste, and I might refuse, because of it, to deal with that business. But that is the limit of proper disapproval. It is not a matter for interference by the authorities.

Now, I have argued so far as if I assumed that the projectors of the Equalities Bill were people of good intentions but limited understanding. But I do not assume this for a moment. The people who rule my country are best described as evil. They have not been led astray by bad ideas. Rather, they are bad people who choose ideologies to justify their behaviour.

There are ideologies of the left—mutualism, for example, or Georgism, or syndicalism—that may often be silly or impracticable, but that are perfectly consistent with the dignity and independence of ordinary people.

These are not ideologies, however, of which those who now rule us in Britain have ever taken the smallest notice.

These people began as state socialists. When this became electorally embarrassing, they switched to Politically Correct multiculturalism. To the extent that this is becoming an embarrassment, they are experimenting with totalitarian environmentalism. But whether in local or in national government, their proclaimed ideologies have never prevented them from working smoothly with multinational big business, or with unaccountable multinational governing bodies.

It is reasonable to assume that, with these people, ideas are nothing more than a series of justifications for building a social and economic and political order within which they and theirs can have great wealth and unchallengeable power. Their object has been to deactivate all the mechanisms that once existed in Britain for holding its rulers accountable to the ruled.

And that is what they have been doing since the Labour Party won the 1997 election. To a degree that foreigners do not often realise, Britain has, during the past 13 years, been through a revolution. This has been brought about by the Labor Government and by its collaborators in the MainStream Media, in the civil service and judiciary, and in big business.

They have swept away the constitutional settlement of the 17th century. Our Ancient Constitution may have struck outsiders as a gigantic fancy dress ball. But it covered a serious and very important fact. This was an imperfect acceptance of the claim by Colonel Rainsborough, leader of the radical Leveller faction in the English Civil War,that "the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he". It allowed this country to be at once highly conservative in its institutions and, at the same time, free.

All this has gone. Since 1997, we have had a bewildering 4,000 new criminal offences created—many dealing with censorship of speech and publication. They are usually enforced by a summary—and often arbitrary and even corrupt—process.

The traditional courts and their procedure have also been transformed, so that no one whose legal education ended before 1997 has the faintest idea of how to enforce his rights. We have been made formally subject to the European Union. The country has been deliberately flooded with immigrants, as former Blair speechwriter Andrew Neather recently boasted. And the purpose of mass immigration has been to break up the solidarity of the ruled.

I was born in a free country. People could speak as they pleased and live without constant supervision. If a policeman knocked on my parents’ front door, their only worry was that he might have bad news.

I now live in a police state. Recent legal reforms have completely displaced common law protections and all offenses are now arrestable. If I am accused of so much as dropping a sweet [VDARE.COM: U.S. = candy] wrapping on the ground, I can be arrested and taken to a police station. There, I shall have my fingerprints and a DNA sample taken. Even if I am released without charge, these records will be kept indefinitely. They will also be shared with several dozen foreign governments, who will often regard presence on a DNA database as evidence of a criminal record.

The natural response is that sensible men do all that is needed to avoid any police attention. That means prompt obedience to commands that may have no legal basis. And what is that but a police state?

I now live in a country where I have to be aware that private meetings and even private conversations are subject to paid informers and can lead to prosecution and professional ruin.

The Equality Bill is simply another step in the consolidation of this new order of things. It is a bribe to those groups—Muslims, Gays, racial minorities—whose electoral support is needed to keep Labor in power. It is one more excuse for making victims of known dissidents.

Above all, it is another message sent out to all of who is boss.

The only “equality” the rulers of Britain are working towards is equal fear of them—and of what they can do to us.

England: The Peasants are Revolting

By Sean Gabb (Published by VDare on the 8th June 2009)

So far as I can tell from England, the American media gives little real coverage to events in the United Kingdom. Either events are not covered at all, or they are covered without enough context to give them meaning. I think this has been the case with the results of the European elections and the House of Commons expenses scandal that is said to have led to these election results.

The European Elections

Let me begin with the facts. On Thursday the 4th June 2009, the British people voted in elections to the European Parliament. This is supposed to be the legislative body of the European Union, and it has around 750 Members, of whom 78 are from Britain. It has no meaningful functions, and its only effect is to give a democratic veneer to a multinational federation that cannot by its nature be democratically governed. Despite the best efforts of the pro-Establishment BBC, hardly anyone takes European elections as other than an excuse to pass judgement on the government of the day.

The results came out on Sunday, 7th June. The ruling Labour Party, with 15.7 per cent, got its lowest share of the vote in any national election since 1918. The Conservatives won the largest share, with 27.7 per cent. They are celebrating their victory—but this is hardly the sort of percentage share of the vote that promises a Commons majority in a general election. It may be that the 16.5 per cent won by the UK Independence Party would probably go to the Conservatives in a general election. But it did not go to them in the European elections.

The result may have been to complete the disintegration of the Labour Government. Already in trouble, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, may now have little choice but to resign.

The main shock, however, has been the election of Nick Griffin and one other British National Party candidate to the European Parliament. The BNP stands for a complete halt to non-white immigration, expulsion of illegal immigrants and voluntary repatriation of non-whites legally here. It also believes in an end to multiculturalism and political correctness, and in withdrawal from the European Union.

These were the first victories for the BNP in any national election, and they have been greeted by the British media and political class with hysterical rage. The favoured explanation is that the BNP—plus UKIP and the other small parties that did so well in the European elections—is to blame the House of Commons expenses scandal. The idea that people might have voted as they did because they liked what they saw cannot be entertained.

The Expenses Scandal

But, rather than just sneer at its use as smokescreen, let me explain something about the expenses scandal. Members of the House of Commons are allowed to claim expenses that are "wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the performance of a Member’s parliamentary duties." This is supposed to mean that a Member who lives in Scotland or some other distant part of the country can claim for the cost of running a second home in London, and for travel between London and his constituency. Because payment of expenses has been confidential, and because receipts have not always been required, the system has been open to abuse. For several years, occasional stories have been appearing in the establishment media about abuses of the House of Commons expenses system that amount to fraud. These have been only occasional stories. They have usually caused a few days of comment, and then been forgotten. Then, The Daily Telegraph obtained a disc giving a million pages of expenses claims going back over the past four years. Every day since the 8th May 2009, The Daily Telegraph has been publishing details of the more lurid and fraudulent claims.

Examples of these claims have been:

  • Nominating and renominating second homes. As said, expenses are paid to cover the costs of running a second home. Running costs include renovations. Members have used the rules to designate as their second home whichever of their two properties was most in need of work. This might be their home in London or in their constituency. Many have then nominated their other property as their second home to claim for a fresh set of renovations.
  • Subsidised property development. Several Members have pushed these rules to the limit. They have bought derelict properties, nominated them as second homes to claim the full cost of improvements, then have sold them at profits that are free of tax.
  • Subsidised luxury. Even without profiting from a rising property market, Members have been claiming for expenses not reasonably incurred for the performance of their parliamentary duties. The Daily Telegraph has published details of claims for landscape gardening, for tampons, for cosmetics, for trouser presses—even for court fines and for charitable donations.
  • Possible fraud. Several Members have been caught overclaiming for Council Tax, or claiming for payments on mortgages already paid off. In a disclosure separate from The Daily Telegraph publications, one senior Minister was shown to have claimed for the cost of renting pornographic videos for her husband. It is likely that some of the non-receipted expenses were for prostitution services or the purchase of recreational drugs.

There are many other examples. But the four given are of the same nature as the others.

The results of The Daily Telegraph disclosures have been—depending on who you are—catastrophic or highly entertaining. Promising careers have been blighted. Distinguished careers—that is,"distinguished" within the rules of the political game—have been cut short in corruption scandals that will forever put all else in the shade. So far, about a dozen Members of the House of Commons have announced that they will not stand again at the next election, or have been blocked by their parties from standing again. The Home Secretary has resigned from the Government. The Communities Secretary has resigned It is possible that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be sacked within the next few days. Other Ministers will probably leave the Government. The Speaker of the House of Commons has been forced to resign. Dozens—perhaps hundreds—of Members are expected to lose their seats at the next election, as an angry electorate delivers its own verdict on the general scandal.

