Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Last Chance For Liberty

Tomorrow is the day, I have done my best over the past few weeks to convey the message of liberty to the people of Norwich North, however what I can do has now ended. The responsibility now passes to each and every voter in Norwich North, I urge you all to stand up and tell Labour, The Conservatives and the Lib Dems that we are sick of them taking and taking from the British people and never giving back. Enough is enough, tomorrow is your first chance to vote for the only party that will not take anything from you, be it your money or your liberties.

Perhaps you believe that one of the big three has changed and can be trusted with your vote, to this I say simply if you vote the same, you’ll get the same. The big three have dominated politics for generations and have constantly and consistently taken hard won liberties from the British people, many times they have claimed to have shifted position but they always remain parties of big state interference in everyday lives.

Vote Libertarian for real change. Vote Libertarian for honesty and open government. Vote Libertarian for your rights and liberties. Vote Libertarian simply to send the big three a message.

If you vote the same, you’ll get the same.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Death of Democracy

Warning to LPUK members: This is nothing to do with Norwich North. It shall therefore be of no interest to anyone and is not in any way important. The largest single transfer of planning powers to a central authority since World War 2 is of zero significance and the fact that we are to lose our unspoiled landscapes to a form of energy that does not work at the cost of hundreds of billions will not in any way influence anyones' voting decision. I will post up a Glenn Beck video later. Go back to sleep.

Meanwhile for those who take an interest in politics, today the Daily Telegraph reports that "country residents" must accept the building of "many thousands" of wind turbines as part of a new green energy strategy.
Ed Miliband, the Energy Secretary, announced yesterday that planning rules would be changed to make it easier for 6,000 onshore wind turbines to be built. Britain's "default position" would be to accept new onshore turbines, he said.
What this amounts to is a castration of local authorities and an end public consultation. This is "game over" for local democracy. Though I understand why this is more important. As you were.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The Economy Part 3 Cross Posted From LPUK Blog

LPUK does not support bailouts. While I have argued that limited banking bailouts were necessary, that is only in response to a regulatory intervention that should never have happened in the first place and would not have occurred under a libertarian administration.

It is true that when government seeks to resolve a problem it created, it tends to make things immeasurably worse. This is no different. However, the choices here are to let the full consequences hit and hit hard with a shorter recovery or whether to gradually deflate the economy in order to mitigate the very worst effects over a longer time. Essentially it's the difference between allowing an aeroplane to nose dive into a fireball or to let it glide into a controlled crash. Which is better will be one for economists, historians and other mystic rune readers. In this instance the UK has opted for the controlled crash method, the effectiveness of which is, frankly, anyones' guess.

There are those who argue that the bailouts are throwing good money after bad. It is not a weak argument. Unless the accounting rules are changed it is entirely likely that the effects will be zero and that the money will be swallowed whole for little return only to end up back here again. As it is unknown which CDO bundles are bad and which are good we have no way of knowing how much is required to restore capital adequacy and properly restart inter-bank lending. We may have given too much, we may have given too little.

As it happens the signs are that it appears to be working and that inter-bank lending is beginning to heat up again. This is probably down to the fact that the sub prime crisis was not as large as feared and market confidence among the banks has returned to some degree. But the greater fear among all this talk of "green shoots of recovery" is that we will enter a double dip recession.

The very panic that caused the collapse of interbank lending could ironically be the very thing that prompts a real sub-prime crisis. And not even "sub-prime" at that. The resultant job losses of the credit crunch and the contraction of the job market could lead to bigger credit defaults, not least on credit card debt which is now said to outstrip GDP. For all we know this could nullify the sum total of the bailouts and the bank would still collapse taking everything down with it.

But then by this point the sum we actually gave to the banks compared with other losses would be somewhat of a moot point. This is all dependent on how deep the unemployment rabbit hole really goes. Who can say? I would love to make grand pronouncements but I have seen people far better qualified than I (actually that's just about everyone) admit that they haven't a "scooby do", so it would be arrogant of me to indulge in direct certainties. My gut feeling is that this is one of those very few instances where government doing something is better that it doing nothing.

