With a politically tumultuous 2022 coming to an end, we asked you, ‘What do you hope your organisation will be doing in 2023?’
Hilary Judge, TOGETHER Croydon
My hopes for Together are that they become more democratic with greater member input. We would have ideas coming from meetup groups and individuals and adopting participatory democracy, which is a program where recipients answer questions where they completely agree, somewhat agree etc.
I hope that they take the Cash Fridays campaign on-board, and it goes nationwide (Cash Friday’s is a campaign to on a Friday, spend cash to pay for goods / services rather than use cards). Businesses should be encouraged to actively promote taking cash. Expand the campaign to younger people by giving cash to dependent teenagers, rather than bank transfers.
I would like bigger debates with participants from all over the political spectrum and I’m thinking of organising our future meetings as open debates.
Together Croydon are meeting on Tuesday 7th February in Croydon and Thursday 9th February in Beckenham, contact [email protected] for further details.
Martin Day/Andrew Withers, Libertarian Party
The Year ahead.
2023 will finally see a new website produced, featuring more interaction with the members. Hopefully, that and the data system behind it will enable us to run increasing numbers of candidates in the local elections this May.
We are also speaking to university students to get the message of self-sufficiency and individualism into the younger generation. So far, it is generating more interest than previous years.
We continue to highlight the appalling corruption of this current government, whist pointing out that the other side are unlikely to be any better. Just different coloured snouts in the trough. Sadly, too many voters are shackled to the two-party system.
Locally, a whole new initiative is being discussed along the lines of London Libertarians. Small business owners are increasingly aware of the bias towards huge corporations that this current administration has. They know that we support initiative and entrepreneurism.
We are now faced with the Prince Harry farago dominating the headlines, while this unelected Prime Minister, without the mandate of the voting public, enacting a surveillance authoritarian state.
Serious policies are no longer subject to the scrutiny by the voter, nor by MP’s more concerned with climbing the preferment greasy pole and raking in expenses and part time appointments.
Centralisation of power amongst the few is root cause of political crisis. The Libertarian Party has a fully thought-out Constitutional Reform package.
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding before us following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. The risk of a major military conflict is remote but real, and the situation on the ground continues to change. We asked our contributors how they think Putin’s aggression will impact politics and policies in the UK and what if any changes are needed?
The first casualty of war is the truth, so we are now long past looking at the causes. We ought to all agree that Putin is “to blame” but errors were made by the West and Ukraine. To mention this however is to invite the accusation of being a Putin shill, so we might as well gloss over them.
When seeking directions, as the Oirish say, I would not start from here. Putin cannot lose and escape with his life, so the options are
Putin wins. I think this is the least likely. I can see no scenario where he “wins”. His economy will sink like a stone.
Palace coup, 15 minute show trial on a mobile phone and execution. My preferred option.
WW3, because Putin looks like losing, but retains control in Russia. My least preferred option.
Long drawn out conflict, Afghanistan on steroids, really sorry, but I think this is the most likely outcome.
To be brutally horribly cynical, option 4 is quite good for the UK. Self-indulgent drivel like Indyref2, lockdown fetishism, personal pronouns, critical race theory and most of all Net-Zero will be forgotten in the face of far bigger things. But Freedom of Speech will be a hard sell for those of us who believe in it.
It’s even fairly good for the EU. The EU was facing a genuine existential crisis in the face of Brexit, Net Zero and the Culture war. Six months ago the EU was threatening to cut off funds to Hungary and Poland for being naughty. Now, there is no danger of them cutting off funds, and in any case, Hungary and Poland have rapidly lost the will to be naughty.
Its also the option the West should be playing for, because it leaves Option 2 in play and keeps option 3 out of play.
Given that we cannot directly confront Russia militarily in Ukraine as they are not a member of NATO we must play the long economic game. In particular Germany and Italy must wean themselves off Russian oil and gas. It may take some time, but eventually Putin will fall and his successors will sue for economic peace and the occupation will be ended as part of that deal.
Yesterday Putin came clean. He does not after all believe in the Principle of Self-determination of Sovereignty, which is enshrined in international law, contrary to what as he has previously indicated. He accepts now that he is acting illegally and doesn’t care, reverting instead to the base and uncivilised human instinct for territorial domination and imperialism. The Principle is perfectly clear that the sovereignty of any territory is no longer determined by war, history, geography or religious scriptures of any kind but solely by the wishes of the people who live there today. Putin by contrast regards Ukrainians as Russians regardless of their own wishes.
