Earlier this year, Lithuania reinstituted the military draft, which the Lithuanian state claimed was in response to threats from Russia.
Ukraine has also recently reinstituted the draft, with mixed political results, and for similarly stated reasons.
Regardless of how one gauges the magnitude of Russian aggression, the problem faced by small states like Lithuania is an important one.
How can a small state with a small population — and thus a small military — ever hope to defend itself against a much larger state?
This is an important question for libertarians especially, since, as Hans-Hermann Hoppe has noted, if we must have states, a system of small, independent states (i.e., Monaco, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, and arguably Switzerland) is much more ideal than a system of medium-sized or large states.
As illustrated here and here, we find that small states are less able to impose strong coercive state monopolies since small states face greater competition from surrounding states, and the more abusive states (if small) are at greater risk of losing their most productive citizens to emigration. Thus, small states have an incentive to pursue more laissez-faire policies.
The natural implication of this is that libertarians and other proponents of laissez-faire should seek a world of small states through secession, or through radical decentralization which leads to de facto local autonomy.
In response to this, opponents of secession and decentralization claim that only large and strong states can provide adequate military defense in the face of illiberal and large foreign regimes. “We can reduce the Americas and Europe to regions of small, weak states,” they may say, “but that would leave them defenseless against domination by some future equivalent of China, or Russia, or the United States.”
But are small states really defenseless?
Wealth — Not Size — Buys Defense
War-making is an expensive and capital-intensive endeavor. Ironically, some of the most warlike states often have their genesis in relatively laissez-faire economies (e.g., those of the American and Imperial British economies) because those economies are able to provide more tax revenue.
The other side of coin, however, is the fact that wealthier societies have a greater ability to defend themselves from aggressors. Wealthier societies can afford important and expensive armaments such as anti-aircraft defenses and related defensive technologies. They can afford to pay for specialized highly-trained troops instead of resorting to a 100-percent conscription tax on people with no particular skill for soldiering. Wealthier societies can also more easily obtain nuclear weapons technology which has clearly been shown to deter war-making by large aggressive states.
Also, wealthier societies can buy defense from neighbors in a variety of other ways. They can employ foreign mercenaries, and they can simply bribe unfriendly foreign regimes. Potential foreign aggressors will also be reluctant to bomb wealthy foreign cities that are sources of lucrative trade and investment.
And finally, in a wealthier society, residents at an individual and small organizational level, are more capable — if the state permits it — of arming themselves, which has the effect of adding another layer of resistance to foreign aggression.
The Advantages of Decentralization
This latter advantage of economic wealth brings us to the tactical advantages of political and military decentralization. Hoppe writes:
As a monopolist of ultimate decision-making, the state decides for everyone bindingly whether to resist or not; if to resist, whether in the form of civil disobedience, armed resistance or some combination thereof; and if armed resistance, of what form. If it decides to put up no resistance, this may be a well-meaning decision or it may be the result of bribes or personal threats by the invading state — but in any case, it will certainly be contrary to the preferences of many people who would have liked to put up some resistance and who are thus put in double jeopardy because as resisters they disobey now their own state as well as the invader.
On the other hand, if the state decides to resist, this again may be a well-meaning decision or it may be the result of pride or fear — but in any case, it too will be contrary to the preferences of many citizens who would have liked to put up no resistance or to resist by different means and who are entangled now as accomplices in the state’s schemes and subjected to the same collateral fallout and victor’s-justice as everyone else.
The reaction of a free territory is distinctly different. There is no government which makes one decision. Instead, there are numerous institutions and individuals who choose their own defense strategy, either independent of or in cooperation with others, each in accordance with one’s own risk assessment. Consequently, the aggressor has far more difficulties gathering information and conquering the territory. It is no longer sufficient to “know” the government, to win one decisive battle or to gain control of government headquarters from where to transmit orders to the native population. Even if one opponent is “known,” one battle is won or one defense agency defeated, this has no bearing on others.
