15th October 2021
We are sorry to learn of the death from cancer of Brian Micklethwait who we mentioned only recently.  Brian had previously been the Editor of the Libertarian Alliance before blogging at Samizdata and under his own name.  Many will also know him as the host of countless talks at his bohemian flat in Pimlico.  He was a fascinating man, a gifted writer, and an enthralling public speaker.  He will be much missed.

12th March 2021
Brian Micklethwait, the former Editor of the Libertarian Alliance, has written a wonderful personal memoir of our late friend and LA Director Dr Chris Tame (1949–2006).

20th February 2021
SIF Vice-President David Myddelton, writing as Emeritus Professor of Finance and Accounting, Cranfield School of Management, had a fascinating letter published in today’s Times (pay-walled) under the title, ‘State-Seized Power’:


“Sir, David Aaronovitch (Comment, Feb 18; letter, Feb 19) is right to suggest that “The state won’t give up Covid powers easily”.  Perhaps the most blatant postwar example is foreign exchange controls, imposed as a temporary measure on the outbreak of war in September 1939 and not abolished until October 1979.  According to Nigel Lawson, the Treasury minister mainly responsible, both Geoffrey Howe, the chancellor, and Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister, were rather nervous about abolition but Michael Heseltine, then environment minister, was the only open opponent.”

5th December 2020
SIF Vice-President David Myddelton, writing as Emeritus Professor of Finance and Accounting, Cranfield School of Management, had a thought-provoking letter published in the Financial Times this week under the (written by the FT) title, ‘A debased currency is not what Keynes had in mind’.


"Using the Retail Prices Index as a measure of inflation, I reckon the pound has lost about 98½ per cent of its purchasing power since I was born in 1940.  I wonder if anyone in the government, responsible for debasing the currency, or in the Office for National Statistics, responsible for measuring it, is able to provide a more accurate estimate?  It is salutary to reflect that Keynes, who was in favour of inflation (which he called ‘flexible money’) asserted in his first book in 1913, that ‘a preference for a gold currency is no longer more than a relic of a time when governments were less trustworthy in these matters than they are now.’  I can think of many adjectives to describe the financial performance of British governments in my life-time, but ‘trustworthy’ would not be one of them."

1st June 2020
One of the best illustrations of the competing concerns that the coronavirus pandemic poses for rational libertarians.

30th May 2020

The SIF is sad to learn of the death last month of our old friend, Professor David Marsland.  That rare thing, a libertarian conservative sociologist, David wrote a number of articles for us and the Libertarian Alliance over the years and spoke at our meetings.  The SIF editor recalls meeting him for a pre-lunch drink at the Arts Club in Dover Street, Mayfair, where David regarded his change with grave suspicion as some of the coinage looked worryingly “European”!

31st January 2020
On the evening before Brexit, a poignant reminder of those associated with the Society for Individual Freedom and the Libertarian Alliance who are no longer with us: Sir Richard Body, Dr Helen Szamuely, Andrew Dodge and Sir Teddy Taylor.  And many more, of course.

6th November 2019
Wise words of the “Ten Cannots” of German-born American William Boetcker (1873–1962):

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
  • And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

4th June 2019
There has long been a considerable overlap in the worldview of supporters and contributors of The Salisbury Review (TSR) and the SIF.  The SIF as an organization has been “on hold” for some while.  We note in the latest issue of TSR that this journal is making an urgent appeal for funds.  These are difficult times ideologically for conservative, libertarian and classical liberal organizations such as the SIF and TSR.  It is also perhaps “psycho-technologically” true that we have not even tried to offer the instant “hit” afforded by social media.

15th March 2019
Apologies for the lack of news recently.  We’re still here but mainly as officers and supporters working as individuals with other organisations.

10th April 2018

CHANGE OF ADDRESS.  Please note that the SIF’s postal address has changed to Flat 20, Nightingale Lodge, Admiral Walk, London, W9 3TW.  The old Royal Mail PO Box will remain live for two or three more weeks so anything sent in the last week or so should still reach us.

