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January 21, 2005

Veritas

An interesting moment in UK politics here. Just to set the scene for those who are not political obssessives (or who are not interested in UK politics). The big news of the last set of European Parliament elections was the insurgency of the UK Independence Party, standing on a platform of quite simply, leaving the European Union altogether. They were helped by three things, the growing support for their stance, the electoral system used (multi-member constituencies with party lists and a form of proportional representation) and the addition of Robert Kilroy-Silk to their party (an ex-Labour MP turned talk show host. Often described as the British Jerry Springer but more accurately the British Phil Donohue with a more rightist worldview).
The big question has been how well would they do in the national elections coming up? The electoral system reverts to the usual first past the post system (horribly difficult for insurgent parties to benefit from) so it has been generally thought that they would only bleed votes off from the Conservative Party, making the next Labour majority larger than otherwise likely, without actually gaining any seats at the Westminster Parliament at all.
Internally to the party there was also a debate about whether UKIP should stand for its simple message, let’s get out of the EU and then sort things out, or attempt to broaden its appeal (dilute its message?) by having a number of other policies. OK, OK, this is all boring geek stuff to most.
Today’s news is something of a further blow to the UKIP as Kilroy-Silk has left the party and is setting up his own new party called, we assume, Veritas, to campaign on those broader issues. This will split the anti-EU vote thus making the election of any MPs at all less likely. Or, alternatively, a well known and charismatic party leader might provide the breakthrough desired...think Pim Fortuyn in Holland, although the problem lies in the details of the electoral system, single member constituencies and first past the post militating against parties not of the mainstream (for example, the US has only one independent elected to Congress, the Congressman for Vermont, everyone else elected as either a Republican or Democrat, Jeffreys in the Senate becoming an independent after election).
Scene set?
Now to the interesting details. The internet has become sufficiently important that the first thing a political reporter does on hearing of a new party is check domain registrations:

Last night it emerged that the internet domain "veritasparty" was registered on Dec 30, apparently at the address of a fringe movement called The Commonwealth Party and led by a Dr Jonathan Lockhart. Mr Kilroy-Silk declined to comment on the connection.

Seems to show that people have noticed the Daily Kos, Joe Trippi, Dean Campaign, Blogs for Bush, etc etc. The second is that the establishment of political reporters doesn’t seem to have quite grasped the implications of the whole issue, for they did not go on to check for further information on Jonathan Lockhart, whose blog is to be found here. To get the importance of the net is one thing, but then to miss blogs is another.
BTW, I would note that Jonathan’s posting rate has dropped considerably since the New Year. Busy with other things perhaps?
The UK election is a few months away (we all think) and it’s going to be interesting to see what effect the net and blogs have on the whole thing. Not as much as in the US last autumn I think, but vastly more than ever before in the UK.

Update. Welcome Instapundit readers (those of you who waded this far down a post on British politics anyway). Have a look around, none of the other posts bite or cause awful diseases, that’s the author, not the words. You might find this snippet from the British newspapers this morning interesting.

January 21, 2005 in Politics | Permalink

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» Robert Kilroy-Silk: mentalist from Europhobia
Tim Worstall spots some interesting internet-related tidbits, following the Honourable Fiend's note that websites for "Veritas" seem already to be taken [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 21, 2005 10:28:33 AM

» ABC Busted By The Blogs from La Shawn Barber's Corner
Once again the blogosphere shames mainstream media (MSM). On Wednesday, Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters wrote a post called ABC News: Too Lazy To Hide The Bias. Via Power Line, he found this request on ABC's web site:For a possible Inauguration Da... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 21, 2005 8:08:54 PM

» Robert Kilroy-Silk, Jonathan Lockhart & Ailis Ni R from Stephen Newton’s diary of sorts...
It’s time to own up to a rather unfortunate – though pretty minor – claim to fame in being, until very recently, a friend of Dr Jonathan Lockhart, chief executive to Kilroy-Silk’s Veritas. Around this time last year, we went o... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 10, 2005 10:22:02 AM

Comments

I am not sure if the departure of RKS will be such a bad thing for UKIP. He has served his purpose and I am not entirely sure that he will be a serious problem for them in the future. Anyone listening to his comments yesterday couldn't help but be struck by the obvious personal ambition of the man. This is not about taking a stand for the country, this is about getting a seat for himself. As for policies, he had nothing at all. Just complete and utter incoherence. Can anyone truly take him seriously?

Posted by: James | Jan 21, 2005 9:55:36 AM

I've met Kilroy in the flesh, and he's even madder up close than he appears on TV. He's not just an egomaniac, he's mentally unstable. Lockhart is crazy to get mixed up with him.

