Statement: Our ethic of progressive blogging


9:00 am - April 20th 2009

by Sunder Katwala    


      Share on Tumblr

This post speaks for those who have signed it, and not every contributor to Liberal Conspiracy.

We are a group of Labour party members and supporters who believe that blogging can make an increasingly important contribution to progressive politics. We are seeking, in different ways, to make our own individual contributions to that, and wish to set out the ethic which informs our blogging and the broader politics we are working for within the Labour Party and beyond it.

Many of these are truths which should be self-evident. We are well aware that the broad spirit which we seek to articulate has long informed what most Labour bloggers do, as it also does most of those who blog in other parties and in non-partisan civic activism.

So we do not claim any particular originality; still less do we seek to impose our views as a new regulatory code, or to attempt to police others.

Our purpose is simple. We do not believe that new technology leads to inevitable outcomes, but rather that we must all make choices about how we use it and for what purposes.

So we wish to set out why we blog and how we want the party which we support to change so that it can connect to new progressive energy for the causes we support.

1. Ethical and value-based

We believe we must act as ambassadors for the political values we profess.
This applies to all politics, online or not. The Obama campaign’s power to mobilise was rooted in supporters living its ethic of ‘respect, empower and include’. As Labour supporters, we wish to ensure that our values of solidarity, tolerance and respect are reflected in how we do politics as well as the causes we seek to serve.

So we oppose the politics of personal destruction. We believe that the personal can be political, where it reveals the hypocrisy of public statements, the wilful misuse of evidence, or breaches proper ethical standards in public life. Where it doesn’t do that, it should be off limits. Politicians should be able to have a family and private life too. A politics of personal destruction violates progressive values and brings all politics into disrepute.

2. Positive about political engagement

We do not believe that the internet is inevitably a force for anti-politics.
We reject the mythology of the internet as a lawless and ethics-free zone. Bloggers are subject to law, as well as to the ethical and civic pressures of our online and offline communities. We are clear that the left can never win a politics of loathing and mutual destruction, because the faith in politics that we need will inevitably be a casualty of war. The nihilistic approach practiced by a few online should not overshadow the greater energy and numbers engaged in constructive civic advocacy.

We believe that we can challenge our political opponents without always questioning their integrity. We believe that there are big political arguments to be had between the left and the right of politics, and the left has every reason to be confident about our values and ideas, which have done much to change Britain for the better over the last century and which are in the ascendancy internationally after three decades in which anti-government arguments have often dominated.

We also believe that what is pejoratively called ‘negative campaigning’ has a legitimate place in politics. Scrutinising the principles, ideas and policies of political opponents is an important part of offering a democratic choice. We should challenge the ideas, claims and sometimes the misrepresentations of our political opponents, just as we would expect them to challenge us. We believe that this is effective when it is done accurately, and that this will become ever more important as the internet makes politics more transparent. So we will point out where there is a mismatch between professed principles and policies, or where the evidence does not back up what is claimed, but we will try not to assume our opponents are in bad faith where we do not have evidence to support that.

3. Pluralist and open

We believe that pluralism must be at the heart of the progressive blogosphere. We believe that debate and argument are what brings life to politics. We want to promote a cultural ‘glasnost’ of open discussion within our party, to show that we understand that the confidence to debate, and disagree, in an atmosphere of mutual respect helps us to bring people together to make change possible.

We believe we must change the culture of Labour’s engagement with those outside the party too, including those who were once our supporters but who are disillusioned, and new generations forming their political opinions. For us, democratic politics is about individuals working together to create collective pressure for change, but also about the need to continue to talk even when we disagree deeply. We believe in engaging with all reasonable critics of the Labour government and Labour Party, wherever we can establish the possibility of taking part in democratic arguments in a spirit of mutual respect.

4. Independent spaces

We believe that attempts to transfer ‘command and control’ models to online politics will inevitably fail. Labour must show that it gets that – in practice as well as theory – if we are make our contribution to the progressive movements on which our causes depend.

The government and the political parties should use their official spaces to contribute to and enable these conversations. We also want to see Ministers and MPs having the confidence to engage in political debate and argument elsewhere, while being clear that there is no value for anybody in seeking to control independent spaces for discussion.

5. Participatory and cooperative

We believe in a cooperative ethic of blogging, because the internet is most potent when it harnesses the creativity, ideas and expertise of many people. The internet is a powerful tool for individual expression. We believe it also enables citizens to interact and collaborate in ways that were never previously possible, and catalyse new forces for participation and activism. As citizens, and as bloggers, we believe in asking not only what is wrong with the world but how we can work together to improve it.

We hope that others will offer ideas and responses – supportive and critical – about these ideas and how they can help to inform the future of our politics.

We know that the outcomes of politics matter deeply, that politics is about passion and argument, and that we may ourselves sometimes fall short of the values and standards that we aspire to.

But this is why we blog – and what we hope to achieve for our politics by doing so.

signed
Sunder Katwala www.nextleft.org
Nick Anstead www.nickanstead.com/blog/
Will Straw www.changeweneed.org.uk
David Lammy MP www.davidlammy.co.uk
Rachael Jolley www.nextleft.org
Jessica Asato www.progressonline.org.uk and labourwomen.blogspot.com
Karin Christiansen labourwomen.blogspot.com
Paul Cotterill www.bickerstafferecord.org.uk
Laurence Durnan www.blackburnlabour.org/blog
Alex Finnegan www.abigblockofcheese.blogspot.com
Gavin Hayes www.compassonline.org.uk
Mike Ion mike-ion.blogspot.com
Richard Lane www.politicana.co.uk
Tom Miller newerlabour.blogspot.com
Carl Nuttall www.blackburnlabour.org/blog
Anthony Painter www.anthonypainter.co.uk
Don Paskini don-paskini.blogspot.com
Andreas Paterson citizenandreas.blogspot.com
Asif Sange www.blackburnlabour.org/blog
Stuart White www.nextleft.org
Graham Whitman gtrmancfabians.blogspot.com

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunder Katwala is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is the director of British Future, a think-tank addressing identity and integration, migration and opportunity. He was formerly secretary-general of the Fabian Society.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Media

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Believe it when I see it. Many of the names on this list have engaged in the politics of personal destruction – destruction of me.

Very rarely do I write about left-wing bloggers (Draper apart). Look how many times daily you lot attack me personally.

I have a thick skin and mainly ignore you lot – but spare me the high minded words. Tom Miller prepared a dossier on me for Derek which was as cynical an exercise in the politics of personal destruction as it could be. It outlined possible attack lines knowing they were false.

