Nigel Farage and the Leadership Principle (2015), by Sean Gabb


Sean Gabb

Nigel Farage and the Leadership Principle
Sean Gabb (17th May 2015)

I have met Nigel Farage three times. Once was when we had lunch. The other times were when I attended UKIP events, and we found ourselves in conversation. I liked him. He had no reason to court me, but was both charming and modest. This is not to say that I am a regular UKIP voter. I always vote UKIP in European election. I voted UKIP in the 2001 and 2005 general elections, when it was plain that the Conservatives would lose, and the best use for my vote was to tell them to try harder. But I voted Conservative in 2010, when they had a good chance to get Labour out, and again in 2015, when it seemed they might fail to keep Labour out. I remain, even so, a fan of Mr Farage, and was glad that UKIP did well in terms of votes the week before last.

I side entirely with Mr Farage in his latest troubles. He has been accused of running his party as a cult of personality. This is to say that he makes sure that he is its only authoritative spokesman, and will allow no dissent within the general leadership from his own opinions. I could deny the truth of this, and refer to my experience of him in private. But I see no reason to do so. You can be both modest and authoritarian. If Mr Farage manages to be both, this is simply one more cause to respect him.

Let me explain.

If it is to have any success, a movement for radical change needs to be led. It needs someone in charge whose decisions are not open to regular challenge. The title of the essay includes the words “leadership principle.” These are most closely associated with Hitler. Looking at him in purely functional terms, he led the Nazi Party into government, and he kept it there. He decided what the Party’s ideology was, and its electoral strategy. Once in power, he decided all matters of domestic policy that he thought important. He also determined Germany’s foreign and military policies. For the avoidance of doubt, I do not approve of his objectives, or of his means of achieving them. But dwelling on his badness as a man is beside the point. His early strengths made him and his party supreme in Germany, and made Germany the most powerful country in Europe. His later weaknesses took Germany to destruction.

It was similar with the Soviet Communist Party. The main difference was that this existed to propagate an ideology that was already, in its essentials, decided by others. But it was Lenin who adapted this ideology to Russian circumstances, and whose leadership was critical to the Communist seizure and retention of power. After his death, it was Stalin who took up the Party leadership, and who made Russia into a superpower.

Take away Hitler and Lenin and Stalin, and neither of the two big totalitarian ideologies of the twentieth century would have made the sort of mark that they did. Without their leaders, the parties would have been cliques of ranting intellectuals, unable to reach out to the people at large, and unable to take immediate and ruthless action to advance their cause. Or they might have divided into lesser movements, each with its own charismatic leader, and all sniping at each other. As it was, Stalin saw off Trotsky and his followers, and Hitler did the same with Ernst Roehm. The function of a leader is to set a course for his movement, to sell that course to the people, and to hold the movement together.

The weakness of such parties is that the leader may lose touch with reality, as Hitler did after 1940, or as Stalin may have done towards the end of his life. The only answer then is to remove him by irregular means – unsuccessful with Hitler, successful with Stalin. Or there is the problem of the succession. This was especially the case with Hitler, who was National Socialism. Even with the Soviets, though, there were voids in the leadership after Lenin and Stalin died. These, however, are problems that arise after a party has become successful. It is the foundations of initial success that interest me here.

A seeming objection to this analysis is that the main parties in Britain and, I think, in America are oligarchies with some show of formal accountability to the membership. The Conservative Party, for example, has never had a leader supreme in the sense that Hitler and Stalin were. Even Margaret Thatcher had to work within constraints. When she tried too often to step outside those constraints, she was deposed. Every recent leader has been approved by a ballot of the membership. Yet the Conservative and Labour Parties have remained broadly united and effective parties of government.

The answer is that these are not parties that have been recently brought together with any urgency of purpose. Until well into the twentieth century, the Conservative Party existed to defend a set of landed and financial interests that were long established. It was the political wing of a set of interlocking families who had ruled England since time immemorial. It had a wide base of funding and general support. It had the critical mass and the patronage to keep its intellectuals and enthusiasts under control. The membership could be guided or ignored. Except its aristocratic base has been eroded, this remains the case. Supreme leadership has never been needed for its success.

As for the Labour Party, this joined the Establishment cartel more by accident than by the nature of its leadership. Before the Great War, it was a loose pressure group. It then simply stepped into the position vacated by the Liberals. After 1931, it was governed by a clique of trade union leaders and career politicians. Even so, the powers of this clique were always uncertain. Its failure after 1979 opened the way to fifteen years of internal chaos and of resulting electoral failure. Its recovery in the 1990s was the effect of a new leadership far more authoritarian than Margaret Thatcher’s had been. Once Tony Blair was gone, it drifted steadily towards oblivion.

