Sunday, 26 June 2005

Jack Straw and Iranian nuclear ambitions

The Foreign Secretary wants some reassurances from Iran regarding their nuclear programme.

Following the election of Ahmedinejad as Iranian president, there supposedly are some fears that Iran's nuclear programme would intensify.

'Lib Dem Sir Menzies Campbell warned of Middle East instability if Iran dodged its nuclear obligations.

"Any attempt to evade their responsibilities under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty could lead to great instability in the Middle East and concerted action against Iran through the United Nations," he said.'

Really, who are Britain, the United States or any other nation to dictate who possesses the right to possess nuclear weapons?

Remember the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons in wartime was the USA. And not everybody considers such an action either morally jusitified or ultimately necessary.

Even if Iran were lying in regards to the intentions behind its nuclear programme, the West shouldn't worry, nor care. Why does the USA or UK possess nukes? Bush or Tony Blair would probably state its for the protection of their nations' sovereignty. Well who is to say Iran should be denied the same right to protect itself? So-called 'rogue states' are probably seeking to defend themselves against US attack. After all, the United States never attacks (well at least under Bush) countries that can defend themselves. Look at Iraq and Afghanistan; there was never much doubt as to whether the USA could successfully invade these countries or not.

Saturday, 18 June 2005

EU summit 'anger'

Supposedly there have been several disagreements between European leaders after the latest EU summit.

French President Jacques Chirac has accused the British government of being 'pathetic' in regards to refusing to give up the rebate.

Tony Blair desires the French to abandon CAP funding of its farmers. Jacques Chirac naturally has dismissed such a suggestion.

I'm glad Blair has decided to retain the rebate, since we would pay fifteen times as much as France to the EU. Discussion amongst the EU leaders also centred on the constitution. As I've stated before, I oppose the constitution as I feel it's too supranational and too interventionist.

Regarding the European Union in general, I'd favour a group of sovereign countries who would co-operate on numerous issues. A confederation, in other words. I wouldn't like to see a federal Europe. I'm not sure what the general libertarian view towards the European Union is, or how most British libertarians view the European Union. Some on one hand advocate a UK withdrawal from the EU. Others are agnostic in their views.

Saturday, 11 June 2005

G8 relieve debt of poor nations

G8 finance ministers (including Gordon Brown) have agreed to cancel the debt of many of the world's poorest countries.

'Announcing the deal at a meeting of G8 finance ministers in London, the UK's Gordon Brown said now was "not a time for timidity but a time for boldness".'

I applaud this move. Alleviating poorer nations of debt will allow them concentrate greater funds in order to help their own people.

As a libertarian, I'm no fan of state-administered aid. Nonetheless, I believe this act by G8 finance ministers will permit poorer nations to help themselves. What's also needed are the abolition of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, so African countries can trade freely within Western markets.

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Crime Bill to outlaw replica guns

The government are to propose a Bill that would outlaw the manufacture, import and sale of replica guns.

'Welcoming the move, Chief Superintendent Paul Robinson, who heads Scotland Yard's special firearms operational command unit, said: "It is often almost impossible to tell the difference between a real gun and a replica.

"For someone walking down a street, all they know is someone is waving a firearm at them.

"Police officers face exactly the same situation and have to make split-second decisions on how to act."

He added that banning sales of the guns would, in all likelihood, result in a drop in armed robberies and firearms incidents.'

I wonder if Mr. Robinson would realise that gun ownership might deter gun crime. I doubt an attacker would be as willing to attack if he faced a victim who was armed.

Ultimately gun laws violate the freedom of citizens to protect themselves and their property. The ownership of a firearm, in itself, does not violate the person or property of another.

Monday, 6 June 2005

High Street 'clones'

The New Economic Foundation, an independent think tank, are voicing concerns regarding the 'sameness' of city and town centres.

They argue that small businesses are being pushed out by big name chain stores such as Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, House of Fraser, etc.

Well I fail to see what is so wrong here. It's simply the free market taking its course. Big chains can afford to provide products that people want at prices people desire. If people wish for more small businesses then stop shopping at larger stores. At that rate, larger stores would have to change and make themselves more attractive to customers.

Saturday, 4 June 2005

Live 8

An article today on the BBC News website seemed interesting today.

A BBC reporter was asking people in Accra (the capital of Ghana in West Africa) their opinions on the Live 8 concert being organised by Bob Geldof. Some were indifferent or oblivious to it, whilst others welcomed it.

As a libertarian I don't believe in state financed aid. Nonetheless, what Africa needs is access to Western markets. I don't really care if my fruit and vegetables come from Africa or Europe; as long as they are of satisfactory quality. The West needs to stop being protectionist, end all tariffs and non tariff barriers and cancel all debts from Third World nations.

I'm surprised by US President Bush's attitude towards this. He disagrees with Tony Blair regarding the need for debt relief. Isn't Bush a Christian? Such a belief doesn't sound very Christian to me. I suppose it's another reason for me to dislike him, huh?

Thursday, 2 June 2005

Government 'scrap' plans for EU constitution referendum

The government have decided to put plans for a referendum on the EU constitution on hold 'indefinitely'.

"Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said Britain would respect the overwhelming "no" vote in the Dutch referendum. He will make a Commons statement on Monday and is expected to hint that the Bill to implement the referendum will be shelved. Ministers privately admitted last night the UK referendum cannot now go ahead."

To be frank, there probably is little point in staging one, since all 25 member states must ratify the constitution for it to be implemented.

I would have liked a referendum in this country. Yes, the most likely outcome may have been a 'no vote' (perhaps for different reasons than the French electorate). Nonetheless, it would have been nice to express an opinion on whether Parliament should ratify the constitution.
Dutch 'no vote' in EU constitution referendum

Now the electorate of the Netherlands has voted no, in regards to their parliament ratifying the EU constitution.

I'm not exactly sure why the Dutch voted no, but like the French referendum I applaud this outcome.

IMO, extra sovereignty shouldn't be ceded simply because the EU has attained extra members.