It was good to see so many people getting reacquainted with one another over a few Spitfires. Promotion here, on Outspoken Rabbit (thank you Daz) and on twitter lead to attendance quadrupling on last month. Rumours that Andrew Withers and Nic Coome would be joining us may have helped, but proved unsubstantiated (I’m told that Mr Withers had to attend a board meeting which was arranged after initially accepting an invitation).
As always, the discussion was wide-ranging. I’ll try to summarise the best I can.
There was a level of interest in renewing LPUK but general pessimism about the likelihood of success. The chief concern was that any money given to the rump would not be in safe hands, and the members present suggested they would not renew. The assumption appeared to be that Simon Fawthrop’s action to extend memberships indefinitely would not be honoured. The second issue was that the AGM is not yet announced so cannot occur before December, when members may have other things to attend to. Nic or Andrew could have offered some reassurance on all this, if they had attended.
Tim Carpenter, filling the role of leader, took to a bench to suggest that members should be prepared to risk a small fee if it helps to ensure the Party gets back on track. It was a long speech but the feedback was that some matters needed to be attended to. There was an expectation that the AGM should be held in November, or else a Christmas date avoided, and that it should ideally be held in London. The unfilled post of Treasurer was the subject of some discussion and Tim’s commitment to request disclosure of the accounts to prospective candidates was received with cynicism, but was seen to be important.
From the floor there were a couple of suggestions for alternative courses of action outwith the party and speculation that the community is not ready yet for a Party anyway. I reiterated the role Libertarian Home can play in providing a space to discuss these suggestions further and I’ve invited articles on these ideas from the proposers. For now, I will keep quiet so as not to pre-empt their announcements. I went away with another action point, which is to establish a mailing list to carry announcements on these topics. I anticipate this will take a newsletter format until there enough going on to justify setting up and moderating additional discussion spaces.
I’d also like to point people towards the Webb-Andronichuk proposals, which came up again in conversation around detailed issues.
The conversation moved on to libertarian campaigning especially the choice of campaign issue were a favourite. James Rigby made some interesting points about how strongly emotive issues are a less fertile ground. There was emphasis on lifestyle choices that had been criminalised and practical issues that affected easily identifiable groups. In short, tax and prohibition.
The next theme was how to get the messages out there. There were lots of idea and one common problem, without methodical organisation and a core team of paid staff none of them would gain the momentum necessary to be effective.
There is clearly demand then for a libertarian campaigning organisation, but the shape of that organisation is up for debate.