The policy free party

James Rigby shares an interesting strategic idea with upstart blogger The Libertarian:

there should be no party policies or manifesto. I’ll say that again. There should be no party policies or manifesto. There can be principles – libertarian principles such as non-aggression, individual liberty and property rights, but that’s it. My view is that only candidates should have policies and manifestos. I would not expect a candidate to stand on a platform, let alone vote in an assembly, for anything that is contrary to their personal beliefs. The only requirement is that personal policies and manifestos should be approved by the party leadership team before the candidate is approved to stand using the Pro Liberty name. Provided the policies are within the broad realm of those considered libertarian, then the candidacy should be approved.

In my industry this is called turning a bug into a feature.

Pro Liberty Announcement

Those who use bus services will be familiar with the scenario: You wait ages for a bus, and then three come along at once. The same happens to be true of libertarian political parties in the UK.

Last night at the Rose & Crown in Southwark, Pro Liberty was founded. This is a political party which is being registered with the Electoral Commission to fight elections in England and Wales. The party aims to spread the libertarian message within the media – both traditional and social – and through think tanks, the political system and wherever else we can reach a wide audience.

Not only is the party about promoting libertarianism, it is itself designed to be libertarian. There are no restrictions on membership such as forbidding simultaneous membership of other political parties. Nor will there be membership fees until and unless they can be justified. There is also no restriction on what members can or can not say in the media or elsewhere. Members may not state that they are speaking on behalf of the party, but apart from that anything goes. If we are to promote libertarianism to others, we must be able to at least demonstrate our libertarian credentials in the way we organise our own party.

A party constitution is being submitted to the Electoral Commission. This is a legal requirement. We have designed the constitution to be basic and to last for a year. We want the views of libertarians on what the constitution should contain for future years. There are some very basic legal requirements, but the remainder of the party’s constitution is flexible. And it will be down to you, potential member, to help shape the party to be something that you will be happy to support.

The party will begin a series of debates shortly to help with the process of creating a party that most libertarians can support. We also plan to engage with other libertarian organisations and sympathisers, to have candidates stand for elections, to make a noise in the media, and generally to get the message out there and wake this country up from its century-long sleepwalk.

It won’t be easy. But as Confucius say, ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so get on with it’. We’ve taken such a step, and I hope many of you will join us.

Clarissa, James, and Richard

Several people have been involved with advice, ideas, money, and the hard work required to get things moving. I don’t want to mention them by name because I’m bound to miss someone out. But if you discover yourself talking to someone and they mention they were involved, buy them a drink, they’ve earned it. Three interim officers are being formally registered with the electoral commission. These are: James Rigby – Party Leader; Richard Carey – Party Treasurer; and Clarissa Clement – Nominating Officer.

Going back to where this article started: Lovers of analogies who are also aware of libertarian political parties may wish to ponder whether there was a bus that either crashed or veered off the road a year ago and is still limping along. Maybe you were on it. We hope you weren’t too injured. We can assure you of a safer journey on the Pro Liberty express.

All aboard. Hold on tight. Next stop Corby?