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**.
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.
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.
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