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.