Libertarian Liberties

by Anna Raccoon on April 14, 2011

A while ago, two years and three months, to be precise, I was reading through the on-line political blogs, Guido, Dale, Old Holborn, the usual suspects, and thinking ‘where are all the women’? 50% of the voting population, and yet rarer than a blue parrot in northern Brazil. The few examples that dared to flap their wings were set upon by hungry misogynistic vultures.

I devoured every scrap of information I could acquire on the various political parties, and discovered that Guido claimed to be something called a ‘Libertarian’. Now branching out into research on Libertarian beliefs, I thought I had found a home for myself. They seemed to accord with my Quaker principles of personal responsibility, a duty to help other people whenever you can, and a commensurate belief that there was no need for a vast government apparatus to dictate where and when we gave our fellow citizens a helping hand.

Thinking I might set up a female friendly blog along these lines, I e-mailed Old Holborn and outlined my plans; He replied inviting me to contribute to his new blog. I accepted the offer. Life with Old Holborn is never boring; he has an ego the size of Luxembourg, but matched by a heart the size of Belgium. I learnt a great deal from him, and whilst not always trusting his judgement, I did value his advice.

I joined the Libertarian Party. £15 and I got a very nice key ring. I didn’t get an invitation to the Libertarian Party forum, didn’t know there was one, or a members blog. The inner sanctum was reserved for the gentlemen it seems.

I was pleased to receive an e-mail from Henry North-London, a psychiatrist and Doctor, the parliamentary candidate for the Libertarian Party for Wood Green, and a frequent commentator on my posts. Several e-mails followed, always with the same entreaty to phone him. Eventually I did.

It is a long story but to summarise; Henry was leaving England, taking up a post with a French hospital, was aware that I had a cottage to rent, and would be pleased to fly to Bergerac if I would be kind enough to meet him.

My husband and I hadn’t got out of the airport car park with ‘Henry’ before we realised that he was patently unwell. ‘Henry’ gave every indication of being as mad as a box of frogs. I do not condemn him for suffering from mental illness; however, we had volunteered to put him in our guest room for the night. Two hours of listening to someone hold three different conversations at once whilst binge eating exhausted us.

A very early night for all was the only solution. We ‘parked’ the manic Henry one end of the house, and collapsed into our own room.

‘Henry’, or Dr Rohen Kapur, to give him his full kennel name, doesn’t sleep. He got up again.

During the course of that night, he commandeered my husband’s computer, signed him up to Skype, registered him with Gaydar, (keep a straight face folks, it gets better) held a lengthy 5am – 5am! – Skpye conversation with Ian Parker-Joseph, then leader of the Libertarian party, whilst exchanging e-mails with gentlemen from around the world who were pleased to forward photographs of their penis to this new registrant on Gaydar, and continuing to munch his way through the contents of our fridge.

When my husband came down to make tea, he snapped shut the lid of the lap top, and claimed he was just collecting his e-mail. We had no idea anything else had occurred.

Later, as we were driving him back to the airport, he showed me all the photographs he had taken of every ornament, every book, and every inch of our home. I asked him to delete them. He refused, they were for his Mother, he said. Since we were by now turning into the airport, it was a matter of a tussle for the mobile phone, or just breathe a sigh of relief and turf him out of the car. Guess!

Returning home, I opened the fridge door at about the same time as a howl of rage from the husband. This wasn’t the time to tell him that the fridge had been stripped bare. Something was wrong with his computer.

It was busy opening up page after page of photographs of supernaturally large members. Dozens of them. Penile, not the Dishonourable House of Commons variety. Some of their proud owners were offering to shag Mr G into the ground if only he would be kind enough to reciprocate with a photograph of his own….words don’t really do the scene justice.

We went out for dinner. No other option.

A few days later Skype wrote and told me that our fledgling Skype subscription, never used by us, had been suspended for contravening article xyz of the Telecommunication Act…

A week later, around the time Mr G recovered his power of speech, I heard of a more worrying development.

Dr Kapur, ‘Henry’, had arrived at the hospital bedside of someone I was in e-mail contact with. Coincidence? I shall never know. This man had been immobile in hospital for a year and was feeling exceptionally vulnerable. Henry had shown him all the photographs of the inside of our home as evidence of his friendship with this French based lawyer, and worse, was recommending that he ignore the advice of the Hospital Doctors, and take Vitamin D, as prescribed by the troubled Dr Kapur. Not surprisingly, my friend was concerned, and wanted to know if he was dangerous in my opinion; his wife and children were at home and he had no way of protecting them.

