Friday, 19 July 2019

On the Copernicus Moment

This is the last of a set of seven essays, in which I have been trying to understand and to diagnose the political, economic and ethical ills of our times. Today, I’ll try to pull together all the strands I have explored, and to sum up where we are today. And I’ll seek to “turn the corner” towards the not so small matter of how to cure these ills.

I’ll briefly summarize what I found. In the first essay, I looked at the forces which bind human beings together into communities. First, species – that is, shared humanity. Next, kinship or family; teamwork, trade and good leadership; and a shared belief system. Next, proximity or patriotism; a love for the land and the people of a particular area. Then, shared culture, including a set of values and customs. And last, for most people the Enlightenment, which freed our minds from shackles religious and political. I examined a tenth possible binding force, which I called nation; but I could not be sure that it truly was a binding force.

In the second essay, I looked at the mental disorder of psychopathy, and its relation to current political systems. I found that these systems, and in particular democracy, not only attract psychopaths, but also favour them for positions of power. Resulting in the giant collective insanity that is politics today.

In the third, I uncovered a deep rhythm of history; of the rise of institutions, of their corruption and decay, of the battles between those who favour new ways and those that hold on to the old. And of the tipping points, the times laden with uncertainties and contradictions, in which everything seems to be falling apart, and yet at the same time new possibilities are unfolding.

In the fourth essay, I looked at the political state: “Institutionalized violence and dishonesty” is how I had characterized it earlier. I saw that the state, along with the idea of nation with which it is so often identified, had ceased to bind people together – if, indeed, it ever had done so. I saw that the state is an out of date, failed system. And that, despite this, the political classes are trying to make a world-wide Leviathan, a super-state from which there can be no escape for anyone. I concluded, therefore, that the political state has got to go.

In the fifth essay, I listed many of the troubles of our times, and I came to the conclusion that a tipping point is approaching. Despite all their ruses and ploys, the political classes are losing credibility and support among the people. And in the sixth, I identified two opposing “armies.” One, convivial people, who in the main treat others peacefully, tolerantly, honestly and justly, and respect their rights. And the other, the politicals, that promote, support, enforce or take profit from damaging, unjust or rights-violating policies of political governments. I went so far as to compare this divide to the long-ago species split between homo sapiens and Neanderthals.


Such claims, of course, require evidence. That’s where my first two series of essays come in. The first twelve essays were about the politics, ethics, science and philosophy of our times. The second group of seven were about economic matters.

In those earlier essays, I said much about the modern political state. I told of its 16th-century origin and 17th-century heyday, and of the moral privileges and immunities it grants itself. I told of the evil political ideologies, that the state allows the powerful and unscrupulous to impose, by force or threat of force, on everyone. I told of the fig-leaf called “democracy,” and of how it divides people from each other. I told of its inevitable decay into squabbling factions, then into a war of the powerful against the people.

I told of the economic woes, which we all suffer at the hands of a rapacious political class and their hangers-on. I told of the cronyism and corporatism, through which vested interests suck up to the state, and make themselves rich at the expense of the ordinary people. I noted how life has become more and more difficult for working people. I told of how bad laws have taken away access to the market, and so the earning power, of many productive people, including myself.

I told of the lies and dishonesties, which the political class routinely use in their attempts to “justify” their harmful policies. I told of the resulting bad policies, such as making energy unnecessarily expensive, and seeking to force us out of our cars. I told about the corruption of science, which governments have actively encouraged. I told of their perversion and even inversion of the precautionary principle. And I told of the desire of the political classes, at the behest of green fundamentalists, to destroy the industrial civilization which has given us so much over the last two centuries.

God, Government and Gaia

For thousands of years, human minds have been shackled by two sets of received ideas: God and Government. Both have been constantly used, by the rich and powerful, to hold people down and make them acquiesce to being ruled over. Recently, they have added a third, which I call Gaia; in essence, the idea that we should not leave any permanent mark or “footprint” on our planet.

Now, I don’t mean at all that worshipping a god is a bad thing, if you’re that way inclined; as long as it’s your god, not someone else’s. Nor that all government is necessarily bad – even though, today, most of them are bad to downright awful. Nor that taking care of our planet is a bad thing to do. What I mean, when I talk of God and Government with capital Gs (not to mention Gaia), are the top-down ideas, that the politically rich seek to foist on us. They want to impose on us a particular religious view, a particular political agenda, or a particular vision of how our planet should be. They want to enforce their views on us from the top down. Such desires are the essence of what, in the last essay of my first series, I called “Downerism.”