14th March 2018
With inexcusable tardiness, the SIF is sorry to report the death at the end of February of one of our most senior members, Sir Richard Body, the former MP for (during various constituency boundary changes) Boston in Lincolnshire.


Sir Richard was for many years a vice-president of the SIF and hosted SIF events at the House of Commons.  Despite his failing health, he continued to be a sparkling conversationalist with those of us fortunate to talk to him in recent years.


To a world happier with overly-simple binaries, Sir Richard’s politics were hard to categorise.  His opposition to the EU (he was a “Maastricht Rebel” in the 1990s) might mark him out as a man on the so-called “right” of the Conservative party. However, he represented a rural, small community and environmentalist conservatism distinct from the more managerialist and econometric one that dominated for much of his time in parliament. He also had liberal views about, for example, homosexuality.


Our thoughts are with his family friends.

19th December 2017
The ghost of Choice in Personal Safety is an unquiet one!  The last couple of days have seen reports in both the regional and national press (e.g. The Telegraph 17th December and The Times 18th December) about Bath and North East Somerset Council’s road safety schemes.  In this case, the imposition of 20mph speed limits in many areas.  The result?  The rate of people being seriously injured or even killed in these zones has increased in half of them.


And why?  It seems it’s our old friend “moral hazard”.  Pedestrians and cyclists using these areas believe that they are safer and so tend to be less diligent in their behaviour.  In fairness, it seems that this problem is often particularly associated with using the 20mph limit on its own.  Nevertheless, it’s a sign of how easy it is to fall prey to the intuitive appeal of a “let it be done” paternalism.

7th December 2017
The latest newsletter from our friends at the Campaign Against Censorship is available as a free PDF from their website.

1st December 2017
Following a period of inactivity, officers of the SIF met in London at the end of November at the premises of one of the UK’s major think tanks to discuss the future of the Society.  There was enthusiasm for carrying on and, just as importantly, there was agreement on a number of practical proposals including the appointment of new, named officers with current expertise in academia, business and campaigning.  Further meetings are planned for early 2018.

26th November 2017
Those who remember the SIF’s associated campaign Choice in Personal Safety will be interested in three articles about bicycle safety in today’s issue of The Sunday Times by Mark Hookham & Jonathan Leake, Mark Wilson, and Andrew Gilligan.


None of these argued that one should not wear reflective clothing and/or helmets.  On balance one probably should do.  However, citing a range of recent research the authors nevertheless argue that the evidence for the efficacy of such measures is not as definite as is sometimes suggested.

To highlight three matters.  First, given that cycling can be good for one’s health there is nevertheless some evidence that where cycle helmets have been made compulsory the number of cyclists has fallen, which rather negates the whole point.  Second, there is also some evidence that helmets as we now know them are not always as effective at minimising injuries from accidents as one might imagine.


It’s the third one that’s particularly interesting: the question of “moral hazard” (although the articles don’t use exactly that term).  This is because there is also some evidence that wearing reflective clothing and/or helmets seems both (i) to increase the self-confidence and riskiness of cyclists’ behaviour and (ii) to lead to drivers tending to pass “protected” cyclists more closely so inevitably increasing the risk of an accident.


All the evidence is equivocal, as the authors properly point out.  But it’s not as black and white as it’s sometimes made out.


And more generally, governments should treat citizens as adults and not silly children who need to be scared for their own good!

21st November 2017
More belated news, but this time of the most distressing sort.  The SIF was saddened to learn of the death in April of our good friend and sometime contributor Dr Helen Szamuely.  We knew that she had been ill for some time but her death still came as a shock.  Helen was a remarkable figure and will be much missed in Eurosceptic, conservative and libertarian circles.  And for those of us who shared her love of Golden Age of Detective Fiction set in the 1920s and 1930s!

21st November 2017
Our friends at the cross-party Campaign Against Censorship tell us that one of their somewhat-annual newsletters is in production.  It is hoped that this issue will carry an essay written by SIF – and CAC! - editor Dr Nigel Meek that makes use of his recent work on political psychology.