Posted by: Segment Fraud | Jan 21, 2005 10:26:07 AM

Have to agree with both - although there's something to be said for people voting for him because he's non-mainstream, and that he's famous, and that he will say things the mainstreams won't. As long as there's no risk of him getting into power, there are plenty of none-too-attached voters floating around.

If successful though, the key point is where the votes go from. My guess is that a lot of northern Labour voters will be attracted by a non-Tory (but non-BNP) anti-EU, anti-immigration, hang-'em-and-flog-'em party. This might have only a limited effect on Labour's electoral success (unless they got caught between social conservatives going to Veritas and anti-war types going Lib Dem); but down south, the Tories are much more vulnerable.

Would it be better for two Right-wing parties to share 50% of the vote and end up with a total of 100 seats, or for one party to get 35% and 200 seats? My guess is the latter, but (and notwithstanding RKS, who is a bit wrong) a successful Right-wing challenge could force change in the party, leaving us better placed in 2009...

Posted by: Blimpish | Jan 21, 2005 10:44:01 AM

The best thing the Conservative Party could do right now (other than dumping their illiberal support for ID cards of course) is to recognise political reality post-devolution.

Create an English Conservative Party to go alongside the Scottish Conservatives, etc., and with a mandate to stand up for the English peoples who are now so unfairly discriminated against thanks to Labour's policies.

Having Welsh and Scottish Parties as Unionist Parties that are part of a grand coalition will enable them to compete more effectively against both the Nationalists and Labour.

Most of Westminster's seats are in England. A major party that stands up for the English will strike a succesful chord with the voters.

Posted by: David Wildgoose | Jan 21, 2005 11:43:07 AM

"Daily Kos, Joe Trippi, Dean Campaign, Blogs for Bush, etc etc."

Fair enough, I understand that you just mentioned some blogs in passing to draw examples. But I couldn't let it go without mentioning the blogs that I think made far more impact in U.S. politics than they get credit for: Powerline (powerlineblog.com), LittleGreenFootballs, Instapundit, and NRO (nationalreview.com).

Tim adds: Your comment is entirely fair...I was trying to emphasise those connected with specific campaigns, rather than those commenting on hte election in general.

Posted by: GOP 1 | Jan 21, 2005 1:55:36 PM

"Seems to show that people have noticed the Daily Kos..."
If they had, they would now be selling their domain registrations. The Daily Kos website chose 15 Congressional candidates to support and fund by soliciting donations from their readers. All 15 Daily Kos supported candidates lost, as did John Kerry.
Your point is well taken. Your choice of example is just too ironic to ignore.

Tim adds: I know. I also loved it when after the election the explanation was something like....well, we were always supporting pretty far out candidates, so while they didn’t win, at least we kept the Republicans occupied, stopped them form spending the money elsewhere.

Posted by: mikem | Jan 21, 2005 2:10:23 PM

David,

Interesting you should say that. The CEP have recently put this up:

http://www.thecep.org.uk/news/ViewItem.asp?Entry=131

Posted by: JohnJo | Jan 21, 2005 2:22:01 PM

Tim, great blog. I'm glad I followed from Instapundit.

It will be very interesting to follow events leading up to your elections. Also, it will be very interesting to see what role American blogs will play and what impact they might have.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: RonK | Jan 21, 2005 3:55:35 PM

Home of the Brave?

Economists concede that economics is an inexact science. What does that mean? Perhaps it means their economic forecast is better than yours or mine.

Recently, economic indicators have been rising and people have their fingers crossed. Economists have given us reason to hope that the job market will improve and that the stock market will continue on a steady climb. Yet, the newspapers continue to report more layoffs and more jobs going overseas.

Meanwhile, our economy is getting more and more complex. We associate complexity with progess for some ungodly reason. The following problems, however, have become inherent in our economy. What does that mean? It means they will be around for a while:

Needless poverty, unemployment, inflation, the threat of depression, taxes, crimes related to profit (sale of illicit drugs, stolen IDs, muggings, bribery, con artists, etc.), conflict of interest, endless red tape, a staggering national debt plus a widening budget deficit, 48 out of 50 states in debt, cities in debt, counties in debt, skyrocketing personal debts, 50% of Americans unhappy at their work, saving for retirement and our children's education, health being a matter of wealth, competing in the "rat race", the need for insurance, being a nation of litigation, being subject to the tremors on Wall Street, fear of downsizing and automation, fear of more Enrons, outsourcing, bankruptcies, crippling strikes, materialism, corruption, welfare, social security, wasteful competition, sacrificing quality and safety in our products for the sake of profit, the social problem of the "haves" vs. the "have nots" and spending money to fix the problems that money creates.

