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Hmm, so Osborne, like Cameron is deliberately misrepresenting, and thus smearing libertarians.

I sense they fear something...

"We are a Conservative Party not a libertarian party...."

So George, please don't whine when libertarians vote for another party. We got the message when Dave attached us in his Birmingham conference speech. I, like several former Conservative libertarians, switched to UKIP as a result.

"We understand that unless markets are embedded in strong institutions, laws and cultural norms they can become free-for-alls that are prone to instability and end up benefiting the powerful at the expense of the needy."

The credit crunch was caused by institutions interfering in the market - the EU (capital adequacy directive), Bank of England (appalling economic forecasting and interest rate policy) and Brown's FSA.

The big problem is that Osborne has no understanding of libertarianism, market economics or business. He is not fit for pourpose or office.

yes, not sure on the libertarian smear, but generally starting to say the right words which is a step in the right direction of doing the right things to prevent the downfall into facisocialism instead of being all scared of standing up for what people want.

Expects howls of derision from the extreme Libertarians on this thread.
Not sure I understand George's points about smaller banks. Is he referring to HSBC and Barclays? How would he make them smaller and what would be the benefit?
I appreciate I've only read your excerpts but other than as an attempt to make capitalism acceptable to the electorate after its recent battering I don't really understand the point of it.

It would be more helpful if Osbourne attacked laissez-faire fundamentalism rather than libertarianism. He and Cameron are causing needless offence to many to think of themselves in those terms.

The number of references to economic theories in the speech is quite funny. Georgie is clearly trying to say Aren't I clever? Don't I know lots about economics?

You can detect the influence of Sam Coates and Douglas Smith, both social authoritarians, who write speeches for the Cameroons in those attacks on libertarians. It is telling that former Lib Dems and Labour activists are more welcome on today's Conservative Party.

Perhaps Malcolm Dunn can define extreme and moderate libertarianism to add substance to his childish and factional comment above.


Good stuff from George Osborne but would like to start to see some policies.It often seems to me that far too many of his speeches are directed at the political classes and not enough to ordinary people.

Apologies for calling Malc that. It is just so annoying to see people smearing others as 'extreme' simply because they disagree.

If the one thing the Tory party needs is some solidarity, and that means not insulting the libertarian wing of the party.

Libertarians simply do not believe in anything goes.

Perhaps you are thinking of the angry dragons in the libertines! ;-)

Good stuff but on the 45p tax band, the anti-Tesco nonsenses of Red Toryism and loading business with expensive ideas of corporate responsibility Tory policy sends out confusing signals.

Do I detect that Tim Montgomerie is a Corporatist only interested in moving power from one group of fat cat centralists to another?

Given corporate centralists have failed just as much as political centralists have failed I find it strange that someone who purports to believe in social justice is so readily willing to back corporate failure.

Whilst I do not disagree necessarily with what I believe Osborne is saying and agree that obese failing banks needs to be broken up (classic remediation for the diseconomies of scale) he needs to avoid making grandiose statements such as:

'We are a Conservative Party not a libertarian party'

Because that infers they are an authoritarian party.

Now I buy into the arguments that suggest Government needs to provide a framework that David Cameron has made. Of course it does. However, I do not see any discussion as to where the bounds of that framework will be limited to. Without that we will have the continuation of the political free-for-all that we have seen in recent decades where political parties interfere pretty much wherever they want and reek havoc by doing so.


Your libertarian-ness was considered too extreme :)

Given most people (unless being hypocritical) I would say are naturally conservative and libertarian, I can only see harm in mentionning it as something bad in this way as people may just go to those that have 'liberal' in the title.
I'm pretty sure many of my friends do exactly that as they have an image of Conservatives of being authoritarian so do themselves no favours in being that.
Makes no sense too to be economically free and socially unfree.

.. but there's a bit of a dictator in all that have the will to be an MP who just assume we like being told how to live - if they didn't have that they'd probably get eaten (politically) by others that have.

"Your libertarian-ness was considered too extreme :)"


It's funny, when I was in UKIP, the likes of Iain Dale often trotted out the line about not wasting your energy and to instead work for change from within.

There is clearly a positive libertarian-wing within the Tory Party, and for Cameron and Osborne to go out of their way to smear this philosophy simply reinforces that the Tory Party is becoming a very narrow church.

In short, the Roons are the architects of their own demise. When they are in trouble turn for support, those they have insulted will waiting to pull the rug from under them, instead of seeking to help a leadership that seeks to keep them on board.

