Speaker Profile: Tom Walker

Many libertarian activists will know Tom from his consistent presence at think tank and meetup events and his writing at Backbencher, the ASI Blog and Telegraph Refresh. He helps the European branch of the Ayn Rand Institute to arrange events in communication with the other UK objectivist organisations.

Professionally Tom is a planning consultant and is therefore well placed to speak on the prospects for New Towns under consideration in England. Tom speaks at the Two Chairmen tonight in Westminster.

Speaker Profile: Lucy Harris – Coordinator of Leavers of London

A passionate supporter of Brexit, Lucy has lived in London for 8 years.

Originally form Suffolk she lived in Italy for two years (Turin and Rome), where she taught herself Italian. She then studied classical singing performance at Guildhall Conservatoire and City University in London. In 2015 she got a big break singing solo soprano at The Royal Albert Hall on behalf of the John Lewis Partnership.

Realising her singing was a sign of a deeper ability to communicate, she decided to explore an interest in publishing. She did a masters in publishing at UCL followed by a job in an international publishing house as a corporate communications executive.

When the referendum happened, she felt a strong sense of injustice from having won the vote and getting push back from the remain camp. This spurred her to use her communication skills to stand up for the democratic vote and create the Leavers of London. Her goal is to grow confidence in Leave voters in London.

She will be moving into (second!) a job in politics in February.

Tonight, January 16th, she speaks at the Two Chairmen in Westminster.

 

Speaker Profile: Ian Dunt

Ian Dunt is editor of the popular political commentary site “politics.co.uk” and has written and for many other publications. He is mentioned most often for his work as political editor of the Erotic Review where he has written on pornography and the pornography regulator ATVOD. He is a political analyst for Yahoo where he covers the party political race and Brexit. Ian has also worked with Pink News where he wrote on gay rights and sexual crime stories until about 2008.

Ian studied journalism at the London School of Journalism, did an MA in international relations at Warick and graduated in Philosophy at UCL with a 2:1.

Asked whether he would ever stand as an MP himself he replied:

God no. I’d sooner turn to crime. And in fact that becomes a more compelling proposition the more I look at my tax returns.

The reason most MPs are so evidently psychologically damaged is that only someone who was psychologically damaged would ever consider doing the job

I am sure his reaction to his tax return is a very common one.

Ian is author of Brexit: What The Hell Happens Now described by Guido Fawkes as “lobbying MPs to obstruct a proper Brexit”. He explained to Guido that he favours a “super-soft Brexit, with the UK joining EFTA and staying in the EEA” a position not dissimilar to many who are much more vocally eurosceptic than Ian. He continues to make TV appearances in places like the BBC, Sky and Al Jazeera taking the position of the pro-EU participant.

As the editor of a politics website he made the startling admission that “I have a tendency to get lost in the reasoning without first having established the basic parameters of the question.” Fortunately he was only talking about getting lost in the jungle in Chile, not the political analysis which I know he does very well. Indeed I was impressed with how Ian was able to reel-off well-considered analysis with no more than 4 hours notice. He stood in for James Bloodworth on our Causes of the Cost of Living Crisis panel event. His very welcome intervention has meant his face is a permanent fixture on libertarianhome.co.uk, albeit next to someone else’s name.

Ian is back to talk about the reception Tim Farron was met with as leader of the Liberal Democrats. Ian described Farron’s voting record on the issue as fairly decent. During the 2017 election it became clear Farron was not personally comfortable with the idea of homosexual sex. Ian wonders whether such strictly private views still have a place in our liberal society – and whether it would be a good idea if they did.

Ian will explore the details of the Farron story, our culture of free-speech and free-thought, and discuss the implications for other kinds of private belief at the Two Chairmen, Westminster on Thursday.

 

Thursday Speaker: Rory Broomfield

Rory’s first stint in organised politics was with the United Nations Association as a director on campus at York university. He is, therefore, not automatically opposed to supranational organisations. He has, however, been a director of Brexit advocacy group Better Off Out since before the word Brexit was coined.

At York Rory got a first class BA in Politics, which does not sound at all unusual for a professional in Westminster. However, his committement to learn the role he is now in becomes quite clear when you consider his MSc (Master of Science) in Marketing and Strategy from Warick and his MA in Political Communication from City. He’s also studied briefly with LSE and Harvard on such things as “American Foreign Policy,  “Globalisation and Terrorism” and Marketing.

Rory has also worked his way into his current role through a research analyst role with JD Haspel, and in 2009 as an intern for some MP called Theresa May. He’s also worked with Sir Richard Shepherd who is “Parliamentary Co-Chairman for the Campaign for Freedom of Information and a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights”. One guesses it was Sir Richard who has been more influential than Theresa in bringing Rory to his current role as a director of both The Freedom Association and Better Off Out.

Rory teamed up with Iain Murray in 2014 to enter the IEA’s Brexit Prize, a competition which was won by a diplomat named Iain Mansfield. Rory’s roadmap for Brexit “Cutting the Gordian Knot” was illustrated with a dingy heading into or perhaps around a swirling vortex. It has recently been updated in the light of developments up to October.

We are gathering to hear his thoughts on how the process has been going since the referendum and in particular in the week since Article 50 was triggered. If you are unable to get to Westminister to attend (free) in person then you are able to buy tickets to live stream from home.