The Copernicus Moment

Over the last century or so, organized religion has lost its grip on the minds of large numbers of people in many parts of the planet, particularly in Europe. Archbishops and popes are now seen by many, not as great spiritual leaders, but as crazed idiots. Meanwhile, governments – even “democratic” ones – have become steadily greedier, more dishonest and more repressive. And the Gaia-cult of environmentalism has grown in politics and the media to such an extent, that it’s become hard to close our ears to its lies, its hype and its screams of “catastrophe!”

But it’s clear, to those who look, that there is today a rising tide of resentment against politics. As yet, most people direct their anger at specific political parties, or even individual politicians. But some, like me, have come to resent and to condemn the political class as a whole, their cronies, and the system that lets them do – and get away with – what they do. We are coming to see that it is not just specific parties, policies or ideologies that have failed, but politics as a whole. We are the people, who have experienced what I call the Copernicus moment.

In the early 16th century, Nicolaus Copernicus studied astronomy. The then prevalent view was that the Earth was stationary, and that the Sun and the planets revolved around it in more or less complex ways. But Copernicus formed in his mind a different picture. If the Sun was stationary, and the Earth and the other planets revolved around it, that would explain the observations better. It was simpler and more elegant than the old view. And, as we now know, closer to the truth.

With one small flip of the mind, one small change of perspective, Copernicus had changed the human conception of the Universe. That mind-flip I call the Copernicus moment. It was a revolution. But, like all real revolutions, it was quiet and peaceful. It sidled up to him, perhaps while he was thinking about something else; then, all of a sudden, it happened. And the human world was never the same again.

There is today, I think, a new kind of Copernicus moment, spreading – slowly, as yet – among us human beings. This mind-flip has as its subject matter, not astronomy, but politics. After you go through this new Copernicus moment, it is no longer God or Government – or even Gaia! – that has pride of place at the centre of the political Universe. Instead, it is the human being; the individual human being. From that moment, you see people as individuals. You judge each of them as an individual. And, having made that shift of perspective, you can never go back.

I myself went through this Copernicus moment almost two decades ago, soon after the events of 11th September 2001. I was very well equipped to be an early adopter of the new view. Not only had I been an only child, and so inclined to individualism in the first place. But I had also been trained in mathematics and science, making my thinking processes bottom-up rather than top-down. And back in 1988 I had encountered, for the first time, some of the philosophical ideas of individual liberty, and some of the people who promoted them. Moreover, I had lost all confidence in the political system and in democracy; I had not voted for any political party since 1987. What was my response to that moment? Instead of voting, I started writing. It has been a long, hard road to get here from there; but I still think I’m on the right track.

I’ll try to summarize the new view, as I now perceive it. Much of what I say here will be quoted or paraphrased from my earlier essays.

Our nature

We are human beings. We are individuals. We have free will. We are moral agents. It is in our nature to be sociable, to behave convivially, and to “live and let live.” It is in our nature to form communities and societies, to build civilization, and to be creative. And we are naturally good, even though some among us fail to develop that part of our nature.

We use language, we can think abstractly, we can record our ideas for posterity. It is in our nature to take control of, and to leave our mark on, our surroundings. We can co-operate, and do business and trade. And we do best in an environment of free and honest competition.

Morally, we are all equal. What is right for one to do, is right for another to do under similar circumstances, and vice versa. Politically too, we are all equal; we are not George Orwell’s pigs. None of us has any innate right to rule over others. None of us deserves to be subjected to others. And each of us has rights – so called “human rights.” Importantly, they include property rights – because property is life. And we earn these rights by respecting the equal rights of others, and by accepting responsibility for the effects of our voluntary actions on others.

As to our relationship with the Earth, the planet is our home and our garden. It is in our nature to beautify our home; to make it warm, comfortable and convenient for us; to cultivate and tend our garden; and to strive to make our planet a better place for convivial human beings. It is our right to use the planet’s resources, as long as we use them wisely. It is in our nature to make our Earth a free place, a peaceful place, a just place, a beautiful place, a place we can be proud of. We know that things like clean air and wildlife are important; but the environment for convivial human beings is far more important. And we should never hold back human progress, or limit human freedom, for the sake of risks or alleged harms that are minor or unproven.