The Real Causes of Disenchantment

Now, the expenses scandal may have been the immediate cause of current electoral upsets. But no one who is honest or can think longer than four minutes at a time will regard it as anything approaching the ultimate cause. The British people are outraged—that much is certain. The stories published have shown a grossness of behaviour we used to think confined to the political classes of lesser foreign countries. On the other hand, the total cost of the illegitimate claims—even including those merely questionable—does not amount to more than a few million pounds. Since 1997, our Labour Government has burned its way through two trillion pounds of our tax money. This has been mostly used to buy Labour votes or to oppress us—usually both. During this time, the Government has put an ancient and highly successful Constitution through the shredder. It has abolished common law protections of liberty, and replaced them with the powers and institutions a police state. It has limited its own political accountability by alienating national sovereignty to the European Union. It has engaged us in wars of imperial aggression against Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

It has also encouraged legal immigration on an unprecedented scale, and done nothing about a possibly greater illegal immigration. According to official figures, the non-white population of the United Kingdom is about five per cent. The probable figure may be as high as 20 per cent. The Government statisticians themselves admit that the figure may pass 50 per cent as early as 2040. This immigration has been facilitated by positive discrimination and hate crime laws that give preferential treatment to the newcomers and suppress complaints. If it has raised gross domestic product, and if it may have raised the living standards of the middle classes, the immigration has noticeably reduced the living standards of the working classes. And it has raised obvious questions about the survival of at least the English people and their liberal institutions.

We have put up with all of this and more. The Labour Government has won two further elections since 1997. There have been no riots. There has been no irresistible rise of new political forces. Now, if the whole political establishment appears on the brink of public rejection, we are supposed to think is because a few dozen Members of Parliament have been fiddling their expenses.

The reason for this, I suspect, is that the expenses scandal has been seized on by the people as the surrogate for the far greater complaints already mentioned. These cannot easily be made in public. Some cannot be made because it would be illegal to make them—or, if not illegal, making them would be attended by informal sanctions. Most cannot be made because it is almost impossible to breakthrough the wall of lies behind which our rulers have sheltered themselves.

For years now—and the Conservatives were nearly as bad in this respect—British Governments have been refusing to tell the truth about their actions or intentions. Every lunatic or evil change has been accompanied by the flow of unpersuasive but unanswerable chatter most of us can remember from childhood.

To take one example of this, there is the European Constitution. Back in 2005, the European Union decided to sweep away the tangle of treaties and lesser agreements under which it operated and replace them with a single constitution. This was an impenetrable document, but appeared to bring about the final transfer of sovereignty from the Member States to the European Union. It was rejected by the French and Dutch in referenda. It was then withdrawn. In Britain, the three main parties solemnly promised before the general election of that year that they would not sign up to a revived constitution until after the British people had been consulted in a referendum.

In 2008, the Constitution was edited into the Treaty of Lisbon. This appears to achieve exactly the same as the Constitution by amending earlier treaties. It is shorter than the Constitution, (which runs over 400 pages [PDF]) but also still more opaque. This was rammed through Parliament by the British Government, with support from the Liberal Democrats. The justification was that the election promises had governed the Constitution, not another treaty. Every Government Minister and every Liberal Democrat leader joined in the fraud—and did so with arguments that could only be countered by a closer reading and understanding of the relevant documents than any normal person could reasonably be expected to make.

And the Conservative opposition has been little better. For electoral reasons, it made a great show of insisting on the promised referendum. It then promised to hold a referendum if it won the next election. This promise, however, seems to have been limited to a referendum if, after the next election, the Treaty has not come into effect following ratification by all the Member States of the European Union. When asked what they would do if the Treaty had already come into effect, the Conservative leaders have refused to give a straight answer.

A decent construction can be put on this refusal to make the further promise. But decent constructions can no longer be credibly made of any promise made by any of the main British parties.

We could not shake these people on their smug, emollient drivel about the European Union or mass-immigration, or handing out unimaginable amounts of our money to privileged banking interests. But we can take hold of them and rub their noses in the dirt of their expenses claims. Those are things anyone can understand—and that no one can credibly defend.

We are like the child who has been lectured into silence over having his dog put to sleep and his best friend excluded from the house and his pockets searched every night—but whose parents have now broken a clear promise to watch him play in the school pantomime. We are angry, and what would otherwise be the pettiness of what has made us angry is no longer important.

What Will Happen Next?

A further question is what will come out of all this. Labour has done badly, and its days in government may be numbered. The Conservatives will almost certainly win the next general election, and the only reasonable question asked is how big will be their majority.

But none of this may be very important. The Conservatives are part of the political cartel that rules my country. They cannot be worse than Labour. But they will almost certainly be little better. They may take enough of the hard choices to stop the country from disintegrating in the short term. But the longer term problems will not be addressed.

What we have at the moment, therefore, is not a revolution—as some of the newspapers have claimed—but a peasants’ revolt. We have grievances. But we lack the organised articulating body for those grievances that will bring about meaningful change.

This may, though, be one of the precursors of revolution. It may be our equivalent of the Diamond Necklace Scandal in ancien regime France. That did not bring on the Great Revolution. But it did prepare the way by showing the greed and stupidity of the people who ruled France.

It is to be hoped—though not necessarily expected—that the longer term result of what has just happened will be to enable the emergence of new political forces in the United Kingdom—or perhaps just in England. I do not think these have yet made an appearance. I voted for the United Kingdom Independence Party. But this is a protest party. It has neither the personnel nor the ideology for mounting a challenge capable of overturning the established order of things.

Several people I know voted for the British National Party, and are rejoicing in its successes. This party has the best leader any nationalist party in England has had since the Establishment itself stopped being recognisably pro-British. He is clever. He is articulate. He is brave. He and his party, nevertheless, are tainted by their national socialist past. Too many of the party’s leading members have said or done things that most people in this country regard as disreputable.

Whatever successes it may now be celebrating, I do not think the British National Party has much of a future. Or, if it does have a future, this must be under a new and untainted leadership.

However, just because I cannot see where it will lead, I can take pleasure in watching the modern equivalent of the Peasants’ Revolt, and hope that it will ultimately lead us out of the gutter into which our political class has dumped the British people. 

Thomas Erskine: Saviour of English Liberty
Sean Gabb

Published in 1990 as Libertarian Heritage No. 1
ISBN 1 870614 98 4
by the Libertarian Alliance, London

THOUGH largely now forgotten, the name of Thomas Erskine (1750-1823) deserves a place in the heart of everyone who values freedom and the rule of law. But for his resolute stand at a moment of crisis, the subsequent course of English history might well have been very different - and very much less of an inspiration to other peoples. 

Can We Trust the Tories?
(Published in October 1988 by the University of York Freedom Society)
by Sean Gabb 

Said Bernard Levin, writing in today's Times, 'The Law itself [is] not safe in Labour's hands'*. Another Labour Government would indeed be awful beyond imagining, and it would make sure its acts were unchallengeable before the Courts. Yet before we sit complacently back, thankful of the Government we have, we might recall that there is more to preserving the Rule of Law than simply keeping Labour out. Just because they never rave at the cult of 'bourgeois legality' is no reason for trusting the Tories implicitly.

Asked recently in Parliament what she thought of gazumping, the Prime Minister answered by calling on estate agents to adopt a voluntary Code of Conduct, which would outlaw most of their usual practices. Failing this 'the government might have no alternative but to introduce statutory rules'.**

I know that estate agents are deeply unpopular ‑ often justly so. Yet what we have here is a flagrant instance of what Enoch Powell called some 20 years ago the 'Rule of the Threat of Law'. A government wants something done, yet feels disinclined to trouble with changing the law to compel that thing's doing. So it announces its wish and invites the 'voluntary compliance' of those to be affected ‑ who, of course, do comply, through fear of indirect consequences if they refuse, or an eventual regular law which might be more onerous. There is no guiding of a bill through two houses, no explaining or giving of reasons, no question of appeal to the Courts by anyone who may think himself harmed. Since there is no actual law, there is no bar on selective indulgences or victimisations. There are simply the words of those in power 'Let this be done' and it is done.