We can say, then, that oligarchic rule is appropriate only in the special case of parties or movements that have no ideological imperative. A good further example is the Soviet Communist Party after Stalin’s death. The country had been remade. The ideology had become an established faith. Short of dissolving itself and letting Russia rejoin the civilised world, the Party no longer had any work that had urgently to be done. It could give up on absolute leadership and become an oligarchy of those who had survived the purges. What finished it off was that the oligarchy was unable to reproduce itself, and the system it defended was a comprehensive failure.

This returns me to UKIP. It is a small party. Its funding base is narrow. Its main objectives put it in conflict with the existing order of things. It owes its success in the past few general and other elections to the leadership of Nigel Farage. The alternative to his leadership is rule by a group of men whose main skill is to stay awake through five hour committee meetings, or by men whose general abilities are untested, and perhaps better not tested. I am at least suspicious of Douglas Carswell. If he rejoins the Conservatives in the next few months, I shall not be surprised.

I am disappointed by how badly Mr Farage took his failure to win the Thanet election. His resignation as UKIP leader, followed by a hint that he might stand for re-election, followed by the withdrawal of his resignation, was an obvious mistake. It made him look absurd. But anyone who wants UKIP to remain a political success should be in no doubt of which side he needs to take in the turmoil this has enabled. Mr Farage should be urged to impose an iron control over the party, and to purge anyone who stands in his way. He should, so far as possible, own UKIP. The offer he should make to actual and potential supporters is that he will lead the way to a set of agreed ends, and they should not object to his means. If anyone thinks he can do the job better, let him go and start his own party.

Despite its failure to win many seats in Parliament, UKIP did very well in this month’s general election. With the Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties crippled, and unlikely to recover in at least the medium term, UKIP is on the verge of becoming the main party of opposition in England. So far, the pendulum has swung between two parties of authoritarian corporatists. It may be that our politics are about to reconfigure themselves into a contest between a party of authoritarian corporatists and a party of smaller and more traditionalist government. The removal of the leader who – whatever his personal and intellectual faults – has brought us to this possibility would be a disaster for anyone who believes in smaller government.

For this reason, while I have not so far been a consistent UKIP voter, I side with Mr Farage. Time to sharpen the long knives, Nigel – time to break out the ice picks!

Postscript A further point for the avoidance of doubt. Nothing said above refers to how a leader should behave in power. If he ever becomes Prime Minister, it should go without saying that I expect Mr Farage to govern within the traditional norms. The main point I make is that political parties are best run as despotisms.

44 thoughts on “Nigel Farage and the Leadership Principle (2015), by Sean Gabb

  1. I agree with you re: Carswell. Wishful thinking re: Farage and UKIP, though. I won’t say that the break-up of UKIP is inevitable, but the recent resignation folly has weakened an already fragile coalition of socialists, neoliberals, and traditionalists. They most likely will not recover. If Carswell leaves then so will many recent Tory defectors

  2. Obviously, time will tell. But swift action now can recover the Farage leadership. Most people don’t care about the occasional shambles in the party they support.

  3. Farage made a very bad mistake by saying he would resign if he did not win South Thanet. This particularly as he, as an individual, is so hated by the other parties that they will inevitably put every last effort they can into ensuring that wherever he tries to win a Westminster seat, he fails.

    I think also that a fundamental problem remains in that there is still no coherent anti-Establishment ideology which UKIP (or any other) can represent, largely because many of the necessary components of such are currently taboo according to the ideological hegemony. How to break through that problem I do not know. But it keeps me awake nights trying to think of an answer.

    • He said he would because of the modern post-BlairNazi climate of “not resigning” whan you either fail or get caught with your trousers down or your hands in the till. He said it in good faith, knowing that most people would understand that the post-modern leftist GramscoFabiaNazi- “Sie müssen nicht zum Rücktritt, wenn Sie erwischt werden” is not what people ought to do if they are honest and don’t actually really want to have their hands inside people’s wallets and computer-hard-drives.

      They lynched Farage _because he said_ he’d resign if he failed, and they were _shitscaredly-terrified_ that they’d be held up to the same moral values one day. Bastards.

    • I don’t know about Farago (as I call him), but I do think David has made a really good point here about honesty.

      Ian, what do you think of honesty as an ideology?

  4. I think this is a fair assessment on the whole. I suppose that if ‘party politics’ is the chosen vehicle, there needs to be some kind of leader who forges the party into being tough and solid.

