Sunday, 9 March 2008

Taking a liberty

Don't be fooled by the previous post. There's more to the UK Libertarian Party than mere tactical political acumen - although the genius of pursuing the non-voter vote should not be underestimated. They've got principles and policies as well.

The principles are admirably and predictably simple:
"We believe in individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom from government—on all issues at all times."
Gosh, it's rugged and independent and noble and inspiring, isn't it? You don't hear that from your waffling, corrupt and cynical machine politicians, do you? That's because they don't understand this big truth:
"The Libertarian approach offers a consistent and coherent way of looking at the world—one that puts you and your family at the centre of things. We believe that when it comes to making those decisions that really matter—how your children are educated, who will care for your elderly relatives, how much of your life you spend working and how much with your family—there's only one person that can make the best choice for you: and that is you."
So how does this translate into policies? Consistency and coherency are the watchwords here remember. Gosh, I certainly hope they don't have any policies of excessive government interference, or which prevent the individual from taking decisions that really matter!
"The totally free movement of people into the UK is not practical whilst we have a large welfare state and other countries are themselves not broadly Libertarian in nature. In line with the Rule of Law, a transparent, consistent points-based system is one of the key measures that we are proposing."
Whoops! Aside from noting that "whilst...other countries are themselves not broadly Libertarian in nature" is very long-winded way of saying "never", this flies in the face of the precious UKLP philosophy:
  • We believe in freedom from government on all issues at all times (but we'll tell you who you can and can't employ)
  • We believe only you can make the best decisions for the family (unless you decide to move them to the UK - you can't decide that)
So what's the deal here? Surely there aren't concerns over the public good that trump the individuals' right to do whatever they like? One conclusion would be that UKLP are not nobly principled harbingers of a new era of freedom, but merely small-island reactionaries cloaking their "I'm alright Jack" instincts with tatters of cheap sophistry. More interestingly, maybe they're not. Maybe they don't really believe in immigration controls at all. Maybe it's something they put in the manifesto as a compromise. After all, it wouldn't be at all popular to announce that their principles inexorably lead them to totally open borders. Maybe they're just doing what's practical. Thinking about the voters, and adjusting their policies accordingly. I really hope so. Because it's easy to be pure and noble on the outside. Join in and try and get something done however and it's a different, and less flattering, story.


Anonymous said...


Spot on.

Squander Two said...

> their principles inexorably lead them to totally open borders.

Yes, but only to totally open borders everywhere, not just around the one country. It might be less misleading to say that their principles inexorably lead them to total freedom of movement within and between broadly Libertarian territories. Immigration is also emmigration. Simply opening the borders of the UK (or any other single country) does not create freedom of movement. Opening the borders between two countries, in both directions, creates freedom of movement.