Saturday, April 24, 2010

Margaret Thatcher: 'What’s wrong with politics?’

This speech was given in Blackpool in 1968 – more than a decade before she became prime minister. As you read it, you may wonder what has changed. Here is not only manifest prescience, but great wisdom.

What's wrong with politics

Criticism of politics is no new thing. Literature abounds with it.

In Shakespeare we find the comment of King Lear:

‘Get thee glass eyes;
And, like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.’

Richard Sheridan, reputed to have made one of the greatest speeches the House of Commons has ever heard (it lasted 5 hours and 40 minutes), commented that ‘conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics’. Anatole France was perhaps the most scathing: ‘I am not so devoid of all talents as to occupy myself with politics.’

Nor have political leaders escaped criticism:

‘Disraeli unites the maximum of Parliamentary cleverness with the minimum of statesmanlike capacity. No one ever dreams to have him lead. He belongs not to the bees but to the wasps and the butterflies of public life. He can sting and sparkle but he cannot work. His place in the arena is marked and ticketed for ever.’

This from the Controller of the Stationery Office, in 1853, quoted in The Statesman by Henry Taylor.

There is no need to remind you how utterly wrong that judgment was.

There are even some things that have improved over the years. Bribery and corruption, which have now gone, used to be rampant. The votes of electors were purchased at a high price. The famous Lord Shaftesbury when he was Lord Ashley, spent £15,600 on successfully winning Dorset in 1831. It is interesting to note that £12,000 of this went to public houses and inns for the refreshment of the people. And this when gin was a penny a glass! Some forty years before, Lord Penrhyn spent £50,000 on his campaign — and then lost!

But we can't dismiss the present criticisms as easily as that. The dissatisfaction with politics runs too deep both here and abroad. People have come to doubt the future of the democratic system and its institutions. They distrust the politicians and have little faith in the future.

Why the present distrust?

Let us try to assess how and why we have reached this pass. What is the explanation? Broadly speaking I think we have not yet assimilated many of the changes that have come about in the past thirty to forty years.

First, I don't think we realise sufficiently how new our present democratic system is. We still have comparatively little experience of the effect of the universal franchise which didn't come until 1928. And the first election in this country which was fought on the principle of one person one vote was in 1950. So we are still in the early stages of dealing with the problems and opportunities presented by everyone having a vote.

Secondly, this and other factors have led to a different party political structure. There is now little room for independent members and the controversies which formerly took place outside the parties on a large number of measures now have to take place inside. There is, and has to be room for a variety of opinions on certain topics within the broad general principles on which each party is based.

Thirdly, from the party political structure has risen the detailed programme which is placed before the electorate. Return to power on such a programme has led to a new doctrine that the party in power has a mandate to carry out everything in its manifesto. I myself doubt whether the voters really are endorsing each and every particular when they return a government to power.

This modern practice of an election programme has, I believe, influenced the attitudes of some electors; all too often one is now asked ‘what are you going to do for me?’, implying that the programme is a series of promises in return for votes. All this has led to a curious relationship between elector and elected. If the elector suspects the politician of making promises simply to get his vote, he despises him, but if the promises are not forthcoming he may reject him. I believe that parties and elections are about more than rival lists of miscellaneous promises—indeed, if they were not, democracy would scarcely be worth preserving.

Fourthly, the extensive and all-pervading development of the welfare state is also comparatively new, not only here but in other countries as well. You will recollect that one of the four great freedoms in President Roosevelt's wartime declaration was ‘freedom from want’. Since then in the Western world there has been a series of measures designed to give greater security. I think it would be true to say that there is no longer a struggle to achieve a basic security. Further, we have a complete new generation whose whole life has been lived against the background of the welfare state. These developments must have had a great effect on the outlook and approach of our people even if we cannot yet assess it properly.

Fifthly, one of the effects of the rapid spread of higher education has been to equip people to criticise and question almost everything. Some of them seem to have stopped there instead of going on to the next stage which is to arrive at new beliefs or to reaffirm old ones. You will perhaps remember seeing in the press the report that the student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit has been awarded a degree on the result of his past work. His examiners said that he had posed a series of most intelligent questions. Significant? I would have been happier had he also found a series of intelligent answers.

Sixthly, we have far more information about events than ever before and since the advent of television, news is presented much more vividly. It is much more difficult to ignore situations which you have seen on film with your own eyes than if you had merely read about them, perhaps skimming the page rather hurriedly. Television is not merely one extra means of communication, it is a medium which because of the way it presents things is radically influencing the judgments we have to make about events and about people, including politicians.

Seventhly, our innate international idealism has received many nasty shocks. Many of our people long to believe that if representatives of all nations get together dispassionately to discuss burning international problems, providence and goodwill will guide them to wise and just conclusions, and peace and international law and order will thereby be secured. But in practice a number of nations vote not according to right or wrong even when it is a clear case to us, but according to their national expediencies. And some of the speeches and propaganda to explain blatant actions would make the angels weep as well as the electorate.

All of these things are a partial explanation of the disillusion and disbelief we encounter today. The changes have been tremendous and I am not surprised that the whole system is under cross-examination. I welcome healthy scepticism and questioning. It is our job continually to retest old assumptions and to seek new ideas. But we must not try to find one unalterable answer that will solve all our problems for none can exist.

You may know the story of the soldier of fortune who once asked the Sphinx to reveal the divine wisdom of the ages in one sentence, and the Sphinx said, ‘Don't expect too much.’