Any country in which this has become a normal and of government has lost its freedom. still be elected. The Judges over in the Strand may still sit in their wigs and gowns talking of seisins and estoppels. But when the basic principle has gone out of the Constitution ‑ that there is no authority outside that given by law ‑ then this becomes precisely the empty mummery that cynics and fools always said it was.

Let us admire ‑ even adore ‑ Mrs Thatcher. But power is no less dangerously abused by her than by anyone else. And, when it is, our plain duty is to speak out. 

* The Times, 1st August 1988
** The Daily Telegraph 29the July 1988

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the
Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 170
12th March 2008

Second Thoughts on UKIP
by Sean Gabb

The day before yesterday, I published an article about my attendance at the rally of the United Kingdom Independence Party in Exeter. This was a strongly positive account, and was coupled with an explanation of my refusal to consider standing as a candidate for UKIP. I was called this morning and told that my article has caused such outrage within UKIP that my invitation to speak at the rally to be held in Morcambe on the 29th of this month has been withdrawn.

This outrage, it seems, was caused by my brief statement of what it means to be a libertarian. I said the day before yesterday that I believe in legalising all drugs, in repealing all race relations laws, and in repealing some of the laws against child pornography.

I am surprised that my statement had this effect. I have spent the past three decades arguing very clearly on every occasion for what I believe. My writings are all over the Internet. I state my views several dozen times a year on radio and television. I spent most of the 1990s explaining them in meetings of the Conservative Party. Anyone who was not previously aware of what I and the Libertarian Alliance and the libertarian movement in general believe has a very weak claim to be taken seriously as a participant in British politics.

I cannot be bothered to justify my position on drug legalisation. I doubt if what I said about the race relations laws caused any offence within UKIP - not, I fear, because most UKIP members believe in freedom of speech and association, but because some of them rather like the idea of being allowed to behave uncharitably to people of other races. However, though I shall not say anything I have not said many times already, I will briefly clarify my views on child pornography.

I do not believe children can give valid consent to any sexual act. Therefore, sex with children should be illegal. It should be illegal because there is a chance of physical harm, and because there is some chance - though perhaps less than we are told - of emotional harm; and because, regardless of the acts, it seems to be that the sort of people who want to have sex with children should not generally be allowed near children. If anyone in UKIP claims that I am in favour of sex with children, he needs to be stupid or malevolent.

I turn to child pornography. If someone produces or commissions indecent pictures of a child, he is guilty of sexual assault or is an accessory to sexual assault. If someone merely buys such pictures, without having directly commissioned them, it is arguable that he too should be treated as an accessory - in the same way as it is illegal knowingly to buy stolen goods. If someone is under investigation for a sexual assault on children, and a search of his property turns up indecent pictures of children, these should of course be used as evidence.

I do not believe, however, that mere possession of such pictures should be an offence. In general, I believe that people should be free to have anything they like on their own property. The obvious exceptions to this rule would be stolen property and the sort of thing that would allow a tort action under the Rylands v Fletcher rule. For example, if I am an alcoholic chain smoker and I have 500 jerry cans of petrol in my basement, my neighbours should be able to take me to court and have the petrol removed. And it is a matter of practical convenience whether my neighbours should be expected to rely on the civil courts or be able to call on the police. Beyond that, an Englishman's home should be his castle.

The most practical argument for this rule is that indecent photographs might be part of a chain of evidence against a child molester, and the case will usually stand or fall on all the evidence. Where possession is concerned, conviction can be on the word of a single police officer. There is no need to prove anything beyond the fact of possession. This is an abuse of law. Our own authorities may not be so corrupt and oppressive as their counterparts elsewhere in the world. But it is well known that the police fit people up in this country. They fabricate evidence of crimes sometimes because they believe someone is guilty but cannot find the evidence, or because they simply dislike someone. And we are moving rapidly to a political environment in which dissidence will be punished by accusations of crimes that need no external evidence but produce an indelible taint on one's reputation.

Because people often have short memories for law, I will add that possession of child pornography only became an offence in 1994. Members of UKIP are forever quoting Hugh Gaitskill about "a thousand years of British history". Well, I have been publicly snubbed by UKIP because I am not happy with a fourteen year old law rammed through Parliament by Michael Howard.

I turn now to child pornography produced abroad. I thought it was a central part of the UKIP argument to be hostile to extraterritorial jurisdictions. The decisions of foreign legislative assemblies and courts should have no direct application in our own country. An obvious converse of this position is that our own courts should not punish offences committed in foreign countries. By all means, let suspects be extradited to face trial for crimes committed abroad - extradited, of course, with rather more scrutiny than now takes place. But our courts should have no direct jurisdiction over acts committed abroad.

If we assume that the purpose of the laws against child pornography is to protect children, rather than police the imagination, it follows that indecent pictures made in Thailand are a matter for the Thai authorities.

And for the record, I will say that what I think about child pornography applies to all other pictures and literature. People should be allowed to have bomb making instructions, holocaust revision propaganda, and video clips of killings in Iraq. In some cases, they should be at liberty to publish these. In all cases, they should be left alone to keep them at home.

Perhaps I am mistaken. Perhaps there is an argument against my position that I have not considered. But  I am myself outraged that anyone could be so outraged by what I say that an invitation to speak made and accepted months ago should be suddenly withdrawn.

The title of the speech I gave last Saturday was "National Independence is not Enough". What UKIP has just done is a good illustration of the argument I put, and of the wider background argument that I left unsaid. These people want to leave the European Union - and I agree with them. But what is their vision for an independent country? The answer, I fear in many cases, is that their only objection to the gigantic police state rising up around us is that it is enabled by the Treaty of Rome, and is directed against middle-aged white people rather than racial or sexual minorities. Free of Brussels, they would be delighted to live under a purely domestic tyranny. Others probably have no vision at all, beyond a vague belief that we can all go back to the good old days of the 1950s.

No wonder the Eurosceptic parties have not been able to break through in any domestic election, and are such easy targets for mockery by the ruling class.

There is an obvious difference between prudence and cowardice. I argued the other day that it would not be wise to ask me to stand as a UKIP candidate. Dropping me as one speaker among many is just contemptible. It indicates that I am right in my suspicions given above. At best, it shows a timidity and unsureness of purpose that calls in doubt the willingness of UKIP actually to deliver on the most controversial issue in British politics - which is to face down a wall of ruling class opposition and withdraw from the European Union.

I do not think there is any personal bitterness in my saying that I have reconsidered my opinion of UKIP. I shall continue to vote for it in elections because that is my one electoral chance to bring pressure on the Conservatives. But I realise I was far too enthusiastic in what I wrote about last Saturday.

A Short Paper On The Effects
of The Exclusion Of Market Signals
in The Present System Of State Policing
by Sean Gabb
(Ghosted and used in November 1993)

Note: Here is an example of the gross corporatist propaganda I sometimes turn out for the money. I wrote this in late 1993, and my client got everything out of the Government that he wanted. For the record, I do not want to privatise the police. I do not want to see private security guards given anything approaching the powers of regular constables. There are too many police officers in this country. They have too many powers. They use and abuse these powers too often. They are corrupt. They are incompetent. They are usually as brutal and dishonest as the criminals they are supposedly employed to catch. They are the willing agents of a malevolent ruling class. They cannot be reformed. They cannot be "incentivised" by the right "market mechanisms". They must all be sacked. State policing is a bad idea. Robert Peel was warned back in 1829, and we are living with the consequences.

Still, I earned my fee for this....


