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Not a good result for the Libertarian Party in their first electoral campaign

June 7th, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized by

The LPUK stood their first candidate in the recent local elections. They chose Wisbech in the Fenland which anyone who knows the Megawiki “Pictoral dictionary of colloquialisms” will be familiar with as the definition for the phrase ‘the middle of nowhere’. The LP came last of five standing against three paper candidates and the Tories. The seat would have been a good choice had it not been for the fact that the libertarian leaning UKIP were also standing.

LPUK 140 (6.9%)
Tory 930 (46.2)
Lab 212 (10.5)
Liberal Democrats 196 (9.7)
UKIP 532 (26.4)

I pointed in my earlier blog on this election that standing against UKIP was a poor decision since UKIP soaked up the vote that might have been available to the LP. It will be interesting to see whether the LP learn from this result. I expect that it will have given them a taste for electoral politics but whether it will encourage them to focus their resources intelligently (ie where they can develop a strategy to be successful) remains to be seen. I tend to think that they will develop the practice of electoral self flagellation where they punish themselves in order to feel good.

Editorial addition: thanks to Niklas Smith for providing this link to the full results in the comments below.

45 Responses to “Not a good result for the Libertarian Party in their first electoral campaign”

  1. Niklas Smith Says:

    Whoops! You put “Social Democrats” instead of Liberal Democrats. A Freudian slip?

  2. Niklas Smith Says:

  3. Julian Harris Says:

    By the power of my editorialness, that is now changed. Thanks Niklas.

    I don’t see how UKIP are at all libertarian leaning – they’re quite rabidly anti-migration and the previous plaything of ex-Labour authoritarian egotist Kilroy-Silk.

    The details of this ward are not something I’m familiar with; yesterday I thought the result was respectable, only 50 odd votes behind us. But if some of the parties had mere paper candidates, then things should have been better.

  4. Jock Says:

    Could it not simply be that the chap was local and wanted to stand in his own division?

  5. Niklas Smith Says:

    According to the Cambs website the only candidates in 2005 were the Tory, UKIP and a Lib Dem:

    A decent result in 2005 for the Lib Dems (especially considering that Fenland is a one-party state!), but we probably lost a few votes to Labour this time round.

    As for UKIP’s “libertarianism”, that only applies in the area of taxes. But some people think that’s all there is to libertarianism.

  6. Niklas Smith Says:

    Actually, this year we did rather badly: only 9.53% of the vote compared with 29.97% in 2005.

  7. Niklas Smith Says:

    @Jock: I imagine that was the reason. Given a free choice I doubt they would choose to put up their only candidate in Wisbech of all places!

  8. Jack Elwood Says:

    The Libertarian Party were campaigning on a mainly low-tax platform so it’s reasonable to believe that UKIP would take some of their vote. I’d say 7% isn’t terrible for a new party. They probably should have been more tactical though

  9. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    To be honest I couldn’t give a toss about the LP they’re far too insignificant & will long remain so

  10. Mark Littlewood Says:

    I don’t think it’s a terrible result for the LPUK, but the truth is that if they were only able to field one candidate in the whole of the UK, they barely count as a political party.

  11. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    As I said far too insignificant & will long remain so

    Maybe one day hardcore libertarians will learn that the majority is never going to vote for extremism well not the libertarian variety

  12. Jock Says:

    LPUK’s policyplatform is hardly *that* extreme.

  13. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    Only because you’re an extremist yourself proclaiming your an anarchist & disgust for liberal democracy, its surprising that nobody at central office hasn’t taken a particular interest in you Jock nor that anybody has said to you that you happen to be a member of the Liberal Democrats not the f**king anarchist collective.

    Oh sure you’ll give the usual intellectual manipulation you usually give but it counts for nothing you & the rest of the anarcho-libertarians are a bunch of political lunatic who are only good for intellectual masturbation & not much else besides.

    I will not let you & other anarcho entryists destroy this party!

    I might wish Liberal Vision would advocate louder on certain issues but I understand that at least Mark isn’t deriding democracy or suggesting dismantling the state.

  14. Jock Says:

    I thought you had resigned the party anyway. Or was that just you being decisive as ever?

  15. Jock Says:

    Nice to see you are still at least consistent in claiming I am some kind of “entryist”. You write so much bollocks at times.

    You give me far to much credit if you think a few a few small voices of true liberty could destroy the Lib Dems. Still you have a special skill at hybrrbole.

    For what it’s worth I am inching ever closer to leaving the party. If they do not make some significant strides towards implementing the large chunk of their Presmble dealing with radical devolution and decentralization of power, they will not really themselves be worthy of their own Constitution.