    (This is not something you would get with Mr Carswell and others, who I also do not really trust as being a genuine figure seeking to challenge the established order of things).

    The trouble I see with the ‘leadership’ thing, in any movement, is that if the opposition can manage to decapitate, figuratively speaking, the name most closely associated with it, the party and the movement tends to wither away.

    Nigel made a mistake in saying he would resign if he lost his seat. Not only did it put a strain on UKIP and give the media a gift, but it would have made many hardcore “lefties” and “Tories” alike push even harder to make sure he did not win.

    I had the impression that he would remain as leader, despite what was said. I just knew he would stay on, one way or another. I think it would be best if he did so, too.

    The mistake I think the party made was not having a proper leadership election contest, where it would be put to members of the party all over England and Wales. I have faith that the steering committee or whatever it was were genuine in their refusal to accept his resignation, but even so, for the sake of due process they should have allowed a contest to take place.

    It was astonishing how some of the higher profile members came out so readily to attack Nigel in the press and stoke up this whole thing. The media have loved it, particularly the BBC, with their news headlines like “UKIP in crisis”. Hardly, but they love to make mountains out of mole hills in an attempt to push things into a genuine crisis.

    Being a cynic, I suspect there is some dirty work afoot via plants and stooges – but I really don’t know enough about it to be certain.

    UKIP seem to be making the mistake of trying to make themselves more acceptable to the kinds of voters who despise them. This is appeasement of the worst kind. Of course, they need to win over all those “middle ground” people in order to try to win office, but if it means throwing all the principles away and cloning the other parties to do it, then it is just not right.

    I am sure many people out there cannot stand Nigel and cannot stand UKIP. But that has to be tough cheddar. You need people who challenging and I think you need to win arguments and not capitulate to others by default of being perceived “tolerant” or “acceptable” to the wishy-washy mainstream.

    For me, Nigel is not far removed from mainstream himself. On a lot of things the party reflect the same general outlooks as the others. They are just slightly moving that “Overton window”.

    I suspect that if it was put to the actual membership, Nigel would win a leadership contest. He has done well for the party, he is a good operator, he is well versed and trained in how everything works and how to handle the most snide of interviewers (Evan Davis, for example). To throw such things under the bus seems to be stupidity.

    I think they should delegate more though. Suzanne Evans is a good speaker, for example, and Paul Nutall tends to do a good job. If they do ever get rid of Nigel, without weaning the public onto a new face of UKIP, I think their fortunes would slide into obscurity again. This is why I think the media have been making such a fuss over it, in the hope that the party would destroy itself and that the public would drift away.

  5. Farage has made himself and his party look ridiculous. I am not sure he can recover. Likewise, his opportunistic calls for “electoral reform” (lining up on the same side of the debate as the enemy) do not give me confidence.

    Whatever good UKIP may have done in the past, the party is now occupied by an absurd clown car of irreconcilables. vis. Farage’s recent statements about our absurdly bloated, inefficient and downright dangerous national health service. His instincts are clearly libertarian, yet he has allowed his party’s policy to drift toward incoherence. That is not leadership.

    Unlike Sean, I believe that leaving the EU is vital. Too close an association with UKIP and Farage, in particular, will drag the independence side down to defeat.

  6. My view is that Farage thought he could comfortably afford to threaten resignation. He allowed himself to become deluded about how well his campaign was going. Once he knew the game was over and he was down the pan, he’d little choice but to pretend to go. Quite simply, he had to resign or lose credibility; which he’s astute enough to realise that he’d have left the BBC free to attack. The BBC, probably the most effective propaganda machine in the world… and they hate his guts. Hate him because they’ve been instructed to do so.

    However, I also thought he took the decision to ‘un-resign’ a little too quickly. No reason existed which I could think of that prevented him from waiting a week or two longer. If 24 hours is truly a long time in politics, then 14 days would surely have dampened the powder in the the BBC’s damned muskets. They’d have still pressed the trigger of course but the shot would not to have fired.

    But tell me this Sean, in the end, how much do you think your vote was worth to the Tories after deciding to return to their fold?

    I voted for UKIP and feel it was worth my while doing so. My vote helped to bring UKIP’s vote count up to a reasonable level. Had their count fallen below two million, let’s say, then the party would have been considered a political irrelevance by many.

    For the first time ever, my cars had UKIP stickers stuck inside their rear windows. They were there during the run-up and remain there. They’ve certainly not made me popular with a few locals but I did enjoy a lively debate in Gordon Square Park (Marylebone) last Monday. I was followed on foot by a man who’d seen me park. He said he was a reporter and would appreciate my views on the election. I told him I was there to photograph Tagore and not interested in debating politics with him. He was so witty and amusing however that I couldn’t resist but take him on.

