Thursday, 9 June 2011

Thoughts on the "demise" of LPUK

After the furore caused by Anna Raccoon two months ago, it seemed fairly clear to me that LPUK was either dead or severely wounded and unlikely to recover, despite the goodwill and efforts of a number of minarchists and libertarians to steer the ship to calmer waters.

And while I think Mr Ferguson's approach is very sensible and important, I don't think I'll be renewing my membership of the LPUK, despite his good intentions.

The fundamental problem that I see in the UK is that "social democracy" is drilled into people from the outset. There is no serious tolerance of the idea of NOT amortizing the bad consequences of your actions across all of society. The nett takers of society and the masses who have been convinced of the horror of accepting said consequences will not forgo their security blanket.

The Green Party has moved from being an electoral nonentity pressure group to a party with parliamentary representation, precisely because their agenda dovetails so precisely with the idea of amortizing bad things.

This is entirely the antithesis of libertarianism, even if you are some sort of classical liberal or minarchist who believes in some limited government. The idea of libertarianism is that you have to bear the consequences of your decisions. If they're good decisions, you do well. If they're bad decisions, you suffer.

There is no place in a social democracy for the ideas of individual responsibility, everything revolves around the "greater good", and if you want to be the bloke who defines what the greater good is, you have to get elected to power. And because this country is an increasingly intolerant social democracy, the only way you will come to power is to be a social democrat.

This inherent contradiction between British politics and any kind of libertarian ideals means that unlike the Greens, LPUK will almost certainly never become relevant unless the entire social democratic structure is destroyed or collapses under its own weight.

And even then, or perhaps especially then, the loss of security will almost inevitably lead a fearful populace to seek a similar comforting safety blanket as the new social order.

I wish those who would revive the LPUK well, I really do. And I hope my assessment is wrong.

But I'm pretty sure it isn't.


Sean O'Hare said...

That's a bleak picture you paint there Obo, but I have to agree. If there ever was the prospect of a minarchist approach it is long gone. Very depressing, but as my friend says, "if you can't beat 'em, join them. Play the game and play it well. Take out what you can and run away when you've had enough". It is a pity that my friend didn't say that a long time ago as I wouldn't still be here. Now I fear it is too late for me for up-sticks!

Oh and thanks for the, now very rare post. Do you realise it's over a month since you did more than post some music or video.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Yeah, I may have to pick up the cudgels again. The reason I stopped blogging has gone away.


Sean O'Hare said...

Ah Obo! I never believed your reason to stop blogging. It was always going to turn out like this!

MrAngryman said...

Good to have you back.

another of the problems that Libertarians face is the tribal nature of British politics. The arguments that Libertarians and others espouse are lost in the noise of the adversarial 'your either with us or against us' mentality that is prevalent throughout the political spectrum.

This noise and the shouts of 'Tory Bigot' or 'Pinkie Commie' from the opposing sides drown the nuances of political discussion in this country. The Libertarians and others are forced to join the consensus or be lost in the noise. Unless the way in which we approach Politics and political discourse changes then we are forever stuck in this cycle of 'us' vs 'them'. This is actually where I think the coalition has an advantage, by proving (hopefully) that consensus politics works, maybe they can reinvigorate the standard of political discussion.

Maybe if that utter cunt Clegg hadn't of fucked up the AV referendum and opted instead for full PR of course.....

Anonymous said...

It's probably impossible to organize a political party comprising people who want only to mind their own business.

John Demetriou said...

Thoughtful piece, obo.

By the way, I had another read through your link to an explanaton of Anarchy academic piece. Very good, and very challenging.

I am a classical liberal, as you hopefully are aware, and I agree with you about entrenched social democratic mindsets which are the bedrock of the problem.

But on the insignificant subject of LPUK, I would hope that you could swallow your pride a little and at least partially agree that I may have been right in saying all this time that the outfit was flawed because the folks involved were no different to other politicians - ones we all love to knock.

This is what I have been on about all along. The hypocrisy and double standards.

I know we both want libertarianism, albeit perhaps in slightly different shades, but can we agree that human nature is such that there are no good and no bad guys per se?

Anoneumouse said...

Ever since I was able to vote I have held libertarian views. I have no sympathy for fellow travellers who think they are wise enough to herd cats.

Libertarian government is an oxymoron

Sean O'Hare said...

Wow that post by John Demetriou is quite something after all that has gone before. Are you going to bury that hatchet Obo? I don't mean in John's head, but it would be better if even similarly minded libertarians could come up with a hymn sheet they can both sing from. As Anoneumouse says Libertarian government is an oxymoron so left/right differences shouldn't come into it.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

This is what I have been on about all along. The hypocrisy and double standards.

What, you mean like you claiming to be a liberal when you espouse social democrat cockwaffle?

Gavin Webb said...

Perhaps you'd like to read the latest set of proposals and offer some feedback or suggestions? Rather than giving up, why not become more active?

