Approach to Market

Are we simply going to provide a way for a candidate to stand with an ideological label on the ballot, or is the demand for a party a desire for something bigger and more organised that will speak on behalf of it’s members?

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+ 


  49 comments for “Approach to Market

  1. Ayaz
    Apr 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I think we should set up some sort of libertarian campaigning group as opposed to a libertarian party. Just like the various socialist parties out there, there is no credibility in having a number of split libertarian parties. It is a damning indictment on libertarianism as a political force when a libertarian party splits after only approximately four years of existence in the UK. I do believe it is necessary for libertarians to have a choice at the ballot box, but there is not enough room in an already niche political market to have another libertarian party especially when the UKIP leadership has expressed desires to adopt a libertarian ideology.

    • Michael
      Apr 26, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      I completely agree with this. I feel an advocacy group is sorely missing. Considering the fact that all of the current civil rights groups are left wing and a nightmare to deal with, as demonstrated with the recent Open Rights Group incident, it would be very easy to carve out that niche of a specifically right wing/Libertarian angle on such issues. However, although it may be over stretching what I’m sure would be limited resources, time, and effort, I believe it should also cover economic rights in attempt to close the false distinction that people on the left or right would otherwise like to make with some rights being more valid then others.

      Another idea I had along such lines was to aggregate data from They Work For You and Public Whip. Libertarians (However many contributed in the relevant time frame) would review the bills and proposals, assign a score to the bills and then see how each MP voted. MP’s who voted in favour of bad bills would be deducted the score of the bill from their personal score and vica versa. The result would be we could rank every elected government official with little work against our principles to see who the greatest offenders are and who deserves praise. If a party is then established, we could then focus a campaign on regions where MP’s have done the most harm to their populaces rights. Obviously not every bill can be, should be, or is even worth review, but ones such as the CCDP are clear dangers where those who advocate them should be ousted for their betrayal of the publics trust. Again, if a party is established, the data will largely already be assembled and could be useful.

  2. James Rigby
    Apr 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Being a campaigning group and being a political party are not mutually exclusive. They are complementary.

    We are not setting up another Libertarian party . We are setting up THE libertarian party. The fact that the other party has the word libertarian in its name does not make it libertarian. Calling a dog a horse doesn’t change the fact that’s it’s a dog.

    These pages are not for discussion of whether to have a new party. That discussion has been had. This discussion is about the how. If people don’t think it’s the right thing to do, they will not be compelled into joining.

    • Apr 27, 2012 at 7:42 am

      James, for clarity. When you say the other party isn’t libertarian. I assume you really mean it lacks integrity, as demonstrated by the literal failure to account for £4200, or – as others might think – are you upset that it isn’t anarcho-capitalist?

      MEANWHILE – let’s remember this area was set up to discuss the fundamentals of how a party could be structured to be most effective. And on that score I absolutely agree a party should do campaigning, which I would define as simply series of actions designed to highlight and reframe the debate on issues.

      • James R
        Apr 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

        Simon – My view is that libertarians who aspire to change things must be libertarian in their words and deeds. A party structure, constitution and behavour of officers must therefore exhibit all that is best about the libertarian ethos. Control-freakery, duplicity and opaqueness are not components of the libertarian ethos.

        And btw, I’m far from being an anarcho-capitalist.

    • Andronichuk
      Apr 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      I have to say I agree completely with James here. There is no real “Libertarian” Party in this country… one in name only and one which has some reference to libertarianism this recently added to it’s constitution… but little else.

      The question that has to be asked is:
      “What is the purpose of a political party for libertarians?”
      To win elections? To get into government?

      My personal answer:
      Neither of the above (at least not any time soon)… but rather to get a platform from which we can put an alternative view out there for people to be exposed to…
      In a nut shell… to win hearts and minds.

      The change we all desire isn’t going to come about by the election of a libertarian government in a snap… before anything close to this can happen we need to start gaining ground on changing social views on what the proper role of government ought to be.

