Always keen to speak to those promoting liberty and freedom not just in the UK but across the globe, we were delighted to speak with Martin Hartmann, President of the Libertarian Party in Switzerland.
How did you first get involved with libertarian politics and the Libertarian Party?
In 2012, the Hayek Club of Zurich gave some lectures on Austrian economics at the university in the evening. This made more sense to me than what I had learned in my economics studies. In 2014, the Libertarian Party was founded, in which I have been involved ever since.
For those that don’t know much about Swiss politics can you tell us about the big political issues facing the county?
Better safe than sorry – With Corona as well as with the whole climate discussion, people have forgotten self-responsibility. They can no longer decide for their lives. And they don’t want to. They would rather be “on the right side”. So they look for a general guide or leader to tell them what to do. The consequences: A bigger state, more debt, higher taxes, more laws and rules.
What are the party’s main policies, what would you most like to change in your country?
Our constitution emphasizes federalism and subsidiarity. Unfortunately, we are experiencing just the opposite: centralism and one-size-fits-all solutions. Returning to the principles that have made us successful is crucial. Better alternatives to a centralized one-size-fits-all approach would be a federal competition of systems and ideas – or even better – privately competing solutions. Private solutions outperform services provided by the state by far.
How engaged are the people of Switzerland with Libertarian ideas?
Unfortunately, they are not really committed. The majority follow the existing system, which leads to all the failures we currently have. Perhaps they live in fear of trying something themselves and taking responsibility. At least some awakening during Corona has made the Swiss think about alternatives.
How does your party go about gaining support?
We participate in elections – without a real chance, but to reach the public. We meet physically at least once a month. And we maintain a network of freethinkers by means of our libertarian calendar with all liberal events in Switzerland. We also write quarterly election recommendations and participate in legislative deliberations.
Lastly, do you have any thoughts on British politics?
Remain independent! Allow secession. Reject all centralism and socialism. Don’t let the EU take control away from you again. Stop all government spending outside your country – no development aid and no wars abroad.
Following the resignation of Boris Johnson from Parliament, a by-election has been called in the Uxbridge & South Ruislip constituency for the 20th July. We’ve spoken local man Steve Gardner, who is the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for election.
This may be the first time some people have had a chance to vote for the SDP. Can you introduce the party and say a bit about what it stands for.
The SDP is a patriotic, economically left-leaning and socially right leaning, culturally traditional party. We’ve been going for some time and these days, we’re a grass roots party with no vested interests. We have long term policies and genuinely want to improve things for the better. After feeling politically homeless, I was directed to the SDP and I liked what I saw!
Can you introduce yourself to the people of Uxbridge & South Ruislip, and also tell us what got you involved in politics?
My name is Steve Gardner and I’ve lived in the constituency for over 25 years. I served in the British Army for five years and was operational during the First Gulf War. I was also an Army Cadet Officer for 15 years, leaving as a Captain. My entire family reside in the constituency with the vast majority of us in Hillingdon and it really is a great place to live. I just want to make it better and safer. I’m sure those who live in the surrounding areas of Ickenham, Yiewsley, Cowley and West Drayton would agree.
I never really had any interest in becoming a politician but I was urged to do so by family and friends. The system is broken; politicians no longer seem to work for the people and that needs to change. To do this you have to join the system. To be elected as the representative of your community is one of the highest honours one can achieve and shouldn’t be taken lightly. We urgently need to shake the system up for the better.
If elected what are the local challenges you want to champion?
My three main election issues are to:
Scrap the ULEZ extension. It’s a stealth tax that will have a minimal effect on the environment. It’s just a way of making easy money and it’s always the motorist who has to pay the price. It’s outrageous that it’s got this far and people are rightfully angry.
To fight crime through improved pro-active policing. The politicians have massively let down the Police who have been unable to carry out their jobs properly. They should be supported, backed and encouraged to pro-actively police our communities to make them safer. Everyone should be able to feel safe and secure.
To have affordable and suitable housing that prioritises local residents. The main reason that the community spirit is absent is because people can’t afford to live where they grew up which means they move out of the area. They should have priority over local housing. Communities that bond are safer communities for all.
