Some gentle advice for Pete North

Casting my mind back to 2008 I was a foaming libertarian. Were it not for the corrective educational influence of my father I would, to this day, be reading the likes of Tim Worstall and not be utterly appalled at the man’s stupidity. Life was much simpler then. The answer to every problem was simply “less government”.

It might actually be worth a slight ponder upon what I do say. Which isn’t that the answer is simply less government. Rather, the interesting and important question is when, actually, is the answer government? There are most certainly times that it is, after all.

48 comments on “Some gentle advice for Pete North

  1. I can confirm it is perfectly possible to read Tim’s blog without always agreeing with him. In fact can’t think of anyone who always agrees below the line. Even if the views on economics and business align, the views on drugs policy or abortion might not.

    Wouldn’t have described Tim as a libertarian either. Classical liberal with a lapsed Catholic streak perhaps.

  2. Always been a bit extreme, hasn’t he?

    “Foaming libertarian” to “utterly appalled at the man’s stupidity” doesn’t indicate a development of moderation or appreciation of complexity, just a change of view to be absolutist about.

    Don’t think gentle advice will cut it with junior.

  3. I don’t know who Pete North is but if he needed ‘corrective education’ from his father in 2008 I guess he’s still almost a child.

    Anyway I’m happy to be a ‘mouth foamer’ at 40.

  4. If anything, Pete North has just displayed a lack of analytical ability that, in my personal view, rather undermines the credibility of his analyses of Brexit generally

  5. Peter’s essay is TL;DR but this made me smile:

    With politicians ever keen to avoid the minefield of political correctness they end up saying nothing of substance, meaning eventually we get a Trump like figure who simply ignores it and is worshipped for doing it. I fear Johnson may be that man.

  6. On the other hand I stopped reading Pete North’s dad not because he is not clever, thoughtful and well-informed (except when he disagreed with me) but because he is a querulous curmudgeon and that attitude began to get up my nose.

  7. Dongguan John – I thought the government’s Prevent agenda was supposed to stop Tim Worstall radicalising youngsters on the internet.

  8. @Rhoda – Sadly, North snr is still in the throes of a massive strop because he’s not been declared Chief Brexit Guru. I think he’s now at the stage where he wants it to go wrong even more than Remoaners, so that the nation is punished for not giving him nuff respect.

    Jnr is just an arse.

  9. Like RK I stopped reading Snr for the same reason. A Murphy for the right hand.

    Seems to be a case of like father, like son. Difficult to have much sympathy with someone so rude and arrogant, even if he is being sued by the appalling Grayling

  10. Steve – I’m in China, I’m expecting to get black bagged any minute… can I blame the Worstall for that when I’m on TV making my apology?

    FREEDOM! TAIWAN NUMBER 1!

    Actually maybe you could write it for me??

  11. Jnr is also going to defend himself in court.

    Several people have been willing to put up lawyer money if he needed it. As would I because my dislike for the North’s is vastly less than my own foaming hatred for that oh-so-superior SOS Greylung.

    But the lad seems to have a bit of a martyr complex there.

  12. Totally off topic but:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/08/11/scotlands-openly-trans-councillor-quits-frontline-politics-abuse/?li_source=LI&li_medium=li-recommendation-widget

    Reading that I can’t figure out when they say ‘their’ or ‘they’ if we’re talking about the Councillor or the council. Isn’t ‘they’ in that context plural?? They person in the photo looks like he’s not even trying to be a lady.

    I’m drunk and confused. It’s like rules of grammar need longer apply and I can’t read anymore. To be fair I’m Seeing double anyway.

    Maybe more beer will answer my questions.

  13. Apart from the nonsense re Tim and some Bollox on Brexit, I thought he made quite a few valid-ish points, albeit obvious ones.

    For example, I’m not going to disagree with him on this (or quite a lot of other similar stuff in there):

    Each generation of MPs is more dreadful than the last largely because the parties as they stand are little more than marketing brands for any hapless biped with political ambitions to exploit in order to get their nose in the trough Nobody sane or sensible would enter politics in its current state.

  14. Whoever it was that described the North’s as the Roose and Ramsay Bolton of Brexit was 100% correct.

  15. “when, actually, is the answer government?”

    People tend to assume that if the answer isn’t free markets then the answer must be government. Why? Is there a failure of imagination there?

    And even if the answer is “government” why is it always assumed that that means the government system we already have; indeed, government in the singular?

  16. “…and prefers the “they” pronoun…”

    Not sure if the Telegraph’s preferred-pronoun conformity is kowtowing or piss taking. Bit of both, maybe.

