Monday, 24 April 2017

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Distributism: An idea whose time has come? (Part 2)

IN EARLY MARCH we published the first of a two part article – http://nationalliberal.org/distributism-an-idea-whose-time-has-come-part-1which both looked at Distributism and provided a brief history of the wider Distributist movement in Britain.

Written by Glasgow-based Andrew Hunter, this second and concluding article charts British Distributism from the foundation of the Distributist League in 1926 through to its adoption by the Nationalist movement.

In the near future we hope to feature another ‘stand alone’ article which will look at Distributism through the eyes of the National Liberal Party – NLP – which was founded after the publication of the seminal work A Declaration and Philosophy of Progressive Nationalism in 2005

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Distributism: An idea whose time has come? (Part 2)

GK Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc (top left and right respectively) were the founders of British Distributism. Arthur Joseph Penty (bottom left) was influential in promoting Guild socialism via his 1906 book, Restoration of the Gild System. After WWI he became interested in – and helped develop – the Distributist ideas of Belloc and Chesterton. In 1937 Penty’s 24 page essay Distributism: A Manifesto was published.

Distributism is effectively a holistic socioeconomic system. It a nutshell, however, it provides a way of opposing both the tyranny of the marketplace (capitalism) and the tyranny of the state (communism/socialism) by promoting a society of owners. Both capitalism and communism/socialism are seen as ‘evil twins’. Capitalism allows the concentration of ownership in the hands of a few. Both Communism and Socialism tries to deny any form of private ownership. Distributism aims to create a community of free men and women.

In 1926 the Distributist League was formed, the aims of which Richard Howard sums up in his paper on Distributism as: “In Britain in the 1920s and 30s, the distributists sought the restoration of family and individual liberty by a revival of smallholder agriculture and small business and an end to grasping landlords, by attacking monopolies and trusts and denouncing what they saw as anonymous and usurious control of finance.


“Opposed to laissez-faire capitalism, which distributists argued leads to a concentration of ownership in the hands of a few and to state-socialism in which private ownership is denied altogether, distributism was conceived as a genuine Third Way, opposing both the tyranny of the marketplace and the tyranny of the state, by means of a society of owners”. (The Third Way – A Secular Party paper by Richard Howard).

In 1937 the League published Arthur Penty’s Distrubitism: A Manifesto. Sadly, the League went into decline in the late 1930s after the death of GK Chesterton in 1936 and Penty in 1937, a matter of weeks after his manifesto was published, and the organisation came to an end in 1940.

The ideas of Distributism did not fade away entirely after the passing of its founders. One quarter in which it continued to influence thinking was in the Liberal e.g. Elliot Dodds and nationalist movements. For example, nationalists/patriots have long been drawn to Distributism because they see it as fulfilling the goals of Social Justice through the ending of wage slavery and the exploitation of workers and National Freedom by the breaking-up of huge private corporations that are only interested in profit even when the pursuit of those profits is detrimental to the national interest. Such corporations are owned by a handful of people but their power is such that they can bend governments to their will.

In these days of financial turmoil and the mask having slipped from the face of unbridled global capitalism, is Distributism now an idea whose time has come?
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United We Stand (2) English, Scottish & Ulster Youth Say BreXit Now!

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Sexuality And Politics (Part 2)
THIS is the second and concluding part of a highly personal article, from South Derbyshire-based Liam Clarke. In the first part – http://nationalliberal.org/sexuality-and-politics-part-1 – he warned of the dangers posed by both ‘left’ and ‘right’ – but particularly from the ‘extreme right’ who seem to feel that it’s impossible to be a gay patriot.
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To demonstrate his point, he cited several examples – the most notable probably being Alexander the Great. Whilst Alexander had many wives, his greatest “beloved” was his male bodyguard, Hephaestion.
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In this concluding article, Liam Clarke looks at another well-known gay patriot, Alan Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954). Turing was the brilliant computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and theorectical biologist of Bletchley Park (Buckinghamshire) fame.