    This will sound crazy I know but before we parted, he smiled very broadly and said he’d voted UKIP. I believed him when he said it.

    It made my day… and the Tagore bust photographed well enough in the late afternoon sunlight.

  7. It seems that Nigel Farage did tender his resignation, which was rejected unanimously by the NEC, whose members persuaded him to stay on; he then withdrew his resignation.

    Of course, this was handled very messily indeed, and the fiasco makes UKIP look like an immature one-man band, in contradiction with its attempts, in this election more than any other, to branch out as a full party with a comprehensive manifesto. At worst, this furore could tear UKIP apart or cause Farage’s internal ousting. I had predicted exactly this scenario in the event that Farage lost Thanet South. I blame the NEC for this more than Farage himself, putting him in the very awkward position of walking away from a leaderless party torn apart by strife.

    Farage should have handled this by standing in a leadership election before September, which he would have won hands-down. He could have had a strong contender in Douglas Carswell, I suppose, but the MP has consistently claimed that he had no interest in leading the party. If Patrick O’Flynn MEP stood against Farage, representing the anti-Farage/‘Red UKIP’ sentiment within the party, he would have fared as a very distant second place compared to Carswell. It is clear that Farage has to be seen to have stood down, even if he went in for re-election (Farage quietly won a leadership election a few months ago with no opponents at all). Not doing this amounts to offering the anti-UKIP press a three-course meal of stinging stories to pin on the party’s name.

    If Carswell leaves, it is bad news for UKIP in terms of public image, regardless of the growing differences between him and the ‘hardline Kippers’. Many ex-Conservatives would return to Cameron’s party. Farage should find a way to keep Carswell on board without compromising his leadership of the UKIP.

    I am more concerned by the influence of Patrick O’Flynn, whom Godfrey Bloom described as a “socialist” in a Libertarian Alliance Question Time podcast a few months ago. Known as ‘Pinko Flynn’ within UKIP, the MEP for the East of England was allegedly unhappy with the party manifesto and wants tax increases, especially on luxury items. This would steer UKIP in totally new territory that it was not set up to occupy.

    Arron Banks, who donated £1,000,000 to UKIP last year, has called for Carswell, O’Flynn, and deputy leader Suzanne Evans to resign. I am especially disappointed that Evans is rumoured to be among the plotters — she is excellent under the media spotlight and probably the best speaker in the party besides Farage. She always came across as a Farage loyalist.

    In the first few days after May 7th, I wanted Farage to be replaced; now I believe he should stay on, but a leadership election should have been conducted to obviate or mitigate all this vicious press and internal divisions.

    • The position should have been clear to any Ukip member, leader or not, namely, that all resources and effort should have been concentrated on the referendum. Any differences amongst the leadership should have been left until the referendum has been held. What is going on is at best self-indulgent and egotistical, and at worst a deliberate attempt to sabotage Ukip.

  8. In the above matter I find Sean’s position as a leading libertarian extraordinary. I say this because, he eloquently illustrated how Hitler and Stalin used unbridled power, so I would imagine that he would have been wary of all forms of centralised power and yet UKIP, just like all the other parties, is struggling to gain exactly the same centralised power as the others. That is the name of the game called “democracy”

    It there seems ok to Sean if the declared objectives of UKIP are acceptable,which presumably they must be as he would not vote for someone whose principles were objectionable to him. But let me take the reader to the thoughts of the great Edmund Burke on this matter. “Whenever Parliament is persuaded to assume the offices of executive government it will lose all the confidence, love and veneration which it has ever enjoyed whilst it was supposed to be corrective and control on the acting powers of the State.” Let me pause the quote here for a second. This is the situation every single time we elect a party government,as we just have, because the party system merges the Commons with the government and the government assumes control of the Commons. Let me now continue the quote (shall we imagine a UKIP government), ” this would be the event though its conduct in such a perversion of its functions would be tolerable, just and moderate, but if it be iniquitous, violent, full of passion and full of faction it would be considered as the most intolerable of all modes of tyranny”
    The point I am trying to illustrate is that an action is wrong however nicely you dress it up. To seek to give UKIP the same centralised power as the Cameronians have now acquired is an extraordinary act of faith given human nature and Lord Acton’s dictum that “power corrupts and absolute power absolutely”. As I point out in my website “the party system (ALL OF IT) is the revolution against the English constitution” and every party set up to seek power will on achieving that power merge the House of Commons with the governing party.
    The consequences of following this path are that we have had corruption, expenses scandals, paedophile rings, murder,(Jill Dando, Dr,David Kelly, John Giles Rhodesian lawyer etc) interventionist wars and so on. The difficulty of stopping this steam roller became apparent if one viewed Cotterell’s BBC series “Inside the Commons”. We saw how the so-called “Iron Lady” was kicked out. Could not the same happen to a Nigel Farage to be replaced by a tyrant not of our choosing. Political parties cannot be controlled after the vote! That is why they are dangerous.

