The Apollo Project
Liberal Ideas for the 21st Century
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Drugs, guns, cigarettes and late nights in the bar
by Peter

There has been a mild outbreak of political correctness on the Tory leadership unreality show. Veteran heavyweight Ken Clarke has apparently promised to give up peddling nicotine, while David Cameron is "under pressure" to give up his lucrative directorship of a chain of late-night drinking dens.

This is a far cry indeed from the glorious days of the party, when Tory governments were "washed in on a tide of beer", and a central plank of the party's strategy was to keep the working classes pissed.

Meanwhile, David Davis has 'fessed up to the influence of a slightly batty-sounding American Randy Barnett who "mounts a passionate argument for the right of self-defence for the property owner and the right of retribution for victims of crime [and] represented the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Co-operative in a Supreme Court action to defend their right to provide free cannabis…".

So it will be drugs, guns , and Tony Martin-types all round if Davis ever leads a government.

Not that this is likely. Barnett has spotted that 'the Conservative party coalition has been dominated by traditionalists or pragmatists, but it has not had much of a governing philosophy. It is not entirely clear what it believes in.'

Which seems to be the lesson of the leadership contest…
posted by Apollo Project @ 9:22 pm  
  • At 28 August, 2005 22:31, Blogger Bishop Hill said…

    A cheap shot there Peter. The last paragraph of the linked article reads:

    "In contrast to Barnett's views on cannabis, Davis has fiercely opposed the government's decision to downgrade it to a class C drug and has always said the Tories would reverse the decision when they won power. The radical thinker is also a street-fighting politician who knows that some ultra-libertarian ideas are an electoral step too far."

  • At 29 August, 2005 09:30, Blogger Peter Pigeon said…

    It's a fair cop...but Davis seems to be on the same lines as the Bishop in terms of arming the populace.

  • At 29 August, 2005 12:32, Blogger Bishop Hill said…

    And what lines are those?

  • At 29 August, 2005 14:17, Blogger Peter Pigeon said…

    I agreed with your sentiment (we should protect our scientific research) but not your prescription.

    Personally I don´t find Barnett's views on drugs all that bad. I don´t agree, but one can see where he is coming from. Typical of Davis to pick'n'choose the worst parts of the agenda, I am tempted to say.

    There is an awful lot of balls in the article about "SAS trained"/senior businessman. I understand that the military do not take too kindly to Davis's pretentions inthis respect. But not my problem - where can I contribute to his campaign fund?

  • At 29 August, 2005 20:16, Blogger Bishop Hill said…

    You use the word "prescription" in relation to a short posting I made with a distinct question mark at the end! I intend to do a longer post to clarify exactly where my thinking has got to in this area, but my position is somewhat in flux. You misrepresent me by suggesting otherwise. This is perhaps a reflection of how difficult it is to have a sensible debate on this subject.

    How do you think we should protect our scientific research? Policing has failed consistently. Will we get another chance to try it? I would say the writing is on the wall for the pharmaceutical industry.

    I'm glad you mention drugs though as I think I'm right in thinking that many LDs share Mr Barnett's opposition to prohibition.

    If DD was to move the Conservatives towards (but not all the way to) a Barnett-style libertarianism, wouldn't that move them closer to the LDs? ie away from social conservatism and towards social liberalism? Wouldn't that be a good thing?

  • At 29 August, 2005 21:32, Blogger Bishop Hill said…

    Full post on my thoughts about firearms for anyone who is interested.


    PS Aren't you going to get trackback?

  • At 30 August, 2005 22:10, Blogger Peter Pigeon said…


    I have left some comments on your blog (I read it before this).

    You´ll have to forgive my boisterous posting style. Yes I saw your question-mark!

    Still in your latest post you move in that direction.

    Yes a move in a socially liberal direction would be a good thing. I´m not sure that Davis is the man to do it. And would the Tory party wear it? It is surely the party with the highest percentage of socially authoritarian members and parliamentarians?

  • At 31 August, 2005 21:45, Blogger Bishop Hill said…

    Biosterous posting style forgiven! Having just had a commenter call me a "gun nut" I was a little touchy.

    DD appears to be the only small state candidate hence my support for him (not that I'm a Tory member). If he turns out to be a social liberal too then that would be a bonus.

    Would the Tory party wear a liberal shift? It's possible. I don't know if the new intake are as authoritarian as the old lot. I can't see the party getting back to power otherwise.

  • At 01 September, 2005 08:35, Blogger Bishop Hill said…

    It looks as though the Observer may have, ahem, made an error in Mr Barnett's views. He is in favour of RESTITUTIVE justice rather than RETRIBUTIVE justice.


  • At 23 October, 2005 21:16, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What is interesting is that though Barnett is a respected legal theorist, he is also an anarcho-capitalist. I find it hard to believe, that Davis shares all of his beliefs.

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"What is Liberalism?: I should say it means the acknowledgment in practical life of the truth that men are best governed who govern themselves; that the general sense of mankind, if left alone, will make for righteousness; that artificial privileges and restraints upon freedom, so far as they are not required in the interests of the community, are hurtful; and that the laws, while, of course, they cannot equalise conditions, can at least avoid aggravating inequalities, and ought to have for their object the securing to every man the best chance he can have of a good and useful life." C-B.


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