      In a nut shell, the purpose of a libertarian party for me as I see it is as a propaganda vehicle, and this in and of itself is a worth while project in my view.

  3. Ken Ferguson
    Apr 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

    A party structure, constitution and behavour of officers must therefore exhibit all that is best about the libertarian ethos.

    Of course those might well be considered to be a contradiction in terms.

    Why should we expect individuals to surrender their right to freedom of speech and subjugate themselves to a collective discipline?

    For what?

    So we can be be more like our enemies?

    It is a damning indictment on libertarianism as a political force when a libertarian party splits after only approximately four years of existence in the UK.

    Perhaps that fact is actually a ringing endorsement of libertarianism. Could it not be that the fake libertarians controlling the zombie corpse deserve each other?

    • Right-Wing Hippy
      Apr 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      “Perhaps that fact is actually a ringing endorsement of libertarianism.”

      Agreed. Blind loyalty is hardly a libertarian trait.

      FYI: I’ve been posting as “Mises” but have decided to sully his good name no longer.

    • Richard Carey
      Apr 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      “Why should we expect individuals to surrender their right to freedom of speech and subjugate themselves to a collective discipline? ”

      A party is a voluntary association. No one’s subjugating themselves.

      • James R
        Apr 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm

        I wouldn’t expect any member to be subject to any discipline or restrictions on what they can say or do. It merely needs to be clear that only officers of the party can make statements on behalf of the party.

        There will need to be a right to expel members in *extreme* circumstances. For example, if someone commits a serious criminal act (scaling the walls of parliament), AND they link it to their membership of the party, AND the link becomes an issue in the media or with major partners/donors/sponsors. Even then there would need to be a process with rights to appeal etc. But for exercising general free speech there must not be a restriction on general members.

      • Right-Wing Hippy
        Apr 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

        “A party is a voluntary association. No one’s subjugating themselves.”

        Going to have to disagree on that one. There’s nothing to say that a voluntary organisation can’t be authoritarian. When you join an organisation like that you do subordinate yourself to its rules/leaders to some degree. Hence the claim that a libertarian party is an oxymoron.

        • James R
          Apr 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm

          “There’s nothing to say that a voluntary organisation can’t be authoritarian”

          There’s nothing to say that a voluntary organisation must inherently be authoritarian either! The trick is to define it so it’s not, and can never be authoritarian. If we can’t do that for a voluntary organisation, how can we ever profess to be able to do the same for society?

          • Right-Wing Hippy
            Apr 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm

            “The trick is to define it so it’s not, and can never be authoritarian.”

            Ah, but that’s for another thread. 😉

        • Richard Carey
          Apr 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm

          The word in question was ‘subjugate’. This is not a synonym for ‘subordinate’.

          Whether or not there is any point in forming a libertarian party in this country at this time, I absolutely dispute the notion that it would be a contradiction in terms. Libertarianism is a political philosophy, based on certain key principles, none of which prohibit the kind of voluntary, collective action which a political party takes part in. There is nothing inherent in a political party which is contrary to libertarianism.

          The only thing you could say is that libertarians may not be very good at party politics for various reasons.

          • Ken Ferguson
            Apr 28, 2012 at 5:35 am


            There is nothing inherent in a political party which is contrary to libertarianism.

            In principle you are quite correct because all relationships are voluntary, however, in practical terms, there is much about the operation of party politics which means it will not work for libertarianism.

            To be successful, we would need leaders with policies and a manifesto and there is no possibility of the different strands of thinking that exists in the libertarian movement coming together for long enough to be followers.

            In our last go, we tried to mimic the party constructions and disciplines evolved by other political parties and it was not successful. The pigs started to walk on two legs (and some still are).

            I have made the case several times for a “minimalist party” a loose and diverse umbrella organisation for independent political action and local electioneering, but I don’t think that is what we are discussing here.

          • Ken Ferguson
            Apr 28, 2012 at 5:42 am


            It merely needs to be clear that only officers of the party can make statements on behalf of the party.