Not an angry dragon. *Cough* ;-)

"It would be more helpful if Osbourne attacked laissez-faire fundamentalism rather than libertarianism."

When is laissez faire not fundamental to libertarianism? If you believe in individual freedom and limited government, you must believe in a laissez faire economy to be consistent.

It is no surprise that sales of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" have reached an all-time high during this economic crisis. The crisis was caused by government, not market, failure.

Cameron's Conservatives have supported Labour's nationalisation of our banking system. Businessmen are not happy with Cammunism and Red Toryism. Osborne, Cameron's "Ellsworth Toohey", is trying to placate them. In reality, many have "shrugged" and got out of this country, or its economy, already.

Visit aynrand.org to find out more about Ayn Rand, her capitalist philosophy and and novels like "Atlas Shrugged".

Generally good stuff but yet again the party leadership drag out the libertarian Aunt Sally and start whacking it with a big stick. Pointless and divisive. Many of Cameron's supporters come from a libertarian point of view (I'm one of them) - why are they being attacked in this manner?

"We understand that unless markets are embedded in strong institutions, laws and cultural norms they can become free-for-alls that are prone to instability and end up benefiting the powerful at the expense of the needy."

Corporate welfare and various forms of government intervention harm the needy by giving artificial advantages to big business. Over in the USA they did a survey recently and found that the politicians considered most "business friendly" were those who favoured interventionism and subsidies.

The following is a short description of Objectivism given by Ayn Rand in 1962.

"My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

Man —every man— is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.

The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit.

It is a system where no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others.

The government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders.

In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church."The following is a short description of Objectivism given by Ayn Rand in 1962.

It is not surprising that the Conservatives fear a comprehensive and integrated libertarian philosophy. It shows them to be socialist looters like their new "red" friends in leftist and Marxist think tanks.

" We understand that unless markets are embedded in strong institutions, laws and cultural norms they can become free-for-alls that are prone to instability "

The markets did nothing other than try to fill in the gaping holes in the British economy, gaping holes that opened up because of the mismanagement of the economy by the No1 'institution' the British Government, and for a while Her Majesties Opposition. So it might be said the markets 'failed' but only from the perspective of the British Government in expecting them to bridge impossibly large deficits. In truth markets are doing what they always do , balancing supply and demand, it was the institutions that failed, notably the British Government.

"We are a Conservative Party not a libertarian party. As both I and David Cameron have argued, Conservatives have always understood the limitations of free markets on their own. We understand that unless markets are embedded in strong institutions, laws and cultural norms they can become free-for-alls that are prone to instability and end up benefiting the powerful at the expense of the needy. "

A distortion of Libertarianism. Confusing it with a jumble of anarchism, corporatism.

I do not know of any Libertarians that do not believe passionately in the Rule of Law, so things like misrepresentation, fraud, coercion and attacks on property rights are not tolerated. The problem was, is and will increasingly be too much corporatism, too much interference and yet more regulations to prevent new players entering and shaking up the cosy relationships that conspire against the individual. The word "embedded" is rather too flattering, I fear. The problem now is QE is robbing us all. If we had Free Banking QE would be exposed for the State-sanctioned counterfeiting that it really is.

the fact that UKIP have never criticize the 1789 french Revolution( one of the worst events in human history prior to the 20th cent) and proudly defend that hideous concept aka individualism shows how liberal they truly are

UKIP are not a libertarian party. They are very much like a micro-Tory party in that there are social-cons as well as libertarians. The single main difference with the Tory party is obviously that each member is united with 100% support for the core policy of eu withdrawal (even if this is for different reasons).

However, it could be argued that Nigel F is more libertarian than Cameron.

However, there are likely to be many more libertarians who are Tory voters, and for Cameron and Osborne have gone out of their way to attack, or distance themselves from 'libertarianism' (by smearing their beliefs), they have effectively created the faction that I do hope will eventually topple them.


Mr Cameron and yourself may not be libertarians Mr Osborne but i am pleased not all of our party thinks the same . Douglas carswell MP being one and David davis(a real tory)another,liberterianism and conservitism should go hand in hand so why even bother to take a swipe at it ,liberterians are not the problem,the problem is the soft leftist underbelly of the party.

"We are a Conservative Party not a libertarian party. As both I and David Cameron have argued, Conservatives have always understood the limitations of free markets on their own."

