Iain Murray

TheEdge of Engands's Sword

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Iain is currently a Senior Fellow in International Policy at the Washington-DC based think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  He specializes in global warming, international regulatory matters and sound science.  He is also a Visiting Fellow at Civitas, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society in the UK, a Director and Co-founder of the newly-formed Anglosphere Institute, and a columnist for both Tech Central Station and United Press International.

Iain was born at a very early age in South Shields in the industrial North-East of England.  It was late at night (he knows, because his mother asked him to turn the light on).  On first seeing him, his father asked “What is it?”, to which his mother replied “I don’t know, but we’ll keep it for the cat to play with…”


Iain grew up in South Shields, a cultural midpoint between Newcastle, where he attended the Newcastle Royal Grammar School, and Sunderland, whose football team he loyally if foolishly supports through thick and, mostly, thin.  He went on to read “Greats” (Latin, Greek, Ancient History and Ancient and Modern Philosophy) at Wadham College, Oxford.  While there he continually neglected his studies in the fruitless pursuit of glory at the Oxford Union Society and the Oxford University Conservative Association and in the ultimately successful pursuit of the lovely Kristen.  To most people’s amazement he emerged with a respectable degree.

Iain went on to work for the British Department of Transport.  As a lowly functionary, he ran a Directorate’s finances, investigated the possibilities of private finance for an earlier version of the CrossRail project, and privatized Railtrack PLC RIP.  The DOT must have seen something in him as they sponsored him to get an MBA at Imperial College of Science in the University of London, but their singular lack of interest in promoting him somewhat took the edge off this investment.  Having privatized himself out of a job, he fled the country in 1997, marrying his beloved Kris in Richmond, Va and beginning a new life in the USA.

From 1998 to January 2003 he was first Senior Analyst and then Director of Research at a small organization that examined how scientific and statistical information are used and misused by the media and public policy makers.  One colleague described the organization as “the best nonprofit you’ve never heard of.”  While there, he was published in Encyclopaedia Britanica, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Spectator (UK) and many other fine publications.  He looks back on much of his time there with fondness, but is very happy to be at CEI now.

Got A Taste For It Now

Well, now. Looks like the elitist EU boneheads got a little egg on their faces while we were away.

Vive la FRANCE!!!

GO Dutch Boys GO!!!

I tell you what. Calling the Dutch a democracy when this was the first time in 50 years that they’ve gotten a chance to vote on anything EU related is an insult. No wonder they voted no.

Europe does not exist as a cultural identity. Europe is nothing but a geographical term. Why is it only the everyday people who know this while power-mad socialist bureaucrats continue to force this EU disaster-in-the-making down their peoples throat.

Or have I answered my own question with the phrase “power-mad”.

At any rate, it will all in in tears.

What I want to know when the dust settles is what the EU is going to do about defense when they realize the US might actually be serious about pulling its army bases out of Germany? They might have to stop spending on welfare and actually defend themselves. And what about the income drain from no longer having thousands of Americans living in and around those bases, eating at their restaurants and shopping at their stores. Might be interesting. Not a huge national economic impact but for a nation having enough problems as it is, this could be interesting.

Finally, Germany never gave it’s own people a direct referendum on the EU constitution. I wonder if they sensed that they would have gotten the French and Dutch result if they had and didn’t want to be the first of the founding countries to reject the treaty. Just musing aloud.

Post-Mortem: Conservatives

Post-Mortem: Conservatives

The Tories have no real reason to be disappointed. They won the plurality of the vote in England, something that calls into question the legitimacy of any measure effective on England that is passed only with the help of Welsh and Scottish members. They have a great deal of recognized and young talent among the 50 new members, areas where the party has been noticably lacking. They have dispelled the myth that they cannot win in cities any more with their advances in London. They have seen off the recent challenges of the Lib Dems in many areas. And they took control of 3 more county councils on the night of the election, something that is always good for local parties.

