How can we be confident in LPUK?

I have recently checked in with the state of LPUK. It is helpful there seem to be more LPUK members coming to London now and so face to face conversations are possible, indeed the Dose of Liberty team invited the Kent coordinator to speak after meeting at London events. It is also speaks very well of the state of libertarianism in the country that volunteers continue to put themselves in harms way to try and make progress in building institutional libertarianism. I hope that they do so from an informed stand point.

The money that went missing, is still gone, as far as I know. I have not checked up the accounts and do not intend to do so again. It is more fruitful to consider a simple rational question “that was six years ago, isn’t that in the past?”

This is a reasonable question. Six years is a very long time, finding out what happened to £4,000 is not economically useful in itself. Although at one point it was more than four times revenues it becomes an ever smaller fraction of the party’s total revenue. The money could be earned again. Better to move on, no?

Well, yes and no.

On the yes side, it would be more useful to be engaged again with LPUK and offering advice and supportive criticism. Parties need non-party spaces for frank conversations to take place, both in public and in private. Our recent coverage shows that can happen, and it has been received warmly, but it should happen more.

On the other hand, activists need to consider whether helping a party earn the same money a second time is a useful pursuit and whether there is a danger of having to earn that money again a third or fourth time. Is current revenue in safe hands? Is the effort invested now an efficient use of time? If one tries to make the party accountable in future how will one be treated? Is it better to concentrate on doing something else first, or join another party?

I think there should be two tests for that:

  1. The personalities responsible for the mislaid money no longer run the party.
  2. The party has acknowledged the problem and provided as much transparency as possible (one bank balance figure would be enough)

These are very simple tests for an institution to pass and there are few good reasons why an institution that has failed badly in the past should not seek to get through them. My suspicion is that the senior leadership do not have much regard for the experiences activists have when helping the party. I also suspect that waiting it out is a deliberate strategy to avoid personal embarrassment. Every person in the country is poorer, sicker and less free while the leadership waits.

Let us consider if the tests have been passed:

1. The personalities responsible for the mislaid money no longer run the party.

False. The person who oversaw the problem as treasurer and leader and who personally withheld the financial records from the NCC is still the chairman of the party. He is visibly running things and doing so more than the official leader. He’s even put his name above that of the leader in the NCC listing. Adam Brown ought to be wondering if he has let himself be used as a fig leaf.

2. The party has acknowledged the problem

I would have expected to have been contacted. That has not happened. They have had six years to issue this acknowledgement.

I suppose it is possible in theory that a statement was made to the public in some obscure place without being brought to my attention, it is not as if I have been looking closely, but I doubt it. I look forward to this changing.

While the party fails to address these two tests I recommend libertarian activists spend as little time as possible on the institution.

LPUK Must Appeal to Students on Campus

If we should take one thing from the results of the last election it is this: The youth are now politically motivated and will play a big role in how the next election is decided. If the Libertarian Party is going to succeed electorally then they are going to need to capitalise on this fact and make an active attempt to appeal to the youth of this country.

The party should make a particular effort to engage with university students, as there aren’t many options for (particularly economically) liberal-minded students on campus. This is particularly true as many young Conservatives display socially liberal tendencies when it comes to issues like gay marriage, abortion and the war on drugs. This sets them apart from the more authoritarian traditionalists who have dominated large sections of the party. This means that a libertarian presence on campus who shares not only their beliefs on matters of society and economics could quite possibly dominate right-wing politics on campus. As well as this, a libertarian society would also be able to separate itself from the ‘nasty party’ image and social stigma of the Conservatives while taking up the mantle of promoters of liberty and individualism. This is all before one even considers the possibility of enticing the more libertarian, Blairite elements of the Labour party who may be dissatisfied with the direction Corbyn is taking the party.

In order to achieve this, the party must provide greater resources for libertarian students keen on developing their own branch at their institution. A quick look at many of the other parties will show that they have developed their own youth appeal offensive. However, the libertarian movement is in a unique position because of its ideology. Connections must also be made between societies new and old so that newer societies can connect and learn from older ones like the Hayek society at LSE.