            Yep, that’s the first authoritarian step, but there are a few more to take before you have a real political party.

          • Right-Wing Hippy
            Apr 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm

            “I absolutely dispute the notion that it would be a contradiction in terms”
            I wasn’t actually trying to make an absolute claim, though some do, just that it’s possible to create a party that makes a mockery of libertarianism* if it’s not done properly.
            * I can’t think of an example of this though, anyone?

  4. Paul
    Apr 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I am afraid at this point that there will be more discussion than action.

    Why re-invent the wheel in terms of party structure. How about we just go with what is known to work to start with and then possibly change the structure down the road after the 1st year.

    The Labour and conservative parties have been considered successful, so lets copy their model. A party is just a tool, like a hammer. libertarians don’t need a different hammer than the rest, so why would they need a different party structure.
    Not every libertarian will want to join, and you won’t please everyone. But an effective party by nature will upset some people.

    We could call the party something like the “Liberty party”. Its close enough to libertarian, and isn’t tarnished. People immediately understand liberty, but not necessarily libertarian.

    More important than anything else is to appoint a benevolent and competent leader, and a constitution with checks and balances in it.
    Policy can be decided after the party is set up, by democratic methods. For each policy an open discussion is had, people who attend the discussion may vote on proposals put forward.

    • Right-Wing Hippy
      Apr 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      The Labour and conservative parties have been considered successful, so lets copy their model.”

      Is that with or without clause 4?

      “A party is just a tool, like a hammer. libertarians don’t need a different hammer than the rest, so why would they need a different party structure.”

      We really do need a different party structure and it’s nothing like a hammer, though most politicians are tools.

  5. Right-Wing Hippy
    Apr 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I’d like to see a party which treats its candidates like independents, where they raise their own funds but have access to any party infrastructure. No whipping, no toeing the party line. A set of policies is put together for people to campaign on and refer to in the media, but candidates don’t have to stick to them. The only sanction being (as James mentions) the need to be able to expel people: generally only for bringing the party into disrepute, but I suppose in extreme circumstances for promoting policies so unlibertarian as to undermine the general message.

    I do think the funding structure is important, I really think it’s important not to have all the money go into one central pot. a) because it puts too much power into the hands of the leadership and/or members, b) because it means candidates living on welfare, rather than proving their own worth.

    In other words I’m talking about a franchise model.

    • Max Andronichuk
      Apr 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      A franchise model could work very well… the key is getting the combination right between having an effective structure which allows the party to function and co-ordination to be effective… and not dominating candidates’ personal views.

      For a party to run and opperate successfully, there has to be a structure… it needs to be run essentially like a business, and there need to be figures with authority and responsibility.

      Wasting time of this philosophical masturbation of “A libertarian party is a contradiction in terms..etc” will result in nothing being done… if people do not believe in a party, that’s fine… no one is being forced to join.

      But primarily it comes down to what people believe the role of the party is… I am arguing that the PRIMARY role is not getting libertarians elected, but getting a platform for libertarianism and exposing the electorate to a radically different notion about the role of government.

      Our success/failure in the first few years should not be measured by how many people we get elected (or not)… but rather how much attention we can bring to libertarianism itself.

      Get enough people thinking, and election success will follow later on. But untill that point, the idea of disagreeing on how candidates are put forward etc is a non-issue in my opinion.

      A manifesto can reflect a broad church of views… but this can be counterproductive if the goal is changing the debate… the public doesn’t care about the differences between objectivists/an-caps/minarchists etc.

      A manifesto which outlines the DIRECTION in which we want to take government will get them thinking.

      Yes we can say “our ultimate goal is the complete abolition of the NHS”… but how do we get there? There needs to be policy of transition otherwise the whole thing will lack credibility…

      And it’s that policy directed towards an ultimate goal which we should all be willing to stand on.

      We all agree on the direction we want, but disagree on how far down that road we want to travel. The latter is irrelevant at this early stage and will just be a great distraction resulting in nothing being done.