It does little harm to make this clear to a new generation of voters. Libertarians like their first cousins the Anarchists are a very misunderstood breed. In many respects it is the fault of Libertarians themselves, who are hopelessly idealistic, and who often say far more than is sensible.
This is an important statement from George, who is signaling his intention of ruling in the best intrest of all of the Nation, not just a small vocal minority. In recent months a very small number of activists have done their level best to paint any sort of social responsibility as being "Red" Tory. It is hardly surprising that many sensible voters are put off voting for a party that is living up to its reputation of being a very Nasty party indeed. G.O. is quite rightly putting some distance between himself, the ruling members of the party, and those Libertarians who it seems are interested only in their own personal well being and dam the poor and the weak.The Conservative Party needs to rediscover its ONE NATION sensibility, if it is going to convince the public to give it real power.
Even more so if we are going to push forward with austerity measures. Those Libertarians who continue to preach their "I'm all right jack" Style remedies, are being rightly ostracised in the best interests of both Nation and Party.The Party of Churchill was most certainly the party of the whole Nation, not just of a small privileged group.
Those who wish to paint the Conservative party as "socialists" are barking mad, and should be treated as such, kindly but firmly.

as a true conservative i am deeply hostile to libertarianism and its acceptance of individualism as prfima facia therefor could never defect to ukip even though i agree with alot of there domestic policy

Douglas carswell MP being one

Unfortunately, both Mr Carswell and his colleague Mr Hannan have sullied their reputations by their indulgence in cheap consumerism.

I cannot condone shallow, cheap commercialisation of our political system. In selling their 'The Plan' offering (whatever it's merits) they undermine the very principles they purport to support.

Our political system is not something that politicians should make financial gain out of whether it be an 88p plug or a £10.00 book (now on offer on Amazon with a 10% reduction - whoops-e-doo). Unfortunately, whilst they might mean well they are just another cog in the perverse and intellectually corrupt political machine that now directs our fortunes.

I think perhaps that some people may be going overboard on what Osborne said. He uses the word libertarian in a manner that could appear to be insulting, yes. However, he was not using it in an academic capacity with an agreed univocal meaning. This was not political philosophy but a political speech and if you put it into context with what he said after he mentioned the word 'libertarian' I don't think he criticises Classical Conservatism.

The choice of words may not have been the best. He could've said libertine instead of libertarian, he could've been more careful to illustrate that anchoring markets in a culture of law and the institutions that defend those laws and the rights of the private citizen seperate Free Marketeers from gangsters. Yet, I feel its unfair to somehow read Blue Labour into Osborne's words.

I hope there are not too many implications within this of an authoritarian social policy. That would be a grave mistake. If simply talking of economics there are some bright refrences here but again no clear policy.

Bishop Swine, Libertarians are not against people caring for their fellows, in fact we believe people if left alone and not over-taxed will do very much of that, for we believe people are in general responsible, considerate and mature. What we reject is the notion of some who believe that "they know best" and force others to submit to, conform to and pay for their narrow view of "social responsibility". "Democracy" does not help for all that does is enable 51% of the population to tell the other 49% what to do.

Under Libertarianism, the poor and the weak would not be "damned", would they, Bishop? Why? well, because YOU will be free to put YOUR money where YOUR MOUTH is. Or are you happier spending other people's?

That and your talk of "One Nation/Collective" makes me wonder why you question parallels between your view and that of Socialists.

p.s. Farage may be broadly Libertarian, but I do not think UKIP is as a party.

We've done enough on the libertarian remark now! Any commenter want to discuss any other aspect of the speech?

James Cullis is even more hostile to spelling, punctuation and grammar. He will fit in very well with Cameron's Red Tories!

OK ha ha ha

Given that there seems to be some confusion over what the definition of Libertarianism here is I thought it worth posting this definition from the The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Libertarians are committed to the belief that individuals, and not states or groups of any other kind, are both ontologically and normatively primary; that individuals have rights against certain kinds of forcible interference on the part of others; that liberty, understood as non-interference, is the only thing that can be legitimately demanded of others as a matter of legal or political right; that robust property rights and the economic liberty that follows from their consistent recognition are of central importance in respecting individual liberty; that social order is not at odds with but develops out of individual liberty; that the only proper use of coercion is defensive or to rectify an error; that governments are bound by essentially the same moral principles as individuals; and that most existing and historical governments have acted improperly insofar as they have utilized coercion for plunder, aggression, redistribution, and other purposes beyond the protection of individual liberty.[4]

Now how many Conservatives (or in fact any of other political colours) would argue with that?

