We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Image is everything, unfortunately

Robert Kilroy-Silk is a laughing stock in sophisticated circles, even in those slightly askew sophisticated circles&#8212sophisticated ellipses?&#8212Samizdatistas belong to. But should he be?

A glance at the manifesto of Veritas, the man’s own personal political party, suggests not. Not only is it produced in a deep purple colour that readers of this blog will find comfortingly familiar, but some of the views expressed there wouldn’t be so far out of place here either.

Let’s speed past the tosh about immigration, this year’s must-have fearful tic for every pol-about-town, and see what’s hidden in the exotic interior… Look! Almost immediately, in item 3, a diamond. Yes, it’s half buried behind a pile of horse-manure about “anti-social behaviour”, but there it is:

[We will] cancel Labour’s proposed Serious Organised Crime Agency

Most parties have been slavering at the prospect of “supercops”, with all the powers of the Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise, Immigration Officers and the Police, who can do anything they like, to anyone they don’t like. Ambitious Chief Constables have suddenly found out how much they approve of government policies. Hardly anyone in public life has dared object.

Then there’s the Flat Tax; a local sales tax; large, transferable allowances. The others have noticed that one, and are shuffling uneasily.

And what’s this? A political party with a whole manifesto section on civil liberties? In Britain? With our reputation?


stand for and defend freedom of speech and thought, freedom of conscience and belief

restore and protect our constitutional freedoms, like trial by jury and habeas corpus, which are being threatened

refuse to introduce Identity Cards, which won’t reduce crime, fraud, terrorism or illegal immigration, but will cost a fortune and give the state too many powers

repeal the draconian Civil Contingencies Act and the government’s Control Orders, both of which give the government unprecedented powers

refuse to introduce a new crime of ‘incitement to religious hatred’

end the nonsense of prosecuting traders for selling in pounds and ounces

free ourselves from the power of the notorious ‘E.U. Arrest Warrant’ – British citizens must never be extradited without a Court hearing

No wonder he’s a laughing stock. He’s crazy enough to think that freedom still matters, when Tony has told us that civil liberties arguments are “a bit out-dated”. He must be joking.

Perhaps not. There’s something else:

“Those who see the damage drugs are doing, from social workers to police officers, agree the current drugs laws are not working.
[We will e]stablish a Royal Commission to examine – and to report and to make its recommendations within a year – all issues relating to the sale and abuse of illegal drugs

Change the drugs laws? He’s not joking. This is political madness.

Calm down, now. There’s a lot of dull statist stuff on education, enlivened only by the voucher scheme the Tories just aren’t quite brave enough to commit to.

But after that we just have to assume Veritas just lost it. Smaller Government, diverse local government, leaving the EU, ending government-to-government foreign aid, exempting small businesses from reduced regulation. Who’s going to vote for that lot?

Well, if I weren’t personally fond of Margot and putting my vote where my money is, I’d be awfully tempted.

With due deference to the it-only-encourages-them bias of Samizdata, I submit Conservative populism is preferable to, and our only real alternative to, New Labour’s populist authoritarianism. There’s small choice in rotten apples.

But if all parties are more or less populist, then Kilroy-Silk’s peculiar populism has an unfamiliar odour. It has the strange smell of freedom.

12 comments to Image is everything, unfortunately

  • Winzeler

    Not being from your country, I didn’t think their education points in the full manifesto were all that bad (relatively speaking). Certainly they are not ideal, but their thoughts are a lot better than anything espoused by liberals and conservatives over here in the US.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    He’s obviously a lunatic.

  • I was as shocked when I saw it a couple of days back as you were evidently. However I do have one major qualm with the party; it has an orange leader.

    I don’t like the colour orange.

  • Guy Herbert

    Indeed. Mystic Meg says avoid the Netherlands, Buddhist monks and the chill cabinet in supermarkets.

    It’s so widely noted that K-S is orange that I forgot I should mention that fact for US readers (who should also note that he’s the UK equivalent of Jerry Springer, a mainstream politician, turned zoo-tv presenter, turned fringe politician).

    On this evidence (again like Springer), he’s more thoughtful and humane than his fame suggests.

  • GCooper

    Johnathan Pearce writes:

    “He’s obviously a lunatic.”

    Hmmm… I’d hesitate to be quite so categorical, but one thing’s certain: even by the standards of the average politician he is obviously a raging egomaniac.

    On that basis alone, however good his ideas, he’s damned dangerous.

  • Johnathan

    GCooper, and others, in case I am misunderstood (this seems to be happening rather a lot, I need to sort out my writing skills) I was being ironic. RKS is anything but a lunatic. He is, however, as GCooper says, a raving egomaniac. I have met him. I thought he was a bit superficial.

  • Shame none of the mainstream media actually bothered to read what he has to say instead of trying to generate a story about Islam. I guess they must be prejudiced because of his skin colour.

  • Verity

    Like everyone else who has sought to put himself forward in public life, he is an egotist. But he is a long way away from being a lunatic. I have a feeling he’s going to be on the political scene for quite a while..

  • Luniversal

    It’s hardly surprising that Kilroy can’t get along with today’s political careerists. He is a genuine working class boy who worked his way up to being a university lecturer, he had the gall to quit being an MP in a safe seat, he started a business from scratch which eventually was turning over £100m a year and has a stronger rapport with those strange, uncouth creatures– what are they called? oh yes, voters– than the Westminster troupe of political advisers, political consultants, trade union research officers, community outreach co-ordinators and other vital trades.

    All the things that these noble statesmen would like to see taken out of politics (i.e. everything the public have strong feelings about), Kilroy tries to put back in. The fellow is obviously unfit to govern our wonderful new consensual, managerial warfare/welfare state, where surveillance will be total and you’ll all feel ‘safe’.

  • Veritas did some interesting playing around with some poll results on their site, it seems.

    Truth and honesty

  • John East

    The biggest tradegy of the 2005 labour re-election festival is the treatment of Kilroy Silk.
    In keeping with all modern political debate, where personality and image are all, Mr. Orange is a figure of amusement.
    Stop laughing at him for a minute and look at what he’s saying. Radical flat tax, pro-individuality and personal freedom and responsibility feature highly in his policies. A lot of stuff the Tories may want, but dare not say for fear of frightening the children.
    A further tradegy is that these policies might have been featured under the more proven UKIP banner. Instead we have Roger Knapman still at the helm.
    Until today I was unaware of UKIP’s policy on the economy. I heard Knapman interviewed on radio today, and when questioned on UKIP’s policies he proudly announced that their economic policy had been drawn up by some eminent economics professor, and then went on to describe a policy of massive deficit spending and debt creation to promote growth. This sounded like a straight copy of the Bush/Greenspan programme which I would argue is leading to massive inflation and dollar collapse (but thats another debate). Furthermore, when the interviewer asked a couple of specific questions relating to the UKIP economic programme, Knapman demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge of the policy, answering feebly along the lines of, “You would have to speak to the professor to get answers to those questions”.
    Ah well, none of this matters any way as another four years of Tony beckons.

  • Readallaboutit

    Veritas Party

    Patrick Eston New leader of the Veritas Party
    Quote for 2005: * ” I won’t serve under anyone else”.

    Robert Kilroy- Resigned as Leader of the Veritas Party in JULY 2005, he is still a member of the Veritas Party. Robert Kilroy-Silk sits as a Indipendent MEP, many Veritas Party members question this.