Binding forces

Even for those who have been through the Copernicus moment, the forces, which have bound human beings into communities for thousands of years, continue to operate. We are still bound by humanity and kinship, and by teamwork, trade and leadership. We have a new belief system; that is, that we focus on the individual human being as the centre of the political Universe. This belief system also inclines us towards tolerance of difference, for example in race or culture. Each of us may, or may not, also follow a religion or a secular philosophy; but none of us will try to force our particular religion or philosophy on to others.

We continue to feel proximity, a love for the land and people of our particular part of the world. We continue to share traits of culture, and customs and values, with people around us; though we are open to accepting ideas from other cultures, when they make sense to us as individuals. And we identify strongly with the values of the Enlightenment, of which respect for the individual is one of the most important.

But increasingly, we reject the idea (which I earlier called nation) that people are bound together by membership of a political state. We come to reject the state, its politicians and its politics, and those that benefit by hanging on to its coat-tails. We also come to reject the super-state projects, such as the European Union and the United Nations. Instead, we feel a new binding force, which I’ll call conviviality; the force which binds together convivial people. That is, those who in the main treat others peacefully, tolerantly, honestly and justly, and respect their rights.

Conviviality is not a matter of race, or received religion, or nationality, or place of origin, or of any other characteristic outside the individual’s control. Instead, it is a matter of conduct, and can be judged by observing individuals’ conduct. Thus, conviviality needs no secret Freemasons’ handshakes or the like. And when dealing with new people, convivials will tend to take a simple attitude of “trust, but verify.”

Convivial communities and convivial governance

A democracy relies on the assumption that the people in its territory form a society. That is, that they have a “general will,” and a shared set of desires as to the direction in which that society should go. And, therefore, they can and should be governed in that direction. This leads to the collectivist stupidities, which plague us all so much today. For example, political ideologies, the idea of “gross national product,” or collective targets or limits on pollution. Or the huge, unbridgeable gap between Brexiteers and Remainers in the UK, or Trump supporters and Trump haters in the USA.

But convivial people, since they respect the individual wills of others of their kind, cannot and do not have any such general will. The convivial people in a geographical area – for example, in the territory, or in a sub-territory, of a state – do not form a society. Instead, they are a community, bound together by conviviality, as well as by the other forces like culture and proximity.

For those in such a convivial community, the primary purpose of governance must be to defend themselves and their rights and freedoms against internal criminals or external attackers. For a community of convivial people has a collective right to defend itself, above and beyond individuals’ rights of self-defence. But it can have no other collective agendas. Such governance as it has, must do no more than adjudicate disputes, deliver objective justice to all, defend against external attack and internal violence, and organize the maintenance of the public areas within the community. I call this convivial governance.

Looking wider, there is an opportunity to build a world-wide community of all convivial human beings. This I call the convivial community. This community will be supported by a framework, which allows convivial people to live together in maximum freedom. For this framework I use either Frank van Dun’s name, convivial order, or Jason Alexander’s Civilization. It will be a de-centralized network of convivial governances, which in time will inevitably expand world-wide.

The convivial army

Since the Copernicus moment, my thinking has evolved in many different areas. But when I meet others of a similar mind-set, they seem to be moving along much the same lines. This is, I think, a symptom of becoming part of what in my last essay I dubbed “the convivial army.”

As you move in this direction, you experience, first, a strong disquiet at what is going on. Then you become angry about it; then, you feel a need to take action, and to seek out others of similar views. You feel a sense of separation from mainstream politics, and from those that take part in it. You see that their system is broken, and there’s no point trying to repair it. You come to see those, that promote, support or profit from the current system, as the criminals and psychopaths that they are. You start to feel contempt and loathing for them; and you come to understand that they are your enemies.

You resolve, in political matters, to find out the facts before you make a judgement. You compare and contrast the arguments on all sides. You stop believing anything government, politicians or the mainstream media say, unless you can verify it for yourself or from sources you can trust. You reject all their bullshit. You reject all forms of collective guilt, and you don’t accept any guilt for anything at all until you have examined the facts.

