Libertarian Party Orange County, California

We’ve all heard of the Republican and Democratic Parties in the USA, but the third party of the US is the Libertarian Party. Third place in the last 2 presidential elections it is a party that promotes civil liberties, non-interventionism, laissez-faire capitalism and shrinking the size and scope of government. When I was recently in Orange County California, I visited the local chapter www.lpoc.org at their Executive Committee Meeting.

Part of the greater Los Angeles area, Orange Country contains a number of cities including Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, Fullerton and Newport Beach where at the public library the meeting was held. In the 2018 House elections, Orange County, a famously Republican island in Democratic California, elected 6 Democrats for the House of Representatives, taking 4 seats from the Republicans.

Orange County has 1.7 million registered voters, of whom 13,000 (~1%) are registered Libertarians. The party has about 80 members, and like all minor parties’ struggles with a lack of resources to get its message out. As someone who has sat on many a committee meeting for a smaller party, the meeting felt very familiar and reassuring, if slightly depressing that I travelled 5000 miles and the challenges are much the same.

How did the Libertarians fair in the last elections?

California operates a top two primary system for many (but not all) races, whereby the top two candidates in the primaries run off in the main election. This often means both candidates are from the same party. The system works against smaller parties and meant the Libertarians had very few candidates in the local elections. The party have been successful in raising concerns about the system in the local media https://ocweekly.com/third-parties-shafted-again-in-oc-on-nov-ballot-thanks-to-jungle-primaries/

In Orange County between local, state wide and national elections, the Libertarians did field three candidates. This included a 2nd place finish with 24.8% of the vote in 69th district race for the California Assembly. In neighbouring Riverside county Libertarian Jeff Hewitt won a role on the board of supervisors (think something like a GLA member). In this race he raised $600,000 more than UKIP and the Greens spent combined in the 2017 General Election and was still outspent 3 times by the Republican candidate he beat.

Getting onto ballots varies by election type. Some elections require a filing fee, some only signatures, which requires a lot of campaign effort https://ballotpedia.org/Ballot_access_requirements_for_political_candidates_in_California. Once you are on the ballot, getting basic information out to voters in the formal information packs can cost thousands of dollars.

The focus for the party now is the 2020 election cycle and getting candidates elected. They really are focused on winning elections. Emphasised a few times in the meeting was the need to focus on issues not philosophy, and the need to be a political party not a philosophy club. There was a strong feeling Libertarians had for too long been focused on ideology rather than getting votes. The Chair used the slogan “reasonable solutions for issues we all care about”, which felt a great way to move forward. Have Libertarian principles, but be relevant to people.

Local campaigning differs in a few ways in the US. Anyone who has campaigned in the UK will know the joy of finding, using and trying to not get bitten by, letter boxes. In the US the federal government owns your ‘mailbox’ as such leafleting is less of a feature. You can leave a leaflet on a porch or stuck in a door, but can be fined if deposited in a mailbox. The feds wanting campaigns to pay the US Postal Service for leaflet delivery. The local party runs a table at the student fair, operates on social media and does canvassing although this really requires greater numbers of people than available.

Everywhere there is more money in US politics, even the local group has exceeded the $2000 funding threshold to report to California Political Practices Commission. This is someway north of what most small local parties in the UK would have. They are thinking of investing some of this in a button making machine, something very American. Much like at home where local Labour and Conservative clubs support but aren’t officially linked to the party the group has two Libertarian clubs (groups that meet up) which are a mix of party and social gatherings.

What are the issues in Orange County?

The main traction for the Libertarians is fiscal conservativism, with lots of support for social media posts on less regulation for businesses and lower taxes. They are also starting to focus on the more positive immigration stance of the party to set them apart from the Republicans. In an area where housing is as expensive as London, zoning rules to help reduce property costs is also coming to the fore.

It was great to see a bit of politics from across the pond. Also how a smaller party operates with a lot stacked against them. The fight for individual freedom and liberty really matters, and these guys plugging away for it get my support every time.

Author Mike Swadling

Are we really so green to believe this?

2018 has seen another great push for action on Climate Change. This included the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issuing a report warning that the world has:

‘only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.’ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report.

Among the report’s recommendations are that we move away from eating meat, dairy and eat locally sourced food (yes we have no bananas). It also recommends that we annually spend $2.4 trillion on greening the energy system between 2016 and 2035. This equates to over 3% of global GDP.

They warn that the world is currently 1 degree C warmer than pre-industrial levels. This report was covered as if holy writ by the mainstream media across the globe, but the basic premise of the report raises some interesting concerns.

We are being asked to commit to a further loss of national sovereignty and join a global $2.4 trillion effort on climate change that would necessarily impose changes of diet on the British people. For this to happen I believe the following 3 tests must be passed.

  1. The globe is warming – the climates always changes, only the original concern of global warming is meaningful.
  2. The warming is man-made – if this isn’t as a result of human influenced greenhouse gas emissions, then the prescribed actions are meaningless.
  3. The warming will be catastrophic – there is little point in taking action if the impact is only two more weeks of summer and not much else.

The answers to these tests must be a matter of science not feelings or politics. Credit must go to Dennis Prager and his show for these.

Does the sciencesupport that Catastrophic Man Made Global Warming ishappening?