In that spirit and against the background I have sketched, let us try to analyse what has gone wrong.

The great mistake — too much government

I believe that the great mistake of the last few years has been for the government to provide or to legislate for almost everything. Part of this policy has its roots in the plans for reconstruction in the post-war period when governments assumed all kinds of new obligations. The policies may have been warranted at the time but they have gone far further than was intended or is advisable. During our own early and middle period of government we were concerned to set the framework in which people could achieve their own standards for themselves, subject always to a basic standard. But it has often seemed to me that from the early 1960s the emphasis in politics shifted. At about that time ‘growth’ became the key political word. If resources grew by X per cent per annum this would provide the extra money needed for the government to make further provision. The doctrine found favour at the time and we had a bit of a contest between the parties about the highest possible growth rate. Four per cent or more. But the result was that for the time being the emphasis in political debate ceased to be about people and became about economics. Plans were made to achieve a 4 per cent growth rate. Then came the present government with a bigger plan and socialist ideas about its implementation, that is to say if people didn't conform to the plan, they had to be compelled to. Hence compulsion on Prices and Incomes policy and with it the totally unacceptable notion that the government shall have the power to fix which wages and salaries should increase.

We started off with a wish on the part of the people for more government intervention in certain spheres. This was met. But there came a time when the amount of intervention got so great that it could no longer be exercised in practice by government but only by more and more officials or bureaucrats. Now it is difficult if not impossible for people to get at the official making the decision and so paradoxically although the degree of intervention is greater, the government has become more and more remote from the people. The present result of the democratic process has therefore been an increasing authoritarianism.

During July The Daily Telegraph published a rather interesting poll which showed how people were reacting against this rule of impersonal authority. The question was: ‘In your opinion or not do people like yourselves have enough say or not in the way the government runs the country? (68 per cent not enough), the services provided by the nationalised industries (67 per cent not enough), the way local authorities handle things (64 per cent not enough—note this rather high figure; people don't like remote local authorities any more than they like remote governments).’

Recently more and more feature articles have been written and speeches made about involving people more closely with decisions of the government and enabling them to participate in some of those decisions.

But the way to get personal involvement and participation is not for people to take part in more and more government decisions but to make the government reduce the area of decision over which it presides and consequently leave the private citizen to ‘participate’, if that be the fashionable word, by making more of his own decisions. What we need now is a far greater degree of personal responsibility and decision, far more independence from the government, and a comparative reduction in the role of government.

These beliefs have important implications for policy.

Prices and incomes

First, Prices and Incomes policy. The most effective prices policy has not come by controlling prices by the government, through the Prices and Incomes Board, but through the Conservative way of seeing that competition flourishes. There have been far more price cuts in the supermarkets than in the nationalised industries. This shows the difference between the government doing the job itself and the government creating the conditions under which prices will be kept down through effective competition.
On the Incomes side, there seemed to be some confusion in the minds of the electorate about where the parties stood. This was not surprising in the early days because a number of speeches and documents from both sides of the House showed a certain similarity. For example, here are four separate quotations—two from the Labour Government and two from our period of office. They are almost indistinguishable.

1. ‘Increases in the general level of wage rates must be related to increased productivity due to increased efficiency and effort.’ (White Paper on Employment Policy, 1944)

2. ‘It is essential therefore that there should be no further general increase in the level of personal incomes without at least a corresponding increase in the volume of production.’ (Sir Stafford Cripps, 1948)

3. ‘The Government's policy is to promote a faster rate of economic growth ... But the policy will be put in jeopardy if money incomes rise faster than the volume of national production.’ (Para. 1 of Incomes Policy, The Next Step, Cmnd 1626, February 1962)

4. ‘... the major objectives of national policy must be ... to raise productivity and efficiency so that real national output can increase and so keep increases in wages, salaries and other forms of income in line with this increase.’ (Schedule 2, Prices and Incomes Act, 1966)

All of these quotes express general economic propositions, but the policies which flowed from those propositions were very different. We rejected from the outset the use of compulsion. This was absolutely right. The role of the government is not to control each and every salary that is paid. It has no means of measuring the correct amount. Moreover, having to secure the state's approval before one increases the pay of an employee is repugnant to most of us.

There is another aspect of the way in which Incomes policy is now operated to which I must draw attention. We now put so much emphasis on the control of incomes that we have too little regard for the essential role of government which is the control of money supply and management of demand. Greater attention to this role and less to the outward detailed control would have achieved more for the economy. It would mean, of course, that the government had to exercise itself some of the disciplines on expenditure it is so anxious to impose on others. It would mean that expenditure in the vast public sector would not have to be greater than the amount which could be financed out of taxation plus genuine saving. For a number of years some expenditure has been financed by what amounts to printing the money. There is nothing laissez-faire or old-fashioned about the views I have expressed. It is a modern view of the role the government should play now, arising from the mistakes of the past, the results of which we are experiencing today.

Tax and the social services

The second policy implication concerns taxation and the social services. It is no accident that the Conservative Party has been one which has reduced the rates of taxation. The decisions have not been a haphazard set of expediencies, or merely economic decisions to meet the needs of the moment. They have stemmed from the real belief that government intervention and control tends to reduce the role of the individual, his importance and the desirability that he should be primarily responsible for his own future. When it comes to the development of the social services, the policy must mean that people should be encouraged if necessary by taxation incentives to make increasing provision for themselves out of their own resources. The basic standards through the state would remain as a foundation for extra private provision. Such a policy would have the advantage that the government could concentrate on providing things which the citizen can't. Hospitals are one specific example.