  16. Ed Joyce Says:

    I am very closely aligned with Jocks position and see it as very much in spirit of Liberalism. Despite being a libertarian I did not join the LP because I do not find that they have much understanding let alone support for the kind of anarcho mutualism that I live my daily life by (and also support as a political ideology). I will be personally very disappointed if the mutualist and libertarian elements of the party were driven out for any reason. I do not see this happening given the success that this site has had.

  17. Barrie Wood Says:

    Haven’t you been threatening to leave for some time now Jock ? Time to put up or shut up surely ? I’m sure the LPUK will be happy to have you as a member. You don’t want to be be in a party full of ‘social democrats’ like me do you Jock 😉

    More seriously, the tide has turned away a little from the social-democratic influences of past years don’t you think ? So why leave now ?

    I hardly ever agree with you, but feel more comfortable with you than ‘ex’ Tories like Mark Littlewood.

    BTW, Liberal Vision, what happened to the Presidency candidate / LV front-man Chandila Fernando ? Just curious.

  18. Julian Harris Says:

    Chandila left the party, and therefore automatically ceased being a member of Liberal Vision. As was more widely publicised, his sister Chamali also left the party.

    I don’t know what he’s up to these days; I think they’re both living normal lives away from politics, like the majority of people sane enough to avoid spending their Sunday nights following election results (!)

  19. Jock Says:

    Barrie – I would not say that I have been “threatening to leave” for a while. I have clung on to what have at times been some very weak straws. For other reasons (work mainly) I have stepped down from any party positions I held – such as South Central policy chair and organizational involvement like being ALTER’s secretary and have felt better for that.

    I have certainly been watching the LPUK with a little interest. I myself do not think (yet – it may happen) that the way to promote real libertarian/mutualist/anarchism is through another party which aims to engage in the same electoral melee as all the others.

    I’m interested that you think that the tide has turned a little. I figured actually the “social liberals” (I don’t think they all come from the “Social Democrat” side, in fact I think it’s the opposite) had managed to turn the tide in their favour slightly, post-Orange Book and with last year’s FPC elections in particular.

    But I still see precious little evidence of an appetite even to investigate a more radical response to our Preamble. And whilst I still see nothing in there particularly with which I cannot identify at all there seems to be a very “conservative” streak that makes the party as a whole move very slowly indeed.

    And *that* makes me look around for other ideas myself which I do find slightly incompatible with membership, so more recently I have got closer to calling it a day. I am mostly held here if truth be told by local friendships and continuing to help out campaigning locally when I can – a social circle I would miss and so on if I were in another party or none.

  20. Jock Says:

    Oh! That’s not a great commitment for someone who wanted to be president and our mayoral candidate.

    Whilst I didn’t really agree with many of his ideas though, I did think that even just as an attempt to open up the field to those other than the existing great and good was received with unwarranted hostility.

  21. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘You give me far to much credit if you think a few a few small voices of true liberty’

    You see this is what pisses me off about libertarians

    You arrogantly assume yours is the voice of ‘true liberty’.

    As it goes Isaiah Berlin warned about the overuse of both positive & negative liberty

    Liberals heed to that warning where as libertarians don’t.

  22. Jock Says:

    You seem to assume a state is required to produce the effects of “positive liberty” (its philosophical basis is of course always going to be “statist” because it assumes exactly that). I don’t.

    The fact that the only way the state seems to know how to spread this “positive liberty” (which it is arguable in fact that it does to any decent extent at all any better than what went before) is through involuntary collectivist coercion makes it per se illiberal.

    So yes, I do believe that only those who want to de-statify ultimately require no other qualifier on their use of the term “liberty” such as “social liberals” and so on.

  23. Ziggy Encaoua Says:


    Ah that derogatory term libertarians use to call anybody who believe there should be government

  24. Jock Says:

    Not derogatory, merely descriptive; of anyone who believes that a state has any positive enough attributes to outweigh its illiberal negatives.

  25. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    Its always said in a derogatory & negative way because libertarians can’t deal with either a)they may not be right & b)others hold differing views.

  26. Jock Says:

    Stop projecting your own insecurities onto my words and motives, Ziggy, please. It’s about the worst form of debate. If you have an argument, deploy it – play the ball not the man and so on.

  27. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    I’m projecting my expierences of dealing with looney libertarians

    Yeah people who have an unbalanced hatred of government & think that government is the root of all evil a bit like Hitler thinking that the Jew was the root of all evil.

  28. Julian H Says:

    Ziggy, I’m a tad confused – weren’t you a founder member of a group called “Lib Dem Libertarians”?

  29. Jock Says:

    Now it’s straw men. You’re really pulling out all the sophisticated arguments tonight aren’t you?

    I said that statism was where one thought that the state had enough positive attributes to outweigh its illiberal negative ones.

    Though it is clearly the root of a lot of evils – whether they’re necessary or not is the important question.

    I believe “no” is the answer on both.