  17. “if the complexity of modern governance does not intrude then the actions of government will very often seem absurd and easily resolved by a dose of good old fashioned back-to-basics common sense.”

    The problem is that a lot of the complexity is *because* of government.

    Look at bin collection. Go to a house every week (except bank holidays) and collect the bins and put it in a hole. Outside of the Socialist Republic of Liverpool it worked pretty well. So the government had to fuck it up. Now it’s working out which week is recycling, knowing which plastics can and can’t be recycled and having multiple bins of crap in your home. This then adds more complexity. Because people forget, councils put a helpful thing on their websites. They then have a whole department dealing with recycling boxes and enquiries, separate vans, teams to sort through recycling.

    And this applies all over the place. The reason companies like Serco exist is because of the bullshit required to work for the state.

    The reason I’m in favour of less government is that I saw the result in a local authority. Every bit of bullshit spending was cut like council festivals and fun runs.

  18. Anon

    Agreed. It’s the obvious. Slash their funding (and ensure it’s the staff that are cut) and without the people they simply can’t create regulation & waste / destroy value.

    Or if they do they have to prioritise. If they are still coming up with stupid ideas, then slash, slash and slash again. Keep doing it until they stop.

    We just need a politcal party committed to that…

  19. PF,

    I didn’t quite explain properly: I was in a council after the Evil Tory Cuts. What I saw was a lot like businesses – look around for cost-saving opportunities and do them.

    To be fair, councils are not bad, as government goes. Nothing like the level of money-spunking of central government projects.

    But I’m resistant to any cries about being desperately short of money because I heard them and that council was doing all its activities fine. It just wasn’t getting “jam”.

    I’m convinced if the NHS IT project had been £100m to do 95% of cases, with a guy who would get fired if he didn’t deliver, it would have been done. It cost £10bn because there was £10bn available.

  20. Anon–most of the recycling shite is the handywork of our dear friends in the EU. Who are landfillaphobic.

    Tho’ it will be justice when most of them end up in one.

  21. “the corrective educational influence of my father”

    I’m sort of hoping that his father is Ollie North, but probably not.

  22. Which North was it who spent years and years and years calling for the UK to leave the EU and almost the day after the vote to leave started shrilly saying we shouldn’t really leave?

  23. “Back then I would have been delighted to see a properly right wing government, but Brexit has shone a super-trooper beam on their galactic ignorance in ways that nothing else ever could.”

    He’s really not very bright is he?

  24. Every power given to government by the people, or given to itself by government fiat, reduces peoples’ liberties. Because there will surely come the time, somewhere, in some context, in which some bureaucrat will use that power against the people.

  25. He would have been a perfect recruit for the Komsomol, Falange, Hitler Youth, Red Guards etc… Full of the certainty of the young and deluded, and easily persuadable

  26. It’s simple.

    The government builds the roads and the private sector makes the cars. (Consider the opposite extreme – all roads are private toll roads and all cars are made by British Leyland).

    I mean that literally but it is of general application.

  27. The first good roads in England were privately built toll roads.

    I do not include Roman Roads as– tho’ well made –they were cobbled military marching roads that must have been a trial on even iron-bound cart wheels. Not much good for private travel.

  28. Ecks,

    The problem is that there’s legions of Guardianistas here that also love it. We’re going to need single issue parties threatening Conservative marginals to get things changed. There’s no way they’ll undo much of the crap laws.

  29. “I do not include Roman Roads as– tho’ well made –they were cobbled military marching roads that must have been a trial on even iron-bound cart wheels. Not much good for private travel.”
    I think the roads were mostly for the carts. The cavalry certainly used the cleared sections on either side of the road and probably the infantry mostly did except in the worst ground conditions.

  30. On his linked to article:

    Mr Lewis said achieving the “ambition” of 50% of candidates being female would not be easy, but pledged to “work tirelessly to make this a reality”.

    About 40% of Tory members are women, he said.

    Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Mr Lewis said the Tories would not be operating all-women shortlists for candidates.

    “In terms of quotas and shortlists, I think that just masks the underlying problems within organisations,” he said.

    How does he expect this to work? Telling members they’ll be expelled if they don’t vote for Ms Useless? Pixie dust?

  31. Were it not for the corrective educational influence of my father I would, to this day, be reading the likes of Tim Worstall and not be utterly appalled at the man’s stupidity.

    That could have just as easily been written by Richard Murphy.

    Something Pete North should ponder.

  32. “Each generation of MPs is more dreadful than the last largely because the parties as they stand are little more than marketing brands for any hapless biped with political ambitions to exploit in order to get their nose in the trough Nobody sane or sensible would enter politics in its current state.”