      Lets cross that bridge when we get to it.

    • James Rigby
      Apr 28, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Does the party need to hold funds? Does it need a membership fee? If we believe in a low-tax/no-tax model, we should prove it with our funding arrangements. Perhaps £2 to join for life to cover card production and P&P. Then if anything specific needs doing – leaflets, websites, travel, etc, a call for pledges can be put out. If enough money is pledged, the pledges are called in (paypal or similar) and the money spent. If not enough pledges can be raised, it was probably a bad idea. We expect the tax system to work like this – so why not our party funding model? If people have enough trust in the leadership, they can donate money to be used by the leadership if they wish.

      • Right-Wing Hippy
        Apr 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm

        It’s a good question. It would be a good idea to undercut LPUK at least, but I don’t think we should assume that people will work for free and the fee protects against ne’er do wells who might simply want to cause disruption. Pledging for specific projects is a very good idea.

      • Max Andronichuk
        Apr 29, 2012 at 12:31 am

        The problem here is that without a steady flow of income from membership subscriptions… we will find ourselves in the following situations:

        1. Come elections, there will be a rush to raise funds (from past experience) which: a) members may not be able to pool together in a short period of time, b) not all members may be informed in time (ie: email newsletter ending up in junk folders)

        2. There will be costs to maintaining the organisation which are ongoing such as domain hosting, postage, website maintenance etc… without a bumper of funds interruptions to even the most basic needs may arise… asking for donations for these sorts of things will become tedious and not a great image for the organisation.

        3. Undermines the ability of those elected to positions of responsibility in performing their tasks if they need to ask for funds for every proposal they have… this could result in the sort of “committee discussions” we are seeing here on every single proposed action… results in high risk of gridlock on most actions if there is not unanimous agreement.

        4. This might sound petty now… but I am a pessimist and from seeing the kinds of petty things that caused arguments before… I believe that there will be frustration on the part of those who actively contribute seeing donations start to fall short of targets frequently… whilst we like to think that people will step up to the plate (and I include myself in this analysis)… come crunch time the desire to chip in may very well be interrupted with the thought “surely others will cover it this time”.

        Understanding fully that financial matters are going to be of great concern following past experiences, I think provided watertight safeguards are put in place the idea of putting up £10 or £15 upfront for membership won’t be that much of a concern.

        Some ideas:
        Financial report/summary from the treasurer to the members 2 times a year?
        Earmarking 20% of membership fees into an “election fund” to avoid last minute panic for funds?

  6. Paul
    Apr 29, 2012 at 8:18 am


    I agree mostly with most of what James Rigby and Max have to say so far. However I will be in the minority when I say the party actually needs a creed/set of principles/manifesto.

    A party is a brand and needs to stand for something, the public will not know what the libertarians want if they are not coherent. The party that is set up in my opinion needs to be a unifying force. If there is not coherency between candidates, why do they need a party?


    The party will need peoples time or money to function. Funding is a big issue if it is to be run properly. Will donations/membership ever be enough, or do we need a proper backer to fund us.

    I don’t think we should offer lifetime memberships, as it removes a valuable signal about how the party is doing.

    In terms of the pricing, a two part tariff might be the answer.
    An example:

    £2 a year basic membership and if you want to attend the AGM you pay £20.

    Candidate expenses

    On expenditures for the candidates, if the goal is just to raise the profile and run a light campaign, then we would only essentially need to fund the candidate deposits not a full blown campaign. That should get them into the debate. (Later on we might want to properly contest an election).

  7. Ken Ferguson
    Apr 29, 2012 at 10:19 am


    For a party to run and opperate successfully, there has to be a structure… it needs to be run essentially like a business, and there need to be figures with authority and responsibility.


    Those things are only important if you want a party interested in acquiring and wielding power but we are not supposed to want to exercise power over others. We are supposed to want freedom from others exercising power over us.