I was alarmed; I contacted Ian Parker-Joseph, in confidence; I really didn’t know what else to do. I have to say that a languid ‘he’s only been ‘Sectioned’ the once, insofar as I know’ is not really the reassurance I was looking for in respect of the party’s electoral candidate.

I didn’t expect my confidential enquiry to Parker-Joseph to go any further; however, within 30 minutes I got an extraordinary e-mail from Dr Kapur, telling me that Parker-Joseph had just phoned him, he admitted everything but said that he hadn’t meant to upset me……I also heard from Andrew P Withers, then Treasurer of the party. He too, had been told of my troubles and wanted to reassure me. Yes, Kapur was as mad as a box of frogs, but not dangerous.

Both Andrew Withers and myself were then subjected to a vitriolic series of e-mails, apparently from friends of Kapur and other psychiatrists, who all seemed to have had difficulties with the GMC and been suspended….the fiasco had taken on Alice in Wonderland proportions.

If this was representative of the Libertarian Party, I wanted out! Andrew Withers was incredibly supportive, and reassured me that the Libertarian Party was keen to retain members like myself. In England, I met Andrew in person; he seemed very friendly and charming. Good fun, in fact. All would be changing shortly, he reassured me once more. Stick with us, renew your subscription, and all will be well. I did. It did. Chris Mounsey was eventually elected leader. That was the last newsletter I ever received. I seemed to have fallen off the mailing list.

I kept quiet about my meeting with the Dr. Kapur. By that time Old Holborn and I were raising money to get Nick Hogan out of jail, and bleating about my difficulties seemed counter-productive. Besides, with Nick Hogan successfully released, Old Holborn was going to stand for parliament himself, and wanted to appoint me his election agent.

Finding yourself legally responsible for the behaviour of a maverick like Old Holborn is akin to playing Russian roulette, blindfold, with bullets in five chambers. I will never know how the cylinder managed to revolve to the empty chamber each and every time.

I was grateful for Andrew P Withers’ apparent expertise in electoral matters during the election period, it wasn’t an area of law I knew anything about. He has researched it in depth.

Meanwhile, Dr Kapur, despite yet another hearing at the GMC concerning his fitness to practice as a psychiatrist, was standing as an independent candidate in Wood Green. He had also taken to posting as ‘Clarissa’ or some such name on the web site of two ‘Libertarians’ who had taken an instant dislike to me and whose site appeared at times to be entirely devoted to derogatory articles regarding myself.  This was no time to make public my misgivings concerning the Party.

I heard nothing from the Libertarian Party save the constant flow of e-mails from Andrew P Withers. Always friendly, he begged me to renew my lapsed membership. He told me of his own troubles. He had been ‘targeted by Peter Mandelson’ as a fellow politician and a threat to that mighty beast of the Labour Party. That was why he hadn’t been able to stand for leadership of the party himself; but he did intend to do so in the future, please would I have patience? He wanted to see an inclusive party, not rent by factions, properly financed, with regular newsletters, everyone able to access the blog and the forum, and he was going to clear out all those who merely used the blog to abuse others. It sounded promising.

In the meantime, since I was a lawyer, could I help him with some of his submissions to the courts, battling his troubles? I obviously couldn’t give him formal advice, I am not licensed to practice in France, but I could help him informally.

The ‘trolling’ of my site, the vicious e-mails that arrived daily, my ‘outing’ as a result of having been publicly named as Old Holborn’s election agent, were taking their toll. My health was deteriorating, and it became increasingly difficult to write something cheerful each day with so much intrigue and confusion in the background. I decided to throw the towel in and give up the blog. Since I had by then invested in some valuable software, I decided to offer it to anyone who would make use of it.

Enter Thaddeus J Wilson. I have always known of his other blogging identities but never knew who he was in real life, despite having met him. Thaddeus persuaded me to keep writing, and he would deal with the e-mails and trolls, and contribute as well. Andrew would also contribute.