It is common for many professional people to distrust the market.  A recent and most eloquent expression of this comes from the eminent historian Professor Harold Perkins, addressing a seminar called by the Royal Institute of British Architects.  He sees the rise of the modern professions around the turn of this century, together with their non-market ethos, as a triumph of the public interest.  The market, he believed, 

ordained a greater loyalty to one's paymasters than to professional obligations and ethics; put a premium on salesmanship and what someone called "brochureland"; and was more and more coming to downgrade and even exclude all values but the monetary.1

During the past decade, markets have been introduced into many areas from which they were previously excluded, usually with effects now seen as beneficial.  Even so, the police are seen as different.  Together with the courts and armed forces, they are a primary institution of the state.  Through them is exercised its monopoly of the legitimate use of force.  They underpin the other institutions of society, among which the market is included:  their service is not in the same order as the provision of telecommunications or electricity.

I sympathise with this position, but feel that it is not wholly sustainable.  Many policing functions are intimately connected with the exercise of state power, and they must be treated in a manner appropriate to their status.  But this does not mean that they should forever be performed in their present manner.  For example, the Lord Chancellor's Department is responsible for the running of the civil legal system in England and Wales, and many of its functions are to be transferred to executive agencies within the next few years.  Several functions, such as the drafting of high court orders may even be contracted out to private sector suppliers.  Already, as I shall argue below, the police do not enjoy a monopoly in the provision of many policing services, and they no longer supply certain others at all.  There is good reason to take a cool and impartial look at what functions the police should now be performing, and at the manner in which they should be performed.


In recent decades, the number of reported offences has risen greatly.  In response, spending on the police has also risen - by 88 per cent in real terms between 1979 and 1993-942  This has modernised technical resources and allowed an expansion of police numbers - from 139,900 in 1981 to 149,200 in 1991.3

It has, however, been accompanied by a worsening of the clear-up rate for reported offences - in England and Wales from 45 per cent in 1971 down to 32 per cent in 1993.4  Perhaps, as many senior police officers claim, the funding increases conceal a relative underfunding - where crime has increased faster than the means to fight it.  But this only explains rather than solves the current problem.  For it is unlikely that similar increases of public funding will occur during the next ten years.  If, therefore, further resources are needed for the fight against crime, they should not realistically be sought from the public finances.  They should instead be sought:

  1. by a reallocation of resources within the police service itself, to focus its efforts more fully on the fight against crime; and 
  2. from the private sector.

And to gain resources here, the police must, in common with many other professional bodies, give up their present distrust of the market.


I regard individual police officers with the strongest admiration.  They do a difficult job, and they do it with unflinching resolve.  The police service is, however, trapped within a system that produces a style of management suited to the needs of a monopoly supplier.  As in all such systems, they do not know if services to a given standard are being provided at the most economic cost.  Nor, of equal importance, do they know if certain costs should be incurred at all.  This last point is not a question of whether some tasks are being performed efficiently, but of whether it is necessary for them to be performed.

In recent years, policing and police management have been closely examined in a series of reports by the Audit Commission.  Various instances have been revealed of the misallocation of resources and of their misuse within many of the areas to which they have been allocated.

Take, for example, transport costs:

After police officers' pay, transport is the largest item of police expenditure and typically accounts for over 20 per cent of the remaining costs....

[T]here is scope in many forces for reducing total cost of transport by up to 20 per cent.5

Again, take communications:

The cost of police communications varies between forces - from £1,260 per police officer per annum in one force visited to nearly £2,160 in another.  Based on analysis of data from the study forces, there is potential to reduce costs nationally by around 15% - equivalent to £25m a year.  This can be achieved by making more efficient use of staff and by increasing the use of civilians.6

 Yet again, take police training:  "[N]ationally there is scope for improving the responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency of training."  And

[m]uch of the accommodation for training is not ideal and many schools have surplus capacity while neighbouring forces have plans to expand their facilities.7

Further criticism have been made regarding the management of other properties owned by the police.  There is the instance of a site in central London acquired in the 1970s and valued in 1990 at £575,000.  The station was never built, and the site had been used throughout this period as a car park - not perhaps its most appropriate use.  During the 1980s, the state and many of its agencies identified substantial amounts of land that could be sold without observable impediment to the provision of services.  British Railways, the National Health Service and the armed forces all entered the market to divest themselves of surplus property on often very favourable terms.  State policing began in this country 164 years ago.  The police forces that have grown up in this time may have much land and many buildings for which they have no current proper use, either permanently or temporarily.  Every acre or square foot of such property represents a misuse of resources. 

These problems were revealed three and four years' ago.  We might expect the worst of them to have been addressed since then.  Even so, in its latest report, of this year,8the Audit Commission is still criticising the police for their misuse of resources - for their burdensome weight of administration, their duplications of effort, their lack of regard for cost.  There is sound reason to believe that tens and perhaps hundreds of millions of pounds are being needlessly diverted from being spent on the fight against crime.

I lay no blame for any of this on the police:  these misallocations are simply the natural effects of a style of management suited to a command economy.  They are to be expected.  It would be almost a miracle if they did not exist.  Where there is no market, there is little incentive to control costs, and reduced incentive for people to develop the skills and abilities most appropriate to their functions.  Why should senior management ask if transport or communications could be more effectively provided by civilians or private contractors, when there is no pressure on them to do so, and no reward if they do?


It is not my intention here to make specific proposals for reform.  These must follow from far more extensive research and consideration.  But I am impressed by the Home Office proposals for introducing some market mechanisms into the police service; and I regret only that these may not be fully implemented in the short or medium terms.9  In particular, I do believe that vast amounts of money could be released for reallocation to activities more directly related to the fight against crime by the introduction of an internal market - just as is now happening at the BBC and in local government.  I will not speculate on how precisely this might work - every internal market, just like every form of government, must be fitted to individual circumstances - but I imagine that it will involve the costing of every aspect of police work, and the empowerment of at least senior management to choose between alternatives.

I do not believe that anything less than the introduction of market mechanisms will ensure the optimal use by the police of their limited resources.  I respect the work of the Audit Commission in identifying the present misallocations.  Its suggestions for reform are interesting.  I have no doubt that there are zealous managers in the police service who will try to follow these suggestions if so instructed.  But I doubt if reforms to the present system of resource management will achieve all that needs to be achieved if we are to have the best policing at present or likely future levels of funding.  There are limits to how much can be achieved by costings and efficiency drives within the context of a continued command economy style of management.

For example, it may seem on present costings, that police communications could be provided to the same standard but at lower cost by the private sector.  I believe that this service should be put out to tender, in the same way as local authorities have for some time now been tendering out cleaning and other services.  At the same time, though, I believe that the current in-house providers should be given the opportunity and the incentive to offer innovative and more effective solutions.  For I expect that the introduction of markets into policing may keep many functions in-house that now look obvious candidates for contracting out.  Contrary to the view put forward by Professor Perkins discussed above, competition should not be seen as a nasty, cut-throat business.  It is, rather, a spur to improvement for actual and potential providers alike.  Furthermore, markets have a profoundly civilising influence on people.  They provide a mechanism that allows individuals and organisations not only to show their capacity to innovate and to improve, but also to work harmoniously together.  Co-operation is at least as important in markets as is competition.

Some functions, I suspect, would be more effectively performed by the private sector.  I will suggest much patrolling work.  Now here, I am moving to another stage of the argument.  For patrolling, unlike transport or communications, is one of the primary functions of policing.  It was, indeed, the first function of state policing at the beginning of the present system back in 1829.  But in the altered circumstances of the late twentieth century, the means of providing this service may need to be reconsidered.

In 1990, the Audit Commission reported that it cost a total of £33,332 per annum to employ a police constable.10  This does not include important indirect costs such as training, management and administration charges, which if included could make the total not less than £45,000 per annum.  I question if it is good management of resources to use a highly qualified police officer for work that could be done for perhaps half these costs by the private sector.  Indeed, many police buildings are already protected by private security firms, at a great saving of the taxpayer's money, thereby releasing resources which I presume are reallocated to more important crime fighting activities.

Another such function, I suggest, is easing the flow of urban road traffic.  It is already more than a generation since large numbers of police officers were detailed to stand at major junctions to control the flow of traffic.  Increasing manpower costs and the availability of computerised traffic management systems have reduced traffic duty to an occasional and emergency use of police manpower.  Equally, traffic wardens have long since replaced the police for the supervision of parking in built-up areas.  It is worth considering how the remaining role of the police in this area of activity can be still further reduced.  I know that wheel clamping by private sector agencies of illegally parked vehicles is more effective than traditional police approaches, in terms both of cost and of reducing congestion.