21st November 2017
Belated news of one of our “sister” organisations, the Libertarian Alliance.  This has now disbanded but immediately re-established itself as the Ludwig von Mises Centre (Mises UK) with a particular focus on promoting Austrian-school economics in the UK.  Keir Martland is the new Director but former LA Director Dr Sean Gabb remains as Mises' Vice-President.  The SIF wishes them all well.

4th June 2017
The SIF is a cross-party organisation and so would not presume to endorse any one party ahead of this month’s General Election.  Nevertheless, two things are a matter of public record.  First, that the SIF was founded in the 1940s by elements from both the Conservative and (as they were then) Liberal parties.  Secondly, that despite some ideological wandering over the years the SIF has remained staunchly in favour of a free-market economy.  Readers are invited to drawn their own conclusions about who they might to vote for.  Or against.

11th February 2017
Spiked have published their latest Free Speech University Rankings, the UK’s university rankings for free speech.  The FSUR divides universities on a traffic light model into those that have "banned and actively censored ideas on campus", those that have "chilled free speech through intervention", and those very few that have "a hands-off approach to free speech".  It makes for bleak reading.

7th February 2017

There is an overlap of officers/members between the SIF and the Campaign Against Censorship.  The latest CAC newsletter is going out in the post and is also available as a free PDF download.


‘Chair’s Report’ - Ted Goodman

‘A quick word from your editor’ - Nigel Meek

‘Report on Blocked.Org Meeting, 28th May 2016’ - Adam Scarborough

‘Attitudes Towards Censorship in the UK and Why Understanding and Persuasion Might Be Better Than Condemnation and Hectoring’ - Nigel Meek

‘In The Hands of the Censors’ [poetry] - Adam Scarborough

‘Report On Jerry Barnett, Edie Lamort and Porn Panic!’ - Nigel Meek

16th October 2016
In a recent column in The Spectator (8th October, p. 29), James Delingpole describes Professor David Myddelton, Chairman of the SIF’s National Council, as “brilliant”.  But of course!

5th September 2016
Wearing his hat as chairman of the British Weights and Measures Association, SIF chairman Michael Plumbe has had a letter about the imperial and metric systems published in The Times (5th September 2016, p. 26).  He concludes: “Now we have voted for Brexit, the British Weights and Measures Association is getting inquiries from shopkeepers who want to revert to imperial.  It is the system preferred by many customers.”

1st March 2016
The SIF is sad to report the death of long-time National Council member Major Peter Wakley.  Our thoughts are with Peter’s widow, Jenny, herself a former member of the National Council.

26th February 2016
Sadly, the SIF’s associated campaign Choice in Personal Safety that campaigns against compulsion in seatbelt laws and similar matters has long been on hold since the (non-vehicular) deaths of its leading lights Don Furness and Dr Barry Bracewell-Milnes.  But I think that they would have appreciated this report from the University of Bath: ‘Helmet wearing increases risk taking and sensation seeking’!

26th February 2016
Our friends at the Campaign Against Censorship have a new newsletter available from their website.

5th July 2015
The new issue of The Individual is out in the post and is also available as a free PDF download from the Publications page.

9th June 2015
A new issue of The Individual is under construction and should be in the post later this month.

19th May 2015
Ben Goldacre of Bad Science fame has an interesting article/update about the withholding of the results of clinical medical trials.  Of note to those who supported or just followed the SIF’s erstwhile Tell-IT campaign that argued for information technology to be used to analyse information on the outcomes of drugs and treatments and for this information to be available to doctors and patients alike.

19th May 2015
Apologies for the non-appearance in a year of a new issue of The Individual.  There are lots of reasons for this, some of a personal/family nature.  But it’s also getting very hard to acquire good quality “beginning, middle and end” articles in the 1500 to 5000 word range for a small-scale journal of this type.  Why bother when social media means that one’s every ephemeral thought can be broadcast instantly to the world?

15th February 2015
Our friends at the Campaign Against Censorship have published their latest newsletter.

3rd November 2014
SIF editor Dr Nigel Gervas Meek’s article in the April 2014 issue of The Individual analysing economic and political/civil freedom around the world featured (in passing) in the winter 2014 issue of This England.

