...a blog by Richard Flowers

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 3090: Green Eyed Monster


I am sad to read today that super-humanly strong-stomached Auntie Jennie has finally, thanks to THIS posting, given up on her efforts to make the LABOUR CONSPIRACY website a bit LIBERAL.

I do not seem to have written very much in my Fluffy Diary about the sickly Green Party, mainly because, you know, why bother? If you are GENUINELY concerned about the environment then you will find the Liberal Democrats have policies that meet most of your needs; if you are more interested in SHOWING OFF your Holier-than-thou-ness then feel free to POSE.

But they ARE quite ANNOYING.

Their leader is Radio Caroline Lucas – and, as an MEP, Radio Caroline floats around outside the Three-Mile Limit broadcasting Hippy Tunes and merrily taking no responsibility. Particularly irritating is her REPETITIVE JINGLE: oh, those Westminster Parties are all the same.

Yes, I KNOW why she does it – she knows she's ONLY going to get PROTEST votes and so needs to paint herself as the "alternative" choice. But to suggest that the Liberal Democrats are the same as the Conservatories or Hard Labour is a BIG FAT FIB and she knows it.

In fact, with their AUTHORITARIAN desire to IMPOSE their policies regardless of what people actually want and their OPPOSITION to the European Union, Radio Caroline's party has FAR MORE in common with the Conservatories and Hard Labour than the Liberal Democrats have with ANY of them.

While WE recognise that everyone in Europe (and the World!) all need to work TOGETHER if we are to protect the planet, the Greens seem to think that the environment ends at the White Cliffs of Dover. And while Liberal Democrats believe that the benefits of FREE TRADE will help to lift people everywhere out of poverty and ENABLE them to make better environmental choices, the Greens want to put an end to all that, seemingly intent on taking us back to the kind of pre-industrial barter economy where the environment was protected from humans by such methods as FAMINE and PLAGUE.

(Which reminds me of their "HEALTH" policies – "no" to developing new drugs; "yes" to aromatherapy. Forgive me but "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!")

The article in question is a great big WHINGE about how dreadful it is that the Liberal Democrats didn't just lie down and act like a doorstep for the Greens. Never mind that we might think that their policies are not just wildly ILLIBERAL but also BAD for the environment, it seems that we should not point out that most people don't actually want to vote for them!

This, they claim, is "telling fibs"; in fact, writer Rupert the Bear-with-a-sore-head goes so far as to give us a funny name – he calls us "Fib Dems". I mean, what sort of a BABY would do a silly joke like THAT?!

[R: Millennium's excuse is that he is eight years old – what is Rupert's?]

The PROBLEM is that it's NOT the Liberal Democrats who are LYING.

Here is what Rupert the Bear-faced-liar CLAIMS that the Liberal Democrats said:

"It takes about 150,000 votes to elect an MEP in the East of England. The Greens only got 25,000 votes across the whole of the East at the last General election."

Here (from the leaflet that he links to) is what the Liberal Democrats ACTUALLY said:

"Just 2% of voters in this election will come from Norwich – but the Greens are weak in the East outside of Norwich. They have no chance of getting enough votes across the East to elect and MEP, and last time were 64 THOUSAND votes short. They only won 25,000 votes altogether across the East of England in 2005's general election."

Do you see that Rupert has DISTORTED what the Liberal Democrats said in order to SEXY-UP his complaint.

The Liberal Democrats presented the FACTS: the Greens FELL SHORT in the last Euro elections, outside of Norwich their support fades away, and in the last General Election it all but disappeared. Is any of that inaccurate? No. It is in any way misleading? NO!

But the "complaint" OMITS the fact that we referred to that last Euro result FIRST, makes it SEEM that we were basing our claim on ONLY the general election result, whereas the FULL quote shows that the general election result was only MORE EVIDENCE to show that the Green were generally weak.

Oh, and with the benefit of hindsight we SAID that they COULD NOT WIN and they DID NOT WIN. So it was true.

(To further inform and entertain: later, in the comments thread, our very own self-styled Tactical Nuclear Badword, the award-winning Mr Jumbo Graham, lays in to point out more direct LIES that the Greens are telling, somewhat undermining their "we lost because we don't tell lies" agenda.)

