Simon has asked me to give you a brief update on the progress of the Wirral First movement that was introduced previously on Libertarian Home.
So here goes.
On 14th Feb an article appeared on the blog of the Adam Smith Institute endorsing the principles of Wirral First. Our website had been brought to their attention by the Liverpool Liberty League, a student group.
The same day a press release was issued to a number of local media organisations and this has led to a good deal of publicity, for example here, here and here. The publicity drive culminated in us getting onto the front page of the Liverpool Echo and Malcolm Saunders had a half hour spot on City Talk radio last Monday morning. We also have another local radio talk lined up.
We have since posted an invitation for people to get involved in the upcoming local elections however the time scale is short and it is not clear whether we will have any volunteers to be candidates. However the idea of freedom from government and independence from the state has been planted in the consciousness of the Wirral public and we need as many people as possible to get on the bandwagon and keep it rolling.
During the process so far we have learnt a few lessons that might be of interest to the wider libertarian movement.
Firstly, just as we envisaged a reformed Wirral Council to be an “enabling council” so we have developed the Wirral First movement as an “enabling movement”.
We have no formal organisation and we do not intend to arrange to put up party candidates. Instead, we expect individuals to put themselves forward on an independent platform. If the citizens of Wirral are prepared to do so, such actions will themselves demonstrate that Wirral is ready and prepared to take charge of its own affairs though, in truth, it will be no surprise if it is not.
Secondly, we have been surprised at the level of antipathy toward libertarian ideas that we have encountered in the general public. As libertarians, we understand the righteousness of our case and we tend to expect the scales to fall from the eyes of the listener when they hear our radical views. Be assured, it is not as simple as that!!!
But the journey, so far, has powerfully demonstrated the potential power of an idea. The fact that a brief thought, expressed in a casual conversation, can make its way, without great effort, onto the front page of a newspaper gives us all some hope that what we are doing can resonate more widely and can, ultimately, make us more free. And the reason that some commentators have branded the idea as bizarre is because, of course, it is.
Does anyone really think that the UK government would actually allow Wirral to secede and form a mainland tax haven, even if the majority of citizens voted for it to do so?
Does anyone really think that if the householders in my street voted unanimously to opt out of Local Authority control they would be permitted to do so and stop paying their Council tax?
The lesson to be drawn from the Wirral First movement is that the power of democracy is a mirage. Wirral First starkly illustrates the true nature of the relationship between the individual and the state- that we are all stood at the point of a gun which it is holding.