Have we become gluttons for punishment? My college professor once said, “You can get used to hanging if you live long enough!”

We Americans love our freedom; yet, we have allowed the use of money to completely dominate our way of life. Indeed, we are no longer a free people. We are 7.4 trillion dollars in debt. We live in fear of depression, inflation, inadequate medical coverage and losing our jobs. Our freedom is at stake if not our very survival. Yet, we put our collective heads in the sand.

Yes, there is something we can do. We can look into ourselves for an answer. We may find that we have the strength to carry out our internal economic affairs without the need to use money. Yes, we will still need to use money when dealing with other countries.

There is no question that a way of life without money will alleviate if not completely eliminate all of the previously mentioned problems. Yet, we scoff at the idea. We are totally convinced that money is a necessity. We cannot imagine life without money. Perhaps the time has come to think otherwise. It is completely obvious our present economy no longer satisfies our present day needs.

As individuals, we will gain complete economic freedom. In return, a way of life without money demands only that we, as individuals, do the work we love to do. It is a win/win situation. Let us consider the following arguments:

Can we learn to distribute our goods and services according to need (on an ongoing basis) rather than by the ability to pay? Why not? Poverty and materialism will be eliminated! Our sense of value will change. Wealth will no longer be a status symbol. A man will be judged by what he is; not by what he has. He will be judged by his achievements, leadership, ideas, artistic endeavors or athletic prowess; not by the size of his wallet.

Yes, everything will be free according to need. All the necessities and common luxuries will be available on a help yourself basis at the local store. Surely, this country is capable of supplying the necessities and common luxuries for everyone in this country many times over.

The more “expensive” items, such as housing, cars, boats, etc. would be provided for on a priority basis. For example, the homeless would provided housing ahead of those living in crowded quarters. How will this priority be established? Perhaps a local board elected by the people in the neighborhood such as a school board. Or perhaps the school boards could absorb this responsibility in addition to their present duties.

Since cooperation will replace competition, can government, industry and the people learn to work together as a team to meet the economic needs of our nation as well as each individual? Again, why not? Yes, competition is great; but cooperation is even better. Cooperation avoids duplication of effort. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to have everybody freely working together, sharing ideas, thoughts and technical knowledge? Patents and industrial secrets would be a thing of the past. Competition, however, will still be around. Individuals will still compete with their coworkers in ideas, achievements, leadership and getting promotions.

For example, Ford, Chrysler & GM would work together to build automobiles that are truly safe and efficient and environmentally friendly. Perhaps, with everyone working together, we can invent a car engine that would eliminate the need to import oil from the Middle East. (Note: Ford, Chrysler & GM would gradually become one entity.)

Unfortunately, what immediately jumps into the minds of most people is: “It simply won’t work!” The idea of a way of life without money is then dismissed without further thought. After all, what motivation is there for people to work if there is no paycheck? How can we possibly satisfy the labor needs of our nation? The following reasons are offered why people would be completely happy working in a way of life without money:

(1) Today, only 50% of Americans enjoy their work. That will change. In a way of life without money, we will all be free to do the work we want to do or even love to do without any economic fear. We will be free to pursue our passion or as Joseph Campbell suggests we “follow our bliss”.

(2) Cooperation will replace wasteful competition. We will all work together as a team. Work will become a way to help people, to meet people or to be part of something meaningful. It is a proven fact that people like to help one another. An esprit de corps will naturally build up and make work more enjoyable. Even the most menial task becomes easier when people work together. Yes, work will become more of a “togetherness” thing.

(3) The profit motive will no longer be a hindrance to efficiency. There will be no need to sacrifice quality and safety in our products for the sake of profit. We will, like in the olden days, take pride in our work.

Yes, there is very likely to be a shortage of people volunteering to do the more menial tasks. One option is to offer “perks”. A perk can be of various forms such as front row season tickets to the opera or to his or her favorite sports team. Can you imagine an NBA basketball game where the celebrities are sitting in the back rows while the dishwashers and janitors are at courtside? (My apologies to Spike Lee & Jack Nicholson!) Or the perk could be the latest model boat or sports car which would not be immediately available to the public. Another option is to draft everyone once in their lifetime, to do a half year or so stint at a menial task. Perhaps a humbling experience is in order for all of us. It might serve us well in the area of character building.

Also, consider the fact that perhaps millions of people will be freed from jobs associated with the use of money. Millions more that are now unemployed or on welfare will also be available to help fill the labor needs of our country. Thus, we will have the work force necessary to do the work which is not economically feasible in our present economy such as cleaning our environment (land, sea & air), conservation, recycling, humanitarian work, research in medicine, education, science & space and now we can include national security.