That being said our present administration has taken it upon itself to bailout everything that so much as squeaks. Rather than restricting bailout activity to safeguarding the continuation of UK PLC, it seeks to bring everything under its direct control. There are strong arguments for ensuring the biggies do not collapse but we have been too eager to to bailout minor building societies you've never heard of, in trouble not because they have been directly affected by the crisis but simply because they have made seriously questionable investments. The purpose of these bailouts is not therefore for our economic survival but to maintain favour with the electorate.

The second tier of the bailout strategy is Keynesian spending. The idea that spending public money on civic infrastructure will keep money moving and that the resultant improvements will have a net return for the economy. There is some wisdom in that. But this is our government we are talking about. Our governments definition of investment much differs from mine or yours.

When we imagine investment on civic infrastructure we think of roads, schools, bridges and railway links. Our government on the other hand thinks of windmills and carbon capture storage system of zero value to the economy. Furthermore, as we have discussed at length on this blog, not only will this policy result in an energy supply shortage, it will also quadruple our energy bills thus negating any beneficial action (whatever that might be) the government has taken on our behalf.

And for some reason it does not end with the banks and the national grid. Mandleson has plans afoot to "invest" in the auto industry. A case for libertarian non-intervention if ever there was one. But while there are votes to be had, jobs must be protected! And so we have a government out of control, spending like a bankers wife on bonus day.

But even if such measures worked, this is all a sticking plaster at best. Present policy is predicated on the idea that a debt based, consumer spending economy is sustainable and desirable. It isn't on either score. We need to be producing and exporting, be that innovations, technology or whatever. While we live in a country which punishes profit, stifles innovation and entrepreneurialism, drowns our enterprises in red tape and continues to shift the regulatory goal posts, we cannot hope to nurture or retain the businesses we need to maintain even present levels of employment and our bloated state. Not least while we are sill members of the EU.

With that in mind there is only one obvious choice at the ballot box.

The Economy Part 2- Cross posted from LPUK Blog

No government can ever control an economy, it can only manage its' response to events in it. We have already argued that we are better able to manage our response to those events if we retain sole authority over our regulatory systems. We do not, and never will, need outside bodies to ruin our economy. We are more than capable of doing that for ourselves. Following on from our earlier piece, we continue to explore how government intervention lead to our present economic predicament.

In the preceding piece I argued that the Mark to Market rules played a significant role in our downfall. But not only did Mark to Market cause rapid asset value deflation, it also created a bubble on the way up. As house prices continued to climb, so then did the value of CDO's. While the crash held them below their real worth, the rising market had them massively over valued.

Thanks to Capital Adequacy requirements, ie banks being able to lend up to their market worth, we saw an expansion in lending ability and subsequently a rush to capitalise on this phony wealth. The rush for lending has in fact got very little to do with the folklore that interest rates were held too low by the Bank of England. Commercial rates were set by individual banks concerned, using LIBOR as a guide only.

Almost secondary to this, while there was no regulatory compulsion to hand out bad loans, (unlike the US), there was certainly a relaxation of rules. While not entirely a bad thing, for many of us did make good returns on investments not accessable otherwise, the financial industry had a perfectly workable regulatory regime replaced with an inferior one (the FSA), not to liberalise our domestic system, but to go some way toward bringing the rest of Europe up to scratch.

This opened up a floodgate of previously unacceptable practices in the UK which various regulators failed to identify and act on. Not least the mis-selling of payment protection insurance and self-certification of earnings on mortgage applications, which allowed people to basically lie about their earnings with the full co-operation of commission paid brokers.