    As soon as the election wider started I therefore commenced to campaign in Malton as an Independent (Burke’s old seat), in accordance with the principles set out in my website and using the banner “Fed UP with Party Politicians?”.. I was able to demonstrate to myself and passers-by the utter superiority of my position in that I was totally free to listen to their concerns, to act on their concerns and to hold their vote in my safe custody and to be used in judgement on every occasion. This was in contrast to all the party candidates,for whom a vote would mean that vote transferred straight into the party coffers because that party candidate had accepted the party whip. At a school hustings I stated “I want you to take away with you one idea tonight. All political parties, especially with a majority are dangerous organisations. All party manifestos are “packages”. A vote for a party means you get the whole manifesto and there is no opt out. Even a no-vote like Russell Brand gives you someone’s package.” In the rest of the short time I had left I was able to talk about the hidden agenda of world government etc.
    Now, I confess that by this stage I had withdrawn as an officlal candidate not because I was wrong, far from it, but because not only aged 75 I could not afford to throw away £500 I did not have for the small reward that I would expect in return, given that things are geared via “party leaders” and a centralised TV debate. I am absolutely thrilled to report that one dynamic lady a Claire Wright, standing as an Independent scored some 12,000 votes and came second in her constituency.
    May I urge others, who have some money and are still young enough, to take the moral ammunition I have on offer on my website and as an attachment if you request it from me and go for it but make a very early start. In the end we too voted UKIP.as that was all that was left. When you reflect on it, so many of our ills are caused by the party system not least that 4m people got no representation. In my opinion, perhaps the real solution is for each constituency to hold election primaries devoid of party politics and merely for individuals and chose one candidate, not as a party representative but as the people’s representative to go the Commons.

  9. I love it when so called libertarians come on here to criticise a man who is trying his very best to make it an almost big-tent party for libertarians, traditionalists and former old labour voters to work together to achieve a unique party status compared to the rest of them.

    I disagree with Sean Gabb when he says that Nigel Farage made himself look ridiculous in regards to resigning after not winning his seat. I call it honourable when a man who has pretty much over-burnt himself out to get UKIP where they are today can put himself on the line and stand by his word after losing South Thanet. It was only the NEC and the majority of his membership that wanted him to stay as leader and he accepted.

    Now in regards to Douglas Carswell, he has a lot of thinking to do in regards to where his loyalties lie and get them out the way now so that we concentrate on the up and coming EU referendum united in coming out.

    • What Farage could have done was say, I want to remain leader but in view of my failure to get to the Commons I will call a leadership election so that the party can vote me in again or out. However, definitely better he had not talked of resigning at all.

      • Why? He was putting himself on the line unlike other politicians and had the decency and dignity to carry it out.

        • UK Fusionist- the why is easy, Farage is not leading a normal party in normal circumstances. He is, for the moment, leading what is perceived by the public to be a single issue group, the immigration issue being subsumed into the referendum debate. That being so after the election only one thing immediately mattered and will matter for the next 18 months or so, the EU referendum. There was absolutely no reason for Farage to resign or put himself up agains for election because Ukip had the chance of a leadership election a few months ago but no one decided to oppose Farage.

          • One interesting thing to me is that he said he would resign at all, and one can reasonably surmise that he did so because he felt confident of winning in Thanet. This in turn suggests to me that he considerably underestimates what he and his party (and all “anti-Establishmentarians”) are up against, which is worrying.

            Most people probably think that the debates and discussions we have here at the LA and similar discussions by others are useless navel-gazing; but I think that we are among the few who really have developed, or at least are developing, a coherent and useful description of the enemy we are fighting. And knowing your enemy is an essential part of defeating an enemy.

            This is part of the reason that, in my view, the EU Referendum everyone has been begging for for 20 years or so is unwinnable short of a miracle.

            • I don’t want a referendum. In part I don’t want it because I don’t currently want to leave the EU. Most of all though, I don’t want it because I do want eventually to leave the EU, and any referendum for the foreseeable future will be lost by the Out side. It will probably be lost as convincingly as the one we had forty years ago.

