Third party politics:  a waste of time? 


This essay is based on a 300-page book I wrote some thirty-five years ago entitled Fed Up with Government? The Manifesto of the Reform Party.  Though praised by several prominent people, such as Margaret Thatcher’s former economics advisor, Patrick Minford, the book was only reviewed once, some three or four years later, in the libertarian journal Free Life, where it was caustically dismissed as more or less pointless day-dreaming, or pure fantasy.

In 2016, the same set of ideas was republished in greatly abbreviated form as a thirty-page pamphlet, Return to Freedom, with some new material and inclusion of ‘confederation’ in the name of the proposed party.  In 2022, somewhat modified and updated, the essay was republished a third time, as a series of ten articles in Free Life.  The present essay, a fourth outing of the ideas – with some minor editing and additions – is presumably the last, I’m over eighty!

The late Chris Tame, former Director of the Libertarian Alliance, told me bluntly after Fed Up with Government? was published that “third party politics is a waste of time.”  Given the relative lack of progress by libertarian or free market-leaning political parties in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Germany and elsewhere he may well have been right.  However, I choose to differ.  In my opinion, because most people in the British Isles only think about politics in terms of parties and elections, forming a new British political party would be an effective way of spreading new, or reborn, political ideas.  The undoubted influence of UKIP during the European referendum campaign would seem to support my case.

The British State has grown enormously in size, complexity and power since the 19th century.  It continues to grow at an alarming rate.  In the words of US economist Larry Sechrest – who, like Chris Tame, sadly died young – “if government exists, it grows.”  The totally unnecessary, seriously mistaken and immensely damaging lockdowns during the Covid pandemic in his own country and ours proved the point emphatically, they were grotesque displays of unjustifiable political power.

Which comes at immense cost.  Most British taxpayers now spend nearly half their lives working to pay for the State.  Taxation is so heavy that the Adam Smith Institute reported in 2021 that we spend 150 days working for the government.  Not until May 31st do we start working for ourselves.  Since ninety-odd per cent of what is currently carried out by government could be better performed at vastly less cost by private enterprise, it is just plain stupid to continue in this fashion.  American libertarian Sy Leon put the matter succinctly:  “… many of the things done by government are essential, but it is not essential that they be done by government.”

That said, party politics is intensely time-consuming, very costly, and requires a huge input of energy and dedication.  It is not a job for the old, infirm and poor, which is how I myself must be described.

The pages which follow are therefore presented in the hope that there are in Britain some libertarian free market advocates bright enough, young enough, fit enough, rich enough, hard-working enough, determined enough, articulate enough, thick-skinned enough and numerous enough to take on the enormous challenge of trying to set Great Britain to rights.

The Russian-American novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand wrote, very wisely, that power is a leash with a noose at both ends.  Rulers are as firmly tied down as those they rule.  The oppressor is nothing without the oppressed.  Hence, the ultimate objective of the new party would not be to attain power, but to abolish it.

Herewith my manifesto, or my fantasy if you prefer.  But, first, my borrowed motto and rallying cry:

If submissiveness ceased it would be all over with lordship.

Max Stirner, 1845

To download the full manifesto, tap this link:  Core Manifesto