I am starting to think that the hapless George Osborne really doesn't know what he is talking about and in facts is little different in character to our hapless Prime Minister and we know what we all think about him!

me the libertarian ideal sits at odds with both the conservative notion of human imperfection and the notion of social bonds which conservatives view as being the a substitute for the limmits of human rationality

For the time being lets forget the argument as to whether we are libertarians or not, but concentrate on Gideon's pronouncements.

We should have smaller banks - does it mean more regulation. I think, we as Conservatives should look at the bigger picture.

Following the gerat crash of 29, the US enacted the Glass-Seagall act which forbade retail banks owning investment banks and vice versa. The reason was to ensure that the high street banks had a low risk profile and hence very boring while the investment banks can take risks without jeopardising the small man.

I would rather see a similar set up and may be a few large high street (retail) banks that do not indulge in the riskier business of junk bonds and underwriting.

Gideon is plainly wrong in calling for a fragmented network of tiddly banks.

"We understand that unless markets are embedded in strong institutions, laws and cultural norms they can become free-for-alls that are prone to instability "

I am not sure about the many small banks argument. Why do you punish success - which is the implication of limiting your growth. If Britain is driven by Financial Services success, you need the HSBC, Barclays, RBS with their worldwide reach. The quote above from his speech identifies the problem:
The institutions of regulation had become weak and lazy, the cultural norms violated by churning and commissions and then laws broken by the conversion of sub-prime debt to triple A debt and the abandonment of effective risk management by the banks boards.

Fix those and you have the makings of a better solution.

We should have smaller banks - does it mean more regulation. I think, we as Conservatives should look at the bigger picture.

I took that to mean less regulation so smaller banks can be created and thrive without being held back by too much red tape, thereby bringing about more competition which brings the big boys down to size, or makes them more dynamic at least.

Malcolm Dunn at 12:59
>>Expects howls of derision from the extreme Libertarians on this thread.<<

Hoowwwwwwllllllll. <<-- Derision.

"We should look at whether Britain in fact needs smaller banks.

Bonkers. Reinstate Glass-Segal, ensure a framework to ensure healthy competition, then butt out.

It's funny how politicians don't propose more competition, less concentration and smaller players in the political party system!

Re Smaller Banks
In effect we now have four banking groups in this country: HSBC, the State, Barclays and Lloyds.
I have no doubt any future government will wish to rid itself of RBS in particular as well as working an arrangement with Lloyds.

So when RBS is returned to the private sector maybe we can re-create the District, National Provincial, Westminster, the National and Commercial as well as persuading Barclays to recreate and hive-off Martins and the British Linen Banks.

The banking amalgamations of the late 1960s were inspired by the big is beautiful philosophy of then then DTI which saw organisations such as British Leyland, GEC and Upper Clyde Shipbuilders created. They failed. I'm surprised it took so long for the banks to go.

I applaud George's speech and his arguments. Coincidentally, I made a number of the similar points regarding ordering markets and smaller banks in my platform article yesterday:


I thought the speech rather good. Am a bit confused about the small banks bit but would point out it is John Redwood's view too. However, mindful of the headbangers who can be relied upon to attack Osborn whatever he says, if all they can do is conduct a convoluted debate on his use of the term Libertarianism most of which seems disconected from his speech I am coming round to the idea that it was a particularly good important speech for the future of Britain's finances.

If the leadership can put this "too big to fail, too big to bail" line out there, I think it will play well with the electorate. It makes perfect sense and it is an easy to understand idea.

The negative tone on Libertarianism will wash over most people I suspect.

Besides what better defense of capitalism than to promote competition rather than allow quasi-monoplies to grow even further. When GB waived the competiton rules for his pals at Lloyds, conservatives should have been up in arms, not aiding and abetting.

Besides what better defense of capitalism than to promote competition rather than allow quasi-monoplies to grow even further

Isn't the argument used to prevent this in politics that smaller is weaker?

Here is my blueprint for a fair, competitive and robust banking system that George Osborne will approve of:

#1 We need only two big banks which should offer practially identical savings and loan rates.

#2 We should additionally have one medium size bank to offer unrealistic financial offers that it will never have to implement.

#3 Whichever of the big two banks that has the most branches should be able to set the savings and loans rates for every bank customer in the country, irrespective of who they actually choose to bank with.