Queer Patriotism: From Alexander The Great To Turing And Beyond …
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Alan Turing (1912 – 1954), founder of computer science, mathematician, code breaker, patriot … and gay.

It may seem strange that I mention these ancient figures when I am trying to condemn those who claim that lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) people cannot be patriotic.  But do you not see the irony here?  All of these men are among the most revered and loved people in their respective nation’s histories.  They have become the very symbol of patriotism and national pride, yet all of them had great love for another man.  Alas, the point should be emphasised that the word “Homosexual” means attraction to people of the same sex, not someone who merely has in their mind that they want to explore the deepest most private insides of the same gender!

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Perhaps then, after these heroic and legendary figures we must turn our attention to the slightly more obscure.  Now, without wanting to bore readers to death I’d like to discuss, perhaps the most upsetting story relating to the overall subject of sexuality and patriotism.  Have you ever looked at your iPod, or MacBookand seen the symbol for one of the world’s most prosperous businesses?  Take a look, because, as one theory claims, behind the Apple symbol lies a very poignant story (1).
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Sculpture of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire. It was from here that Turing helped to break the Enigma code used by National Socialist Germany.

The Second World War lasted from 1939-1945.  Some analysts say it might have lasted much longer if not for the genius and talent of one man and his team.  Alan Turing was a maths genius.  Together with his team, he invented the world’s first ever automatic computer (2 – 3).  With this he cracked the infamous Enigma code that the Nazi’s were using.

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After the war, Churchill recieved a Knighthood, honarary citizenship of the US and numerous statues of him have been erected around the world.  I agree that he probably deserved all this.  However, what Turing achieved – compared to what Churchill achieved – is completely different but equally as great.  This is worth thinking about.  How many lives did Turing (the gay man with his side parting and the brain of a genius) save?
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But what was Turing’s reward?  First, the threat of prison and later, suicide.  I believe that – in 1952 – Turing was harrased by police and threatened with imprisoned for ‘perversion.’ This was (and still is) an age old term for being gay.  Later (in 1954) he was driven to suicide because of his love for another man.  But I don’t believe that he died a coward.  His suicide was akin to sticking two fingers up to the system as (it’s believed) he bit into a cyanide-laced apple replicating the story of Snow White. This was after he recieved hormone treatment to make him more ‘manly.’
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All of the men that I’ve mentioned did something great for their nations.  It could be said that their lives were shaped by a love of their nation and the wish to see them  strong, prosperous and great.  The success they had was not because of their love of people of the same sex – but neither was it a hinderence.  Both ‘left’ and ‘right’ make Homosexuality a big issue, but it shouldnt be.  Sexuality is what makes people who they are.  It gives them their character.  And even when some of these men were persecuted for the way they were born, they stood by their flag, their fellow countrymen and women and their nation.  Who they loved shouldn’t matter to anyone else, but it was for the love of their nation that puts them in the history books as some of the greatest men to have ever lived.  And believe me, I think that there will be many, many more.
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(1) http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/06/opinion/apple-logo/

(2) http://www.turing.org.uk/turing/scrapbook/computer.html

(3) http://www.turing.org.uk/bio/index.html
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Distributism: An Idea Whose Time Has come? (Part 1)

NATIONAL LIBERALS believe that the ideals of National Freedom and Social Justice are indivisible. For a healthy society to flourish a nation and its people must have both. National Freedom without Social Justice – or Social Justice without National Freedom – simply won’t do.


So is it possible to have both? The National Liberal Party – NLP – believes that it is and that Distributism provides the key. So what is Distributism? Distributism may be described as a political philosophy based on the contention that a just and sustainable social order can only exist in which the ownership of property and the means of production, distribution and exchange are widespread.


In this article Glasgow-based Andrew Hunter explains the ideas behind Distributism and provides a brief history of the wider Distributist movement in Britain. Please note that the use of the phrase ‘Third Way’ in this introduction does not imply any official link with any organisation or group of a similar name. As explained in the article. it is used to convey the idea of an economic position that is neither capitalist nor communist. This is the first of a two part article.