So, anyway, FLUFFY HUGS for Auntie Jenny; it was a BRAVER effort than the one that I made to make the idea of a co-operative progressive project work and I am SORRY that you feel it hasn't.

And as for the Greens… ooh, Green Grapes, how SOUR do THEY look, I wonder?



Aaron Murin-Heath said...

Oh look!

More Lib Dem sniping. Go You!

Y'know, having tried to get more and more Lib Dem writers on board, and getting them to actually engage at LC, it's more a case of you guys not having the guts to elbow for room on a broad-spectrum blog (Jennie, not included).

Maybe if the Lib Dems were less insular, and a bit more combative, they'd have flooded into the space left by Labour in the voter's minds (and perhaps, less importantly, at LC).

Man up. Stop bitching.

If any Liberal Democrat, and I write this as someone who's thought long and hard about joining the party myself, wants to contribute, go for it. I'd be glad to publish suitable stuff - as would Sunny.

Jennie Rigg said...

* fluffy hugs back *

Millennium Dome said...

Dear Mr Aaron,

I have never heard of you! Are you someone to do with the "Labour Conspiracy"?

You seem a little confused – am I too combative or not combative enough? And you seem a little paranoid – all I actually said about your little web project was that it was SAD how you had driven Auntie Jennie away.

As for you trying very, very hard to get Liberal Democrats to write for you, let's just say that it is a BIT STRANGE that the very first time you have EVER written to me, it is to have a bit of a "bitching" of your own.

Is it possible that the reason you do not attract Liberal Democrats to your website – and indeed, and regrettably, appear to be actively driving them away – is a problem on your side?

I am NOT "man enough" to write for your website because I am an ELEPHANT.

Millennium Dome said...

Dear Auntie Jennie


(((fluffy hugs again!)))

Aaron Murin-Heath said...


When I wrote the LC blog review (I was the review editor prior to Jennie having the role) I oft linked to you, so it's surprising you've never heard of me. Still, I'll recover.

I'm very sorry Jennie has felt she is "driven away", and I have expressed my concerns and feelings with her.

Of course, if you or any other Liberal Democrat writers would like to write for LC, I'm all ears. It's just that the Labour/Socialist-leaning writers appear to be up for the task of setting the agenda.

Maybe if more LibDems had grasped the opportunity of changing LC's direction and actually got control of the project, Jennie wouldn't have felt so isolated.

Bitchy? Moi? Maybe. Things are a bit raw at the moment - a lot's gone off.

Do I have a problem with the Lib Dems? Yeah, they're no-where near liberal enough. And neither is LibCon, but I'm working on it.

Aaron Murin-Heath said...

Also, a lot has been made about Rupert's reference to the "FibDems" - indeed it was probably the main point of contention.

Yet I long-ago lost count of the times a Lib Dem writer has referred to LC as LABOUR CONSPIRACY - when this is equally insulting to writers like me, who want nothing to do with the Labour Party.

Millennium Dome said...

Dear Mr Aaron,

Oh and I was TRYING to compose a NICE reply, but you have to go and kick yourself in the fluffy bottom AGAIN!

"I long-ago lost count of the times a Lib Dem writer has referred to LC as LABOUR CONSPIRACY - when this is equally insulting to writers like me"

Have you REALLY not noticed that my diary is both PARTISAN and SATIRICAL?

You, however, claim to be NON-PARTISAN. So what is your excuse for being rude and babyish, eh?

I went along to Mr Sunny's conference at the Grauniad and was shocked by the POLIT-BUREAU mentality of the panel sitting at the front and telling the assembled proles (i.e US, thanks for being patrionising) what we ought to think. That attitude of "the centre knows best" is TOTALLY LABOUR.

The entire approach, that there even SHOULD be a central website that we "OUGHT" to be contributing to is completely missing the point of LIBERAL blogging, the freedom to say whatever you want in your own voice in your own time and your own place. All liberals want is a SIGNPOST like Lib Dem Blogs, not a MOTHERSHIP.