You can view the proposals either by visiting and linking from their, or visiting the showcase website

You are of course also free to submit your own proposals for consideration by the members. At the end of the day, it is they - the members - who decide which route of reform the party should take.

John Demetriou said...

You never did get round to explaining exactly what it is I have thought or said that was social democratic cockwaffle did u obo.


Obnoxio The Clown said...

Jesus, are "u" drunk?

And yes, I did, in the self-same posts. :o)

Obnoxio The Clown said...

@Gavin Webb, like I said, I like the idea, and I hope it works, but equally, I think you're trying to piss up a rope.

There is no point in trying to convince people of individualism in a society which is so socialist.

John Demetriou said...

Sorry I'm writing this on one of these new fangled social democratic smart phones hence the poor left wing English.

JuliaM said...

Spot on! This country is sinking under the weight of the 'It's for your own good!' bansturbators and the 'Save me, Big Gov!' nanny-loving public...

"And even then, or perhaps especially then, the loss of security will almost inevitably lead a fearful populace to seek a similar comforting safety blanket as the new social order."

And what they seek, they'll get. See Dick Puddlecote's latest.

John Demetriou said...

Wondered what you make of my latest piece, obo. Care to comment?

Gavin Webb said...

@Obo - it's a pity you've thrown in the towel. The more liberty-minded people who adopt your approach will inevitably lead to greater state-control surely?

The one thing that can be said about the social democrats that many libertarians spout hostility towards - some of whom I've worked with in the past and who are still friends to this day - is that they are hard-working, committed to what they believe in, and actually get off their backsides and campaign in their communities. They are 'not' stuck behind a keyboard complaining about the world.

Libertarians aren't the only ones with an uphill struggle. Many mainstream party activists are working to get their voices heard by the people in areas where they stand no real chance of success. However, they continue to plug away and sometimes this leads to success, maybe winning a council seat, getting new supporters to the cause, donations to pay for campaigns and growth.

I urge fellow libertarians to not give up and keep plugging away. Aim to have a more liberal society, not a pure libertarian society. If you aspire to see the latter in your lifetime, you will be constantly disappointed

Anna Raccoon said...

Good piece Obo, and good to see you on your old superb form again.

I think the implosion of the lpuk is one of the saddest things I have ever witnessed. So many good people left disillusioned and despairing.

I have to take personal responsibility for having lit the fuse; I have asked myself many times whether I would still have done so if I had known where it would lead.

It can never be right to conceal the truth when it is capable of going on and creating more harm, so I guess on those grounds I would still have pressed publish.

I suppose the final answer is that if 'some' libertarians had been more libertarian right in the beginning and taken personal responsibility themselves, the party need not have imploded - but it is too late now.

I wish those who are trying to rebuild the party the very best of luck - they are decent people with good intentions; unfortunately, like you, I now think there is an inherent contradiction between those who want to control a party, and libertarian ideals.

I shall have to go on in my own 'sweet way'....and do what I can, where I can, without the illusory security of believing that I was part of a 'movement'.

I shall be the 'Solitary Person Republic for Personal Responsibility' - anybody got a CND badge for my beret?

Obnoxio The Clown said...

@Anna Raccoon: thank you, ma'am. It's very gracious of you to say so.

I, for one, am very grateful that you lit the fuse, and I don't know anyone that isn't. There is no way that any skullduggery or even hint thereof should be allowed in a political party, and especially not a libertarian one.

Thank you for having done it.

John Demetriou said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I thought Ms Raccoon did a very brave piece back there in April. I only recently discovered it and the whole row, after a prolonged period of absence from the blogosphere.

It was brave to say all that stuff and lay it on the line, in those circumstances.

I don't expect any kind words in return from Anna or Obo, and I am not trying to curry favour.

I am aware of the general all round low opinion of me, but I want to be as honest as possible and offer credit where it is due.

I think Anna came across quite well in her piece. She also seems a very accommodating and friendly person, as does her husband. I apologise for the times I have been extremely rude to her in the past.

As I say, I'm not sucking up, but I genuinely want to express that I have not been trolling all these years. I have been passionate about my viewpoint, albeit often bumptiously so.

Anna Raccoon said...

John Demetriou...Blimey....Bloody Hell....Give me a minute to recover....gasp....!

I did notice a vaguely complimentary comment allegedly from you on Dick Puddlecote's site a while back - and I thought, No! It can't be, it's a wind-up, best ignore it.....

Well, my ghast is flabbered.

I don't bear grudges John, I think every day is a fresh day when you are free to change your opinions. People have held that against me in the past, it is unfashionable not to stick to a consistent viewpoint - but in this case it will work in your favour.

Long since forgotten; I've had more than enough abuse over the past month to be worrying over stale abuse.

Crikey, I don't even bear a grudge against Andrew Withers.

