Liberalism, Once Upon A Time

The 1937 Buxton Liberal Party Assembly:

This Assembly of the Liberal Party, indignantly aware of the grossly unequal distribution of property in this country, believes that the greatest possible measure of personal ownership, with the independence and security it brings ought to be enjoyed by all. It also believes that the opportunities for a full life hitherto open only to the rich should be placed before all. It recognises these twin ends as the inspiration of its domestic policy and pledges its whole strength in urging them on the nation in far-reaching reforms to achieve them.

The 1959 Liberal Party Manifesto:

People Count . . . This traditionally private-enterprise country must pull together to bring about ownership for all.

Liberals want co-ownership and co-partnership schemes encouraged through tax-reliefs. They want special tax-free employee savings accounts schemes brought in. They want more people to be able to buy their own homes. Schedule A income tax and Stamp duty must be abolished. To encourage mobility of labour, Liberals want temporary unemployment allowances increased.

The February 1974 Liberal Party Manifesto:

To finance all these proposals, there must be a radical redistribution of income and inherited wealth, the credit income tax proposals being the principal instrument for the former, and the Liberal proposal for a Gifts and Inheritance Tax, to replace Estate Duty and related in its incidence and rate to the gift or legacy and the wealth of the recipient, for the latter.

Question about Andy Burnham

Is there anything interesting to say about Andy Burnham, or anything to report that reflects well on him? He’s one of those people who has largely flown under my radar. I remember seeing him on telly a few years ago, when he was reasonably new in some not insignificant job or other, and being underwhelmed, but since I don’t really get my political news from the TV, and I don’t follow the minutiae of Government policy, he’s basically passed me by this last parliamentary term or so. So: any Andy Burnham-related thoughts and observations would be more than more than welcome.

UPDATE [25.5.10]: Jamie K has more.

Spam Interlude Over?

Thanks to everyone who alerted me to a spam infestation at the Virtual Stoa, which was showing up in Google stuff — the search engine, its cache and in the Google Reader thingummy.

The exhortations to buy Vicodin and Cialis and the like were probably more stimulating than the actual content they replaced; nevertheless, in the interests of restoring the usual service, I’ve delved deep into the bowels of the WordPress installation, zapped a few lines of extremely dubious-looking code, killed a few files that popped up in the plug-ins folder that really oughtn’t to be there, wiped from the memory banks a couple of unauthorized users and, finally, changed the passwords. It was all quite a lot easier than I’d anticipated — I get a bit nervous in the face of MySQL databases. And so, with luck, that hack’s been dealt with.

But, just in case anything does recur, please could my vigilant readers report any further unusual sightings: I don’t use Google Reader (I’m a Bloglines man myself), so I don’t tend to notice it when my readers all drift off in search of new opportunities to purchase these valuable drugs.

It’s Exam Season!

If you were marking examination papers on nineteenth century British political history, what mark would you give someone who described the 1832 Reform Act in these terms?

[It was] landmark legislation, from politicians who refused to sit back and do nothing while huge swathes of the population remained helpless against vested interests, who stood up for the freedom of the many, not the privilege of the few.

And what comment might you be tempted to write in the margin?

Blast from the Past

It’s good to read in tehgraun that “some of Italy’s most senior police officers have been given jail sentences of up to five years for what the prosecution called a “terrible” attack on demonstrators at the 2001 G8 meeting in Genoa and an attempted cover-up”, though sad also to read that, as with so many criminal trials with political ramifications in Italy, statutes of limitations mean that jail sentences are unlikely to be served.

Someone who may very well be unhappy with these verdicts is Tony Blair. British readers may remember what his spokesman said at the time, when reports of police brutality were beginning to circulate: “The Italian police had a difficult job to do. The prime minister believes that they did that job.”

Over the fold is a bit of eye-witness testimony of the events in question, from my friend Uri Gordon, an Israeli anarchist and G8 protester, which I was privileged enough to be able to publish nine years ago in The Voice of the Turtle:

Continue reading “Blast from the Past”