David Farrer reports on first day of Libertarian Alliance 2007 Conference

My wife and I have now returned from our annual visit to the Libertarian
Alliance Conference. We travelled down from Edinburgh to London on
what’s probably going to be our last round trip on GNER before that
company transfers the franchise to operate the line to National Express.
I do believe that privatisation has been of great benefit to passengers
over the last few years.

Libertarians hold varying views on the immigration question but all of
us agree that getting rid of the welfare state is an essential part of
any solution. On the day before the conference we happened to visit
Brick Lane in East London. It’s an excellent example of how some
immigrants to Britain have created a vibrant small-business culture.

I don’t suppose that the production of the musical Chicago that we saw
on Friday evening was subsidised by the taxpayer. That’s how things
should be. And all that Jazz.

On Saturday morning I headed off early to the National Liberal Club and
met Tim and Helen Evans who were preparing for the Conference.

First off was Leon Louw who had just arrived from South Africa after
successfully manoeuvring his way through the Home Office bureaucracy.

Leon is an excellent speaker whom I’ve heard before on a couple of
occasions. His speech was entitled “The Disaster of Water Socialism: Why
the Sea should be Privatised”.

Leon emphasised that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to technical
questions such as how the sea can be fenced off but more on the
intellectual question of private ownership itself. Let the market decide
on the technology and we can all start to benefit from the vast
resources of the oceans was the message we got.

Next on was Professor Bruce L. Benson speaking on “Private Law
Enforcement: Libertarian Ideas on the Future of Justice”.

Bruce’s book  explains that:

  Benson argues that public dissatisfaction with legal institutions is as
prevalent as public disgust with many public institutions. That’s hardly
surprising. They are funded through taxes, run by bureaucracies, are
famously inefficient, lack the capacity to calculate economically, and
ignore the demands of consumers.

And that’s what we heard about. The inefficiencies of the police and
indeed the whole British justice system are to be found elsewhere. And
the solution says Benson is privatisation. I agree and would prefer to
be a customer of Lothian and Borders Police PLC instead of funding them
through my ever-increasing Council Tax.

After I’d had lunch with LA member David Ellams, there was a talk by Dr.
Syed Kamall MEP. Yes, there is indeed “one of us” in Brussels! It
shouldn’t be the case but it probably helps the libertarian case to have
someone from an ethnic background make the case for free trade. That’s
what Syed does very well. Free trade especially helps the poor.

The final session on Saturday was on the Surveillance Society.
LA members David Carr and Brian Micklethwait spoke, with David being
more pessimistic than Brian. I guess that I tend towards David’s
position on this – perhaps the result of being a libertarian in a
non-libertarian world for so long. But Brian may be right. Technology
enables us to watch them and they don’t like it. Good.

In the evening we attended the annual LA dinner in the excellent NLC
room that overlooks the river. The main speaker was Alex Singleton of
the Globalisation Institute. We heard more of Syed’s message: freedom is
essential for the world’s poor.
Neil Lock won the Chris R Tame memorial essay on “Does Britain Need a
Libertarian Party?” Dr Robert Lefever’s PROMIS Unit of Primary Care
funded the £1,000 prize.

Unfortunately my winter chest infection struck with a vengeance on
Sunday morning and I was unable to attend the second day of the
Conference but I’m sure that it was as successful as day one.


  1. Hello, David,

    Of all the people associated with the Libertarian Alliance, I always thought of you as the most kind, the most honest, the most decent, and the least given to hating.

    Thank you for posting a link to Neil Lock’s excellent essay. Please thank him for writing it.

    Alas, the UKP 1000 is provided by an organization which is an active participant in the State’s “War on Drugs.” Indeed, anyone can find this out by reading Robert Lefever’s blog, which is quite open about it. He describes cooperating with the State against his clients.

    The same Robert Lefever made a direct attempt to have me forcibly committed when I dared to question his activities. All Chris Tame could say to this was a feeble: “You know I don’t approve of forcible commitment.”

    My advice to Neil Lock would be to return the “prize” publicly. No libertarian should want to accept that sort of money, from that sort of man.

    As the Shaolin proverb has it: “There are no prizes worth having.”

    The LA might ask itself how it can associate with a person who does such things. Helping people is one thing. Betraying them is quite another.

    Best Wishes,

    Tony Hollick | 11.20.07 – 4:39 am | #

    PS: This post has already been copied to a number of sites. -T.

  2. Tony, I have told you already that we do not tolerate posts that are by their nature libellous. Dr Lefever has said that he has no intention of suing you or us over your accusations.

    However, the Libertarian Alliance has its internal rules, and you have broken these after my first warning.

    Your comment will be left here for the moment, with ths rejoinder attached to it. One more defamatory comment about Robert Lefever or anyone else will result in your being banned from posting to this blog.

    I have known you for over 20 years. In this time, you have contributed nothing to the libertarian movement. You have whined repeatedly about some conspiracy dating back to the early 1980s that has ruined your life.

    The truth is that there was no conspiracy against you. There is no conspiracy against you. This is because you have never been worth conspiring against. The reason Chris refused in the end to take your calls was because he had come to believe you were mad. Carry on posting like this, and more people will share his belief.

  3. Dear Sean,

    Thank for your — libellous? — response.

    Perhaps I will be allowed to defend myself against your imputations.