The governments response to this has, as usual, been to close the stable door after the horse has bolted and to use the sledgehammer to miss the nut. The fact that brokers are paid commission is not the heart of the problem. It was the fact they were lending against assets which did not exist. This was a wholly a failure of regulation and intervention by governments against the better advice of the industry. But it's much easier to blame greed and capitalism than to accept that governments have made catastrophic errors.

The libertarian view is that there should be as little regulation as possible but in this modern age with modern and complex systems, we recognise there is a necessity for better regulation. While we may trust in the ultimate self-regulating ability of free markets we most definitely do not trust in the goodness of the human spirit. Generally, if we can find new and innovative ways of being bastards to each other or find shortcuts with damaging consequences, then we will.

However the whole problem with our present approach to regulation is not that there is too much or too little, but the spirit in which it is written and applied. This phenomenon is what Eureferendum refers to as Bureaucratic Spongiform Encephalopathy. Translated, literally, this means "officials with holes in their brains".
Basically, every and any culture – civilisation, if you wish – needs regulation. That's what makes it a civilisation, pulling order out of anarchy. And basically, there are two different and entirely opposing philosophies of regulation. That is the crucial point here: we are not talking about the detail, but the philosophy.

For the purpose of definition, we can call these two philosophies, rule-based and result based. Each have very distinctive characteristics, illustrated by way of contrast.

First, rule-based regulation is based on the premise that all activity can be defined and regulated by means of detailed, tightly-drawn written rules, in order to achieve the desired result. Result-based regulation, on the other hand, recognises that human activity is so diverse and variable that it is impossible to define tight rules. This philosophy, therefore, relies on loosely drafted objectives and guidelines.

Second, rule-based regulation requires absolute conformity with the written rules – even when they are demonstrably wrong or inappropriate. "Success" is defined as conformity. Result-based regulation uses the written rules as guidelines, to be applied intelligently and flexibly, to be discarded or adapted as circumstances demand. Official rules are but one tool in a large and varied toolkit.

Third, rule-based regulation gives very little discretion to enforcement officers, and to those subject to the rules. It operates on the basis of apparatchiks applying the rulebook, who measure compliance with the rules and demand conformity with them, often backed by threats and draconian penalties.

Result-based regulation gives considerable discretion to enforcers, requiring of them a high degree of skill and judgement, asking them to assess activity in terms of whether the overall objectives set are or will be achieved. It allows a relaxed attitude to conformity with the letter of law, but requires adherence to the spirit, and thus permits considerable variation as to the means by which objectives are achieved. Penalties and punishment are regarded as a last resort, and rarely used.

In terms of this financial crisis, the old-style Bank of England was driven by a results-based philosophy. That was the foundation of its success and that is why, under its regime, no British bank collapsed for over 200 years.

Progressively though, with increasing speed, that philosophy has been replaced by the rule-based philosophy, which has spread upwards into the international system as well as downwards. It infects the United States as much as it does the UK as a member of the European Union.

It is that philosophy which spawned the Financial Services Authority, an organisation dedicated to securing conformity with an increasingly complex rule book but one which has no interest in the health of the economy or the financial system. But it is not the cause of the problem. It is a consequence of the shift in regulatory philosophy.

This is easily demonstrable. As Prof. Congdon observed, by and large, the financial services industry complied with the rules. And it went bust. It is the victim of a regulatory system that does not and could not deal with the result – the objective – of regulation, which was to maintain a sound, healthy financial system.

In adopting the rule-based system, that is where we have gone so catastrophically wrong. We need to ditch this system in its entirety and return to a results-based philosophy.
All good stuff. But we are still barking up the wrong tree, for some of us share responsibility in our downfall. There is something more fundamental which drives us to indebt ourselves beyond our ability to pay. In the united States the banks were given the free reign. In the UK, we were. We have all but eliminated risk from our lives.

