Following is an interview with my colleague Andrew Withers which appears on the Democracy Forum.
What is your role within LPUK (Libertarian Party UK)?
Currently Treasurer and Deputy Leader
How did you get involved?
One of the Five founders
The LPUK is a tiny party at the moment. How do you intend to grow it?
Organically from the bottom up with effective regional branches- best are South East, South West,Scotland and North West. Bringing Libertarians under one roof that are scattered and suffocating in other parties.
Do you find it demoralising being a small party?
Liberating ! I have been a member of another political party, but did not like the egos and need for leaders to have control over members and the public
Is there a paticular kind of person who joins the Libertarian Party?
Independent minded and self reliant
Isn't the Libertarian agenda covered by other parties such as the Liberal Democrats and UKIP?
Chokes with laughter ! UKIP have under Pearson returned to their huntin' , shootin' bannin' roots. The Lib Dems should just drop the 'Liberal' bit and admit they are Social Democrats.
If there isn't a local Libertarian candidate in the General Election, how would you encourage peope to vote?
For an independent with similar views, failing that 'None of the above' a party with over 40% of the national vote at present.
What do you feel is the single biggest problem facing the country at the moment?
A two party State,defunct political system,Quangos, unelected politicians and Chief Constables, a lack of a written Constitution and a massive State that employs over half of the workforce and more, its difficult to know where to start, but we need a new Constitutional Settlement.
Do you favour any kind of electoral reform?
Root and branch cutting out of layers of Government. The EU has not been assented to by the people of this country therefore is illegitimate, Westmister should only look after National Defence and Foreign affairs EVERYTHING else returned to either Regional or County level. Every level to be regulated by some form of PR to reflect the real local opinion, not landslides with about 31% of the vote. Each Region to set its own tax rates as per Swiss Cantons
The Libertarian party is often associated with the legalisation of all drugs and prostitution. Do you think that this scares away potential members and voters?
Why is it ? Scare tactics I think ! However drugs prohibition is not working any more than alcohol prohibition did in the USA in the 30's, it just makes just makes drugs cool and sexy because of the thrill of criminality, it causes gang warfare, shootings and polluted drugs which are a health risk to users. It should be a medical problem along with alcohol addiction.
Of course it will scare aware potential voters, because they have lived with Government inspired nonsense since 1968 ! I remember that twenty years ago we were all going to die of AIDS, then recently Bird Flu and Swine Flu. The State has its own reasons for creating these moral panics, so that it can 'protect' us.
There are five primary drivers for animals, sex is one of them. Despite Harriet Harman, the State is never going to be able to eradicate Sex or Prostitution. I would rather that those involved in the sex trade male and female, had access to regular health checks and were safe. Again its very illegality causes trafficking in sex workers by organised pimps.
When and where do you predict your first electoral success will happen?
We already have a City Councillor in Gavin Webb, he stood as a Libertarian Lib Dem and was elected as such. He was repeatedly suspended for his Libertarian views by the Lib Dems, which says more about the Lib dems than it does Gavin. Admittedly he was not elected under the LPUK banner. We have a number of Town Councillors who are party members.
First electoral success, who can tell, we need to break down the walls of the Main Stream Media, This GE we are only putting up a few candidates to show the flag, because out analysis is that a barbary ape with a blue rosette will win in the desperate need to cast Labour into the outer darkness, The next election will be the important one when the Conservatives doe a repeat performance of the Major years. We are aiming to build up local parties, local councillors from the ground up. We think we stand a better chance in Wales, Scotland and the London assembly were PR ensures a fairer representation of the vote. We are three years old, there are some surprises coming in the next two odd months which will raise our media profile.
Do you think that the party can succeed without a major financial backer?
Eventually, though we are not going to spit in anybodies eye if they want to be a major donor. However we are not the Labour party, there will be no gongs, peerages or influence on policy any more than any other member.
Would you consider political alliances with other smaller groups like the Jury Team?
Are they Libertarian in outlook ? If they are sure, but if they are just a bunch of individuals with no policies, what is the point.
The Libertarian party seems to have a good presence in the blogging community, but hasn't broken into the mainstream media. How do you propose to change that?
We sprang from the womb of the blogoshere, because it was a new medium that allowed freedom of opinion and expression, that the three major parties and the Media really do not like, as the political atmosphere was so closely controlled. We now know through Bloggers like Paul Staines that Brown had dodgy people like Draper and McBride working for them to indulge in political smears, we now know that a great number of our political representatives were hopelessly corrupt and venal. That has caused massive anger. The Mainstream Media did not bring this to light as it was not into their interest or their owners to do so. When PR arrives which it will eventually do. We will get media exposure. In the meantime what this space over the few months, and no I have not bought a spiderman outfit plus preparing from climbing on a public building.