But I must qualify these suggestions by saying that I do not know what productivity improvements might follow from the introduction of markets.  These can produce amazing and often unpredictable improvements in the most unlikely places.  It may even be that much patrolling would not be contracted out, despite present appearances.

For an instance of what innovations may occur in a market system, look at the British insurance industry - a market as competitive and cost-conscious as any in the world.  In 1984 it was turned upside down by Peter Wood, who asked what now seems an obvious question - why it was necessary for motor insurers to maintain an elaborate networks of local offices.  His answer - seen at the time as revolutionary - was to set up a telephone-only company that took on the established insurance giants.  From nothing in 1984, Direct Line is now the largest motor insurer in Great Britain, and the most profitable.11

I do not know what developments in the supply of policing services might take place in a market environment.  Perhaps the overall clear-up rate could be significantly improved while keeping within present levels of funding.  Perhaps the most noticeable changes would be in the social acceptance of policing services:  I know that private security personnel are less liable to be accused of racial or other insensitivity than police officers.  I do not know what will happen.  I cannot predict the future shape of a market that does not yet properly exist.  But I have every confidence in the power of market forces to bring about improvements that no manager in the presently existing police service, however talented, could achieve in a lifetime of devoted service.


I now come to those services provided by the police for which the full market price could be charged to the user.  Many services, of course, must remain free at the point of use.  I would not propose prefixing the number 999 with 0891, or charging for rape inquiries.  But what of the cost of being called out by badly-installed burglar alarms?  What about the patrolling of private shopping malls?  What about attending at the service of civil court orders?  Should these services not carry fees at the point of use?12  Some such services, I imagine, would not be performed if the full market cost were charged.  But this is no argument against levying such charges.  In many cases, it will be found cheaper to place such work in the private sector, and it will be found - I speak with obvious experience - that there will be no lowering in the standard of service.

Already, some police work does carry a charge.  In recent times, police forces hire out officers to control sporting and other events.  Sadly, this is done at a substantial loss.  According to the Audit Commission,

One county force devotes over 30 man years of officers' time annually to one football league club, a race meeting, and an annual pop festival, at an annual cost approaching £1 million.  Only one tenth of these costs are recovered through charges on the promoters.13

This is surely an unsatisfactory state of affairs.  Some football clubs and music promoters are very wealthy, and are well able to pay the full cost of policing their events.  I see no moral case for spending money on keeping the field clear at the Cup Final that could otherwise be spent on preventing disorders and other forms of crime that the public finds more threatening.

I do not blame the police for charging here without regard for cost.  The true culprit is a system of Treasury financing that penalises local initiative when allocating central funds.  Police forces should be encouraged to levy market charges for certain services - and to make full use of the revenues so raised to cross-subsidise other services that will remain free at the point of use.  Such revenues should not be clawed back by the Treasury, as is so often the case now.


I have argued so far:

  • That markets and policing should not be regarded as necessarily opposed to one another; 
  • That the extra resources needed in the future fight against crime will need largely to come from a reconsidering and a refocussing of police activities, and where appropriate from co-operation with the private sector;
  • That reallocations of resources can be made within the police service and that these need not in the least reduce the quality of the fight against crime;
  • That possibly large new revenues can be raised by ending what amounts to a present subsidy paid by many police forces to the private sector or to other state agencies.

In a longer paper, I should develop these points in more detail and consider many others that I have mentioned here only briefly or not at all.  One of these would be the history of policing in this country - how until the last century state policing was regarded as neither normal nor desirable, and how many policing functions were performed by the voluntary and commercial sectors.  Another would be the current experience of non-state policing in this country - and in the United States and the former Soviet bloc, where marketisation is often more advanced.  Another would be legal reforms that might be required in a more pluralist policing environment, and how these might advance some civil liberties agendas.

However, I hope that in these few pages I have sufficiently explained my suggestion at the last meeting that this Committee should give active consideration to the nature and effect of the current exclusion of market signals from the state policing service. 


1 David McKie, "Cheap and nasty in the market place", The Guardian, 22nd November 1993.  I quote not Professor Perkins, but Mr McKie's report of his words.

2 Home Office, Police Reform:  A Police Service for the Twenty-First Century, HMSO, London, 1993, p. 5.

3                                 1961‑1991 Police Manpower, United Kingdom (thousands)
                                              1961     1971       1981        1991
Police Force
Total Manpower                     87.9     112.2      139.9       149.2

Source: Social Trends 22, Central Statistical Office, London, 1992.  Regional Trends 28, Central Statistical Office, London, 1993.

4   Clear up rates for notifiable offences: by type of offence

                                                                 United Kingdom (%)
                                                                 Eng/Wales     Scot        NI
                                                                1971  90      1971  90    1971  90
Violence against the person                     82  77        87  82      28  62
Sexual offences                                        76  76        77  79      87  92
Burglary                                                    37  25        26  16      30  22
Robbery                                                   42  26        21  28      18  18
Theft and handling stolen goods             43  30        37  24      43  36
Fraud and forgery                                    83  61        80  69      79  74
Criminal damage                                      34  22        32  20      43  36
Other notifiable offences                          92  95        95  97      42  79

Total                                                         45  32        38  32      32  38

Source: Ibid

5 Audit Commission, Police Papers, No. 3, HMSO, London, May 1989, p. 1.

6 Audit Commission, Police Papers, No. 5, HMSO, London, June 1990, p.1.

7 Audit Commission, Police Papers, No. 4, HMSO, London, December 1989, p.15.

8 Audit Commission, Taking Crime Seriously, HMSO, London, 1993.

9 Home Office (1993), op. cit.

10.The cost of employing a police constable in 1990:

      Annual basic pay                          £14,961
      Overtime etc                                £7,481
      Housing allowance                       £3,447
      Cost of uniform                             £215
      Employer's National Insurance     £2,728
      Pension costs                               £4,500    

      Total                                             £33,332

Source:  Audit Commission, Police Papers, No. 7, HMSO, London, November 1990, p. 6.

11 "'£50m payment' for highest-paid tycoon", The Guardian, 22nd November 1993.

12 This is suggested by the Audit Commission (November 1990), op. cit., p. 13 et passim.

13 Ibid, p. 8.  My italics.

Other works consulted but not mentioned in the Notes:

Timothy Evans (ed.). An Arresting Idea:  The Management of Police Services in Modern Britain, Adam Smith Institute, London, 1991.

Professor David Marsland and others, a paper on the co-operation of the private and public sectors in policing, forthcoming from the Institute of Economic Affairs, London.

Tim Newburn, The Accountability of the Police in England and Wales, Policy Studies Institute, London, 1993.

Tim Newburn, The Role of the Police, Policy Studies Institute, London, 1993.

Michael Trend, "Why Should the Police be Featherbedded?", The Spectator, 10th September 1988.

Report of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, HMSO, London, 1993.

Curbing Crime: A Colloquiumn(contributors:  John Wheeler, Mary Tuck, Barry Poyner, Madsen Pirie), Adam Smith Institute, London, 1989.

Inquiry into Police Responsibilities and Rewards, HMSO, London, 1993.

Police Federation of England and Wales, The Way Forward for the Police Service:  Response of the Police Federation of England and Wales to the Report of the Inquiry into Police Responsibilities and Rewards, Police Federation of England and Wales, Surrey, 1993.

Police Federation of England and Wales, The Way Forward for the Police Service:  Response of the Police Federation of England and Wales to the White Paper on Police Reform - June 1993, Police Federation of England and Wales, Surrey, 1993.

