Liberty Movement: What It Can Learn From Its Brethren in Britain
Could the U.K. Independence Party be a harbinger of a new party in the U.S.? And could they provide lessons for those trying to set such a new entity up. Certainly the experience of UKIP and its adherents will provide some warning to what to expect if the liberty right tries to set up a new party.
And yes UKIP is far more than popular Fox guest and UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Though he is great at getting across the universal message of self-determination, limited government and the free market, there is more to the party.
There is quite a bit for the right in the U.S. to admire about UKIP. They have the fastest growing youth movement in British politics. They have over-taken the Liberal Democrats for top "third-party" in the UK and their poll ratings are rising. By all estimates the party will come top of the polling in the 2014 European Elections.
They share quite a few policies with the liberty movement in the U.S. The party is very keen on localism and the repatriation of powers from Brussels much like the liberty movement in the U.S. wants to return powers to the states from Washington. UKIP also has a healthy distrust of international agencies and wants to significantly reduce foreign aid. They have a distrust of the "climate change industry" and worry that it is more about wealth distribution than the environment.
Another thing UKIP has in common with the liberty/tea party movement is that its younger fans tend to be more libertarian minded while older ones are more traditional "conservative in outlook. The tea party movement knows all too well the difficulty in keeping those two consistencies working together towards the ultimate goal.
More important however is the fact that UKIP offers an interesting insight in how to couch your message for ordinary citizens (rather than the elites). It has successfully connected with the angst of working class Britain in a way that the major parties only dream about. Much like the tea party movement connected with ordinary Americans before it was hijacked by social conservative extremists and Republican apparatchiks.
Furthermore UKIP like the tea party/liberty movement is well experienced with being painted as extremists, racists and stupid by the major party on the right in order to smear their efforts.
The right in the U.S. needs to find something to excite its base as much as the left does to its own. It might take a whole new party or maybe just taking lessons from parties on the right that are actually connecting with their electorate.
In short, if you get the message right voters will come and join your party. The liberty movement needs to learn this lesson if it is to have a future.