    There is nothing defamatory in my post. Any reading of Robert Lefever’s blog (and that only) will confirm his role in — and attitude to — the so-called “War on Drugs.” How can it be defamatory for him to to be proud of it, and to post details on his blog, for others to rely on it? It’s not logically or legally possible.

    Again, it’s simply a matter of fact that Robert Lefever wrote to my then-Consultant asking him to forcibly commit me. The Letter asking Dr. I.E. Babiker (a Sudanese, BTW) to do this is a matter of record. Dr. Babiker resigned from the Hospital and from working altogether shortly after their attempt failed.

    You will be pleased to hear that a subsequent — voluntary — examination by two Clinicians found me to be (and I quote): “Perfectly sane; brilliantly intelligent; a really nice person; and under great situational stress.” Obviously, I would rather rely on their opinions. >:-}

    You say “I have contributed nothing to the libertarian movement” over the last 20 years. This is quite incorrect. I maintained the “LA-Agora” List at St. John’s University (to which you posted!) I have contributed to other libertarian lists. I have worked on and distributed my “Democratic Agorism” programme to thousands of people:


    This paper has received favourable comment from all sorts of interesting people.

    I don’t know how to respond to your “conspiracy” talk because I don’t know what exactly you’re referring to. I can tell you that the Crown Prosecution Service has instructed the police to open murder investigations.

    Let’s hope they get the right people, eh?

    Best Wishes,

    Tony Hollick

    I can assure you my life is far from “ruined.”

  4. Dear Sean,

    I was surprised and mystified by your response to me on “LA Blog.”

    Fortunately, matters of truth are not decided by head-counting, as you must know.

    Firstly: Lefever is not about to take any kind of Court action against me or anyone else on any of this. Truth is ordinarily an adequate defence against libel claims. It’s wildly contrary to his own interests, and those of his “handlers.” I would promptly counter-claim. I am not liable to Court fees. I have no significant assets for Lefever or anyone else to get hold of. No Judge will award him anything, and even if they did, it could only be paid at a derisory rate. He can’t seize my apartment, or my pension. You must know this. Do you think he wants to spend his declining years dragging through the Courts, with the awful truth emerging all over the media?? Let him try if that’s what he wants.

    Secondly: Do you think it’s irrelevant to the integrity of the “prize-winner”, where his prize money comes from? Let him tell me that himself and I might try to believe it. I’m sure you don’t, as your own qualms (expressed to me) about taking money from the Sudanese Government bear witness.

    Thirdly: Just before he died, Chris asked me to stop emailing him. I had been sending what I had hoped would be inspiring and consoling quotations to him. I don’t recall his ever asking me not to phone him (this was expensive anyway, because I was calling him on a mobile number). Mine is a blocked number. In twenty years, he _never_ said there was no conspiracy. How could he? Twenty-five years ago, he’d desperately asked me to help him resist a very real conspiracy _aimed at him_. And at the Bookshop.

    Given, that Major Derek Jackson’s [1979] letter to Lord de L’Isle specifically discussed “neutralizing the two most outspoken of the Alliance, Hollick and Chris Tame”, and that Derek Jackson was on the Defence Intelligence Staff, and that (according to Brian Crozier, “Free Agent” [1999]) the entire Freedom Association was a joint CIA/MI6 Intel op, it would seem obvious that there was funny stuff going on, notwithstanding that both Chris and Judy were signatories of the Official Secrets Acts. Indeed, it would be surprising if you yourself were not, given your work in the Lord Chancellor’s Office. >:-}

    I don’t mind. “Some of my best friends…” etc. etc.

    I don’t object to your defending the LA. You were my preferred candidate for the succession.

    I _do_ object to your excusing Robert Lefever’s more unlibertarian activities.

    For the record: please provide an address for the service of all proceedings. If you check the LA records, you will find that members signed a foundational document dated 11 December 1982, authorising provision of services in the name of “The Libertarian Alliance” by Chris Tame, Judy Englander, Dave Davis, David Farrer and myself. This arrangement superceded the previous situation, whereby the “Libertarian Alliance” was (is?) an Unincorporated Association (without written rules), requiring unanimity of decision-making. You will be aware that there is another “Libertarian Alliance” extant which claims to be the “closest continuer” of that organization.

    I know of no agreement on my part to any change in the position stated in the document I’ve referred to. As we have discussed, Chris could be somewhat cavalier in his annexation of other peoples’ property. You may discuss with your colleagues what their response would be if they receive notification of an Application to the Courts for a Judicial Declaration as to the the status in Law of the Libertarian Alliance at this time.

    I can assure you that I did not expend considerable effort and resources to create the legal foundations of the LA, only to be told by you (or your collleagues) that you have the right to order me around on my own property in your present high-handed manner. Just watch.

    Best Wishes,

    Tony Hollick

  5. Right then.

    This stuff is all staying up for the moment, as it’s done such wonders for bolg-hits today, and poor David Farrer and his conference posting have got the record on here for most post-views ever!

    At this rate we will out-do Guido Fawkes’ bolg…….just for today, sadly……..tomorrow it will all be forgotten, for the bolgosphere is like that.

    Perhaps we should get ourselves attacked more often? On second thoughts, no; I’d prefer a quiet life.

  6. Dave:

    Be assured that _you_ are _not_ under attack!

    [ FX: “This is not a drill!” ]

    Or David Farrer, either.

    A quiet life is entirely in your own hands. >:-}

    Best Wishes; you are not forgotten.

    Tony Hollick

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