How can people find out more and get involved in your campaign?
I’m confident that people will read our policies and agree with the majority of them and hopefully support us. We’re the only real credible alternative to the same old show that gets played out every few years. It’s time for change.
Jonathon Mabbutt has been announced as the Social Democratic Party (SDP) parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Stepney. We spoke with Jon about party, the constituency, and the upcoming campaign.
Many people will have heard of the SDP, but maybe not for some years. Can you briefly introduce the party and tell us what it stands for?
The Social Democratic Party was once a big force in British politics, finishing third in an alliance with the Liberals. The majority of the party merged to form the Liberal Democrats but those who remained kept the party alive. Fast forward to today and we are the fastest growing grassroots party and plan to field more candidates at the next election that at any time since the 80s.
We are fighting for the common good in Britain’s national interest. We passionately believe in democracy, freedom of speech and a rational approach to policy. We believe in a strong social sector and building national resilience against global shocks. We hold to traditional values and stand for community, family, and nation.
Can you also let our readers know about yourself, and what led you to get involved in politics?
I am a husband and father and I have been working for charities in the homelessness and addiction sector for the last 15 years. I was a youth and children’s worker for a church for 2 years prior to that. I have always wanted to do work that helped people, especially those in difficult circumstances, and getting involved with the SDP is really a continuation of that.
You’re the parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Stepney, what’s made you decide to stand?
I have always been interested in politics but never felt represented by any of the mainstream parties. This is quite a common experience. Much of the nation is pretty detached from the views of the Westminster bubble. By contrast the SDP is a party that is actually offering solutions and reflects the mainstream very well, especially in places left behind by political indifference. If we are to bring change that would benefit us all then we need good candidates. After much consideration I decided that I couldn’t complain from the side-lines any longer.
What do you see as the big concerns for the constituency and what issues do you hope to champion?
I’m standing in Bethnal Green. We have huge issues of overcrowding with many, many flats housing far more people than there are bedrooms. The social housing stock here is miniscule and what remains is often very run down. We also have extremely high levels of child poverty and a lack of social cohesion.
On the national level I’m passionate about standing up for free speech and free association, a respect for the family and the role of parents and getting the state back into housebuilding. I’m in favour of a reduction in economic migration and a compassionate yet sensible approach to the refugee crisis which prioritises taking the most insecure people in refugee camps over those from Europe crossing illegally with the help of criminal gangs.
For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?
I would invite people to take a look at the policies and new declaration on our website sdp.org.uk, and if they speak to your concerns then consider joining us. Likewise, you can e-mail me at [email protected].
We are joined by Tony Brown, who was recently announced as the Libertarian Party UK candidate to take on Sadiq Khan in next year’s election to be Mayor of London. Tony explains his philosophy and his plans for London.
We are joined by Howard Cox, who was recently announced as the Reform UK candidate to take on Sadiq Khan in next year’s election to be Mayor of London. Howard explains his reasons for standing and his plans for London.
We are joined by Simon Richards, the former CEO of The Freedom Association, as we discuss the local election results and the delay in removing EU laws. We then chat with Simon about his time with the Freedom Association, the Better Off Out campaign, lockdowns, and the big issues of today.
The CPA is a Christian Democratic party whose members come from all backgrounds and church traditions. They actively promote Christian social teachings and draw our principles from the bible. We spoke with Sid Cordle who is standing for them in the Bearton Ward of North Herts district Council.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your party?
I have been the leader of the CPA since 2012. We stand 100% for Christian values, so we get all our values from Jesus’ teaching. Our 5 Core values are,
a. Supporting marriage between a man and a woman and the family. b. The sanctity of life from conception until natural death. c. Care for the poor. d. Support Persecuted Christians worldwide, e. Fight crime.
We have a policy of introducing a turnover tax paid by all companies to get money off Google, Facebook, Amazon, Starbucks, Shell etc. who send all their profits abroad so don’t pay corporation tax. We would offset it against corporation tax so British companies pay less & there would be an incentive to locate in the UK. We would also cut quangos introducing a new Professional Standards Authority and get rid of quangos like Social Work England, 19 health quangos, Wilton Park (under foreign office) etc. The only useful thing these quangos do is to maintain professional standards. All the rest is a waste of time. Eg. it is important to be able to bar criminals or abusers from professions like social work and the NHS.