And yet they could have done so much more. They failed to win too many seats by fewer than 1000 votes. That bodes well for next time, but it is a bitter pill to swallow this time. The suggestion that the failure to make Europe an election issue led to them losing about 25 seats because of the number who voted for UKIP or Veritas in those seats will nag them for a while yet. The fact that the polls, which did turn out to be quite accurate in the end, much to my surprise, showed that the Tory momentum stalled when the campaign started concentrating on Tony Blair’s character will be frustrating to many.

Yet these are all “might-have-beens” and not worth dwelling on. The worst possible thing for the Tories is for them to cry woe and to descend into some futile search for a Conservative philosophy or to blame established principles like the free market. As John O’Sullivan has pointed out, the Tories are on the verge of becoming the party of the working class given the other parties’ preoccupation with the obsessions of the middle classes (which includes quite a few stinking rich types these days). That will be a good thing and it should be allowed to happen, however much the Guardianistas might sneer at the unsophisticated nature of the policies that appeal to the working class.

There are also rumblings that the Tories should embrace PR. Why ever should they? If the Tories can’t win with the current biased system, they certainly are never going to win under PR, which will impose a permanent Lib-Lab pact on the country (at least until there is a quiet revoloution and the Tories get in on a platform of abolishing PR).

The problem the Tories face is not an electoral one, it is a cultural one. It is the tragedy of the Thatcher years that while Mrs T was rebuilding the country’s economic self-reliance, the welfare state and its apparatus were allowed to stand virtually unmolested. As a result, too many individuals still believe that when there is a problem, government is the one that should sort it out. This cultural teat-suckling threatens even the Thatcherite economic settlement. If most people believe the railways would be better off run by government, despite a generation’s evidence to the contrary, what would be next? Regulators are seen as good guys, not re-tape wielding bureaucrats. This is the problem the Tories need to solve.

Post-Mortem: Labour

In a brief interlude between things settling down and me jetting off to England for some work-related business, I have a few minutes to mention what I think of the election results. While commentators have been casting gloom and doom on the prospects for their opponents, I think every party involved in this election will have some degree of satifaction.

For Labour, Tony Blair can be happy that he saw off the greatest electorate threat to his position – the Iraq war – with comparative ease. He has been returned with a majority he would have been ecstatic with in 1997 and even 2001. To be sure, he has lost some ground to the Liberal Democrats in areas where the public sector middle class is strong and some to the Tories in their former South-Eastern stronghold. “Redistricting” will lose Labour more seats next time, but that won’t be his problem. Electorally, Tony Blair remains strong.

Politically, however, Tony Blair is much weakened. The early days of the cabinet reshuffle showed the cack-handed management style that has been his trademark for some time. There are suggestions that John Prescott was seen shouting in the street into his mobile phone in protest at losing half his Department to David Milliband. The Blunkett re-entry was also handled badly. Moreover, with the loss of many Blairites and the survival of the left wing, he is faced with the likelihood of a far more fractious party. The chances of anything like Foundation Hospitals getting through are pretty low. In that sense, the election saw the end of the New Labour experiment. Expect this government to look far more like a traditional Labour government than the last two have.

Moreover, I expect Blair to start hitting what the late Thatcher and Major governments called “banana skins.” The European Constitution referendum is a huge problem that Blair will be hoping to avoid. But I don’t think France will actually reject the Constitution, just as she failed narrowly to reject Maastricht. The Dutch may also fail to come to Blair’s rescue, especially if France votes yes. Then the elephant in the living room will begin to trumpet loudly. And all this will happen when Blair is President of the European Union.