              • On leaving now, I share the view with yours that it may not make things better, and will probably make things worse, here in Britain, than they are currently. On the other hand it may well be a severe, crippling blow to the Progressives, so on that score it is worth doing. In either event, we have to leave some time, and at some point before it becomes impossible to leave. I will vote for “out” whenever the chance comes.

                I do however as said share the view that it is almost certain to be lost and this will be a catastrophe for EUscepticism.

                I remain committed to the idea that the only thing that matters in our historical time is the discrediting and destruction of Progressivism and all its significant policies, and as such whether we are in or out of the EU is secondary.

                  • On interesting speculation to me is how the Establishment would deal with an “out” vote, however unlikely it may be. This is presuming that the vote is binding- i.e. that they can’t “renegotiate again” until they win a second (or third) referendum. That is, if they were forced to withdraw.

                    It would seem to me to at least demand an immediate general election, since it would be effectively a no confidence vote in the Executive. It’s hard to see how they could retain any credibility at all, since effectively the electorate would have instructed the government to do the exact opposite of its wishes on a very major, fundamental constitutional, matter.

                    The dismay at least would be entertaining to watch.

                    • Because the chance of an Out vote is so small, I doubt if any thought at all has been put into your question. I suspect the answer would be formal withdrawal, followed by a continuing coordination of legal and administrative policy that amounted to de facto membership. How long this could be kept up I can’t say. But that’s what would be tried.

              • In saying that, you’re assuming I suppose, that the financial calamity about to engulf Europe and the USA, will not happen. I firmly believe that it will happen, and will do so before the referendum – unless they bring it forward. The fall out from the collapse will mean all bets are off.

  10. Carswell and co clearly wish to emasculate Ukip by their wretched “go to the centre” strategy. Why are they behaving like this? Well, If the Tories wished to get rid of the Ukip threat their best means of doing so would be to infiltrate it and eat away at its principles from the inside. It is worth remembering that both Carswell and Suzanne Evans are ex-Tory party members. But even if they joined of their own volition rather than as saboteurs working for the Tories, it is clear they did not join with any intention of respecting the existing principles of Ukip, but merely wished to make them in the image of the politically correct mainstream.

    Carswell I wouldn’t trust and inch. He had barely defected to Ukip before disowning Ukip’s immigration stance.

    • I think Carswell wants it to be a classical liberal/libertarian party of some sort. The problem is that he, like many “classical” libertarians, holds very firmly to an open borders dogma (“the State has no right to restrict freedom of movement” etc) which in my view as a non-classical libertarian (and some would say, therefore not a libertarian at all) is a grievous error in the current real world situation.

      And here we come back to the reason that the current ideology- whatever you want to call it, Neo-Progressivism or something) holds onto power. Although there is much disagreement with it, the opposition is not coherent. Indeed, this is the very problem UKIP faces in trying to be a big tent of anti-establishmentism in that that tent inevitably consists of different factions with incompatible red lines.

      As a thought experiment, imagine writing down in one column every significant characteristic of the current Neo-Progressive dogma (e.g. open borders, anti-smoking, global warming belief, feminism, big government, drug prohibition etc) and then write down beside them the opposite. Now look down that right hand “opposites” column and try to map it onto any current formation (conservatives, libertarians, old socialists, ethnic nationalists and so on), and it just isn’t possible. You can’t even get most of them into one camp.

      If we want a coherent opposition, a lot of red lines are going to have to give.

      • There is a compromise on immigration. Here it goes:

        1. In a free country, national borders would be at least porous, much as they were until the Great War. However, the government of a free country would not force the natives to associate with newcomers or to pretend to love them. Also, the newcomers or those bringing them in would be unable to externalise the costs of immigration. The result would be immigration by those with useful skills and those willing and able to fit into the existing order of things. Paupers and the radically alien would either not come at all, or would quickly go away of their own accord.

        2. We do not live in a free country. We are forced to associate with newcomers in ways that we often find inconvenient, and are not allowed to express our true opinions. At the same time, there is open-ended welfare for pauper newcomers and much legal and administrative accommodation to their preferences.

        3. On paper, we have strict immigration controls. These are arbitrary in their application, or they tend to let through the most dishonest and generally worthless newcomers.

