I Was Wrong: UKIP Is Not A Libertarian Party

Olly Neville January 14, 2013 15
I Was Wrong: UKIP Is Not A Libertarian Party

I have written  three times about why UKIP is a libertarian party. Today I hold my hands up and admit, Reason and the Spectator  were right and I was so very wrong.

I wanted to believe that UKIP was libertarian, that their policies were libertarian but presented in an authoritarian way. That the Burka policy was about property rights, that the immigration policy offered limitless work permits and temporary visas and that the law and that the party’s comments on the desire to change politics and Nigel’s on his desire for free thinkers was more than just political manoeuvring.

UKIP however sold out any semblance of holding libertarian principles and beliefs by explicitly targeting the angry and the social conservatives. Their attempt to walk the tightrope between their libertarian youth while explicitly attracting a very un libertarian social cons was done by writing policies with as many caveats as possible, so they could be all things to all people. Take equal marriage, most people, indeed a huge number of the members who have recently joined, believe UKIP’s policy is to always oppose, encouraged by UKIP’s marketing of the policy towards this type of voter. Actually the policy is to support equal marriage, oppose this legislation and only consider it after we remove ourselves from the ECHR. Moving aside the fact that the ECHR is not a threat to religious freedoms, UKIP try and use it to both attract those oppose to equal marriage while keeping their more liberal campaigners happy by talking up the caveats in private.

The clearest point that UKIP is not a libertarian party is how they deal with actual libertarians in the party. By expelling both Richard Lowe the PPC for Chester and myself from our positions over our belief in Equal Marriage  they fundamentally showed that libertarians are not wanted. Our treatment is not unique, current MEP Marta Andreasen has highlighted how centrally controlled  the party is, with the NEC – controlled by the party leadership calling all the shots. The party caused serious disruption when it overturned the members in the London Assembly Elections to impose their preferred candidate at the top of the list. Actions speak louder than words and UKIP neither talk nor act libertarian.

I wanted to believe that UKIP were a libertarian party, that the angry old men that make up most of the attendees of conferences and meetings were not the ones influencing the party leadership, that they truly believed in liberty and freedom. I was wrong. There was a time when libertarians could influence UKIP and could make their voices heard, day by day that is being drowned out by those that want to drag Britain back to some previous supposed Golden Age while whinging about immigrants, the EU and homosexuals. When it comes to being a truly pro liberty movement I believe that with UKIP we had a chance. We don’t anymore.

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  • http://www.proliberty.org.uk James Rigby

    “When it comes to being a truly pro liberty movement I believe that with UKIP we had a chance. We don’t anymore.” So where can a pro liberty movement be found? (Hint – Ronseal http://www.proliberty.org.uk)

  • Bangor

    Ukip was never and is not libertarian you only thought it was libs make up such a small fringe of the party it’s only ideologues like you who thought it was

  • Aaron Darkwood

    I guess I am hanging on in the hope that someone upstairs will listen to reason, will at least hold a vote to its members on Gay Marriage, listen to the fact that 73% of the UK are in favour, and only a handful of the old men you talk about, actually want it to just quietly go away, and the more quietly they tried, the louder it has become.
    There is no plan B, there are no other parties to retreat to, I just hope that it’s current members are valued and that somebody will shake things up at the top so we get a response out of them that is favourable.

  • Marty Caine

    Oh Olly when are you going to grow up and realise that UKIP is not against Gay Marriage its just sensible enough to realise that there are far more important matters at hand, serious problems that effect the whole country, problems that should have stopped the likes of you and Richard Lowe throwing Twitter Tantrums not galloping off on a crusade to defend the minority of a minority If you want to show people you have conviction then do something productive negativeness just makes you look like a cry baby. Anyone wishing to call me homophobic on that idealism you’re welcome to give it a shot, you’ll lose though.

  • martin willmott

    Absolutely agree with Marty, you were happy there until you got the boot for spouting off your own extremist views on loads of things that are not only against common sense but offended the general public’s views on decency, you do need to grow up and stop throwing your toys out of your pram, you got fired, deal with it, and don’t expect everyone to agree with your sick & depraved ideas.

    • http://www.facebook.com/angus.mckechnie.3 Angus McKechnie

      Causing offence is no reason to limit the freedom of others. You are offended? So what? Your right to avoid offence is not greater than my right to free speech or my right to act freely without causing harm to others. My causing offence is not an act of force against your person, you can just as easily ignore me as you can care about what it is I say. I am offended by limits to my freedoms, state paternalism, bureaucracy and an economy run by politicised cartels; so what? I don’t shout that it offends me at the top of my lungs, I try and convince others to my point of view so the system might one day change.

      You talk about the ‘general public’s view of decency’. There is no general public. There are only individuals. Some individuals have different opinions on decency. They have as much right to hold those views as anyone else. If a gay couple see their relationship as decent, and others are ‘offended’ by that, then so what? Their being offended does not grant them rights to use force to manipulate the relationship. Causing offence is not causing harm. The general public as a collective does not exist.

  • martin willmott

    And I cant understand why the backbencher keeps entertaining your consistent same old whining about the same old thing, it really is getting boring now, so you got fired, shit happens, deal with it, after all it was your betrayal that got you fired! Stop blaming others and grow up.

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  • http://twitter.com/MartinWillmott UKIP4UK

    What’s libertarian about endless rules and laws made in Brussels and accepted by liblabcon without question? The most libertarian party is the one that will get us out of the EU, not homophobic or racist, just a party with OUR national interest at heart, if you think uniting many countries in the EU way is libertarian, just ask a Russian from the days before the breakup.

  • http://twitter.com/Spiiinflight Mike Chaffin

    Surely if you are asked what UKIP’s policy is, you should respond accurately rather than putting your own views across?

    Maybe it’s just me but I’m guessing you aren’t a day over 21….

    • http://twitter.com/OllyNeville Olly Neville

      If you listen to the broadcast that is what I did, then in keeping with UKIPs rule L1 through to L3 of the party rule book I, when asked my opinion, put forward my opinion as entitled to do so

  • http://twitter.com/Marty_Caine Marty Caine UKIP

    I guess it depends on your idea of Libertarian really, For me, as a UKIP member, it means freedom of liberty proving that freedom does not have adverse affects on others. Olly’s idea of it is, freedom to do and say whatever you like with a total disregard for others. Unfortunately for Olly he already found that even with a Libertarian party there are consequences to his actions, he obviously is still not happy about that lesson in life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/angus.mckechnie.3 Angus McKechnie

      ‘freedom of liberty proving that freedom does not have adverse affects on others’ is an absolutely disgustingly vague opinion when talking about negative liberty. Adverse affects? Libertarians believe that you have freedom to liberty providing your actions do not infringe on the freedom of another person. Causing offence to someone may be considered an ‘adverse affect’, but it does not limit their freedom to act. If you want to continue to claim to be libertarian I suggest you maybe take another glance at the essential texts by Smith, Bastiat, Mises and Hayek.

  • http://www.facebook.com/angus.mckechnie.3 Angus McKechnie

    It is interesting to the UKIP members out in force to attack the author of this article. It is apparent they see you as a threat. Their social conservatism makes them unattractive to the younger sections of the voter base, but it is strange that they think that matters so much.

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