You’re standing in the Bearton Ward, can you introduce the ward to us and what you can bring to the area?
Bearton Ward is on the Bedford side of Hitchin a town of about 35,000 people but just 30 mins from London with trains every 15 mins. One of the big issues is building new homes in the area with no infrastructure to support them. The sewers are full, the roads are clogged up. You can’t get a GP appointment and schools are full, but they build more houses with no new facilities. We’ve claimed the big parties don’t understand basic planning rules (here Lib/Lab coalition, in Hertfordshire County Council Con).
More widely what would you like to see change at North Herts districtCouncil and across the area?
Planning is a major issue. Another is speed on the side roads. I would like to see traffic control measures (square road humps) rather than putting up 20MPH sings which drivers ignore. Hitchin town centre is quite good but still under pressure with some shops closing. We would use money from our turnover tax to get rid of Commercial rates altogether so people pay the same tax if they buy in a shop or buy on line.
How can people find out more or get in touch if they want to get involved?
Founded in 1992 The Alliance of British Drivers is a not-for-profit organisation that is owned and controlled by its members. They promote the views of drivers to national and local Government bodies and provide information to the public. They also try to counter the misinformation spread by many people on the use of private vehicles and promote freedom of choice about how you travel.
We spoke with one of their Directors Ian Taylor.
Can you tell us a bit about The Alliance of British Drivers, and the organisations aims?
Originally set up as a member association, The Association of British Drivers, by founding chairman Brian Gregory, was concerned about the growing use of speed cameras, reduced speed limits everywhere and lack of concern for encouraging good, skilled driving. It became a not-for-profit limited company (Pro Motor Ltd) for the protection of members. Control rests with a board of directors but being a membership based organisation there is still a national committee too (everyone does not want to be a director).
One of the successes we contributed to was the defeat of the road pricing plans in the first decade of the century, one of our members organised the No.10 petition against it, and the huge response caused the government to step back. Following that, the organiser founded his own campaign, the Driver’s Alliance, but the funding was limited, so in 2012 a merger was agreed, the ABD retained it’s initials and logo, but became The Alliance of British Drivers. It remains predominantly a member based campaign, while seeking additional funding methods. It is also non-partisan. With the exception of a couple of specialist functions like magazine editor, and membership secretary, it is run by unpaid volunteers, with some activities outsourced when affordable.
Of late, it has, not least because of the people who attack us and how they operate, expanded beyond purely driving issues into the wider debates around environment and climate – which in any case directly affect drivers. This has been accomplished by working in close co-operation with partners (including FairFuelUK and the Motorcycle Action Group) under “umbrella organisation” – Transport Reality, the primary aim of which is to get the 2030/35 internal combustion engine bans postponed or overturned. The ABD is dedicated to presenting factual, scientifically provable information based on data, by any means possible, to central and local government, the media, and the public at large.
In Croydon the proposed expansion of ULEZ is a major issue facing drives, what’s the Alliance’s views on ULEZ?
This is part of wider moves being made across Greater London, and their adoption by other cities. Our view is that exaggerated health and environmental “threats” are being used by those in power with a self-confessed long-standing car hatred, gradually bring about the exclusion of most private vehicles from cities. This represents both a severe economic threat to the viability of those cities and a serious move against freedom of personal movement and transport – regarded by many as a “right”, although nobody denies some transport management required to prevent gridlock. The ULEZ in London doubles up as a money grab by the Mayor.
What works well for drivers and what are the wider challenges you see in the UK?
As mentioned above, nobody wants gridlock or really bad air (which it in fact rarely is, and when it happens is often the result of anti-traffic measures that create congestion). The situation is different in London and a few other big city situations to the rest of the country. First of all, they have better public transport alternatives. Everyone doesn’t drive, so being pro-driver shouldn’t mean being anti the alternatives – not even the cyclists, though they don’t always make it easy to like them. Transport choices are important – but must include the people’s choice by a long way for decades – the motor car. However, decisions about transport expenditure are seriously out of kilter with that choice, funds for roads are a fraction of what drivers pay to use our roads via VED, fuel tax, etc., with the money going to just about anything else – including anti-car measures. Out in the country, there is less scope for some of those alternatives, also less need on congestion grounds. The biggest challenge faced is the growing trend to impose ever more restrictions and costs that threaten the freedom to drive. There is a genuine debate to be had on the effect of more electric vehicles not paying fuel duty.
