“Does Britain need a Libertarian Party?”


Interetsing question. With “New” “Labour” (or is it just “Labour” now? I can’t keep track) heading for one-nation-oligarchy, the Lib-Dem franchise imploding into the newly-left-wing/green Tories, and the Tories becoming irrelevant, the choice facing any voter who thinks is between statism and, er, more statism, or about the same amount, or perhaps slightly less…or more, or, well, thereabouts. You either have to vote for members of the Political Class, or, er, well, nobody (unless you don’t care that the nobodies for whom you vote are going to lose their deposits anyway).

Voting for nobody is what more and more people are doing actually. It is a tragic waste, and represents criminal destruction (probably deliberate) of a noble and ancient franchise, that – unlike the operating franchise in most of the 200-odd “democracies” which rant at us in the “United” “Nations”  actually used to mean something.

At least voting is not compulsory here (yet). I dread to think of the volume of spoiled ballot papers that (I hope) would result from this move. Apart from the mockery this will make of liberal democracy by secret ballot in the eyes of the world, in the nation that invented it in its modern form, the Political Class will no doubt then find a way of tracking who did what in the polling booth. Recent ballot papers I have spoiled used are already coded with a number which is tagged to your name in the electoral roll, which I find sinister and alarming, and which should be terminated right away.

It seems to me that there must exist a large and growing polity whose political concerns are quite unrepresented.  Chris Tame was always against forming a Libertarian party, for he said we would fight each other and not the enemy, or words to that effect, which was probably a sound observation of human nature when there existed a broadly pro-capitalist Conservative Party which could be captured. If Chris was living at this hour, I think he would have come to a different opinion. 

But success from worthwhile capture is no longer the case – just gaze…fior a moment…upon David Cameron and his “advisers”, and his mottley crue of shadow-ministers with the possible exception of my namesake, and despair. That lot is no longer worth trying to capture, for it has no working machinery worth the name. The very brand “Conservative” has been effectively lynched both by Tony Blair, cleverly, and by the manifest failings of John Major’s administration, which even Paul Johnson abhorred. (Read Paul’s paeans of praise to Tony Blair in 1995/1996/early 1997…somewhere…I have not time to search for you today.) “Conservative” has joined words such as “capitalism”, “spokesman”, “waiter”, “Victorian”, “British”, “chairman”, and the like – they cannot be uttered or discussed in polite conversation, unless you are deliberately planning to insult somebody or to stand out as an oddity on the prevailing hegemony of PC discourse. See Sean Gabb’s writings for much sharper analysis of these matters.

Sean Gabb has put up a £1,000 essay prize, entitled “Does Britain Need A Libertarian Party?” You can find the rules of entry on the Libertarian Alliance website, here. Time is short as you have to mail your entries, typed, by the end of this month! But please do, for Libertarians would like to arrive at some sort of a position on this issue, and quite soon!

 Get writing!

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3 responses to ““Does Britain need a Libertarian Party?”

  1. “Recent ballot papers … are already coded with a number which is tagged to your name in the electoral roll,”

    Why/when was this inroduced, was there any major discussion at the time?

  2. I’m with the Libertarian Party of Canada, and president at the moment. And one idea – not completely thought through yet – I was going to suggest to our members as a reform to avoid having collective set policies.

    I was reading some of the criticism of libertarian political parties on the Libertarian Alliance website, and this came up.

    We have a statement of principles in the LPC which is pretty well fixed and hard to alter, so that’s not the issue.

    But why try to have a set of policies or objectives that supposedly represents the whole party if the conclusion of the vote 1) ends up neutralizing or misrepresenting important issues of debate among libertarians such as Intellectual Property

    or 2) leads to blood-letting or more likely to *avoiding* discussion altogether of controversial issues.

    So I’m going to try proposing that we lower the stakes and introduce the idea of diverse platforms that lead to constructive debates that help us all become more informed.

    And then individual candidates and members can adopt what they like from various platforms or discussion documents. So in that case the only policies would be those of individuals and there’s nothing to fight over except who to pick as leader. (Just putting this idea out there)

  3. The fundamental problem with most “Libertarian” Parties is that they founder on the rocks that sank Classical Liberalism — they are used as a foil to cover the unconfessable interest they seek to enable those who have profited most from historic injustices to hang onto their ill-gotten gains…

    Tony Hollick