Moreover, the multitude of command structures and strategies as well as the contractual character of a free society affect the conduct of both armed and unarmed resistance. As for the former, in state-territories the civilian population is typically unarmed and heavy reliance exists on regular, tax-and-draft-funded armies and conventional warfare. Hence, the defense forces create enemies even among its own citizenry, which the aggressor state can use to its own advantage, and in any case there is little to fear for the aggressor once the regular army is defeated. In contrast, the population of free territories is likely heavily armed and the fighting done by irregular militias led by defense professionals and in the form of guerilla or partisan warfare. All fighters are volunteers and all of their support: food, shelter, logistical help, etc. is voluntary. Hence, guerrillas must be extremely friendly to their own population. But precisely this: their entirely defensive character and near-unanimous support in public opinion can render them nearly invincible, even by numerically far superior invading armies. History provides numerous examples: Napoleon’s defeat in Spain, France’s defeat in Algeria, the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, Israel’s defeat in South Lebanon.
Collective Defense, Guerilla Warfare, and Private Arms
Rothbard explored these same themes in his work on the American Revolution, in which he noted the essential role of guerilla warfare in that conflict. Simultaneously during the war, the “United States” functioned as a group of independent states that had come together for the purposes of collective defense. The coalition was successful against the most powerful state of the era, and the Americans states remained de facto independent small entities, even if they functioned internationally under a single diplomatic banner.
Consequently, we find that effective military defense does not necessitate a centralized state or political unity. There is no compelling reason to believe that had there been twenty or thirty colonies instead of thirteen, that the outcome or conduct of the war on the side of the Americans would have been any different.
These facts remain relevant even today since other regions of the world could take advantage of the same dynamics, were they able to overcome their commitments to nationalism and authoritarianism. For example, if Lithuania were serious about military defense, it might look to the fact that the former states of the Soviet Bloc, from Estonia to Bulgaria (not including the former SSRs, such as Ukraine), have a combined population of over 100 million people and populations spread out over a large area. In other words, the region has the potential to mount a credible and effective military defense to foreign invaders through decentralized, collective defense.
Defensive military capability would also be greatly enhanced by a commitment to economic growth through deregulation and laissez-faire. Not surprisingly, though, most of the states of the region are unwilling to free their economies from government intervention. At the same time, those same states are committed to disarming the local populations and centralizing military capability while palming off their defense costs on the American taxpayer via NATO. That is, they remain committed to old models of state defense that have failed them spectacularly in the past.
The region (like most of the world) remains mired in the idea that a centralized state and a defenseless private sector are the best option for defense. The number of privately owned-firearms in Bulgaria, for example, is six guns per 100 people. In Poland, the number is 1.3 private guns per 100 people. There are even fewer private guns in Lithuania (0.7 per 100), which has decided that enslaving young men via conscription is better than letting citizens have guns. When we compare these numbers to gun ownership in Switzerland, which has a rate of forty-five guns per 100 people (the rate is eighty-eight per 100 in the United States), it becomes abundantly clear that the regimes of eastern Europe are not serious about any type of military defense that does not prioritize protecting the state’s monopoly of coercion over its own citizens.
Economics, size, and the quality of war materiel all matter, but none of these factors can overcome the power of ideology. Hoppe writes:
[H]ow is one to explain, for instance, that France has not long ago conquered Monaco, or Germany Luxemburg, or Switzerland Liechtenstein, or Italy Vatican City, or the U.S. Costa Rica? Or how is one to explain that the U.S. does not “finish the job” in Iraq by simply killing all Iraqis. Surely, in terms of population, technology and geography such are manageable tasks.
The reason for these omissions is not that French, German, Swiss, Italian or U.S. state rulers have principled moral scruples against conquest, occupation, expropriation, confiscation, enslavement and the imprisonment or killing of innocents — they do these things on a daily basis to their “own” population. … [W]hat constrains the conduct of state rulers and explains their reluctance to do things that appear feasible from a “technical” point of view is public opinion, domestically, but also abroad.
