Tuesday 30 April 2002

Is there no end of blogging material? On Channel 4 News tonight, Jon Snow asked: "Is the housing market going out of control?" Hang on a minute. Who does he think is meant to control it? Actually, it's controlled by supply and demand - in other words by the people. The whole presumption of these reports is that: "the government must do something about it." Well, perhaps they could privatise the money supply but I don't think that's what Mr. Snow and his ilk have in mind.
Freedom and Whisky are fine but we Scots also like money. This afternoon, the entire directorate of F&W went along the road to attend the Annual General Meeting of Standard Life, Europe’s largest mutual insurer. There was a 93% vote in favour of retention of mutual status. Group Chief Executive Designate, Iain Lumsden, told us that most of Standard Life’s investments would remain in the stock market. Maybe these highly paid experts are correct but I switched my small share of their £80 billion worth of assets into their cash fund last year. We shall see.

Monday 29 April 2002

Gordon Brown was in town last week to take part in Edinburgh University’s Enlightenment lecture series. Brown attempted to claim Adam Smith as a man of the left and was opposed by Irwin Stelzer of the Sunday Times. It was truly a gathering of Scotland’s great and the good. Apparently, Gordon Brown read The Wealth of Nations while preparing the budget!

One of several post lecture observations was from Jimmy Reid, a regular Scotsman columnist.

Note this:

“He (Smith) maintained that labour is the source of all wealth. Does this mean that the labourer should enjoy the full fruits of his labour? Dammit! The man must have been a closet Marxist.”

But Murray Rothbard in the first volume of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought tells us that “Smith’s doctrine on value was an unmitigated disaster” and further described it as a “colossal blunder.” The twentieth century Austrian School of economists from Mises to Rothbard himself has satisfactorily demolished the labour theory of value. Unfortunately, the British left, from Reid to Brown, has not yet learned that lesson.

According to Business AM this morning, Ryanair is now insisting that would-be pilot recruits must submit CVs by e-mail and also pay a £50 handling fee to cover the admin. But the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's Dianah Worman objects, saying:" there is not much consideration for diversity and equality here." Employment lawyer, Mark Shrives, thinks that the insistence on online applications may be illegal because computers are mainly used by young people and therefore older people may be discriminated against.

Excuse me. When I fly, I'm not interested in "diversity" or "equality" in the cockpit. I want a pilot who knows how to fly the thing and nowadays that certainly includes the ability to work a computer. It's called competence.

I suggest that these politically correct types form their own airline. They can finance it themselves, design their own planes - perhaps "Blairbuses" - and allow the passengers to elect the flightcrew from among themselves on each trip. Let Air PC be filled with PC passengers. I'll stick with Ryanair.

Sunday 28 April 2002

Freedom and Whisky gang thegither is a line from The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer in which Burns attacked taxes on Scotch whisky. I would like to draw attention to the festival currently being held in Ayrshire. Rabbie and I were educated at the same place there although I believe he was a few years ahead of me.
There is a strange photograph in the Sunday Times today showing demonstrators in Iraq with a poster saying: "Happy Birthday Saddam." In English. I wonder how many posters we shall see at the Queen's jubilee in Arabic. What I would really like to see then is Her Majesty on the balcony of Buckingham Palace firing off a few rounds from her AK47. Should she hit any passing politicians - say, anyone thinking that the jubilee was about him - well, so be it.
Whatever we may think of M. Le Pen, I just love his description of the Euro as: "occupation money."
Reader David Ellams points out that the plane-spotters verdict "reeks of Corpus Juris." The spotters don't have much choice about going back for the appeal - any British policeman can be asked to send them Athens-bound whenever required .

Saturday 27 April 2002

Patrick Crozier of UK Transport has e-mailed me good wishes for this new blog and suggested several topics for me to cover. The first is: "Do the Scots hate the English?" Well, I got another e-mail this morning from United Airlines asking me to use my air miles to enter a draw to go to Japan for the World Cup. I would certainly go - and support England - but then I'm half-English anyway. The general Scottish attitude to the English is somewhat complex and I shall deal with this more in the future. I know it's of great interest to English political activists. I would say, however, that there are some 67,500 English fans in Edinburgh today for the Rugby League cup final. (Wembley being out of action.) Last time, many of them were reported as wanting the final to be permanently played at Murrayfield because the fans found it much more welcoming here than in London. I have to say, though, that the ones who sing in my local need some lessons from the Welsh rugby union fans........

Friday 26 April 2002

M. Le Pen continues to cause chaos among the "unco guid". The irony is that Margo MacDonald is one of the Nationalists' more left-wing MSPs. As the Scotsman reported this morning, SNP leader John Swinney's put-down of Margo may well be to do with a plan to replace her with a more conventional candidate in time for next year's election. Perhaps Swinney should listen to Stagecoach's millionaire founder, Brian Souter, who yesterday called the Scottish cabinet "university agitators". Margo, on the other hand, used to work in a bar. Scottish voters spend more time in bars than in universities.
I spent my teenage years in Prestwick and indulged in the harmless hobby of plane-spotting at the local airport. The verdict today in Greece is shocking. In the good old days, our PM would have sent a gunboat. For those of you who understandably want to avoid a spell in a Greek jail, the information gathered by the spotters can be found via AirNet. A short while ago, this site was showing a total of 642,514 hits.

Thursday 25 April 2002

Business AM reports today that some of Labour's business donors aren't too happy with the budget. The real mystery is why any businessperson would expect a Labour government to be anything other than anti-business. Of course, the Conservatives and the Illiberal Democrats aren't much better. At least the Sunbed Socialist Party doesn't claim to be pro-business, but what of the Nationalists? Their new "Economic Policy and Positioning" document - not yet approved by their membership - calls for a reduction in corporation tax but is unclear on the SNP's plans for income tax. I suspect that this will be the main ongoing story between now and next year's Scottish election.

Attention Warren Buffett!

I am pleased to announce that Freedom and Whisky's financial results for the first quarter of the year are £37.4 billion better than those of AOL Time Warner.

Wednesday 24 April 2002

I must acknowledge the help given to me in setting up this blog. Patrick Crozier of UK Transport gave good advice and I was, of course, influenced by the premier UK libertarian blog Samizdata run by Perry de Havilland. (Incidentally Perry, I saw a Tiger Moth last weekend!)

I was also inspired by and constantly refer to Instapundit for the real news from the USA.

Another letter in the Scotsman from local objectivist Bruce Crichton
appears today. Bruce's letters are always concise models of how to demolish socialist nonsense.
Welcome to this new blog. The title Freedom and Whisky links the two themes of this blog: libertarianism and Scotland. The libertarianism will, however, sometimes extend beyond events in Scotland and I shall also be covering non-political news of interest to me north of the border. I have therefore included links to a variety of Scottish sites which I often use.