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What UKIP Must Learn from the American Liberty Movement

May 14, 2014 in Blogs

By Robin Koerner

Of all of their political parties that most Brits have heard of, only UKIP – the United Kingdom Independent Party – calls itself “libertarian”.

Being only two decades old, UKIP – now polling 38% for the European elections this year and about 15% for the general election next year – has achieved a success on paper that the American Libertarian Party can only dream of.

Indeed, in my work of helping the US liberty movement achieve more success in changing the minds of the people and the politicians and policies that they support, I often point out that American activists can learn much from what UKIP has been doing right.

Both UKIP and the US libertarians form insurgent, anti-establishment movements in an early stage of development: they are both influencing and drawing strength from public dissatisfaction with the current political settlement, but have not yet made significant changes to national electoral outcomes. For example, UKIP has not a single seat in the British parliament, and only a handful of representatives in the American House or Senate self-identify as aligned with the liberty movement’s goals.

So it was with some curiosity that I attended my first UKIP meeting on a visit back to England last month.

It was a public “town-hall-style” meeting in the picture-postcard county of Devon. An audience of around 60 heard three candidates and party executives speak for about 90 minutes.

At similar meetings in the US, I am never the youngest in the room. In UKIP’s meeting in Devon, I was. So when questions were invited from the floor, I pointed out as much, and asked if UKIP, therefore, had a problem. (It does.)

Fortunately, one of the speakers was the Chairman of the party, Stephen Crowther, who responded to my question with a fair one of his own: how did someone of my age manage to get out of work on a Friday morning? (I didn’t. I was on holiday.) Later, (during the obligatory tea and biscuits at the end of any public meeting in rural England), another member of the audience offered a different explanation: older people, he suggested, were the only ones who could remember how things were before we Britain the EU.

That was sincerely meant but, to me, unconvincing. After all, the younger members of the American liberty movement do not have …read more

Source: ROBIN KOERNER BLOG