Those meetings at Labour HQ, which many of you signatories attended, dwelled far too long on how to take the fight to Iain Dale and myself.

You should be putting forward a positive agenda, LabourList turned into an embarrassing farce making contrived allegations of racism against Dale and I, we now know with the connivance of Damian McBride.

Tom Miller has some cheek. He should be ashamed of himself.

Mr Staines

I have not been interested in focusing on ‘whataboutery’ at the right over this, because I think the liberal-left should not sink to that level, whatever is done by some on the other side. And, as the statement says, most on the right do not do so either.

But I believe you frequently participate in very similar kinds of innuendo and smear that McBride and Draper were guilty of. Their stupidity was to attempt to sink to such a level. That was hateful, stupid and arrogant. It also drives the anti-politics agenda which you want, and we do not. (Though I was myself struck by how much the anti-everybody Guido Fawkes was actively cheerleading for George Osborne on the economy in the last year: you might want to watch out you do not start to slip into positive advocacy).

There are a couple of differences. You are not so stupidly inept at it as they are. And you are not doing it while being paid by the taxpayer or employed by a government or party.

But it remains true, in my view, that anybody who is disgusted by the content of WHAT they were doing (as opposed simply to WHO was doing it) should also be disgusted by the content of many of your unfounded personal smears of a similar nature.

I thought Draper’s attacks on Dale were silly, and I don’t think the main point I would make about your website is what goes on in the comments section. But please explain, just what is the difference between what Draper and McBride did and several of your offerings.

For example, do you defend this claim about Aspergers?

http://www.order-order.com/2008/08/is-brown-bonkers/
It is time to bring the question out into the open: is the Prime Minister of sane mind?
…. The question comes up in private conversations all the time. Guido has heard it seriously suggested that Gordon suffers from “high functioning Aspergers” …It is low politics to hurl cheap abuse at opponents, but this is not borne of malice towards Brown”

Why the innuendo about Mark Oaten being a paedophile,
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2006/01/our_legal_advic.asp
or the bizarre homophobic baiting of the Prime Minister
http://www.order-order.com/2008/01/gordon-wants-beckham/

What makes this acceptable? Presumably you didn’t intend anybody to believe “this is not borne of malice towards Brown”?

I take these types of challenges to be the type of fact-based challenges to hypocrisy which we believe to be in order and legitimate.

Oh dear

I have never heard of Tom Miller but rather embarrassing if true?

Sunder – did your pal prepare a dossier on Guido??

Otherwise all very high-minded and worthy.

Oops

The high-mindedness has slipped already.

Less than an hour – that was quick!

Maybe you recall that the first people to attack Brown on sanity grounds were – oh yes – Blair / Campbell?

Yes it’s so important to work on “fact based challenges to hypocrisy” wrt an independent blogger.
I suppose Labour doesn’t have much else to worry about.

Sorry about multiple posts btw as I am iphoning from a Café waiting to arrive somewhere for a meeting.

That didn’t take long did it? Back.to attack.

For the record I do think Brown has mental issues. I am not alone in thinking he is a weirdo. Many Labour politicians think so.

The Oaten thing is spin.

As does Tom Bower – biographer – see today’s Telegraph.

Why isn’t this on LabourList where it belongs? Last I heard, this blog isn’t affiliated to New Labour.

* sigh *

When we have these obvious crossposts, is there any chance of an “originally posted at…” at the top? Because you’ve just told everyone on the internet that LC is a collection of Labour Bloggers, and that’s what leads to emails like the one we all got from the award-winning Ms Mortimer this weekend.

YOU might be a collection of Labour Bloggers but I’M not, and nor are any of the other Lib Dem or Green or unaligned contributors, and this is the sort of thing that makes us feel pushed out of the theoretical “big tent” which appears to only exist as long as Labout members are the ones in charge of the tent pegs..

Justin

“Why isn’t this on LabourList where it belongs? Last I heard, this blog isn’t affiliated to New Labour.”

My thoughts exactly.

13. vulpus_rex

I can’t decide whether this load of self regarding tosh is nauseating or screamingly hilarious.

“For the record I do think Brown has mental issues.”

So what better to do than call him “bonkers” and have him dressed up as a clown. Lor’, you are a card.

“Why isn’t this on LabourList where it belongs? Last I heard, this blog isn’t affiliated to New Labour.”

Aye.

What a fun day this promises to be. Hope I get some work done.

Labourlist has its strengths and its weaknesses but overall I’ve been impressed with how it’s grown as a community. I have put articles up there (or maybe just one article.) Actually, I find myself visiting this website rather more often but that’s just a matter of taste. The point of the statement is to underline the independence and diversity of blogging on the left. Also, that taken as a family bloggers the left can achieve more than the sum of their parts. So let’s not just turn this is to a well-worn discussion about Labourlist and there’s been more than enough discussion about various individuals involved…..so let’s talk principles and practice.

There is a broader point that I try to make this morning in the blog that I wrote to go with the statement: there is a need for a new politics and the statement speaks to that more broadly. Open, diverse, vocal, articulate, ethical: again, we all fall short at times but as an articulation of how we match leftist blogging to a different kind of active democracy, my sense is that the statement is quite powerful. You may disagree but that’s the nature of this and also what this can contribute.

So let’s not get side-tracked. And I have work to do!

The blog I wrote this morning is at:

http://e8voice.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-politics-statement-on-labour.html

we understand that the confidence to debate, and disagree, in an atmosphere of mutual respect helps us to bring people together to make change possible

It would be interesting to know if this stretches to a commitment to stop deleting the vowels from comments with which you disagree?

Free consonants are not the same as free speech!!!

Guido, the difference is that you have a blog that get’s thousands of visits and is followed by the MSM where most of us are pretty minor figures. Being part of the political landscape to the point where you can bring down people in government means you’re a target. Or are you seriously implying that wouldn’t target a Labour blogger who rose to your kind of level of influence.

Jennie – Last time I checked this site was neither Labour nor Lib Dem, surely you can indulge us Labour types a little.

For the Record: I did not attend the Labour Bloggers Meeting, I met Derek Draper once, at a Fabian event, had a brief chat mainly trying to persuade him (unsucesfully) to be a bit more accomodating to Tim Ireland.

What Cath, Jennie & Justin said.

Still – that’s a useful list from Sunder of the 21 people across the country who will be voting Labour next time round.

“Last time I checked this site was neither Labour nor Lib Dem, surely you can indulge us Labour types a little.”

