Libertarian Party Election Results

I am pleased to be the first outlet to pull together all the results for the four candidates fielded by the UK’s “Libertarian Party”. LPUK is a party with a unpleasant history, but it has kept going and achieved a new first at Thursdays election by standing 4 candidates.

It has gained the trust of a third wave of activists, the last two waves having been burnt out or culled by former leaders over financial matters. This is remarkable in itself and shows that there is a deep need for political representation of libertarians which this institution continues to benefit from.

My last posts on LPUK had the intention of forcing the old leaders to resign fully their positions, which they have now done, as such LPUK is at least as viable as any other entirely untested party. We have moved, very significantly, from a position of being unable to trust the people involved, to being able to take a gamble on complete strangers. It is regrettable that we are moving forward from such a poor position, but to see candidates standing, receiving votes and beating apparent joke candidates is great.

We must look to verify that the old guard of LPUK leaders are rendered fully powerless. Time must demonstrate also that activists are respected. It would help if they could get a bit more organised, for example, by quickly announcing their results themselves. Individual First seems to be the better organised alternative party, despite not standing candidates.

As for the results, LPUK have scored just under 0.3% in four constituencies. They were last in all meaningful respects, but they have been through the process, gained experience and (I hope) some raw data to work with.

Libertarians shouldn’t support Gary Johnson

Voting in elections is never an easy task for an advocate of capitalism. The choices with which we’re confronted consist of slight variations, but even the best choices are terrible; they only become acceptable to us when we take a good look at the alternative.

Americans tend to have it a little easier than Brits in this respect, but the elements of freedom which made it the greatest and most free country on earth are fading, steadily being replaced by a decision making process that’s based on appeals to emotion over rational thought, and at no time has this been more apparent than during this year’s presidential election campaign.

But while Trump and Hillary are busy trying to convince the general public that the other is even worse than they are, more and more people seem to have become aware of the third party option. This has set the Libertarian Party nominee, Gary Johnson, on course to achieve the best result in his party’s history, and the best result for any third party candidate since Ross Perot in the 1990’s. The most recent RealClearPolitics average of presidential election polls had Johnson on 7.3% (Perot got 8.4% in 1996).

On the face of it, the two main candidates make this an easy choice for free market voters. Hillary is the epitome of a corrupt politician, while Trump stands proudly to the left of her on the few economic issues on which he has maintained a consistent position. Naturally, the Libertarian candidate is the only viable choice. But only until he opens his mouth.

Leaving aside his horrendous foreign policy (not because it’s irrelevant, but rather because an apologetic and defeatist foreign policy seems to be the consensus among libertarians, and therefore an issue that should be addressed separately), and focusing only on the protection of individual rights, Gary Johnson is far from right wing, and probably the worst Libertarian presidential nominee in the party’s history (or at least since Ron Paul).

The best example of Gary Johnson’s views being incompatible with pro-freedom ideas came during a debate between Libertarian Party presidential candidates when, in response to a question by one of his opponents, Austin Petersen, he said that a Jewish baker should be legally compelled to bake a cake for a Nazi Wedding. This stance follows from his support for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which banned racial discrimination in public places, a ban that is applied to private businesses that serve the general public, and to other types of discrimination.

An individual’s right to his own property cannot exclude his right to do with that property as he sees fit, as long as no one is hurt in the process (and hurt feelings don’t count). Once the government starts telling you who you may or may not do business with, that right is violated. Even worse, when the government tries to determine the reasons behind your refusal to do business with a given individual or group of people, they are, in essence, legislating thought crimes.

Johnson’s position on this question, which was asked following his statement that bakers should be forced to bake cakes for gay weddings even if their religion tells them that homosexuality is a sin, is a prime example of how the fear of being politically incorrect can scare an unprincipled free-marketer right into the cosy confines of the left. Ironically, Johnson explained his position by saying that allowing religion-based discrimination is a “black hole”, seemingly not realising that he had just stepped into the black hole of emotion-based legislation. Once you enter, you’re bound to find yourself surrounded by triggers and safe spaces, a scary prospect when it comes to teenagers and young adults, but much scarier in the leader of the free world.

Help needed North of the border

John Watson of the Scottish Libertarians drops by to tell us of a Council by election on November 5th in which his party is entering a candidate for the third time in a four month period.

John is the former LPUK treasurer who, in the period after his election, was denied oversight of the books he was newly responsible for. He left the scene to focus on Scotland, cutting a deal with LPUK to use the name Libertarian.

John suggests that anyone willing to help contact the party through it’s Facebook page.

The vote will use the Single Transferable Vote system, giving an interesting opportunity to measure how willing the electorate are to consider a libertarian.

Libertarian Home speaker enters race for City Hall

According to the Standard last month’s speaker Syed Kamall has entered the race for London Mayor and intends to win:

Senior party figures have been pushing the London MEP to take on favourite Zac Goldsmith in the City Hall race but until now he has kept his powder dry. The leadership is understood to be keen to have a proper contest, rather than a coronation, and wants a diverse short list to reflect the capital’s population.

In an interview with the Standard, Mr Kamall said he was running because he believed he could beat Mr Goldsmith and the other Tory candidates.

“I wouldn’t be throwing my hat in the ring if I didn’t think I’d get the nomination. I’m not just here to be a rider, I’m here to win,” he said. “Lots of people in the party have been asking me to do it and saying ‘look Syed, you’re different, you can reach out beyond the party, go for it.’

“Clearly I have shown it doesn’t  matter where you come from, it’s where you’re going to. That’s all part of my message of ambition.”

Libertarian Party Local Election Results

The newly tolerable Libertarian Party quietly announced a list of candidates some time ago on Facebook. I have been looking into what happened to their council candidates.

In Crawley Adam Brown stood for Southgate ward. He finished last, but attracted 53 votes.

Simon Walmsley stood for Horsehay and Lightmoor ward in Telford. That effort yielded 45 votes, a quarter of the Green tally.

Aled Jones was down as standing in the Bridlington North ward, but in fact stood in Bridlington North parish. Despite the confusion Aled won the most votes of any candidate that I followed up on, a pleasantly surprising 476 votes.

The LPUK roster as posted to Facebook

Aaron Hepworth does not appear to have gone ahead with his Westminster bid as no information can be found and, on a trivial search, Radcliffe does not appear to be a constituency. The LPUK does have a track record of having candidates pull out of Westminster bids.

At parish level Stockton on Tees candidate Liam Hillman stood in Newtown alongside nearby Terry O’Neil in nearby Parkfield & Oxbridge. Each polled small numbers of votes, finishing last.

Good luck also to each of the remaining parish candidates including the indefatigable Rohen Kapur and party chairman Guy Montrose.


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.

ILN standing up for Uttoxeter

I was slow to pick up on this one, but Uttoxeter Town and Uttoxeter Rural divisions are set to be the first election test for Gavin Webb and his partner Melanie Wilson.

Previously, Gavin appeared to vaciliate between the idea of standing for a national election, and sticking to his long-held preference for local activism. The national scene tends to be the focus of policy debate in the London scene but the Gavin justifies his preference citing the need to build experience and local reputation. I wonder if the national debate is a better way to generate cultural change, and to leverage what libertarians enjoy doing, but this is certainly worth a shot and Gavin’s consistency and dedication show through here.

Well done to Gavin and Melanie for standing.