Banning flag burning
I was browsing the BBC website a couple of days ago and saw an article on flag burning. Supposedly an MP wants to outlaw flag burning in parades, especially those conducted by extremists.
I know in the US, there is a lot of furore about this issue. And to be frank, I fail to see what the fuss is.
Granted, the Union flag may be of great emotional importance or pride to some. Nonetheless, burning it simply is an instance of freedom of expression. Face it, no one's legal rights are violated if a flag is burnt. It certainly isn't an act against the person or property. Also, offence is a very subjective thing. In that sense, you cannot make laws which objectively criminalise "offensive" acts.
Let "extremists" burn their flags. In a free society, it should be their right.
SecessionI was listening, as usual, to Free Talk Live (see links) the other day. The topic of secession, in reference to New Hampshire, came up.
Ian and Mark were pooh-poohing the notion of US federal government resistance to secession. I don't know about that, really. I doubt a future US president would readily permit New Hampshire to secede from the United States and become a sovereign state. If he (or she even!) didn't send in tanks and troops, then surely some other kind of sanction would be imposed.
OK, this isn't a UK issue, but I find it interesting nonetheless. I believe that (as an interim step towards market anarchy), the UK should become a federal state. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own legislatures which make law in certain constitutionally granted areas, whilst the federal Westminster government is responsible for foreign affairs, defence and basic economic policy. From then, we can decide whether to reduce the powers of the federal government vis a vis the states, or to abolish government altogether. If England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland desired to secede, then they should be free to do so.
Increased state party funding
I noticed this on the BBC website. MORE stolen money (,i.e. from taxes) will be used to fund political parties?
Of course sleaze is a bad thing. But people don't have to vote for parties that weren't transparent in their dealings.
Post Office Protests
Subpostmasters held a rally in London today, calling for rural post offices to be saved.
Conservative Party leader David Cameron has also called upon the PM to do more to protect rural post offices.
The BBC website, from which I got the link above, had links to Postcomm which is the government postal industry regulator. Supposedly, new entrants to the market have to be licensed by Postcomm before they can sort or deliver mail.
Is there really any need for regulation in this instance? Yes, naturally people in rural areas would still need to send and receive mail. Still, since a demand for mail services exists within rural areas, then someone will attempt to meet it within the free market. The mail supplier may not even have to be a "for-profit" organisation; it would still have to ensure that its services equated with consumer needs. The postal market should really regulate itself. Companies that offered poor customer service would lose out to those that did offer reasonable services. Independent watchdogs could emerge which informed consumers of bad practice.
David Cameron speechI caught most of Cameron's speech at the Conservative Party conference.Of course, it was chock full of big government rhetoric and tripe. I shouldn't really expect any different, certainly as far as the major political parties are concerned.His idea for a "Bill of Rights" seemed intriguing though. The Tories are yet to state how they would deal with the concept of parliamentary sovereignty (which is a negative thing, since governmental law making powers should be limited) and ensure that a future Labour (or even Conservative) government wouldn't repeal it. The USA Bill of Rights cannot be repealed by a mere Act of Congress since it's actually part of the constitution. Even though I now identify as a market anarchist, my principal objection to a Tory Bill of Rights would be any "positive rights" contained within it. The Bill of Rights listed within my mock British constitution would be a far superior document ;).