        If Thomas Knapp is following this conversation, he will pop up soon to announce that we should remove all our immigration controls. The problem with this approach is that, since we are unlikely in the short term to do anything about our welfare and anti-discrimination laws, England would soon stop being England. We do not wish this to happen. Therefore, without abandoning at least reasonably free migration as a principle, we should demand – as a matter of tactics – strict and strictly-enforced immigration laws. With these in place, we should also encourage natives to vote as a bloc for the re-establishment of a single legal and administrative order based on our own traditional ways. This would probably sort out all our most pressing difficulties. It would give a chance for those newcomers who seriously wished to integrate to do so. It would let others know that they were not welcome, and let them wonder where else on this planet they could establish their own preferred social and political order.

        When a free country goes to war, it generally forbids trade with the enemy. This is not a rejection of free trade as a principle, but is an accommodation to unwelcome facts. In the same way, libertarians do not need to believe in immigration controls as a principle in order to accept them in the circumstances we now face.

        • The problem with your plan, Sean, is fivefold.

          First there is what might be called the Camp of the Saints difficulty, namely, huge numbers of people coming and once here presenting not just the authorities but the population as a whole with a grave moral dilemma: do we leave them to starve, have illness and injury untreated and their children to live in squalor?

          The second is the sheer numbers. The lure of a country like Britain even without access to the welfare state is huge when you live in place where at best the government is corrupt and oppressive and most are abjectly poor or at worst in a full blown state of anarchy such as obtains in Libya at present. Even if such people have to live on rock bottom pay and live in poor quality and overcrowded housing in Britain they will not be persuaded that to return home is a better option.

          The third is the countries from where immigrants have come refusing to take their nationals back. What happens then?

          The fourth is that once here in huge numbers the nature of England is utterly changed, not just by the oppressive laws which prevent honest talking about race and immigration, but the mere fact that parts of the country have been in effect colonised. The English in those areas have no option about whether or not they associate with the invaders if they wish to remain in the area.

          The fifth is the flexing of social and political muscle such as we see in Tower Hamlets when a racial/ethnic group c becomes the dominant population in an area. That potentially could eventually result in a situation where an ethnic minority based party could hold the balance of power in the Commons.

          • Effectively it amounts to a form of the Tragedy Of The Commons. The worst life available in Europe is better than the normal life in the countries of origin, and so they will keep coming until that life in Europe disappears.

          • I’ve answered most of your points in advance in what I said. However, the problem of countries that refuse to take back their own nationals is easily solved. You find a country in Africa and bribe its government to take stateless refugees. Britain is a very rich country, and a few billion a year into El Presidente’s Swiss account will buy a big welcome for the huddled masses we dump on him.

            Of course, after a bit of television coverage, the huddled masses will find somewhere else to steer their boats.

            A more humane accompanying policy would be to stop interfering in poor countries. Much of the reason why so many refugees come here is because HMG has been doing its best to make their own countries into slagheaps dripping blood. Controlling our borders is only part of the solution.

        • I can’t see any country surviving with porous borders. There will always be millions of people around the world for whom a life in England would be better than in their own country – even if their alien ways make them at odds with English society and unwelcome to the native population. If the movement of peoples continues unchecked, it will only end when a global equilibrium is reached – i.e. when the West is indistinguishable from the Third World due to the former having absorbed so much of the latter’s population.

          I’m not sure why there was negligible immigration a hundred years ago. The fact that British people weren’t forced to subsidise it through welfare is one. Also, of course, there were no race discrimination laws, which in effect gave the citizens a choice of rejecting immigration. But I don’t think the clock can be put back now by cutting off welfare benefits to immigrants and restoring freedom of association. The mass migrations of people have gained too much momentum, with millions of Africans and Asians in Europe, and family members in their home countries eager to join them.

          • Shortly after WW1 there were serious riots over considerable numbers of non-whites apparently settling in the area :

            Demobilisation – opens new window
            Demobilisation of British
            and empire troops
            Transcript

            Demobilisation also exacerbated social tensions in various British ports. A series of ugly race riots took place in Liverpool and Cardiff during June 1919, as the local white population clashed with black workers and seamen, many of whom were left unemployed at the end of the war. In Cardiff, in particular, white ex-servicemen, including Australians stationed in the area, headed lynch mobs that terrorised the city’s black community during a week of violence that left three men dead and dozens more injured. In the aftermath the government repatriated hundreds of black people (600 by mid-September 1919).http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/firstworldwar/spotlights/demobilisation.htm

            In fact, the repatriation went much further than 600.

            For a more detailed account of the riots see http://www.heretical.com/British/riot1919.html

            The contrast between the action of the government in 1919 and after the Notting Hill riots of 1958 is striking. In 1919 the non-whites were repatriated: in 1958 the whites who protested were imprisoned.

