I’m taking a liberty here.. that’s what I do. But I’m going to repost John Demetriou’s analysis of the state, and malaise, of El-Puck (Libertarian Party UK).
If JD’s points (and for that matter, those of his buddy Kevin Boatang) made in the following post and elsewhere (LPUK blog etc.), were taken on board by the party ‘machine’, I’d fork over membership fees and donations in a heartbeat.
For those still unaware of the Libertarian performance in the recent Norwich North by-election, the party to which Mr B and I are members scored a total of 36 votes.
This result cemented concerns that we both already had, in that we felt that communication in the party hovers between lacklustre and non-existent, and it is a grey area as to what the senior people in the party actually do.
I, for instance, have received one email (relating to the AGM) since I joined the party one year ago. That is it.
Presumably, when the party was founded, there were at least a handful of people willing to take the job on of taking the outfit forward with the purposes of accumulating members and public popularity.
Yet whenever Mr B and I raise our hands to make constructive comment, criticism or points of view, we are (irritatingly) told that the party doesn’t have a ‘machine’, that the senior people ‘have lives’ and that with little resources, the party does the best it can.
This is inevitably followed up with ‘put your money where you mouth is’ type challenges, which is like saying ‘if you don’t like it, you bloody do it’.
A resounding chime of confidence rings out of our heads, I’m sure you can imagine.
Well, I am happy to be a paid up member and so is my colleague Mr Boatang. We too have ‘busy lives’, though this singularly fails to stop us from writing thousands of words of blinding, genius and original content every single day on the world’s best blog.*
As it happens, Mr B and I are actually up for becoming more active in the party and getting out there to help in campaigns. The LPUK would realise this were so much a a solitary individual with responsibility disposed towards communicating with members properly. Email, and ten minutes of time, is not exactly like asking someone to organise the next Cannes Film Festival.
So, when the Norwich North election result came in, Mr B and I braced ourselves for the predictable and infuriating waves of spin that got pumped out on the LPUK blog.
One chap did a post trying to gloss over the result, whilst still (after the campaign was dead and over) making negative remarks about the Tory candidate and winner.
The Party Chairman, Mr Withers, produced a more down to earth article on the result, though there was the notable air of spin about the piece and a lack of comment on how to move forward and progress. Members would read that and wonder where the hell the party can possibly go, unless we start to look deeply and inwardly at ourselves and our approach to campaigning.
This is where Mr B. and I decided to step up and make an appearance. The more we offered constructive criticism (read the comments sections of the articles on the LPUK blog for evidence), the more certain people got annoyed.
Interestingly, the level of irritation and panic over our comments solidified once we popped on their blog and ours to cock a snook at the incestuous, cliquey and inbred manner in which the party (and its core, root cabal of blogging campaigners) conduct matters.
If Libertarianism is (and it is) about openness, accountability, democracy, fairness, transparency and power to the individual, it is obviously of some concern when a small clique of faceless people start to try and shut down debate.
‘We have a forum, this is not the best place to discuss this, go there instead’ is one type of refrain we’ve been getting.
‘This blog should be deleted’ is, amazingly, another idea, along with ‘the comments should be heavily moderated’.
The deletion of a place of accountability? A public forum where people can talk and air views, which are fairly and rightly offered to prospective members and the public?
The institution of a ‘heavily moderated’ place of discussion?
What the hell is this, fucking Pravda? Views like this are valid, but please, if you genuinely think that the LPUK should conduct itself in this manner, then I am sorely disappointed to inform you that maybe – just maybe – you are possibly not that much of a Libertarian.
People in the LPUK may not like what we have to say, but we have the god damned right (as members) to go on the members’ blog to voice our views on how we can improve and move forward. We have the god damned right to ask questions of this campaign in Norwich, and what the hell happened. We note that there has been a piss poor attempt at answering those queries. But hey, ‘they have lives’ huh. So I guess I’ll just have to sit back and accept what is doled out to me.
We did find out one thing, however, after our attempts to relentlessly pursue some answers. There was no discernible ‘LPUK campaign’ to speak of, outside of one lady who turned up from the West Country.
Brilliant. And, er, was there no bloody campaign co-ordinator out there with the common sense to email members to ask for help? Or are we all expected to read every thread or article on the blog or forum thing in order to grab what snippets of info we can?
Little wonder there was nil man power. Little wonder poor Thomas Burridge could only get his family and friends out to vote for him.
I, many years ago, worked as an intrinsic team member in a political campaign during a general election. I witnessed countless volunteers, unpaid people of generous years, give up their time to campaign for a party they didn’t even quite agree with, but helped anyway because they were made to feel important. They had morale in their hearts. And all that brought them out was a fucking phone call or a knock on the door.
We’re talking common sense, not money or resources, just a little bit of effort.
There will be LPUK people who will read this and fucking fume. They’ll hate our guts. They’ll think we’re mad, or trouble makers, or just plain arrogant cocky arseholes who haven’t the balls to make their own efforts to help.
They will be angry for these reasons: we are right, and they know we’re right…and we have the fucking bow locks to tell it how it is. If people like us didn’t, no-one would. We do so because we are libertarian, we actually want the party to go somewhere and do well, and we don’t like being bullshitted.
I’ll leave all our readers with this quote from a bloke called John Stuart Mill. You might, if you are even vaguely libertarian, have fucking heard of him:
If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
…the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error…
Mr B and I do not state opinion as though fact; as though we are 100% correct, 100% of the time and our interlocutors axiomatically wrong. But we have the right to speak up and voice our opinion. We will offer that dissenting voice and we seek answers and responses. We will not be silenced.
I will be doing more articles over the next few days on libertarianism and what it is to be libertarian in modern Britain. I also hope to feed more into party debate. I know Mr Boatang wishes to feed into this process – though it is never quite clear if anyone in the LPUK is listening.
It is possible that we will end up being silenced, or banished from the party. It’s human nature and libertarians are no less immune to it than anyone else – people don’t like having their cosy little boat rocked by others. The apple cart simply must go on, with all the fruit aboard left in tact.
Mr B and are are like libertarian bandits. We’ll fuck up that cart, we’ll eat all the apples and we’ll put a fucking hole in the quaint little gondola if it makes people wake up, listen and help get things done.
Posted by John Demetriou at 18:51
And breathe. This guy’s a leg end in his own lunchtime.