Now is the time to seize this opportunity. If the libertarian movement and the party are to be taken seriously as an electoral force then it must develop its own youth base using its own unique message.

Dose Of Liberty- Episode 2

Joined by Jamie Fordham, the face for Kent Libertarians and winner of the prize for activism in the Libertarian Party UK, Tammy, Jordan and Bruno go through events already buzzing the libertarian circle in 2018. The visit and talks by Jordan B Peterson in London the week before. The Chanel 4 interview with Cathy Newman and its repercussions. Also in this episode, the Libertarian Party conference and the future of Libertarians in the UK.

https://soundcloud.com/dose-oliberty/dose-of-liberty-2-jordan-peterson-libertarian-conference

Also, please like us on FaceBook and follow us on Twitter!

 

LPUK Conference 2018

It is a freezing cold January afternoon. The setting is a brightly lit subterranean hall, the ridiculously baroque design of the room makes the place look like an upmarket nightclub. But people are not here to dance they are here to the UK Libertarian Party Conference.

The LPUK has had an unexpected burst of energy in the past year despite suffering for a while with a reputation as a ‘do nothing’ party. As I am not an LPUK member I attended the conference out of pure curiosity, to see if the party has what it takes to build on its success.

The first half of the day was taken up by speeches from LPUK activists. By far the best speakers were Will Taylor and Dan Liddicott; both finishing their speeches with thunderous applause. It was immediately apparent that putting forward a positive, thoroughly modern case for liberty resonated with almost everybody in the room.

The second half of the day was taken up by an eclectic mix of different speakers. Historian Ruth Dudley Edwards, Fathers for Justice leader Matt O’Connor, Firearms UK organiser David Ewing and finally the Liberland founder Vit Jedlicka.

There were three significant messages that the LPUK conference has taught us. This first being that there is a real appetite in our society for an enthusiastic party that truly represents the future of modern Britain and puts forward a positive case for liberty.The talking points that got the best response from the audience were reaching out to people’s hearts, promoting genuine diversity, new technologies like cryptocurrency and the importance of the private initiative.

Liberalism is a radical doctrine, we do not have to play the progressive versus reactionary game. The likes of Momentum and Rhodes Must Fall represent only one image of the future. There is an alternative outlook for the UK. It is innovative, open-minded and free.

The next message we learned is that people want to be part of the Libertarian movement. Over the course of the day, there were talks about Northern Ireland to firearms law to creating a new country. Libertarianism is exciting and people want to be part of it.

Finally, and on a less positive note, we must look at the condition of the LPUK itself. You may be wondering why little attention has been given to the LPUK leader Adam Brown. This is because there is really not much to write about.

Given that Brown has received criticism for being an extremely low key leader you would imagine that he would make use of this opportunity to stamp his authority on the LPUK. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. Brown made a rather clumsy introduction which was around two minutes in length. He then remained silent for the entirety of the conference.

At the end of the day, Brown had his chance to speak and finish the conference on a high note. Instead of doing this the party leader stuttered through a five-minute address which he admitted that he didn’t write himself. All of the chances for Brown to demonstrate some ownership over the day’s proceedings were taken by the party’s previous leader Andrew Withers. To add insult to injury the party top brass (in full view of the audience) were playing around on their phones rather than listening to the speakers for the duration of the day.  

The LPUK conference was a positive and energetic affair. At the end of the day one of the speakers, Ruth Dudley Ewards said she was “impressed” by the noticeably young and engaged nature of the audience. There is indeed a great amount of potential in the LPUK at the moment. But for it to gain more momentum it needs to sort out its chronic leadership problem. It is incredibly unclear who is actually in charge of the party. It would be a tragedy to see this new vitality wasted by an apathetic leadership.

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.

New leader of LPUK must grab control

The LPUK has announced a new leader effective 3rd October. The party register still lists the old guard of Andrew Withers, Nic Coome and Liam Hillman as in control of the entity for at least electoral purposes. This will presumably take a little time to update but must be an urgent priority.

During his stubborn and bizarre – though successful – efforts to steal control of the party in 2011 Mr Withers used this official registration, and a hidden “letter of clarification” from the EC, as a lever against his NCC. Libertarians committed to bringing about effective change in the UK will want to watch this registration is updated to ensure there isn’t an unexpected regression to Mr Withers.