    For me, the most dispiriting aspect of the LPUK debacle was not the arrogance, weakness and lack of morality of the leader or even the wilful blindness of his supporters.

    It was the naive opportunism demonstrated by some others, who seemed to see a chance to further their personal agendas and indulged in duplicitous Machiavellian games in pursuit of power and position.

    I don’t want to be in an organisation run by “figures with authority and responsibility” and, if you think such an organisation is the only way to function, I suggest you take a look at the Tea Party, Anonymous or the movement to elect Ron Paul.

    And if you argue that we need a compulsory funding model, you first need to be able to explain how Linux and Wikipedia came to exist.

    • Apr 29, 2012 at 10:33 am

      At least in the case of Linux, absolute truck loads of dollars.

    • Max Andronichuk
      Apr 29, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Ken – Firstly you mistakenly presume that I believe the primary purpose of a libertarian party is to get libertarians into positions of power… in my humble view the primary role is to spread propaganda through the electoral process… to help change the debate itself… and this still needs an organised structure and funding to be effective.

      Getting candidates elected will follow after we have a platform and start turning heads to our alternative proposals about the role of government.

      If you look at the success of the Paul campaign, it’s based on a balance of volunteerism and effective organisation coordination volunteers into effective action.

      Case and point:
      In 2007-8 when it was far more grassroots without nearly as much top down organisation, the Ron Paul Blimp was funded through a grassroots effort…

      Yes it was fun, yes the members loved it… but in hindsight we can see that in terms of effective use of money and time, it was neither (if the goal was raising awareness about Paul).

      Compare and contrast that with the Phone Banking initiative this time around… the campaign sets up the initiative based to campaign research and a marketing strategy devised at the top… volunteers take part, Ron Paul surges in Iowa a few weeks after it was set up because of the hugely successful rate of contacting Iowa voters that it generated.

      We shouldn’t view all forms of centralised organisation as necessarily evil… centralised government, yes. But in terms of business, the vast majority of successful business has someone in charge.

      Referring back to the Paul campaign, Jesse Benton is the guy who is basically organising it from the top down. At the moment we are hearing of all the states reporting Paul picking up the majority of delegates due to the fact that the strategy this time around was different (ie: not just focused on winning the popular vote)…
      This strategy wasn’t devised in open forum, it was pushed for from the campaign HQ to state campaign managers.

      Yes there is a risk that the individuals who devise strategy will get it wrong… but we can always improve and learn from it with time (after all, we are not expecting a libertarian government any time soon, in it for the long haul)… but having an open forum on everything does tend to lead to ineffective, uncoordinated efforts… which tends to diminish the effectiveness of those efforts.

      My point is that it’s about striking a balance. There should be individuals in charge of running the organisation to put forward a strategy with a set of objectives in mind… this does not mean that, as was much the case in the past, they should stifle any grassroots volunteering that may come up… but rather offer the members a framework within which grassroots volunteering will be more effective.

      We have candidates wishing to stand in several different areas with not enough funding for all… top down evaluation of which areas may be more receptive to which messages (ie: conservative strong hold? Labour marginal seat? etc)… from something as basic as this marketing and leafleting material being altered is likely to have a greater impact than…
      the candidate standing in a conservative stronghold wishing to run on a personal manifesto focused on the legalisation of drugs and the Labour marginal candidate focusing on his personal issue of choice being privatising the NHS.

    • Richard Carey
      Apr 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm


      “It was the naive opportunism demonstrated by some others, who seemed to see a chance to further their personal agendas and indulged in duplicitous Machiavellian games in pursuit of power and position”

      Who does this refer to? Name names!

      • Max Andronichuk
        Apr 29, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        May I suggest dropping this discussion… not relevant to what we are doing at best, a major distraction at worst.

        Plenty of work to be done, the sooner we direct our focus onto it the better.

  8. James Rigby
    Apr 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Frankly, I think candidates should pay their own deposits. The party should support campaigns with some spending on leaflets, people on the doorstep etc. If the party funds deposits, there is the risk that the candidate then fails to throw themselves 100% into the campaign which will generate bad feeling.