This crisis just emphasises yet further the inadequacy of the UK’s immigration and refugee policy, and that incudes UKIP’s own policy. As a member of UKIP’s NEC I am currently arguing for manifesto changes as follows:
We need an auctioned quota system for long-term immigration, not a points-based system. I would set the quota at 50,000 a year fewer than the number who emigrate each previous year, so we have a background of depopulation going on. This country is dangerously overpopulated and, as any competent social psychologist will tell you, overpopulation leads to competition for scarce resources, which in turn leads to a fracturing of society along the nearest visible fault line. Today that is racism. It used to be classism. Either way Labour subversively ramps it up for their own selfish identity purposes, thereby making racism worse. A policy of depopulation will reduce that risk not increase it, as well reducing shortages of housing, access to essential public services, wild habitat, overloaded sewage works overflowing into our rivers and may other forms of environmental contamination as well as the fact that we can now only grow 55% of the food we eat.
You cannot humanely turn refugees away, and it also impossible to distinguish objectively between refugees and other illegals (ok, I know there are plenty of cynics out there who say it is quite easy, but that is not legally sufficient). Also it is all very well saying they should return to the first safe country they come to, but those countries are not co-operating and anyway have severe immigration crises of their own. With a quota system we can instead bring them in and allocate them free of charge to the quota and correspondingly reduce the number available to normal auction sponsors so the total quota is not breached. If the number is greater than the quota in any year it can be spread over several years. Either way refugees and illegals should be given special refugee passports, saying for example British Ukrainian Refugee Passport, which would only be valid until the occupation has ended. When they return home their quota places can be returned to the quota.
In the meantime we should be looking to purchase a large tract of habitable land somewhere outside Europe where, with the agreement of the host country, we can set up a refugee colony as British Sovereign territory, so we can then transfer all new arrivals there immediately. This would be outside the quota but still British sovereign territory so that even a successful appeal for asylum would not require moving them back to the UK. They would already have the refuge they need there. I am not proposing this as a cheap or punitive option (unlike Australia). It must be done properly with open borders, law and order, security, benefits, housing, and public and personal support services enabling them to engage in economic activity which should lead to self-sufficiency and achieve a reasonable standard of living in the longer term. It would use the host country’s currency but under our economic management, thereby enabling trade with the host country and giving that country a substantial regional and national economic and export boost as part of the deal. In the short term we can use some of the massive overseas aid budget which is currently doing little useful other than assuage some people’s guilt complexes.
I welcome any comments or additional observations so we can construct as practical and acceptable a policy as possible.
It’s a loaded question, ‘Putin’s aggression’, ‘Putin’s actions’ would have been better, but, though I detest war and its repercussions, I am not in the least surprised as to it happening. Yet another US proxy war, this time starting in 2014 with a President Obama organised coup, followed by 8 years and 15K casualties in the Russian speaking east at the hands of Ukrainian forces, is the perfect storm. Given that the Ukraine has national guard units modelled on Nazi Germany’s SS, and that these units committed unspeakable crimes against their own in WW2, they have now ‘modernised’ into having some 15 US bio – chemical facilities, just like Saddam Hussein was supposed to have in Iraq!
I am not at all surprised that most of the western governments have acted to cut Russia off (and our future gas supplies, of course) with their gesture politics. Two years ago, these same governments said that we must all be vaxxed with an un-tested toxin, against a Common Cold! Our same government said that PM Johnson didn’t go to parties when thousands of non-Etonian people were prevented from seeing their loved ones!
Cutting off Russia in the sports, and now our football clubs brandishing Ukrainian flags is just gesture politics like ‘taking the knee’, it just winds people up. The Olympics is dead for sure now, and so, hopefully, it the Eurovision song contest!
Laurence Williams is the new London and South East Coordinator Designate for the UK Libertarian Party. Laurence lives in Sidcup and has stood in multiple local elections and the 2010 General Election. We catch-up with Laurence about his new role.
Laurence, thanks for your time.
Can you start by introducing yourself to our readers, and tell us how you became the Designate London & South East Co-ordinator for the Libertarian Party?