The difference is that when non-Labour people post they are very careful not to specifically exclude everyone who is not a member of their party (a member, not even a voter, but a MEMBER) within the first frigging sentence.

Jennie – I see your point, Sunder, might be worth sticking a little explanatory paragraph at the top.

I can agree completely with most of the principles laid out in this post but would query why if it is a specific attempt to address the ethics of ‘progressive blogging’ it makes so many references to the Labour party which rather undermines the commitment to pluralism.

There are plenty of political discussions to be made which do not specifically involve the politics of the Labour party or taking a partisan stance on the governments record. There are plenty of progressives who are not affiliated with Labour and I completely agree with Jennie’s frustration when an initiative such as this seems to specifically exclude us. Plenty of progressive bloggers and even some Labour affiliated bloggers would count themselves among critics of the government and the Labour party.

I edited a line in. If I knew where the post had been originally made for, I would have put “originally posted at”, but…

Noble sentiments. Might I suggest that burying LabourList would be a good place to start?

I just popped over to see if there was any activity still going on there and the first post I read contained a series of reactionary stereotypes of the G20 protesters (“rabble” in his words) by some “Young Labour” bod called Michael Harris:
http://www.labourlist.org/whats_the_point_of_young_labour_michael_harris

It convinced me Labour List is beyond saving.

24. Mike Killingworth

Oh, and lest we forget, Labour is also a party that encourages its millionaire supporters to buy their only-just-out-of-teenage daughters safe Parliamentary seats.

#8 Guido

> The Oaten thing is spin.

Really? So, this isn’t your voice on a podcast recorded and released by you in 2006?

http://bit.ly/zFxpJ

26. Sunder Katwala

Thanks for comments.I don’t think a piece published on LC – under my name, with co-signatories, claims that it is speaking for all of Liberal Conspiracy, any more than any individual piece does so. Anybody else could publish a challenge, a different piece on their own ethic, a satire on the statement or whatever. So I am not sure about that. Any specific ideas about the labelling are welcome, but I thought the first line and the signatures were crystal clear on that.

We didn’t invite non-Labour people to join this statement. I am for pluralism in many things. But I thought that might be construed as asking other progressives to share the responsibility/burden of Labour’s reputational problem. We are clear that a broadly similar ethic informs most blogging across the political spectrum, and particularly among progressives.

Why were we keen to post it on LC?

Because many people here will have important and interesting things to say about progressive blogging – generally, and perhaps to tell us from the outside what you think Labour ‘getting it’ would take.

Because it is an important space where that broader progressive liberal-left thinks and talks, and because it is one of the spaces which seems to me to be trying to get progressive pluralism right, one important part of which is that as a hub where various narrower debates interact and engage, ideally fruitfully.

If this is a group of people within the Labour Party who want to have engagement with the broader progressive liberal-left. We think the Labour Party needs to change its culture to do that. It makes sense – in my view – to open a conversation here to ensure that isn’t only a Labour debate, since the point of the culture change would be to make a pluralist debate possible. I expect the responses to be ‘is this just talk’, ‘its too late for you lot to do anything now’, ‘good idea – but I bet you can’t do it’, and even ‘it would be good if Labour did get there’ or examples of what greens, libdems and others are doing, either which is in the spirit of this or which isn’t

#8 Guido

> The Oaten thing is spin.

By who?

28. Alisdair Cameron

“Progressive” blogging, YES (insofar as progressive means anything at all, which I increasingly doubt as every so-and-so appropriates the word to their own partisan ends).
Pro-Labour blogging? Count me out, at least until the party rids itself of the New Labour entryists, bullies and authoritarian control-freaks (which is also when Hell freezes over).

“I don’t think a piece published on LC – under my name, with co-signatories, claims that it is speaking for all of Liberal Conspiracy, any more than any individual piece does so.”

It will be spun as doing so by people who already call this site LAbour conspiracy. Why do you want to give them ammunition. And after what happened LAST time I posted a rebuttal post (it was deleted, and I was told it should have been put as a comment to the original) you might understand my reluctance to do so again.

And if you want to engage people from outside Labour, perhaps using the first sentence to say “this is not aimed at you”, which is what that first sentence says to me, is perhaps not the best way to go about it.

However, doubtless I am completely wrong, and you are ABSOLUTELY engaging with all the outside-Labour people who have posted similar comments to mine, and things will continue on as ever… THIS is the problem with new Labour. You listen, but you’re so convinced of your unutterable RIGHTNESS that you don’t hear, even when someone is trying to help.

Sunder @28:

When the casual reader reads a blog entry – the first entry on the blog this morning – which starts “We are a group of Labour party members and supporters…” then they are likely to conclude that the blog is written by a group of Labour party members and supporters. It’s no wonder your non-Labour co-bloggers got riled. If you didn’t want this to come across as identifying Liberal Conspiracy with the Labour party, you should have written it differently. This isn’t complicated.

31. Sunder Katwala

Jennie

Thanks for the response. I am sorry this has offended you. I did hear the points, and think the line you have added makes that clear. But it is my understanding that LC is intended to be a hub for precisely these type of debates, and I have never claimed to speak for all of the contributors.

I think to call LC a Labour site is an absurd thing to say about Liberal Conspiracy for anybody who knows it or spends 5 minutes on it. If people (who?) want to ‘spin’ that then what effect do we fear they are having? The answer is simply for LC to continue to host contributions and active discussions from as wide a range of perspectives as it does..

Our intention was to say something as a group of Labour people, and invite responses and constructive criticism from all quarters. We tried to make that the tone of the piece. I think had it been less ‘exclusive’ there would have been a different criticism (‘this is your problem, not ours’) so we discussed the balance between those.

Hmmm, again this discussion is threatening to go off track.

Funny that guido thinks that the Mark Oaten thing was just ‘spin’. I’d call that smearing personally. But, you know, that’s just me. And the other point is – no one cares about you personally Staines – they only care that you claim high-minded disgust with smearing, right after you spend all your time smearing ppl. So stop trying to play the victim card – makes you look pathetic.

I’m not offended, I am annoyed that YET AGAIN I am going to have to justify to people within my own party why I bother to continue contributing to this site when it is clearly run by a cabal of LAbour supporters and members who cannot see past their own privelege and only allow me to contribute to give themselves a figleaf of acceptability.

If you were trying to make the tone of the piece inclusive, you failed.

I hope, but do not expect, that this will affect how you word the very first sentence of your next post. Shall I bother to hold my breath?

‘Labour… supporters’
Are there many MPs left now that support Labour?
It seems that these days Labour MPs aren’t even lobby fodder as the ruling junta has effectively bypassed even them.

