Monday 1 November 2004

A great deal of confusion in a nation

There's a letter today from the anti-property rights group Action on Smoking and Health. As always, these people show absolutely no understanding of the concept of private property and why it is so important for the continuance of civilisation:
ASH Scotland believes that the time has come for decisive action to be taken to improve our countries’ poor health record and end smoking in all enclosed public places.
No. No No. A place does not become "public" merely because its owner allows other people to enter it. My house is not "public" when I allow the meter man to check on my electricity usage. Decisions on whether or not smoking should be allowed should be made by the relevant property owners. If they get it wrong, they'll go out of business.

The letter from ASH claims that the Scottish Executive's consultation was fair despite what seems to me to be valid criticism from the licensed trade:

The SLTA’s claim is based on the fact that it requested, along with Tennants and Belhaven breweries, for 210,000 forms to put out in its members’ pubs. This request for so many forms naturally took the Executive a couple of weeks to fulfil.
It looks clear that the consultation process was flawed. I must say that I did read the form on the Executive's website but I don't imagine for a moment that many non-political junkies bothered to do so. I didn't bother to leave any comment as I have little doubt that the politicians will do what they want whatever the public says. Just like what will happen when we are asked for our views on the EU Constitution.


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Neil Craig
I don't consider this is primarily a property right. It is an individual right. There is nobody who is totally unable to smoke because they can't afford it (40 a day maybe).

10 November 2004, 20:34:08 GMT
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I love you "libertarians", you are SOOOOO inconsistent. Its like taking candy from a baby. 
While on the "A great deal of confusion in a nation" strand David Malloch is happily calling Scots a bunch of "Petty Social Fascists" for seeking a ban on smoking in enclosed public places, over on the "Libertarians and elections" strand his wee pal Alastair Ross is busy condoning Singapore's ban on chewing gum! 
Get your stories straight you guys! 
Why do "libertarians" love the singularly illiberal Singapore regime? You have cited it more than once as a nirvana.

10 November 2004, 14:04:21 GMT
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David Malloch
"Fascism is, and always has been, extremely unpopular in Scotland." 
I intentionally used the word petty, nevertheless the instinct of the Scottish political class is to nanny and interfere. They are never happy unless they are planning to ban something THEY think isn't good for us. 
"We do not have one single elected politician from any fascist party, not even a local councillor." 
We don’t need them considering the bunch we already have. 
"Being a centrist I would prefer us to mind our own business a little more." 
I would like the Petty Social Fascists on the Mound to mind their own business a lot more often. Aye and pigs might fly.

6 November 2004, 20:25:45 GMT
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-"...leaving intact the social - Marxist worldview so clearly displayed in Government and NGO policies which erode freedom unforgiveably." 
You imply that the primary sin of the left nowadays is its tendency to stick its nose into the internal affairs of foreign countries. 
I agree that western European countries tend to be too nosey, interfering and interventionist. 
However, at least Europeans usually intervene with well-meaning aid and "fair" trade initiatives. The US right, in contrast, is equally nosey, interfering and interventionist. But they tend to intervene with trade blockades and high explosives. 
The ultimate freedom-takers are war and economic collapse; and the totemic monstrosities of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. 
If we must insist on being nosey neighbours, I prefer the fussiness of the left to the slaughter of the right. Being a centrist I would prefer us to mind our own business a little more. 
Finally, may I congratulate you on being the first "libertarian" on this blog to ever acknowledge that the Labour Party have moved rightwards.

6 November 2004, 09:47:31 GMT
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Alastair Ross
The 'drift to the centre' was not a product of a fit of absent-mindedness on the part of the Left, as we are invited to believe by Mr Dickson. A calculated abandonment of Socialist dogma took place in the field of economics alone, leaving intact the social - Marxist worldview so clearly displayed in Government and NGO policies which erode freedom unforgiveably.

6 November 2004, 02:12:43 GMT
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David Farrer said...

(I should say that there are several other key differences between socialism and communism, but the debate was focused on democracy.)

5 November 2004, 08:56:15 GMT
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The natural progression of most socialist tendencies is not left (towards the abolition of democracy) but rather towards the centre, via social democracy. This drift to the centre can be witnessed in supposedly "socialist" parties right throughout Europe, with the British Labour Party being in the vanguard. 
The vast difference is that we can vote out socialist governments. Communist governments remove that mechanism. 
Again Alastair displays his ignorance of current events, for all the world to see. 
Socialism is not "bred in the bone" of Scots. Only a small number (approx 16%) voted for the two socialist parties (SSP and SGP), or socialist independent candidates. 
By far the overwhelming instinct of most Scots is "anti-establishment", which largely manifests itself in pro self-government sentiment and opposition to US bullying in international affairs. 
"Libertarians" are anti-establishment. You should find Scotland a rich hunting ground, if only you would choose to stop insulting us.

5 November 2004, 08:54:26 GMT
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Alastair Ross
The first democratic election of a Communist administration took place in India at state level, so there was no danger of democracy's abolition - a natural progression of all Socialist( National or otherwise) tendencies. Socialism ,in varying degrees ,is bred in the bone of too many Scots, with the resulting economic lassitude which such a malaise induces.There is no 'vast difference' at all to the recipients of Socialist economic prescriptions. What you oppose or favour,Mr Stuart, is not my, or, I suspect, anyone else's concern.

4 November 2004, 22:55:13 GMT
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No, Fascism is simply the other side of the much tarnished and valueless Communist coin, not Socialist coin. 
There is a vast difference between totalitarian communism and democratic socialism. "Libertarians" do themselves a great disservice by constantly mis-representing their opponents. Painting all opponents as dishonourable, as "libertarians" constantly do, is a classic trait of both communist and fascist totalitarians. 
I oppose socialists, but I consider them to be honourable opponents. "Libertarians" are disnonourable, they are not democrats: they shun elections.

4 November 2004, 22:07:40 GMT
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David Farrer said...

Alastair Ross
Fascism is simply the other side of the much tarnished and valueless Socialist coin. The fact that many Scots are too ill-educated to realise this is a testament to generations of leftist - administered education policy. Mr Malloch could have substituted 'social Marxist' for 'social Fascist' and still been correct.

4 November 2004, 18:20:06 GMT
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Fascism is, and always has been, extremely unpopular in Scotland. 
We do not have one single elected politician from any fascist party, not even a local councillor. 
In order to see elected fascists in operation one must visit England, where the BNP have had several councillors elected. 
Shame on you.

4 November 2004, 08:52:30 GMT
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David Malloch
When we voted for Devolution we voted for a bunch of Petty Social Fascists to have the power to impose their will upon us. And now we have it.  
Ain't demokracy great?

3 November 2004, 20:47:58 GMT
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Neil Craig
It is perfectly reasonable for the executive to run out of forms when so many more than could be expected were required. However the proper thing to do when something like that appears is to add enough time. Providing people with the forms only after the consultation period is over looks even worse than it is. 
By comparison, when MSPs complained that BT's consultation on whether they should close phone boxes just because they arn't being used had been to short to give the media time to notice, they added several weeks. 
Mind you I don't think BT's consultation was much more serious than Holyrood's.

1 November 2004, 23:23:12 GMT
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Mark Holland
our countries’ 
How many exactly? 
/Channelling Lynne Truss

1 November 2004, 11:18:13 GMT