By D. J. Webb
Trump was always a symbol; the likelihood was that he would fail in office. And so it has proved. Nevertheless, it is sad to see an opportunity squandered in this fashion. Trump is now become a standard-issue neo-con. The latest dreadful announcement was his pledge to act in some as yet unknown way against the Assad government in Syria over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Idlib. I say alleged, as it is impossible to find out who did this, and even if Assad did it, why is it an American concern? And what is the plan to prevent further instability and further refugee flows? Far better to leave well alone, in my view.
Elsewhere in foreign policy: Continue reading
By D. J. Webb
a short blog on employment rights. There should be none.
The whole jamboree of suing for discrimination and wrongful dismissal (how can a dismissal ever be wrongful, pray???) should go. We need to restore freedom of association. Not only does the current law pin unhappy workers in positions they’re not enjoying — they can’t resign or else they will get no dole — companies also see large amounts of time tied up in pointless personnel issues with people whose presence is a distraction in the firm.
We need to recognise that companies may have any reasons whatsoever to sack staff. Sacking a black person because the manager doesn’t like working with Negroes should be acceptable. Sacking a white person because the ethnic manager doesn’t like English people should also be fine. Getting rid of a woman because she has fallen pregnant should also be legal. Showing the door to a homosexual who likes to flaunt the irrelevant issue at work is more than acceptable; in my view, it is highly commendable.
Companies could vastly reduce their personnel staff and ditch their equal opportunities policies. Those who claim companies that discriminate would lose out on talent could subject that theory to free-market forces: companies that refused to take on talented minority workers would, in this scenario, go to the wall. More likely, however, is that there are incredibly few cases where it matters who fills a particular job, and that no discriminating companies would face any difficulties whatsoever.
We would save money by ending the employment tribunal game, and cutting spending on lawyerly scroungers. To make it palatable, we could require companies to issue a no-fault three-month termination notice, giving the worker time to look for work and allowing some use of work time to write application letters and attend interviews. The worker would leave in good standing. We could officially encourage firms in such situations to provide guaranteees of good references (with no legal comeback from the firms taking those workers on; employee relations at the original firm would be legally defined as a confidential matter). Firms taking on staff could do so in the knowledge they would never have a problem showing workers who didn’t fit in the door.
As long as the benefits system remained, we could also guarantee that person access to the dole, without any of the current nonsense about “intentionally becoming jobless”. I think the dole should be available for limited periods in boom times, and for longer periods in economic slumps — it makes no sense to allow someone to stay on the dole for years in boomtimes. The dole could also be restricted in areas of the country with high job availability, and more easily available in depressed areas. Whatever is done to the social security system, *and this is important*, it should be designed to facilitate workplace turnover, allowing firms to move unsuccessful staff members on.
As far as I’m concerned, Brexit ought to be accompanied by such anti-red tape thinking. Bring it on!
By D. J. Webb
I am sorry to have disappointed Dr Gabb by not posting for some time. Here is my explanation and some thoughts.
I went to the Ukraine in early December to stay for three months with a friend in a city called Dnepropretrovsk (renamed Dnepr). Apart from the weather, it was a very pleasant holiday. I particularly enjoyed learning how to make the dish, compulsory for New Year’s Eve, herring “under a fur coat” (herring under layers of potato, egg, carrots, beetroot, all mixed up with mayonnaise). It sounds terrible, but is very delicious. And I got to practise my Russian. I’m not impressed that a first-class degree in Russian, such as I was awarded by Leeds University in 1995, is given in this country to people with far from fluent Russian. Parliament ought to look into it. But my Russian is better than ever before. Continue reading
by D.J. Webb
Theresa May was, for no good reason, granted one of the earliest meetings with President Trump. She apparently used the meeting to peddle her globalist agenda, including the supposed importance of NATO. It seems that Mr Trump is pro-British and has given her a certain latitude; I would have told her to decide within ten seconds if she wanted an alliance and a trade deal to replace Brexit or whether she was going to continue to mouth off on the globalist agenda and thus destroy the relationship with the new administration. Continue reading
By D. J. Webb
We have discussed constitutional issues regularly on the Libertarian Alliance blog. The issues are well-worn, and as far as I can see such issues rapidly become a dialogue of the deaf, as most of those who have a keen interest have long taken established standpoints. But the ruling of the so-called “Supreme Court” that the government cannot begin the process of withdrawal from the European Union without an Act of Parliament is so consequential that it will brook a number of articles expressing a variety of viewpoints. Continue reading
By D. J. Webb
This is an unusual topic for a libertarian article. Libertarianism is in economic terms diametrically opposed to Communism. I’m not going to argue the Soviet Union was a libertarian paradise. But economic freedom isn’t everything in life. And the wider cultural environment may have something to tell us about the viability of a free society, and indeed the cultural prerequisites for a free society. Continue reading
By D. J. Webb
The Trump victory represents a considerable opportunity for the UK. The future of our country outside the European Union depends on forging other trading links and a new international relations policy. Just as the Brexit outlook was looking awkwardly bleak, Trump won the US presidential election, making it likely that the path towards a new trade relationship with the US could be relatively smooth. We are no longer at the back of Barack Obama’s queue. Continue reading