15th April 2014
SIF editor Dr Nigel Gervas Meek’s academic study of the Conservative Party is favourably reviewed by Dr Andrew Crines of the University of Leeds in the forthcoming issue of Political Studies Review, the journal of the Political Studies Association, the UK’s leading academic politics association.  The book was published by the SIF’s charitable arm the Civic Education & Research Trust, and is available for sale from Amazon and elsewhere.

15th April 2014
The new issue of The Individual is going out in the post and is also available as a free PDF download from the Publications page.

19th March 2014

Work has started on a new issue of The Individual.  Very slowly!

3rd January 2014
Reports in the media say that “The lack of data on the effectiveness of medicines available to doctors and researchers is ‘of extreme concern’ say a group of MPs.”  Really?!  The SIF’s associated Tell-IT campaign was trying to do something about this a decade or two ago and was stymied at every turn and at huge cost to the taxpayer by the then Department of Health and the Medicines Control Agency.  See the May 2002, January 2004 and February 2006 issues of The Individual.

29th September 2013
The SIF is sad to learn of the death of Sir Robin Williams, a long-time member of the Society as well as a former Chairman of the Anti-Common Market League (now prosaically renamed Get Britain Out) and Secretary of the Campaign for an Independent Britain.  SIF editor Dr Nigel Gervas Meek had last seen Sir Robin at the CIB AGM earlier in the year and reported that he looked very frail.  Sir Robin’s friend and colleague Dr Helen Szamuely – who knows everyone – has written about him on her own blog and the CIB has also posted an obituary.

10th September 2013
The new issue of The Individual is going out as hardcopy in the post to SIF members and opinion formers.  A downloadable PDF is available via the Publications tab on the left.

10th September 2013
Our friends at both the Libertarian Alliance and the Campaign Against Censorship have published responses to the proposed regulation of the media.  Needless to say, they’re against it!

2nd September 2013

A new issue of The Individual is nearing completion.

25th July 2013

The SIF is sad to learn of the recent death of the 7th Marquess of Anglesey, George Charles Henry Victor Paget, at the age of 90.  As well as being a solider and author, the Marquess had been a member of the SIF since the 1950s.

15th July 2013

Our good friend Dr Helen Szamuely has written an affectionate remembrance of Professor Kenneth Minogue on her own blog.

3rd July 2013

We’ve restarted the project of scanning and uploading the archive of original SIF journals.  This is a time-consuming affair although “new” software has made it a little easier!

3rd July 2013

The SIF is sorry to hear of the death of the classical liberal and Eurosceptic political theorist, Professor Kenneth Minogue (1930-2013).  He was a long-time member of the Society.  By all accounts, he was on fine form right until the end.


13th April 2013

In keeping with the SIF’s cross-party approach to defending liberty, we have recently exchanged website links with the Conservative-associated Selsdon Group and added one for the Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign.  These join existing links to selected UKIP and Liberal Democrat-associated websites.

6th April 2013

The new issue of The Individual is going out as hardcopy in the post to SIF members and opinion formers.  A downloadable PDF is available via the Publications tab on the left.

22nd March 2013
A new issue of The Individual is in the process of being edited and typeset.  It should be out in April.

16th March 2013
The SIF has taken delivery of a large cache of archive Choice in Personal Safety material.  Our thanks to Maurice Knights.

4th February 2013

Fully searchable PDF versions of the originals of pre-2002 SIF publications are now going online in place of the reconstituted versions that have been available for some time.  Moreover, we are filling in some gaps.  This is an ongoing and lengthy task with Your Editor slaving over a hot and not very fast scanner!

1st January 2013

A happy new year from the SIF to all of our friends! Before Christmas, we started a more serious think about “where do we go from here?” We held one informal meeting of officers with another planned later this month and a more formal one pencilled in for February. We certainly want to resume our enjoyable series of public talks that we used to hold in central London. We also want to produce issues of The Individual on a more reliable schedule. However, for this we are reliant upon high quality, original copy. And that is increasingly hard to come by…

10th November 2012

The SIF is sad to announce the death of Don Furness, chairman of our associated organisation, Choice in Personal Safety. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

6th November 2012

Professor David Myddelton, the Chairman of the SIF’s National Council, is a co-author of a new report by the Institute of Economic Affairs calling for “for a new approach to financial regulation based on simple legal frameworks, rather than the current obsession with complex, detailed specifications.”

