Friday, 15 April 2011

Join my party!

Ah, minor parties, doncha just luv em...

Everyone seems to have forgotten the old maxim 'no publicity is bad publicity'. The Libertarian Party of the United Kingdom has knocked along for a couple of years without making much impression. Now a golden opportunity has arisen to raise the party's profile. No, not the Rally against Debt, but instead the emergency investigation into the party's leader, following very damaging allegations from blogger Anna Raccoon.

I feel like I shouldn't leap to judgement on the matter, not knowing the full facts, and while an investigation is going on. Besides, there's no need, as so many people have already done so.

Personally, I never joined the party believing it was going to win elections, at least not before some kind of major political earthquake or mass die-off scenario. Rather, I saw it and still do as a way to meet other libertarians, advance the ideas and build the presence of libertarianism in our society, alongside many other organisations and institutions in this country and around the world. I didn't see the choice as between joining the Libertarian Party or else UKIP or Tory or Lib Dem etc, but rather joining this party or not joining any party. The opportunity cost (by which I mean what I gave up by joining) was negligible. The only thing it prevented me from joining was another party.

Since doing so, my only activity qua member has been to blunder into the annual meeting two hours late, and go drinking with various people in Southwark, people who I find interesting and worthwhile to meet and discuss matters with. I have also in the same time attended a few LA events and met some good people. There will be those who will think 'well, that's hardly likely to advance the cause, is it?', to which I reply, firstly it's long been the tradition for radicals to meet in taverns, drinking and plotting, the ghosts of libertarians past will not necessarily be proud, but they'll hardly be able to judge! Secondly, as I alluded above, it is important for libertarians to meet other libertarians and build some kind of movement, if only to keep these ideas alive!

In the fallout of this blow-up, I do not begrudge the schadenfreude that many politically-minded non-libertarians will be feeling. Enjoy yourselves.

But to my fellow libertarians: The party is only a means to an end. That end is to bring forth a more libertarian society. The party is a vehicle for these ideas. Yes, I know, it's got a flat tyre, but do you abandon a vehicle because of a mere puncture? If all the libertarians who originally joined were back in the party, rather than drifting away one by one, maybe you all could help make it what you originally wanted it to be. If this business drives a dagger through its heart, which it easily could, we're just back to square one, and we will have wasted an opportunity.

I shall for the moment keep my opinions and comments about revolvers and bottles of whisky to myself, and I shall certainly be attending the next meeting in Southwark. It promises to be very interesting.