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

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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.