So I went to the December Midlands Libertarian Drinks (#ThirdWednesday) on Wednesday, and it was a rollicking success. So many people turned up that it was somewhat manic, but in a good way. The atmosphere was jolly, partly because of the festive season, and partly because everyone was very happy that Britain wasn’t going to become Venezuela just yet.
James Delingpole was there, mostly having his ear chewed off by various people, so I didn’t bother him too much, but got a few chats with him. Dick Delingpole, as nominal host, made sure he circulated. People from last time came again, and loads of new people also turned up. We had writers, wannabe MPs, army people, a BBC producer who has to stay under the radar, Conservative activists, theatrical types, a bunch of Libertarian party members, and whole load of ordinary working people who were just glad to find somewhere where they could talk about politics without having to check who was listening. And many others. In short, a whole range of people across the social spectrum who all got on well straight away and had a bloody good time. Some groups were talking earnestly about politics, some groups were just shooting the breeze about whatever they felt like, there’s no set conversation.
If you can’t make it to Worcester, I suggest you start your own #ThirdWednesday in a pub near you, or wait for someone else to do so (there’ll be a website set up soon with details). Wetherspoons are good places to use, because they’re so cheap, and are usually big enough for you to get your own area.
You don’t have to be a card-carrying libertarian, or even a libertarian at all. Or even conservative. You may even be an old Labourite. All you really need is to be someone who’s had it up to here with PC, identity politics, and wokeness. And the EU. And being called a Nazi. #ThirdWednesday is a place for people to come in, get a drink, and be able to talk in the common-sense way that they could twenty years ago. Where you can say you like Trump without losing your job. Where you can say that men are not women. That mass immigration is not a great idea. That you don’t have to have a degree to be eligible to vote.
That doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything I’ve just said (some Libertarians are relaxed about mass immigration, for example), but you are expected to have to argue for your view, and respect the fact that others are allowed to disagree with you, and not just declare that the debate is shut down and there will be a complaint with your HR department on Monday.
The sad fact is that, despite the Conservatives’ recent big win in the UK, despite Trump being US President, the culture war is still raging furiously, and the free speech-suppressing left is still on top. Boris might be PM, but a UK employment judge has just declared that calling a man a man is a belief “not worthy of respect in a democratic society”. You still have to be careful of what you say, and to whom. So #ThirdWednesday is like a ‘Speakeasy’, where you will be among friends and don’t have wonder about the Owen Jones and Ash Sarker’s in your midst writing down what you say.