Douglas Carswell MP BOOKtalk


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS


Douglas Carswell MP

Mark D'Arcy in discussion with Clacton MP Douglas Carswell, who is not standing in the upcoming general election, on his book Rebel: How to Overthrow the Emerging Oligarchy.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Douglas Carswell MP. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

campaign events. Don't miss a single moment on BBC Parliament and BBC

:00:00.:00:00.

iPlayer. Pure politics. My guess today has written a book

:00:00.:00:23.

about rebellion and he knows what he's talking about. As a new

:00:24.:00:29.

backbencher he led the Commons of writing which unseated Michael

:00:30.:00:34.

Martin over his handling on the expenses scandal. He harried David

:00:35.:00:38.

Cameron and then quit the Conservatives for Ukip before

:00:39.:00:41.

falling out with Nigel Farage and going independent. He is does this

:00:42.:00:53.

card well -- Douglas Carswell. The central argument of this book seems

:00:54.:00:59.

to be when the free market is moved in on by the state or a powerful

:01:00.:01:03.

vested interests, prosperity goes out of the window. How does that

:01:04.:01:08.

work? We are used to the idea that it is normal for us to become

:01:09.:01:14.

wealthier, children will be wealthier than their parents.

:01:15.:01:20.

Through most of human history, per Capita income has remained constant

:01:21.:01:23.

and people have remained poor. The reason for this I argue in the book,

:01:24.:01:30.

there tended to be some kind of extracted elite group, whether it

:01:31.:01:34.

was Princes, priests or furrows which kept it from the masses and

:01:35.:01:42.

Society pro. What changes is one society disburses power and when it

:01:43.:01:52.

is able... The key engine is able to specialised to trade freely. One

:01:53.:01:56.

society has discovered that, they take off. I go back to history in

:01:57.:02:01.

the Roman Republic, Venetian Republic and the Dutch Republic.

:02:02.:02:06.

Those are examples of modern societies who achieve this happy

:02:07.:02:10.

state of affairs. The liberal order is pretty ubiquitous, it is the

:02:11.:02:15.

driving force behind globalisation. But it is always under threat and

:02:16.:02:20.

the parasitic oligarchy which overthrew the liberal order in the

:02:21.:02:25.

past, is present and emerging today. What do they do to overthrow that

:02:26.:02:33.

order, that poisoned the market? Extractive elite need to have things

:02:34.:02:38.

done on force rather than free exchange. In history you see small

:02:39.:02:42.

elite is presiding over societies, where they found all sorts of

:02:43.:02:46.

pretext to redistribute wealth by force. I look at how, for example,

:02:47.:02:52.

in the late Roman Republic, and oligarchy emerges, you get this

:02:53.:02:58.

inflow of wealth into the Roman Republic from the provinces and this

:02:59.:03:02.

elite emerges and it grows beyond the ability of the Roman republican

:03:03.:03:07.

constitution to constrain it. You get a similar thing in Venice and a

:03:08.:03:10.

similar thing in the Dutch Republic. But I argue we are seeing a sudden

:03:11.:03:16.

inflow of wealth which is leading to the emergence of oligarchy today.

:03:17.:03:21.

From prosperity to the bond market and banking. The very rich and the

:03:22.:03:26.

very powerful accumulate power and freeze the market beneath them?

:03:27.:03:33.

Absolutely. We have seen this nexus of power between central bankers,

:03:34.:03:38.

bankers and politicians, if you like, what you might call the Davos

:03:39.:03:43.

elite. They have emerged in the past 30 or 40 years may have enormous

:03:44.:03:48.

power, they take public policy decisions without reference to the

:03:49.:03:52.

public. Central bankers decide the price of credit and drive economic

:03:53.:03:57.

policy. I cannot ever remember them appearing on a ballot paper. When

:03:58.:04:02.

the Americans had the revolution, they argued for no taxation without

:04:03.:04:07.

representation. The ability for the government to request taxes from the

:04:08.:04:13.

taxpayer a wonderful constraint on the state in most western societies.

:04:14.:04:18.

I argue in the last 30 or 40 years, Western elites have worked out waves

:04:19.:04:24.

of subverting that. They can spend a asking the tax payers' permission.

:04:25.:04:32.

What bad things happen if that continues? We are already seeing it.

:04:33.:04:37.