I’ve been ‘Bitten’ by Libertarianism after many years in and out of the political wilderness. This lead to me re-joining Libertarian Party recently. This was just in time to be put forward for the vacant role of London and South East Coordinator, which I have accepted.
You’ve stood in 3 General Elections, 2 Welsh Senedd races, 2 x European elections, and Local elections over the past 32 years. Do you have any enduring memories from previous campaigns?
My favourite election was the 2010 GE for which I was allowed free – rein to be myself at the hustings in Erith & Thamesmead constituency, exactly what Libertarianism is all about, no whip for us! It was a great night, and one voter couple wanted to hire me as a stand – up comic!
We appear to finally be moving out of the period of lockdown. What would you like to see happen to get the country back to a form of normal?
Stop the lockdowns and media scare stories! And stop the useless vax passports!
How do you feel the Libertarian message in London goes down, and what do you see as the key messages for the capital?
The Libertarian Voice is comparatively small in London, bought about by a general ignorance and disillusionment in our populace; ‘Libertarian’ to most uninterested ears sounds like ‘lib dem’ or ‘liberal’, and people can’t differentiate easily. Key messages from us are: Small govt, small tax, Large Truths!
Any thoughts you would like to leave our readers with and how can people get involved.
For anyone who fancies having a go at politics, I say, give us a try, you don’t know until you do, you may even enjoy it! To get in touch, it’s either the LPUK website or myself on Facebook via the Libertarian Party London and South East branch page.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your background, and how did you became the London & South East Co-ordinator for the Libertarian Party?
I considered myself a Conservative until the EU referendum in 2016, after which I found myself appalled at how politicians from all sides of the spectrum were so keen to try and overturn a democratic mandate. I had a frustrating period where I couldn’t find a party that aligned to my principles and values and it was only when I took the Political Compass test that I discovered Libertarianism. I’ve been a member of the Libertarian Party for a few years and had started to contribute to the local Facebook Page when I was asked to become the co-ordinator for Sussex. A very short time later, there was a vacancy for the London & South East position and I was eager to step up.
In May we have the Mayoral and GLA elections in London. The Libertarian Party has endorsed Laurence Fox for Mayor. What’s made the party endorse Laurence and more widely what are your thoughts on the upcoming elections?
The Libertarian Party strongly oppose all lockdowns so when Laurence Fox declared he would lift lockdown if elected, we weren’t prepared to stand in his way! I think it’s unfortunate that the current mayor is likely to be re-elected based on which party he represents rather than his ability to do the job. From an outside perspective, all I see is virtuous posturing but little action of relevancy.
We’ve had a year of lockdown restrictions, which should be fertile ground for Libertarians, but we see the Conservative government polling strongly. What do you think is happening on Britain’s support for lockdown, and what are your thoughts on the past year?
Its been a tough time for Libertarians, that’s for sure! It’s clear to me that the government propaganda has scared people so much into accepting this level of restrictions on our liberties. We aren’t even able to have a sensible debate on whether lockdowns are an appropriate or proportionate response without being accused of wanting to ‘kill granny’ or ‘let the virus rip’. I personally don’t feel there should ever be a situation where government has this sort of power over it’s population but I could understand the argument more if all members of society where at equal risk of being seriously ill or dying from the virus. The fact is that Covid 19 is a nasty virus for some but the majority of people who get it will be ok. The demographics of who are most at risk are very clear and I really feel we should have looked at focussed protection for the most vulnerable as proposed by ‘The Great Barrington Declaration’. My biggest fear and main reason why I oppose these blanket measures is that once the state has these powers they will not let them go easily. This is evidenced now by the fact we have the 2nd lowest infection rate in Europe, continued falling hospitalisations and deaths and one of the highest vaccination rates in the whole world yet we still have one of the strictest lock downs worldwide! Boris’ roadmap is quite frankly a disgrace. How can it remain illegal to have friends or family in your own home until at least May 17th despite all the data showing that the virus is in decline and the vaccinated are protected? It is outrageous.
How do you feel the Libertarian message in London goes down, and what do you see as the key messages for the capital?