All those other organisations: it didn’t happen overnight, and I don’t hold official positions as I do in the ABD. Back in the day I did run a local branch of the NO2ID campaign, which has also “introduced ” me to Big Brother Watch, and don’t forget the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Many years ago I was a Young Conservative, but became very disillusioned with the operation of political parties, and have not been a member of one for decades now, preferring to express via non-partisan organisations – which has been described as political pick’n’mix. I was until recently The ABD’s Chairman, but while remaining active, am starting to “wind down” as I approach my 75th.
How can our readers get involved with the Alliance and follow driving issues more generally?
Involvement: well, that’s up to individuals. New members always welcome, however active or inactive they choose to be. So please go to the website and join us. We also have a presence on Facebook and two Twitter accounts (ABDcampaign and The ABD, as well as some local ones run by members), so we can be followed, liked and retweeted or friended.
The Tax Reform Council seeks a system of taxation that encourages greater economic growth and places a lower burden on individuals and businesses. Among their activities they run the ‘Cut My Tax’ campaign. We speak to Max Young about the Council.
Max thank-you for your time.
Can you tell us what the Council does and your role in it?
The Council advocates for lower taxes. It wants to inform the public why lower taxes are better for all of us and it aims to send our politicians a strong message to that effect. I’m the Council’s administrator, so I liaise with our board, advisors, and analysts, as well as keeping the website and social media running and up to date.
You have the ‘Cut My Tax’ campaign. What are you aiming to achieve and how can people get involved?
Yes, Cut My Tax is the campaign arm of the Council. So far its strongest presence is on Twitter where we post analysis of tax news, threads, article summaries et cetera. It seems that, despite all of the fantastic work that think tanks, journalists, consultancies and others are producing on tax, there isn’t a real thrust of outreach to the public. The Council wants to make it a lot easier to learn about tax policy and get a sound take on contemporary tax issues. Most content on tax is, let’s face it, pretty boring – so we want to engage people and, ultimately, let MPs know that tax hikes won’t fly with the public.
To that effect on our website we run letter campaigns that anyone can sign on to, have a comprehensive resource bank of reports on tax (it was difficult to find many of these before), a quotes section, and a blog. As the operation grows there will, we hope, be more direct activity for campaigns.
How did you first get involved in the campaign to reform taxes?
Our advisory board members and our senior advisors have been fighting the fight for decades. For what it’s worth, I found Milton Friedman’s eighties TV series “Free to Choose” in my teenage years and have been working in anti-tax advocacy since.
We’re great believers in the Laffer Curve, what are your thoughts on how lower tax rates can affect tax take?
There are many many examples of the Laffer Curve in action. We posted some of our favourites from around the world on our blog a little while ago. JFK is a great and relatively little-known example, he slashed income tax at all levels in 1963 (though the highest was 91% at the time) and revenues shot up. We see the same trend everywhere – Lord Lawson’s cuts in the eighties, Canada in the nineties, France in the mid-noughties. There seems to be a strange unshakeable belief among bureaucrats and the commentariat that people will happily absorb high taxes without changing their behaviour, which is obviously not true. The Curve is a useful means of explaining that.
Are there any taxes you’re more in favour of or against than others? What’s your preference for how the government raises income?
DC’s tax-cutter in chief Grover Norquist put it well: “What Mae West said about sex is true about taxes. All tax cuts are good tax cuts; even bad tax cuts are good tax cuts.” Aside from that, the supply side trumps all, of course, and we should organise tax policy accordingly. Say’s Law from 1803 still holds up: goods are ultimately paid for with other goods, so any tax arrangement must first and foremost prioritise production. This is why it is so sad to see Sunak and Hunt slowly heap earth on any prospect of growth for the coming years. There was an encouraging article in the FT by Stuart Kirk some weeks ago on why corporation tax in a sane world would be lowered to 0%. We’re some way off having a fruitful conversation on that but it’s where we should be. We don’t love any taxes, but if the government wants to raise income it should (1) Respect the Laffer Curve and (2) Raid the supply side at its peril.