    I have said for some time now that if democracy is to be saved, there has to be an age restriction on entering politics. If you allow the young to make a career out of politics, all politics will consist of is the borderline psychopaths, the narcissists and the bottom feeders who cannot get anywhere in the real world because they’re too stupid and/or actively malevolent (I’m looking at you David Lammy). Anyone with the calibre actually required to be a leader and example to others will obviously have better things to do with their lives than wading through the miles of shit that is required to have a career in politics today.

    A lower age limit of 40 for local government and 50 for any parliament (Westminster or devolved) should suffice to ensure than no-one can countenance a political career as something they can devote their entire lives to from an early age. A minimum of 2 decades outside any political career and 3 outside major office should ensure than everyone has to have a real life first before attempting to tell the rest of us how things should be organised.

  33. Hey! I got elected as a local councillor four months after my 30th birthday.

    What I would like to see (and has guided my choices when selecting candidates) is for Parliamentary representatives to have had experience at local government – but actually doing something, not using it to mouth off as a stepping stone to Parliament. Before the 1990s some of the better MPs were ones who had experience balancing the problems of administration in local government. Too many now go straight from university to MP assistant to MP.

  34. “Too many now go straight from university to MP assistant to MP.”

    Because its perfectly viable to get to be an MP by your mid 30s. To be a candidate in your late 20s early 30s. Cameron was 35 when elected MP, Blair was 30. So when leaving Uni at 22, MP by 35 is reasonable target – bum around the think tanks and Spad universe for a decade or so, stand in a few unwinnable seats, get a decent chance by early 30s. If the unwinnable seat was only available at 50, every politics obsessed twat aged 22 would be forced to go and have a real life outside politics for a few decades, and then if after all that time they still have the burning desire to serve, then by all means, have at it.

    “Do we exclude certain parts of public sector, obviously…”

    Not really, I’d say that forcing someone to work for 2-3 decades in the public sector before being in charge of it should give them a bit more perspective about the capabilities of the State to achieve anything positive.

  35. Anon

    it’s your points about jam I am mostly talking about, and agree with. The problem being that there is a lot of jam. My council, despite all the so called austerity, is still pissing millions for fun.

    Waste on 20mph speed limits (FFS), changing (yet again) all the recycling kit (because of yet more retarded fuckgreenery), it’s endless, and it’s *our* money they are burning.

    Sorry for the good people who work in these places, but I repeat: slash, slash, and slash again – and just keep doing it – is the only way to cut out all this crap and waste. If there is no local council directorate for “spunking money down the drain”, then they simply won’t have the resources to do that?

  36. “Sorry for the good people who work in these places, but I repeat: slash, slash, and slash again – and just keep doing it – is the only way to cut out all this crap and waste. If there is no local council directorate for “spunking money down the drain”, then they simply won’t have the resources to do that?”

    It just doesn’t work like that. Cut a council’s budget hard and they won’t get rid of the nonsense, they’ll get rid of things that impact as many local people directly as possible, to try and make ‘the cuts’ as politically unacceptable. Ie they’ll cut meals on wheels services, libraries, sports centres, old people’s centres, road cleaning, bin collection etc etc. The race advisers, LBGT nonsense, climate change bollocks, anti-smoking stuff, all that will stay, because they agree with all that political nonsense, and don’t give a stuff about the actual people who need the services they provide.

  37. Jim,

    I agree, it’s more than just slash. Replacing a native CEO would be a good place to start that cutting process. That CEO is then on side. His directors then either play ball or lose their own jobs, Rinse and repeat. You only need to do that with one or two levels down.

    Yes, yes, I know it’s not going to happen – the loons, nutters and fruitcakes outnumber us. The infestation of the public sector has always been deeply embedded. Ie, my rant is probably little different to Ecks’s 10 million letters!

    Altough one or two councils have been under threat of going bankrupt? As good a chance as any at that stage to replace a top chap. Maybe there will be the occasional chink of light?

  38. I rarely interact with Peter North, but I did so recently to explain maintenance of capital equipment such as turbines would not immediately cease post-Brexit because technicians’ qualifications wouldn’t be recognized. He’s someone who seemingly knows every line of every EU law, but has no actual, experience. Alas, I was wasting my time.

  39. It is often said that the problem with the English being in the EU is that we actually think we should *obey* the laws, whereas the other countries tend to pick and mix.

    I think the Norths are an example of this: they take the laws literally. In a sense they may be right, as this is a situation where the EU technocrats have plenty of motivation to be sticklers for the law.

    I currently feel like it’s a game of chicken – who is going to cave first, in the face of pending disaster (if the law was properly applied)?

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