Many of my Twitter followers, friends, associates and political colleagues have expressed an interesting in joining UKIP. Not just, predominately, from the Conservative party but I know of at least two to three individuals (from Labour) considering moving to the eurosceptic party. A significant proportion are libertarians, but some are natural conservatives.
A brief confession; I did consider transferring my political alliance to UKIP. But, I did not join. Even though Nigel Farage is trying to formulate a libertarian narrative, it is difficult-still-for a libertarian to support a party with questionable illiberal stances.
Firstly, intensifying military expenditure is certainly not apart of the libertarian philosophy; a significant standing army is affront and, potentially, a violation of liberty. Governments with big armies tend to use them. UKIP’s manifesto highlights a ‘golden share’ in British companies and a critique against foreign takeovers – which resists the principles of a free market. Britain is the most open market in the world and restricting the potential for investment is quite damaging to the economy in the long term. India is currently experiencing capital flights out of the country after the government restricted the possibility of foreign investment and takeovers. I believe in globalisation and the potential for a unified, free and open market.
Of course a government has a morale duty to ensure those entering this nation do not harm or pervert the liberty of its citizens. But that requirement, or duty, does not insist on a hostile front to those coming to the United Kingdom seeking work and prosperity. UKIP’s immigration policy is too authoritarian and certainly does not fit the premise of civic nationalism. Granted, though, this is a ongoing debate among libertarians in general and is not just restricted to UKIP.
As a libertarian I do struggle to align myself to UKIP; there is genuine warmth on civil liberties and Europe, but there is still a dark cloud that haunts the party. To me, it feels too conservative and authoritarian and presents the image of the Tory party on steroids.
I yearn for a true libertarian party, but sadly I’m still looking for it.