35. Stuart White

The great thing – well, a great thing – about LC is that it is a non-aligned space in party political terms. However, that doesn’t mean it is inappropriate for LC to include posts by people writing from a specific party perspective, as the statement ‘Our ethic of progressive blogging’ does.

The point of the blog is not to espouse the Labour party or to criticise non-Labour people. It is a statement by some people who identify as Labour saying that we believe in a values-based and pluralist ethic of blogging – one that does not simply act as silly cheerleading for a specific political party. It is reasonable to suppose that other values-based, pluralistic and progressive bloggers – whether they be Greens, Lib Dems, or whatever – might be interested in what we have to say, and hence it seems reasonable to post the statement here.

In my own blogging – apologies for getting on my high-horse – I frequently criticise Labour amd support things said by Greens and/or Lib Dems and others. I am utterly uninterested in personalities: my blogging focuses on issues. As far as I’m concerned the statement is saying: ‘More of this!’

For the information of Guido Fawkes: I have never been anywhere near any Labour party meeting discussing blogging, nor have I ever met Derek Draper or Damien Mcbride.

A useful memory-jogger, this. Can I respectfully resubmit my request to be taken off the Contributors’ page please?

Thanks.

I have to say, I saw this after the first italicised sentence had already been added, and even so my first thought was the article with it’s header “Our” and its first sentence would be a bit misleading to people who didn’t regularly visit this site. A short explanatory paragraph – this is a statement some leading Labour bloggers have put forward, and we wanted to bring it to Liberal Conspiracy’s attention and see if you have any comments – would really help thing.

I am however always surprised when the allegation of this site being “run by a cabal of Labour supporters and members” comes up (I presume from your wording, Jennie, this is what some people in your own party have said to you rather than something you believe yourself? – although could be read either way). The site seems on balance closer to the Lib Dems to me.

Paul Staines, like Iain Dale, will often moan that only one side of the story is being told… after he has repeatedly refused to even speak of the events he claims are being unfairly documented/presented.

(And spin? From the man who once defended the Oaten smear on the basis that the podcast was a beta test? Didn’t Derek Draper get a kicking for trying that same trick?)

Perhaps if Paul offered a similar level of transparency that he demands of others with political power this would be less of a problem. So, trying in vain once again:

So, Paul Staines, do tell us how you thought that jokes about a man being a paedophile equated to a hint that he had recently had sex with men, because you’ve yet to explain that part to us.

It is important to point out that this post by Sunder is a statement not an article- one that is cross-posted with other blogs. Is the fact that a group of Labour bloggers have decided to make this statement not of interest? Does it not signal that there is a desire for both a restatement of ethics and values that should not need to be restated and an equally strong urge to forge a different type of pluralistic and expansive politics whatever the merits and demerits?

Actually, the reason I like this site is because it ISN’T just Labour party soundbites constantly regurgitated- far from it in my experience. As a Labour party member- and European candidate- it gives me a broader, intelligent and witty perspective on liberal and leftist politics (I’m not a fan of the word progressive but that’s just personal taste.)

The Labour party does not define the mainstream left in the UK. Equally, the mainstream and liberal left would find it difficult to be effective were the Labour party suddenly not to exist. Hopefully, we can find common and cooperative ground. And that doesn’t blunt anyone’s ability to either disagree or, even, agree with the Labour party in or out of power.

40. Sunder Katwala

Jennie

Well I am sorry about that. Perhaps it would have been better to have somebody here write constructively or critically about it, rather than posting the statement itself, given the reaction of you and others. Since the inclusivity issue also had the danger of suggesting we wanted to spread/share the reputational damage, so we did think about it, even if you disagree with the conclusion. The substantive difference is that I think bylines indicate authorship clearly enough in a plural space. It may be fair to say that ‘manifesto’ style statements need to be treated differently, or perhaps the headline is the issue.

It would still be interesting to discuss the substantial points of progressive blogging which we are making an attempt to grapple with, such as where Labour is and where the other parties are, whether the reputation of blogging is going to be driven by antii-politics, what type of challenge or ‘negativity’ should be in our out (online, or generally) on which the levels of contribution and discussion at LC tend to be higher than elsewhere. For example, it seems to me there is an effective challenge around whether the statement would need to be clearer about the specifics, or whether if it were carried through, it would demand changing x, y or z specifically.

Why isn’t this on LabourList where it belongs? Last I heard, this blog isn’t affiliated to New Labour.

Very well said. LC should be a space for left and liberals to converge, statements like this one play into the perception LC is a Labour trojan horse blog…

To be fair to Sunder, I read the “we” in his first sentence to mean the signatories of the statement, I didn’t think he was speaking on behalf of everyone at LC. And I can certainly understand why, given recent events, some Labour supporting bloggers might want to produce such a statement of principles.

Phew at least you haven’t turned into a Labour Blog!!
Thanks for clearing it up Jenny!!!
Lovely ol’ Sunny let me blog on here a while ago about Home Education and I came here today to see it’d changed into a Labour Blog, sigh.. conspiracy theory panic over!!!

Anyway
@ the posters. You were after some constructive criticism and debate I think….

“As Labour supporters, we wish to ensure that our values of solidarity, tolerance and respect are reflected in how we do politics as well as the causes we seek to serve.”

Good to hear this!! Wanting to see more evidence of it from your party.

“Politicians should be able to have a family and private life too.”

All People should be able to have a family and private life!!! Except of course children and their parents who must be measured and monitored to keep up with Labour Government targets oh and obviously all other adults too…. For details see here…

http://sometimesitspeaceful.blogspot.com/2009/02/for-all-parents.html

“the left has every reason to be confident about our values and ideas, which have done much to change Britain for the better over the last century and which are in the ascendancy internationally after three decades in which anti-government arguments have often dominated.”

You may be right here?? but you need to be specific because many people have difficulty seeing any this right now, what with all the muck flying about.

“We also believe that what is pejoratively called ‘negative campaigning’ has a legitimate place in politics.”

Indeed it is important that we all have the freedom to ask any authority to justify itself and its actions rather than just throwing muck whenever it flexes its muscles!!

“We believe that pluralism must be at the heart of the progressive blogosphere. We believe that debate and argument are what brings life to politics. We want to promote a cultural ‘glasnost’ of open discussion within our party, to show that we understand that the confidence to debate, and disagree, in an atmosphere of mutual respect helps us to bring people together to make change possible.”