As La Boétie, Hume, Mises, Rothbard have explained, government power ultimately rests on opinion, not brute force. Bush does not himself kill or put a gun to the head of those he orders to kill. Generals and soldiers follow his orders on their own. Nor can Bush “force” anyone to continue providing him with the funds needed for his aggression. The citizenry must do so on its own, because it believes that, by and large, it is the right thing to do. On the other hand, if the majority of generals, soldiers and citizens stop believing in the legitimacy of Bush’s commands, his commands turn into nothing more than hot air.
Ultimately, no governmental structure can prevent war if the prevailing ideology is one that prefers violence to peace and nationalism to international laissez-faire. Likewise, Sweden and Norway (for example) no longer come to blows, not because peace is imposed on them by NATO or the US, but because the people of the region view war as an untenable option. There is peace (for now) throughout most of the West because few of the productive taxpaying citizens of the West are inclined to make war on other citizens of the West. This is an ideological triumph, not a military one.
The official Bilderberg Group website has released the full attendee list and agenda for this year’s conference. As ever, the list of topics to be discussed is so vague as to almost be meaningless. Infowars will have full coverage of Bilderberg’s detailed agenda later today and for the rest of the week.
63rd Bilderberg conference to take place from 11 – 14 June 2015 in Telfs-Buchen, Austria.
Telfs-Buchen, 8 June 2015 – The 63rd Bilderberg conference is set to take place from 11 – 14 June 2015 in Telfs-Buchen, Austria. A total of around 140 participants from 22 countries have confirmed their attendance. As ever, a diverse group of political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media have been invited. The list of participants is available on www.bilderbergmeetings.org
The key topics for discussion this year include:
Chemical Weapons Threats
Current Economic Issues
Founded in 1954, the Bilderberg conference is an annual meeting designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America. Every year, between 120-150 political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media are invited to take part in the conference. About two thirds of the participants come from Europe and the rest from North America; approximately one third from politics and government and the rest from other fields.
The conference is a forum for informal discussions about major issues facing the world. The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor of any other participant may be revealed.
Thanks to the private nature of the conference, the participants are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions. As such, they can take time to listen, reflect and gather insights. There is no desired outcome, no minutes are taken and no report is written. Furthermore, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.
Telfs-Buchen, Austria 11 – 14 June 2015
Final list of Participants
Castries, Henri de
Chairman and CEO, AXA Group
Achleitner, Paul M.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG
Non-Executive Chairman, PA Consulting Group
Director, Danish Intelligence Service (DDIS)
Allen, John R.
Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, US Department of State
Altman, Roger C.
Executive Chairman, Evercore
Director of Transitions Forum, Legatum Institute
Director, Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA
CEO and President, Markle Foundation
Balls, Edward M.
Former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Balsemão, Francisco Pinto
Chairman, Impresa SGPS
Barroso, José M. Durão
Former President of the European Commission
Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Founder, SIGNA Holding GmbH
Chairman, FB Group SRL
Beurden, Ben van
CEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc
Director, Institut Montaigne
Special Adviser on Financial and Economic Affairs to the President
Botín, Ana P.
Chairman, Banco Santander
Brandtzæg, Svein Richard
President and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASA
Publisher, Standard Verlagsgesellschaft
President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Director General, DGSI
Castries, Henri de
Chairman, Bilderberg Meetings; Chairman and CEO, AXA Group
Cebrián, Juan Luis
Executive Chairman, Grupo PRISA
Clark, W. Edmund
Retired Executive, TD Bank Group
Member of the Executive Board, European Central Bank
Editor, Editorials and Comment, National Post
Damberg, Mikael L.
Minister for Enterprise and Innovation
De Gucht, Karel
Former EU Trade Commissioner, State Minister
Minister of Finance
Donilon, Thomas E.
