Sunday, March 25, 2007

How Can I talk of Freedom ?

Somone sent a comment to my blog asking how I could reconcile standing up for freedom with working for the FSA. (It isn't published because I won't publish anonymous posts but I will try and respond to them if they have substance).

My answer is in two halves - partly principled, partly pragmatic:-

The pragmatic part - I have to earn a living and the FSA provides a means for me to do that.

The principled part - At the FSA I work to try and ensure that we have a level playing field in which sharks do not run off with pensioners' savings, in which insider dealing does not happen and in which fraud and identity theft are rare. Freedom without order is a nonsense - it is the rule of the mob and results in freedom for none but the biggest thugs. High quality financial regulation helps ensure that London has free rather than rigged capital markets. In order for there to be a free society, the state has, de minimus, to provide law and order for its citizens. I like to think that the way I earn my crust as well as my local political activity helps achieve that.


David Brown gave a very good sermon in church today about the role of William Wilberforce in the campaign to end the slave trade. Over the next few months we can expect and awful lot of self hating left wing criticism of England and its role in the trade. The reality was that while there was fault amongst many in the establishment, our culture and history allowed men such as Wilberforce and Granville Sharp to obtain a hearing and to win hearts and minds. Our record in abolishing the slave trade and slavery early in our empire (and earlier still in England itself) is one in which we can take some pride - our system of government enabled principle based reform and the Royal Navy ensured that its writ ran over the world's oceans to the benefit of many.

If anyone is truly interested in the subject, Simon Schama's book "Rough Crossings" gives a balanced account of our role in the trade. He shows how British thinking was ahead of American thinking and how the reality of our establishing a colony for free slaves was ahead of French revolutionary rhetoric (the revolutionary French briefly occupied and destroyed the colony).

A final thought - godless ideologies - Stalinism, Nazism (National Socialism), Marxism, Maoism, Communism have enslaved and killed tens of millions in the past hundred years. Next time someone blames the world's ills on religion, remind them that it was the evangelical zeal of Wilberforce and his ilk - men who believed that the love of Christ for all men was colour blind - which freed millions of Africans from slavery. The anniversary of the slave trade is a time to remind ourselves what a power for good the Church can be.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Why vote ?

How many of you actually want to see Gordon Brown running our country, taxing you more and letting you do less ? I know the temptation is always to avoid voting in local elections but, if you want to send a message about preserving your freedom, please make sure you vote on 3rd May and send Labour a message - that you are fed up with their wasteful and damaging misrule.