The other day I came across a quotation which you will find difficult to place:

‘Such a plan as this was bound to be drastic and to express nothing less than a new pattern ... (for the hospitals of this country) ... Now that we have it, we must see that it lives. As I have said before it is a plan which has hands and feet. It walks and it works. It is not a static conception stated once and for all but something which is intended to live and to be dynamic ... My Ministry will constantly be carrying this review forward so that there will always be ten years work definitely projected ahead.’ (Hansard, 4th June 1962, Col. 153.)

No, it doesn't come from Harold Wilson. It is not about our enormous overall plan, but a very limited plan in a small area in which the government could make a distinctive contribution. It was Enoch Powell introducing his ten-year hospital plan in the House of Commons on 4th June 1962.

Independence from the state

To return to the personal theme, if we accept the need for increasing responsibility for self and family it means that we must stop approaching things in an atmosphere of restriction. There is nothing wrong in people wanting larger incomes. It would seem a worthy objective for men and women to wish to raise the standard of living for their families and to give them greater opportunities than they themselves had. I wish more people would do it. We should then have fewer saying ‘the state must do it.’ What is wrong is that people should want more without giving anything in return. The condition precedent to high wages and high salaries is hard work. This is a quite different and much more stimulating approach than one of keeping down incomes.

Doubtless there will be accusers that we are only interested in more money. This just is not so. Money is not an end in itself. It enables one to live the kind of life of one's own choosing. Some will prefer to put a large amount to raising material standards, others will pursue music, the arts, the cultures, others will use their money to help those here and overseas about whose needs they feel strongly and do not let us underestimate the amount of hard earned cash that this nation gives voluntarily to worthy causes. The point is that even the Good Samaritan had to have the money to help, otherwise he too would have had to pass on the other side. In choice of way of life J. S. Mill's views are as relevant as ever:

‘The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way so long as we do not deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it ... Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.’

These policies have one further important implication. Together they succeed at the same time in giving people a measure of independence from the state — and who wants a people dependent on the state and turning to the state for their every need — also they succeed in drawing power away from governments and diffusing it more widely among people and non-governmented institutions.

The problem of size

The second mistake politics have made at present is in some ways related to the first one. We have become bewitched with the idea of size.

As a result people no longer feel important in the scheme of things. They have the impression that everything has become so big, so organised, so standardised and governmentalised that there is no room for the individual, his talents, his requirements or his wishes. He no longer counts.

It is not difficult to see how this feeling has come about. In industry the merits of size have been extolled for some years now and too little attention given to its demerits. Size brings great problems. One of the most important is the problem of making and communicating decisions. The task of decision tends to be concentrated at the top, and fewer people get used to weighing up a problem, taking a decision, sticking to it and carrying the consequences. The buck is passed. But even after a decision has been made, there is the problem of communicating it to those who have to carry it out in such a way that it is understood, and they are made to feel a part of the team. In a large-scale organisation, whether government, local government or industry, failure to do this can lead to large-scale mistakes, large-scale confusion and large-scale resentment. These problems, can, and must be, overcome, but all too often they are not.

Government agencies and the public

The third mistake is that people feel they don't count when they try to get something done through government agencies.

Consider our relations with government departments. We start as a birth certificate; attract a maternity grant; give rise to a tax allowance and possibly a family allowance; receive a national health number when registered with a doctor; go to one or more schools where educational records are kept; apply for an educational grant; get a job; start paying national insurance and tax; take out a television and a driving licence; buy a house with a mortgage; pay rates; buy a few premium bonds; take out life assurance; purchase some shares; get married; start the whole thing over again; receive a pension and become a death certificate and death grant, and the subject of a file in the Estate Duty Office!

Every one of these incidents will require a form or give rise to some questions, or be recorded in some local or national government office. The amount of information collected in the various departments must be fabulous. Small wonder that life really does seem like ‘one damned form after another.’

A good deal of this form-filling will have to continue but I think it time to reassert a right to privacy. Ministers will have to look at this aspect in deciding how to administer their policies. There is a tendency on the part of some politicians to suggest that with the advent of computers all this information should be centralised and stored on magnetic tape. They argue that this would be time-saving and more efficient. Possibly it would; but other and more important things would be at stake.

There would be produced for the first time a personal dossier about each person, on which everything would be recorded. In my view this would place far too much power in the hands of the state over the individual. In the USA there is a Congressional enquiry sitting on this very point because politicians there have recognised the far-reaching dangers of such a record.

Too much reliance on statistics, too little on judgment

Fourthly, I believe that there is too great a reliance on statistical forecasts; too little on judgment.
We all know the old one about lies, damned lies and statistics, and I do not wish to condemn statistics out of hand. Those who prepare them are well aware of their limitations. Those who use them are not so scrupulous.

Recently the economic forecasts have been far more optimistic than the events which happened. The balance of payments predictions have been wrong again and again.

For example, in February this year the National Institute of Economic and Social Research forecast predicted a surplus of £100m. in the second half of this year. In August they predicted a deficit of £600m. for the whole of this year, but a surplus of £250m. next year.

They commented, ‘The balance of payments forecast taken year by year look a lot worse than previously estimated, but the difference is largely one of timing — with the movement into surplus coming later, and with a still large rate of improvement.’