That was fine, except – Old Holborn had gleaned a scrap of information during my visit to England which had seemed monumentally unimportant to me – he gave me a lift to my destination one morning, later using that information to devastating effect to settle a score with an old enemy. I ended up taking the brunt of that score settling for having ‘revealed’ important information.

I was, for a long time, as mad as bloody Hell. I do believe the phrase ‘f**k you’ escaped my lips at the time, or words to that effect. Most unladylike. However, he has long since been gracious enough to apologise and been forgiven. Enough said, I have a lot of respect for Old Holborn, he is a maverick, he is irrepressible, tiresomely energetic, and the original loose cannon. Hence I have a soft spot for him…..

I was glad of Andrew’s contributions, regretting somewhat my agreement to keep writing on the blog. It had my name on it, and I felt honour bound to keep it up to a certain standard.

Andrew P Withers’ help came at a price of course.

First there were the endless submissions to the court to format, correct the spelling and grammar, and take out the paranoid observations regarding Peter Mandelson ‘spying on his web site’. That sort of uncorroborated opinion doesn’t impress judges.

As fast as I finished one submission, another would be e-mailed to me. More evidence of how he had been ‘targeted’.

Andrew had asked me several times to provide money, both to re-launch the Libertarian Party, and to ‘invest’ in his ‘multi-million pound business interests’ in Africa. The answer had always been the same. I wasn’t in a position to help anybody financially whilst we had two houses, maybe when we had sold one.

The court case was hotting up – somehow I never saw the submissions from the other side, I only got to see the material that was flowing back to the court – corrected and formatted by me.

Then a few days before the hearing, a panicked phone call from Andrew. His French barrister, a ‘dear, dear friend’, who had toiled ceaselessly at no cost to Andrew to prepare evidence of Mandelson’s dastardly doings from the French side of things, purely because he was so outraged at the injustice of it all, was needed as an ‘essential witness’.

Andrew felt that the ‘least he could do was pay his expenses’, but couldn’t get Euros transferred to him until the day before the hearing – a week hence – not enough time to organise flights. Could I possibly send him 3,000 in Euros to cover his expenses, and Andrew would put the money into my account in pounds – I would receive it next Tuesday at the latest!

Actually I couldn’t. I only had 2,000 euros available. It seems that would have to do. He e-mailed me back with the details of the French barrister’s bank account and his ‘undying gratitude’ to me.

Strangely, ‘next Tuesday’ the money failed to appear in my bank account, but with the court case the following day, I was too well mannered to berate Andrew.

The result of the court case was a surprise. It seems Andrew had voluntarily consented to being declared a man unfit to hold office for 5 ½ years by the insolvency service. This was, I was assured, merely a technicality; Andrew had agreed to the five and a half years because he couldn’t afford to fight the case any longer, and the judge ‘so obviously disagreed’ with this decision that he was allowing Andrew to continue to act as a Director in the meantime, pending an appeal.

The following eight months have been an education. It seems that the money had failed to appear in my bank account because ‘one of his financial advisers’ who was handling the ‘inward investment’ for his massive interests in Africa had gone on holiday to Malta. He would be back on Tuesday and I would get my money back then.

‘See you next Tuesday’ was a phrase that was to loom large in our lives for months afterwards.

Next Tuesday arrived, and lo! The MD of yet another multi-national company had gone to New York; the papers would be signed, ooh, by next Tuesday at the latest…

Then the next Tuesday, it seems that the money was coming via Brazil, it would arrive in Guernsey, by, let’s see, next Tuesday?

It must have been travelling by submarine, for there was no sighting of it for several weeks, not so much as a periscope. However, things were happening. The CEO of yet another well known multi-national company was flying in to meet Andrew; he would be tied up for several days in meetings. There were ‘contractual matters’ to attend to, and lo! The money would be with me by……Bluddy Tuesday. Yes, I am aware of the old joke regarding ‘See you next Tuesday’, I just hadn’t made the connection yet.

For months, MDs flew hither and thither, CEOs arrived in LHX, the world was full of acronyms, and Andrew was a busy man. Nobody ever just phoned him up; he ‘took conference calls’. Andrew had apparently swallowed whole the book of Management Speak.

The date for the next hearing grew closer, and there was a strange development. He was, he told me, depressed and deeply disappointed. The dastardly French barrister had issued a bill to Andrew for his work so far. There had never, he told me, been any question of payment; it had purely been on the basis of long standing friendship and his outrage at the injustice facing Andrew. Naturally Andrew had broken off all communication with him; Andrew and his wife were desperately upset at this calumny and the loss of a friend.

I now know all this to be utterly untrue. How? Because the French barrister has forwarded to me all Andrew’s e-mails to him, dating back to before the original hearing. Far from believing ‘his friend’ to be working for nothing, Andrew had agreed a 3,450 euro fee before the hearing, to be followed – in Andrew’s own words – by ‘a monthly retainer of 2,500 Euros as our legal counsel’. – and final insult, he was offering the barrister a carrot in the form of ‘more work from’ – none other than Anna Raccoon!

The rest of the e-mails are curiously reminiscent of Andrew’s to me. Endless promises, ‘inward investment’ always about to happen, etc., etc.

Still, I was not to worry about Andrew, everything would be fine. Ian Parker-Joseph had put up a blog post detailing the latest ‘outrage’ against him, and had a reply from another barrister who was prepared to help him pro-bono. It turned out to be a good friend of mine.

Meanwhile, Andrew was obviously too preoccupied with injustice to do more than offer grammatically scrambled blogposts that needed reformatting, the new barrister and I were both ploughing through international law books to see whether Mandelson was justified in trying to ban Andrew from representing anybody, anywhere, under any circumstances…..and a long week-end of vitriolic e-mails from my trolling friends had convinced me that it was not worth the candle, stuff the blog!

Andrew was hysterical – I couldn’t shut the blog! It was essential to his long term plans for the Libertarian Party. I was the most high profile blogging member they had.  I explained the problems the blog was creating in my personal life – to say nothing of the cost of providing the blog.

‘No Problem!’ wasn’t Andrew on the verge of becoming a millionaire – he would bear all the costs, if I would just put the blog back up and transfer the domain name to him. I sent him the domain registration documents, he sent them back un-witnessed.

‘Not a problem’ he said, he would have the money in a few days – Tuesday? – and was so embarrassed at keeping me waiting like that, he would fly down to Bergerac, deliver the money in person, along with flowers, and a slap up dinner for all concerned. It was a refrain we grew used to. But could I just put the blog up in the meantime? My high profile was not only essential to the future of the Libertarian Party, but was also having the effect of keeping Andrew P Withers name on the front page of Google, rather than the despicable lies of Mandelson and co.

I sent a stiffly worded e-mail to all the people that were apparently going to be involved in this re-incarnation of Anna Raccoon, reminding them that I wouldn’t be writing anything, but would attend to the technical side. Nor would I be meeting any of the costs of putting the site back together.

‘Not a problem’, said Andrew. ‘and in the meantime, could you sign my nomination forms for the Libertarian Party, election in a couple of weeks; I have a trusted group of people who will help me revitalise the Party and in gratitude to you for all you have done, I would like you to be the chief nominee’. I did. I wonder now, how many other people did?

I put the site back up. I paid the several hundred pounds to have the archives reconstituted. This was no time to be giving Andrew a hard time for the money, wasn’t the court case in a few days? And the election? And CEOs and MDs were still trailing between international airports, conference calls were taking entire days, contractual matters more days, as soon as the court case was over he could start work again, and funds would be released… I’m not an unreasonable woman.

Andrew was now ‘Leader designate’ of the party, unable to take up the full position so long as the court case was outstanding. He was still Treasurer too, apparently unable to hand over the books until he had time to ‘put them in order’. That rang bells, for some time ago, Andrew had rung me one day asking if I happened to remember the name of the Libertarian member who had put up the money when the funds to release Nick Hogan were trapped in ‘money laundering regulations’.

As it happens, I had only ever known his Christian name. ‘Xxxxx Somebody’ I said.

He e-mailed me back a list of members with that Christian name; he urgently needed to raise funds for the party to meet some outstanding bills from the last election. Did any of them ring a bell? To my ever lasting shame, I said that one of them might do. He e-mailed me later that day to say that ‘Xxxxx somebody’ had kindly made a three month loan to the party and he was grateful for my help. Alarm bells were ringing in my dense skull, but Christmas was upon us. No possibility of all this high level finance being sorted out over Christmas, MDs and CEOs would be off to exotic parts.