On matters of health, pensions, employment protection, education and housing we are now absolved from making any individual preparations. In matters of debt we may spend until the cows come home. What is the very worst that can happen? You can spend other peoples money until the cows come home knowing that should anything go wrong you might be asked to fill in a form and your debts will go away, just so long as you don't borrow any more. Consequences? What consequences?

We are children in the eyes of the government, incapable of making grown up choices and so vulnerable that we need protecting not just from the big bad world but also from ourselves. And in seeking to do this it has made us clients of the state and slaves to it. We have built this society over sixty years to the point where the assumption of most people is that the first and only port of call to get something done is the government, and government has gladly assumed this role. It has not taken power but been granted more and more power by us. Governments never take power. They are given it.

But now we are now faced with a government that has outgrown its role as benevolent protector into an all consuming, corporate monolith. It pays for our health and so it dictates what we can eat and drink. Very soon it will partly own our motor industry (again) and so it will dictate what we drive. And what better excuse than an economic crisis to grab more power?

As Jefferson said: "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take everything you have" or words to that effect. But it isn't just the physical things it has taken. It has taken our most precious of assets: Our Independence, self reliance and our sense of personal responsibility. In all possible areas we are wrapped in cotton wool, cossetted and protected to the point where free will barely comes into it. We are bailed out at every turn at the corporate level and the individual level. And that brings us on the the subject of part three. Bailouts.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Press Release 7th July 2009


Libertarian Party fields
youngest ever parliamentary candidate
at Norwich North

Thomas Burridge, aged 18, is the Libertarian Party candidate for the upcoming Norwich North by-election, and is set to make history as the youngest person ever to contest a Westminster seat. Thomas was accepted offically by the Returning Officer today.

Thomas is aware that his age may raise a few eyebrows. “People may ask what can I possibly know about anything at my age? Well, one thing I do know is that Labour excesses have left my generation with a massive debt that will take generations to pay off.” “It’s all the more painful because we were not given any say in the decisions that have forced us to spend the rest of our lives in debt.”

“Currently, the Tories and Labour are squabbling about cutting state spending by a pathetic 5 per cent. Whereas, the Libertarian Party want to scrap the whole rotten system. A system that has given us high personal taxes, squalid services and a corrupt parliament.” “I may not win this time, but I will be back in five years, and in another five years, if necessary. By which time, the guilty ones will be wallowing in their generous pensions – while my generation – The Debt Generation – will still be paying back the money that was squandered.”

The Libertarian Party believes in individual liberty, personal responsibility and freedom from government. Its most prominent policy is to scrap income tax, and transfer taxes to non-essential goods, leaving items such as food, heating and rent tax-free.


For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact the Libertarian Party Norwich North Campaign Office on 01603 850573 or the media enquiries mobile on 07505 228618.

Further details are available on our campaign website:
Alternatively, visit the Libertarian Party website:

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Norwich North: The Libertarians have come to town – 18-year-old Libertarian candidate Thomas Burridge vows to make Tory Chloe Smith "history"

Thomas Burridge

The battle lines are drawn in the Norwich North by-election fight to nab the seat left empty by Labour’s Ian Gibson, who was forced to resign over the MPs expenses scandal.

The odds-on favourite to win the hotly-contested seat, which will be fought on July 23rd, is 27-year-old Conservative Chloe Smith, who has fierce ambition for a career in politics written all over her (this isn’t a good thing, in case you were wondering).

The hapless Labour candidate, Chris Ostrowski, a member of Labour’s Christian Socialist movement (Christ, not more Christians), isn’t considered to have a hope in hell - even Gordon Brown is tetchily refusing to discuss his chances.

David Cameron, who has visited Norwich North twice to support Chloe Smith, thinks his party has the contest in the bag.

Well, I wouldn’t be so sure, Dave...

The Libertarians have come to town in the form of 18-year-old Thomas Burridge. He vows to make Chloe Smith and her brand of career Conservatism "history."

OK. He might not do it this time round. But the likes of Chloe Smith, who represent the "old guard" of professional politicians, will go the way of the dinosaurs one day (arguably in less than a decade).


