Who the hell are the Scottish Libertarians?

Great post from Connor Beaton’s blog on the Scottish Libertarians

12274260_1051477178229664_3760652573049985064_nBizarrely, inexplicably, tomorrow’s (1 December) edition of The National gives front-page prominence to the right-wing space cadets in the Scottish Libertarian Party.

This really raises the question: Who the hell are the Scottish Libertarians anyway?

If you allow me to scoop The National, I’ll point you to the Scottish Libertarian Party website, where the first thing you’ll likely spot is the face of US Republican and libertarian darling Ron Paul, America’s self-styled “leading voice for liberty, prosperity and peace”.

Paul failed to win the nomination for Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election, losing out to the more “moderate” candidate Mitt Romney, who later went on a tirade against the “47 per cent” of Americans who “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it”.

According to his own website, Paul “tirelessly works for limited, constitutional government, low taxes, free markets” … while being a staunch pro-lifer, taking the position that governments must respect individual freedom except for pregnant women.

Back in Scotland, the Scottish Libertarian Party’s distinctive policies include “the abolition of all taxes on business” and the long-term abolition of Scotland’s beloved welfare state, declaring its hope for “the day when free markets and charities fill the roles currently occupied by the state and regulated by force”.

Its policy page claims that “education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market” and government taxation is “a violation of property rights”.

Amusingly, it concludes with the following disclaimer: “Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.”

Based on their website calendar, the only Scottish Libertarian meetings scheduled between now and April 2016 are taking place in Edinburgh. From this, we can ascertain that it’s only the good people of Edinburgh who love and believe in liberty.

It must therefore have been a great disappointment that Libertarian candidate Tom Laird won only 17 first preference votes (0.3%) and came last in the Leith Walk local by-election in Edinburgh this September.

The Scottish Libertarians, perhaps believing Scotland is actually America’s 51st state, complained in their campaign literature: “The Scottish People have so far only ever been offered a choice between big-government liberals and big-government conservatives.”

Still, Laird won more votes than Libertarian candidate Stevie Creighton in Glasgow’s Anderston/City by-election in August, who captured a whopping 12 votes (0.4%) – the fewest number of votes for any party in any Scottish by-election this year.

More recently, the party valiantly fought this month’s Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford by-election in Aberdeenshire with candidate Derek Scott, who lives in Ellon – fully 25 miles from the ward’s boundaries and more than 30 miles from its largest settlement.

The end result? 20 votes (0.5%) for the Libertarians.

I don’t yet know what The National will report about the party they describe as merely “right of centre” on their front page.

All I know is that this party’s support for Scottish independence will never come close to making up for their slavish commitment to a free market capitalism that puts profit over people and leaves the most vulnerable in society behind.

Update: If you want to read The National‘s article on the Scottish Libertarian Party’s apparent re-launch next week – which the newspaper says will see them “added to the Yes movement” – you can find it here.

3 thoughts on “Who the hell are the Scottish Libertarians?

  1. Just by whom is the Scottish welfare state beloved exactly? Not by myself and many people I know.

    Actually It wasn’t a “great disappointment” to me to get 17 votes. That’s 17 people who didn’t know about us before.

    I said from the beginning that I was not out to en-fief myself to popularity. Offering people “free” stuff was never on the cards.
    Telling them that whatever “free” stuff they have already from the state is going to be reduced and preferably taken away completely was never going to be a popular message.

    It’s going to be a painfully slow process for us. I’m not optimistic. But I do believe our principles are right.

    Neither am I a great believer in the political system and process. The main point of any of our involvement is principally didactic.

    It cost me nothing other than my time to stand in the local election. So what exactly was there to be disappointed about?

    Thanks for the extra publicity.

    Tom Laird

    Deputy Leader

    Scottish Libertarian party

  2. I take exception to you referring to us as a “right-wing” party (I don’t mind the space cadets bit)
    Since when is being anti-war, against renewing trident, for the legalisation of marijuana, in favour of gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose, against the surveillance state, ID cards, and detention without trial, opposed to all forms of corporate welfare and public-private partnership (ie. soft fascism) right wing?

    We are a third wing party. If you don’t vote for us you get to enjoy the usual being kicked around by big-government liberals (labour, liberal democrats, greens, snp, ssp, swp, &c.) or big government conservatives (tory, ukip, bnp) we are the only small-government party. We are the only party actually promoting personal freedom.

    Interestingly you have shown your own mentality by the fact that there is NOT ONE SINGLE ARGUMENT IN YOUR ENTIRE ARTICLE
    Your article might has well have just read: “SLP LOL” since that is a summary of all you have said.
    Well good thinking you must be the next Voltaire with such searing insight!
    you have not debated us on any of our policies. Why not stop by the website, and leave some feedback on the articles I’ve written. Unlike you I have actually used the lovely brain that nature has provided me with properly by using reason and evidence in my polemics.

  3. We’re far to the left of Labour, SNP, and The Liberal Democrats on a whole swathe of issues.
    The war, the drug war, civil liberties, corporate handouts, even on removing anti-union legislation in the private sector.

    “right wing” is just used as a smear by people who don’t know the difference between making a case and using an adjective to dismiss other peoples views out of hand without actually doing any critical thinking.


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