Distributism: An idea whose time has come? (Part 1)

Distributism is the name given to a socio-economic and political creed originally associated with Hilaire Belloc (left) and G. K. Chesterton (right).

RECENT YEARS have seen economic upheaval in the western world the likes of which has not been experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Once mighty banks have been brought to their knees and in some cases have gone under altogether. National governments have been forced to go cap in hand to international financial bodies to be rescued from bankruptcy. In turn, many across Europe and beyond have lost their jobs or face the threat of unemployment due to businesses failing and governments cutting their budgets. Insecurity and uncertainty over employment and pensions in old age are the fears of many these days.


In the face of these conditions many people have become aware for perhaps the first time in their lives of the forces that govern their livelihoods. People who previously had little or no interest in economic matters are reading the financial pages and looking for some way of restoring security to their own lives. In view of this, it might be apposite to look at a political and economic movement that first flourished during the turbulent days of the 1920s and 30s, namely Distributism.

The origins of Distributism are believed to lie in the 1891 Papal encyclical entitled Rerum Novarum, (‘On the Condition of Labour’). Pope Leo XIII wrote: “A small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the shoulders of the labouring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself”. The Pope’s concerns with the relationship between the owner and the worker were subsequently taken up by pioneers of the Distributist concept such as GK Chesterton, today better remembered for his Father Brown mysteries, and Hilaire Belloc. Both men were seeking a ‘Third Way’ between capitalism, (which tended to concentrate ownership and control in the hands of a few), and communism, (which concentrated ownership and control in the hands of the state). They were also inspired by the examples of co-operatives and friendly societies that grew in Victorian England. Today we still have the Co-Op and credit unions and the building societies that did not succumb to de-mutualisation. Distributists sought to bring about a social and economic system whereby there was widespread private ownership of property and workers controlled industry and participated in the share of its profits.
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National Liberal Debate 21 – Running Scared Of Religious ‘Child Abusers’
THE NATIONAL LIBERAL PARTY understands that indegenuos Britons do not practice Female Genital Mutilation – FGM. Therefore, we have to presume that FGM is a ‘by-product’ of immigration from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As the NLP is supported by many different migrant communities in the UK (mainly due to our support for Self-Determination for their various nations) we feel that it’s appropriate that the question of FGM should be debated here.

To kick off our debate, we’ve reproduced an article by NHS psychiatrist Dr Max Pemberton – http://www.maxpemberton.com/ – which originally appeared in the Daily Mail towards the end of last year. It raises many interesting points concerning FGM – not least his belief that UK authorities are too scared to seriously address this issue because they ‘are too scared to offend cultural sensitivities.’

Dr Pemberton’s view – shared by many Britons – also raises a more fundamental question: how tolerant should a host nation and its people be of the religious customs and practices of incomers? The NLP believes that nobody seriously objects to immigrants praticising their religion in terms of praying, observing sacred days and taking part in religious festivals and so on. However many Britons draw the line at practices like the ritual slaughter of animals and FGM.

It goes without saying that there are no official links between Dr Pemberton, the Daily Mail or the NLP. We’ve simply his to stimulate debate, which will be held on the National Liberals Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/52739504313/

Running Scared Of Religious ‘Child Abusers’

Dr Max Pemberton (right) believes that Female Genital Mutilation – FGM – is tolerated in Britain because the authories are ‘are too scared to offend cultural sensitivities.’ What’s your view?

EMALE genital mutilation (FGM) is barbaric.  Over recent years, many celebrities, such as the actress Angelina Jolie, have put pressure on the authorities to ‘do something’ about the horrific practice – and quite right, too.