And you yourself ADMIT that "Labour/Socialist-leaning writers appear to be up for the task of setting the agenda".

If even YOU think it has a Labour-set agenda what do you THINK I am going to call your little project?

So, going back to your first reply now, it's all very well saying that I ought to know who you are because you've linked to my diary in the past. Thank you for sending linkies my way but, begging your pardon, was I supposed to notice?

As an old fashioned elephant, I think that a BETTER way to have introduced yourself might have been to send me a MESSAGE – there is a "send me fluffy messages" link on my diary!

Just something along the lines of "we quite like some of your stuff; have you thought about writing a diary for LC" might have been a BETTER way of attracting some input, rather than just ASSUMING that we would come along and mount a coup to impose our agenda on your project.

It might still not be too late for you. Why not try writing polite invitations to some of our interesting Liberal Democrats rather than wasting your time and mine by posting comments that might be CALCULATED to just make people more annoyed.

But if you think that you are "working on making your website MORE Liberal" by publishing pathetic, self-serving and frankly deceitful pieces by bitter, failed Green Party candidates, repeatedly using the phrase "Fib Dems" as a direct attack on our Party, then to be honest you are COMPLETELY DELUDED.

As you seem to be in charge while Mr Sunny is on holiday (and I hope he's not TOO cross that you seem to have burned down his fabulous media career while he was out) I assume you ARE going to take responsibility for publishing that piece.

Challenge us on the policies, challenge us on the issues, by all means, by that article was just abuse, name-calling and lies. And really, what is the POINT of us trying to engage with you if you're going to behave like rude children?

And if you want the title of editor, or even deputy editor, then that is YOUR fault.

I'd hardly hold my breath for an APOLOGY, but a response along the lines of "we publish all sorts of Partisan pieces, why not write a right-to-reply" might have been appropriate or even, dare I say it, liberal.

But no, you just come on here and accuse me – and indeed Lib Dems in general – of "bitching" in our response to a piece that was nothing BUT bitching.

Honestly, how do you THINK we are likely to react?

Aaron Murin-Heath said...

You, however, claim to be NON-PARTISAN. So what is your excuse for being rude and babyish, eh?

Non-partisans can be rude and babyish, too. BTW, I wasn't deliberately trying to rude.

And you're not the first person to call us Labour Conspiracy.

Anyway, not to be babyish.

In private internal correspondence, I HAVE taken responsibility for the post. It was a mistake to publish it without more of an edit - I am very busy with work and family. I have said as much in these circulars.

And I invited Mat and Jennie to write a rebuttal.

So you can drag me over hot-coals some more if you like, and Sunny may well ask me to step down, but I can only do so much.

Y'know I have written many anti-labour pieces at LC (e.g.), and never have I experienced this level of bitterness towards a post.

Re. the links I sent your way. I don't expect gushing gratitude, it's just that I tend to follow incoming links, so I'm genuinely surprised you haven't come across me.

I seem to have given the impression I'm an arse. I'm not (really). I'm just very raw at the moment. I apologise if I've been a shit.

Mark Valladares said...


"I apologise if...". No 'if' about it, my friend...

Just apologise, we promise not to tell anyone. We might even remove the twelve bore you shot your foot with into protective custody...

Aaron Murin-Heath said...

It's Friday, Mark. I'll be working the weekend.

Give me a break, huh?

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

I think there is a world of difference between calling a party and its members liars ("FibDems") and calling a blog partisan ("Labour Conspiracy"). The latter is a criticism while the former is just smearage.

And for a long time, Liberal Conspiracy was explicitly Labour aligned. In the FAQ it used to state "The Labour party may represent the best vehicle for our political goals as they are in power, but our allegiance is towards liberal-left policies and ideas than specific parties."

I appreciate that has now been changed, but during the early days of LC, that put a lot of people off.

I have contributed to LC on a semi-regular basis and intend to continue to do so. But you've never approached me to do so (who have you? Name names) and it isn't because I am "man enough" (ironic, given that the thing that has impressed me most by LC has been its occasional feminist campaigns) and I can see why such nonsense goading irritates people.

