Why UKIP is the most Libertarian party, and why it is the only choice for liberal minded individuals who want change:
Matthew Feeney on Reason posted an article about Libertarianism in UKIP, or the supposed lack off http://reason.com/blog/2012/06/07/ukip-pulls-libertarians-in-the-wrong-dir
Feeney argues against UKIPs libertarian values based on a few policies: The desire for strong defence, the desire for more robust policing, the policy of controlling permanent immigration, and Nigel Farage’s supposed desire to ban mephedrone http://www.ukip.org/content/video-zone/1514-why-banning-mephedrone-is-not-as-easy-as-it-sounds
Firstly, Farage has called repeatedly for legalisation of drugs as can be seen here http://www.indhome.com/2010/11/ukip-leader-decriminalise-prostitution-drugs-hunting-smoking-pubs/ and here http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2010/04/what-did-nigel-farage-say-about-drugs.html and was simply making the point that Britain should be free to decide what it bans or legalises not have it forced upon us by a supra national body
Secondly, while Feeney criticises UKIP for being strong on criminals, I have seen nothing that ever indicates Libertarianism is meant to be weak on crime. Indeed a key tenet of libertarianism is property rights, if you are a minarchist the only thing you believe the state should do is defend property rights. What is the contradiction with being a libertarian party and wanting to be tough on those that impose on the property rights of others?
Defence ties in heavily with policing, you need a strong military to defend the property rights of the citizens of that country, defence is a key aspect for Libertarians, where is the liberty of the Falklanders if Argentina invades? Without a defensive military you cannot have your libertarian society. UKIP is the only major political party calling for a defensive force only: Labour took us into Iraq, The coalition into Libya (something Nigel Farage spoke out against) and now war propaganda against Syria is starting. It gave me great relief to see Paul Nuttall on Question Time arguing heavily against intervention in Syria. (As an aside, Feeney chastises UKIP for wanting to raise defence spending 40%, completely ignoring the announcement of our Defence Spokesman Godfrey Bloom that we do not need to increase defence spending at all if we can get out of foreign wars)
Immigration is seemingly a big point here, however, UKIP’s immigration policy is far more nuanced than it first seems, whilst the Tory party want a cap of 50,000 a year on total immigration, UKIP merely want a freeze on permanent settlement. We want a work permit scheme where people can come over to work, if companies need foreign workers they can do so via work permits. The result is that while under UKIP permanent settlement may fall, temporary settlement and those coming here on work permits are likely to rise (especially with UKIPs low regulation low tax schemes which would create many more jobs in the economy) Opponents of UKIP often jump on the immigration point without fully researching the nuanced position.
Fundamentally, those who criticise UKIP for not being Libertarian fall foul of the Nirvana Fallacy, UKIP are by far the most libertarian party in Britain, our policies on a flat tax of 31%, education vouchers, civil liberties are very libertarian, we are the only party to have voted against internet regulation and snooping. No party is perfectly Libertarian, UKIP is far more so than any other party, I see many Tories saying that UKIP is not perfectly libertarian so they will not join, despite the Tory Conservatives being far worse.
Politics is the art of the possible, no party fits any one of us perfectly, we all vote for the least worst option. UKIP is by far the most libertarian party, far from comparing us to some make believe ideal UKIP should be compared to other parties in Britain: All three failed old parties are high tax high spend parties, even the Tories are not cutting spending or debt. On issues such as foreign policy, DNA databases, Habeas Corpus, devolving power down as far as possible, tax, education, HS2 and many others UKIP stands alone as a libertarian party. That UKIP don’t believe in privatising transport infrastructure and want to invest in it is no ‘anti libertarian’ stick to beat us with when you realise all other parties support HS2 which is far more expensive than the UKIP transport policies.
UKIP is the most libertarian party in UK politics, a perfectly Libertarian party will not be elected, yet. Politics is slow moving, and you cannot jump from the corporatist statist society we have to a libertarian one over night, you have to move there slowly. Overall UKIP has the most libertarian manifesto, and the most liberal minded leadership who genuinely care about individual rights and liberties. Because UKIP are not perfect is to ignore the fact that we are the best there is, and in current circumstances the best that is ever going to be elected. As the UK slowly gets more libertarian minded then is the time to argue over how Libertarian things should get. But for the moment when you have three socially democratic, inherently centralising and statist parties, and one pretty libertarian, pro individual party the choice is clear: vote for the party that is mostly libertarian, (or join and make it more so from within or wait until UKIP has been able to change hearts and minds and set up your own even more libertarian party) or you will end up with more of the same, more statist, and more centralising policies, from the same old anti libertarian three parties.