And that is about how long I had to get just a little bit of classical liberal thinking out into the more mainstream airways last night.
Though, actually, rather less in view of the fact that I was sharing a platform on the ‘Richard Littlejohn Show’ with two other protagonists. One was a chap named Jay Lee who is an activist in the British National Party (and who has been expelled by his Trade Union because of it) and the other was Kevin McGuire a journalist with the Guardian.
I was placed in the middle in the ‘Mr.Reasonable’ seat which, as it turned out, was not ill-judged. Mr.Lee insisted that the Union had no right to expel him just because of his political views and Mr.McGuire insisted that the Union had an obligation to expel him because of his political views. Applying the voluntarist principle I maintained that Mr.Lee was perfectly entitled to his views, regardless of how stupid and vile they may be, but that the Union, as a voluntary organisation, were free to make any rules about membership that they damn well please and it was nobody else’s business.
Perry, who was watching from home, tells me that the BNP guy actually made a pretty decent fist out of casting himself as the persecuted victim (with just the right degree of indignant self-pity) and that Kevin McGuire came across as an intolerant ranter. I like to think my libertarian message got across as well but it is always so difficult to know for sure amidst the soundbitten and somewhat chaotic nature of TV debates. I think it fair to say that I hit the right chord with Richard Littlejohn but then, as he quietly admitted to me afterwards, he is rather sympathetic to our ideas. It certainly helped that he clearly wanted my voice to be heard. I think we have an ally out there.
So that was that. No resolution of course but these things are seldom solvable and I was content that, aside from nearly melting in the stifling heat of the TV studio, I had managed to emerge unscathed. I was a little frustrated at being unable to get in a plug for the Samizdata so that will have to wait until next time (assuming, of course, that there is a next time).