Aaron Murin-Heath said... isn't because I am "man enough" (ironic, given that the thing that has impressed me most by LC has been its occasional feminist campaigns) and I can see why such nonsense goading irritates people.

It's just a phrase, James. Not a another reason to have a go.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

It isn't just a phrase, and nor is "stop bitching" - don't say that or you'll make youself look even sillier.

You certainly can't belittle such things whilst placing such importance on poxy bar charts, etc. by posting such silly nonsense as Rupert Reads' "FibDems" article.

Aaron Murin-Heath said...

Okay, James.

I understand now.

I'm the world's worst person. Ever. Or maybe it just feels like it.

I repeat. Whoever wants to write the rebuttal to Rupert's piece. Go for it. I'll publish it.

Unknown said...

Hey Aaron,

For what it's worth, I always thought you were one of the more decent people to be found around LC.

The article by Rupert Reed was badly written, badly though-out and simply looked like sour grapes. It should have been spiked or rewwritten by someone without such a heavy agenda. The FibDems thing was a super-bad idea. When I read and commented on it, I actually thought that the criticism was to a certain extant valid but would have been far better coming from a non-partisano such as you or Lee.

IMHO, What is wrong with LC for us liberals? It's not that it is particularly pro-labour. I don't actually think it is these days, Labour becoming essentially indefensible, but it is far more pro-socialist than anything with the word 'liberal' in the title should ever be, and anything that real liberals should really be associated with. It is skewed towards that viewpoint, and has been from day 1. I thought Alix and Jennie did a valiant job of trying to put forward liberal ideas (without the help really of other Lib Dem bloggers, myself included) but in the end it seemed to be that they were banging there heads against a brick wall. I lost count of the number of times I saw Alix putting forward the very progressive Lib Dem Tax policy and explaining it well only to either be shouted down, ignored, or told yes, this is very good, we should get the Labour party to do it because the Lib Dems stand no chance of ever implementing it. Eventually, facing that kind of mentality what else are they to do but throw down their swords and surrender the site to the hard-left.

There are some good people on it. Yourself, Lee and Conor Foley are the three that spring readily to mind. I also think more posts from Unity are a good thing as he is a respected blogger irrespective of his political leanings.

As a final note, really, don't beat yourself too much over this debacle. It is, after all, only a blog. You say you are busy with work and family. It is about a billion trillion times more important to be busy with these things than trying to manage puerile arguments. I am guessing if you had the choice to have screwed up at work, with your kids or on a blog, you would choose the latter.

Alex Wilcock said...

I’m feeling awkward in posting now, given that you’ve just put up a half-apology, Aaron (or ‘Human’, given your address to Millennium)… But as your apology appears to criticise Millennium for not taking into account your private correspondence and, after repeatedly laying into him, you ask for mercy, making it not the most ‘manful’ (as you might put it) apology in the world, I’ll go ahead anyway. Feel free to shoot back, if you can look up from your foot.

I think Millennium hit it on the nail when he talked about your site’s “rude children”. I’m happy to engage with people on the issues, or even over campaigning – where, as the Liberal Democrats always work harder than other parties, complaints usually boil down to ‘It’s not fair! We should be able to sit down and have votes fall into our laps!’ – but when faced with an irrational stream of abuse that says, ‘Waaahhh! I lost so you smell!’ I tend to walk away. In real life, that’s what I’d do unless I was a candidate and had to argue with even abusive idiots (and I have been a candidate, and I have done). Online, I just think, ‘site’s full of trolls. Avoid’.

I, too, went along to the “Liberal Conspiracy” event that involved us proles being addressed from the leaders at the front. Being in an upside-down-pyramid-shaped theatre didn’t mean it wasn’t top-down. I gave it a chance, and the nibbles were good, but it felt almost completely like a ‘you, the masses, will be told how to save the Labour Party’ rally. I had my fill of student socialists a decade or two ago, thanks.

