Paul Tew to run on UKIP ticket

When I came back to the table Paul had opened his laptop and pulled out his written notes – a couple of pages of printed A4. The laptop screen showed a multi-tabbed spreadsheet and I could see 155 rows. As he set out the agenda for the meeting I was glad I had brought my notebook. It had felt faintly ridiculous, like I was pretending to be a proper journalist, but I was a mere blogger someone I’ve spoken to many times at the events I organise in Southwark. I was prepared for a beer and a chat, not a briefing.

paul-tew-publicity-shotPaul and I share a common goal: we want to replace a cold destructive atomising system with warmer, more open and more prosperous minarchy. We want to see a country – Britain – shift decidedly in a libertarian direction before we are dead and unable to enjoy it. Paul, at 35, is a couple of years ahead of me on that score, though he seems older, and he has chosen a different route to change. For me, having learned about these amazing ideas, the imperative is to tell the world about them. I tend to assume that if people know the same things as me, then they will do the same things and want the same political policies, so I think about education and the national debate. Paul has a more direct approach: he wants to be one of the elite 650 people that get to make policy in this country. He seems to neglect education a little but wants to take his principles to Parliament and enact them there, where it matters. Trying to persuade the country a person at a time is not for him. He says political tribes are no longer defined by ideological labels but by clusters of policies on the issues of the day.

Of course, this does mean that for libertarians who seek to educate and inform Paul has little to offer. He says optimistically that “you don’t know what comes of things” and points me towards the fact that MPs seem to get privileged access to the media – a megaphone capable of reaching the whole nation. And this is true; the opinion of the local MP does get a certain amount of automatic respect, exactly because they have their hands on the policy levers.

The notebook I grabbed was a squared paper exercise book appropriate for an engineering student.  Neither student nor engineer, we used our smart phones and dove into detail, calculating the extent of the subsidy the Royal Mail offers to Westminster candidates. Seventy thousand stamps are costing Paul, or UKIP, the five hundred pound deposit. I’m not sure why businessmen aren’t standing as MPs and using this subsidy to send advertisements. Paul is not going to waste it. Right at the outset he had told me about his simple, but well organised plan for the mailshot. Canvas the households first, prepare three or four tailored messages and do a mail merge to get his leaflets to the correct addresses; a simple clean and professional plan. Paul Tew is a VBA and SQL programmer (Microsoft Office macros are his play ground), he knows how he can handle a mailshot single handed and has already cleansed his unedited dump of the Electoral Register database. He has the skills to do this right.

Where Paul does not have the skills, he still knows what to do. His plan included training for himself and reminders to chase up people on the UKIP forum who would act as election agent and graphic designer. He’s set his budget and has begun thinking about where the money is coming from and how it needs to be handled. I’m persuaded he’ll get the money in; much of it is his. He knows what publications to talk to and where to get the map from for the wall of his office. All these little details make the plan seem solid, serious and real. It is quite a contrast to the other libertarian candidacies I have followed, the ones that were cancelled before they started, where support was asked for without saying what support was needed. Paul feels a sense of responsibility, in part because he is representing UKIP, to handle his campaign properly and to deliver the party line. From that responsibility comes a level of enthusiasm which has him pushing harder than some parts of UKIP. Paul is the mainstay of his own campaign, and if he gets the support he needs from head office, and from his fellow travellers, then it seems likely he will deliver a solid performance for UKIP.

The last problem he faces is, not surprisingly for a popularity contest, the possibility of rejection. He may be a bit too liberal for a normal UKIP voter in Conservative Beckenham; and UKIP may be too conservative for him to appeal to libertarian activists that might otherwise help him win. Paul, a New Zealander, believes controlled immigration is the right policy for the UK: “the mixed economy creates the need to control immigration”. He notes that many UKIP policies still seek to do the impossible – central management of the economy – but are at least a bit more “common sense” than the coalition’s policies. He is opposed to Gay Marriage, but only because he believes that state licenced romance is a bad kind of romance to be left with, and he does not want to see homosexuals brought into that officious scheme as well – I agree, better we all get out of it.

Paul’s simple organised bid has better odds than prior Westminster bids of the LPUK era, and I am sure he’ll do correspondingly better. If he gets into power he will be another MP driven by sound principles to office in an unsound institution – like Douglas Carswell, Dan Hannan or Steve Baker. While many will reject his association with UKIP, I don’t think having another MP like them is such a bad idea.


      1. “so as not to split the vote”

        Libertarian Home is a publication, not a party, so it cannot split the vote. I am happy to cover stories of libertarians standing, which will be as thorough and balanced as I can manage.