OOH this would be lovely!!!!
But quite simply if your party’s actions are right they should have good enough arguments to persuade us (you know the people??) If they need to behave in the way they have been doing recently maybe they themselves are not even persuaded that their actions are right. Most people only need to be forced to do what you want them to do either when you are wrong or your arguments are poor.

“We believe we must change the culture of Labour’s engagement with those outside the party too, including those who were once our supporters but who are disillusioned, and new generations forming their political opinions.”

You have a big job on your hands there, good luck with it, trust is low.. hard to engage when there is little trust..

Back to my personal bone for picking…. How can you increase trust when, for example, we have a Government that continues to increase compulsion in an education system where parents of unhappy school children who truant are imprisoned if they don’t get them to school and have their kids taken away if they feel pressured and resort to a corporal punishment to force them to go. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6069653.ece

Interesting how they go about “engaging with new generations who are forming their political opinions.” Indeed great improvements are needed in how we as a society engage with our children and it is not about setting them targets and compulsory voluntary service. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20090412/tuk-compulsory-voluntary-work-for-young-6323e80.html

“For us, democratic politics is about individuals working together to create collective pressure for change, but also about the need to continue to talk even when we disagree deeply.”

I agree strongly, hoping to see you influence the party you support to actually believe and enable this too!!

“We believe in engaging with all reasonable critics of the Labour government and Labour Party, wherever we can establish the possibility of taking part in democratic arguments in a spirit of mutual respect.”

This is bloody hard to do when slanderous allegations are made against you, I don’t need examples here but in case anyone missed any here are a couple: the protesters who were alleged to have prevented the police from “helping” Ian Tomlinson, the Home Educators whose atypical parenting choices the government says “could be masking a range of evils including sexual exploitation and domestic servitude.” (my personal issue here again, sorry, but now we find, from reading yesterday’s times, that this use of slander to make political progress is linked closely to Mr Balls, I was hoping we were paranoid but the evidence is stacking up against that, he may well have the best of intentions but the methods are appalling). Hard to respect those who show little respect for the people they serve (if they have any it they hide it well, we need to see more evidence please)

“We also want to see Ministers and MPs ………while being clear that there is no value for anybody in seeking to control independent spaces for discussion.”

Wow is that what they’re up to now? not really surprised though that the people who think the Secretary of State for Education should tell all teens what books they must read would also think that they should tell members of their own party what they should say and think, and where they should engage in discussion. Still I thought association with the party would give you folks more freedom than the rest of us hmmm….

“We believe in a cooperative ethic of blogging, because the internet is most potent when it harnesses the creativity, ideas and expertise of many people. The internet is a powerful tool for individual expression. We believe it also enables citizens to interact and collaborate in ways that were never previously possible, and catalyse new forces for participation and activism. As citizens, and as bloggers, we believe in asking not only what is wrong with the world but how we can work together to improve it.”

Do build on this utopian idea!!! If you really think it can be done within the Labour Party more power to you your elbow.

It is mainly through the internet that I have accessed the ideas and support to find the best philosophy for bringing up my children through home education and living consensually. This freedom is now challenged by your party and their excessive regulation of parenting (and everything else) that places parents between a rock and a hard place (see sad example of stressed out mum who smacked kid who didn’t want go to school, above). Parents are dammed if they do what the government tells them to and dammed if they don’t, the personal sure is political!!!

I sincerely hope, as you say you do, that the internet remains the vital and effective tool it is to remedy the situation we all find ourselves in.

Sunder, my last word on this: when trying to engage people not in your clique, it is perhaps best to rely on what THEY say engages/disengages them rather than the members of the clique?

If you turn off the people you are trying to engage with from your very first sentence, which plainly you have, then they aren’t going to want to read the rest of the article and engage with it. Which is a shame, because actually, it’s a nice little article overall. Although I would agree with tim f above who says that this site and you personally are closer in ethos to the Lib Dems than the current Labour party.

Which, of course, only adds to my frustration with the site’s, and your, focus on Labour, and the meme that exists all over the internet, and certainly a majority of Lib Dem Bloggers believe, that this site is merely a Labour Trojan horse.

What Justin and Cath and Jennie and Leon and (especially) Alistair have said.

While I don’t subscribe personally to the statement above by Sunder and his Labour Party chums, it’s fair to say there’s room for a Fabian perspective on this blog – as long as it’s labelled clearly with suitable disclaimers.

And right on cue I notice a disclaimer has appeared! Thank you Sunder.

Anthony Painter

Is the fact that a group of Labour bloggers have decided to make this statement not of interest?

No, not in the slightest.

Cath @48,

You’ve read as far as comment 41- at least- so it must be of some interest??? If it’s only for satire that you’ve trawled through this then I’m very pleased to have uplifted your Monday morning. It certainly seems to have got some debate going.

Is the purpose of the post to distance these guys from McBride type stuff?
It’s all very high-minded but pointless.

And it hasn’t worked anyway since they have admitted attacking Staines.

50. Matt Munro

Could you please explain:

a) How you are defining “progressive”

b) In what sense the label progressive is appropriate for your little in-group

No, not in the slightest.

Cath – is someone holding a gun to your head asking you to read everything posted on this website? I suspect not. This is of interest to me. If you don’t like it – go away somewhere else to read something you do like.

People on here, especially the Libdems, are so sectarian its unreal isn’t it. So what if Libcon occasionally runs posts about the Labour party? I thought this was a broad tent? Looks like the Libdems and others want to drive anything pro-Labour off this site.

Adam, nobody wants to drive pro-Labour people off the site – an impossibility anyway, since the vast majority of the people involved with the site are Labour supporters. And I think Sunny, who after all owns the site, would be far more likely to drive off the Lib Dems than the Labour members (not that I think he would wish to do either…)
The problem is that many posts by *some* of the Labour contributors here (far from all – Laurie Penny, for example, even though she writes for LabourList, never makes this error, and I’m sure there are others) explicitly presume in their posts that they are writing for a solely Labour audience. Sometimes – often in fact – this is because the post is cross-posted from somewhere else and hasn’t been edited for the audience here.
Believe it or not, Jennie and the others are offering *constructive* criticism – note that Jennie is a regular contributor here despite other prominent Lib Dems, like Alix, feeling this site is so hostile to Liberal Democrats that they cannot continue to contribute. Many of us in the Lib Dems actively want to work with the ever-shrinking number of decent people in the Labour Party, because it would be nice if the major political parties were run by decent, well-intentioned people – excluding a chunk of the audience for no good reason does no-one any favours…

54. Mike Killingworth

[55]

Looks like the Libdems and others want to drive anything pro-Labour off this site.