From Free Life, Issue 24, December 1995
ISSN: 0260 5112

A Written Constitution for the United Kingdom
The Institute for Public Policy Research
Mansell Publishing Ltd, London, 1995, 286pp, £18.99 (pbk)
(ISBN 0 7201 2272 4)

This book supplies a draft constitution for the United Kingdom, comprising 129 articles and six schedules. It was written by a committee of Guardian readers - people like Lord Lester, Patricia Hewitt, Geoffrey Bindman, David Marquand, and Clive Ponting - and is everything one might expect of such authors. Certainly, our present arrangements are defective. During the past century, power has been both enlarged and centralised; and the protections of life, liberty and property no longer work as they should. But though reforms are needed, they are not the ones here proposed.

Most obvious, I cannot see the point of a full-dress constitution. These do make sense in newly independent or revolutionary countries. But for us, they must largely be a waste of paper and ink. Look, for example, at Article 41.1:

There is established by this Constitution the office of Prime Minister.

We do not need the biggest upheaval in a thousand years of constitutional history to tell ourselves this. It is the same with much else in the Article. Requirements that the Prime Minister should be a member of the House of Commons, and should resign after losing a motion of confidence, are already enforced by convention; and I see no case for solidifying these conventions in law. They arose and continue to exist because they have been found useful. But there is no reason to suppose that they always will be useful, or that, if circumstances change, there will be time for an amendment. One reason why the administrative parts of our Constitution work so well - and yes, these parts do work well - is that they are so flexible, so adaptable to momentary needs. The most suitable Prime Minister has not always been a member of the House of Commons when appointed; and we cannot predict future emergencies. At best, we can suppose that this requirement will be ignored when necessary, at worst that it will prevent the smooth working of government at a time of crisis.

But let us go to the bill of "Fundamental Rights and Freedoms", set out in Articles 2 to 29. Now, unlike the administrative parts of a constitution, these should not be flexible. A bill of rights should be as comprehensive and tightly drawn as possible. The less it includes, the more exceptions it allows, the greater the chance it will be bypassed by the politicians and special interest groups.

The authors, however, seem not to have noticed this, or seem not to care. On the one hand, their bill is incomplete. It puts no bar on that favourite device of British and American governments, the use of civil proceedings to achieve what has been denied by the criminal law - a strange oversight, at least for Mr Ponting. On the other hand, it is thick with exceptions. Rights given in one clause are withdrawn in another.

Take Article 11, "Freedom of Expression". This starts with all the usual promises - then continues:

11.3 The exercise of this right carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but only such as are provided by law and are necessary in a democratic society - ...

.2 for the protection of national security or of public order or of public health or morals.

This might allow a judge to stop a govenment from shutting down the opposition press just before an election - though a government willing to do that might not be too concerned about a court order. But for stopping the censorships we actually have, it is useless. Indeed, much of the wording here is copied from the European Convention; and this has not prevented the outlawing of pornography here, nor in France and Germany of holocaust revisionism. Nor will it prevent any of the laws against "hateful speech" now being made up to gag dissidents in the United States. There are people, of course, who will reply "And a good thing too" - which is exactly why freedom of speech needs a better protection than this legal mush.

The same is true of Article 4, "Freedom from Slavery and Forced Labour", and Article 14, "Right to Enjoyment of Possessions". The first allows both conscription and "any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations" - whatever some future judge might decide that to be. The second does not

in any way impair the right to enforce such laws as may be necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest....

I imagine "the general interest" is intended and will be interpreted to mean all the usual interferences, plus many others as yet unknown.

But the real horror is Article 24, "Abuse of Freedoms":

Nothing in the Bill of Rights shall be interpreted as implying for any group or person a right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of the rights and freedoms set out herein.

Here we kiss goodbye to the limited protections discussed above. Persuade a judge that porn equals rape, or that Bernard Manning is the prelude to a second Auschwitz, or that the Moonies are mind controllers, or that "passive smoking" is an infringement of the right to life - or complain about anything else the Establishment may currently dislike - and we are back where we started, with an unlimited state.

Moving on, Article 27 lists various "Social and Economic Rights" - "the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living", "to social security", "to education", "to enjoy satisfactory health and safety conditions" at work. There is even a right "to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health"! But whatever else can be said about these things, they are not rights. Unlike the rights to life, liberty and property, they carry no negative obligations as their reciprocal. What obligations they do carry are positive and often unlimited burdens, falling most likely on employers or taxpayers.

For once, the authors seem aware of this defect. By Article 27.3, they provide that:

The Provisions of this Article are not enforceable in any court.

But, in that case, why bother with it? The authors of this draft are described on the back cover as "a team of distinguished constitutional lawyers and political scientists". That is, they are people who ought to know the difference between a constitution and a manifesto. The first is a document where every word of every article is likely to be pressed in court for a meaning. Before any article is included, then, the appropriate question is not "Does it arouse fine sentiments in the reader?" but "What legal effect will it have?" It should be asked: What acts does it prohibit or enjoin? To what class of legal action can it give rise? In conjunction with which other articles is it to to be read, and how is to to govern their interpretation? What is a court to make of it? Yet Article 27 is nothing, so far as I can tell, but a mass of needless words. It contributes nothing towards the restraint of power. Insofar as it gives a corrupt or incompetent judge words to twist to a meaning of his choice, it tends to frustrate the very purpose of having a constitution.

Or perhaps the restraint of power is not its real purpose. Reading through this draft, I was at first surprised by the apparent sloth and incompetence of its authors. In their commentary, they talk of entrenching liberty and democracy, yet in fact deliver a constitution that would not seriously impede Fidel Castro. But then I noticed a requirement in the Preamble for

government policies consonant with membership of the European Community and the furtherance of the objectives of the Community....

Then I noticed Article 1.3:

This Constitution recognises and gives effect to the obligations assumed by the United Kingdom as a member of the Community of Nations and of the European Community.

Then I noticed Article 50:

The law of the European Community has effect in the United Kingdom as provided by sections 1 to 3 of the European Communities Act 1972 (as amended by the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1986), and those sections have effect as part of this Constitution. [My italics]

And then I began to understand. Where everything else is redundant or vague to the point of looking bodged, these Articles have a very clear meaning. At the moment, foreign treaties cannot be enforced in this country unless incorporated into law by Act of Parliament. The one exception is our membership of the European Union, where Parliament has delegated some of its legislative power to the European Commission. However, this delegation can be altered or revoked just as Parliament sees fit. These Articles would change that. In the first place, they can be amended only by a two thirds majority of all members in the House of Commons and in the Second Chamber. In the second, they provide for the automatic incorporation of treaty obligations into law. Never mind the fanfare with which Article 51 gives Parliament the right to accept or reject treaties: after that one act of acceptance, all subordinate regulations must immediately become British law. Direct legislative powers will have been given not merely to the European Commission, but also to NATO, the United Nations, and any other organ of the "Community of Nations" minded to interfere in our affairs.

So here it is. The only certain function of this draft constitution is to cement us into a European Superstate. Beyond that, it does far less to restrain than enable domestic oppression. All considered, I prefer Michael Howard and the ruins of our present Constitution.

Marian Halcombe (Sean Gabb)

John Stuart Mill, The BNP, and Britain's Dying Democracy
by Sean Gabb
(Published by VDare on the 19th January 2011)

For about a year now, I have been writing for VDare about the British National Party (BNP), which is the main white nationalist organisation in the United Kingdom. The essence of my reports has been that the BNP faces a wall of media bias and legal and administrative persecution that put its survival in doubt. Though, as a libertarian, I have my own agenda for England, I do not regard this bias and persecution with any pleasure. What is being done to the BNP is unfair in itself and sets a precedent for the persecution of other dissident organisations and movements. What I have now to report about the BNP must be depressing both to white nationalists and to believers in liberal democracy.

Electoral Embarrassment

First, there is the result of a parliamentary by-election on Thursday the 13th January 2011. The Labour Party won the Oldham and Saddleworth constituency in the 2010 general election. However, the winner was unseated by a legal challenge, and a fresh election was held. The result was very poor for the BNP. It got its lowest ever vote in the constituency. It should, in the nature of things, have done better than to get 1,560 votes and take fifth place. There is no reason why the party should have won this election. The British electoral system has always been biased against small parties, and a BNP victory would have required something like a miracle. But it should have done better. A by-election has none of the pressure of a general election – no one goes off to vote thinking that his vote might decide the next government: people are more inclined to vote for small parties.