Andrew rang me in great excitement from Newport, the final details of his deal with exotic international companies had been signed; he was to receive an interim payment of £1,000 a week from 1st January. He would be on a plane down here just as soon as he had cashed the cheque. Meanwhile, he had assembled a high level team of computer experts who were at that very moment, working on a new web site for the party, I would be astounded! He was sorry he hadn’t been able to meet the broadband bill on the 1st January.

Finally! The ‘I’m in Funds!!!’ e-mail arrived. Shortly followed by the ‘would Saturday the xth be OK with you’ e-mail. It seemed churlish to remind him that the domain name renewal invoice had been automatically paid from my account; I could sort that out when he arrived couldn’t I?

Then there was the ‘is it OK if I bring my partner with me, she has been so depressed with all this trouble, she deserves a break’ e-mail.  Can you be churlish after eight months of holding your tongue and being patient? I suppose so, but frankly I was more interested in seeing the colour of his money.

Then the ‘my partner has booked the flights, but the only ones she can get are for a week’ e-mail……deep sighs all round this household. We really didn’t relish the prospect of spending a week doing the tourist trail with a pair of non-driving visitors who were scarcely our favourite people.

Then there was ‘are there cash machines that take credit cards in France, I’ve only got 100 euros in the house’ the day before he arrived. I assured him there was. Ones that would let him withdraw 900 Euros a day.

They arrived! Cheerful, friendly, they’d bought some tea-bags for us, gratefully received; some second hand videos and books, all gratefully received, and…….?

And over dinner that night, with his girlfriend safely out of earshot, Andrew P Withers leaned across the table and said to me….’you really must give me your banking details so I can start paying back that money you lent me’…….collapse of stout party. I didn’t trust myself to speak; excused myself and went upstairs to Mr G, already abed, and said ‘you’re not going to believe what that little runt has just said’….

Lips were pursed the next day. There is a certain grim satisfaction in watching this sort of scenario play out in your home. We cancelled the restaurant reservations, cancelled the planed trip to Bordeaux, and cancelled all but one trip to sightsee. We weren’t about to expend precious petrol on this pair; to say we ate cheaply that week would be an understatement, except for the one day when Mr G very pointedly took them food shopping, and girlfriend bought four duck breasts, and a string of garlic.

Andrew’s girlfriend was a lovely girl, a very caring person, but even she, so she told me, had issued Andrew with an ultimatum that he must get a job by last September or leave her home. She had been supporting him, and his two grown up sons, for the past six years, and ‘it had to stop’. He had to give up this fantasy that he could only be a managing director; but surely, I said, Andrew must earn something (thinking of the £1,000 a week contract he’d told me of), he’s forever zipping up and down the country, one day in Plymouth, one day in London – it seems that she ‘has a good job and a petrol expense account’. ‘but, surely they notice that it’s Andrew’s car’. ‘Andrew’s car’? she said blankly. ‘Andrew hasn’t got a car, he uses my BMW’. ‘But he’s got a Landrover’…’Oh he had to sell that ages ago, when I gave him the ultimatum’.

She was monumentally embarrassed when she realised the true situation. I felt very, deeply, sorry for her. Turns out that Andrew had been too busy with flying CEOs and MDs to actually pick up and pay for their air tickets; she’d had to do that, credit card of course. She bought a bottle of wine for us too, embarrassed by Andrew’s monumental intake of Mr Gs red wine stocks. Mind you, Andrew was putting away three times that amount every night, but it was the thought that counts.

Andrew’s naps after dinner proved useful too. The girlfriend had had her fair share of wine, and we got chapter and verse out of her. Depressing chapter and verse.

Mr G very nearly flattened him one night, as Andrew began his ritualistic descent into wine fuelled bravado; every time his girlfriend started to speak, he would silence her, and launch into yet another fantastic story of how he was a millionaire by the time he was 25, how he would be posting us our money – yeah! and interest too – precisely, next Tuesday, when he was back home, he posted money all the time, his children were so expensive, you couldn’t keep up with teenagers demands for money……Mr G, fuelled by my retelling of the ‘other’ version from the girlfriend, was fit to bust. I shouldn’t have stopped him, Mr G would have given him a lesson he wouldn’t have forgotten.