Well, there are Lib Dems who want the Labour movement to be abolished as soon as possible. And by that they don’t mean NuLab and its corruption and control-freakery, they mean the very possibility of a mainstream social democratic party.

Anyone who has been a member of any Party without at the same time being mindlessly tribal knows that it attracts the suspicion if not the downright hostility of those Party members who are. And in these days of declining Party membership all round, I fear that tribalists may be a greater fraction of the whole than ever.

55. Mike Killingworth

Sorry, didn’t turn the blockquote off.

I feel a bit sorry for Sunder and Sunny over this. When I read it, I didn’t think that Liberal Conspiracy was endorsing Labour spin, rather that one contributor was. This is the important thing to remember about group blogs, especially ones run by Sunny. Writers will post things that other writers disagree with. If writers praise Lib Dems, Greens, etc. the site isn’t endorsing them.

Ultimately, a group blog has two choices; they can either have a very staid, tightly-controlled system whether all posts go through the editor and there is a blog line on things. Or, they can aim for the eclectic approach that Pickled Politics, Liberal Conspiracy and others follow where writers write what they want, with their only common bond being a broad philosphical agreement on certain issues. Personally I prefer the latter.

Moreover, is there anything here that Lib-Dem bloggers really disagree with?

“Ultimately, a group blog has two choices; they can either have a very staid, tightly-controlled system whether all posts go through the editor and there is a blog line on things. Or, they can aim for the eclectic approach that Pickled Politics, Liberal Conspiracy and others follow where writers write what they want, with their only common bond being a broad philosphical agreement on certain issues. Personally I prefer the latter.”

I prefer the latter, too, Rumbold, and I wish that’s what LC was. It’s not. Not by a long chalk. SOME people can post what they want, and I’m lucky enough to be one of them, most of the time, but the vast majority of posts do actually go through one person.

Mike, I don’t think there’s a single LibDem who actually wants that. Given that the party was formed by a merger between the Liberals and the *Social Democratic Party* it hardly seems likely that we want to stop mainstream social democracy. Even those ‘libertarian’ Liberals who are on the economic right are *liberal* – they don’t want to see the possibility of *any* political ideology being abolished.
I know several of the Lib Dems who have posted in this thread, and none of them are ‘mindlessly tribal’. I have seen Jennie and Tez Burke praise specific Labour politicians on many occasions, for example.
It is actually the *opposite* of ‘mindlessly tribal’ to try to engage with people of other parties and to *point out their problems with communicating their ideas in a relatively constructive manner*. I think that term possibly applies better to those who go around accusing nameless others of wanting to destroy the possibility of certain types of thought altogether…

Soorry you have a problem with the way I run LC jennie, but in this case can we focus on the actual letter in hand?

What Jennie said, Rumbold. When I contribute here, for example, the Netcasts get posted by Jennie, and she can theoretically alter them (so far she’s only tidied up stuff that I would have picked up myself when I’ve sent them in when I’m too tired to notice). The longer posts, on the other hand, go through Sunny, who makes far more editorial changes. This site is far more like a newspaper, with an overall editor and a few section editors, than a group blog.

In the article? Of course not, Dave. Not that we were being asked 😉

I don’t think anybody minds articles appearing *about* political parties they’re not in. If they really did, this site wouldn’t have got as far as it has. It’s the backdrop of assumptions that is more worrying, in particular the overriding assumption about the audience’s probable affiliation. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can see it in how the comment moderation policy operates, apparently in favour of unpleasant posts from the left and over-harshly on unpleasant (and sometimes not even that) posts from the right. Big shout out to Don Paskini for being an exception to that at the mod controls recently, by the way.

I’ve learnt a lot of things and met some great lefties here and I hope I continue to do so. But, while my main motivation for wanting to be taken off the contribs’ list is time (I haven’t actually posted for a year), I suppose it’s quite possible that had I felt motivated to contribute, and like it was going to be useful to me and liberalism, I would somehow have found the time 🙁

Smearing Shmearing!

Oh, well, at least no one’s been found dead, propped against a tree, with their wrists cut have they?

Nope, that is quite true. Eh well.

Now, as Sunny suggests, perhaps we should sit this one out and leave the Labour people to discuss the substance of their article.

The general point re LC is that a group of Labour bloggers who aspire to be influential posted their pov here about how how Labour bloggers should behave. Fine. They are not assuming we share their assumptions. No one who is not a Labour person has to read it, if you don’t share their Fabian predilections then skip it. I think it is good to be curious and learn about other perspectives esp those that are close to your own yet also very distant. Certainly, I felt it was too pious. This made me ask myself why. Although I don’t at all share Paul Staines’s Murdoch style culture, or his apparent loathing for all politicians, the fact is that he has done a great public service in this case and this should be acknowledged.

Surely, on a progressive site, one side of the divide can enjoy an introspective thread without being screamed at by the other side for dominating things? There have been a lot of Lib Dem centric posts too.

I guess not. But then again, some people just like screaming.

This doesn’t seem to have been posted at Labour List or Labour Home.

BLOG WARZ!!! LOLZ etc

Seriously. I hate Labour. But I have no problem with a bunch of Labour-loving misguided ‘progressives’ attempt to distance themselves from Dolly Draper. I don’t blame them – he’s given all bloggers a bad name. They want to do it here, then fine. It should have had a disclaimer at the top when it was originally posted, but that was more of an oversight than a genuine Labour invasion.

This doesn’t seem to have been posted at Labour List or Labour Home.

Oh right, so this MUST be evidence that the site is run by a cabal of Labourites.

It appears to me, that the people who have a problem with LC are paid-up members of political parties. Quite a few CLP members have left, and other Labour members often open fire on this site. And of course we receive regular criticisms from LibDem’rs.

What LC hopes to do is provide a forum for progressives of differing colours (greens, interventionists, classical liberals, single-issue activists) to discuss their ideas and – one wearily hopes – reach some sort of compromise.

The thing is, we don’t have political affiliations. This of course pisses off those who do.

Soorry you have a problem with the way I run LC jennie, but in this case can we focus on the actual letter in hand?

OK Sunny, here we go, opening sentence:

We are a group of Labour party members and supporters who..

We are? Are we?

This opening sentence has appeared in feedreaders all over the country, including prominent journalists and activists, including those Lib Dems who I constantly have to argue with and say “it’s not Labour Conspiracy, it’s more than that”.

We’ve had the conversation, privately, that posts here that look like they speak for all of us have to actually speak for all of us.

To some, it doesn’t look like it’s speaking for anyone except those at the bottom of the open letter.