  30. Jock Says:

    Anyway – I see that it is not solely down to “libertarians” to claim to be the only true liberals. I see the SLF made such claims about “social liberalism” too. Are you going to go and behave like this to them, Ziggy? It’s only fair they should bear some of your wrath too.

    Or are you still one of them?

  31. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    @ Julian

    Yes I was but it depends on what you class as ‘libertarian’?

    Anyways I did a shite job at promoting that group I’m not a pro

  32. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    @ Jock

    Irrational & unbalanced extremism bears my wrath

  33. Jock Says:

    Is there a “rational” measure by which people decide how big the state should be?

    I do find it quite funny actually to hear you use the same language most people apply to communists and the far right (“extremists”) to people who want want nothing more than for an end of state coercion against everyone.

    But I suppose it’s quite nice to be an “extreme” proponent of liberty.

  34. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘people who want want nothing more than for an end of state coercion against everyone.’


    People who haven’t grown up & still act like spoilt children who think they should be able to get their own way.

    If you don’t like living under this government either form your own party & stand for election & stop trying to disrupt & usurp the Lib Dems or pack your bags & leave the country.

  35. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    Yeah I heard Somalia doesn’t have a central government geez why aren’t all you libertarian loonies flocking there?

    Ah that’s right because in the absence of government its ruled by whoever has the biggest gun.

    Hmm that sounds a bit like I don’t know anarchy?

  36. Jock Says:

    God – and you accuse me of being puerile.

    That is not an argument, that’s just a personal attack.

    It’s got nothing to do with “getting one’s own way” – the individual responsibility expected of people in a stateless society would be far higher than with the nanny state we have.

  37. Jock Says:

    Do you not understand the difference between a state that has collapsed leaving a vacuum with no institutions capable of replacing the functions of law and order and the like and the deliberate taking back of power from the state by empowered citizens developing alternative institutions to do what the state does, but without compulsion and coercion?

    The situation in Somalia is not the product of a planned and deliberate move toward a stateless society but the interference of other states and the collapse of an already warring government in a country cobbled together by imperial fiat.

  38. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    ‘people in a stateless society would be far higher than with the nanny state we have.’

    Typical libertarian seeing everything black & white

    Just because there is a state doesn’t mean its automatically going to be ‘nanny’.

    Secondly if you are a genuine liberal you shouldn’t be wanting a stateless society.

    Even classical liberals believe the government has some kind of positive role.

  39. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    Oh & on the subject of Somalia stop making excuses it doesn’t have a central government that is what you want & so why aren’t you packing your bags.

  40. Jock Says:

    Who is making excuses. If you can’t understand the difference you really oughtn’t to bother commenting on it.

    If your idea of pluralism and democracy means that everyone who disagrees with the current setup should go to some country that was frankly a bit of a shit hole even when Britain and Italy ran the place it’s an odd one. But not untypical it has to be said.

    By the way – if you want the last word, have it – you have succeeded in about three threads only to remind me why I stopped communicating with you, so I shalln’t reply.

  41. GMB Says:

    “Not a good result”??

    LibDems, the third best known party, got 9.7% of the vote; Libertarians got 6.9% in their first ever election and you think that’s bad?

    I’d say that’s quite respectable – and although I think Libertarians go a little bit too far in some ways economically, it can only be a good thing that there are political parties gaining support that are in favour of individual freedom.

    I’d much rather have LibDems and Libertarians as the two biggest parties than the more authoritarian Labour and Tory parties. At least that way, we could spend more time debating economic policy instead of having to fight for civil liberties.

  42. Ziggy Encaoua Says:


    You’re free to say what you want ?& I will always defend your right to do so but I’m not going to shy away from saying believe your politics to be extreme & unhelpful.

  43. GMB Says:

    As far as I can see on the comments for this article, Jock doesn’t seem to have extremist views – in fact, Ziggy seems to be very confrontational, aggressive and rather than using logical arguments, seems to rely on personal attacks. I’m sure I’ll be next 😀

  44. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    No I’m not going to attack you in fact I’ll confess that yes I’m too confrontational, aggressive & I do attack people personally & it has got me into servere trouble at times.

    Problem is I don’t always know especially in the moment I’m being so, I won’t explain in detail why because it will just sound like I’m making excuses but I will say I get very little assistance or support.

  45. Citizen Stuart Says:

    6.9% of the vote is a pretty good result as far as I’m concerned, considering we’re a new party that hardly anyone’s heard of and few of us have any previous experience of running a political campaign. Personally, at the start of the campaign, I thought Andrew would probably get about 1 or 2% of the vote. At the end of the campaign, I revised my prediction up to 100 votes. So 140 votes is a good start, I think. Of course it remains to be seen how well we do in the next few elections, but every election we fight is experience and exposure, so it’s all good.