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Reagan – A Time for Choosing

Astonishingly, Tim was not familiar with Reagan’s greatest speech. Here it is:

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This Sceptred Isle – pupils will now learn the history of the United Kingdom

N.B. The author is Tim Hewish – my Parliamentary Researcher. As a Historian, I welcome the Education Secretary’s announcement at conference today that History, as a discipline, will be at the core of the curriculum. For too long, Labour had been allowed to reduce the significance of our history, preferring to re-write it or worse simply ignoring it. That is why I fear for the current crop of young people who have been taught under New Labour. To have a world without […]

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Omnipotent Government – The Rise of the Total State and Total War (1944)

I find most accounts of the Second World War unsatisfying. They usually focus on the events of the war and the actions and speeches of individuals. Rarely does an account consider the ideas which prompted particular courses of action. In a previous post, I excerpted sections of Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War. Having now finished it, I can advise that it is a satisfying read for those interested in the ideas behind the actions […]

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The American Museum in Britain, Bath

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This past weekend, we visited the American Museum in Britain. It was thought-provoking: America was of course conceived in liberty but American history, like every nation’s, is filled with examples of man’s inhumanity to man. The exhibition began with a wall of quotations from significant figures. These particularly stood out: William Penn (1644-1718): Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants. Albert Einstein1: Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. […]

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The Apostle of Free Trade: Richard Cobden

I just finished Gowing’s 1885 biography of Richard Cobden, whose doctrine was that free trade would lead to world peace through interdependence and mutual cooperation. Cobden was a leader of the Anti-Corn-Law League — a substantial feat of political agitation — which was established to oppose protectionist measures on corn and decrease the price of basic food products. Cobden viewed the task of the League as “instructing the nation.” We learn in the biography: Only seven years before the total […]

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Some Costs of the Great War: Nationalizing Private Life

Following comments on the immediate astronomical human cost of the Great War: Yet this essay has to do less with numbers of ended lives than it has to do with altered lives, or rather, with changes in the status of the private life of the modern individual, the modern family, the modern community. This essay is about private property, about the autonomy of the individual, and the disastrous trend, accelerated by World War I, of the state claiming the right […]

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History with Grandma

Beth’s Grandma talked us through some key memories today, from a life lived in just two central Birmingham streets: The earthquake, which rearranged the furniture, despite people sitting on it. The tornado, which filled the lounge with electrical fire, burning out the TV, before moving on to destroy in adjacent streets. Running through the streets during a WW II air raid, trying to find space in one of the bomb shelters, only to be turned away, and nearly tripping over […]

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Independence from the state

From 1968: To return to the personal theme, if we accept the need for increasing responsibility for self and family it means that we must stop approaching things in an atmosphere of restriction. There is nothing wrong in people wanting larger incomes. It would seem a worthy objective for men and women to wish to raise the standard of living for their families and to give them greater opportunities than they themselves had. I wish more people would do it. […]

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‘Summary justice’ soars as courts bypassed – Times Online

From the Times: Out-of-court punishments accounted for more than half of all offences dealt with by the criminal justice system last year, according to figures published today. As food for thought, compare to the 1689 Bill of Rights which provided for freedom from fine and forfeiture without a trial. read more | digg story

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Pitt the Younger, Gladstone and Disraeli

(Bumped up from 9 May 08, as I found it while reflecting on Britain today.) On the basis that those who are not familiar with history are condemned to repeat it, I have begun to study Pitt, Gladstone and Disraeli. Here are some quotations, which seem apt in the present circumstances. I will let them stand for themselves. Pitt: “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of […]

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