I feel its really difficult for people to understand libertarianism and what it really means. I think people don’t even know its a ‘thing’. We are only ever told about left vs right in politics and I think that’s for a reason; why would the establishment want you to know that there is a philosophy and way of being that means you don’t need them!? I think its important we help people see that a system that encourages individual responsibility, freedom to make your own choices and free markets will provide everyone a greater opportunity to thrive.
How do you plan to grow the party and extend its reach in London?
It’s all about awareness for us. Its really difficult to get any traction in the mainstream media so we are looking forward to the launch of GB News where hopefully they will be more open to giving a platform to parties such as ours.
We’re a Croydon based group, as you know our council has issued a Section 114 notice and declared de facto bankruptcy. What do you think about what’s happened in Croydon, also would you and if so how would you, change local government financing?
It’s the fundamental problem with the public sector; they don’t have the ‘rudder of profit’ to guide them. There is no consequence for poor service because citizens i.e. customers don’t have the choice to take their business elsewhere. They are forced to fund failing organisations and receive a lesser service for it! It is illogical. Regarding local government funding, you have to reduce the size of the state as much as possible and allow citizens to keep as much of their own money to spend how they need. I really do believe that business, charity and volunteers will step in and provide what people need far more efficiently and effectively than any publicly run institution ever could.
You are running in the Tarring ward for both Worthing Borough and West Sussex County Council. What are the major issues facing the town and county, and if elected what’s one thing you like to achieve?
On a larger scale, the town will be decimated by the effects of lockdown and I feel people are really blinded by this due to the various handouts given by central and local governments. I am a huge advocate of allowing private business to operate in a way that they deem appropriate for their own customers and not to have to answer to top down mandates. Equally, I encourage individuals to think about their own responsibility and enable them the freedom to choose how they want to live and what businesses they want to give their custom to. Locally, a major gripe currently is the increase in council tax year on year for a lesser service. In particular, the county council reduced refuse collection to a fortnightly service and are now making it as difficult as possible for citizens to access the tip by cutting opening times and, bizarrely, introducing a process of attendance only by pre booking! As usual, councils and public services treating its customers as inconveniences and you wouldn’t get away with it in the private sector. If elected I would aim to be a thorn in the side of the bureaucrats on the council. I would persistently challenge them on all areas of spending and be unashamedly looking to reduce the size of the council itself. I want citizens to keep as much of their own money as possible so they can spend it on services that actually deliver value to them directly.
If you could introduce 3 changes to how we are governed what would they be?
Firstly, power needs to be devolved to as close to the individual as possible. It makes no sense to me that people with no understanding of local issues get to decide what is important and what our money should be spent on. Secondly, I want the state to be as small as possible and work towards a system whereby people have the freedom to make their own choices on what is best for them without being tied to certain policies and processes. Thirdly, we need a simplified and lower tax system. Its quite ridiculous the number of taxes there are and how we are constantly taxed on money that has already been subject to taxation. People who are pro tax only ever consider it from a ‘rich’ person’s perspective (‘they should pay more!’) but I tend to think about how many of the taxes such as VAT and sin taxes are really regressive and disproportionately effect the worst off.
Any thoughts you would like to leave our readers with and how can people get involved.
Politics isn’t about left v right any more but rather authoritarianism v libertarianism. If you value freedom to live your life how you wish we need to collectively stand up and challenge the rise of authoritarianism as this past year has evidenced how far we have moved away from liberty and truly being a free country.
Marco is standing in both the Worthing Borough and West Sussex County Council elections in his local ward of Tarring on May 6th, and we wish him all the best. You can contact him at [email protected]. The Libertarian Party are online at https://libertarianparty.co.uk/.
We are joined by Dan Liddicott, the former Chairman of the Libertarian Party UK, as we discuss the wearing of facemasks in pubs and other Covid restrictions, Croydon Council’s Emergency Budget and 2 new political parties. We then chat with Dan about his resignation from the Libertarian Party and his new initiative: Independent Libertarians.
ex-NCC joint statement response to Libertarian Party press release
The 8 former NCC members have put together this statement to explain the situation:
In August 2020 we former members of the Libertarian Party UK (LPUK) NCC resigned from the NCC and the Party.
Subsequent to our resignations the LPUK issued a public statement (https://libertarianparty.co.uk/2020/08/27/onwards-and-upwards/) which presented grossly false insinuations about the circumstances of our departure. We therefore release this joint statement to address the misinformation presented in the LPUK’s statement, as well as the real reason for each of our eventual resignations from the LPUK NCC at that time.