At about the same time, the G8 summit could be a disaster. Most chairmen of G8 summits choose nice touchy-feely subjects to discuss so that they can all come out with a nice glow. Blair, however, has chosen to devote this one to climate change, so that he can show he has spent a great deal of political capital in getting the US on board. Iraq was worth it because we are going to have market mechanisms for emissions trading! Huzzah! The trouble is, it ain’t gonna happen. Bush will refuse to sign up to at least one of the statements Blair thinks he will embrace and the PM will have egg on his face and Chirac smirking behind his back. Unless Blair is deliberately planning this as the moment when he delivers High Grant’s speech repudiating the US President from Love Actually, then this will be a fiasco. Actually, delivering that speech would be a fiasco too. What is the point of annoying the most powerful country in the world and single-handedly destabilizing the Atlantic Alliance? Whatever happens, this is going to be a mess.

So it is quite possible that by the end of the Summer, Blair could be fatally wounded. He has to pull off two more miracles to get through the Constitution referendum and the G8 summit unscathed. I wouldn’t put it past him, but this Summer may be his greatest challenge yet.

Working on a chain gang?

Those outside the UK who want to understand a little about how the country’s public political sphere is steadily disintegrating, need look no further than the musings of Home Office Minister Hazel Blears on making yobs wear US-style chain gang uniforms (sadly minus the chains) when on community service.

Here we have an eminently sensible idea, that would be wildly popular (certainly if Sky News’s unscientific poll is anything to go by), that would help restore public faith in the judicial system just a tiny little bit; and what else do we know about it?

  • That it won’t happen. Not a chance – even if by some miracle the sandal-wearing ex-academics and union timeservers who make up the modern Parliamentary Labour Party were to vote for it, you know that the judges would find a way of throwing it out.
  • That all coverage in the media of the idea is dominated by outraged squeals from the dozens of pressure-groups which exist to further the interests of criminals
  • That the Conservative party is too busy with its favourite internal pastime to apparently make any comment on the proposals
  • And, most telling of all, that in spite of the fact that they know it will never happen, the Labour leadership makes the suggestion at all: they have no intention of implementing it, but it won’t hurt them to sound tough.

A government that cynically suggests something that it knows its own chums in the establishment won’t allow to happen just to sound good to the voters while the opposition won’t call them on it (or even, gosh, push them to go ahead and introduce it) with the criminal lobby dominating the airwaves. Is it any wonder people have lost faith in the political and judicial systems?

What To Consider When In Need Of Document Management Software

Document management software should do two main things, and that is allow you to manage files in electronic format. The other thing that such software should be able to do is convert paper documents to electronic files.

You should also take in consideration the amount of users who will be using the software. Some document software functions at its best when no more than a couple of users use it, while some software can be accessed by hundreds of users.

You will also want to take other things into consideration when you are thinking about buying eFilecabinet software document management software. One of those things is restricted access features. Getting software that allows you to restrict access to certain documents is very useful because there may be some members of your staff or team that are not authorized to see sensitive documents. All you need to do is restrict access to those team members and they will not be able to see documents that they are not authorized to see.

Also, it is a good idea to get software that will allow you to record any changes to documents, as well as allowing you to manage any change to your document.

Most importantly you will want to choose software that is very easy to use and understand. There are a lot of document management softwares that can be bought today and some of these softwares are hard to understand and they do not work as well as people may think they work. Always do a little bit of research on the product that you are thinking about getting.

There are a lot of different management products out there, so make sure to take the time to compare a few products before deciding on buying one of them. If you do this, then you will find the right product for your needs.

Information On Bridge Loans

For those of you wondering what a bridge loan is, maybe this will help. A bridge loan is a short-term loan that is usually taken out for around 2 weeks to 2 years.

These types of loans are usually more expensive than conventional loans. They usually have a higher interest rate, various fees, and other costs. They are though usually arranged with little hassle to you.

These loans may be used for commercial real estate purchases to close on a property, for a short term opportunity to secure long term financing, and to retrieve real estate from foreclosure. When a bridge loan is done on a property, it is usually paid back the the property sells and when the person who borrowed the money has better credit, when the property is completed or improved, when it was refinanced with a traditional lender, or there is improvement that allows a subsequent round of mortgage financing.

The hard money loan and bridge loan are similar with each other and may overlap. Both of these loans are non-standard. The difference is that the bridge loan refers to the duration of the loan and hard money refers to the lending source.

