Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Supporting a Libertarian Candidate

I took a day off work yesterday, but I resisted the temptation to stay in bed. Instead, I got in my car and drove down to Uttoxeter, to help Gavin Webb in his campaign to be elected to the town council. Gavin is one of the best people I've met since I joined the Libertarian Party. He used to be a Lib Dem councillor in Stoke on Trent, but was always very open about his libertarian principles, and extremely good at getting into the local press. He eventually defected to us, becoming the Libertarian Party's first councillor. His seat in Stoke was abolished by boundary changes earlier next year, but when a by-election was called in his home town of Uttoxeter, he decided to stand. Because of the internal problems that the Libertarian Party is having at the moment, he was unable to stand as an official LP candidate, so he's describing himself as "The candidate with libertarian principles". That's good enough for me, a lib's a lib as far as I'm concerned, whatever flag they fly under - and by adopting the word "libertarian" in his description, he's brought the basic concept to the attention of local residents.

And this is the kind of activity that libertarians need to support. Some libs take the attitude that if you ignore the state it will go away - it won't. We'll always have governments, or at least for the forseeable future. Should we let them be dominated by statists who don't see any limit to a government's legitimate powers? I don't think so. We need libertarians in positions of authority so they can moderate the state - keep it as much as possible to its legitimate functions (basically protecting people from aggression) and away from poking its nose into our private business.

So when I found out that Gavin was standing, I didn't hesitate to volunteer. I donated a bit of money to his campaign - not much, but what I could afford - and managed to get down to Uttoxeter yesterday to help him with leafletting for a few hours. This was hard graft, especially as the weather was hot for a while, but I'm glad I did it. We delivered a good few hundred leaflets between us, and it felt good to be doing something practical for a change, instead of sitting at a computer keyboard moaning about the state of the world. This kind of real world activity is one of the things that's needed to gain some traction for libertarianism.

What are Gavin's chances of getting a decent result? I don't know, though Gavin seems optimistic. Even if he doesn't get elected he's brought libertarianism to the attention of thousands of people - that in itself is a victory. Polling day's tomorrow (Thursday) so we won't have long to wait to see how he's done. In the meantime, if you'd like to support Gavin, why don't you go along to his website and make a donation via Paypal? He's mostly financed his campaign himself, so I'm sure he'd appreciate whatever you can donate. If you really believe in libertarianism, show some solidarity for a man who's shown more than willing to get up off his backside to promote it in the real world.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Good News

Bin Liner is dead at last!

It's a pity he wasn't brought in alive to face a public trial for his crimes, but at least justice has been executed.

Goodby and good riddance to possibly the world's biggest loser - a man born to immense wealth who could easily have been a great force for good in the world. Instead he decided to waste his life on violence and hatred.

The world is a slightly better place today.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Debating AV

Here's a recent televised debate between the Establishment politician Margaret Beckett and Jonathan Bartley, who heads the campaign group "Yes to Fairer Votes". Personally I think Mr Bartley got the upper hand in this debate, but you make your own mind up:

On 5th May, we're all going to get the chance to vote for or against the introduction of the Alternative Vote system (AV), a seemingly small but significant change to the existing First Past The Post (FPTP) system. The difference with AV is that you number the candidates in order of preference, so you put 1 next to the guy you want to elect, 2 next to your second choice and so on. If your first choice doesn't get enough votes to be elected, then he's eliminated and your vote gets transferred to your second choice. This should eliminate the problem of tactical voting - instead of voting for whoever you think has the best chance of beating the guy you really don't want to get in, regardless of whether you like them or not, you can give your first preference to your favoured candidate without fear of your vote being wasted.

Although it's not a proportional system, it's an improvement on the current one. Not only will it eliminate wasted votes, it should also give a clearer picture of what kind of government the electorate actually want. The Libertarian Party supports this proposed reform, as do a broad range of other minority parties. Funnily enough, it's less popular with Establishment politicians, who seem to be generally happy with the system that got them elected (very often on small minorities).

5th May is going to be an opportunity to introduce a beneficial constitutional reform and give us, the general public, a bit more say in how this country is run. Don't miss the chance to vote Yes to fairer votes.