Why start with a national party? […] I’m not interested in funding a group of five people who want to sit around doing basically nothing except “approving” my local candidate and trying to control my local area.
And this parish’s Richard Carey retorts:
there’s no reason to go so far into localism that you turn your back on the outside world. Stuart, above (correct me if I’m wrong) is writing in Manchester. I am in London. Should we ignore one another? Should I tell him to keep his opinions to himself? Is it not possible that we, in London, can benefit from working together with libertarians around the country, and vice versa? And if so, i.e. if there is no greater benefit in isolation, then why not have some kind of structure to communicate and to work together, to facilitate whatever each local group or particular individual is seeking to achieve?
The first part is true, people are an immense value to each other as long as their goals and incentives are compatible, but the second part does not follow. At least, it does not follow as a reason to have a national party. It is a reason to nationally prepare policy ideas, and ideas for leaflets. It is a reason to debate strategy in national fora and it’s a reason to attend the same protests and events regarding national issues. It is not a reason to have a particular national institution, and if it is, that institution could just as easily be Facebook (or Libertarian Home, or any other bit of the internet) as it could a Party registered with the Electoral Commission.
One good reason to have a central party is that dealing with the Electoral Commission and ensuring good governance of the money are very time-consuming requirements and if time is money then the cost of that national infrastructure might be £40,000. If you have several local parties, then you need to spend the same amount of time (or the same £40,000) several times over. However, what you get for your money is a much looser structure. The local groups are not subject to any authoritity from the center, and by way of the same structural feature, the parts aren’t accountable to each either. The London Objectivists could morph into a clan of baby-eating cannibals or the Clevedon Centre for the Prevention of Kleptocracy could be tainted by financial scandal but the Kent Club for Capital and Liberty would remain largely untainted.
Speaking of Kent, our Andy – a big fan of regional parties – has left his native county for a long holiday. I have a feeling this blog will return to this topic upon his return.
One more thing, is that smaller parties would have the option of registering as minor parties and standing in Parish and Welsh Community Council elections only. If you want to start local, the Parish is as local as it gets. Importantly, the reporting requirements for minor parties are much less onerous and compliance, therefore, considerably cheaper.