Something this bunny keeps an eye on is the directions from which our inbound traffic arrives. Much like the well-known game show 'Jeopardy', it's a case of 'if Outspoken Rabbit was the answer, then what was the question?'. The friend who pointed me in the direction of Benedict Le Gauche and his contrarian approach towards finding gainful employment deserves full credit for delivering our most visited post of all time. Pieces on the fortunes of the Uk Libertarian Party have also attracted traffic, and yesterday I saw that someone who wound up here had done so after originally asking "is the LPUK serious?".
Good question - there are probably two angles from which to answer it, and one has already been done to death on these pages several times over. I'm sure that the saga has not yet concluded and there will be further developments worth commenting on at a later date (I'll draw your attention to the write-up of a meeting on Thursday that was attended by none other than Nic Coome - http://libertarianhome.co.uk/2011/10/meeting-with-nic-coome/. Many thanks to Simon and co for keeping us informed). If the noises now coming out of the Withers cabal suggest that an answer to the sixty-four million dollar question (ie - where's the money gone?) is forthcoming, then one can only muse as to why this was not an option around April/May time.
Having seen this same group stubbornly refuse to even countenance disclosure of the accounts amid widespread calls to do just that, this bunny (as an ex-LPUK member who was sick of the threats, bullshit and stalling and walked away) remains deeply sceptical with regard to the motives for this apparent change of heart. How many paid-up members does the AP Withers benevolent fund have at the moment, and who are this gentleman's club referring to as the leader in the eyes of the Electoral Commission? With their online appeal for new funds torpedoed by Anna Raccoon and this site - http://outspokenrabbit.blogspot.com/2011/07/cult-of-andrew-withers-deserve-what.html, would it be unreasonable to conclude that money is at the heart of this move, as it has been central to so many of LPUK's very public traumas?
The guys set out some reasonable expectations with regard to what they want from Withers in particular, but this bunny would advise extreme caution in their dealings with someone with a penchant for the underhanded. While the promise of disclosure and transparency is indeed something that many might regard as a chink of light, it also represents a tool with which to bargain and negotiate. Having dealt extensively with what might politely be referred to as 'the scheming type' in a previous life, this bunny recognises a certain modus operandi - dangle a carrot, but insist upon something in return, and before delivery (in this case, for dissidents to come back on board and, more importantly, start handing over their hard-earned again).
When you're dealing with the devil, hardball is the only game worth playing and this bunny just hopes that anyone intent on such a showdown is pig-headed and obstinate enough to give nothing away.
A back catalogue of pieces detailing the extent of LPUK's problems appears here:-
So if we're talking about the current incarnation of the party, then there are a multitude of reasons why an individual who is 'committed to the cause' might take them less than seriously. But then there's a second question - is the notion of a Libertarian Party itself a large part of the problem? Instinctive liberals are often uncomfortable with either being ordered around or adopting this 'seargant major' approach with others. Most of us understand how organisations based on a rigidly hierarchical structure, with a great deal of power concentrated in its higher echelons, increases the scope for corruption, theft and abuse of that authority - after all, such positions are naturally inclined to attract the predictable assortment of bullies, parasites and sycophants that make the mainstream parties so loathsome.
There are clear advantages to having a political party that fights for a Libertarian cause. That is not to say that without one the fight against Statism would die, but while campaigns, pressure groups and even the blogosphere have their function, actual participation in elections and the recognised political sphere is the most likely way in which our ideas can be communicated beyond the converted. Of course, LPUK's presence in contested elections bordered on non-existent, since some of its top brass disowned the party name to stand as 'independents' (on one occasion at the financial expense of its members).
There are probably three lessons that can be learned from the mess that was LPUK - first up, the mere presence of any phoenix needs to be communicated properly so it does not stagnate as an internet movement. This means embracing and participating in campaigns on issues that matter and getting prominent members into print and on the airwaves. Secondly, the structure and constitution of the party have to reflect an organisation that is itself instinctively liberal - disagreement with 'the party line' ought not be a hanging offence or cause for expulsion. The top-down principle of 'the fuhrer is always right' is that on which the Statists base their own model of cult/drone parties - surely as good a reason as any for us to reject it even if we write off the previous instance of 'skimming off the top' as 'one of those things'?
Something I heard from several directions while a member was the suggestion that we needed to become a slick, professional machine (which to this bunny sounds like code for - base our working methods on those of the parties we can't stand). I struggle to see how anyone could look to the LibLabCon as positive inspiration on any level - it is precisely because they are slick and professional that nobody trusts a word that they say. The thought of party organs being subject to Stasi-esque censorship left this bunny positively sub-zero, since what is considered outside the mainstream and highly controversial today might be proved to be accurate far sooner than one might think. Far from prohibiting comment and debate that might be deemed slightly crazy, this bunny would positively encourage it.
Remember, our opponents are always going to suggest that we're insane anyway - so talk, in fact shout from the rooftops about guns, drugs, prostitution, pornography and all the other 'fun' topics that appeared to be off-limits as LPUK became an 'economics party'. We shouldn't be afraid of having a sense of humour, ripping the piss out of our opponents or taking stances that will be deeply unpopular (such as:- mass immigration has been necessary over the years to cover the idleness of others who were born here, or:- it's none of the state's business to promote marriage or 'stable family life' - what goes on in the bedrooms of consenting adults is entirely their business. Nanny as voyeur is something of a passion killer, surely?).
For those seeking to retrieve something from the wreckage, this bunny tentatively wishes them well. However, if a phoenix eventually emerges from the flames, I hope our understanding of what went on in the past is not merely confined to the epic swindling of one man. As a group who believe in the sovereignty of the individual, it would perhaps be a more rewarding experience for all concerned if we kept this principle in mind at all times? We would of course need to co-operate voluntarily, but in this bunny's experience the only person we're any good at being is ourselves. If that means being perceived in some quarters as slightly mad, then hey it beats the hell out of total anonymity. Take care and I'll catch you soon.