If you could introduce a couple of immediate changes to the tax system, what would they be?
Cut the tax code down to size. As your readers likely know it is the longest such document in the world by quite some way – Proust’s “À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu” is 1.26 million words and the UK’s tax code is eight times longer than that. A shorter tax code can be achieved, unsurprisingly, by scrapping whole taxes. Any tax system has to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) to encourage investment, confidence, ease of interaction, and avoidance of hair-pulling. Hong Kong’s and Georgia’s are worth emulating.
Other than that, it would be great to see some changes to HMRC’s treatment of the self-employed and especially freelance contractors. This was a once-growing and dynamic part of the economy that’s now being dragged kicking and screaming into arbitrary employment status by successive IR35 reforms and forced to use leech-like “umbrella companies” to manage their relationship with companies that use them.
Do you have any last thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
We are living in disheartening times to be sure – taxes at their highest since Attlee and likely to get higher, productivity and growth kicking the bucket et cetera, but this is no cause for despair. The facts are always on our side and we will succeed against stale ideas and soulless managers of decline.
David Kurten was a GLA member 5 years, for UKIP and the Brexit Alliance. He also ran for Mayor of London for the Heritage Party. David, the Heritage Party leader, appeared at our inaugural event, has been on our podcast, and is now a regular on GB News. We caught up with David to speak about the party and the state of London and Britain.
David thanks for speaking with us.
You launched the Heritage Party ready for the London Mayoral Elections, how do you feel the party has progressed since then?
We’ve made great progress since the London Mayoral and Assembly elections. It was disappointing not to be elected back on to the London Assembly, but since then the Heritage Party has kept going and many people have joined. We had our first Annual Conference in Pulborough, West Sussex last September with a full day of speakers and about 100 people attending. We are also in the process of setting up county branches to cover the whole country including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as England, and they are thriving in many places.
We have local elections again this May, what are your plans, and how can people help?
We shall stand as many candidates as possible across England and Northern Ireland in the local elections this May. We will have many more candidates than last year, but there is still time to join and apply to be a candidate to challenge the old parties which are running our nation down.
You were a GLA member for 5 years. With the political talk in much of Croydon being the proposed ULEZ expansion, what are your thoughts on Mayor Khan’s second term?
Khan has just carried on his path of destruction. He is clearly fully signed up to Agenda 2030 and the policies of the WEF. He supports boroughs imposing LTNs which are disastrous for residents and businesses, and it is appalling that he has gone ahead with expanding the ULEZ to the boundary of Greater London against the wishes of Londoners in the consultation. That shows contempt for Londoners and he should be voted out next time.
We marched and we stopped vaccine mandates for most people in the UK. Sadly, some restrictions (e.g. in Hospitals) still seem to apply. Looking back how should we approach the lockdown nightmare were it to return?
Hopefully there will never be another lockdown as everyone can now see how awful it was, and even some who supported it would never accept it again. If there is another one, there will be a much greater level of civil disobedience, which is needed to stand against tyranny.
You’re now a regular on GB news, often debating people of very different viewpoints. Do you have and inside gossip or thoughts on GB news and on becoming a celebrity!?
It is strange to be thought of as a celebrity! However, it is very good to be given a platform to be able to get a few nuggets of truth across on a mainstream channel. However, it seems that Ofcom is clamping down on truth, and now that Mark Steyn has left the channel, we will have to see what happens at GB News in the future.
Do you have any last thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
However hard things get, we must keep on battling for freedom and take heart from the victories we have won. It was only a year ago that the government was going to fire 100,000 doctors and nurses who refused to take an experimental injection, but the power of people protesting changed this. The policy fell, and the Covid narrative started to fall around the world. It has been a great privilege to be a part of the freedom movement in our day that is standing against tyranny, and marvellous to stand with so many other good men and women who are doing the same.