Addressing the first test ‘the globe is warming’. The official NASA global temperature data shows from February 2016 to February 2018 “global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius”. The biggest two-year drop in the past century, but you may not have heard this in the media. Global temperatures have not increased for much of this century.

Is the warming man-made? Despite some in the media saying the Sun doesn’t cause global warming (it really does), there is evidence that the warming isn’t man-made. Sun spot activity has been on the increase in the time that the globe did warm and “will probably be able to account for somewhere between half and the whole of the increase in the Earth’s temperature that we have seen in the last century“. Volcanos beneath the Antarctic ice sheet are ‘contributing to rapidly melting glacier’. Again from Prager University we need to ask ourselves, What Do Scientists Say? It is also worth asking what caused previous climate change and why would this simply not be the same now? – https://youtu.be/RkdbSxyXftc.

Is the warming catastrophic? Bjorn Lomborg, Director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre and a believer in man-made global warming doesn’t seem to think so https://youtu.be/3PWtaackIJU. Nigel Lawson sums up the concern of catastrophic climate change in his paper The Trouble with Climate Change when he says:

‘The fact remains that the most careful empirical studies show that, so far at least, there has been no perceptible increase, globally, in either the number or the severity of extreme weather events. And, as a happy coda, these studies also show that, thanks to scientific and material progress, there has been a massive reduction, worldwide, in deaths from extreme weather events.’

So is the scare about ‘climate change’ really a question of science or politics? Patrick Moore who helped to create Greenpeace, and then left it, explains in this video https://youtu.be/BpBnJq19R60 ‘What began as a mission to improve the environment for the sake of humanity became a political movement in which humanity became the villain and hard science a non-issue’.

We often hear 97% of scientists agree that climate change is real. Alex Epstein, founder of the Centre for Industrial Progress, reveals the origins of the bogus “97%” figure Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree?

Whilst it is clear the climate is changing, it is not clear that Catastrophic Man Made Global Warming is happening. What is however clear, is that we shouldn’t squander our sovereignty and wealth on a battle that will impoverish the developing world, and strip us of freedoms we enjoy today.

Author Mike Swadling 18th December 2018

Join statement by the founders of the Croydon Constitutionalists – Croydon Chairman and Committee member leave UKIP

UKIP in Croydon has suffered a double resignation with both the branch Chairman, Dan Heaton and the Campaigns Manager, Mike Swadling resigning from the Party.

Mike, their Croydon North candidate in the 2017 General Election previously ran the borough wide Vote Leave campaign for the 2016 EU Membership Referendum, with Dan Heaton being the lead for the Croydon Central constituency.  They have both also stood in local elections for UKIP.

In a joint statement Dan and Mike said:

“UKIP has achieved great things in the last 25 years, culminating with the vote to regain our nation’s sovereignty by leaving the EU.  At a time that the delivery of this is under threat and UKIP should be the natural home for all Brexiteers, the party has stepped away from serious electoral politics. 

UKIP by its constitution is a “democratic, libertarian Party” https://www.ukip.org/ukip-page.php?id=07. It had a proud stance of not accepting membership of former National Front, EDL and BNP members.  The only major party to take this stance.  The close association of Gerard Batten with Tommy Robinson has brought this to an end.  That Tommy Robinson is in a position only in a personal capacity to Gerard Batten, and not a party position, is a distinction without merit.

Gerard’s actions have now driven Bill Etheridge MEP to the Libertarian Party and Patrick O’Flynn to the SDP.  These MEPs represent both wings of a respectable UKIP and like us neither feel they have a place in the current party.”

In early 2018 Dan and Mike set-up the Croydon Constitutionalists http://croydonconstitutionalists.uk/, a non-partisan events and campaigning group.  The group’s purpose is to promote a Classically Liberal set of ideas and encourage others to campaign and promote individual freedom.  We will continue to promote a Classically Liberal philosophy locally and organise Brexit events to ensure the result ofthe 2016 vote is honoured, we remain a democratic nation and finally leave the EU.

Croydon Guardian

This is Local London

Being priced out of the Croydon job market – Croydon Citizen

As part of his acceptance speech at the local election count last month, Tony Newman suggested within the council’s powers, they do just that. The new council wants to create “a living wage borough, not just a living wage council”.    Michael Swadling writes in the Croydon Citizen about the folly of this plan. https://thecroydoncitizen.com/economics-business/priced-croydon-job-market/

Comments on the Facebook post give an interesting insight into the lack of awareness of the downside of minimum wage policies.

https://www.facebook.com/492128770821844/posts/1963660610335312/

Economics and Motivational Fun

The American Conservative University Podcast has over a 1,000 conservative (American meaning not UK party) audio shows. As they say – just listen at the feet of some of the world’s greatest Conservative thinkers.

Two great recent Podcasts we would like to draw your attention to.

Anyone with a passing interest in Economics should read or listen to Milton Friedman.  This MasterEdit podcast covers many interviews with Friedman and covers a wide range of economic issues.

https://acu.libsyn.com/show-milton-friedman-masteredit

You don’t get much comedy from practical politics.  Zig Ziglar (1926 – 2012) was an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker.  A light-hearted and funny look at developing the qualities of success and how to be self-reliant. https://acu.libsyn.com/show-zig-ziglar-how-to-stay-motivated-developing-the-qualities-of-success