The truth is that statistical results do not displace the need for judgment, they increase it. The figures can be no better than the assumptions on which they are based and these could vary greatly. In addition, the unknown factor which, by its very nature is incapable of evaluation, may well be the determining one.

The party political system

Fifthly, we have not yet appreciated or used fully the virtues of our party political system. The essential characteristic of the British Constitutional system is not that there is an alternative personality but that there is an alternative policy and a whole alternative government ready to take office. As a result we have always had an Opposition to act as a focus of criticism against the government. We have therefore not suffered the fate of countries which have had a ‘consensus’ or central government, without an official opposition. This was one of the causes of trouble in Germany. Nor do we have the American system, which as far as Presidential campaigns go, appears to have become almost completely one of personalities.

There are dangers in consensus; it could be an attempt to satisfy people holding no particular views about anything. It seems more important to have a philosophy and policy which because they are good appeal to sufficient people to secure a majority.

A short time ago when speaking to a university audience and stressing the theme of second responsibility and independence a young undergraduate came to me and said ‘I had no idea there was such a clear alternative.’ He found the idea challenging and infinitely more effective than one in which everyone virtually expects their MP or the government to solve their problems. The Conservative creed has never offered a life of ease without effort. Democracy is not for such people. Self-government is for those men and women who have learned to govern themselves.

No great party can survive except on the basis of firm beliefs about what it wants to do. It is not enough to have reluctant support. We want people's enthusiasm as well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

organized to reduce stress is what gov. is for

24 April 2010 at 06:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'est le joi de vivre est en abscence de point du view.Personne ne peut plus pres des vrai etoilees si ne don pas encore le verite. Croiyez vous le demain ca c'est le verite au encore passee jusqu'a la vraiment necessaire implement joi dans chaque ville en form du "pleasant parks" partout.

24 April 2010 at 06:18  
Blogger Ronald said...

This government has not only legislated to much but it has enforced the laws asymetrically.

Any law that enforces the power of the state will be enforced ruthlessly. Try not paying tax or protesting in the wrong parts of London.

How the laws are enforced depend on how you are. Country side alliance will get treated harsher than Muslim anti free speech protesters.

Laws to protect the people like trial by jury are edged out while laws to check our e-mails are introduced.

24 April 2010 at 07:11  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Mystic Maggie!

Clearly inter-party consensus and mendacious statistics describe everything that is wrong with our present state of politics.

Consensus and statistics are also about AGW, the biggest scam in history.


24 April 2010 at 08:10  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Do I take it that the frogules have all the answers in the right language, then? Someone over on CH is convinced that's the next step in our demise!

24 April 2010 at 08:34  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Wow Cranmer that was a masterful critique!

”It is our job continually to retest old assumptions and to seek new ideas. But we must not try to find one unalterable answer that will solve all our problems for none can exist.”

I am surprised and heartened by this comment; it is straight out of the secular/humanist “hymn” sheet.

”Many of our people long to believe that if representatives of all nations get together dispassionately to discuss burning international problems, providence and goodwill will guide them to wise and just conclusions, and peace and international law and order will thereby be secured.”

Don’t be too dismissive of the achievements of international cooperation or too cynical to accept that nations can and sometimes act altruistically. The post war period has seen many examples of nations working for the common good rather than simply for national advantage.

”There are dangers in consensus; it could be an attempt to satisfy people holding no particular views about anything. It seems more important to have a philosophy and policy which because they are good appeal to sufficient people to secure a majority.”

In this Postmodern world many of the old certainties have disappeared. The electorate is now less likely to hold on to fixed ideas. Many people no longer define themselves by class, political affiliation or religion.

As you have so eloquently pointed out, government is “in our faces” seeking to manage us like a shepherd his sheep lest we stray from the flock. Perhaps this is done with the best intentions rather than from socialist zeal. “Trust the people” may be an attractive slogan but it is not without danger.

Once again thank you for a very thought provoking piece.

24 April 2010 at 10:50  
Anonymous len said...

I have lived sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And, if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.;

"I firmly believe this; and I also believe, that, without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel;...

(Abraham Lincoln)

24 April 2010 at 11:17  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your Grace, your optimism and determination to persevere with democracy are commendable. There are many who wonder if the comments of Scotsman Alexander Fraser Tyler written during the Enlightenment are not prophetic, "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over lousy fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world's great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage."

These thoughts would seem themselves to be drawn from the work of the Graeco-Roman political philosopher Polybius, of whom you are no doubt aware. Polybius had a profound influence on the Founding Fathers of the USA.

The real challenge in modern societies is getting the electorate away from the plasma TV and out there electing.

Time for compulsory voting in the UK?

24 April 2010 at 12:10  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ bluedog (12:10)—Time for compulsory voting in the UK?

Or, time for the vote to be restricted to those in work. As a further safeguard against profligate government, private sector workers could be given several votes each, while public sector workers would receive one vote.

24 April 2010 at 13:32  
Blogger Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Your Grace is to be congratulated for exhuming for us what has to be, agree with it all or not, one of the most significant political speeches of the last century.

It discusses questions which are very much larger than particular party programmes in a way that has become very unusual this century — the Gadarene rush of all contemporary parties to present themselves as "the party that will make you feel good" turns them all into entertainment corporations, spinning freely across their own worlds.

And then there's fallen human nature to contend with, which mars the execution of the best intentions, even if we manage not to amuse ourselves to death.

