7/17/2009

Is there a market for the Libertarian Party


One of the many new parties challenging in the Norwich North by-election are the Libertarian Party, and they have been in Norwich North pushing their message on the doorsteps of the constituency for the last few days, spending much time in Taverham and Drayton today. The question from my point of view is whether there is actually a market for their message.

The Libertarian Party are all about freedoms, and I can't argue with that. However they differ from the liberal view on freedoms in that they believe in a very much reduced role for government. Now that sounds like an enticing prospect, but their views go much further than simply reducing spending by 5% and axing some QUANGOs and government offices. They believe in deeper spending cuts and effectively reducing the role of the welfare state back to something unrecognisable to all of us.

The question is though whether in these hard times, with more and more unemployed and according to recent surveys, upwards of 40% of people worried about whether they will keep their jobs, people are less open to the Libertarian Party's ideas or whether the mountain of debt this country now had might focus minds more on the fact that harsh spending cuts might be forced on us anyway and, perhaps the Libertarian Party might claim to be the only ones honest enough to make clear that deep cuts are necessary.

Certainly the share the Libertarians get will be small, but I think it will be interesting to see whether their radical ideas do have a market.

Note : I have asked the Libertarian Party if they wish to post a short article to this blog explaining what they want to offer the people of Norwich North. They have indicated that they may do this if they have time. So if I have misrepresented them in any way, they have the opportunity to put me right.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"However they differ from the liberal view on freedoms in that they believe in a very much reduced role for government. Now that sounds like an enticing prospect, but their views go much further than simply reducing spending by 5% and axing some QUANGOs and government offices. They believe in deeper spending cuts and effectively reducing the role of the welfare state back to something unrecognisable to all of us."

So the difference isn't actually qualitative, but quantitative. Libertarians are just a more radical form of liberals.

Is there a market for them? I guess it depends whether the Liberal Democrats are ready to tolerate libertarians among their ranks, as a part of a liberal coalition, or close them out as too radical. In latter case, there might be space for a small libertarian party, especially if there ever will be proportional representation.

Guthrum said...

We are waiting to see what impact we will have next week and are going to take up your kind offer.

From stomping the streets 'stirring up apathy' as Iain Dale so jadely calls it the message that we can no longer afford or want to have such a massive and intrusive state is hitting home.

Young Thomas has done a sterling job by standing in Norwich North in that a lot of people who have been watching us for nearly two years have decided that the place for a Libertarian is in the LPUK, not trying year in and year out to try and convince the Tories and Lib Dems to be small state pro citizen, pro freedom parties.

We shall see next Thursday the result, whatever happens we are not stopping now !

Andrew Withers LPUK Chairman

Matthew Huntbach said...

Honest? No.

If they were honest, they'd admit e.g. what they are about is abolishing the NHS and making people pay for halth care. Or leaving them to die if they can't afford it. This is what they call "freedom". I.e. lots of freedom if you are rich, the freedom given by the state safety net taken away from you if you are poor.

Anonymous said...

Matthew Huntbach wrote: "If they were honest, they'd admit e.g. what they are about is abolishing the NHS and making people pay for halth care. Or leaving them to die if they can't afford it."

Not necessarily. Many libertarians support voluntary charity. You may ask why not then compulsory charity (=tax paid services), as well. The reason is that for most libertarians the end (whether poor people get services or not, or whether rich people get richer or not) doesn't justify the means (like for instance obligatory income transfers), even if that end is well-meant.

On the other hand, actions don't have moral value, if they aren't voluntary, so forcing people to participate to charity by taxation prevents them choosing between right and wrong, and thus also doing the right thing. And that means limiting their freedom.

And whether "safety" is a good thing or not, it is not the same thing as "freedom". To quote Isaiah Berlin, "Liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or human happiness or a quiet conscience."

Patrick said...

"making people pay for halth [sic] care"

So the NHS is free right now?

Where do you think that the money to fund it comes from? Little elves in Whitehall?

Public services are not free. We all pay for them through a thing called 'taxes'.

The question is not 'free' versus 'non-free', but rather about some real differences in personal freedoms and effectiveness. Anything to kill that debate, eh?

Liam said...

Their role in the UK could be interesting if they become a far stronger, genuinely nation wide political party. They launched a long time ago, among the cheer of the blogospher to the sound of self-congratulation. Very little from what I can see separates them from elements of the Liberal Democrat messages on one side, UKIP on the other.

As a protest vote they could do well, but with a recognition factor outside the internet of about nil, they do not strike me as much of an actual threat to anyone.

With Labour being completely dishonest about spending cuts and future tax rises, their honesty on this score alone should be appluaded though.

Anonymous said...

The Liberterian Party was spawned by ex UKIP members.

Patrick said...

The Liberterian Party was spawned by ex UKIP members.

Ha ha ha. I was the leader of LPUK from inception until last autumn, and the only political party that I'd been a member of previously was the Liberal Party (back when it still was, pre-SDP).

Others in the initial leadership team had had various other affiliations, but one thing LPUK never was was a spawn of UKIP.

Still, throw enough mud, eh?

Caligulas Palace said...

Did you know that if govt spending was restricted to the NHS, pensions, education to 18, armed forces and police/prisons/legal system them income tax could be totally abolished.

Indeed the abolition of income tax is Libertarian party policy and many people find this sort of thing appealing.

Btw, I was the first ever candidate for the Libertraian Party when I contested Wisbech South at the last set of local elections and I got 7% of the vote. Not too bad for a new party that ordinary members of the general public have never heard of before, is it.

Anonymous said...

Whats their view on the Holohoax? Do they believe in it?

Stan J said...

Why? Are you thinking of switching your vote from the BNP?

I don't believe the holocaust is mentioned in their manifesto. ODDLY ENOUGH.

Anonymous said...

Holohoax?


Holograms ??

manc_ill_kid said...

Just wondering, is the holocaust mentioned in the Conservative, Labour and LibDem manifestos?

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