Perhaps the most difficult problem is in the administration of a way of life without money. Can we learn to determine our economic needs, allocate our resources from the federal on down to the neighborhood levels? Perhaps some sort of economic bodies must be created to coordinate, monitor and carryout our economic needs. These economic bodies would exist similar to our governments, one for the federal, one for each state and one for each local level.

Yes, in order to administrate a way of life without money, economic bodies, boards or councils or whatever you wish to call them would be created to absorb economic responsibility from our various governments. They will interact and cooperate with one another to meet the economic needs of our country and of each individual. They will be empowered by Congress to tend to the economic needs of its constituents. Thus, a balance of power will be safely maintained.

Our federal needs, which would be similar to the federal budget we have today, will be resolved by an economic body comprised of representatives of the various branches of government, our industrial & labor resources, research (in medicine, education, science & space), our environment, conservation, importing & exporting, and now, national security and whatever facet of our way of life should be represented. This economic body will arrange for the labor and material resources necessary to meet the economic needs of our nation.

Similarly, the same will occur at the state and local levels. The economic body at the local levels will be responsible for providing services to the people in the neighborhood. If the labor needs cannot be met with volunteer workers, “perks” must be offered. Also, the economic body at the local levels will be responsible for keeping the stores stocked with food, clothing and the common luxuries which will be available free. Thus, the economic needs of the nation right on down to the neighborhood levels would be determined and satisfied by these economic bodies.

How much economic responsibility will these new bodies absorb from our federal, state and local governments? How much will be shared? Can a balance of power be maintained? At any rate, our federal, state and local governments will be relieved of considerable amount of economic responsibility. Thus, our various governments will be free to catch up on all the other domestic and foreign issues that face us.

Yes, we will still import and export goods with foreign countries as our needs dictate; but what money will be used in place of the almighty dollar? Would the dollar have any value if everything is free in the USA? Would that be a problem? We would, however, still be able to use the currency of the country we are doing business with. For example, if we export goods to Germany, we would accept marks or euros in payment. The euros would then be deposited in our national treasury for future use. The money could then be used to import goods or perhaps send Americans overseas on vacation.

Yes, a way of life without money could be compared to the kibbutz which now exist in Israel. Can you picture the USA as one big kibbutz? However, ownership of property will remain the same as it is today. Our government will remain the same. Our free enterprise system will remain in place as it is today. There will be no need for money or any substitute for money since everything will be free according to need.

The transition from our present economy to a way of life without money appears overwhelming; but it is a temporary problem. Remember, the advantages to be gained stagger the imagination; but they are real and cannot be disputed. Perhaps it is time for us to grab the brass ring.

John Steinsvold

Posted by: John Steinsvold | Jan 22, 2005 3:05:37 PM

Don't go on so, John. I stopped reading in the second paragraph. Think pithy, not exhaustive.

I have hopes for the UK becoming more Anglosphere and less EU. Given recent events, it is possible that the Netherlands (Belgium? No hope) could be split off with us as well. And if that, a half-dozen other European countries would at least develop interest. Leaving the EU won't make you Yanks, you'll have several from the Commonwealth to keep you happy. And this is one where the leadership position really is with the UK. American overtures to Poland and Hungary have had only a limited effect. A British defection...

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot | Jan 23, 2005 3:32:16 AM

>> I've met Kilroy in the flesh, and he's even madder up close than he appears on TV. He's not just an egomaniac, he's mentally unstable. Lockhart is crazy to get mixed up with him.<<

--------------------------------

I met him in the Livingstone Palace late last year (City Hall) and two things struck me.

One was that his skin tone wasn't orange. I found this hard to understand, what with all the publicity for this man with an orange face.

I was on the door and decided to test his ego. I pretended not to recognise him. "You'll have to sign in" I said. He demurely stood in the queue until one of the uKIP bigwigs rescued him. "Sorry I didn't recognise you" I said. He smiled and said, not to worry!

After the meeting he came over to me and asked how long I had been involved in a friendly sort of way - almost as if he thought I might have been upset.

Yes, it certainly changed my opinion of him.

Mentally unstable he certainly isn't. And it certainly doesn't look as if he is really has an ego problem. Just because you want to be leader doesn't make you mad. I would have acted in exactly the same way if Nigel Farage and Roger Knapman had offered me the leadership and then reneged on the offer after I had done what was asked.

Andrew

Posted by: Andrew Taylor | Jan 29, 2005 10:27:41 AM