24 April 2010 at 14:57  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

A fine compilation of words. Like the finest toilet paper, it was flushed down the pan, and here we are in the sewer. So what's your point? More fine compilations of words?

In the end, even the words will run out, and we will all drown in our own shit.

24 April 2010 at 15:28  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Why do I say that? Well:

No great party can survive except on the basis of firm beliefs about what it wants to do. It is not enough to have reluctant support. We want people's enthusiasm as well.

You're havin a laugh aintcha? Are we talking about the same people here, or I have I woken up from a coma induced nightmare in the third world?

24 April 2010 at 15:32  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Oh Maggie, if only you hadn't destroyed society you'd have been such a good PM. She had the right ideas but never implemented them properly.

Turns out we can't run an economy or have a proud working class with out manufacture. Woops! Trust me, I've worked in a shop: it is soul destroying. Her biggest mistake was not to think that one can run a country without manufacture and heavy industry, but trying to prove it.

24 April 2010 at 15:55  
Blogger Allectus said...


24 April 2010 at 16:52  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The famous Lord Shaftesbury when he was Lord Ashley, spent £15,600 on successfully winning Dorset in 1831. It is interesting to note that £12,000 of this went to public houses and inns for the refreshment of the people.

Since that was Pre-Great Reform Act it hardly suggests "the people" more the squirearchy.

Nevertheless, the real disaster was two World Wars and the betrayal that involved. It was Bismarckian reaction to the rise of the SPD in Germany that brought in social insurance and Liberals in 1906 who copied it. The race between Britain and Germany began before 1914.

The disastrous multilation of whole towns by the extirpation of Pals Battalions left Government bereft of legitimacy and the fact that interwar unemployment was only cured by yet another World War left politics looking rather sordid.

Hitler's European economic Plan of 1942 left the Allies looking rather reactionary and so they dreamed up The Atlantic Charter full of high-flown rhetoric and the Emergency Medical Service set up during WWII was the prototype for the NHS.

The simple fact is that WAR and its sacrifices led to politics turning into a Social Welfare System and Total War making Total Government a fact of life.

Britain had direction of labour, price controls, rationing, conscription, PAYE taxation to control aggregate demand, and secrecy - the Civil Service survived the war to continue with these powers and build the New Society that Lloyd George had promised and not delivered.

The fact that in the past 4 decades the ordinary worker has seen the costs deducted at source from his income has played a huge part in disillusionment as taxes designed for the very rich have become commonplace for the ordinary worker - Rates, Inheritance Tax, Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax.

The State has become all-consuming. Leviathan is Unbound and Avaricious.

It is obvious that Politics is not concerned with protecting The Realm but with Absolute CONTROL. It is the hallmark of the 20th Century that Absolute Control and the Means to Attain It were for the first time in history concomitant. The Bureaucratic State created by the French Revolution became reality in Soviet Russia and First world War Germany where the Planned Economy under General Ludendorff was the state of play.

Lenin admired the German method and the cooperation of Soviet Russia and Weimar Germany after 1919 continued apace until the two State Bureaucracies were ready for first cooperation until 1941 then competition. The fact that J K Galbraith worked in the US Government during the war as a Price Control Economist is indicative of how States mobilised against Individuals like John Galt and for the Mass.

Over the years since 1950 the Individual is seem as an obstacle to Millennialist Progress and there is no difference between Soviet Systems and Western Utopianism

24 April 2010 at 18:02  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...


"Come in Allectus, do you receive me....over"?

24 April 2010 at 19:11  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Doctor Who

Did anyone see Doctor Who? Bare with me a sec. Tonights DW was about stone Angels that were only stone when they were being observed, and when you took your eyes off them they could move in and attack. It's based upon the observation principle theory of electrons that behave differently when not being observed.

It strikes me after reading this post that the Tories are like the stone Angels, they behave in a certain way when under observation, but the minute your back is turned all hell breaks loose.

24 April 2010 at 19:17  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

A long winded piece your Grace, needed to go away for a while and take a well earned tea break, then come back refreshed and able to appreciate fully, the digestive properties of the bag.

You constantly cry out in many posts for a return to philosophy and yes, we are bombarded today with far to much dead, deceased, this parrot is no more, political ideologies. rather than a true metaphysical ontology based temple of free debate.

If a temple of free debate could underpin the nations direction, then our own root cultural customs could more naturally make communities compliant, without Government intervention.

Only alas a common culture is required, along with abolishing the current party political ideological system.

Then within that common culture, local dialectic truths can thrive, this takes a stepping down somewhat of government and a stepping up to a good extent of our natural propensity.

A non-fascist, yet nationalist diverse union, with no communist affiliations.

Of course though, you cannot make a cake...

Signed: Egon Urchin

24 April 2010 at 22:52  
Blogger Dr.D said...

When the Tories are advocating the policies of a communist as the Conservative Party website is currently promising to use Saul Alinsky's ideas, then you know you are Alice in Wonderland.

Alinsky's book, Rules for Radicals, is all about becoming a community organizer, just like Baraq Obama. It is his ideas that are being used so terribly effectively right now to bring communism to the USA much against the will of the American people. DON'T FALL FOR IT!!!

Alinsky is all about building class envy, discontent, anger, etc. to set the stage for a revolution. Is that what you want for the UK? Read the Conservative Party website for yourself.