We decided we’d give him until ‘next Tuesday’ when he was back home in England to put the money back in our account. Somehow we got through the week without giving him a flying sightseeing tour from the top of the church tower…..losing our temper would have made repayment all the more unlikely.

Next Tuesday arrived with the monotonous regularity of all the other Tuesdays……he announced that he ‘had the money in Euros’; it was ‘sitting on his desk’, but there was a problem…naturally! It seems that he couldn’t insure the cash. He couldn’t possibly take the risk that it wouldn’t get to us….Mr G gritted his teeth and gave him the IBAN and the BIC code for our bank account details in Jersey. A straightforward bank transfer would do the trick.

Well, you won’t believe this, but Andrew’s bank is the one and only bank in the universe that won’t accept Euros, even though they’ve just issued them to you… apparently he had to post them up to Leicester (Post? I thought you couldn’t post cash any longer?) and get them accredited to his bank account before he did that. They should reach Leicester by….next Tuesday.

Mr G kept his cool, I blew a fuse.

The next e-mail claimed that his bank was refusing to transmit the money unless they were informed of the exact address and bank account number of the recipient. At four minutes to eleven he e-mailed me that request, explaining that his bank was closed after 11… I decided to use those four minutes to discover what this bank was playing at. They advised me that they were open until 7 at night, they didn’t require that information, and further advised me that I shouldn’t give that information to anyone.

Events moved fast after that. I sent Andrew an unspeakably angry e-mail. I copied his girlfriend in. He replied straight away saying he ‘had no idea where I had got the idea from that he was earning £1,000 a week’….either he hadn’t told her that or it never was true! Needless to say, I fired straight back reminding him exactly where I had got the idea from.

The following week, 1110 Euros turned up in my account.

The morning after, a strange little post appeared on Andrew’s site saying he had written to the French tax authorities, because ‘the French Tax authorities have very sharp teeth and are not particularly friendly to ex pats from England who try to work on the black or who are a bit vague about their off shore bank accounts and working arrangements’.

I didn’t take very kindly to that implication; my tax affairs are whiter than white, and the French tax authorities are fully aware of my off-shore arrangements which are dutifully declared for tax each year. Double tax as it happens, since there is no dual taxation agreement with Jersey.

You pathetic little shit, I thought. It was nothing to what I thought later.

In short order, Andrew decamped from my web site; and reappeared on Old Holborn’s site; I found that my newly acquired password to the lpuk web site had been changed; my posts were removed from the blogroll. I now know that at the same time, he told party officials of the ‘unhinged nature of Anna who has overreached herself in the property Market’ and further ‘he was now concerned that Henry, while not a typical individual, was stitched up by Anna in regards to the events surrounding his expulsion’ and that party officials were advised not to communicate with me owing to my ‘erratic but tenacious phone manners’. He had ‘borrowed’ money from me, and it was all a misunderstanding owing to ‘late payment by a client’.

All this a full two months before I gave up on him honouring his word. It seems that for having the temerity to expect to be repaid, albeit eight patient months later, I was going the same way as the French barrister. Classic totalitarian tactics for dealing with a problem – smear the messenger. The stench of Nu-Labour hangs over it.

Since when I have had an interesting phone conversation. It seems I am not the only Libertarian Party member who has been persuaded to put cash Andrew’s way, one way or another, and has found ‘Tuesdays’ surprisingly bereft of repayment; nor am I the only Libertarian, member or not, that he is indebted to; nor am I the only legal beaver who has spent hours pouring over text books on his behalf.

The “Andrew P Withers Benevolent Society” we call ourselves. In fact if all Andrew’s creditors were laid end to end, you’d be approaching half a million quid. Pretty impressive.

There’s no one to complain to, for all e-mails to the party go through the lpuk web site, controlled by Andrew. All post goes to Andrew’s personal address, including the bottle of whisky that some kind person sent to Chris Mounsey when he was still leader, and that Andrew’s girlfriend was kind enough to tell me Andrew drank himself. The Party has a new office, set up by Andrew, in his home village – conveniently in the centre of the High Street. The Party official functions were held by Andrew – still Treasurer until he ‘gets the books in order’, and ‘Leader designate’ until he sorts out his court case.