You appear to be attacking Liberal Democrats on the grounds that ‘you should be authoritarian entryists and take over our site’. Sounds like every student socialist I ever knew. Fits right in with the Labour Party – just isn’t a Liberal way of thinking. Though I can think of a good reason why we might feel we had the right to a takeover…

Right from the start, “Liberal Conspiracy” has had an overwhelming – not, I accept, universal, but by a massive majority – sense that the Labour Party must be saved, that it’s basically nice, that it’s the leader of all the parties except the Tories, and that the Tories are the worst things ever (and therefore that the Labour Party is very much better). I disagree, absolutely, with those underlying assumptions. You want to know why Liberals call your site “Labour Conspiracy”? Because it’s an overwhelmingly pro-Labour project that’s deliberately nicked our name, to co-opt us with lip service rather than deeds or ideas.

So I’ll not call you “Liberal Conspiracy,” thanks. Because the vast majority of you are nothing like Liberals, and only get Liberals backs up by what looks like the latest in a very, very long run of Labour co-options of other parties to the Labour cause. It reads like yet another Labour Conspiracy to take over the Liberals, and while that might be right up your cul-de-sac, it’s not where I want to go.

Aaron Murin-Heath said...

Well Alex, I consider myself a liberal.

But whatever. Okay. You've all made up your mind.

Andrew Hickey said...

"it's more a case of you guys not having the guts to elbow for room on a broad-spectrum blog"

"Maybe if more LibDems had grasped the opportunity of changing LC's direction and actually got control of the project, Jennie wouldn't have felt so isolated."

Have you not noticed, Aaron, that time and again Lib Dems have got involved in your site, and got (swearing redacted because Millennium is a very little elephant) with the entire thing?

Its very hard to 'change direction' and 'get control' in what is, despite pretences to the contrary, the personal fiefdom of one man.

It's also simply *not true* that Lib Dems are welcome to contribute. When Jennie put me forward as a contributor last year (I eventually later got taken on to the netcast team once she was put in charge of that) - and I am told that you were someone who argued in favour of me writing for the site, so to that extent *you* at least would welcome more LD contributions - Sunny said that "I do think you make a good fit for LC " but decided not to make me a contributor because "I'm less inclined to have more Libdems on board (as they're over-represented)". Those are direct quotes from his email to me. Incidentally, that 'over-representation' at the time extended to Mat and Jennie as the only two regular Lib Dem contributors, and Jennie has now left...

The few times I *did* write something that was put on the site, other than a netcast, significant edits were made, without my permission, substantially changing the point of the posts, while leaving my name on them. Which is why I stuck to doing the netcasts - until Sunny started editing *those* and leaving my name on them too.

The whole way that site is run makes it impossible for anyone but Sunny to change the 'direction' of the site, and he's made it more than clear that he is actively hostile to any attempt to change it. You (and he) may have the best intentions in the world, but if those few Lib Dems you allow to be junior members of your exclusive little club *all* end up getting (swearing redacted for the sake of fluffy little ears) (and with the possible exception of Mat, they all have, as far as I can tell) then maybe, just maybe, you should consider that it's *you*, not *them*?

(BTW I currently don't have home net access so if anyone replies to this I won't see it til Monday - I'm not being rude and ignoring any response).

Aaron Murin-Heath said...

I think there is a world of difference between calling a party and its members liars ("FibDems") and calling a blog partisan ("Labour Conspiracy"). The latter is a criticism while the former is just smearage.

This will be last message. But James, had you put as much work into making LC a success as I have - writing the netcast every morning for a year, as well as editing the site (alone) in Sunny's absense, and writing posts myself - you'd understand why I take the jibe so seriously.

I'm not a labour person. So I take it as a smear.

Alex Wilcock said...

I didn't say you weren't a Liberal - I was thinking of you as one of the people I accepted as the not tribally Labour minority - but in your macho attitudes and demands for entryism, I did say you didn't sound like one. Because, reading everything you've written above, you don't. As everyone has their off-days, maybe you'd like to post a link to something where you write something distinctively Liberal, rather than just laying claim to the word without any justification, as your site does?

"You've all made up your mind."

Tip: Liberals actually have minds of their own. As several posts - all with their varying rather than homogeneous views about your site - have implied in their different ways, we tend to be wary of top-down groupthink where only one identical opinion is permitted. If you're alienating more individuals with everything you write, have you considered that it may not be a conspiracy, but you?

