Thank you to everyone who attended last nights “open mic” event and helped make it a fun evening for everybody. I’d especially like to thank Michael Rudd, Rob Waller, Gavin Webb and Chris Mounsey for each of their talks.
Michael Rudd had the challenging task of opening the night on the back of my announcement that “heckling is strongly encouraged”. His talk on Gold could have been the least original talk interrupted by the most well-informed of heckles, but Michael’s clever twist and openess made for an interesting personal story and informative practical talk. I must now decide, without the benefit of any actual advice at all, whether to go and short gold.
A crowd of new faces allowed me to set up Rob Waller as some sort of socialist boogeyman, but he quickly clarified his libertarian credentials and delivered a thoughtful commentary on the deceptively simple slogans and brands employed in left-wing marketing. I would say more about this, but I think actually it’s worthy of an article on it’s own. If you want to now what was said, Rob Waller has posted his notes.
Gavin Webb used the opportunity to announce his plan for a new EC registered political organisation, or in other words a new party. First Gavin explained how libertarian thinking can be applied practically to sometimes dreary but essential local issues and how it is important to avoid being purist. This triggered a few heckles and some jokes at the expense of the anarcho-capitalists and Rand got a bit of beating too. The heckling morphed into an extended discussion on the topic of legal accountability and whether a political party can be engineered in a way that releases members to be free to express themselves. I’ve asked Gavin to write more on these topics for publication.
Chris Mounsey addressed the group last, which was a shame because the numbers were lower at this point and his talk was a really important one. Chris’ concern was that libertarians are often dismissed as nasty selfish objectivist boogeymen or nutters who want people to die on the streets. This is obviously untrue and it is important that we not only defend ourselves by rejecting aggressive claims upon our lives and livelihoods but present alternative, cheaper, better and morally cleaner solutions. Chris presented the history of National Insurance and described the nineteen-naughties boom in Friendly Societies that it obliterated.
So, did we successfully reproduce Speakers Corner and see in practice the science of good heckling and the incorporation and management of heckles by the speakers? I think so far we haven’t, because the jovial atmosphere was qualitatively different from the blend of humour and ernest seeking of truth that you can see at work at Speakers Corner. While the speakers undoubtedly found the heckling tough, and hecklers took it seriously, I have doubts about the utility of the format as a kind of fun media training excercise.
It was, however, an awful lot of fun in it’s own right.