Tuesday, 26 April 2005

United Kingdom Independence Party - are they really libertarian?

A good proportion of British libertarians claim to view UKIP as a party with libertarian principles and policies. Personally, I don't believe such a claim is entirely accurate.

Let us examine their economic policies. They complain about the overly complex taxation system in place at present, but they support an income tax (most libertarians advocate the repeal of income taxes). In short, their economic positions are far from the libertarian ideal.

Regarding health and welfare, they advocate the existence of the NHS and the benefits system. Again, this is not consistent with libertarian views on health and welfare. UKIP also believe in the retention of the state education system.

So, IMO, the view that UKIP are libertarian isn't based on any factual or empirical claim. They may be more 'free-market' (that in itself isn't being wholly libertarian) but it could be argued that since Thatcher there has been a consensus amongst major parties towards free-market policies, labour market flexibility, privatisation of state industry, etc. UKIP's economic policies in that respect aren't drastically different to Labour, the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats.