I have never been much of a joiner - clubs, societies, political parties; I might support what they do, or have an interest in what they promote, but in the end I can't stand the shenanigans that seem inevitable whenever two or three are gathered together to organise something. I joined the Triumph Owners' Club last year, and it has been a lot of fun, but even in this low-key organisation there are huffs and spats and hurt feelings and flouncing off in a temper. Luckily, this is all at national level and nothing to do with the guys and gals I go riding with, but it's a pain even reading about it in the club magazine.
I have never joined a political party and probably never will. Partly this is because there has never been a party whose aims I have wholeheartedly agreed, and whose programme I could support without caveat or reservation, and partly it's because I have an aversion to people telling me how and what I should be thinking and saying. I don't see myself as right- or left-wing, more as a believer in freedom and leaving people alone to live their lives as they think best. So I did, briefly, consider joining the Libertarian Party a while ago. Certainly their core beliefs accord quite well with mine, and I would probably have fitted in quite well.
But something stopped me. I read a lot of the stuff on the website and it somehow seemed wrong. Too many spelling and grammatical mistakes (not important in themselves, but an indicator) and too much of the tin-hat conspiracy theorist stuff for me to put my name to. So, after considering it briefly, I stayed away.
I'm glad I did. There is now a storm brewing. One of my favourite bloggers, Anna Raccoon, has a post today that tells of her experiences with the LPUK leader, Andrew P Withers, and a couple of other high-profile faces from the Libertarian blogosphere. It makes shocking reading. It's a long post, but worth reading to the end. Mr Withers has now stood down as LPUK Party Leader amid calls for a thorough investigation, and I am sure the matter won't end there.
I make no judgement as to the rights and wrongs of the story, nor for its accuracy, as I have no experience of the events beyond reading about them in my daily scan of the blogs. Anyone can be who they want to be on the internet, and it would be foolish to make judgements on the basis of a blogpost or an online persona. All I will say is that I have had intermittent contact with Anna over a couple of issues to do with the technical side of blogging, and she has always been unfailingly kind and supportive - on one occasion writing several screens' worth of technical advice when many would have said 'work it out'. She is one of the big names in the blog world and I am tiny in comparison, and I appreciate her assistance all the more for that.
By their works shall ye know them, and unless and until I see compelling evidence to the contrary I am inclined to trust what Anna has said and believe her account.
All very sad.