Written by Mike Swadling
Last Monday I met with two representatives of one of the smaller parties contending the local elections to discuss the practicalities of standing in my local area. Whilst far from a libertarian party, it is a more liberty-loving party than frankly anything we see in Westminster today. “Don’t let the best be enemy of the good” has long been a view of mine and doing anything I can to support liberty-loving parties has got to be worthwhile, especially those more pro-liberty than the lockdown fanatics in Westminster.
We’re gearing up for the once-every-four-years local elections in London, and with these elections it feels like we have a return to normal in Westminster politics. National trends always have a major impact on how people vote in council elections. My own council in Croydon has had de facto bankruptcy declared, yet the ruling Labour administration is likely to be re-elected – something possibly not true before Partygate. On a nation level, to see a government that’s been in power for eleven years trailing in mid-term polls is only normal. Brexit battles and the weird freezing of politics during lockdown appear to have now ended.
What does it mean for the local elections? I hope we see as many liberty-loving candidates from the plethora of parties that exist able to stand up and vie for votes against the Westminster bubble. We can complain about there being too many parties, we can find them not to be sound enough, but anyone that stands up and stood against lockdown who wants to return to at least the old normal, not the new one, has a good chance for my vote.
Local elections are a great time to talk about the daily loss of liberty we all face. Does the council provide its basic services well, or waste your money on grand plans? Does it restrict speed limits to a snail’s pace and stop traffic flowing through low traffic neighbours? Are local shops closing because it’s become impossible to park? Or, like my local council, have they run up debts local residents will be spending years repaying?
The biggest challenge for smaller parties is always getting their message out to people beyond the typical reader base. How can we all help? For my part, we’re hosting a hustings in Croydon for the liberty-loving smaller parties likely to contend the local elections. With the CPA, the SDP, the Heritage Party and the Libertarian Party attending, all are greater believers in free speech than the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. My next couple of weeks will be busy leafleting for this in the hope we can ask the man on the Clapham omnibus when at the ballot box in May to give liberty a chance.