  1. If Paul Tew is opposed to gay marriage because he doesn’t want more people ‘afflicted’ by the state then he should be opposed to marriage altogether. However, I don’t see how UKIP will allow Mr Tew to campaign on that basis. UKIP’s illiberal policies are not compatible with a minarchist view of UK. If anything UKIP’s party line is socially conservative and for crony capitalism.



    1. The penultimate paragraph explains how Paul feels about three obvious libertarian objections to UKIP policies (immigration, economy running, and gay marriage) but the rest of the post makes it quite clear that Paul is standing on the UKIP policy package (and some of the assumptions leading to that are stated too). Other than pointing that out, I cannot speak for Paul.

      Speaking in my own capacity, there is zero connection whatever between the existence of marriage and the role of the state in romantic relationships, except in some popular biases (such as yours?).

      You can quite easily get married without involving the state. What is difficult without state involvment is the process of having the state (and all it’s various departments) respect your married status without first filling in it’s paperwork and (in very many cases) repeating the formalities with state sanction facilitators. Arguably, the legal process is as much to do with forcing other citizens to respect your marriage as well, which is nakedly coercive social engineering.

      More on that:



      1. Dear Simon,

        Thanks for replying. To take your points in reverse order.

        The state exists and it is nakedly coercive in its social engineering. Any decision that the state makes is social engineering as it affects us all (e.g., whether that be to build & maintain roads just for motorists – social engineering towards mass car ownership; or for the topic in question – disallow same sex marriage and therefore nakedly interfere with same sex couples and not give a significant minority of our population benefits afforded to the majority). The rightful thing, as the libertarian view stands, is that there be minarchy (or anarchy) and the state has no business in one’s romantic interests. That’s a great ideal. However, it appears to me that Paul is not openly campaigning for all marriage laws to be removed, which I imagine would be deeply unpopular with fellow UKIP members. Campaigning against same-sex marriage but not against marriage as a whole appears deeply socially conservative and not at all in line with the liberal view of the world. Those actions appear to be sacrificing the benefits afforded to a minority of people while maintaining those very same benefits to the majority through the force of law.

        Next that leads me to the difficulty of reconciling “controlling immigration” and the minarchist viewpoint. Surely, in a minarchist state, it’s down to individuals whether they chose to come and work in that state or not and individual employers whether they wish to have foreign employees or not? Perhaps I have missed something here.

        Similarly, Paul himself notes that UKIP is trying to achieve central management of the economy, again, which stands deeply at odds with the minarchist point of view.

        It appears to me that there are some fairly fundamental differences between the libertarian ideal and what Mr Tew (and UKIP policies) are calling for.

        Lastly, I am really not sure what “popular biases” you are referring to that I allegedly suffer from. I’d be grateful if you could enlighten me.



      2. “Campaigning against same-sex marriage but not against marriage as a whole appears deeply socially conservative”

        It does, which is a valid concern, and I am not defending it. I did put it to Paul that he was heading for a nasty reconciliation between the party line he is selling and his own principles.

        As to allegations of your baises, I phrased that as a question becuase I was not certain of them, but the one I was refering to was where the law somehow defines the inner romantic feelings for large tracts of the population. I talk about that further here:

        I gather this isn’t where you are coming from 🙂


    2. “If Paul Tew is opposed to gay marriage because he doesn’t want more people ‘afflicted’ by the state then he should be opposed to marriage altogether. ”

      If you mean “he should be opposed to state interference in all marriage” then you are right. If you think marriage requires state involvement even to exist, you are very wrong.



  2. Oh, can a non UK citizen run for office here? Or is Paul a citizen?

    Although I’m not sure about UKIP, I understand his approach to try to influence the nation from office. If he can ride the tide without sacrificing his values…

    I raised my brow when I read “central management of the economy” though.



  3. I’m going to cause some raised eyebrows …. I’m a libertarian euro-federalist. I do not agree with ukip – too small minded and focusing on minor issues. I believe the uk should be more involved in Europe in order to influence the creation of a libertarian Europe.

    A free thinking European continent – small oversee local governments – the main government Brussels or Strasbourg based to ensure the local governments abide with the core beliefs. Focussing on aggression, fraud, defence (small as possible) and not much else – all non political.

    Just the uk becoming libertarian in the world as it is currently is untenable. Europe is a huge part of the 1st world and can have a much greater influence than the uk alone.

    Ukip is a libertarian pretender. A libertarian website such as this should be wary of advocating it.

    There …. Told you I’d raise some eyebrows!



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