Former U.S. National Security Advisor; Partner and Vice Chair, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
CEO, Axel Springer SE
President, Royal Academy of Engineering
Vice President for Engineering, Advanced Technology and Projects, Google
Political Editor, Aftenposten
CEO, TV 2 Danmark A/S
Chairman and CEO, EXOR; Chairman, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
CEO, Airbus Group
CEO, JP Morgan Asset Management
Chairman, BBC Trust
Executive Vice President, Haldor Topsøe A/S
Feldstein, Martin S.
President Emeritus, NBER; Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Professor of History, Harvard University, Gunzberg Center for European Studies
Flint, Douglas J.
Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc
Chairman of the Board, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd
Fresco, Louise O.
President and Chairman Executive Board, Wageningen University and Research Centre
Founder and CEO, Citadel Investment Group, LLC
Executive Editor and Anchor “Otto e mezzo”, La7 TV
Professor of Economics, Sciences Po
Managing Partner, ELIG Law Firm
Former Chancellor of the Republic of Austria
Professor of Economics, Leiden University
Chairman, UniCredit Bank Austria AG
Vice President of Engineering, Google DeepMind
CEO, Siemens Austria
Vice Chairman, BlackRock Inc.
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn
Chairman, Munich Security Conference
Jacobs, Kenneth M.
Chairman and CEO, Lazard
CEO, Gruner + Jahr
Johnson, James A.
Chairman, Johnson Capital Partners
Mayor of Bordeaux, Former Prime Minister
President and CEO, Siemens AG
CEO, Palantir Technologies
University Professor, Sciences Po
Deputy Chairman, Scottish Power
MP, Turkish Parliament
Kissinger, Henry A.
Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
Chairman and CEO, Alcoa
Knot, Klaas H.W.
President, De Nederlandsche Bank
Koç, Mustafa V.
Chairman, Koç Holding A.S.
Director General, Directorate General for Public Security
Kravis, Henry R.
Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
Senior Fellow and Vice Chair, Hudson Institute
Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group
President, Globe Capital Partners
CEO, The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise
Chief Legal Officer, HSBC Holdings plc
Leyen, Ursula von der
Minister of Defence
Chairman of the Board of Directors, KBC Group
Senior Research Fellow, ICSR, King’s College London
Markus Lassen, Christina
Head of Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Security Policy and Stabilisation
Mathews, Jessica T.
Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Vice-President of the State Council, Department of Security, Police and the Economy of Geneva
McKay, David I.
President and CEO, Royal Bank of Canada
Columnist, Professor of Political Science, Istanbul University
CEO, The Messina Group
Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg LP
Minton Beddoes, Zanny
Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
Senator-for-life; President, Bocconi University
Executive Director, The Finnish Family Firms Association
Mundie, Craig J.
Principal, Mundie & Associates
Chairperson, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Netherlands, H.R.H. Princess Beatrix of the
CEO, Ryanair Plc
First Secretary of State and Chancellor of the Exchequer
Columnist, Haberturk Newspaper; Senior Lecturer, Kadir Has University
Group CEO, Titan Cement Co.
President, Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles
Perle, Richard N.
Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Petraeus, David H.
Chairman, KKR Global Institute
Honorary President of The Hellenic Council of State
Reisman, Heather M.
Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.
Chairman, Techint Group
CEO, OMV Austria
Rubin, Robert E.
Co Chair, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Secretary of the Treasury
Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, Pedro
Leader, Partido Socialista Obrero Español PSOE
Chairman and Partner, Macro Advisory Partners
Sayek Böke, Selin
Vice President, Republican People’s Party
Schmidt, Eric E.
Executive Chairman, Google Inc.
CEO, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG
CEO, Michelin Group
CEO, Raiffeisen Bank International AG
Secretary General, NATO
Deputy Minister of Defense
Sutherland, Peter D.
