Meeting with Nic Coome

The Southwark Drinks were attended last night by Nic Coome, who is registered with the EC as chairman of the Libertarian Party UK. The party is currenlty split with a rump of legally registered officers and the NCC’s appointees claiming the same posts*.  We’d heard from Tim Carpenter for the NCC as he lives locally, but it was the first time anyone from the rump had come to London to talk to activists down here and I’d like to thank Nic for taking the time to enter the lions den in the way he did**.

The mood

For the most part the meeting was good natured. We spent half the time stood in the bar picking up random threads of libertarian politics, but the landlord found us a room upstairs and the real debate started. Richard took the lead expressing the anger we felt about what happened in April and taking up the topic of the SGM and financial transparency. There were a few heated exchanges, which frankly seemed unnecessary as the questions were focused on Andrew’s role, but overall the tone had improved greatly since April. Richard and Nic were magnanimous and shook hands at the end.

Action points

Rob brought the conversation back around to what might be done to sort out the disagreement. After a detailed discussion about what might be possible, Nic left for his train with two messages to the rump officers:

  • The South East wants a meeting with Andrew Withers to discuss the accounts, the records that exist, and how much really has gone unnaccounted for. We could go to him, or we could meet in the middle.
  • They want to see the data. We set the expectation that we expected any small operation to have a difficulty tracking every small amount and Nic set the expectation that the bulk could be accounted for. We discussed top down break downs versus bottom up summation and the concensus was that we wanted to be able to drill down to individual items, and see receipts.

Post mortem

I was surprised afterwards by how quickly discussion about Nic and Andrew died down. The LPUK is seen as one option amoungst many, and to some extent the conditions for taking part are set (for some, I expect they will be greater). No one was particularly hopeful about the restoration of trust between the sides, and we ended up discussing the minutiae of different ways to effect social change, perhaps without even participating in elections.

Richard again promised to pitch to us his idea of a London based association and my attempt to introduce the concept of free-market Sarvodaya was met with blank looks, so more blogging on these topics soon.

* though this particular argument seems to have gone quiet

** and Pavel for suggesting it

Simon Gibbs

Simon is a London based IT contractor and the proprietor of Libertarian Home. Working with logic and cause-and-effect each day he was naturally attracted to nerdy libertarianism and later to the benevolent logic of Objectivism. Find him on Google+ 

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  4 comments for “Meeting with Nic Coome

  1. Nic Coome
    Oct 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I would like to thank you for inviting me and giving me a fair hearing – despite a few hairy moments. Yes, Richard and I did make up at the end!

    At the considerable risk of sounding pretentious, one major thing I took away from the Rose and Crown was Churchill’s dictum that ‘jaw jaw is better than war war’. I have a feeling that the phrase “lion’s den” may have been mine, but, because we were talking, it wasn’t actually like that.

    As for the burning topic of the money, I am in the process of working through with Simon (Simon – you have mail) how to take this forward. I have suggested that the starting point is the set of accounts which were submitted to, and accepted by, the Electoral Commission.

    I still believe that there is a place for a Libertarian Party, although it’s my personal view that a much more devolved, federal structure would be more appropriate than the existing situation. Of course, that cannot be set up without agreement from the members and approved via an AGM. I am also of the view that the Constitution (such as it is) needs to be rewritten to remove what I consider to be many inconsistencies – another matter for an AGM.

    • John Watson
      Oct 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      There are some individuals who may have donated money to the party or may have provided a free service to the party (but need to be declared in the accounts) but may want their details and information kept confidential. The constitution of the LPUK is clear that account information in strictly limited only to NCC members and legal officers. The suggestion of giving account information out specially to non-members on information on who has donated to the party and who may have provided a service to the party may be a serious breach of the data protection act and party Constitution. If the accounts is to be audited and legally it has to be done independently and some individual has to stump up the cash for such an audit. Another option is an individual could easily stand for the treasurer position or put forward a Constitution amendment rather than holding the party to disrepute.

      John

      • Oct 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm

        John no one is asking for details of donor/donations.

        Furthermore I just checked the constitution and it says
        “7.8 The Treasurer shall receive, expend and account for the funds of the Party under the supervision and direction of the Party Leader, Chair and the NCC. The Treasurer shall make an annual financial report to the NCC and shall perform all duties required of the office by the legislation. The Treasurer is responsible for oversight of all financial functions, including, but not limited to receipts, disbursements, and internal and external reporting”

        Nowhere as far as I can see does it say that only the NCC can see the accounts, indeed as Nic said the starting point would be those submitted to the electoral comission which ANYONE can view. I’m not sure where you’ve gotten this idea from that they have to be kept secret, transparancy has all that has been needed to sort this mess out

  2. Oct 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Nic
    You should have my reply.

    JW is right though. Please don’t send anything with donor names. I don’t think we’d ever want to look at individual donation amounts anyway.

    Simon

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