Because no substance, image-only politicians like Chloe Smith (and her puppet master David Cameron) are NOT relevant to Britain’s society today. They are not interested in life experience. All they are after is a career in politics.

In other words, they have their sights on YOUR (tax) money. Yes, they might do a token job of cleaning up MPs expenses. But make no mistake, professional politicians like Chloe Smith and David Cameron will find a way of getting their "squeaky clean" mits on your tax dollars (I’d should have said pounds, but it never sounds as good).

Why are the Libertarians any different?

Because Libertarians do not believe in career politics. Nor do they believe in big, bloated government - local or national. They believe in low taxes and freedom of the individual to live his or her life as they choose, so long as it does not harm others in any way.

What’s more, Libertarians encourage self-reliance and entrepreneurship. Unlike the Tories and Labour, they don’t maintain a welfare system that makes if more lucrative for a million or more people to languish on incapacity benefits, rather than gain the self-respect of earning money through a job or by being self-employed.

But wait, the Norwich North Libertarian candidate is only 18...

You could argue that a kid of 18 hasn’t got any life experience. And you’d have a fair point. But if you bear in mind that 1 million 18-24 year olds in Britain have no training and no jobs, you could argue that Thomas Burridge is a valid spokesperson for his generation - unlike the Tory Cloe Smith who, as I’ve said, is merely looking to feather her nest as a professional politician.

Ian Parker-Joseph, leader of the Libertarian Party UK, puts it this way:

"One of the things that has been made clear, especially by the younger members of our party, is that the so called ’experts’, the ’professional politicians’ and the older generations have seriously let them down, left them with debts that they will probably never be able to repay and they are mightily hacked off about it.

"They now want their say, in the places that matter, in those places where the decisions are made, and Thomas is one such young man, who having now completed his exams in political studies is ready to stand up and be counted.

"It comes down to the old adage, If you keep voting the same, you will continue to get the same. So it is time for new, fresh faces with fresh ideas to come forward to keep these older politicians on their toes, to start putting forward policies that put the people first, that honestly take care of our rights, liberties and freedoms that the older generations of politicians have eroded, and are continuing to undermine and erode."

Lastly, all I can say is: Don’t vote for career politicians like Chloe Smith, they’ll only rip you off for yet more taxes (the Tories aren’t really the party of low taxes, any more than Labour is).

Instead, vote Libertarian. Vote for individual freedom. Be all that you can be.


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

LPUK Norwich North Candidate.

For those of you who have not been following the blog, I am Thomas Burridge, I am the LPUK candidate for Norwich North. First off let’s deal with the main issue that many people will have with my candidacy, I am 18 years old. I suspect your first thought will be ‘he’s too young to be an MP’, granted experience can have its value but the fact remains; decisions are being taken now in the houses of parliament that will continue to hound my generation for the rest of our lives. Debt is the central issue amongst these, with each man, woman and child in the country having £40,000 worth on debt over their head, regardless of whether they were given a say in the creation of New Labour’s monumental national debt, a debt that Conservative and LibDem policies will do little to reduce.

There must be a realisation that politics requires the younger generation to be involved, Britain is heading for a democratic crisis, with electoral turnout at its lowest amongst younger voters, something must be done to tackle the wave of cynicism that infects the youth. By electing one of our number, young people can begin to realise that perhaps the system has not forgotten and forsaken them but that it is possible to break through the perceived walls set against us.

The Libertarian Party is the only party that has the ideas necessary to take Britain into a golden age of freedom and prosperity. LPUK knows that the only way for Britain to have wealth and stability is to have a system in place where business can complete freely and fairly, that to have freedom we must roll back the New Labour police state and give people the freedom to make their own decisions about their lives.

More details will follow shortly.

The Kiss of Death- Norwich North By Election

Keep Gordon away from East Anglia