Ian Parker-Joseph’s new company is hosting a website, at libertarianpartyuk.com with a PayPal button inviting members to donate to the “Libertarian Party” and renew memberships. The site gives an unfamiliar address at Gemini Business Centre in Brighton. The NCC is not presently in control of all the Party’s known bank accounts so where this money goes is a matter of some concern. The Paypal feature appears to be going to a new account.
The obvious inferrence to be made is that Andrew Withers wants to keep the party open, rather than deregistering it. The idea that Andrew Withers will be able to meaningfully lead a Libertarian Party and achieve any legitimate goal is barking mad, but having dealt with Andrew over an outstanding invoice it is apparent that wants to preserve the appearance of operation. He is at pains to use grand terms and give it the appearance of being operated properly. He talks of finance committees, purchase orders and money eventually being paid, if only I correct a typo in the Party name. Coupled with Andrew’s history of using of words like “coup” and “faction” in unlikely contexts; his insistence he is legitimate controller of the only legitimate bank account; and his name remaining stubbornly attached to the Party’s legal identity on the Register I wonder if he might actually get away with it? In this light, his actions with regards to LPUK.org appear particularly mendacious. With LPUK.org out of the way, the website and email broken, and control of the old blogspot account he can appear to all the world as if he is in fact the legitimate controller of the Party, rather than the NCC. The feelings of the activists he needed to lean on to make that happen are apparently acceptable collateral damage.
Who would be reassured by all this?
The mood at the Party’s most active institution – the Southwark drinks – is clearly not in his favour. I don’t believe the people there would ever return to trusting him again, even in the face of an innocent verdict and the backing of Lord Ashcroft. The likely audience are the Electoral Commission.
After the SGM the EC will be faced on the one hand with a group of people claiming a democratic mandate to run the Party and on the other hand a smaller but more vocal group – perhaps just Ian and Andrew – who appear to actually be running a Party and claiming their own smaller mandate. If the NCC are awarded control, members have a shot at ensuring the Party is reborn along more professional lines. If Andrew is awarded ownership then the doors might stay open, but it will be a Party of the walking dead existing forever as Andrew Withers desires. The word Libertarian on a ballot paper will be an unlikely fantasy.
For your own sake, and for goodness’ sake, get your vote in at the SGM by plane, train, post or pigeon.
Update: Hello all. The situation above annoys me, and I want to do something positive. There is a chance to catch up next week and the week after in London. Let’s use those opportunities to try and decide what to do.