#4 Whichever bank has the most customers in one area should be awarded the accounts of every bank customer in that area, irrespective of which bank those people chose to bank with.

#5 All banks with over 200 branches should be given a fixed amount of taxpayers money each year based on the number of customers they have to keep them solvent. Minor banks with less than 200 branches should receive nothing.

#6 Bank CEO's who live more than 37 miles from their branch should be given a free house paid for by taxpayers and furnished with taxpayer funds to compensate him for working in a place that "works like clockwork".

Now what politician will disagree that this is not the fairest banking system possible!

"Bishop Swine, Libertarians are not against people caring for their fellows"

I will stop you right there, because I agree with what you are saying. I am not against Libertarians indeed I would describe myself as one. The point I am trying to make if in a clumsy fashion ,is that are a number of people posting here, who bring the term Libertarian into dispute. In the same way as there are a number of Anarchists who have undermined that political philosophy. In the intrest of the party it is more important to put being a Conservative first. I have met (as I am certain you have too) people who's claim to being Libertarians is the excuse for some extremely unpleasant outbursts directed at the weak and infirm. What I believe George is saying is quite clear, we are not a Libertarian party, we are the Conservative and Unionist Party. In the run up to the next election it is important that we stand together putting the needs of the party before some of our personal political beliefs. As always being in a party is a compromise. We do not need people undermining the leadership with talk of Red Toryism, directed at any policy which could be described of socially responsible. The Conservative party really must be the party of everyman, and as such will always rub some Libertarians up the wrong way. I would hate to see the term Libertarian become as universally misunderstood as the term Anarchist currently is.

"I, like several former Conservative libertarians, switched to UKIP as a result."

Ha ha! I've not laughed so much in ages! I laughed and laughed and laughed when I read that.


Did anyone ever think the Conservative Party was libertarian party? It has a libertarian wing and an authoritarian wing. And as an outsider, I am uncertain as to which is in the ascendant. As a social liberal, and a former Labour supporter, I'd like to see the Tories come out more strongly in support of personal liberty and the principle that the only the constraint on personal liberty should be defined the harm done to others. This, for example, would mean an end to ID Cards, the 'extreme porn' act, which criminalises the possession of porn featuring consenting adults and a reform of our drugs laws. But I think that's all a pipe dream. The closer the Tories get to power, the more its authoritarian wing will gain sway. After 5 years of a future Tory administration will we see any major difference between it and the Labour party on the balance between liberty and authoritarianism?

Labels never mean the same thing to two different people. I don't know what Osborne means by 'libertarian' - so it doesn't impact my judgement of him one way or the other.

Banks too big? Absolutely! Business must be able to fail for capitalism to work - great to hear this from George.

re: William Blakes Ghost saying Our political system is not something that politicians should make financial gain out of whether it be an 88p plug or a £10.00 book

Ghostie - MPs already make money from our political system, seen the headlines on 'expenses' recently? And this is money extorted from the public as taxes. If Hannan and Carlswell can make their money from broadbase voluntary purchases of their book then it is a far superior reward than having ones hand it the publics wallets.

Surely a penny earned is far sweeter than a penny grifted? or is del boy in the house?

Banks too big? Absolutely! Business must be able to fail for capitalism to work - great to hear this from George

That's a joke, right? Banks failing means millions of people impoverished with their life savings wiped out. Instead of saving capitalism, it will burn in the fires of a 1000 riots.

Stephen 'no link' == anonymous

Put up or shut up.

Libertarianism is a term used by a broad spectrum[1] of political philosophies which seek to maximize individual liberty[2] and minimize or abolish the state.[3] There are a number of libertarian view points, ranging from anarchist to small government, and from anti-property to pro-property.[4][5][6] The word libertarian is an antonym of authoritarian.[7]

Not surprising that Osborne states they are the Conservative Party and not the Libertarian Party otherwise the media would have been all over them with regard to their position on:
' minimise or abolish the state '

I had no idea about these comments by Osborne until about 5 minutes ago and Ive been watching the news all week!

Why did he even have to say it? Was it a bet? As with Camerons absurd arguments before at Conference this is unhelpful and unnecessary. Libertarianism isnt a "screw everyone else but me" philosophy and it never has been. The sad thing is they know that.


Just joined the forums after browsing around quite a lot. I hope I stay around for a long time!

See you around,
Jake Ruston,
[url=http://www.thependrive.com]Home Electronics[/url].

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