And, as I've seen your 'boo hoo, I'm the worst person in the world' attempt at irony since I posted, which clearly shows up your 'apology' for the (if I may use the term) fib it was, I find it much more ironic that, on a post criticising a defeated Green for being a whingeing, self-pitying troll with nothing to say, you - in charge of one of the biggest political blogs, but your argument trampled by a small elephant - resort to being a whingeing, self-pitying troll with nothing to say.

Alex Wilcock said...

Ironically, while I was typing that, Mr Hickey of the Liberal Hivemind has posted with an almost identical phrase to one of mine ;-)

Alix said...

I'm going to be little miss awkward here and whisper that I do have some sympathy for Aaron here purely on the basis that we are kinda having a go at him now in exactly the same prejudicial way RR and all his little mates did at us. I don't think Aaron's denying that RR's piece was a bit rubbish, or that he should probably have given it a stronger edit. He didn't write it.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

This will be last message. But James, had you put as much work into making LC a success as I have - writing the netcast every morning for a year, as well as editing the site (alone) in Sunny's absense, and writing posts myself - you'd understand why I take the jibe so seriously.

I'm not a labour person. So I take it as a smear.

Well, I've never called it Labour Conspiracy. I've simply explained why it gets called it. But by all means, shoot the effeminate messager.

Alix: I actually agree that some of the comments here have been over the top, but it is unfortunate that Aaron felt that his first line in defence was to attack.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

I can't believe I can't spell messenger. *shame*

Aaron Murin-Heath said...

As everyone has their off-days, maybe you'd like to post a link to something where you write something distinctively Liberal, rather than just laying claim to the word without any justification, as your site does?

Quite why you feel I have to justify my liberalism to you is beyond me...

But okay.

I can dig deeper if you're still not convinced.

Mark Valladares said...


I'm glad to hear that you're working at the weekend. So am I. I'll assume that you're attempting humour, because as an excuse, it really is fearfully poor.

And as for giving you a break, I didn't see you making much effort to do that with us in your earlier contributions. However, you've gallantly taken responsibility, albeit in private, for publishing the piece. So we'll consider it an editorial judgement error and leave it at that. Liberals like the idea of personal responsibility for one's actions.

Frankly, however, your 'kind of' apology is devalued by the attacks that you made before doing so. You cannot attack us as a group and as individuals then expect us to conclude, "you know, he's absolutely right, perhaps we should volunteer to have our eyelashes plucked whilst someone abuses us for not being socialist enough..."

Better to have issued an invitation to us to engage rather than try to bait us into doing so. However, I can't see Sunny being too happy at such a notion. So you might like to point him in our direction. You know where we live...

Linda Jack said...

Thanks Milly

Sorry, I am still catching up so missed all this. Of course, having been one of the alleged "Fib Dems" standing against Rupert I take issue with his analysis, which I will respond to. Aaron, you have never approached me - there may be good reasons for this, but I will submit something anyways and see if it is good enough for you, though if you regard the Greens as Liberal I fear we must be reading different dictionaries!


Mark Valladares said...


Thank you for pointing me in the direction of some of the postings that apparently display your liberalism. As a Parliamentary canddiate assessor for the Liberal Democrats for the last fifteen years or so, I'll tell you how I would score you for 'values and beliefs', one of the traditionally key aspects for judging suitability for approval as a potential Liberal Democrat candidate. I took, as your text,

And very interesting it was too. As the kind of anger-filled rant that brings blogging a bad name, it was pretty good. In terms of political philosophy it did bring to mind the word 'nihilism', although I am a mathematician by training, not a philosopher. It did include a liberal amount of coarse language, although I'm not aware that this indicates anything other than a liberalism in terms of a 'tolerance of intolerance', if you like.

I'm afraid that if this is meant to display your liberalism, then Guido is a liberal, and if I were to assert that he was, I would reasonably expect to come under sustained bombardment from his 'friends'.

Sir, if you want to convince us that you are a liberal, as opposed to an angry young man with a penchant for swearwords, you're going to have to try an awful lot harder.

