James Lawson was a founder of the Liberty League.
This weekend over 200 activists will gather for the Liberty League Freedom
Forum. It's the UK's largest pro-freedom conference. Freedom Forum explores
political and economic ideas underpinning civilisation, training attendees to
promote free society. Within the recent Conservative Future elections,
candidates were being criticised as “Liberty Leaguers”. We appreciate
brand recognition, but the implication that Liberty League is a threat is
From the outset when Will Hamilton, Anton Howes and I founded Liberty League three years ago, it has been non-partisan. Whilst CF activists (including the new
chairman) attend our events and are very welcome, Liberty League is non-party
political. We invite everyone, from Lib-Dem coalition cousins to UKIPers or
even Anarcho-Capitalists, to voice their personal opinions.
Our approach is thus pragmatic and progressive. There is no set opinion or
policy within Liberty League. There are roles for both those supporting
gradualist change by hacking away at the mainstream political process, and for
radicals who prefer to focus purely on ideology. All our discussions focus on
As well as our conferences, we also support freedom-loving societies. When
we began there were perhaps 3 active non-partisan student societies dedicated
to promoting Liberty. Now there are over thirty, with more universities covered
each year. We're also gaining strength amongst young professionals. We need to
win the broader battle of ideas to sustain freedom for the future.
Chasing crowded middle ground does not seem to be helping the Conservative
Party anyway. Despite centrist initiatives it remains widely labelled the
'nasty' party: the polls suggest the Conservatives face an uphill struggle in
the 2015 election. The Government has still to deliver economic recovery,
growth or debt reduction. Several MPs appear to lack genuine expertise, perhaps
exacerbated by the rise of career hacks.
Conservatives really need to reengage with ideas. Here Liberty League and
think tanks like our conference partners the Adam Smith Institute, Institute of
Economic Affairs and The Freedom Association can offer real help. Rather than
avoiding debate in favour of unpopular status quo, we all focus on delivering
new visions for real change. Votes can be won outside the middle ground by
reengaging our base with authenticity and creativity, and by attracting
non-voters. We should also embrace MPs who have distinct, real-world
perspectives from business experience outside the Westminster hothouse, or who
bring new philosophical and economic ideas.
In short, Liberty League is non-partisan. It offers a framework for
developing ideas. It is pragmatic in promoting Liberty. Additionally, Liberty
League plays a major role in developing the pro-freedom political grassroots.
Rather than being a threat, it offers creativity in the battle of ideas that
the Conservatives should harness and embrace.Gradual, realistic changes that
make people freer and more prosperous naturally should be welcomed by