You come to see those that promote or support the globalist and green agenda as the terrorists they are. You see that, for no better reasons than a pack of lies and a bunch of unproven scares, they want to take a wrecking ball to our human industrial and capitalist civilization. And that they are traitors to, and deserve to be kicked out of, our civilization.

You start to ask yourself questions like: Why should honest people care about the dishonest? Why should productive people care about the lazy? Why should peaceful people care about the aggressive or the warlike? Why should sane people care about those that have let themselves be gripped by a collective political madness? And, why should the victims of bad policies feel any fellowship at all for those that have done and are doing these things to them?

You want to get back at your enemies for what they have done to you. You see that they have no concern at all for you, or for any other human individual. You see them as the bullies they are. You see that their conduct has been cowardly; morally equivalent to punching you hard on the nose, then running away. You want to see them brought to justice, and made to compensate you and the other good people they have harmed – several times over. The politicals must pay for their crimes! And you don’t care a damn how much the punishment hurts them. Even if not yourself religious, you may feel the aptness of these words of the prophet Obadiah: “As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.”

Moreover, you come to feel common cause with others who have suffered through bad politics. With those who have been saddled with swingeing and unnecessary interest burdens on student loans, for example. With the young people who, through no fault of their own, are unable to earn enough to get their careers off the ground, and to start to build up assets and equity. With the old people who can’t afford to heat their homes, because of policies that make energy unnecessarily expensive. With those in danger of losing their mobility because of anti-car policies.

You acquire a new confidence in, and love for, honest business and industry; and a loathing for those that would curtail or extinguish it. You think: Save Our Civilization! You resolve to do what you can to help the convivial army of people, who are seeking to save and to renew the rightful human way of life, the “economic means” of honest work and trade. And to re-Enlighten those whose minds have been scarred by the foul poisons, with which the politicals and their hangers-on have been blighting our environment for so long.

Turning Our World the Right Way Up

When, in time, I come to assemble these essays into some kind of coherent whole, I plan for the above to be the title of the collection. For the Copernicus moment is the one, which sets in motion the efforts of convivial people to turn our world the right way up. To dismantle the current, failed political systems, and to replace them by an order which works for good people.

In such a system, order will be maintained by convivial governance. Which, to mis-quote Abraham Lincoln, is governance of convivial persons, by convivial persons, for convivial persons. It will be like an umpire, not the vampire that political government is today. And like convivial people as individuals, it will strive to be peaceful, tolerant of difference, just, honest and respectful of rights.

Convivial governance will also be studied, meticulous, and objective in its judgements. It will require criminals and politicals to compensate their victims, and will punish them as they deserve. And it must keep to the very highest standards of integrity, transparency and accountability.

How might such a system work in practice? And how do we get from here to there? It is to these weighty questions that, in the coming weeks and months, I plan to turn my attention.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Some thoughts on policies for the Brexit Party

I attended the Brexit Party rally at the NEC on 30th June, at which Richard Tice invited those of us interested to submit ideas for policies, which might be worth considering for inclusion in the party’s manifesto for the next general election. This is my response to that invitation.

My background

A brief note about myself. My degree, 45 years ago, was in mathematics from Cambridge. I earn my bread as a software consultant; I have been independent for 26 years now. I am a victim of New Labour’s bad tax law called IR35, which the Tories have chosen to enforce more and more rigorously, and which has consequently all but taken away my access to the market, greatly reduced my income, and now threatens me with poverty in my old age. If there is a silver lining to that, it is that I have had far more time to study and to write than most people who are not employed as academics. So, over the years, I have made myself into an unlicensed political philosopher. I have also acquired a measure of expertise in environmental matters.

My political views

Politically, I’m an individualist libertarian. I want only the absolute minimum of government that is necessary to deliver peace and objective, individual justice. I see the proper function of government as like a referee in a football match; keeping the game of life moving, while stopping the unscrupulous from harming innocents or unjustly enriching themselves, and otherwise staying out of the way. I consider governments today to be far too large, far too wide in scope, far too centralized and far too active. And I’m no fan of democracy as it exists today. I consider it to be merely a bag on the side of the political state, to make people think they have a voice (we don’t, of course – as proved by the Brexit fiasco), and to lend an air of legitimacy to governments that don’t deserve it.