Speaker Profile: Dr Andrew Bernstein

Andrew Bernstein holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Graduate School of the City University of New York. He has taught Philosophy at the State University of New York at Purchase, Marist College, Hunter College, the State University of New York at New Paltz, and other New York-area universities. He was selected as “Teacher of the Year” at both SUNY Purchase—and at Marymount College. In 2016-17, he was a Visiting Professor at the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), where he taught Business Ethics.

He lectures regularly on college campuses, including at Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, Yale University, the United States Military Academy at West Point, Columbia University, UCLA, Georgia Tech, Northwestern University, and numerous others. He speaks at many other venues, including—but not limited to—Objectivist conferences, Students For Liberty (SFL) conferences, and events sponsored by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism (CISC), and the Bastiat Society. Internationally, he has lectured in England, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Bulgaria, Canada, Israel, Guatemala, Armenia, Croatia, Montenegro, the Bahamas, and additional countries. His areas of expertise include Objectivism, Ayn Rand’s novels, the nature of heroism, the history of capitalism and its moral superiority to other systems, and application of the principle of individual rights to a broad array of topical issues, including health care, abortion, gun ownership, immigration, and the war on drugs. He also lectures at high schools, both in the New York area and nationally, regarding Ayn Rand’s novels and philosophy.

He is the author of The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire (University Press of America, 2005), Objectivism in One Lesson: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Ayn Rand (Hamilton Books, 2008), Capitalism Unbound: The Incontestable Moral Case for Individual Rights (University Press of America, 2010), and Capitalist Solutions: A Philosophy of American Moral Dilemmas (Transaction Publishers, 2011). Additionally, he has published numerous essays, many in The Objective Standard, for which he is a contributing editor, and many in other publications, including op-ed essays for Forbes.com. His op-eds have appeared in—among other newspapers— the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press. In 2013-14, he was the Hayek Research Fellow at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism at Clemson University, where he taught courses in Economics and in Political Science and, principally, researched and wrote the first draft of his forthcoming book, Heroes and Hero Worship: An Examination of the Nature and Importance of Heroism.

His forthcoming novel, A Dearth of Eagles, tells the story of a Bulgarian writer/freedom fighter in 1988-89, who struggles mightily to help people escape from Communism to freedom–and even more mightily to publish serious stories about heroes in a modernist literary culture that rejects heroism for anti-heroism. It will be published in the United States by the American Research Center Sofia (ARCS) in the spring, 2017.

Dr. Bernstein is co-host of a weekly blogtalk radio program, Objectively Speaking, has been interviewed on hundreds of radio shows—including by such legends as Barry Farber, Bob Grant, Mark Scott, and others—and appeared on several prominent TV news shows, including Neil Cavuto’s.

Thursday Speaker: Jerry Barnett

Jerry Barnett, a is technologist, entrepreneur and veteran left-wing activist. As an operator of adult entertainment sites for many years, he watched the rise of the porn panic, and saw much of the political left collapse into conservatism. He describes himself as an ex lefty “turned liberal globalist due to collapse of liberalism on the left.”

He tweets at @JerryBarnett, @PornPanic and @MoronWatch and has written for the Independent and Huffington Post.

Jerry was already an experience technologist when the web was invented, having worked at Research Services, the London Stock Exchange, Instruction Set, Sequent Computer Systems, and BMC Software. His transitioned into adult website “seemingly inevitably” as it was the most profitable online business at the time. He was first MD of Go Content responsible for “architecture and development of Go Content, a platform for selling digital content to consumers” and “Strictly Broadband, which was an early entrant to the video-on-demand market, offering streaming video on a rental basis” this was a business he shut down in part due to the regulation of the adult sector by the UK Government.

In his own words:

As a participant in adult entertainment, Jerry saw first-hand how the British censorship state, aided by morality campaigners, was trying to regain control of a medium that reduced their power, influence and financial gain. The UK is the most censored society in Europe, but censorship laws designed for a world of cinema, TV and video no longer worked in the digital age, and vested interests were determined to seize back their power.

His book Porn Panic! is now on sale.

Jerry will be speaking at the Two Chairmen this Thursday 2nd February. His talk will be Libertarian Home’s second experiment with live streaming.

Speaker Profile Gintas Vilkelis 

Dr Gintas Vilkelis has had an interesting career spanning physics, silicon design, psychology and politics. He now sits on the research council of Parliament Street, a think tank affiliated to the Conservative  Party which enjoys a similar online profile to Libertarian Home. He was also on the Board of Advisors of Young Britons for Liberty.

I struggled to think what might be added to his detailed and thought provoking profile from Parliament Street:

Dr. Gintas Vilkelis was born in Lithuania. In 1987, at age 18, he was named one of the top five Physics students in the Soviet Union, and selected as a member of the Soviet team at the International Physics Olympiad. In 1989, he was the first Soviet undergraduate student to be invited by an American university to study with a full scholarship.

In the mid-1990’s – mid 2000’s Dr Vilkelis was the top expert in the world on Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) technology and its application within PET and CT scanners, medical and industrial X-ray imagers, as well as Nuclear and High Energy Physics experiments. He has a number of SDD and High-Z detector patents under his name.
During his 20 years career in Physics, Dr. Vilkelis has developed a reputation for being able to find workable solutions to problems that other people considered to be unsolvable. He created devices that even his colleagues had considered impossible, started several R&D trends in the semiconductor radiation detector industry and even managed to cause changes in the laws of two countries.

I strongly recommend you read the whole thing.

Gintas will introduce his Localism agenda to the Libertarian Home Meetup at the Two Chairmen, on Wednesday 1st March.

 

 

Image via Young Britons for Liberty (East Anglia)