Notes on the day
I arrived a little late for the Convention, two hours from Somerset, one and a half hours Paddington to Russell Sq, thanks to the closure of the circle and Jubilee lines. I will admit my heart sank as I registered. This was radical chic luvviedom at its worst; the Guardianistas were out in force. God knows how many tonnes of muesli had been consumed that morning. The standard pseudo ethnic dress and expensive hairstyles were much in evidence, the women too. I then saw something I had not seen since University in the seventies a tosser wearing a Che beret. I was too late to get into the main plenary, but watched it on one of the big screens.
Shami did her bit cheerleading about Liberty, insisting that it was a Human Right for all people all the time (omitted that this did not apply to visiting Dutch MP’s with whose views were ‘unacceptable’) Big plugs for ‘Liberty’ being 75 Years old, Happy Birthday Liberty trilled the throng, my thoughts were that after Seventy Five years here we were debating the Guardianistas ‘progressive’ party of choice destruction of personal Liberty over the last twelve years, as one speaker put it, it has been so bad’ that we are wishing for the halcyon days of Freedom and Liberty under Thatcher and Major.
The Guardian was sponsoring this event (??) and by all accounts this was supposed to be a cross party convention, Labour,Conservatives,Social Democrats and rather belatedly I managed to get the LPUK a speaking slot. However the Labour Luvvies could not help themselves dragging party politics into the issue, Grieve did his bit for the Tories, ‘our conscience is whether our Grandfather’s would have approved’ that triggered the Guardian representative on the panel to go off on one about the inconsistency of Tory policy (pathetic point scoring forgetting that a goodly proportion of the audience were not card carrying Guardianistas, but truly concerned citizens of other parties or none.
Helena Kennedy QC made a good stab at being non party political criticizing both the Labour party and the Conservative Parties record over the last thirty years, saying what we all know to be true, ‘whichever party you vote for the Government always gets in’ . Is there something in the water of the Home Office that causes the mildest of men to turn into Nero?
The discredited Chris Huhne of the Social Democrats also sought to subvert the non party political nature of the convention by pushing their ‘Freedom Bill’ issued to every delegate in their goody bag , and Peter ‘Lord’ Goldsmith also tried to push the party line in the subsequent debate.
Dear Reader, by 10.30am I was thinking ‘what the hell am I doing here; I then got talking to a trade unionist from the Construction Workers Union, who thought my LPUK lapel badge was a Union badge. The guy was solid Scottish Working Class, and had studied to get a Law degree in his own time. I told him about the basic tenets of Libertarianism, he told me about the Stasi antics of the Trades Union he belong to where he was seeking election for office. He was considered too up his own arse having a degree, and they were using every tactic in the corrupt authoritarian hand book to get their stooge into office. He was firmly convinced that Trade Union contributions were screwing his members and lining the pockets of the Union Leaders. He asked me about what I thought about the near riot at the BMW plant, where the members went after the TU officials. He thought they were lucky not to be lynched.
My heart lifted, when I heard some of the questions from the floor, visibly shaking with suppressed rage. ‘Please stop addressing me as a citizen; I am clearly a subject in this country. If I hear the word citizen one more time I will spontaneously combust. We need a new Constitutional Settlement Now! Huge round of applause. Then some student got up and started whiffling about global warning or something Whaaaaaat ! He obviously got pissed the night before or smoked something a little too exotic and ended up in the wrong Convention.I allowed the throng to get their decaffeinated fair trade coffee and Brita filtered spring water, and grabbed a seat for the Judges and Politicians who should decide session.
My spirits began to rise at last. John Jackson from Mischon De Reya, made the first believable impassioned speech for Liberty and a new constitutional settlement.
Juliet Gardner gave a pretty good expose of the myth of the Magna Carta and the 1688 Settlement, and the written Constitutions are a good idea but are subject to amendments and legal challenges as has been the US Bill of Rights, The French Bill of Rights has been expanded, restricted even abolished under Napoleon.
(I would rather have a written Constitution to curb the power of the State, than rely on the likes of Harriet Harman, who change to Law to pursue vendettas)
Peter ‘Lord’ Goldsmith was an utter disgrace, shifty, unrepentant and believing in only his rectitude. He managed to get a crack in about Fred Goodwin’s pension (following the party line like an automaton). Do these people not realise that this was supposed to be a cross party event. Accountability of the Executive being a central tenet of Liberty, he flatly refused to answer Chris Coverdale’s (Make Wars History) question as to why he and his Law officers did not take legal action against Blair and the rest of the Cabinet for breaking the Law over Iraq. He just refused saying I simply do not accept your argument. This was my first close up view of a Blair insider, and I did not like what I saw.
If we have a Written Constitution, we have to have Constitutional Court, and impeach the likes of Blair and Goldsmith, rather than just ignore the palpable fury of people like Chris Coverdale.
Lord Bingham was an utter star, he read out the 1947 Declaration, and declared that we have to re establish these fundamental Liberties. He only marred the spiel by saying the Obama tagline ‘ Yes we can’. The Guardianistas lapped this up, as the old showman knew they would. Others on the panel said Parliament should reaffirm its account of the executive, a badly flawed argument as the vast bulk of the 646 have been bought and sold, to do this function.
The bizarre thing was these lawyers and judges said the people had to demand that Liberty be put at the top of the agenda. How pray ? the MP’s are of such poor quality, are so desperate to screw the system for expenses, second homes, freebies,that they have been neutered as a political entity. Are they seriously advocating that the people of Britain, use there normal route when Governments no longer care or listen ? Negotiation by riot ?