I despise socialism, Toryism, deep green environmentalism and all ideologies that seek to subordinate human beings to higher Causes like God, Government or Gaia. And I think of today’s mainstream political parties as criminal gangs of arrogant, callous, devious, dishonest psychopaths.

I am passionate about Brexit – I regard it as the first step back from the cliff edge. It must, of course, be unconditional – no continuing commitments to the EU. None! But, despite my strong view on Brexit, I’m not a nationalist. Indeed, I regard the current political order of “Westphalian” nation states, that was devised way back in the 16th century and implemented since the 17th, as well past its last use by date.

My view of the Brexit Party

I wrote a review of the June 30th rally, which you can find here: [1]. To sum up: I went there to find out what the Brexit Party was all about. Can it actually overturn the existing system and the establishment that system supports, and give ordinary people a proper voice? On the evidence of one day, my answer was: “I don’t know yet.” But I’m happy to add what little kindling I can provide to the fires the Brexit party is now stoking.

Economic policies

A number of economic policies were discussed at the rally. I can agree with cancelling HS2, and zero EU divorce payment. As to foreign aid, the huge amounts (0.7% of GDP, if I recall) that have been devoted to this hornswoggle are a hang-over from a United Nations commission of the early 1980s, headed by one Willy Brandt. So, I was disappointed that the proposal was only to reduce it, not to scrap it entirely. And the idea of cancelling interest on student loans seems to me to be a good one.

Any relaxation of red tape and onerous taxation on small businesses (whether partnerships, sole traders or companies) is most welcome. I myself would, of course, be more than pleased if IR35 was repealed. Even if that isn’t feasible, the thought struck me that to exempt people over 65 from IR35 might be a way to make it easier for skilled older people to find their way back into the work-place, particularly on a part-time or temporary basis. Such a move might both encourage flexibility in the skilled labour force, and help to counteract the problem of long-term decline in the real value of non-index-linked pensions.

One further thought, which might bring benefits (or even votes): a commitment to retain cash for the foreseeable future. (The key issue here, in my view, is one of privacy).


Environmental policy is a particular bĂȘte noire of mine. I am utterly opposed to the green agenda, and well aware of the shakiness of its scientific basis. Two years ago, I wrote a paper on the 1987 United Nations report that laid the foundations for the green juggernaut, and how the problems it raised had been dealt with. This paper was published at [2], the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change. It will be an interesting read, I hope, even for those who are familiar with the subject; and an eye-opener for those who are not.

On the global warming front, what I would like to see in the Brexit party manifesto is a commitment to a thorough, independent, unbiased audit of all aspects of the matter. Something like what Donald Trump has been trying (but has, apparently, failed) to do with his “Presidential Committee on Climate Security,” but wider in scope, and probably using an international team. It should cover, not just the history and the science, but also (at least): The split between human and non-human causes of warming, error bars and levels of uncertainty, costs versus benefits, interpretation and use of the precautionary principle, the IPCC processes, media coverage (including the BBC), and the UK government’s role in the whole thing, including Climategate and the inquiries which followed it. I have managed to put together enough of the backstory to know that there are many, many skeletons in that particular closet, and many of those skeletons are UK politicians, bureaucrats or scientists. You can find that backstory in Part 2 of my article at [3].

Which brings me to cars. The article gives the backstory to the “war on cars” being waged against us by Sadiq Khan and other greedy politicians. Here, also, there are plenty of skeletons to be found. Such as: moving the goalposts, and making costly commitments on our behalf without rigorous justification. An independent and objective audit of this matter, too, could expose a lot of foul play by politicians and their minions over several decades. Such a proposal might be a vote-winner as well, attracting those who need to drive in London, but won’t be able to afford to from 2021 unless there’s a big change in direction.

Regarding pollution in general, for me the rational approach must be “polluter pays,” in which polluters are required to compensate those affected by their pollution, according to accurate estimates of the social cost of that pollution.

As to energy policy, I’ve not looked at it in enough detail to say “this is what I think you should do.” But I’d suggest that coal fired plants (with scrubbers for the bad stuff) should continue as long as they are cost-effective. Fracking should be encouraged. And nuclear power should be an increasing part of the mix. Solar power should be used primarily for off-grid applications, and wind power – both onshore and offshore – should be nixed.

