Douglas Carswell is the Member of Parliament for Clacton, first elected as MP for Harwich in 2005. He found prominence by calling for reform of parliamentary expenses before the 2009 expenses scandal, and leading the campaign to eject Michael Martin as Speaker of the House of Commons. A Eurosceptic and libertarian, Carswell is a strong advocate of greater localism, and has worked with Daniel Hannan to promote their ‘localist agenda’ in the Conservative Party. Douglas was kind enough to answer the eleven questions.
1. Who was the greatest political leader in the Western world?
Ronald Reagan. Watch this to see why; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXBswFfh6AY
Reagan was what a great Conservative leader should be. Small state and pro freedom. Ambitious for what his country can yet do. Optimistic and upbeat. Yet, unlike so many of the managerialist “leaders” the West has today, he had a sense of philosophy and principle. He knew what he stood for.
2. If you could change, introduce or abolish one law, what would it be?
I would repeal the European Communities Act 1972. Leaving the European Union would not magically fix all our problems. But being self governing once again means we can at least begin to address many of them.
3. What advice would you give to a sixteen year-old today?
Learn to think for yourself.
4. Who do you most admire?
My parents. They spent the best years of their lives providing medical care to poor people in Uganda who would have otherwise gone without.
5. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of your country?
Short term pessimistic. Long term optimistic. Things will have to get worse before they can get better. But once we have freed ourselves from the failed Big Government way of thinking, the future will be good.
6. If you think voting for establishment parties changes little or nothing, what is the one thing we can do as individuals to cause real change?
Join an establishment party - and make it anti-establishment.
7. When will we finally say good-bye to the state?
We will never not have some sort of central authority. But that said, the West’s Big Government model is bust.
We have an expanding welfare system living off an ever diminishing wealth producing base. It does not work - hence the Western financial crisis. Sooner or later there will have to be large real term reductions in what we spend of government.
Add to that the fact that the digital revolution means we can do collectivism without the state. It means good bye to large tranches of officialdom.
Maths plus technology mean that government is going to have to get a lot smaller.
8. Should free people have the right to keep and bear arms openly or covertly without government permission, sanction or registration?
Why do libertarians always make a stand on the wrong issues? And then wonder why they keep losing?
Let’s get the state out of the class room and out of people’s wallets, not sound like an off shoot of the Michigan Militia.
9. What annoys you most about current politics?
Libertarians picking the wrong issues to fight on. And then losing. And then picking an even more obscure range of issues to prove their purity as libertarians.
Thanks to the internet, there is a massive opportunity to make small government thinking mainstream. Let’d go for it.
10. Gold standard or fiat currency and interest rate control?
The first has folded. The second is folding. The later will fold.
What we need is a system of currency competition. The failure of the post-Bretton Woods Monetary system and digital technology mean that we will move to a world of competing currencies, including not only commodity backed money, but private currencies too. Amazon has recently announced an Amazon currency. Watch for more developments like that.
Fundamentally, we need to move to a world where the state does not seek to allocate credit or determine the price of credit. Many of the economic problems we see in the West have been caused by the way that central banks have misallocated credit over the past thirty or so years.
11. Do we have an obligation to help the poor?
I believe we should choose to help people less well off than ourselves. And that means that each of us should do precisely that, not leave it to officialdom or the state or some distant “they” to do it.