The next development was the appearance of the ‘Andrew P Withers’ personal domain, and accompanying blog. Duly littered with Libertarian badges as you would expect of the leader of the Libertarian Party, it carried duplicate wordy treatises on Libertarian values. It seems Andrew could find the money to pay for a domain name, even if he couldn’t pay for mine.

Some days later, the site underwent a transformation. Gone was any mention of Libertarianism, badges gone, previous posts all deleted. In their place was a picture of the new improved Andrew P Withers. He’d never given me pictures for his avatar on AR, telling me that he was waiting to get some professional pictures done when he’d lost some weight. He’d obviously found the money. This Andrew P Withers was professionally lit, in formal suit, and looking both expensive and expansive. It accompanied a fulsome biography telling of his exciting international life as an experienced businessman and general all round trustworthy chappie. To my utter amazement, it went on to tell of how he was standing as a candidate in his forthcoming local elections – but not as a Libertarian candidate, as you might imagine, as an Independent! Wasn’t he a local business man with premises in Clevedon, perfectly equipped to sort out the financial improprieties of Clevedon Council? A handy walk in office in the High Street for those essential consultations with your local representative…..

The lpuk blog announced that it was experiencing some difficulties with the ex-Mandelson’s Office apparently using ‘ripping software’ to monitor them and it’s new incarnation would be delayed by some weeks.

Today, the list of candidates in the forthcoming election has been published in the local paper, no Andrew P Withers. Changed his mind; about a number of things. The proud new ‘Andrew P Withers dot com’ website is invitation only. Closed to the public. Strangely shy. So is his ‘Looking for a Voice’ Blogspot. Not before his announcement of his standing as an independent candidate was picked up by a local reporter.

I have contacted the party before publishing this, of course. My first contact, the membership and subscription office forwarded my enquiry directly to Andrew – and then curled up in a corner and refused to communicate. I then enlisted the help of an ex-member who contacted Tim Carpenter. We received a reply over a week ago, saying they were ‘investigating’, and have failed to reply since then. Examination of the party accounts show that there are at least two different ‘lpuk’ accounts under the control of Andrew P Withers. One into which you pay your subscriptions, and a completely different one into which the Party member was directed to pay his ‘three month loan’ – now six months old. Unfortunately, the party structure has failed to modernise its accounting package into the promised ‘accounting units for regions’, a move which would have ensured that the £1,500 loan showed up in the formal declaration of loans. The legal situation is that loans under £7,500 do not have to be declared to the electoral commission, perhaps this is why it has come as a surprise to all but the parties involved.

Surprisingly, a few days after my investigations began, the member found another £450 had turned up in his bank account – sent by ‘fastest transfer’, by Andrew P Withers, no longer the Treasurer, but apparently able to make transfers. He waits with interest to see when, and if, he receives the balance.

The French barrister, still owed many thousands by Andrew, was surprised to find that Andrew ‘was repudiating the voluntary undertaking he had signed agreeing that he was an unfit person to hold office’ – surprised because in France, if you sign an undertaking to a court, it is simple ‘contempt of court’ to then repudiate it without the court’s agreement. Do the English not have such respect for their courts?

The other English barrister has simply put his experience down to ‘time wasted’ – he has met many such people given the line of business he is in, defending the ‘duckers and divers’ of this world.

We have given up; I am not spending the rest of my life wandering around muttering to myself, ‘the little runt never did repay us’. Whilst I can think of far more deserving homes for that money; what I really resent is the disillusionment, the lack of hope for the future, the lack of belief that there might be a corner of politics that is not peopled by unprincipled individuals willing to lie and cheat to line their own pockets and avoid an honest day’s work. He has used me, used my blog, to ensnare others into giving him credit, and then sought to blacken my name when he thought my patience might be exhausted.

The Libertarian Party may be content with such a person being their public face, but I am not.

Nor am I going to write my blog with one hand tied behind my back wondering what is being said behind the scenes, and what retribution is going to be exacted next for daring to expect him to honour his debts.

Over the past few days, they have been sending out frantic e-mails trying to get membership subscriptions in – for some reason I do not seem to be on this mailing list. Just as well, for I would not entrust another penny to them.

This blog is formally no longer affiliated with the Libertarian Party.

I still hold fast to my Libertarian beliefs though.

Just ‘don’t tread on me’.

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