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!
We are joined by Dan Liddicott, the Chairman of the Libertarian Party UK, as we discuss the impending easing of the lockdown restrictions, the end of Rory Stewart’s Mayoral campaign and the latest in the fiasco that is the Electoral Commission. We then chat with Dan about his role with the Libertarian Party and their plans for the future.
On the next election: “I’d like to get 30 odd candidates stand and I’d like to have them get more than a 1000 votes each. That’s what I’d like to see, at that point the press and the national attention starts to look at you.”
“We are the only ones that understand the importance of defending the smallest minority of all, which is you the individual”
On the Electoral Commission: “it’s incompetence or it is activism. Which one is it? Because it isn’t nether, and I’m very concerned, if it’s the later, if it’s activism, then we’ve got a serious problem in this country”
“We are under emergency powers, if policy is being decided by just 4 people, that’s not great is it? We need more scrutiny than that”
We are joined by Bill Etheridge, the former UKIP, Libertarian Party & Brexit Party MEP, as we discuss the Taxpayers Alliance’s City Hall Rich List, a potential new trade deal with japan and the Cancellation Culture attacking our historic statues and even beloved TV shows & films. We then chat with Bill about his time in politics, the demise of UKIP and the future of Classical Liberalism in this country.
“over 10 years of supposedly Conservative government and I’m old enough to remember before they got in, they were going to sort all of this out and have bonfires of quangos… still more than a decade on these obscene salaries are being paid out”
“we’re still an enormous economy, we’re very important in terms of diplomatic links, we are a hugely important country and of course people want to do deals with us”
“all of these things they want to erase, so they can start a new narrative, start from year zero. This is a modern day version of a cultural revolution”
“there was a little game that the staff that worked with us as MEPs, used to sit down and do a bingo, and they would try and find the Thatcher or Reagan quotes that I slipped into my speeches”
“Nigel Farage is the most effective and inspiring politician for patriotic right of centre politics, that there has been for many years”
“partly I wanted to make a statement that Libertarianism is something people should look at. Because it’s not discussed, people don’t talk about Libertarianism”
“it’s a tough old game being in politics, especially when you’ve got a bit of a reputation behind you, you become a target for all sorts of things, and if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it for a party I actually believe in and it’s worth making the sacrifices”
“If you believe in something, don’t just sit in the pub with a couple of mates talking about it, don’t just type something on Twitter, or whatever. Actually actively pursue that interest and try to make a difference”
We are joined once again by Sean Finch of the Libertarian Party and Hoong-Wai Cheah of UKIP to discuss the future of democracy & freedom in the UK, Progressive Liberalism vs Classical Liberalism and how we can fight back against the woke culture so prevalent in parts of our society today.
We are joined by Sean Finch of the Libertarian Party and Hoong-Wai Cheah of UKIP to discuss libertarianism, what it means to them and how their respective parties approach policy making from a libertarian perspective.
We talk to Mal McDermott of the Libertarian Party about Libertarianism and how the Party would tackle issues such as knife crime. We also discuss Irish politics, the upcoming General Election in the Republic and Brexit.