Regarding the LPUK’s statement, we believe the assertion by the LPUK regarding a slide into populist nationalism is intended to paint a false picture of the circumstances of our resignations. In our view this assertion is not only a deflection from the truth but seeks to deliberately attack the reputations of each of us on false pretences.
In reality, our decisions to resign came in protest of the actions of certain individuals in the NCC at that time who in our opinion sought to target a fellow NCC member, Sean Finch, for removal in an unfair, unreasonable and biased manner that went utterly against core libertarian values which we believed the LPUK ought to uphold – namely, that an individual is considered innocent until proven guilty; that an allegation is not of itself evidence; that due process ought to be carried out in a fair, reasonable and impartial manner; that an investigation ought to be impartial; that decisions should be based on evidence; and that accusers cannot also be ‘judge, jury and executioner’ [the very definition of a ‘kangeroo court’].
Unfortunately such basic expectations were in our opinion rejected by some then on the NCC. Even the investigating officer engaged in behaviour that in our opinion sought to prejudice any forthcoming outcome for Sean Finch, including by publicly posting on Facebook in a manner that could prejudice any future action. A matter which itself is serious.
The former Chairman and others in the NCC sought to apply a fair, reasonable and impartial process in full compliance with the letter of the Party Constitution, and finding there was no evidence presented of conduct that should result in Sean Finch’s removal the then Chairman took no action to do so. The door was left open for any available evidence justifying such an outcome to be provided, but by the time of our resignations none was ever forthcoming.
Subsequently certain of the accusers, instead of providing evidence to support what in our opinion seemed to be their preferred outcome, supported a move to replace the Party Chairman with one of the accusers. At this the Party Chairman resigned believing he had lost the confidence of the NCC. The accusatory faction subsequently succeeded in having their preferred man elected as a temporary Chairman who continued to pursue Sean Finch, in our opinion unfairly, in spite of lack of evidence; in our opinion ignoring the strong likelihood of prejudice introduced into the process by the investigating officer; and by retaining a number of NCC accusers as ‘judge, jury and executioner’.
By the time of our resignations that temporary Chairman had failed, even after several prompts, to bring forward the matter of the Investigating Officer’s potentially prejudicial conduct on Facebook, for any kind of similar scrutiny before the NCC. In our opinion this demonstrated a clear bias and favouritism and suggested that he had no intention of challenging this conduct for which there is clear evidence, while being determined to pursue Sean Finch while lacking evidence.
We came to see the situation as follows: that an individual might join the LPUK, become an activist and candidate, commit resources, miles and a great many hours in campaigning in the Party’s name, and yet still be pursued with the intent to remove, unfairly, without justifying evidence, on the say so of a vocal few, a number of whom have demonstrated nowhere near such commitment. Not wishing to lend even tacit support to the LPUK while individuals pursuing what in our opinion was an unfair, unreasonable and biased approach sat in power over others, and being unwilling to lend our good names to what in our opinion was a corrupt vendetta by some in the NCC against Sean Finch without evidence to justify it, we each resigned as we each found the situation irreconcilable.
Based on this it is our opinion that any effort invested in the LPUK is effort that could be ultimately wasted. We therefore hold the opinion that the cause of libertarianism is best served elsewhere.
We hope that those who have been questioning the reasons for our resignations will now be more informed of our reasons. We note that were it not for the statement released by the LPUK we would not be having to set the record straight with this response of our own.
Having each made our own choices to resign based on the reasons given we harbour no ill will towards the membership of the LPUK and wish success to all individuals seeking to promote the cause of liberty. We do not believe any one individual or organisation has a monopoly on liberty and will be promoting libertarianism via other, we hope more fruitful, and in our opinion more libertarian means.
We are joined by Josh L Ascough from the Libertarian Party, as we discuss the latest Covid news, the War on Obesity, the withdrawal of the Liberal Democrats’ London Mayoral Candidate, the potential for a post Brexit UK-Japan Trade Deal and some interesting new Peerages. We then chat with Josh about why he became a libertarian, his upcoming book on The Social Science of The Market, the free market and environmentalism, price gouging, a free market in education and the benefits of cryptocurrencies.