Since the 1970s when this was created, many industries move in the

:04:38.:04:42.

wrong direction. We start to see less social mobility, we see less

:04:43.:04:46.

innovation. This huge transfer of wealth from people without assets to

:04:47.:04:54.

people with assets. If you own a home in the South East of England,

:04:55.:04:58.

or hedge funds, you have done well just for owning it, not for doing

:04:59.:05:04.

much with it. You have inequality, not an income inequality, if

:05:05.:05:10.

anything, less income inequality, it is the inequality between those who

:05:11.:05:14.

rely on income for wealth and his wealth is in assets. But is a huge

:05:15.:05:19.

driver of social inequality and it has become, I would say,

:05:20.:05:23.

increasingly obvious since the financial crisis. Very few

:05:24.:05:26.

politicians know what to do about it. You are best known in politics

:05:27.:05:33.

as a leading proponent of Brexit, leaving the European Union, that

:05:34.:05:37.

will happen now. How does leaving the European Union fit into this

:05:38.:05:41.

analysis, or is there a different reasons? The European Union is only

:05:42.:05:50.

one manifestation of this problem. The European Union is founded on the

:05:51.:05:55.

idea that a small elite can organise an order human affairs by grand

:05:56.:06:00.

design. They have currency, trade policy, agricultural policy all done

:06:01.:06:04.

by top-down design and it is pretty disastrous. Leaving the European

:06:05.:06:09.

Union is part of what I think we need, this broader reassertion of

:06:10.:06:15.

what I would call classical liberalism. We need to challenge

:06:16.:06:19.

this idea that human economic and social affairs can be organised by

:06:20.:06:23.

design. The liberal elites and we have today, are not about liberal.

:06:24.:06:28.

Liberal means, from the Latin, freed that you believe the world requires

:06:29.:06:32.

little intervention, it doesn't require blueprints, it does not

:06:33.:06:35.

require a small group of people to shake things for us. Again and

:06:36.:06:41.

again, we see these attempts to impose blueprints to order human

:06:42.:06:46.

society. Often they ending catastrophe, communism, socialism,

:06:47.:06:52.

fascism. We see the same version of the elite's conceit when they try to

:06:53.:06:56.

order contemporary society, according to blueprints and design.

:06:57.:07:01.

It is the cause of our malaise, it empowers small groups of people over

:07:02.:07:04.

the rest of us and it is incompatible with being a democracy.

:07:05.:07:09.

It is striking, if you look across much of Europe, where people want to

:07:10.:07:13.

get their particular country out of the EU, it is almost for the

:07:14.:07:20.

opposite reasons for the one you are suggesting, not liberal free

:07:21.:07:23.

trading, it is the conception of the nation state and your's

:07:24.:07:27.

supranational and therefore they don't like it. In France, they had

:07:28.:07:38.

to shedders. We see the voice against the oligarchy, the voice

:07:39.:07:42.

against the Brussels machine and the centralisation of power is a raw

:07:43.:07:48.

data is, pretty obnoxious bitter populism. By arguing the book, the

:07:49.:07:54.

popular order faces this twin challenge, not just oligarchy

:07:55.:07:57.

emerging, but the response is this hideous populist backlash. One of

:07:58.:08:01.

the wonderful things I think about political culture in this country is

:08:02.:08:04.

the new radicals in this country have been a decent bunch. Ukip, my

:08:05.:08:12.

former party, nothing like as angry and nativist as perhaps the National

:08:13.:08:20.

front in France and others. Perhaps, I would argue, Brexit in this

:08:21.:08:24.

country is actually a safety valve. Maybe Geert Wilders, Donald Trump

:08:25.:08:29.

and Marine Le Pen what you end up with if you don't have that safety

:08:30.:08:34.

valve. Brexit has been our safety valve and perhaps that has taken

:08:35.:08:38.

some of the obnoxiousness out of the system, it has allowed us to take

:08:39.:08:43.

power back from the oligarchs, to some extent. Not far enough, but it

:08:44.:08:50.

means the alternative is not between extremism and the oligarchy. You

:08:51.:08:53.

have put this into practice yourself. It is stated clearly in

:08:54.:08:57.

the book that one of the main reasons you switch to Ukip was to

:08:58.:09:01.

stop the wrong kind of backlash from being in the lead to get Britain out

:09:02.:09:07.

of the EU. You were there trying to make sure Nigel Farage was not the

:09:08.:09:12.

face of the league campaign? Absolutely right. I was conscious of

:09:13.:09:16.

this in the run-up to the referendum on the battle to make sure the right

:09:17.:09:21.

people run the right campaign, I was conscious throughout history when

:09:22.:09:25.

you get a populist reaction against oligarchy, often the people who lead

:09:26.:09:34.

that, the grudge brothers in Rome, they are not attractive characters

:09:35.:09:37.

and they often play straight into the hands of the oligarchy. If you

:09:38.:09:41.

are in favour of a federal Europe, perhaps having Alex Cypriot is

:09:42.:09:48.

writing numerically illiterate budget in Athens is a good way of

:09:49.:09:51.

justifying governance by the trike up. There is an irony in the

:09:52.:09:58.

sentence that the fight against the elite has to be led by the right

:09:59.:10:05.

people? It has to be led by people who are able to persuade and

:10:06.:10:08.

understand the problem and not just address the symptoms. Again and

:10:09.:10:14.

again, I found, when looking at some of these populist movements

:10:15.:10:16.

throughout the Western world, both in America and in Europe, often the

:10:17.:10:23.

populist insurgents are talking about the symptoms of the problem.

