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Tackling poverty: free our markets

By Alex Chatham
June 23rd, 2017 at 8:46 am | Comments Off on Tackling poverty: free our markets | Posted in Economics, Free trade, freedom

Pundits have had a field-day speculating as to why Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party increased its hare of votes and seats at the General Election. It could simply be that at this stage of the electoral cycle, voters were feeling fed up with the incumbent. But the narrative developing is that the public are looking for solutions and the Conservative party is failing to offer them. It is true, that the policies proposed to help those ‘just about managing’ didn’t hit the mark. Ask someone if they would like to see a worker on a board of directors or more money for the NHS and the answer is obvious.

Both main parties talked up State intervention and talked down the power of the free market. It appeared that the Conservatives were ashamed of capitalism and decided to put it in the attic so no one would notice it. Since the election, Allister Heath of the Telegraph and others have called for a new or existing think tank to make the case for the market.

That case is very strong. Apart from anything else, markets work. In a free market people voluntarily engage with each other, find jobs, goods and services that they want. The market allows people to collectivley send messages to producers about what they want and what they can afford. The producers respond. Of course, not everyone can get what they want but as a collectivist endeavour, the market beats command and control every time. Perhaps more importantly than that free markets lift people out of poverty because a functioning market creates wealth and successful businesses. Those businesses employ people. It is astonishing that the Left, claiming to care so much about the poor, dismiss markets and want to shackle them, which in turn causes poverty.

As well as making the case for free markets, and free trade as the only fair trade is free trade, there needs to be a campaign to ensure that markets are as free as possible. That means removing regulation and reducing government interference.


A vision for the Liberal Democrats

By Alex Chatham
June 16th, 2017 at 1:28 pm | 2 Comments | Posted in Civil Liberties, EU, EU Politics, Free trade, freedom, Labour, Tim Farron

The Liberal Democrats are looking for a new leader. Tim Farron has stood down after leading the party through a General Election campaign and increasing the amount of MPs the party had in parliament. The party’s pitch during the campaign was to offer voters an alternative to Brexit. The party’s heart isn’t in leaving the European Union but instead of promising to reverse the process, they suggested a second referendum with an option to remain.

The voters took no notice.

This has led commentators and politicians to claim that two-party politics are back and third parties have had it. Perhaps. But we have heard this sort of thing before. We have also read about the death of the Labour party and demise of the Conservative party. Support for parties ebb and flow. The Lib Dems could yet again capture the popular imagination or at least influence debate and public policy.

To do that, the party needs a vision. There are many ways to go but it will come as no surprise that a post from this site suggests embracing free markets and free trade. That means a change of direction on Brexit.

The Labour party’s position on Brexit appears to be ‘we will do it, reluctantly’. The Conservatives are still arguing among themselves with a few voices offering a clear path to the exit doors. Could the Lib Dems pivot away from a slavish love of the EU and truly embrace internationalism?

Free trade creates prosperity. That is real free trade not  regulated trade or negotiated trade. With Britain out of the EU, its government can opt for trade deals with other countries which impose regulations or tarrifs or it could go for real free trade. No tarrifs, just let companies trade with each other. What a difference that would make to the economies of Africa. Right now, those African countries are penalised by the EU because EU countries protect their farmers. Ironic isn’t it that for all the criticism of Trump and his ‘America First’ mantra, the EU has been putting EU countries first for a long time. The Lib Dems could set out a vision for a free trading nation, managing migration to allow people with the talent and skills from all over the world to come and work in Britain, not just the EU, reform of its own markets to stop ‘crony capitalism’ which ensured open, free markets. Coupled with the party’s commitment to civil liberties and personal freedom, this new addition would make a distinctive offering to voters.


Je Suis Germaine

By Sara Scarlett
October 25th, 2015 at 6:19 am | 7 Comments | Posted in Equality, freedom

I don’t quite know what happened last week but, one morning, Germaine Greer was the philosophical mother of all Women and Equality Officers in every Student Union across the country and by the evening she was the Abu Hamza of the progressive intelligentsia for not holding the ‘right views.’

The way we live now.

For those of you who don’t know, a petition against Germaine Greer giving a lecture at the University of Cardiff has been started on the basis that she has previously expressed views on transgender women that some people find offensive. It is also worthwhile to note that the lecture she was due to give is on a completely different subject.

I disagree with Germaine Greer on so much I couldn’t write a single blog post on it. I am, however, glad she’s held her ground.

This follows a distrubing trend of only those deemed ‘politically correct’ being allowed to speak at University events. The rate it’s going Laurie Penny and Owen Jones will be the only social commentators deemed fit to address the ‘safe zones’ – perish the thought! What annoys me most, however, is that Germaine Greer is an academic, not a politician nor a hate-preacher, but an actual academic.  If academics with challenging views aren’t allowed to speak at Universities why bother having Universities at all?

Perhaps we should be delighted that Universities are making themselves obsolete. They’ve become Victorian parlour rooms where one must not speak of indelicate things lest the Womens’ Officer gets the Vapours…

The Uber free market

By Alex Chatham
May 28th, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Comments Off on The Uber free market | Posted in Conservatives, Economics, freedom, Nannying

For some in the Conservative party, Boris Johnson is the libertarian saviour waiting in the wings to take power and reshape Britain. After all, the London Mayor recently told licenced Black Cab drivers that they had to accept the success of Uber because that is how a free market works. Liberals should applaud this championing of the market. For those who don’t much like markets, remember people collectively send price signals that tells suppliers what is and isn’t wanted.

Odd then that the same Boris Johnson has decided to put a cap on how many mini cabs operate in London. He has decided, no doubt based on expert advice, that we have too many. It might be worth reminding Boris that this is a free market and it is the people who should decide how many cabs offer their services to Londoners.


The Anti-science of the Left & Right

By Sara Scarlett
August 25th, 2013 at 6:14 pm | 3 Comments | Posted in freedom, health

This is a very sad story. This part especially hit home:

Not owned by any company, Golden Rice is being developed by a nonprofit group called the International Rice Research Institute with the aim of providing a new source of vitamin A to people both in the Philippines, where most households get most of their calories from rice, and eventually in many other places in a world where rice is eaten every day by half the population. Lack of the vital nutrient causes blindness in a quarter-million to a half-million children each year. It affects millions of people in Asia and Africa and so weakens the immune system that some two million die each year of diseases they would otherwise survive.

Most GMOs have hitherto been developed for the benefit of farmers e.g. creating plants that are resistant to disease and that give higher yields. This particular GMO has been developed solely for the benefit of the consumer. It is quite clear that both the Left and the Right have dedicated anti-science viewpoints. The Left’s hatred of GMOs is as indefensible as the Right’s creationism, and possibly worse due to its horrendous effects on the poorest people in the world. Technology used in the private sector has rarely been used for evil on the scale that technology used by governments has been evil. Golden rice won’t even be the only choice of consumers – they could still buy the other rice if they wanted to. It is both anti-science and anti-humanist to prevent the use of a technology that can minimize human suffering.