Firstly Josh what led you to become a Libertarian?
You’re writing a book on ‘The Social Science Of The Market’. Can you tell us a little about what this will cover and what’s made you write a book?
We spoke recently about the free market and environmentalism? How do you think we can use the market to improve the environment?
You wrote for us about price gouging. So why do you think Tesco’s, Sainsburys etc. should have been able to, and maybe should have charged us £10 for a roll of toilet paper?
Schools have been closed most of this year so far, but hopefully will be back in September. You wrote for us about a private market in Education. Briefly how would that work, and what do you see as the main benefits?
Lastly all good libertarians have a problem with Central Banks, and you’re no exception. So will Crypto save us all from fiat currency quantitative easing?
One of the least religious places in the UK, the worst rate for homelessness outside London. Home to Britain’s only Green MP and its first Green Party Council, the city of Brighton and Hove is not the first place you think of fertile as ground for a free market, small state party. However gaining ground for these ideals is the role Sofia Svihurova takes on as Brighton Group Leader of the Libertarian Party.
Recently completing a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Ethics at the University of Brighton, with a thesis on “Concerning the Right to Self-Defence in the UK and the Issue of Empowerment”, Sofia spoke at the Libertarian Party 2019 Conference about why she is libertarian.
Sofia thanks for agreeing to speak to us.
You spoke at the conference about why you are a libertarian, but for our readers can you tell us a little about why you are a libertarian and why you joined the party?
My first introduction to anything anti-establishment was actually punk rock, I really got into the whole Anarchy in the UK mentality and I especially still have a soft spot for the Clash. It was weirdly enough political music that got my attention and then I mostly just watched the news from there and found out that libertarianism made the most sense to me. The most interesting shift for me was probably seeing attitudes towards freedom of speech, shifting from the Conservatives censoring speech to the Left doing it, and of course both sides now either blame each other for censorship or act like they’re championing it. For me, neither side really cares or represents the people or their rights. To me libertarianism at least tries to uphold these rights and values, it might not hand you anything for free but it won’t interfere in your life either unless you’re actively physically harming someone. For me libertarianism is just the most reasonable ideology out of the whole lot. I joined the party because I wanted to promote those values and meet more likeminded people who also saw liberty as vital to a good life.
Brighton doesn’t seem a natural home to libertarian Politics. How did libertarian ideas go down on campus and more generally in Brighton?
You’d be surprised actually! I think Brighton has a lot of potential for libertarianism. There are a lot of anarchist groups around with people actively volunteering and doing stuff to help their community instead of moping around waiting for the local council to do something. And of course, the whole town is mostly obscure small businesses that somehow have enough customers to keep going, so I think there is a lot to work with! Recently, the council have been experimenting with the whole “car-free” idea, by closing off Madeira Drive by the seafront, and people are already protesting it saying it will affect business too much. I think Brighton is already convinced of the ideas of personal freedoms and small state, it’s just the economic side that would be an uphill battle.
As for libertarianism on campus, it took me a while to speak out and say what I truly believed but I eased people around me in to my way of thinking and by the end of first year I had built up a libertarian reputation (for better or worse)! During my second year I managed to get on to the Philosophy Society committee and managed to get 2 speakers who weren’t strictly radically left, one was even a libertarian from the IEA so that was a win! In all honesty, now that I am thinking about it I wish I had done more but it was always so exhausting and felt like an uphill battle. I think there was one other person in my year who I knew of that was libertarian/conservative and stuck with their views from beginning to end.
Because of this I was mostly involved with Libertarianism in Brighton outside my uni. I first joined a non-party group, Liberate Brighton, who later became the Brighton Brexiteers. There I met people like Paul and Ian who inspired me to keep fighting the good fight even after they decided to step away from it a bit. We’ve had a few meet ups as the party “Brighton Libertarians” and had a good few people show up! I think it’s important to keep these sorts of socials going, even if we don’t always end up doing anything productive at least it allows people to meet up and speak freely and feel less alone in this largely left-wing town.
Your thesis was on “Concerning the Right to Self-Defence in the UK and the Issue of Empowerment”. Clearly this was a major piece of work, but what are your main views on the issue?
