Iraq extremism "warning"
A senior civil servant in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned the government last year that its foreign policies could create a climate of terrorism.
Foreign Office Permanent Secretary Michael Jay wrote a letter to the Cabinet Secretary stating that British foreign policy was a "key driver" in recruitment for Islamist extremists.
If the content of this leaked letter is true, then it confirms my suspicions.
I've stated in this blog prior to now that (IMO at least) foreign policy was a factor in the 7th July bombings. I do believe though that the overall reason for the existence of Al Qaeda is complex in origin.
Hey, maybe they actually DO "hate our freedoms" or at least certain aspects of Western lifestyles. Nevertheless, the actions of Western nations in the Middle East (notably those of the United States) is probably a major catalyst for the existence of Al Qaeda.
IMO, the solution to this problem is NOT to interfere in the affairs of other nations. Only direct attacks to the sovereignty of our country should be met with force.
We're ALL for smaller government
A recent article by Harry Browne seemed quite intriguing.
He stated that bickering between minarchists (of which I am one) and anarcho-capitalists is unnecessary. We should all unite, since we're all seeking smaller government. I'd concede that to be true in itself, still I'm not a great fan of anarcho-capitalism.
For one, I don't see how rights to the person and property can properly be defended within an anarcho-capitalist society. Of course, "private protection agencies" would exist. But how would these "agencies" be more efficient or better than a state-run police force?
Secondly, the concept of rival legal systems seems baffling. In theory, a group could establish Sharia law within an anarcho-capitalist society.
Personally I believe leftist anarchism (libertarian socialism, anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, etc.) provides a better argument against the existence of government. In reference to Mr. Browne's point, government simply is too big. Government expenditure in 2004 was over £400 billion. That is far too much. Ideally, government should only spend a figure approximate to 5-10% of GDP.
As Browne states in his article, force is the enemy and all libertarians (be they minarchist or anarcho-capitalist) should strive to reduce force from all human affairs.
Most "oppose" faith schools
A survey commissioned by the Guardian has shown that most British people oppose the establishment of faith schools.
Most faith schools in the UK at present are Christian (either C of E or Catholic). However, some MP's have criticised the concept of faith schools for undermining "social cohesion" in British society.
Really, what is wrong with their being Islamic, Buddhist or Hindu faith schools? If anything, they shouldn't be administered by the state. All education should be privately funded and maintained. State-run education is based on force and clearly violates the non-aggression principle. In a libertarian society, schools should be free to teach what they please, without the government pushing its values onto children and parents.
Mo Mowlam death
Excuse the belated nature of this post, but it's something I have to comment on.
I knew Mowlam was ill, but I never realised her condition was life-threatening. I met her once, in 2000, at an event designed for university students in my local town hall. She seemed like a very intelligent woman.
RIP Mo Mowlam.
The Bank of England released its Quarterly Report yesterday.
The Governor, Mervyn King, stated that GDP growth would be lesser than the B of E's previous prediction after this year Budget. The Bank believed economic growth would be 2.6% in 2005. However they've lessened their figure to 2%. This is largely because of the dip in consumer spending, plus a subdued housing market.
Gordon Brown's prediction for GDP growth this year was 3%. I'm no economist, but surely such a figure is overly optimistic!
To be fair, such a slowdown is probably not Brown's (or the Labour government in general) fault. House prices had been rising for some time and the likelihood of a fall may have become greater. Even though economic growth may not be at its optimum, the UK economy is still healthy. Unemployment and inflation are both low. If GDP growth in 2005 is only 2%, then it would still be higher (according to current projections) than that of most other G8 nations.
Of course, Brown should not seek to place extra regulations and taxation on business during this time. A libertarian government would repeal all business taxation and greatly reduce regulations on business. Businessowners of all types (and probably not just small businesses) have for years been crying out for fewer regulations. It's time that British government's started to listen to them.
The motivations behind the London attacks
US President Bush and Tony Blair often state that Islamist terrorists "hate our freedom" or "hate our way of life".
I had never paid much credence to such views, until recently. It's a fact that fundamentalist Muslims have always looked down on the West, largely because they feel Western society is "decadent".
However it hasn't been substantiated, either by Bush or Blair, that a hatred of the Western lifestyle was the prime motivation of 9/11, the Madrid bombings or the London attacks. Personally I believe it's a combination of factors. Surely the foreign policies of certain Western countries must be a catalyst for terrorism.
If a hatred of Western freedoms is the sole factor, then surely (for example) France and Germany should have suffered attacks of the scale of London or 9/11. To date, they have not. I generally believe that the likelihood of the UK incurring terrorism would lessen if we had not aligned with the USA in invading Iraq.
Robin Cook dead
I was shocked yesterday to learn that Robin Cook had died.
I had always respected him as, to me, he seemed a man of integrity and great intelligence. I was certainly not a fan of his politics, nevertheless he'd be missed in the Labour party.
RIP Robin Cook.