To many others? It does. Once again, this site looks like nothing more than a Labour party trojan horse.

I know that’s not what you intend, I sure as hell know it’s not what Sunder intends, but that’s what it looks like.

First thing I learned in Politics 101:

In politics, perception is everything
~Prof Michael Rush

Many many people don’t do more than scan articles, especially in their feeds, you’ve been blogging long enough to know that.

This post started by asserting that “we” were something, and it appeared at the top of a blog that many of us that aren’t contribute to. You can’t see the problem with that?

Really?

Because I can. And I’m fed up of defending this site again and again to the people it should be appealing to.

A very simple opening paragraph positioning the letter for this site would be fine. I agree with most of the substance of the letter, you know it’s how I approach things anyway.

But no, this post starts by claiming that “we” are something that we’re not. Doesn’t matter that isn’t what was intended. It matters as to what is.

And that’s why this conversation has, once again, gone away from the actual subject, and into site meta discussion. When you piss off a large chunk of your contributor base by doing this sort of thing, what do you expect?

@Sunder. Good post, I mostly concur, the issues are more important and the gossip and tittle tattle demeans all of us, even if it does ‘sell’ well.

Er, yeah, I think Sunder accepts he’d misjudged the opening.

But please, do go on about it some more.

Whoa boy…I like LC eclecticism…though this post is hilariously pompous and prolix…I am just wondering why these Labour bloggers haven’t posted this on those two Labour sites…

@cjcjc It is on LabourHome. And on the Fabian blog (s). It is not on LabourList- I don’t know why- perhaps because it’s devoted to Young Labour issues today but that’s just a speculation or it could be that it would just be a red rag to a bull there at the moment so would be pointless.

It is on numerous other blogs as well. So the main focus has been Labour leaning blogs etc. The purpose of it being on here is to reach out to others and identify common cause. If you want to say, ‘delete the word Labour from this and I agree with it’ then great. If you want to say ‘I disagree with this statement and this is why’ then that’s fine too- let’s discuss it and a good portion of the posts have done. Anyone who regularly visits this site- as Sunder does and many of the other signatories do too (I myself have written articles here)- knows its nature and ethos and that we can’t pull the rug over anyone’s eyes. In fact, Labour bloggers value this site precisely because it is independent: there is little value to echo chamber politics. And that is one of the reasons for this statement.

Ultimately, the worth of the statement will only be proven over time and with practice. But please, understand that we understand that there is no future for a monolithic, hermetically-sealed Labour party: we have to find different ways of reaching beyond the party- locally, nationally, and on-line. We get it- I assure you.

cjcjc – See here for the Labourhome post, posted at 9:03 this morning (0 out of 10 for observation). It is also mentioned on Labourlist here.

These principles are fine – implementing them will take something more.

I think you underplay the community aspect of blogging. The power and influential US sites are not directly party affiliated, and they do not revolve around star bloggers. They are genuine netroots communities who patrol and moderate themselves.

The distance from the party machine has also to be real rather than covert ‘astroturfing’. This is obviously to the benefit of the blog, because it provides the diversity, debate and pluralism you need. It’s also important to the party concerned. Naturally, party hierarchies try to control their message, and if overly associated with one blog, they will begin to stifle dissent.

Correction: it is on Labourlist: it was posted while I was writing my comment!

It was posted on LabourHome first thing this morning.

77. Rowenna Davis

LabourList have acknowledged the statement – I’ve just written a comment for them which can be read here:

http://www.labourlist.org/progressive_blogging_statement

Lets take this debate to the Labour heartlands…

78. Rowenna Davis

Damn it, why do people in new media work so fast? Thanks for beating me to it Andreas!

Rowenna,

I have to say that you expressed my own feelings perfectly when you said

Although I back the content, I’m not comfortable calling myself a Labour supporter. I’m one of those people who wants to support the party, but unfortunately the policies and politics of the top won’t let me.

But statements like this give me hope that I might be able to in future. Whilst Westminster collapses into factionalism, personality clashes and political maneuvering, there are excellent party members on the ground working hard to build something positive.

80. Shatterface

I give it about 24 hours before we have an article with the words ‘Iain Dale’ in the heading or an attack on a blogger most of us have never heard of outside this site.

I give it about 24 hours before we have an article with the words ‘Iain Dale’ in the heading or an attack on a blogger most of us have never heard of outside this site.

As a non-signatory, I just might.

82. the a&e charge nurse

Does anybody remember the two Davids (spitting image) ?

Why is it that Labour and Lib-Dems are such uncomfortable bed fellows ?

My hypothesis is that Labour simply cannot escape their centralised command and control mind-set and are worried that those with an affinity for social justice will switch in ever greater numbers to the uppity Liberals.

This thread rapidly became divided along sectarian lines as well – the two Davids are no doubt feeling a sense of deja vu.

83. Rowenna Davis

Sunder –

On the comment I wrote for LabourList I said that this statement was great, but we have to judge its worth by what it *actually changes*. How are we going to move this from pretty words to tangible change?

Specifically –

Should we be getting LabourList to endorse the statement?

and

If they do, what practical changes should they and the other Labour sites be making to live out these values you’ve articulated so well?

and

What can the wider Labour base and signatories (and the wannabe Labour supporters like me and Andrew Adams) – do to help?

Yes – 0/10 for me

Rowena – to answer this…

“What can the wider Labour base and signatories (and the wannabe Labour supporters like me and Andrew Adams) – do to help?”

Step one would be by re-engaging in a forum which has some traction, but allows reasoned dissent. Perhaps labourlist can learn from this and become such a forum.

I’m not posting this up on the site, because it is still a car wreck and populated by some many right wing trolls. but you may find my Prospect piece about the flame wars on the democratic netroots during the primaries interesting, and perhaps even relevant.

http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=10398

86. Mike Killingworth

[86] Don’t worry, Nurse. We shan’t do that – there are too many Liberals living in the fantasy world where markets will magically provide social justice (despite never having done so in the past) for that to happen. Why did people die in Ireland during the famine of the 1840s? Why did Rowntree & Booth find so many children in poverty in England? Why was there a white slave trade for Stead to expose? Because, contrary to what you may have thought, Victorian England was actually controlled by a secret gang of bureaucratic socialists puppeteering the so-called Whigs, Liberals and Conservatives.

At least, that’s the impression a lot of Lib Dem bloggers leave behind, preferring the theory they sort of learnt at Uni to whatever real life might be able to teach them. And Andrew [62], the only leftie to have joined the Lib Dems was Brian Sedgmore, who was probably a bit dazed and condused at the time. If you haven’t noticed, the Yellow Book fantasists are in charge.