Well, first of all I should highlight that, unfortunately, I didn’t really reach some grand conclusion. After doing over a year’s worth of research I mostly found out that there is no one size fits all solution. But my research did lead me to find out just how ridiculous the laws here are. Of course, pepper spray is still very much illegal. But in fairness you could just carry a bug-spray, just don’t tell anyone that you’re using it for self-defence because then you’re carrying it “with intent to harm” and that’s definitely something that could get you into trouble. Similarly, while carrying a knife with a blade under 3 inches is legal, make sure you’re not carrying it for self-defence reasons (again intent to harm). Legally the only self-defence item we are allowed to carry in the UK is a rape whistle. Which is ridiculous of course, there is no defence in that at all. Imagine using it in a big city like London, it would get about as much attention as a car alarm going off does. We have to be pragmatic about these things, telling people in the UK that they should all have access to firearms from tomorrow so that they can defend themselves is never going to work. Legalizing pepper spray might though, everyone I have spoken to on all sides of the political spectrum seems to agree with this. We can’t rely on the police for protection, those minutes, sometimes even an hour between you getting attacked and the police showing up could mean life or death. And if the US is anything to go by the police might not always be on our side anyway.
You’ve been at University during lockdown, how has this affected higher education, and do you have any thoughts on what more permanent changes we might see in universities as a result of this period?
We had our lectures emailed to us and just used Microsoft Teams for our seminars which only worked so well due to the technical difficulties everyone was having. I can definitely see universities simply uploading lectures online instead of having them in person. It would save on a lot of time and money for sure, hopefully for both sides… Seminars and Lab work or anything hands on like that are probably irreplaceable though. It wouldn’t be the same experience otherwise, debating with people is already too impersonal with it mostly just happening online and whatnot. I think having to physically talk to people you disagree with is so important, even if you walk away with no minds changed you can always learn something from the other person, even if it’s just realizing the way the other person thinks so you can avoid certain traps or phrases next time you try to get them to see your side.
More broadly what do you think of the government’s handling of the Covid crisis and lockdown?
I have the mainstream view that the way they handled it was ridiculous. They change their mind about what we should and shouldn’t do almost every week. So many mixed messages for different groups of people too… I think they should have just done local lockdowns from the beginning and closed the borders for a bit. There’s no knowing if that would really work of course but maybe that would have somewhat controlled economic damage at least. The overall lockdown situation is pretty terrifying from a libertarian perspective though, the state has just decided to give itself huge amount of power, I am not sure how easily they will give that up again if they even will at all.
Now lockdown is easing how do you think the government should get the economy back up and running?
Remove a lot of unnecessary red tape first of all and lower taxes for a good while as well. We will have to pay back all that debt at some point, that’s what worries me most.
During this time we’ve seen an explosion of cancel culture and identity politics. What are your thoughts on these?
To be honest I don’t care about these things as much as some people in our circles. I think that sometimes it’s just used as a distraction. Sometimes we end up spammed with news of multigender polyamorous “families” bringing their kids up identifying as spirit animals or whatever, but I don’t see why we should give it any attention, it’s all they’re after anyway. While we’re getting mad at them for making up new gender pronouns, there’s a whole elite paedophile ring investigation being swept under the rug, or new tyrannical laws being introduced, know what I mean?
As for cancel culture, I think it can be tough, but it’s also always been unavoidable. If you’re going to go on a mainstream platform and insult half the people using it of course they’re going to boycott and report you. It’s not fun to see when it’s someone you support getting cancelled, but I suppose it’s like the free market working, gotta keep your consumers happy so they don’t consume you instead of your content! I think the free market is already fixing this issue though, especially with Parler and Gab and similar such platforms gaining popularity.
If you could introduce or remove 3 laws what would they be?
Definitely remove. Firstly, I would get rid of laws prohibiting pepper-spray. Secondly, and a similar to the first one, I would remove the “carrying with intent to harm” law. And can I also say, remove income tax?
How are you espousing libertarian ideas in Brighton, and what can people do to get involved?
Now that I am out of university, I mostly just organize the meet ups and post on the Brighton Facebook page. The meet ups should be back up again soon hopefully, now that the virus is slowing down! If people want to get involved they should definitely just DM the page or email us or just DM me directly. I will be living in London from now so if anyone local would be interested in helping me run the Brighton page that would be great!