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This led to a government inquiry two years ago to investigate why there has never been a single prosecution under the anti-FGM legislation in the UK.
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But the ineluctable fact is that that the authorities are too scared to offend cultural sensitivities to look to the communities where this awful practice is a custom and, therefore, routinely carried out.
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Thus, instead of prosecuting those who make young girls and women undergo such operations, the authorities cowardly target the medical profession.
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Last year, there was a farcical legal case against a doctor who was accused of stitching a mother who had just given birth, effectively re-doing the FGM she had suffered as a six-year-old in Somalia.
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The jury took less than 30 minutes to find him not guilty.
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It was a depressing example of legislation becoming politicized, with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), in my view, conducting what was little more than a show trial on the flimsiest of evidence.
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It helped no one and caused untold misery to a dedicated doctor, who was suspended from the medical register for simply being accused.
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Now, the CPS is considering prosecuting doctors who undertake cosmetic vaginal surgery.
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While I do not like this type of surgery, if adult women wish to have the shape of their genitals altered (doing so for personal reasons), that is entirely their choice.
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The idea of criminal prosecutions over adult cosmetic surgery is particularly absurd when baby boys can legally undergo religious circumcision – a painful operation that can have life-long consequences – with-out anaesthetic, carried out by someone who isn’t medically qualified.
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In any other circumstances, this would be denounced as child abuse.  Why is it any different because it serves a parent’s religious beliefs and it’s done on a boy?
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• THIS ARTICLE should be read in conjunction with the following:  http://nationalliberal.org/president-trump-the-death-penalty-the-eu-referendum-international-women%e2%80%99s-day-%e2%80%93-what-do-they-all-have-in-common
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Cornish Youth Say BreXit Now!
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THE NATIONAL LIBERAL PARTY supported the campaign to get out of the European Union on the grounds of self-determination.  However, we feel that many people voted for Brexit simply to stick two fingers up to both the EU and Westminster establishment.
But why did they do this?

For some reason, members of the establishment (the so-called ‘elites’) just can’t help poking their noses into the affairs of ordinary working folks.  There’s probably a mixture of reasons for this: arrogance,  some sense of superiority or just being so far removed from reality.

No matter what the reason they simply cannot understand that the vast majority of ordinary working folks (the electorate) just want to be left alone to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.  People intensely dislike being dictated to.  Indeed, if there is to be any dictating it should be the voters setting the agenda and telling the political establishment what to do.  After all we elect the politicians, who are in turn supposed to serve the people.

But if we contrast what most people desire – more control over their own lives and as little government interference as possible – with what the European Union has become, is it any wonder that Cornwall voted for Brexit?

As our artwork notes:

We feel that the EU will become increasingly totalitarian.  To survive, its bureaucratic regime and form of central planning will have to move towards a system similar to that employed by the old Soviet Union.  In addition, the EU holds no loyalty to the nations or peoples of Europe itself.  Its only purpose is to serve powerful corporate big business and the banking elites.’

With this in mind it comes as no surprise to Liberal Future that (out of a population of 530,000 people) 56.52 per cent opted to leave the EU whilst 43.48 per cent voted to remain.

That represents a lot of Cornishmen and women sticking two fingers up to both the EU and Westminster establishment.  The question is will the members of the establishment listen, learn their lesson and try to mend their ways – or will they simply try to carry on as before?

• AS WE noted above,  the establishment simply cannot resist telling ordinary working folks how to live their lives.  With this is mind we’d really appreciate your suggestions on why the so-called elites do this.  We feel that it’s a mixture of arrogance, some sense of superiority or simply being so far removed from reality.  What do you think?  Look out for when this article appears on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/52739504313/ – and then have your say in the comments section below the article itself.

• THIS ARTICLE should be read in conjunction with the following:
Liberal Future Says BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/liberal-future-says-%e2%80%a6-brexit-now
English Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/english-youth-says-brexit-now
Scottish Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/scottish-youth-say-brexit-now

Ulster Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/ulster-youth-say-brexit-now

Welsh Youth Say BreXit Now! http://nationalliberal.org/welsh-youth-say-brexit-now
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