Add to this that none of the main parties was looking very attractive. The Labour Party is out of government, and has a leader generally seen as useless. The Liberal Democrats, who came second at the general election, are members of a coalition government that has failed to generate enthusiasm among the public. The Conservatives ran a minimal campaign and effectively invited people to vote Liberal Democrat.

Moreover, the BNP had been claiming for years that Moslem gangs were targeting young white girls for sexual abuse and forced prostitution. This had been ignored by the mainstream media. Then, a few days before the vote, two Asian men were sent to prison for sexually abusing white girls and forcing them into prostitution. A former Labour Home Secretary then admitted that this was a wider problem than people liked to admit.

All this, and the BNP still did badly. Why it did badly can be explained by any number of reasons. We might say that the British people have looked hard at the BNP and not liked it. Or we might say that the media bias against the BNP was so extreme, that 1,560 votes were a good showing. Or we might look at disunity within the local party. Or we might look at any number of other more or less credible reasons. My own suspicion, for what it is worth, is that the BNP did badly in this by-election because of a general feeling that it is not and will not be successful. This may sound an unusual reason, but, in my experience as a Conservative activist in the 1980s, it is – particular excitements aside – one of the main reasons why people vote for a party or not.

And the BNP was not regarded as successful for reasons that many outside England might regard as perverse. This brings me to my second piece of news. On Friday the 17th December 2010, the BNP finally beat off the case brought against it by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). This meant that the assets of the Party would not now be seized, and its leader, Nick Griffin, would not now be sent to prison. It brought to an end around eighteen months of legal harassment by an organisation that has about as much to do with equality and human rights as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has with democracy or the people or republicanism – but that does have unlimited amounts of the taxpayers’ money to throw at whoever or whatever may be disliked by the British ruling class.

I have been covering this case for VDare almost since it began. However, not everyone will have read or will remember my earlier articles. I think, therefore, it would be helpful if I were to summarise its course.

The Legal Harassment of the BNP

The EHRC was set up by virtue of the Equality Act 2006. Its alleged function was to bring enforcement of all the “equality” and “human rights” legislation of the past few decades within a central and unified scheme. But it first came to media prominence in August 2009, when it began legal proceedings against the BNP. Its cause of action was that the BNP restricted membership to white people – that is, to “indigenous British ethnic groups deriving from the class of ‘Indigenous Caucasian’" plus “those we regard as closely related and ethnically assimilated or assimilable aboriginal members of the European race also resident in Britain”.[Constitution of The British National Party Eighth Edition, published November 2004] (Which is interpreted to include Jews—thus one BNP elected official, Pat Richardson, a local councillor, is Jewish).

This restriction and others like it had so far been accepted as natural by both members and opponents of the BNP. The party exists, after all, to assert that the British Isles are the homeland of the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish peoples; and it denies the wisdom and the legitimacy of the mostly state-sponsored immigration of non-whites since the end of the Second World War. Its membership rule was no more controversial than the limitation of places at a Jewish school to Jewish children or the exclusion of practising Moslems from ordination by the Roman Catholic Church. But the lawyers of the EHRC had found that the BNP membership rule might be in breach of sections 24 and 25(5) of the Equality Act and of the Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended). And so began lavishing the taxpayers’ money on an action that was ostensibly about the right of non-whites to join a party that disapproved of their presence in the United Kingdom.

In March 2010, the BNP changed its rules and said it would admit non-whites to membership, and it then admitted an elderly Sikh who was a long-standing British nationalist. However, it also imposed two conditions on new members to prevent flooding attempts – that is, to prevent large numbers of non-whites from joining and then bringing actions of their own against the party, or using its internal rules to destroy the party. First, prospective members should be visited at home, to see if they were suitable for membership. Second, all members should declare support for the “continued creation, fostering, maintenance and existence” of an indigenous British race, and should support action towards “stemming and reversing” immigration. The EHRC immediately argued that these conditions amounted to “indirect racial discrimination”, and continued its case against the BNP.

The EHRC won this round. On the 12th March 2010, a Judge outlawed the requirement for home visits, saying that this might lead to intimidation—though admitting that there was no evidence it ever had. He also outlawed the requirement to declare support for party principle and policy. He said:

“I hold that the BNP are likely to commit unlawful acts of discrimination within section 1b Race Relations Act 1976 in the terms on which they are prepared to admit persons to membership under the 12th addition of their constitution.”

The reason for this, the Judge went on, was that no non-white person could support these policies without compromising his “personal sense of self-worth and dignity as a member of their racial group”. And so the BNP changed its membership rules again, now accepting members regardless of whether they agreed with its policies.

However, these conditions for membership were only suspended by the BNP, not removed. And so the EHRC went to court again, this time arguing that the BNP was in contempt for not complying in full with the earlier judgment. The penalties for contempt of court are an unlimited fine or two years imprisonment (imprisonment of the most senior person if the defendant is a corporate body).

The hearing took place in London on the 8th and 8th November 2010. Judgment was then reserved for six weeks. It was finally given on Friday the 17th December 2010, and the Judges ruled that the BNP had no case to answer.

The EHRC was plainly disappointed with the judgment. But, according to John Wadham, one of its main officials:

“Today's judgment makes no difference to the substance of our action against the BNP… The County Court ruled that the BNP's constitution was racially discriminatory. That ruling remains in place and has now, finally, been obeyed by the BNP."

He added that he and his colleagues would continue monitoring BNP rules relating to members' right to vote and attend meetings and whether such rights were connected with what members thought about mixed-race relationships and the like. "We will be keeping a watching brief on them to make sure they don't break the law," he added. (BBC Report, 17th December 2010)

The End of the beginning – Perhaps not Even That!

So far as the British media were concerned, this was the end of the matter. Once the judgment was reported – and reported rather briefly – it is as if some spell of silence had been cast on the gentlemen of the press. Nick Griffin continues to send out his regular newsletters. His followers continue to agitate. But there has been no editorial comment on the judgement, and no significant reporting on what might have happened next.

This does not mean that the BNP has struck a blow for freedom that will rank with the Trial of the Seven Bishops, or the Treason Trials of 1794. Anyone who thinks that last month’s judgment was the end of the matter is naïve. The EHRC will not go away, and there are so many other avenues of attack on the BNP, from media smears, to private legal actions, to disruption by the security services. And the courts are not neutral. Contempt of court hearings do not usually involve complex issues of law. I find it very suspicious that judgment had to be reserved in this matter for six whole weeks. Rather than for pondering the various submissions, it is more likely that the six weeks were used for asking round among the powerful whether the BNP could decently be put out of the way, or if there was no choice but for justice to be done. I really do not think this will be my last article on the persecution of the BNP.

And this is probably the main reason why the BNP did so badly in the Oldham and Saddleworth by-election. Success of this kind in the courts nowadays indicates that a person or movement has been singled out for destruction.

Liberal Values and the BNP

I will say in passing that none of this can be reconciled with any version of liberalism as it might have been recognised before the name was taken over by American big state managerialists. The only human rights claimed by liberalism are to life, liberty and justly-acquired property. From these follow the specific rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association. This first is the right to say anything about public affairs – no matter how upsetting it may be to others. The second is the right of adults to associate or not as they see fit. No one has the right to be loved. No one has the right to be included. No one has the right not to be hated or ridiculed or despised. We may all have a general obligation to behave decently to others – and it is this on which political correctness is a parasitic growth – but the obligation itself is not one that may rightly be imposed by law.

I could elaborate on the above for several pages. However, I imagine my readers are more interested in the BNP than in libertarian homilies. I have explained that the BNP is marked out for destruction, and that this mark has for the moment depressed its fortunes. Let me then move to a discussion of why a small political party like the BNP is under such heavy and continual attack. If it were the sort of organisation it is claimed to be, it would probably be left alone. A party of skinheads and Hitler-worshippers is a wonderful excuse for people who think themselves “progressive” to sit round the dinner table, competitively boasting how many black and homosexual friends they have, and assuring each other of benefits that “diversity” has brought to England.