:10:24.:10:26.

They have very little ideas of what to do to tackle it. Again, if you

:10:27.:10:33.

look back in history, when there was this anti-oligarch rebellion in

:10:34.:10:37.

Rome, they actually introduced measures that were supposedly to

:10:38.:10:42.

redress the symptoms of oligarchy. They played into the hands of

:10:43.:10:47.

oligarchy and I fear that we perhaps see some of this today, some of the

:10:48.:10:51.

populism is actually as much a threat to the liberal order as the

:10:52.:10:55.

oligarchy. Heaven forbid we should end up being what France is today,

:10:56.:10:59.

where in effect you have a choice between a technocrat on one side and

:11:00.:11:03.

political extremist, I would on the other. How does Donald Trump fit

:11:04.:11:10.

into this framework for you? I think Donald Trump is, on a good day, on

:11:11.:11:16.

the right side of the fence. But I am very worried, for example, about

:11:17.:11:21.

some of his economic policy. There is nothing liberal about it, it is

:11:22.:11:27.

Roosevelt new deal. We have had, in America for ten years, monetary

:11:28.:11:34.

stimulus, cheap credit to revive the economy. He is now talking about

:11:35.:11:39.

fiscal stimulus. If that would happen, it will play into the hands

:11:40.:11:43.

of vested corporate interest who would see lots of dollars coming

:11:44.:11:47.

their way and I think it would end the liberal economic model that has

:11:48.:11:51.

made the United States this extraordinary productive and

:11:52.:11:55.

inattentive republic. I think the United States is probably the most

:11:56.:12:00.

extraordinary and most miraculous republic that has ever existed. I,

:12:01.:12:07.

as an outsider who loves America and their Republican ideas, is very

:12:08.:12:11.

worried they may not survive another Roosevelt type a new deal. What

:12:12.:12:16.

about Douglas Carswell himself? You have been pursuing this set of ideas

:12:17.:12:21.

through two political parties and into independent status in the House

:12:22.:12:27.

of Commons. Is part of the issue here, I don't know if it is your

:12:28.:12:31.

ideology or just a personal thing, you don't easily fit into collective

:12:32.:12:39.

organs like a party? I am delighted to be regarded as not very

:12:40.:12:42.

collegiate, the alternative is fitting in with the groupthink in

:12:43.:12:46.

the Commons tea rooms. But this isn't about me. It is a more

:12:47.:12:51.

profound question. Given liberalism, in the true sense of the term, is

:12:52.:12:56.

what the secret of our success is as a society and has led to growth,

:12:57.:13:01.

prosperity and innovation, where do you go if you believe in liberalism

:13:02.:13:06.

today? Where is the party that represents these ideas? I said in

:13:07.:13:13.

the book, many of the parties believe in the big man, or the big

:13:14.:13:16.

woman met, a single individual as a leader can somehow solve the world

:13:17.:13:19.

and make it a better place. What we need is a recognition that that is

:13:20.:13:23.

precisely what is getting us into this mess. We should challenge those

:13:24.:13:28.

people who make public policy, who presume they know enough to know

:13:29.:13:33.

what's right for the rest of us? Politicians love blueprints, ideas

:13:34.:13:39.

and innovations imposed on the rest of us. I do think that for those of

:13:40.:13:43.

us who are genuine liberals, there is a crisis as to who we vote for.

:13:44.:13:49.

What does the Douglas Carswell of Utopia look like? I suppose it is

:13:50.:13:53.

the wrong question to ask, what is your grand design, but what would

:13:54.:13:57.

you like to see this country looking like five or ten years after Brexit?

:13:58.:14:03.

There was an extraordinary Greek man, Epicurus, and I am an epic

:14:04.:14:07.

curing, cos people think I am into hedonistic pleasure. Actual epicure

:14:08.:14:16.

Inez is this idea, you can't achieve Utopia, but the idea is, the world

:14:17.:14:24.

is self organising and our duty and obligation is to be happy and live a

:14:25.:14:30.

life that we believe in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of

:14:31.:14:34.

happiness. That idea is echoed in the founding of the American

:14:35.:14:38.

Republic and it underlines the Western success. What I think we

:14:39.:14:47.

need to do to achieve, the closest we could ever get to Utopia is to

:14:48.:14:51.

live in a world where small elites don't try to organise human affairs

:14:52.:14:56.

by design. That has always been the enemy of progress and happiness. The

:14:57.:15:05.

small elites who organise the BBC Parliament schedule, have reached

:15:06.:15:07.

the end of their tether with this programme. We'll be back again soon,

:15:08.:15:10.

goodbye for now.

:15:11.:15:16.

Mark D'Arcy in discussion with Clacton MP Douglas Carswell, who is not standing in the upcoming general election, on his book Rebel: How to Overthrow the Emerging Oligarchy.