We can but dream

At the 2015 election, there is a hung parliament, with the Tories in a minority and desperately needing the five new Libertarian MPs to join them in a coalition.   We’re offered three bills during the fixed five-year term in exchange for taking a coalition whip.  What realistic three bills would you demand?  Go too far, and the Tories will probably go back to the country for another election and you’ll get nothing.

Here are mine:

 

The Victimless Crime Bill

Actions by individuals can not be crimes where the only persons harmed are the person performing the action or other freely consenting adults. This would have the effect of legalising, among other things, drug taking and supply, prostitution, fighting between consenting parties (although breach of the peace remains), all sexual practices, almost all pornography, voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Peace Bill

No UK troops to ever be committed to active service or peacekeeping/humanitarian exercises anywhere in the world unless there is independent evidence (composition of suitable committee to be decided) of a direct and immediate threat to UK territory.

The Welfare Reform Bill

Levels of all welfare payments to be frozen with immediate effect and all benefits to be reduced each year by 5% of their present levels, meaning they’ll be gone in 20 years.  The exception is current state pensions which will remain index linked, but those not yet old enough to take a pension will have their future state pensions reduced by 2.5 percentage points for every year they have left between now and retirement.  In exchange, levels of income tax will be reduced (paid for by reducing the welfare bill and armed forces bill) on a sliding scale depending on age.  The younger you are the bigger tax rebate you get, because you’ll be getting no pension from the state at the end.

James Rigby

Wit, raconteur, bon viveur and man-about-town. James is a semi-active libertarian, who lives in Essex and Kent. He can be found in various watering holes across the South East and more particularly in the Rose & Crown in Southwark on the first Thursday of the month. Most of the time. 

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  12 comments for “We can but dream

  1. Tim Carpenter
    Mar 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    My three bills?

    First would be something along the lines of the Victimless Crime Bill, above, as that covers so many things that the prod-nosed state should just keep out of. No point trying to pretend it does not cover it well.

    Next would be The Revocation of State monopoly Over Currency Bill or The Free Banking Bill. This would have the effect of exposing the State’s money, Pounds Sterling, to more market forces. It would have to behave otherwise it would devalue and people would be happy about that, paying their taxes in a collapsing currency while their wealth can be secured in a more stable store.

    Next would be The Vote Buying and Corruption Bill, which would remove the right to vote for those who gain their living from the State, as they have a vested interest in maintaining or increasing largesse, which is basically promoting theft from the taxpayer. By offering welfare, States are bribing voters or threatening them with ending an existing stream of bribes. This would end the practice. Exempt would be retirees as long as they had been previously earning their living outside the State. What of nurses and doctors? Well, why are they State employees? They are only so due to the absurd dogma of State monopoly. End that and they can vote again.

    That is my three. These are more radical, I understand that.

    • Mar 17, 2012 at 12:11 am

      Scrap the Victimless Crime Bill. Bring in the Decriminalisation of Vice Bill. Acts which are harmful or potentially harmful only to oneself. To quote Lysander Spooner:

      “Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property.

      Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another.

      Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property.

      In vices, the very essence of crime — that is, the design to injure the person or property of another — is wanting.

      It is a maxim of the law that there can be no crime without a criminal intent; that is, without the intent to invade the person or property of another. But no one ever practises a vice with any such criminal intent. He practises his vice for his own happiness solely, and not from any malice toward others.

      Unless this clear distinction between vices and crimes be made and recognized by the laws, there can be on earth no such thing as individual right, liberty, or property; no such things as the right of one man to the control of his own person and property, and the corresponding and coequal rights of another man to the control of his own person and property.

      For a government to declare a vice to be a crime, and to punish it as such, is an attempt to falsify the very nature of things. It is as absurd as it would be to declare truth to be falsehood, or falsehood truth.”

      • Tim Carpenter
        Mar 17, 2012 at 9:13 am

        I am quite happy to see it renamed away from use of the word “crime”, in fact I am a bit of a naming nazi, to keep things properly named and so as unambiguous as possible.

        On rights/liberties. I do not believe anyone has “rights” because that starts to require enforcement and granting thereof. Better that we have it that nobody has the right to kill another except in self defence, nobody has the right to take the property of another etc etc. This way we can establish who is the transgressor and keep well away from the “right to an education” which some mutate into grants to study toenail sculpture.