            • Watch out Robert, or you’ll have Sean making one of his ex cathedra statements. Looks like his dictionary has a different definition of ‘libertarianism’ to all the others.

              • Charles G – Well, immigration is a particularly difficult problem for libertarians because it opposes two principles in the starkest fashion: the right of all individuals to decide their own lives and the democratic right of a people to decide who shall be allowed to join their society.

              • We are all aware that we do not live in a libertarian society and such discussions can cause problems with the Authorities and the Establishment.

                • Then libertarians should be prepared to ’cause problems’ if they truly believe what they espouse. Anything else is cowardly submission. Or do you think what freedoms we have were won by people frightened to ’cause problems’?

                  • “Cowardly submission” is often essential pragmatism in an unfree society. Only challenge the State when you have some meaningful purpose in doing so, or you will be destroyed pointlessly.

                  • Charles G: Humans are social animals. That being so we have to live within the limits of what evolution has brought us to. All social animals have to have boundaries to the group otherwise sociality cannot develop or be maintained. Hence, libertarians should not try to create a libertarian society per se but rather to try to order things so that as much personal freedom exists as is compatible with the society they live in. A pure libertarian society would in fact not be a libertarian society because it could only arise and be maintained by force.

                    • Robert: That’s all very well, but the problem is one of who sets the boundaries and what is their motivation. Rules which have been formed and put in place in a properly determined manner, which accord with a general consensus, are a necessary part of any civilised society. However, that is not what we are talking about here. Our country has been, and continues to be, changed almost beyond recognition by deliberate mass immigration (and other, equally damnable, impositions). Many of us not only know that, but we also know why and by whom. Knowing why is one thing, but being able to say why quite another.

                      I accept that we are not free to express ourselves as we could in the past. However, what I can’t accept is that anyone who chooses to call himself a ‘libertarian’ should – almost matter of factly -pronounce that we do not live in a free society, we are forced to live in a society not of our choosing, our right to freedom of association has been taken from us, and we must happily accept that our grandchildren face the prospect of being an ethnic minority within their homeland. All those things are probably true, but anyone who is not prepared to resist them with all their strength and determination is certainly no ‘libertarian’.

    • You twice mention UKIP “principles”. UKIP is the Farage party. That’s it.

      As regards the idea that the party has been “infiltrated” by those that would seek to destroy it, au contraire. Note the incredibly easy ride Farage received on Question Time. The Tory representative was particularly magnanimous. Farage is the establishment’s pet “euroscpectic” and they want to keep him. If seven-time parliamentary failure Farage is prominent in the “out” campaign, we lose.

  11. Umm. I’m coming round to a position close to Sean’s on an EU referendum. For me, there are three decent things left in the débris of the European project. One, Schengen – though most here wouldn’t agree with me. Two, the ECHR, which got right – for example – the British Airways cross case. Three, just occasionally the ECJ (or whatever it’s called now) makes a decent decision, as in their ruling last year that spying on our e-mails is wrong.

    I used to think that I could allow myself to vote in a referendum, since I wouldn’t be giving my imprimatur to any politician or party. But an EU referendum soon… it would be a poisoned chalice. Say Yes, and “the science is settled.” Say No, and if you win you give Camorra and its goons a licence to do to you all the bad things they want to do.

    So the only recourse I see is to put my head up high (above the parapet, indeed!) and to say, as I do in elections, “A plague on both your houses.”

    Sean says, “The real enemy is domestic.” No, Sean, the enemies of freedom are on both sides (indeed, all sides!) of the arbitrary boundaries that states set for themselves.

    And Ian says, “Knowing your enemy is an essential part of defeating an enemy.” You are right, Sir. …and I’m working on it.

    • Much there to agree with. However, the real enemy is domestic, because it is here and keeping tabs on us. The various packs of foreign overlords just want us to join in their lunatic wars, or to hand over lots of the taxpayers’ money. These are very bad in themselves, and worth denouncing, but don’t compare with the close tyranny of our local rulers. Do the Americans care if women are drinking in the streets of Doncaster? Do the Europeans care if we have guns? Our own rulers do.

      • SIG, I don’t think your right. The real problem is systemic. The local politicians impose at the local level because they can and because it’s their remit. Quite often they’re following UN Agenda 21 principles and so are in effect being instructed at the higher level.
        The Scottish lunacy of a 5p tax on carrier bags exemplifies this.
        The special problem with international and supranational governance and influence is that you can’t simply move to get away from it and even going so far as shooting the bastards will have little or no effect since they’re interchangeable figurehead units.

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