The truth, I think, is that the BNP is not a national socialist, but a nationalist party. Whatever it may once have been, it is no longer, or is rapidly ceasing to be. And it is the nationalism that makes it so dangerous. Certain nationalisms can be tolerated, and even celebrated – Scotch nationalism, for example, with its sporrans and whines about Culloden, and its ruthless grasping at English subsidies – not to mention its liking for the European Union. But the big fear is that the BNP has already vacated the dead end of national socialism for white nationalism and an equal embrace for all the nationalisms of the British Isles. If it has done this, it might finally see the logic of its position and become an English nationalist party. It would then be in a position to speak for an unusually ferocious and cohesive nation. This cannot be risked. If English nationalism were to become an active political force, it would mean the end of the present British ruling class. This would be ended for its general uselessness over much of the past century, and for the legitimising ideology it has, with grim enthusiasm, been trying to impose for at least the past generation.

A Legitimising Ideology both anti-Liberal and anti-National

There is, of course, nothing inherently bad in legitimising ideologies. Every ruling class needs some body of ideas that directly justifies its position, and that also supports those institutions and state of affairs that entrench that position. And, so far as ruling classes are inseparable from states, the only question – this side of a libertarian utopia – is how much respect a ruling class ideology pays to the lives, liberties and property of ordinary people. The problem for England, though, is that the present ruling class has taken up a legitimising ideology that involves the flattening of popular rights. It sees itself less as a committee of trustees for the nation than as the senior management for a “community of communities”. Mass-immigration of non-whites has been made a policy of state. Objections to this have been made increasingly illegal. “Diversity” is a blessing, and anyone who fails to agree must be ruthlessly bullied. See, for example, this by Andrew Marr, formerly the Political Editor of BBC News:

“[T]he final answer, frankly, [after miscegenation, school propaganda, and higher taxes to pay for it all] is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain 'natural' beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off. The police are first in line to be burdened further, but a new Race Relations Act will impose the will of the state on millions of other lives too.” [Published in The Guardian, 28th February 1999]

Now, the primary motivation of this is not to destroy the white race, or to turn Britain into an Islamic state – though there is always more than one agenda at work in a project of this nature. Nor is it the creation of a heavily-policed theme park in which imams and transgendered lesbians and football fans and rap singers all pretend to love each other. In my book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and how to Get it Back, I do argue at some length how Britain – and perhaps America – have been taken over from within by a clique of neo-Marxists, who are trying to impose every multicultural and politically correct fantasy of their student days. This is true. There is no doubt that the intellectual and governing elites of both countries are soaked in the thought of Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault. At the same time, though, I believe that political correctness and multiculturalism are symptoms as well as causes. The gathering attack on representative liberal democracy is more a purpose in itself than a by-product of present intellectual trends.

One of the main reasons for this is that a reasonably homogenous nation state may not be democratic, but it can be democratic. People who have a common identity will often conceive common interests, and stand together against a government that does not respect these interests. They may also trust each other with political power – confident that differences over economic or other policies will not be carried to the point of civil war.

This is a standard argument of nationalists. But it is also accepted within a significant strand of classical liberalism. A hundred and fifty years ago, John Stuart Mill stated the argument about as clearly as it can be. In Chapter 16 of his essay On Representative Government, he says:

“Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist. The influences which form opinions and decide political acts are different in the different sections of the country. An altogether different set of leaders have the confidence of one part of the country and of another. The same books, newspapers, pamphlets, speeches, do not reach them. One section does not know what opinions, or what instigations, are circulating in another. The same incidents, the same acts, the same system of government, affect them in different ways; and each fears more injury to itself from the other nationalities than from the common arbiter, the state. Their mutual antipathies are generally much stronger than jealousy of the government. That any one of them feels aggrieved by the policy of the common ruler is sufficient to determine another to support that policy. Even if all are aggrieved, none feel that they can rely on the others for fidelity in a joint resistance; the strength of none is sufficient to resist alone, and each may reasonably think that it consults its own advantage most by bidding for the favour of the government against the rest.”

One of the reasons why England was, in the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries the model of representative liberal democracies was that it was remarkably homogeneous. Ireland was always an exception – but it was another island, and could for most of the time be ignored. But the Scottish and Welsh nations were broadly willing to fit themselves into an English structure. This meant that there were none of those national or regional diversities that made representative government difficult or impossible in much of Europe.

To be sure, England never became a pure democracy. The people at large were allowed to give final answers to questions – but the questions themselves were always put by a largely aristocratic ruling class. But this ruling class retained power on the understanding that it would identify itself with the interests of the whole nation.

The old ruling class was destroyed by two great wars. It was destroyed in the sense that disproportionate numbers of its own young were killed in the fighting, and by the high taxes and the socialist challenge that attended these wars. And it allowed itself to be destroyed so far as it had identified with the nation. There was no shirking from military service, and few attempts to conceal taxable wealth. Moreover, these were democratic wars. The first one, in particular, had to be sold at its outset to what might otherwise have been a sceptical public. The necessary lies then generated national hatreds so intense that the war itself ran out of control.

Globalisation + Mass-Immigration = Unaccountable Class Domination

The managerialist ruling class that emerged after 1945 has been resolutely anti-nationalist and anti-democratic. It has signed the county up to every treaty in sight that would transfer power to unaccountable, and frequently invisible, transnational bodies in which it could have a leading place. Most obviously, it lied the country into the European Union. This was the creation of European ruling classes that had faced similar problems of national over-identification; and its central purpose has always been to concentrate real power into a cartel of ruling classes, thereby allowing these to float away from accountability. Few members of the new ruling class in England have any military inclinations – though they are happy enough to sacrifice other people’s sons when it suits their convenience. They derive much of their wealth from involvement in multinational business, or in multinational bureaucracies, or in the implementation of treaty commitments; and they cannot be touched financially short of a revolution.

Mass-immigration has been the domestic counterpart of globalisation. The second transfers power upwards. The first so Balkanises national politics and social life, that no concerted effort can be made to pull power down again to the people. We are moving quickly to the situation described by Mill – where “the strength of none is sufficient to resist alone, and each may reasonably think that it consults its own advantage most by bidding for the favour of the government against the rest.” I think what he had in mind was the Hapsburg Empire, where Slavs had recently been used to put down German and Hungarian revolts, and where German and Hungarian nationalism was then encouraged to keep the Slavs in line. That, minus the high culture, is what the British ruling class has in mind for England. It wants a country in which political argument is either to be suppressed on the grounds of good communal relations, or is worthless because all elections are fought on communal lines, and their results always mirror the census returns.

I am not claiming that there is an overt conspiracy. I have discussed the above analysis with many journalists and politicians. All have denied it. Many have been incredulous. I do not think they were lying to me. This may indicate that I am wrong. Just as easily, it indicates that, while there are individual conspiracies – getting us into and keeping us in the European Union, for example, or getting us into the Iraq and Afghan Wars – there is no single overarching conspiracy of dispossession. But there does not need to be any such conspiracy. Political correctness and multiculturalism did not become parts of a legitimising ideology because thousands of well-connected students just happened to be lectured after 1968 into believing them. Nor was it because the well-connected thought they might be useful as domestic counterparts to globalisation. Without any visible coordination, groups of people often act as if directed. Everything I have mentioned can be explained in terms of ideas, and the material interests conceived in terms of these ideas, and the personalities of those involved.

Equally, the almost fanatical hatred directed against the BNP is not consciously the product of the fear that English nationalism might bring about a revolution. However at variance with the truth they may be, the reasons given for hatred are mostly believed by those giving them. But, I repeat, it is not distaste for what it is said to be that really drives persecution of the BNP. It is fear of what the BNP might become, and of the great reaction it might contribute to enabling.

I will not say that the BNP will be destroyed. Its electoral fortunes may recover. England is not a totalitarian country, and there are limits to what even a frightened ruling class can do. But, purely so far as it might become successful, the BNP is certainly marked for destruction. I do not think this will be my last article on the matter.