    If it’s their money on the line, they’re more likely to work to ensure the deposit is saved. It’s free for local elections, £500 for parliament, £5,000 for the EU parliament, £5,000 for a police commissioner, and £10,000 for Mayor of London.

    Candidates will be able to ask for donations towards their deposit – and if they can’t raise the money, then perhaps they should be asking themselves if they should stand.

    • Paul
      Apr 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      James I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly.

      However as someone who has stood for national election, I can tell you that campaigning takes quite a bit of time. The biggest cost for me, was the loss of wages as I took a sabbatical. This you will appreciate is quite a sacrifice far and away greater than the deposit. The cost of the deposit, other materials and calling in favours on top of this time and energy cost for a slim chance to make a difference, may deter the candidate from standing again.

      Its the absolute amount factor thats important not the marginal(£500) amount.
      On that basis, I think a small token such as paying the deposit, can make a difference. Its hard enough to get candidates as it is and the incentive not to make a loss, outweighs the moral hazard in my opinion. If the party does not have the funds to make a deposit, then it obviously should pay it.

  9. Ken Ferguson
    Apr 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm


    There is no benefit whatever in raking over the coals. My point is that a top down hierarchical structure encourages those with a disposition to want to exercise power to fill such roles. Because the roles exist.


    I don’t dispute that a grass roots libertarian movement would work better with intelligent direction, but when the directors attempt to exert control through leadership positions,co-ordinating committees, narrow policies and party rule books many in the grass roots will be unable to continue to support the movement and the result will be rift and division. As we proved.

    If we are arguing that society can work without excessive control by government, why can we not prove this by adopting a structure in our own movement that demonstrates we do not need such control?

    • Apr 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      We are, in fact, arguing that the correct system for people to live together disposes of coercion and fraud, a voluntary association with a system of rules is not coercive.

      See also

    • Max Andronichuk
      Apr 29, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      Ken this is a pointless debate to have because no matter what each of us may individually believe about the ideal structure of a political organisation… the law as it currently is sets a bare minimum requirement as John Watson has pointed out in his post bellow.

      Parties are legally required to have a Leader, Treasurer and Nominating officer who carry legal responsibility.

      As much as it may be intellectually stimulating to debate the possible workings of an organisation based on complete voluntarism, it’s not a discussion that has much practical value in the current climate of electoral regulations.

      • John Watson
        Apr 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

        Max, some parties allow their members to do what they like to a degree. However they also possibly pay a large liability insurance. So if this new party goes down this route then you need to ask how much is this insurance, what it covers and who is going to pay the insurance costs. {membership fees are about to increase folks.}

        • John Watson
          Apr 29, 2012 at 11:32 pm

          Also like to add…

          If you give members a complete freedom, then you may have a group of members screaming “Abolish the NHS”.”Abolish welfare now”

          Then you may have a member who is trying to win a seat, who understands you get rid of the NHS over a period of time by offering an opt out solution, and people gradually attracted to the free market alternative. But these members screaming “abolish the NHS now”, undermines his/her own campaign.

          People will stop listening at the door step, be turned off against “libertarianism” altogether. With this open minimalist party approach, it can only takes a few members to destroy the party name.

          The objective is of any libertarian style party is to educate the public, at election time it gives you the excuse to knock at peoples doors and talk direct to different individuals . This job becomes impossible when some members under the same party banner going around screaming “Abolish the NHS now”, Abolish welfare now”. The minimal party approach in the long term will turn as many people away from libertarianism than attracting new ones.

          • James Rigby
            Apr 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm


            IF we can get into a position of having a winnable seat, and IF there are so many volunteers turning up, and IF some of them scream “Abolish The NHS Now” then I take your point, to a degree. But there are a lot of ifs in there, and frankly I’d be delighted to be in a position for us to have a winnable seat at all.

