I buy The Spectator every week. Have done for 35 years. For some reason I haven't read the current issue yet so I was unaware until last night that it contained an article about the final Voices of Freedom debate. Sod's law and all that.
Anyway, one of the speakers was writer and broadcaster James Delingpole who writes a weekly column for The Spectator. Here's a taste of what James had to say.
The debate was titled ‘Who holds the liberal torch in 2010: libertarians, liberal democrats or the liberal elite?’ and was staged as part of the Free Society’s Voices of Freedom series. I went mainly because Paul Staines — aka Guido Fawkes — was on the panel and also another blogger I admire, Chris Mounsey of the spectacularly potty-mouthed Devil’s Kitchen blog, who now leads the Libertarian party. There was also my old mucker Brendan O’Neill from Spiked who very nearly persuaded me a few years ago that I was, like him, a revolutionary Marxist; a fellow called Julian Harris — from a libertarian wing of the Lib Dems called Liberal Vision; and another Liberal called Mark Pack who co-edits Liberal Democrat Voice.
I still couldn’t quite see the point of it. The answer was obvious before the debate even started: only libertarians believe in liberty. None of the main parties does any more — not even the Conservatives, but the Lib Dems even less so. If ever there was a concept more antithetical to the liberal weltanschauung it’s the idea that people should be left free to live their own lives unencumbered by government meddling. As, indeed, the Lib Dem Mark Pack went on most amusingly to demonstrate ...
Most left-liberals, in my experience, are quite terrified of libertarians. They can cope with the more traditional, authoritarian kind of Conservative because they can glibly dismiss them as Daily Mail-reading racists who don’t give a damn about the poor. But with libertarians they find themselves on a much stickier wicket: how exactly do you outflank someone who believes that tyranny is akin to death and that we should be free pretty much to do whatever the hell we like so long as it harms no one else.
Full article HERE.