At 1pm I sidled off to the Alternative Convention to meet up with the lads and lasses of LPUK SE, I was pleased to finally have the company of Tom Paine, and the later appearance of DK. For two hours I bathed in the waters of sensible people who mostly ate meat, drank and smoked, and were not totally brainwashed by the need for a large State.
The Labour Luvvies on the panel tried to muddy the waters with the Corporates are just as bad as the State in collecting Data and they should be curbed (No, you idiots, the Corporates we can pick and choose whether we engage with them, the State its all compulsory)
Philip Pullman made for me the best speech, stating what the virtues of the British are (a change from the vices) courage, modesty and honour.
His final line-
We are a better people than our government believes we are. We are a better nation.
The Social Democrat Chris Huhne waxed lyrical on Liberty, shame he rushed on to TV to applaud Geert Wilders banning from these shores.
Two LPUK highlights here, a LPUK member stood up and said, To secure our Liberty, we are going to have to undertake civil disobedience, and some of us are going to lose our jobs over this- when are you in the Westminster village, sitting there wringing your hands going to risk your jobs- Huge applause
Second was when DK went up to the Social Democrat Chris Huhne in the Green Room and said- Thanks for nicking our tagline ‘ 1984 was a warning not a blueprint’ for your press releases and your Freedom Bill. Huhne just laughed nervously.
Will Hutton whiffled endlessly as is his wont, about engagement, and talking about Liberty to everybody we met ?? He then suggested there should be Convention on drawing up a written Constitution, at which point Anthony Barnett the organiser could be heard saying Oh Sooper Will, why don’t you write the Constitution ( The last people that should be entrusted with writing a Constitution are Guardianistas who do not understand the difference between ‘Rights’ and ‘ Liberty’)
Some Labour bod PPC called Chuka Umunna was given a platform (Why ?????) He whiffled on about race , social justice blah blah and some Statist organisation called Compass (promoted by Toynbee P and Tony Robinson).
Brian Eno was cheerfully vague about everything, the most entertaining thing was that he was prevented getting on the stage by security.
David Davis MP super star gave the final round up speech with a cleverly crafted speech on- At what stage do we become a Police State Jack Straw ? because by the time we are a Police State it is too late to do anything.
DD had the air of somebody who had such little confidence in Cameron and friends, when they take power would do very much to roll back the State, he has been cast into the outer darkness by the Cameron front bench, I see little prospect of him having any influence on the drift of the next Tory Government.
What now and what do I as a Libertarian think
The Sunday Press apart from the Grauniad stable have ignored this Convention totally. Heavy weight political figures were speaking from the two larger opposition parties, the Government sent nobody of any consequence to the Convention such is their contempt for Liberty. You cannot tell me that nobody from Channel 4 or the BBC (both receive State funding) and Sky did not know this event was on. Together with the whole of the UK MSM this was a non event. We will never ever survive as a Liberal Democracy, whilst the Media is so effectively controlled and manipulated by the State.
Whilst the Convention was on, outside a number of 9/11 protesters were stopped by the Police, questioned and issued with sec 44 notices. Also a civilian 'civil enforcement officer' was gaily dishing out tickets in the street. Basically Nu Labour and its acolytes in 'Law enforcement' were laughing their socks off at the usual suspects inside.
The Guardianistas thought it was such a fab day out being subversives, that they want to have another shin dig next year at the same time to check on 'progress' !!!!!!
Unless they make this a genuine cross party event, not just giving platforms to unknown up and coming London Ethnic Left leaning Lawyers, the game is already lost.
If the Guardianistas cannot accept that this Stalinist Government is a Frankenstein of their own creation the game is already lost.
A large State that intervenes in every facet of life as they wish to see, has to be a coercive State by definition, depriving industry and individuals of their capital to finance themselves and their 'social programmes'
Unless they campaign for Liberty and freedom of thought and speech for EVERYONE irrespective of whether they agree with their point of view the game is already lost.
They cannot pick and choose who has Liberty and who does not. This includes rabid Islamic fundamentalists and overt racist National Socialists.
There is no point lawyers and Judges advocating that 'the people' demand Liberty, then enforce repressive legislation against campaigners for Liberty. The Law Society is chock full of lawyers like Peter 'Lord' Goldsmith who are prepared to take Thatcher/Major/Blair/Brown/Cameron's shilling to say anything is legal for political expediency. 'The People' have no 'legal route' to enforce change, and the State has made it quite clear that is anybody takes to the streets this year, they will have their heads broken.
If we get to a General Election next year, and at present I am dubious as to whether that will happen, and would not put it past Brown to copy not only Mugabe's monetary policies, but his electoral policies as well. Labour are going to be swept from power, and what are we going to presented with. A Conservative Party that in its deepest heart is Authoritarian, seeking to prove to the hangers and floggers that are currently being attracted to the BNP, that it is tougher than the alternative. This is a Government that will welcome the repressive legislation as bright shiny tools to play with.
Unless there is a realignment of the Libertarian Left, Libertarian Right and Libertarian anti EU, that truly believes in a minarchist State, that truly believes above all else in personal Liberty, freedom from excessive taxation,freedom from a database state and freedom from supporting a massive bloated state that breeds dependency, I believe the game is already over. Labour, Conservative and the Social Democrats are certainly not going to vote for Christmas,and the rising National Socialists will be overjoyed to have access to all of the mechanisms of State, the Labour Party have put in place.
The Convention was a good idea that floundered on the grounds that only the left can be relied on to support Liberty, when in reality it is the soft left that has let the Stalinists in, to take over virtually every public organisation to ensure its continuity.
Verdict - Could do better
We are now in the melting pot, Labour has bankrupted the country, the uber Authoritarians are waiting in the wings.
A New Game with New Rules has started, except nobody has written the rule book yet, and without a written constitution, it is going to be the winners that write that rule book.