I'm gonna try and keep things as light and as brief as I can - it appears that the current incarnation of the Uk Libertarian Party has finally succumbed to the megalomania of one man, and from a personal perspective I believe we'd be best suited letting the Vernon Howell of British Politics do his thing and write that particular project off as a bad job. Maybe the cops will take a greater interest now the scam is back on, I don't know. At least we've played our part here in alerting would-be new members to the swindle and I'm eternally grateful to all of our readers for their role in making that happen.
Some may see this as the death knell for Libertarianism in the Uk but that can be the polar opposite of the truth if we want it to be. A phoenix party may or may not emerge out of the mess, and I'd be willing to give party politics a last shot if the concept attracted sufficient numbers to make it worthwhile. As it happens, I know something about phoenix organisations from my days as a writer for the football website, A Different League - http://adifferentleague.co.uk/. One of the stories that caught my eye (and thanks to Rob Paton for his faith in letting me run with it) was the crisis at Chester City FC, a club under the vampire ownership of the crooked Stephen Vaughan snr. I investigated the 'Danish Consortium' looking to buy Chester, did a forensic Q+A with them and uncovered some photographs of its frontman Palle Rasmussen shaking hands with a smirking Vaughan, along with former manager Mark Wright (who was always openly a supporter of the bid it should be said).
It turned out that this 'buyout' was nothing more than an online share issue in the same mould as that which took over Ebbsfleet United, with less than sexy results. A few Danish kids turned up at a meeting and handed over their money, but didn't manage to raise the £500,000 that Vaughan was looking for. It was quite clear the current owner was far more concerned about his own potential payout than he would ever be for the club which remained in his care. Vaughan had also been disqualified from being a company director for eleven years after a VAT fraud - sound familiar? Anyway, the demise of Chester City in a half-hour court hearing would prove to be the rock bottom from which a wonderful phoenix club emerged. Last season they secured promotion to the Northern Premier League in their first year of existence.
The new Chester FC is run along democratic lines, with supporters involved in decision making, and the Deva Stadium would appear to be a happy place again. I guess the point is that the freshness of the scars have enabled them to learn the right lessons from history, thereby ensuring that the same mistakes will not be made in the immediate future. I have no doubt whatsoever that a New Libertarian, Minarchist or Classical Liberal Party would not allow the concentration of money and power that fell into one man's hands in the case of LPUK, and ultimately drove it to destruction, to be repeated.
But hey, if there is no new party, then this is not the end of the world as we know it by any stretch. Many people will mock 'keyboard warriors' and suchlike, but there is nothing wrong with the blogosphere, pressure groups and campaigns such as Wirral First - http://wirralfirst.wordpress.com/ as separate means by which to promote Libertarian ideals both as an alternative, or in addition to an organised political movement. Look how successful the Green lobby were in terms of infiltrating mainstream politics from the outside, long before they achieved parliamentary representation. Statist environmentalism is now the conventional wisdom of all major parties in the Uk, and while having no time for their message or the instincts that underpin it, one has to give credit to the greenslime for showing considerable political nous, and exerting far greater influence than their official mandate should ever have allowed them to. There is no reason why we cannot achieve something similar if we put our minds to it.
I remember completing a sort of 'Milton Friedman Test' before joining LPUK from which I was deemed to be of Libertarian instinct, but not 'pure'. I've always viewed our ideology as a direction rather than 'a set of things you believe in', and have encountered people of such instinct who are slightly more or slightly less 'pure' than myself. Many possess ideas that travel in a similar direction without ever realising it, and we badly need to tap into this pissed off section of the general population in order to make significant headway. The challenge to us is:- how do we make ours as broad a church as possible, one which encompasses Minarchists, Classical Liberals and Anarcho-Capitalists, while also repelling careerists who will hijack us for the sake of being a big fish in a small pond? We then need to make a distinction between a vision of 'our ideal society' and any realistic plan for government in the here and now. Even if power itself is light years away, tackling current issues and presenting what a Libertarian utopia might look like need to be kept on clearly separate pages.
So the death of LPUK may actually turn out to be the shot in the arm that Libertarianism in these isles really required, and let's face it, we need a credible alternative to statism more than we ever have. The 'differences' between the three corporatist parties need to be exposed as the single strands of hair that they actually are, while something blossoms from the ground up that appeals to those who have had enough of the status quo, and are seeking a more honest answer to everyday questions. Being a Libertarian, Minarchist or Classical Liberal is not always easy, and often involves taking anti-populist stances on contentious issues, but it is also immensely rewarding sometimes to see a situation develop and know that once again, you were right and the statists made things a whole lot worse than they already were.
These are of course merely the ad-lib thoughts of a Classical Liberal. and I just hope they spark some debate about the future of what many on here believe in. Take care and I'll catch you soon...