24 April 2010 at 23:38  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I wonder sometimes if the dumbing down has not been deliberate ,in order for us to make a choice between one form of socialism or another . With the onus on the individual living a life before god , being subtley removed so that state control seems more relevant in the mind.

I hope we can make some progress , but I dont deny it will take time, people have been left proud yet impoversihed by this loosening of the ideas of grown up democracy , now we have children that have not read even some of the basic works of ecnomics and state , saying they know about life .

25 April 2010 at 02:08  
Blogger Manfarang said...

1968 was the last year of the National Liberal Party.

25 April 2010 at 03:26  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

I am surprised and heartened by this comment; it is straight out of the secular/humanist “hymn” sheet.

My dear Graham

So I note you are a member of an organised religion. Why don't you try THINKING for yourself, instead?

Throw away all that humanist internationalist socialist rubbish and start smelling your own roses. YOU HAVE BEEN CONNED.

Do you know who is behind this religion of yours?

If not please take a little time to do a little basic research into the origins of so called Humanism.

For you will find that Humanism is many things, humane is certainly not one of them.

Stop trying to love the world, for the world will not love you in return.

Start by loving yourself, and show this love towards everyone you meet, including of course your nearest and dearest.

Stop trusting ideologies or other false establishment created religions, that you know nothing about, but only think, or hope you do.

You can not save the world for so many self-apparent reasons that I won't bother to list them all. However the most important one being, because the world is planned for almost complete destruction, whatever you do or say.

You can only hope to protect your tiny little part of it, the best you can. By so doing you may, just may find favour in a much better place.

In my personal experience people who want to save the world, are the worst possible people you want to have around you when you yourself need any help. Very often these people are actually no more use to themselves then they are to any body else, either on an emotional, practical, or spiritual level. Which is BTW, no bloody use at all.

Of course there are exceptions, I am sure, but I have never met any at any Humanist meeting I ever attended over 35 years ago.

The only answer Humanism has for the great masses of human wast populating vast areas of this globe is mass extermination, or sterilisation, whatever is quickest in many cases.

May I suggest that your spend more of your time and efforts saving your eternal spirit from the powers that wish to destroy it forever. For in this you still have a chance of success.

I state the above in the sure and safe knowledge that,

Giving extremely good advice is a seemingly pointless undertaking, because the wise don't need it, and the fools won't heed it.

Which is why I only ever give good advise for my own PERFECTLY selfish reasons.

25 April 2010 at 04:42  
Anonymous len said...

100%correct Mr Atlas Shrugged, don`t expect them to listen though!

"And that is the lesson for us today, in this era in which evil has a Trinity. In addition to the religion of the confused (Catholicism) and comatose (Islam), we have a religion for conceited collectivists. The religion of man is known by many names: Communism, Socialism, Fascism, Secular Humanism, and the New World Order. It parades under the slogans: Human Rights, the Rights of Man, the Dignity of Man, Humanism, Reason, Enlightenment, Political Correctness, and Social Democracy. These manifestations of evil - Confused, Comatose, and Conceited - share many things in common. The leaders of all three strive to control people. Their modus operandi is deception and indoctrination. They prevail because the populous is ignorant and apathetic.

( Yada Yahweh Pergamos)

25 April 2010 at 08:10  
Anonymous len said...

Yahushua AKA (Jesus Christ to the religious community) came to set us free from the shackles that bind us, however some men seem to love their chains!
Without a love of the Truth many will remain deceived.

25 April 2010 at 08:19  
Blogger David Wheeler said...

The problem with most governments today is, that they think, that they can replace God.
And they think, that they can govern without Him.
They can't.

At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD. (Genesis 4:26.)

It is time we did this again - fervently.

David Wheeler.

25 April 2010 at 09:11  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Bravo Atlas

25 April 2010 at 09:51  
Blogger Lakester91 said...


'In addition to the religion of the confused (Catholicism)...'

Seems a little unnecessary; do I seem so confused to you? Perhaps such squabbles over petty differences is what enables the secular humanists to thrive.

25 April 2010 at 12:33  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

Atlas shrugged

Humanism is a term that describes the moral concerns of those who have no religious belief. Your notion that there is an ideology behind humanism is flawed. It is the default state of humankind. It has no political leanings. It is not a religion because it has no doctrine. I am a freethinker bound by nothing but my own opinion.

You have a severe misconception of humanism, like atheism the term probably would not be necessary if religion did not exist. Humanist organisations campaign to oppose the view that morality has something to do with religion and belief in God. I do not belong to any humanist or indeed political organisations.

25 April 2010 at 12:34  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Dear Atlas, I think humanism is even worse than you think - its not so much a religion as a business. Look how every other Atheist/Humanist seems to come out with a high profile book bagging Christianity and the Church. It's almost as though these Baby Boomer humanists are writing predictably controversial books just to top up their retirement savings.

Will Mr Grahan Davis be the next?

Mr Johnny Rottenborough, another option is to restrict the vote to those who pay tax at a certain threshold level. That might flush out a few shirkers.

25 April 2010 at 12:41  
Anonymous Truthseeker said...

Atlas Shrugged and Lakester91, spot on!

25 April 2010 at 12:46  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


It will not have escaped your notice that not once during the text of this speech was a person's religious affiliation or beliefs ever mentioned as being in the least bit relevant to the issues discussed.