UN Special Representative; Chairman, Goldman Sachs International
Chairman, BP plc; Chairman, AB Volvo
CEO, The Government Pension Fund Norway
Thiel, Peter A.
President, Thiel Capital
President, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy
Director-General, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Vitorino, António M.
Partner, Cuetrecasas, Concalves Pereira, RL
Chairman, Investor AB
Partner, Mercury LLC
Wolf, Martin H.
Chief Economics Commentator, The Financial Times
Wolfensohn, James D.
Chairman and CEO, Wolfensohn and Company
Zoellick, Robert B.
Chairman, Board of International Advisors, The Goldman Sachs Group
Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act which allows the NSA to unconstitutionally snoop on the telephone calls of all Americans is set to expire on June 1.
On May 7 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that NSA mega-surveillance “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized,” Judge Gerard Lynch wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.
“If the government is correct, it could use § 215 to collect and store in bulk any other existing metadata available anywhere in the private sector, including metadata associated with financial records, medical records, and electronic communications (including e‐mail and social media information) relating to all Americans,” Lynch added.
“Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans.”
A lower court had previously characterized § 215 as “almost-Orwellian” and a violation of the Constitution.
ISIS to the Rescue
As the law faces legal challenges, ISIS has has responded by stepping up its threats.
A tweet purportedly posted by ISIS claims the terror group will carry out a cyber attack on Monday. The tweet, dubbed “Message to America” and posted in Arabic, says ISIS hackers will do something “surprising” that “will frighten America.”
Meanwhile, the group has supposedly issued threats in London. “The tweets are extremely concerning given that last week’s attack on a Muhammad art exhibition in Garland, Texas was preceded by series of tweets sent out under the hashtag #TexasAttack,” writes Paul Joseph Watson today.
Prior to the dubious threats issued on Twitter, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Sunday the United States is facing a new era in which a lone wolf terrorist could “strike at any moment.”
“We’re very definitely in a new environment, because of ISIL’s effective use of social media, the Internet, which has the ability to reach into the homeland and possibly inspire others,” Johnson told ABC News.
As Ronald Bailey notes today, “the threat of terrorism by homegrown jihadis is minimal. As Mother Jones pointed out in 2013, there have been only 17 people killed by Islamic terrorists in the U.S. since the September 11, 2001 atrocities” and the terrorism, “even on the scale of 9/11, does not pose an existential threat to our country. However, the growth of turnkey totalitarianism does.”
“Given the impending Section 215 expiration date, is it just a coincidence that national security state functionaries are ramping up terrorism warnings? I don’t think so.”
Additionally, considering the history of ISIS and its connections to the US military and the reactionary monarchies in the Gulf, it is not a coincidence the terror group is ramping up its threat, no matter how fallacious.
Over the next few weeks, as Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act nears its expiration, we can expect more absurd ISIS tweets and the typical knee-jerk reaction from the propaganda media.
Chilling tweets feature images of explosives, threats to target government buildings
by Paul Joseph Watson | May 11, 2015
Jihadists identifying themselves with the terror group ISIS are brazenly tweeting about plans to attack yet another major western city under the Twitter hashtag #LondonAttack.
Images and threats posted to the social network include photographs of guns and suicide belts, with one user named ‘Abu Aiman Al kinyi’ warning, “Bismillah we are coming #londonattack.”
“Just learnt how to make suicide belt by my brother @time4dugma_ Will be using in #LondonAttack,” states another shocking tweet.
The tweets are extremely concerning given that last week’s attack on a Muhammad art exhibition in Garland, Texas was preceded by series of tweets sent out under the hashtag #TexasAttack.
A retweet of a chilling message sent out by a user called ‘@71LastTweep’ also warns Muslims to stay away from the Covent Garden area, a location in the West End of London popular with shoppers and tourists.
Another tweet directly names Floral St, Covent Garden as the target.
Another tweet shows Paddington Underground Station on a map alongside a suicide belt and the words, “Let the reality hit home, the taste of chaos, carnage & bloodshed. #foreignpolicy #QaribanQariba.”