The new leader is named as former Crawley Borough Councillor Adam Brown.

Controversial nationalist David Parry, a friend of Mr Withers, remains in post as press officer. No further changes are mentioned.

Mr Brown must urgently address the institutional needs of the party to ensure they are in place well ahead of the next election. This must include an official acknowledgment that prior officers of the party permitted a serious accounting discrepancy to develop.

 

The announcement, described as “tongue in cheek” by nominations officer Liam Hillman follows:

Adam Brown is Elected New Party Leader for Libertarians UK

Following an internal ballot on 15th August 2015, Libertarians across the country have unanimously elected Adam Brown as their new party leader. A clear and enthusiastic vote of trust by jubilant activists and committed friends of LPUK to the type of inclusive policies defended throughout his campaign.

Hailing from Crawley in West Sussex, Adam has impressed party members with the fact he previously served on Crawley Borough Council as Chair of the Licensing Committee, as well as offering Portfolio Support for the Leader of the council. Interestingly, Adam also chaired the “value for money” scrutiny panel in its endeavours to ensure the council could justify everything it was spending. All adding confidence in his skill as an experienced politician with a proven ability to work with micro, as well as macro, issues.

After thanking all those who elected him, Adam went on to say, “I am delighted in the faith they have shown in me and am honoured to accept the position of party leader”. Additionally, when asked about his view on the task ahead, he confidently stated, “I have no misconceptions of the difficulty I am faced with. However, these are ideal times for the LPUK to discuss matters pertaining to the protection of personal freedom, reducing state interference generally, and rolling back the nanny state that has permeated into our everyday existence”. Each stance placing Adam in the very mainstream of inherited Libertarian thought.

Taking up his duties from Saturday 3rd October 2015, Adam intends to address the party shortly thereafter and table a number of strategies to increase membership, develop further contacts with other advocates of liberty, while raising public awareness of alternatives to “Big Government” in both theory and practice.

For further information contact David Parry Press Officer

UPDATE: after the above was posted, the party shared an extract from it’s constitution on Facebook. The following sections are pertinent:

7.10 Party officers shall take office when registered as officers by the Electoral Commission.

8.3 The NCC shall take office as per para 7.10

Guy Montrose out

The LPUK website has had a refresh and lists the following:

Simon Walmsley – Acting Chairman

Well hello Simon, but wait – no Guy Montrose? Enquiries on Facebook show Guy is taking a “break from politics”.

Since Guy joined LPUK notably more had been done, but I always said he was driving down a dead end in which the party would be unable to accept TV interviews or rise to any degree of prominence. I was recently proved right on that, and perhaps the effect has been to put Guy off spending time on Andrew Withers’ ego-project.

And what of Andrew? His new letter retains a trace of class by thanking “all the members of the NCC past and present that have kept us moving forward and the activists who devote so much time and energy”. I will have more on those activists later in the week. Meanwhile, Andrew can’t help another dig at so called “keyboard warriors” seeking to differentiate himself as a leader focused on “building a presence on the ground with the public” while his list of activities mentions only his interactions with foreign libertarians outside the UK and with Guy’s project the International Alliance of Libertarian Parties. It is unclear how Andrew has helped to reach out to either the UK libertarian grassroots or to the general public. Indeed it was unclear at election time whether anyone at LPUK had a clear picture of where their candidates had chosen to stand, let alone what help and support they needed.

In a move that sums up Andrew, at a time when he was supposed to be resigning he has added to his job title “IALP Representative”. Of course he is not a representative of the IALP, if anything he is a representative of himself to the IALP, not the other way around. This seems intended to protect his right to be taken seriously at FreedomFest, where people will not know him and he can wear whatever airs and pretences he desires. I have a feeling he will be the only Libertarian Party leader there choosing to introduce himself with that job title, because the others will have more substantial things to say about themselves.

It seems to me that Guy was the best hope of a decent new leader for LPUK. Andrew is supposed to have resigned, the second time he has done so. If Guy thought that was true, why has he chosen to go now?