Saturday, 9 January 2010

My journey to Libertarianism: 8

In which a young bear gentleman from Darkest Peru hears hopeful sounds

By 2006, I had become convinced that, politically speaking, the country had gone wrong under New Labour. Seriously wrong. The obvious people to put it right, of course, were Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, and I had watched the 2005 Conservative leadership election with some interest. I had not been impressed with the Conservative Party for years, but I felt that under the right leader, they might become worthy of support, and David Davis looked promising. Alas, David Cameron was elected. I was a bit puzzled. I didn’t know why people had voted for him, since I couldn’t figure out what he actually stood for. And to be honest, I’m still struggling.

So I looked elsewhere. Having become a convinced eurosceptic a few years earlier, I started looking at UKIP a little more closely. Over the years, I had generally been sympathetic to UKIP; what they said generally seemed to be OK, but I also heard dark hints that there was something wrong with them.

In the course of my reading (on the internet), I discovered reference to the Five Freedoms that they sought:

1. Freedom from the European Union
2. Freedom from crime
3. Freedom from overcrowding
4. Freedom from bureaucratic politicians (including our own)
5. Freedom from political correctness

This looked very promising. I already knew that they stood for Freedom from the EU. I was getting increasingly convinced that politicians were a menace, and that our lot were passing too many laws, so freedom from bureaucratic politicians sounded good, too. But the one that really excited me was freedom from political correctness. Some people might laugh at political correctness, or regard it as an annoyance. I was convinced that the current vogue for political correctness posed a real danger to basic freedoms, particularly freedom of speech.

The other two were a little less convincing. All political parties tell us that they support freedom from crime, so that hardly needed to be said. And as for freedom from overcrowding, the mind boggles. That could mean a lot of things. In fact, it was a reference to immigration. And let’s just say that if you come from Darkest Peru, and have arrived in Britain as a stowaway, it sounds rather unfriendly.

So, even though I never seriously considered joining, I started taking more interest in UKIP. And the significance of this? Well, UKIP was beginning to brand itself as a libertarian party, and I started hearing the 'l word' being used in positive ways. In other words, UKIP was merely a stepping stone, but it was a stepping stone that was taking me in the direction of libertarianism.

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