On the Contrary, in addition to this deliberate omission the text refers specifically to Utilitarian philosopher JS Mill by saying - "... in his choice of way of life J. S. Mill's views are as relevant as ever...: Mill in one of his renowned works Principles of Political Economy came out in defense of a socialist outlook, defending socialist causes. But most here will probably never have read it regarding it as no doubt heretical in the extreme.

None the less Atlas the Arogant, still found it necessary to push his old tactical'debating' format of ad-hominism, down the familiar worn out path of pretending to argue political points by marginalising your views through his own special brand of raincoat evangelism. He reminds me of one of those shabby shabby 'Prepare to meet they Doom' guys you cross the road to avoid. Ugh!

He is blind to the reality that the more overt religion that is injected into politics, the harder it is for politics to function as it should. The absolute demands made by religion make it difficult, if not impossible, for people to compromise on the political issues being debated.

For Atlas and Co, their views always get round to the same point that their religion is absolute and insist that some issues aren’t political to begin with, because God has spoken and, therefore, there is nothing for humans to debate.

Discussion here really is like trying to catch jelly - it's hardly worth bothering your brain cells to even try to engage with them in any sort of meaningful debate.

I'm gone fishin'

25 April 2010 at 13:09  
Anonymous Brackster said...

Dreadnaught said "Discussion here really is like trying to catch jelly - it's hardly worth bothering your brain cells to even try to engage with them in any sort of meaningful debate."

You are one to talk...

25 April 2010 at 13:32  
Blogger OldSlaughter said...

Wonderful your Grace,

bless you for sharing.

25 April 2010 at 14:07  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

For Atlas and Co, their views always get round to the same point that their religion is absolute and insist that some issues aren’t political to begin with, because God has spoken and, therefore, there is nothing for humans to debate.

I dont think you have read ANYTHING I have written in the manner in which it was intended.

Oh well, such is the general standard of modern education.

Therefore please don't take any of my comments so personally. In other words, try not to let your perfectly natural and well founded state of paranoia, get the better of you.

You may I hope understand that although I try to refer to other comments, my own are intended mainly for those who do not comment at all.

Please try better in the future.

I have no religion, I never have and never will have. I THINK FOR MYSELF, and make all judgements based on the best available EVIDENCE.

Not only that, when the evidence changes so do my opinions. What do YOU do?

The fact that you don't know what the best evidence evident actually is, is indeed self-evident.

A closed mind is a dead one. You and your kind are no better then the people you attack. That was basically my point.

You types only ever bother to oppose straw-men. Your types work wholly on the mistaken assumption that science is somehow the opposite thing to religion. It is not now, never has been in the past, and will not be in the near or distant future.

It is types such as YOURSELF that would not believe in the existence of some kind of intelligent creator, even if you had indeed been married to one for thirty years.

To genuinely believe that our forefathers were somehow as thick as shit, and/or barking up a completely wrong set of trees, for no apparent reason. Is one of the best definitions of profoundly arrogant IGNORANCE yet available.

25 April 2010 at 14:55  
Anonymous len said...

The god of this age(satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The Truth is not a religion, the correct denomination, the teachings of some great man or woman, a body of knowledge, the "right" book, a deep philosophy, the correct concept or a set of laws or governing principles. It can never be ascertained through the "scientific method," logic or reasoning. All these are instruments that fall far short of being able to fathom "the Truth." The Truth is a person who can only be known through a deep, intimate personal relationship in covenant. Covenant is an exchange of lives. You will NEVER know the truth until "The Truth" becomes your life and your life becomes His. Truth requires absolute, total surrender to the Son of God. It is an exchange of life in the most intimate way in the universe. It is a marriage of souls. It is a bond that sets free. It is a paradox. And when you enter this paradox, you will be free indeed AND you will then also know True LOVE.

25 April 2010 at 17:05  
Blogger Lakester91 said...


'I am not saying that you personally have not got a relationship with Yeshua but there are millions( sitting in churches, and in the secular world that don`t)'

But religion is not what holds them back. Yeshua himself was religious, yet he stood up to a religious establishment that was obsessed with human law to the detriment of God's law. The answer to our problems is not to remove religion (which, like the Holy Scriptures, is simply a guide to the path), but to improve it. Consider it as democracy; it may not work, but it ought be improved, not done away with.

People need to seek guidance, and many don't have the gift of Scriptural comprehension. When we seek to become independent of Orthodox Christian thought, we become authors of our own morality. We disregard the greatest of theologians and philosophers in favour of our own interpretations. This can be productive in the right hands, but is far too often destructive.

To many real Christians, religion is a reflection of a shared culture, while faith is what matters most. This is not necessarily perfect, but is designed for a fallen people. We need unity, we need guidance and we need a common society. For most of our history, religion has been the uniting force for good. It is no coincidence that the decline in religion correlates to the decline in moral standards.

If it weren't for religion uniting the peoples of Europe, then we would have all fallen under the sword of the Muhammedan caliphate: now, as religion comes under attack from both humanist secularists and 'evangelical' Christians, we see a resurgence of the threat.

25 April 2010 at 20:22  
Anonymous len said...

The Pharisees would be accepted into any or most churches today,
They practised the commandments ,they tithed,they would probably out- perform most 'Christians'today.
Yet when confronted with God in the flesh they reviled Him,and did everything in their power to get rid of Him,eventually pressured the Romans into crucifying Him.

One thing Religion cannot do and that is impart Life.The last Adam (Yeshua )became a life giving Spirit.