Oh yes, and the score? A box 4, i.e. you're not really suited to this liberalism lark. And believe me, I have a very broad concept of liberalism...

Jennie Rigg said...

* fluffy hugs for Aaron too *

You know, I think we could all do with a beer. I've had several already, and Millennium is too young, but I think everyone else needs one.

Aaron Murin-Heath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron Murin-Heath said...

Okay Mark. You win.

I think I've conceded a lot here, and apologised, but you seem determined to ram home my shortcommings to the last, and insult my writing and political position. But at least now, with my position utterly dismissed by a LibDem parliamentary selector, I can safely give up any wandering thoughts that my home might be inside the Liberal Democrats.

Okay. This week has already been long and stressful enough. So I have to leave it there.

Mark Valladares said...


Do pay attention. You asked me to judge your liberalism on a sample of pieces from your blog. I tested one rigorously and found it wanting. That doesn't mean that you're not a liberal. It certainly doesn't mean that you're not a Liberal Democrat, just that the piece in question didn't demonstrate anything I perceived as liberal.

Frankly, I'd want to run a lot more tests before I concluded that you were or weren't a liberal - but you did invite us to do so. Tell you what, spend some quality time with a few of us - a range for preference - and see if you're comfortable. We don't bite much, only when attacked.

So stop being so defensive all of a sudden. You've taken a bit of a kicking from us - in part deserved - and you've come back for further dialogue. I admire that (just don't tell anyone I said so), and it tells me that as a human being, you're probably alright. Besides, Andrew speaks kindly of you, and I'll accept that as a positive reference.

So let's talk. If you genuinely want liberals, of a Liberal Democrat persuasion or otherwise, to engage with LC, then a less combative stance is required. You now appreciate that, I think, and you have a greater sense of our scepticism about the LC 'project'.

Sadly, from a Lib Dem perspective, I suspect that LC is a dead letter. It would be hard to imagine many of us coming back to risk being abused again. However, a more genuinely non-partisan forum for the progressive strand of British politics is still needed. Perhaps you are the person to start that, and there are those amongst us who would be game to play. Just a thought, Aaron.

So, my progressive friend, an olive branch. If you're London-based, drinks at the National Liberal Club, perhaps? I'll get the first round in...

Stephen Glenn said...

Wow. "having tried to get more and more Lib Dem writers on board, and getting them to actually engage at LC."

Interestingly as one of the Top 10 Lib Dem bloggers on Wikio I would have expected to me one of those that may have been engaged with directly. (After all I have been linked through to enough times)

But dispite having taken up invites from Scottish Round Up (ongoing), Open Democracy, Slugger O'Toole (ongoing) and currently working on a piece for War Dog not all of whom I agree with politically I find no direct approach from a site that claims to have Liberal tendacies.

Sadly Aaron over recent times the posts from some of the Labour, even Green leaning contributers have taken a swipe at the Liberal Democrats and from what I've seen on LC this has not been carried out in the return.

The sites objectives were initially to express the left side of the political spectrum in all it's hues, yet that does seem to have been lost and it some of the more thick skinned of us have given up there really is a question over the word Liberal remaining in the title.

Aaron Murin-Heath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oranjepan said...

Just swinging throught the treetops... hope nobody minds me giving my two cents worth.

I'm amused by this conversation as it comes across as a pretty stringent initiation test on him.

I'm quite a regular reader of Aaron's writing and he seems entirely conistent with what else I've seen of him. I definitely consider him as a member of the wider 'liberal diaspora' and quite entertaining really, but he still sounds like he's trying to prove something to someone.

I hope Aaron does eventually reconsider membership of the LibDems, even if it is only for a year, as I think having viewed it from the inside he may start to change his preconceptions about how things 'should' work.

Conversely Rupert Read clings to ideals even while debasing himself in full view of them - it's no wonder why he couldn't last in the party and went elsewhere. Maybe Aaron could take RR as an example of where he doesn't want to end up, bitchily bitching about bitching and bitchiness.

Of course none of this is fair - it is real.

BTW When is someone going to tell me what it means to be liberal, or is that something I get to decide for myself?