24 september 2008

Why Belgian libertarians should support UKIP now more than ever (Vincent De Roeck)

Europe’s main Eurosceptical formation, the United Kingdom Independence Party, of which I am a staunch supporter, held its annual convention earlier this month in Bournemouth, England. My personal affection for UKIP dates back to their “Say No!”-campaign and the EU elections of 2004. But since the party at that time was mainly dominated by leftists and statists like Robert Kilroy-Silk or Ashley Mote, I could only agree upon their stances regarding further EU integration back then.

But this overall situation soon started to improve. In the aftermath of the grand victory of UKIP in the 2004 elections, both Kilroy-Silk and Mote left the party, voluntarily or not, and they took the entire socialist and right-extremist wings of UKIP along with them. And thank God they did…

When Nigel Farage MEP, a colourful politician known for his flamboyant speeches and boyish style, finally rose to power and became the new party leader, a fresh breath of air was released within UKIP. Farage immediately got rid of many old policies and viewpoints, and went back to the core of Anglo-Saxon conservatism. He not only embraced the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, but also started to defend more libertarian values, often against the wills, customs and plans of the old party bosses.

But Farage never minded this and in spite of being subject to harsh opposition, his reformist steadfastness eventually prevailed. Farage finally managed to secure this new libertarian-like platform on this year’s UKIP convention, turning me - and many other continental Eurocritical libertarians with me - into even bigger supporters of UKIP. A true libertarian party in Britain at last.

And it is not only in continental Europe that this new UKIP platform with conservative, libertarian and Eurosceptical accents is well received. Polls and inquiries in Britain also show that UKIP is once again on the rise, even with the Tories adopting a more anti-EU platform as well. During the 2004-2009 session of the EU Parliament, UKIP achieved not by hazard a highly respectable and ideologically consistent status among both libertarians and conservatives.

Proof? Two Tory Members of the House of Lords and one Conservative Member of the House of Commons defected to UKIP in the past years, and many Tory MEPs today - like Daniel Hannan or Roger Helmer - are even publicly supportive of UKIP positions in the area of EU politics.

On their convention in Bournemouth, UKIP also reached out to more moderate Britons by changing its aggressive tone and rhetoric, without hurting their underlying libertarian-leaning philosophy in any way. For instance, the cheap populist slogan “Let’s get our country back!” was finally removed and replaced by “Freedom to choose”, not by accident the same name as Milton Friedman’s movie series.

So in brief, the new UKIP is not only simply refreshing to watch but also to rally behind, and hopefully, they can achieve even greater things in June than they did five years ago. Europe counts on them.


At 24/9/08 13:05, Blogger Vincent De Roeck said...

Noot: Ik schreef deze tekst op vraag van UKIP-medewerker Stuart Parr voor de weblog "Bloggers 4 UKIP". Met excuses voor eventuele schrijffouten.

At 24/9/08 17:57, Anonymous Anoniem said...

Ik dacht dat de enige echte libertarische partij in het Verenigd Koninkrijk die nieuwe was, de "UK Libertarian Party" of zoiets... Waarover je nota bene enkele maanden geleden hier al eens een tekst gepost hebt. Remember?

At 24/9/08 20:36, Anonymous Anoniem said...

as a French libertarian I am opposed to the UKIP, a nationalistic political party, only interested in the United Kingdom. I hope that libertarism will find the ways to become universal, and not linked to a petty little kingdom. Therefore I see the European Community as a necessary step towards an international Libertarism....a woreldwide reign of free individuals, not something with borders and particular laws, but something beyond nations and regional considerations.

Rober Sermaise

At 24/9/08 23:39, Anonymous Anoniem said...

@ guillaume

Van alle 'libertarischgezinde' partijen in het VK is die LPUK waarschijnlijk wel ideologisch het meest consequent, maar wat koop je daarmee? Als je enkel kleine en middelgrote partijen in het VK in beschouwing neemt komt men eerder bij de English Democrats of de UKIP terecht (of zelfs de BNP van tijd tot tijd). En bij de grote partijen maken enkel de Tories nog een ietwat goede beurt.

At 24/9/08 23:40, Anonymous Anoniem said...

@ Rober Sermaise

Jingoism and nationalism are indeed wrong opinions, but they do not necessarily contradict libertarian philosophy. Super-states like the EU tend to be more centralized and hence more totalitarian than small nation states where God is still in charge of society, and not some allmighty government bureaucracy. Liberty needs boarders and bad exemples to justify its existence!

At 24/9/08 23:45, Anonymous Anoniem said...

@ R Sermaise

You seem to think that freedom is something that could be obtained 'for free', without effort or sacrifice, i.e. something that could fall out of the sky or that could be found in the soil like gold. That is contrary to all human empirical experience. One certainly cannot achieve individual freedom without 'rule of law' in a polity as opposed to arbitrary 'rule of (some) men' in that same polity.

Obviously a "worldwide reign of free individuals" is a utopian fantasy. Most people prefer to be 'slaves' to some kind of leadership or ideology, and let someone else do the thinking and the decision-making for them. In that specific sense, most people prefer to remain 'teenagers' as opposed to becoming responsible adults. Your aversion of 'nationalism' suggests that others have already done your thinking for you, because it is a manifest cultural dogma of our time (at least in the West, not in the rest of the world).

Different degrees of freedom get realised in different polities or political systems. Given that libertarism cannot possibly ever be "universal", why would you "oppose" a political party that would aim for realising libertarism in one particular country? You seem to be thinking that 'half a loaf' of bread is worse than no bread at all on this earth.

At 25/9/08 12:24, Blogger David Vandenberghe said...

@Sermaise: You seem to forget that the meaning of the concept 'nationalism' can differentiate.

As if the EU doesn't have borders nor particular laws. One can only be free at home or in a nation-state, not in a leviathan lacking political legitimacy.

At 25/9/08 13:36, Anonymous Anoniem said...

UKIP is obviously a party for Continentals: it's the only party that wants to make Europe independent of the UK.

At 25/9/08 18:17, Anonymous Anoniem said...

@ Sermaise

If you want further 'proof' or indication that aversion to nationalism, or anti-nationalism if you will, is an established cultural dogma in the West, consider what 'danish dynamite' wrote. Without giving it any secondary thought, he simply declared nationalism to be a "wrong opinion". That is like saying that cosmopolitanism, or provincialism, or any other -ism, are all wrong opinions. As if there couldn't be good forms of nationalism, and bad forms of nationalism! It underscores my contention that most people let others do the thinking for them. So, they parrot slogans.

At 26/9/08 14:38, Blogger Vincent De Roeck said...

En Stuart Parr hield woord: vanaf vandaag vinden jullie deze impressie ook op de weblog "Bloggers 4 UKIP".

At 3/11/08 23:38, Blogger wonkotsane said...

En bedankt voor de vertaling, Vincent.

My Dutch is just about good enough now to be able to read Garfield books in Dutch. Certainly not good enough to translate your article!

At 31/12/08 02:33, Anonymous Anoniem said...

1st World Conference Against Prohibition: "Smoking Bans and Lies" Brussels, 27/28 January, 2009
European Parliament, ASP A1E-2
Under the patronage of Godfrey Bloom MEP

For details see:



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