Why I’ve joined UKIP
A friend of mine came to stay this weekend. We’ve both been a little depressed of late. We’re both small business owners, often working sixteen hour days, constantly harassed by the government and the taxman. We’re both recently single. Add in the recent bad weather, and you have all the ingredients for a rotten old winter.
We spent the weekend setting the world to rights over a few pints of beer. Of course we achieved nothing.
I suppose everyone gets into politics for a different reason, be it to improve education standards at their local school, or because a single issue – such as giving prisoners the right to vote – compels them to act.
On Sunday, The Telegraph announced that HMRC was to be given the powers to monitor our private financial transactions. For me, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
There are several places the government doesn’t belong. The bedroom is one of them. My bank statements is another. And it was at that moment I knew I had to do something.
Vote Conservative? You must be joking.
I voted Conservative at the last election because I saw them as the last, best hope to rid this nation of the parasitic, high-tax, anti-freedom, nanny-statist cabal that ruled this country for so long. What we got was more of the same.
This government can’t stop meddling in our private lives. It can’t stop raising taxes. It can’t stop Europe from riding roughshod over the wishes of the majority of its citizens.
And there’s a reason for that. It doesn’t want to.
I am a libertarian. This government is not. I value my freedom, and the freedom of every individual in this land. This government does not.
So I decided to join UKIP.
There were plenty of other things I could do. I could have joined a pressure group (although, as I already donate to The Freedom Association, job done there).
I could have joined a smaller party – but while 50 people in a party isn’t anything like being, as some have suggested, a lone nutter shouting through a megaphone in Parliament Square, it’s not much more than me and my mates sitting in the pub trying to put the world to rights. We won’t get far.
UKIP has 19,000 members. And it’s growing. Fast.
Nigel Farage is right when he says that UKIP is now the UK’s third largest party. And The Guardian are also right — UKIP is the party that is currently responsible for the decimation of the cozy “progressive” centre-left consensus that has led to the slow decline of our nation these past twenty or so years.
UKIP is a party for libertarians, by libertarians.
I always imagined UKIP was a “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” party. But every interaction I have had with them has proved me wrong, time and time again. Two years ago, I marched with a lot of UKIP people at the Rally Against Debt, which was organised in part by Young Independence Chair Harry Aldridge. And I met a lot of libertarians who were just like me.
I also met Nigel Farage that day and was thoroughly impressed. I have met at least one MP from each of the three other parties – including one who served as a cabinet minister in this administration – and each time, I have been shocked at how cold, fake, and even sociopathic some of them have been. If there’s one word that sums up Nigel Farage, it’s “genuine”. I can also say the same of Harry Aldridge, who gave an excellent talk on why libertarians should join UKIP earlier this year – that has been in the back of my mind since that day.
So what held me back?
Firstly, I thought UKIP was a single issue party. I was wrong.
There are pressure groups like The People’s Pledge and Better Off Out. So why join a party to fight over one issue? UKIP has a comprehensive manifesto – and even if all the points it makes aren’t entirely libertarian, they are almost without exception entirely classically liberal and laissez-faire. No other mainstream party offers this.
Secondly, I am a cynical bastard.
Power corrupts, et cetera, and I had assumed that the more mainstream UKIP became, the further they would drift towards the centre-left tastemakers that even the Conservatives have sought to appease in recent years. In fact, UKIP have stuck to their guns – and are changing that consensus, bringing a lot of libertarian thought to the attention of the mainstream and arguing for lower taxes, for more freedom, and greater individual responsibility. I’m proud to support that.
UKIP are a party of principle.
I don’t share 100% of those principles – but 99%, or even 95%, is more than good enough reason to offer your support. And if you come close to believing in what UKIP believe, you should.
Politics is about compromise. Many Libertarians dream of a Galt’s Gulch scenario where we all live happily ever after, governed only by the non-aggression principle and our honourable intentions. Get real.
UKIP are currently polling 17% of those most likely to vote in the next General Election. Even if, as has been pointed out, the electoral system makes it unlikely that UKIP will win a single seat, UKIP is holding all the tactical voting cards – that means UKIP is in a position to effect real change.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the taxman being given the power to read my bank statements. Or maybe it was the minimum alcohol pricing debacle. Or the regressive VAT hike. Or the Pasty Tax. Or votes for prisoners. Or reneging on the promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Or one of the other million stupid, pathetic, lying, weaselly things this government has done.
Everyone has a breaking point. UKIP are, by far and away, the best placed organisation to join if you’re a libertarian and you’re ready to fight back.
I’ve joined. And you should too.
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