The UK Libertarian Party (no,I hadn't heard of it either) has today launched its first policy, and it's to abolish income tax. Don't all rush for membership forms at once! It seems to be an offshoot of UKIP (maybe its provisional wing?), with Chris Mounsey (better known to you and me as Devil's Kitchen) as its Director of Communications.
You may not have heard of the party either; we have deliberately "soft"-launched: the party was entirely formed through blogging and, as such, we wanted to see what we could achieve without any kind of public fuss. As it happens, we have done rather well in terms of members and stimulating debate too.
Also, as I made clear in the comments at Iain's, LPUK is absolutely nothing to do with UKIP. At all. I joined UKIP because I viewed it as being the most libertarian party: there is now a Libertarian Party and thus it seems obvious that I would help out.
As for the substance of the policy, Iain dismisses it out of hand but the ever excellent Mr Eugenides points out that Iain wasn't so sceptical a few months ago.
Iain Dale lays into the UK Libertarian Party today for their suggestion that income tax could be completely abolished whilst still leaving more money for the government to spend than was contained in the budget for 2001/02 - a policy which I may immodestly claim to have inspired in an email to Devil's Kitchen a year or so ago.
Here's Iain's rather sniffy response:I am sure we can't wait. I am all in favour of low taxes, but let's deal with reality here, shall we? We can all play fantasy politics, but in the end if you're serious about politics these sort of indulgences can't really form part of the debate.
Which is a wee bit disingenuous. Because here was Iain's response when DK last mentioned it on his blog, five months ago:I'm a bit slow off the mark with this, but I have just read the most fascinating post on tax by Devil's Kitchen. He calculates that if we went back to 2002-3 spending levels we could in fact abolish income tax completely. Now there's a thought. Memo to George...
Of course, back then it was only a blog post, not a policy from a nascent political party that might one day potentially siphon off Conservative votes.
Although in his original post Iain had, as he points out in the comments, his tongue firmly in his cheek, my impecunious Athenian friend is absolutely correct that the attitude is slightly different this time around.
I wasn't suggesting that you were seriously advancing the abolition of income tax as a Tory policy, Iain.
But you can't deny that the tone of your post in October was "here's a fascinating post, go and look at this", while today's was "these people are loons".
Still, it's good to be talked about, is it not...?
UPDATE: still Iain did link to us, so I feel that I should point out that the Grauniad has a rather favourable interview with him about his Total Politics magazine. Personally, I feel that if The Groan ever praises LPUK, we might shut up shop. But each to their own...