All this leads to the United Nations. The globalist and green agenda has been driven by the UN for 50 years now; and since the 2016 “national emissions directive,” the EU has been its policeman around these parts. In my view, Brexit is only the first step; UNexit must follow. In the globalist agenda, the UN is the organ-grinder, while the EU is only the monkey. The EU is also, of course, the prototype for George Orwell’s Eurasia.

Immigration and population

Unlike many Brexit Party supporters, immigration isn’t one of my hot-button issues. I take the view that, if they’re good people, they should be allowed to come and live here; and if they aren’t, they shouldn’t. Myself, I would be happy with a points-based immigration system that has no fixed quotas, and doesn’t discriminate either for or against Europeans.

My concern is more with population increase in general, and the attempts to cram more and more people into places where the infrastructure is already creaking. In the borough in which I live (Waverley) the plan seems to be to increase the population by something like 22 per cent over 20 years. Even leaving aside that government shouldn’t be planning our lives in detail like that, this seems rather high. I don’t have specific policy ideas to offer here, but I do think that a big increase in transparency would be a benefit to all.

Other issues

I am interested to know how the Brexit Party plans to address civil liberties issues such as the “snoopers’ charter,” Cameron’s secret courts, and low confidence in the police.

At the rally, Nigel Farage described the party candidates as “people with principle,” who will put “country before career.” This would, indeed, be a pleasant change from the existing system. But will the Brexit party actually be able to deliver the honesty and integrity, which is so sadly lacking in all of mainstream politics today? Particularly given the pressures it will be under from a hostile establishment media, that has little or no concern for truth or ethics? Having never been a member of a political party before, I have no personal experience to compare the Brexit party with. But I would expect that it will require very much stronger quality control systems than any of the old-style parties have ever had.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my suggestions, and I look forward to working with your candidate in my area. He or she is going to have his or her work cut out, as we’re up against a certain Jeremy Hunt.




Thursday, 4 July 2019

A July 4th Message to my American Friends

I receive the Future of Freedom Foundation’s daily message, and today it said:

Yesterday, the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps never was nor will be decided among men. A resolution passed without one dissenting colony, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States. – John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams [July 3, 1776]

And then I looked at the preamble of your US Constitution (1788):

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, …

And I stopped right there. How did “free and independent States,” in just 12 years, turn into “a more perfect Union?” Is that not exactly the same ploy that the EU has used to try to force people in Europe into “an ever-closer Union?” When, back in 2004, I looked at the then proposed “European constitution” (which became the Lisbon Treaty), what I wrote about its very first sentence was:

"Reflecting the will of the citizens and states of Europe to build a common future." Is this not pre-judging the question? We have not been asked.

My American friends, this July 4th, amid the fireworks and the military parades, I think you need to ask yourselves some questions. Is what you have today what your Founding Fathers intended? If no, what went wrong? Who did it? (Alexander Hamilton, I’d guess). How do you get yourselves out of the resulting mess? And how can you prevent such a thing recurring in the future?

While we your friends across the pond are struggling for Brexit, I think you should turn your minds to your own situation. Some of the needed monikers are obvious – Massexit, Calexit (good riddance! some will say) and Nebrexit, for example. Others are more obscure.

I once wrote a (very poor) article, which nevertheless had a great title. “I love Americans, but I hate America.” What I hate about America is its warfare state, and its disesteem for anyone who steps out of line in any way. But many years ago, I lived in Boston for four months and in suburban Chicago for a year. In between the two, I bicycled coast-to-coast, entering the US in Maine and finishing in California. Almost everyone I met, of all races, was good and kind to me. And since then, I have met, and learned much from, many fine human beings, who also happened to be Americans.

I didn’t plan to say anything about Donald Trump in this missive. But I will. If I had to rate Trump as the good, the bad or the ugly, I’d pick ugly. He’s done good things, and bad things. At least, he’s an order of magnitude less evil than the alternative would have been.

So, I’ll say again: I love Americans, but I hate America.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

An Afternoon with the Brexit Party

On 30th June 2019, I attended a “rally” organized by the UK’s Brexit party in the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. At age 66, it was my first ever party political event, although I had been to an anti-EU meeting in London back in 2005. There were 5,500 people there, so I was told. There would only have been 5,499 without me!