26 April 2010 at 00:23  
Blogger Lakester91 said...


I think that you don't understand how modern orthodox churches operate. The Pharisees would be accepted into any church, just as anyone would; though they would be denounced from the pulpit.

26 April 2010 at 00:32  
Anonymous len said...

I don`t think so!

26 April 2010 at 00:45  
Anonymous len said...

The Pharisees censured the disciples of Christ because they ignored their venerated "tradition of the elders." Today Roman bishops do the same to Christians because we would not follow their "Sacred Traditions" -- they curse us for not saluting their images; sternly warn us that we stand condemned and have fallen away from the divine faith because we do not believe their novel Marian dogmas, and exclude our communities from the universal church because we do not submit to the bishop of the capital of the old Roman Empire.

26 April 2010 at 00:51  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Baroness Thatcher delivered her speech in 1968. It could have been delivered today and would resonate with its audience.

There is much in the speech that merits discussion. For example, ‘parties and elections are about more than rival lists of miscellaneous promises – indeed, if they were not, democracy would scarcely be worth preserving.’ Today, parties and elections are about ‘shopping lists’ for the government funded out of our wallets and purses.

Here is another example, ‘one of the effects of the rapid spread of higher education has been to equip people to criticise and question almost everything. Some of them seem to have stopped there instead of going on to the next stage which is to arrive at new beliefs or to reaffirm old ones.’ The Catholic writer GK Chesterton addressed this problem years before Thatcher in his work ‘Orthodoxy’. Once you question everything then you must question a man’s ability to think and ultimately be unsure if there are such concepts as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ (of course if there are not then everything is permitted and a non-judgmental attitude is encouraged to killing). We also frequently see evidence of some posters’ moral development arrested here, by this attitude of questioning everything – but unable to provide answers that, for example, could provide a basis for condemning the holocaust. In attempting to be the ‘new cultural revolutionaries’ they have come to be the new Fascists.

Back in 1968 Baroness Thatcher prophesied that political debate ceased to be about people and instead was about economics. That prophecy has been fulfilled today. Government and more government is expected to manage the people: from cradle to grave. Each man has become a number and lost his name.

How laudable it was for Mrs Thatcher and is now for Mr Cameron to call on more individual responsibility and less government.

But is the mass of the people, on the balance of probabilities, capable of being responsible? A few weeks ago there was a letter in the Daily Telegraph. The author was indignant that when he went to his local police station it was closed even though the lights were on. He wanted to report a dead deer lying in a country lane which drivers were swerving to avoid collisions. It did not occur to this man that he and a farmer could have removed the obstacle. No. Only the State was capable of removing the carcase.

Baroness Thatcher said that we do not have an American system that is about personalities. We do now. The people are no longer required to think; to evaluate; to judge.

26 April 2010 at 09:13  
Blogger Lakester91 said...


'Today Roman bishops do the same to Christians because we would not follow their "Sacred Traditions" -- they curse us for not saluting their images; sternly warn us that we stand condemned and have fallen away from the divine faith because we do not believe their novel Marian dogmas, and exclude our communities from the universal church because we do not submit to the bishop of the capital of the old Roman Empire.'

Sorry but that is complete and utter nonsense. I have never heard of any Catholic denounce a fellow Christian as no such thing due to various peripheral beliefs. What I hear almost daily, though, is Protestant vitriol directed against the Catholic Church. Motivated by hatred and ignorance, they make claims that are outrageous; either being distortions of the truth or complete and utter fabrications. So many Protestants still believe that Catholics don't go to heaven, simply because they are not Protestant.

To claim that the Catholic Church denounces fellow believers as not Christian due to differing (which generally means exactly the same but worded differently) beliefs is not only blatantly untrue, but is a complete reversal of the truth.

26 April 2010 at 18:39  
Anonymous len said...

Mr Lakester,
You seem to understand little of the Catholic Church
1. A formal ecclesiastical ban, curse, or excommunication.
2. A vehement denunciation; a curse: "the sound of a witch's anathemas in some unknown tongue" (Nathaniel Hawthorne).
3. One that is cursed or damned..
List of Anathemas(curses)

26 April 2010 at 19:00  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

This is an interesting reply to what must be the most important of the claimed differences between the sects. It seems that we have indeed been believing the same thing about justification all along. Woops!

I have some reservations about the Council of Trent, though I don't explicitly reject it as of yet. I have already managed to reconcile a number of the problem passages with true Christian thought, and I think I may also gain greater understanding of the rest.

Whether the Council rejects various Protestant dogmas or not, it is not particularly common for a modern Catholic to either quote them or to reject the idea of Protestant salvation otherwise. On the other hand it is incredibly common for Protestants to denounce Catholics as heretics.

The Council was fallible, just like all human committees. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the passages were declared void in the future.

26 April 2010 at 23:06  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I wouldn't be surprised if anathema in this case did mean excommunication rather than curse. After all it was specifically designed to answer the new Protestant sects.

26 April 2010 at 23:08  
Anonymous len said...

I have recently been looking at the Torah and realised that I might have possibly been wrong about that being abolished!.
I am always looking for the Truth and don`t mean to upset anyone so if anyone can prove me wrong I welcome it!

Blessings in the name of Yeshua.

27 April 2010 at 07:55  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

About what being abolished; sorry I can't gather?

There are many things I have to say about the various arguments against Catholicism and I will deal with them in the future.

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. This division is not the way forward.

27 April 2010 at 18:57  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr len

We can be co-belligerents.

27 April 2010 at 20:14  

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