Thinking he's a fat, fraudulent, fantasist is an opinion not a grudge......

John Demetriou said...

I was genuinely moved by your revelations about Mr. W. and Henry N. London.

You stuck your neck out, tried to do your best to help, and your hospitality and so on was, from what I could see, abused.

I think many would not have had the guts to do the whole write up of the whole affair. It must have taken ages to properly document it and write it up accurately and honestly. It was also brave to do it, knowing of the potential fall out.

But it was necessary, in my opinion. When someone sees injustice and wrong take place, especially in the world of politics, it is right and proper to say something, otherwise what are we? Accomplices to the very things we are supposed to despise.

No grudges here either. I have calmed down after my 6 months off. I have taken a step back and I want to posit myself differently from now on.

Regards to you all.

Anna Raccoon said...


You credit me with more guts than I have.

In fairness, I didn't even suspect that there was any problem, or at least the depth of problem, that emerged at the lpuk.

I was merely concerned the APW had vanished very suddenly from my site, at the same time as I appeared to be doing a vanishing act from lpuk's site, and then there were the strange and vaguely threatening little blog posts that Guthrum was putting out regarding the French Tax authorities.

Anyone with half a brain could figure out that he was mighty annoyed with me for having the temerity to expect him to repay that money, and was systemically setting about punishing me for it.

Then I got a series of e-mails and calls from someone else in the same situation; had I received them three months, or even three weeks earlier, I should have dismissed them - but the pattern was too obvious. It made me go looking to see what had befallen the other debt I knew about.

The consequence of all that made me realise that I couldn't just stay quiet. Nor could I just conduct 'back-stage' briefings with those who were enquiring what was going on. It had to be all out in the open or nothing.

Funny to think that if he had just made sensible arrangements to pay me, none of this would I have come out, I would have put the long wait down to experience, in the same way I had kept quiet about Henry North London.

But that's not his style - hit out, smear, bully, and the more he did it, the more determined I became.

Amazing experience to watch someone become their own worst enemy.

John Demetriou said...

Yeah, that's pretty much how I read that situation. Awful stuff. Awful. And it must have been amazingly awkward and painful to have to act as host round at your gaffe, while things started to become very apparent. I have had comparable, though on a lower level, stuff like that happen to me in the past and I don't envy anyone who has to experience it.

What a shame. And, I have to say, regarding the specific point about the wasn't exactly a huge amount was it!

I have had car repairs at the garage come to around that in the past. I hand over my card, bite my hand a little, pay, and get on with it. It's not exactly a deposit for a 3 bed house in bloody Marylebone is it! What was it, a grand or something? Jesus.

I am not interested in delving into what is happening amidst the smouldering wreckage of LPUK. It is certainly not appropriate for me to speculate, but I am sure I speak for other like minded ex members in saying...glad I'm no longer embroiled.

I'll stick to doing politics in my own little weird ways and leave active party political goings on to people who can hack that murky world.

Wombat of Sin said...

The problem with any minarchal movement is that it needs to prove itself.

Like it or not, the Social Democratic model has been hugely successful in giving people a very comfortable lifestyle.

For some curious reason, a party essentially saying they plan to toss a bucket of ice cold water into the nations face to shake them out of that comfort is met with utter indifference by the vast majority of the voting public.

Much as agreed with the majority of the LPUK manifesto, it was never going to sell to a public who've never seen a libertarian government ever, who'll probably need explaining what a libertarian is and who are quite happy to trade some freedoms if they get to feel safer from exploding brown people, real or imaginary.

Any minarchal movement wanting electoral success will need to start of with small 'c' conservatism (so, not the Tories then) and show it can do that before it can start taking a hacksaw to societies chains with any support.

That doesn't mean binning the entire ideology, but selecting parts people will currently support and using it to attain power and be in a position to start introducing other aspects of it.

Target what the people actually want - feel safer, taxed less - and they'll swallow some of what you want. Some of it will dovetail with libertarian thinking, some of it won't.

Neither main party, nor the Lib Dems, does that right now, which is why we generally have low turnouts and governments voted in with a majority that is in fact a minority of the overall vote. I strongly feel there is a chance for a new party that focusses on a handful of changes whilst maintaining the rest as is to make inroads, or at least force the main parties to change their outlooks.

A series of small victories would chip away at the status quo, and be a damn sight more successful that trying to go the whole hog. And show the public how much better their lives are with one or two libertarian concepts implemented, and they'll be more receptive to others.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Like it or not, the Social Democratic model has been hugely successful in giving people a very comfortable lifestyle.

Has it really? Or has it just been very successful at parasitism? If you look at the progress the US made after WW2 when they didn't use a social democratic model compared to Britain which used a very social democratic model, you'll find that Britain lagged behind the States all the way.

We may have a very comfortable lifestyle, but I would argue that it would be even more comfortable if we didn't have the burden of a hectoring, greedy government hanging around our necks.