Now, I am uncompromisingly pro-Brexit. Indeed, I see leaving the EU as the first step back from a cliff edge; the sine qua non for any possibility of change for the better in the politics of the islands called Britain. But I seek far more than just Brexit. I am, as those who know me will be aware, opposed to politics. All the dishonest, destructive politics that we suffer today.

Before the Brexit referendum three years before, I had not voted in 29 years. One of my main reasons for voting Leave was that, way back in the 1970s, the European project had been mis-sold to the people of the UK. Other reasons were to put an end to the ceaseless stream of pointless or actively destructive directives from the EU, and a desire not to be there when the EU’s ticking economic time-bomb goes off. Three years later, I am also angry that, in a supposed democracy, with the will of the people being so clearly expressed in a referendum, the political class nevertheless chose to renege on their promises, and to obstruct that will.

I find all the mainstream political parties – Tories, Labour, “slob dims” (as I call them) and greenies – to be criminal gangs. When I heard the Brexit party was gaining support – enough to get at least some “representation” in parliament, unlike their predecessors UKIP – I joined the party, and went to the rally to try to find out what they were about.

Can these guys and gals, I thought, really overturn the current system, and give ordinary people a proper say, at last, in how the UK is run? Or might they even, possibly, become in time able to do more; to unhinge the current system, and replace it by something that works for good people, not for politicized slime?

Before I went, two things had already impressed me about the Brexit Party. One, they keep you informed. I was pleased to receive an e-mail saying that, if I wanted to be considered to be a Brexit Party candidate in the next general election, I should fill out their on-line form. I didn’t do it, because I’m not a natural front man. But I did appreciate the invitation, a lot.

The other thing I liked was that they managed to put together a group of MEP candidates with a hugely diverse range of views. How did Nigel Farage manage to get Claire Fox, a former “Revolutionary Communist,” and Ann Widdecombe, a social conservative with the cachet of having voted against the Climate Change Bill, to stand on the same platform? (My answer to that shows me up as the radical individualist I am: They both care about people more than about politics).

So, to that afternoon in Birmingham. The hall was cavernous, and the occasion loud and full of razzmatazz, Superbowl style. Annunziata Rees-Mogg began the cheerleading, though I saw no pom-poms. “We’re here to fight the establishment and wake up politicians that have ignored us for so long.” “These candidates are people. Not the same old same old.” “This is where we start the fight. Real people start to shape the future.” Stirring words, indeed. But can the Brexit Party accomplish the deeds necessary to back them up?

Richard Tice, party chairman, followed up with: “This is a proper Party.” He told us of the policy team he had set up, and gave us their e-mail address. He said: “Get people moving, businesses moving.” He outlined a claimed £200 billion in government savings: cancel HS2, no “divorce” payment to the EU, cut “foreign aid” by at least half. All this to be used to develop “the regions.” And he proposed to cancel interest on student loans. That’s an idea I need to get my head fully around, but at first sight it looks positive.

The Brexit Party, it seems, has decided that it can cede London to the mainstream parties, and adopt policies that favour those outside London at the expense of Londoners. My first thought is, that’s good tactics, given that few people these days have much time for City slickers or bail-out bankers. Whether it’s good strategy, though, is another question. And whether it’s democratic (whatever that means) is a deeper question yet.

Next up was Tim Martin, founder of Wetherspoons. Now, I’m a Wetherspoon fan, eating (and drinking!) once or twice a week at my local, the Jack Phillips in Godalming. Tim has done a grand job to build his chain, and to maintain such high standards of quality for the price. And it’s great to see businessmen, who create wealth, in a position to influence and even direct the policies of government, which today is such a huge destroyer of wealth.

Tim said one very memorable thing: “I have no problem with European people; they are friends and allies. The problem is the EU.” Proost, mon ami! And he, rightly, cast scorn on the idea that there needs to be a “deal” to leave the EU. “Lots of little deals,” he said. And: “Everything you can buy from the EU, you can buy from the rest of the world.”

