Westminster was alive with the buzz of freedom Monday night as Conservatives for Liberty held its launch event with 100 young libertarians and Conservatives packed into an upstairs room of The Barley Mow to hear our Honorary President Daniel Hannan MEP give an inspiring speech on the modern movement and its roots in the Levellers of the Civil War (for those interested, this blog post was not dissimilar).
The atmosphere of the event was reminiscent of packed debates in the House of Commons, with attendees spilling out of the room into the doorway listening attentively to the great man speak.
Dan’s speech, as well as being historically instructive, was laced with plenty of advice about how libertarians can utilise the Conservative party to effect real change in the cause of freedom – and how this must first be centred on the economic stage as the one area we have the greatest in common and the most agreement.
The greatest fault of most people in politics and of most politicians, he said, was the temptation to believe all people think like they do and believe what they believe. Politicians, whatever their political stripes, must instead tap into what people actually want and tailor their message accordingly, he said, focusing on the economy, education, welfare and Europe. This is the approach CfL has taken since its inception in seeking to influence Conservative policy.
Questions were also taken from the floor and Dan was very generous with his time despite having another engagement following his speech. The crowd itself was made up of Consevratives, non-aligned libertarians and even a couple of Lib Dems and Ukippers, reflecting CfL’s independent nature.
My own, short, speech introduced the work of CfL and our desire to create a broad church of libertarians, liberals and conservatives seeking to effect more libertarian, free market and socially liberal policies through the Conservative party.
In many ways myself and co-founder Joe Markham could not be more different. Joe is a staunch republican, I am a Whig monarchist; Joe wants an elected Senate, I support the hereditary element of the House of Lords; Joe is an atheist, I’m sort of a Catholic; I believe civilisation is best expressed in the beauty and magnificence of its buildings, Joe believes primarily in utility.
But we are united in our desire to see a United Kingdom with fewer and lower taxes, lower state spending and less borrowing, further privatisation and more competition in all markets and the gradual repeal of laws that prevent people from living their lives as they choose without preventing anyone else from doing the same.
That is what makes us Conservatives for Liberty and, if you believe in these simple principles, I implore you to join us. Cherish freedom!
For more photos of the event, see the gallery on our Flickr page.