8th October 2012

From the archive: SIF meeting, Westminster Arms, London, circa 1999.

27th September 2012

The Civic Education & Research Trust has published SIF editor Dr Nigel G. Meek’s Conservative Party Politicians at the Turn of the 20th/21st Centuries.  The book is an objective, quantitative, multi-focus analysis of the attitudes, behaviour and background of UK Conservative politicians at the turn of the 20th/21st centuries. Respondents were MPs, Peers, MEPs, Scottish MPs, Welsh and Greater London Assembly members, and local councillors in Scotland, Wales and England. Topics include: the United Kingdom; the environment; business, labour relations, welfare and the economy; Britain, Europe and the wider world; ethnicity, citizenship and national identity; society and culture; the conduct of politics; the political parties; religion; the 2001 Conservative Party leadership contest; and general political ideology.  There is a foreword by Dr Syed Kamall MEP.  It is now available from Amazon and other online retailers.

24th September 2012

Dr Sean Gabb has written a long and affectionate obituary of David Webb on the Libertarian Enterprise website.

20th September 2012

Long-time members and supporters of the SIF will recall our currently “on hold” associated organisation, Tell-IT. This campaigned for information technology to be used to analyse information on the outcomes of drugs and treatments and for this information to be available to doctors and patients alike. Tell-IT had a long association with Dr Alan Dean, his company EPIC, and the General Practice Research Database (GPRD). It seems that the latter is still going strong as part of a merged Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).

20th September 2012

In the Autumn 2012 issue of The Salisbury Review, the Reverend Dr Peter Mullen has written an excellent review of Dr Barry Bracewell-Milnes’ two-volume work Wealth without Cost: White Alchemy in Economics and White Alchemy in Religion and the Arts.

11th September 2012

From the archive: SIF editor Nigel Meek (l) and writer Joe Peacott (r), at the October 2008 conference of the Libertarian Alliance held at the National Liberal Club, London.

11th September 2012

From the archive: Michael Plumbe (r), current SIF chairman and then chairman of the British Weights and Measures Association, at Parliament Square in June 2000, campaigning against traders being forced to sell in kilos.

21st August 2012

The new issue of The Individual is back from the printers and is going out in the post.  A PDF version can be downloaded for free via the Publications tab on the left.

25th July 2012

The Daily Telegraph obituary of Dr Barry Bracewell-Milnes, published on the 24th July 2012.

25th July 2012

The Daily Telegraph obituary of Lord Monson, published on the 24th February 2011.

22nd July 2012

The SIF is sad to announce the death of one its vice-presidents, Dr Barry Bracewell-Milnes. As well as his work for the SIF, Barry was an author and a frequent contributor to organisations such as the Adam Smith Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Libertarian Alliance and the Institute of Directors. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Dr Eamonn Butler, the director of the Adam Smith Institute, has written an obituary that highlights the intellectual clarity of Barry’s work.

21st July 2012

From the archive: Members of the SIF's Executive Committee pictured in June 2008 at the Westminster Arms, London.

21st July 2012

From the archive: the late Paul Anderton, former editor of The Individual, pictured in December 2005 at his home in Sheffield.

17th July 2012

SIF editor Dr Nigel Gervas Meek represented the SIF at the funeral earlier today of actor and anti-censorship campaigner, David Webb. David was the Director of the National Campaign for the Repeal of the Obscene Publications Acts (NCROPA). It is partly thanks to David's brave campaigning over the years that we enjoy a present semi-relaxation of the laws against sexual expression.

12th July 2012

A new issue of The Individual is being edited and typeset.


11th July 2012

New SIF website goes live!  Bear with us as we migrate documents etc. across from the old website and generally tidy things up.