Yet, I disagree with Tim about what I consider to be his – and the Brexit party’s – “rose-tinted spectacles” view of democracy. I’ve written about this elsewhere, but in my view the problem with democracy is that it assumes that the people who live in a particular country have some kind of “general will” – as postulated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. When you get a binary, divisive issue like Brexit or not Brexit, democracy fails. Whichever way the decision goes, a lot of people will be very angry. Of course, in this case there’s an easy solution. Britain leaves the EU, free movement is maintained for at least a couple of years, and Leavers say to Remainers: “If you want to live in the EU, emigrate to it.” (I told you I’m a radical!)

Then Richard Tice took over again, branding Tory leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt “the blond and the bland.” Of Johnson, I have no personal experience. But I am unlucky enough to have Hunt as “my” MP, and my contacts with him have been far less than positive. “Insipid” would have been a better word than bland, I think.

Then Richard gave us the results of the five-issue poll, which the Brexit Party had sent out to its members a few days before. On that evidence, I found myself on the “moderate” side of the party. For example, I was among the 47% who wanted to reform the House of Lords, as opposed to the 40% who wanted to abolish it altogether.

And then, the most important moment of the whole show. (No, not the air-raid sirens!) Richard Tice introduced his party leader, and I finally learned how to pronounce “Farage.” Did it rhyme with “carriage?” No. With “garage?” No. It rhymes with – wait for it – “in charge.” “Put Farage in charge” is a half decent slogan, no?

Nigel Farage’s speech, I’m sure, is available in many places on the Net, so I’ll just quote a few of the things he said, which were most important to me. “Brexit is an opportunity to make a fresh start.” Yup. “Government doesn’t understand small businesses.” Having had my career ruined by New Labour’s bad tax law called IR35, initially opposed by but eventually more and more heavily enforced by the Tories, I concur heartily. “Genuine apprenticeships” for young people. Yup. “Sensible transport schemes so the country can get to work.” Yup. And back from work in the evening, too.

Here, I was disappointed that Nigel didn’t say more. In rural and many suburban areas, the car is the only viable means of getting around, especially for older people. Yet the political class have been conducting a witch-hunt against car drivers for more than 25 years. With more than 30 million cars registered in the UK, drivers are a huge constituency. Given that the witch-hunt is being conducted using emissions regulations originating from the United Nations, agreed to by politicians like Blair and Cameron that ought to have known better, and enforced by the EU, I think the Brexit party could maybe look towards drivers as a potential source of massive support. Even, perhaps, in outer London.

Nigel Farage ended with: “The old politics cannot be fixed. We need fundamental reforms. The Brexit Party will be the most radical force in British politics in over a century.” Amen to that – as and when it happens.

I stood near the hall exit for a while, people-watching. There was a fairly even gender balance among the audience. Not many were younger than 30, but ages from 30 to 70 were quite evenly mixed. There were a few black people, but I saw almost no Asians; unexpected, considering we were in Birmingham. (Though the gentleman seated on my left, as it happened, was originally from India).

Then, the day’s big disappointment. There’s a Wetherspoon right outside the Atrium exits, and those of us of a convivial disposition wanted to meet some new friends, and to drink a toast to Tim Martin at the same time. But no. We were told at 5:35pm that it would open at 6, so I walked to my hotel, dropped off the Brexit merchandise, and came back. Only to find the door locked, and the place taken over by a VIP party. (Presumably, Brexit VIPs). That was a pity. To build a movement on the scale the Brexit party requires, in my view, needs people new to the movement to be able to relax and socialize with each other after the formal events. The Labour party, after all, was founded on working men’s clubs. I do hope this problem will be rectified before the regional conferences in September.

I did, however, later in the evening meet a fellow Brexiteer and his wife (and dog) in the Little Owl pub, half an hour or so’s walk from the NEC. He was a plumber from Dartford, and a big fan of Nigel Farage personally. We did find some disagreements – my stance on migration is more liberal than his, for example – but we also found a lot in common, and parted friends. I also had some people in the hotel, who had come to the NEC for another event, say to me: “We wish we had gone to the Brexit Party rally!”

So, back to my question “Can the Brexit Party overturn the current system?” I didn’t, on the evidence of one day, find a clear answer either way; but my general impression was positive rather than negative. I’ll certainly keep in contact with them, and do what I can to help. I have also some amateur expertise in certain policy areas, notably “climate change” and pollution from cars. So, I’ll be talking to their policy people about those things. But I’m not letting my hopes get too high just yet.