“Brothers n Sisters if you are in europe stay away from police stations or goverment buildings,” warns another tweet by ‘@71LastTweep’, who also claims that he has, “Done Recording My Final Message, Love You Mom See You in Jannah Bi’idnillah #LondonAttack.”
“TNT explosive belt full with ball baring shrapnel, imagine how much damage this can do in #UK in a place full of ppl,” states ‘Abu Abdullah Britani’ in another tweet, while another picture of the same device is accompanied with the words, “Very discreet, easy to carry & concealed under the clothing. They’d never know, walk into a police station, TA office.”
“Good idea, planning to use this one very soon #londonattack,” states a tweet by the user ‘@jwilliam384847′ alongside another image of what appears to be an explosive device. “Look at all the ball bearings #londonattack soon inshaAllah,” says another tweet by the same user.
The accounts making these threats have been active for hours although Twitter has yet to shut them down at time of press. Scotland Yard authorities are reportedly aware of the threats.
Meanwhile, ISIS sympathizers are also promising to carry out a cyber attacked dubbed “Message to America” against a number of targets this afternoon at 2pm EST.
Weeks before the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Infowars predicted that ISIS would attack targets in western (or westernized) countries. Since that time jihadists that were inspired by or who had ties to the terror organization have staged violence in Paris, Sydney, Copenhagen and Texas.
Geller says she attempted to contact FBI over death threats but they have IGNORED her
bySteve Watson | InfoWars | May 7, 2015
A fascinating exchange took place Wednesday night on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program as Anjem Choudary, a British Imam known for openly supporting the implementation of Sharia law in the West, told Pamela Geller that she should be tried in a Muslim court and killed for organising the ‘draw Mohammed’ contest in Garland, Texas.
“We’re talking about people who deliberately had a competition to insult the messenger Mohammad…” Choudary stated, when asked if he agreed with the death threats and the Fatwa issued against Pamela Geller, the head of the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
“If you saw the cartoons that Charlie Hebdo drew you would understand the anger.” Choudary added, trying to talk over both Geller and Hannity.
“And now this woman was to draw cartoons or have people draw cartoons to insult the prophet knowing full well that this carries the death penalty in Islam.”
“She should be put before Sharia court and tried and of course she would face capitol punishment.” Choudary, known for making shocking statements, concluded.
Geller responded by stating “To blame me and say that my cartoons are controversial… murdering cartoonists is controversial.”
When Choudary attempted to interrupt her she shot back “I’m talking, sir… I know you’re used to stepping over women but you’re not going to have it here.”
Choudary retorted that Geller is worse than a ‘Khanzier’- Arabic for pig. The segment ended with Choudary, who has promised that “the flag of Islam will fly over the White House,” ranting about the U.S. “murdering innocent people.”
Hannity ended it by calling him “evil and pathetic.”
Geller further told Hannity that she had reached out to the FBI for additional security in the wake of the threats against her life, but that she has so far been ignored by the Feds.
“They (FBI) have not contacted me but, of course, we have increased my team. I have a team now, private security, and NYPD has been in touch with me.” Geller said.
She also charged President Obama with creating “an environment that raised the stakes” on Islamic extremism in America.
In a further related development, it appears that Garland police were warned about the attack two days before it occurred.
The Daily Dot has noted that a Twitter user affiliated with the activist group Anonymous, who frequently target ISIS social media accounts and websites, warned police on Friday that an Islamic State attack was imminent.
A police spokesman told the Dot “We were monitoring things; we had the FBI and ATF, but we didn’t see anything [on Twitter].”
The revelation has prompted some to speculate that the Garland police department and the FBI were well aware that an attack was planned, and responded swiftly when it happened.If indeed this was the case, it raises questions as to why the gunmen, both already known to the FBI, were not stopped before actually opening fire on the event.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.