        • Mar 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm

          Due to the twisting of the term ‘rights’, I always prefer to say ‘rights and liberties’ if possible, or just ‘liberties’. It’s certainly necessary to be careful in usage.

  2. Mar 17, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Decriminalisation of Vice Bill; as above

    The Tax on Tax Repeal Bill – the aim here would be to attack the Tax Code, cut it from 7000 pages to 1000 pages, and meanwhile strike down all examples of paying tax on tax.

    Thus VAT would be cut on fuel, booze, fags and anything else where the product or service is already taxed. Make sure to take the VAT off silver while you’re at it.

    The Magna Carta Bill
    A reiteration and restatement of the limitations on government, and our rights and liberties long established.

    • Tim Carpenter
      Mar 17, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Tax on Tax: might be simpler to initially create deductions, so council tax can be deducted, VAT be deducted [1], all duties likewise, all healthcare and education that is taken out in replacement of state services also.

      [1] this might seem a bit odd, but if people can claim VAT in this way, then we move to normalising the tax status of a company and an individual, so as to remove any incentive to game the system one way or the other, and the the Inland Revenue to not really bother if one is a company or not.

      • Mar 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm

        Come on Tim, you’ve gotta play to the gallery! I’d far rather demagogue for slashing the tax on fags, booze and petrol. Removing VAT on these products would bring an immediate and noticable drop in price, and would piss off all the people I want to piss off, i.e., those who have been lording it over the rest of us, taking our money, telling us it’s for our own good or the good of dear old mother earth.

  3. Mar 17, 2012 at 12:40 am

    By the way; I dispute that assisted suicide is a victimless crime. There is an obvious candidate for victim, who is beyond interogation. There are two people. One is dead, the other is partly or wholly responsible. Is it justifiable homicide? I say not. That refers to situations when you you’re own life or the life of others, or your property is under imminent violent assault. This does not apply here.

    No, it is a mercy killing. The claim is that it was a moral act, even an act of love. So it may be, but it is still manslaughter. A plea of mercy killing can only appeal to mercy in the law, which is to accept guilt.

    • James Rigby
      Mar 17, 2012 at 1:24 am

      I take the view that a consenting person can not be a victim. Therefore, assisted suicide is a victimless crime. Clearly, it is wise of the person providing the assistance to obtain irrefutable evidence of the consent prior to providing said assistance. And of course, there is then the practical problem, if a murdered claims it was assisted suicide, then it might put enough reasonable doubt into the mind of a jury to acquit. But practical problems aside, I’d allow it because a victim must be a non-consenting party. Are the people at Dignitas criminals?

      • Tim Carpenter
        Mar 17, 2012 at 9:06 am

        Unless there is clear evidence of living will, of consent given, then assisted suicide has the victim, the deceased and the courts are there to defend that innocent party. In fact, I think due to the low number, a Coroner should be involved in each case to ensure that no foul play exists.

      • Mar 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

        I’m not sure someone can give consent to die. I know they can in fact, but I don’t think they should be able to in law, in the same way as a child cannot give consent in law.

        I would rather leave it to the mercy of the court, who will no doubt be able to exercise discretion, but I think the sanction should stay that it is manslaughter. If someone chooses to do it anyway, it must be because they feel it over-ridingly the right thing to do.

        Besides this, to ask someone to kill you is a pretty huge thing. Law should be about the Rule, with the exceptions being dealt with in an ad hoc way, and the Rule must surely be that you’re not allowed to kill someone.

        By the way, I take it with your ‘Victimless Crime Bill’, the prohibition of possessing firearms will be abolished? No victim there, n’est-ce que pas? 🙂

  4. Mar 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    A bit late to this party but what ho. If I was one of these 5 hypothetical MP’s I’d got with Tim’s money bill as a number 1 priority, if possibile combine stripping the BoE of the power to set interest rates with stripping it’s privilege to print legal tender.

    Victimless crime bill I’d also back, however as the ‘Hawk wing’ of LH I won’t be in favour of the Peace bill proposed about (esp if Humanitarian exercises even includes disaster relief/search and rescue activities)

    My third choice then? How about abolishing the BBC’s license fee? 😉

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