        • James Rigby
          Apr 29, 2012 at 11:42 pm

          What liabilities? There needs to be “controls” to stay within the law on party funding and donations – but that’s about it. If an individual wants to say something slanderous or scale Big Ben and hang a Libertarian banner etc, it’s their own risk. If only the party leadership is allowed to speak on behalf of the party, then the party is not liable in law. If I’m missing something, please outline a scenario.

  10. john Watson
    Apr 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    “why can we not prove this by adopting a structure in our own movement that demonstrates we do not need such control”

    Such as these controls…

    Is there an an example of a political party that doesn’t have any control? Have you an example or draft constitution demonstrates an uncontrolled party? Who is responsible for paying any legal liabilities for this uncontrolled party?

    • James Rigby
      Apr 29, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      As I said before, what legal liabilities? Apart from law breaking regarding party funding and election spending, please paint a scenario.

      • John Watson
        Apr 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm

        Copyright, slander, or god knows how many other laws. Please note in such cases a “political party” can be taken to court in a civil case. Representation of the People Act is also another good read.

        • James R
          Apr 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm

          Only those things done with the authorisation of the party can create any liability for the party. My son is a member of the boy scouts, but if he commits a crime (even when in uniform), he’s the one who gets hit with the liability, not the scouts.

          Provided the constitution states that only Party Officers can authorise statements or leaflets on behalf of the party, the party itself is covered.

          • john Watson
            Apr 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm


            Maybe you should re-read what I said, I clearly said “CIVIL case” which is completely different from “criminal” law. Under criminal law only an individual can be persecuted however under Civil law a company or an organisation can be sued or fined. For such protection of a party, then it would be advised that it has some liability insurance. However the less checks and balance in place, then I think any party would end up paying more for this type of insurance. If no checks and balances our in place, and the organisation has no type of insurance then who is liable with in the organisation? We are talking here about an organisation with a constitution that gives the statutory officers no “authority”. If the Treasurer is liable to pay £2000, and only £50 in the bank, the treasurer has the option of walking from his legal responsibility leaving the responsibility to the Leader. But the leader also has his hand tied due to the Constitution who has no option to walk away from his legal responsibilities. Now do you start seeing the problem? Who would want to stand as leader or treasurer in such a party? I also suggested read “Representation of the People Act”, with most of the laws targeting at the individual however some of it is also targeted at the party including possible penalties.

  11. Ken Ferguson
    Apr 30, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Parties are legally required to have a Leader, Treasurer and Nominating officer who carry legal responsibility.

    We need to have these positions to satisfy the requirements of the state. It doesn’t mean we have to give them any authority, we can structure the party as we wish.

    You may well argue that a mutualist approach to politics would be ineffective, but that is a different argument.

    • John Watson
      Apr 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      ***We need to have these positions to satisfy the requirements of the state. It doesn’t mean we have to give them any authority,”**

      Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000
      (2)The person registered as a party’s leader must be—
      (a) the overall leader of the party; or

      Under PPER Act, a party leader needs to be seen to lead the party. I assume if you submit a constitution to the EC, and it shows the leader does not have the “authority” then the new party application will be rejected by the EC, OR possibility EC penalties. This is only my own interpretation of the law. Have you actually read the PPER Act?

      • James R
        Apr 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm


        I think you’re talking rubbish. What “authority” does any party leader have? Can Cameron, Clegg or Milipede take away their members’ rights to free speech, free assembly etc? No!

        I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that you don’t want a party to be set up. Which is fine – don’t join it. But please don’t try to place false and artificial obstacles in the way of those who want to create a party.

        • john Watson
          Apr 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm


          I simply quoted the PPER Act, I very much hope this minimalist party gets off the ground. I will be surprised if it does, but if it does I think it will be lucky to last just for a few years. But hey, I may be proved wrong….

  12. Paul
    Apr 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    On that note, shall we move away from the conversation about whether we should set one up, to what it should be called?

    The initial question of this thread seems to have been answered. There is a demand to set up a new party? Those who wish not to help need not do so.

Comments are closed.