So, you can see that this type of loan can be beneficial to those who need money fast for real estate reasons.


Its important to get all of the facts, and they cant all be presented here, take the time to look up good information on bridge loans at commercialbridgeloan.org.


Some thoughts on the Tory Party

Some thoughts on the Tory Party

Someone at work asked me about the current state of the Tories. Here’s what I said.

The paradigm of British politics has changed and they can’t understand what’s happened (neither can Labour, but they’re in power and the Tories aren’t). This means that they’re floundering at the moment.

Basically, all the ingredients that need to be in place for a change of government are there: unpopular government, even more unpopular prime minister, high tax rates, a governing party split on many important issues (the war, private involvement in government, Europe etc) and, most importantly according to the polls, a government that has failed to deliver its promises on improving public services.

Yet the Tories still cannot get a consistent lead in the polls, let alone the 10% plus lead they need to be sure of getting a working majority.

Why? This what the Tories can’t understand. They have a respected, heavyweight leader for the first time in years. They have a set of policies that have been carefully crafted to appeal to those who want better public services while at the same time not compromising too much on the Tories’ historic pillars of cutting taxes and encouraging private sector delivery. They are even doing well in local elections, being the largest party in local government.

The problem is that none of these matter any more. “Swing voters” don’t really exist any more, having been so disillusioned by the dashed hopes and broken promises of the Major years and the subsequent Blairite miasma that they simply don’t vote any more (hence the massive drops in electoral turnout). Labour, meanwhile, has done to the middle classes what the GOP did to the South – take the enemy’s heartland and make it your own. They have presided over a vast increase in the number and salaries of public sector employees. To be middle class now, all you have to do is be a “Gender Equity Manager” and you’ll be earning $60,000 a year. Your partner is likely to be in the same sort of ‘profession.’ You don’t have to struggle with the vagaries of business. Middle management positions in the large British firms were decimated during the 90s. The rural middle classes remain, after a fashion, but they are dwarfed by the publicly-financed urban middle classes. The Tories will continue to get the votes of most of those employed in trade or the professions, but they’re a much smaller proportion of the electorate than they were. The middle class battleground is now between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, and the central issue for them is, in Peter Hitchen’s words, that your moral worth is determined by how much tax you are willing to pay. Egalitarian arguments rule the roost, but the Tories, not having the egalitarian track record that the other two parties have, are ignored in this debate even when they have an egalitarian argument.

Meanwhile, the Tories have done nothing to appeal to the working class, who are still solidly Labour. The current Blair stance, seen from the working class viewpoint as patriotic in the war in Iraq, defending jobs in continuing to be involved in Europe (the working class would long to be out of the EU, but is terrified by the paper tiger of job losses) and tough on crime (even though he isn’t) has co-opted virtually all of the Tories’ historic appeals to the working class. Their talk about better public services just doesn’t do the trick. Meanwhile, their perceived softness on the Europe issue has lost them a huge number of votes and activists to the forces of the UK Independence Party, which would be a good thing if it wasn’t controlled by people with a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot and not notice. The result is a massive squeeze on the Tory vote.

The Tories have also been unlucky. The two by-elections (special elections) where they came third the week before last happened to be in constituencies where in each case 18% of the electorate was Muslim. So the war was a huge issue and the Liberal Democrats profited as a result. They would probably have done much better in different constituencies. Yet it all adds to an aura of being irrelevant.

Nevertheless, they’re not finished yet. They still have 30% support in the polls, compared to Labour’s 35% and the Lib Dems’ 25%. This is probably rock bottom for them. A good portion of the “other” support of 10% is probably UKIP, natural Tory voters, I’d suggest, and should start coming back as UKIP shoots itself in the foot (as has already started) and the Euro elections grow more distant. If, on the other hand, the Tories are caught by the Lib Dems regularly in polls, then they really are finished and a new right-wing party will be needed.

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