And Mike calls me a fantasist. You are af course completely correct Mike. None of us within the Lib Dems, even the socialist ones like me, ever call for effective welfare reforms like, say, raising the income tax threshold to help the poorest by taxing the rich.

None of us call for a Land Value Tax. None of us support a Citzen’s Basic Income.

We’re all supporters of this mythical fantasy 19th century you’ve concocted where the immense poverty was caused by deliberate Govt policy instead of one of the biggest and most unprecedented social upheavals in the history of the world.

Oh, and the Orange book is a rather good read, full of articles written by such notorious Tories as Chris Huhne and Lynne Featherstone.

FFS, try to put some facts into your hyperbolic hysteria man, or at least don’t regurgitate stuff you’ve been told is factually wrong in the past.

“uppity Liberals.”

I think nurse has us 😀

Thank the Lord I went to order new spex today!

When New Labour agrees to be both liberal and progressive – which it won’t – the reason(s) they drove people like me away from the party, and why many, although not all, will be voting LibDem – those who are not voting Labour are not voting at all. At least the Tories aren’t getting those votes.

Sunder,

I’m one of the Lib Dem cynics who wonder whether you’re abusing the word liberal.

The piece still fails to make it clear that Liberal Conspiracy is anything other than a Labour supporting mouthpiece. Whilst the presence of the likes of Jennie should reassure me, the implied presumption of the opening paragraph makes one wonder all over again whether or not the rest of us are just mere window dressing designed to give a group of Labour supporters a bit of credibility.

I’m opting out until Jennie or Mat send me word that I’m wrong…

91. Stephen Rouse

Excellent. An extended spat between Labour and the Lib Dems while the Tories sit back and laugh at us. It’s like a miniature re-run of the 20th Century.

Echo the above comment.

I give it about 24 hours before we have an article with the words ‘Iain Dale’ in the heading or an attack on a blogger most of us have never heard of outside this site.

But of course – I’ve not signed the statement. And I wouldn’t sign up to anything that says we should not be nasty. We’d just end up in a straight-jacket while the likes of Staines, Dale and Dorries keep smearing other people.

93. Mike Killingworth

[91] When did I ever suggest that there aren’t any leftuous LibDems?

The problem is that neither they nor Labour even want in their ranks those of us who regard markets as a regrettable necessity.

94. Alisdair Cameron

How many posts now? Is it a slow news day?
🙂

Perhaps when you said

the only leftie to have joined the Lib Dems was Brian Sedgmore

But I do like this:

The problem is that neither they nor Labour even want in their ranks those of us who regard markets as a regrettable necessity.

I can’t see the Lib Dems trying to expel Vince Cable anytime soon, can you?

Seriously, you accept that markets are necessary, but then refuse to engage and actually look at the people analysing them to cover for market failures? FFS, markets are, like democracy, the least worst system we’ve figured out.

Until we get to a post-scarcity economy, or an actual genius comes along with something better, they’re what we’ve got. Why is it then that those of us that want to engage and control them effectively are written off as being some sort of enemy?

Rail against them all you want, but if you’re going to say you accept them as necessary, then you have to also accept that we have to try to understand both how they work and why they sometimes fail. And of course how and where they can be best used.

Mike, perhaps rather than reading a couple of fringe blogs by right-libertarians (and even those don’t hold the opinions you’re attributing to them, but often talk about alternative economic ideas like a citizens’ income) who are about as representative of mainstream Liberal Democrat thought as Tony Benn is of Labour, you should look at sites like http://socialliberal.net/ , which more or less represents the mainstream of the party.

The Liberal Democrats are in general in favour of redistribution, of collective ownership (though we mostly prefer mutuals to nationalisation), and increased economic justice. It’s just that we’re not dogmatic about how that’s achieved, but just want to get the results.

For at least fifteen years the Liberal Democrats have been on the ‘left’ of Labour on economic matters, and while we may not go as far as you’d like (and in some ways we don’t go as far as *I’d* like) we’d never do anything as stupid as scrap the 10p tax rate to pay for a tax cut for the rich (then try to backtrack with an incomprehensible system of tax credits), or introduce the punitive measures Purnell is bringing in to harm benefits claimants, or divert NHS spending into ridiculous PFI schemes that enrich the richest while providing tenth-rate services…

97. Mike Killingworth

[99][100] Oo er missus, I have touched a nerve. I look forward to the upcoming explanation of why – if the LibDems are to the left of Labour – it is that Tories vote LibDem to eject Labour MPs in places like Hornsey and Chesterfield, yet there is no recorded instance of their voting Labour to eject a LibDem MP.

Because both the Tories and Labour primarily see politics as an adversarial game. They know that the Lib Dems aren’t going to form a government any time soon, and so view us as ‘neutral’ when it comes to the issue of who gets to form the government. It’s like the old joke about “I don’t have to outrun the lion, I just have to outrun you” – a Lib Dem victory is, to both parties, a draw, rather than a win for either ‘side’.

99. Mike Killingworth

[102] So at least you admit that the next non-Tory government won’t be a Lib Dem one. So the point of your Party is, exactly…?

Mike:

I know absolutely sweet FA about knitting. I wouldn’t know a purl from a cast. With this in mind, I don’t go onto knitting forums and try to lecture them all about what they’re doing wrong. It would be a complete waste of my time and theirs, and I would make a total arse of myself.

Why do you go onto the internet and post about the Liberal Democrats?

Actually, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the ‘next non-Tory government’ *were* a Lib Dem one. Alas, that will probably be many, many years from now.
And the point of our party is to represent liberal and democratic views, both inside and outside of Parliament. “Forming a government” is not the be-all and end-all of politics, believe it or not… I find it much harder to see a point in the continuing existence of the Labour Party, who seem absolutely indistinguishable from the Conservatives on every single issue that mattered. Twenty years ago, when there was a real distnction between Labour and the Conservatives, it might have made a kind of sense to ask what the LibDems were for. When both parties are authoritarian, corporatist Thatcherite parties, as they are now, then offering a real choice, even if it’s not taken by the electorate, is worth doing in itself.
But then, you’re clearly not interested in anything other than attacking a straw LibDem party that’s some kind of evil crypto-Tory fifth column.

102. Mike Killingworth

[104] Yes, it’s getting to that time of night… the LibDems round here (Westminster) are to the right of the Tories from what I can see, OK?

[105] Well, at least we agree about the Labour Party. For the record, I’d like to see both parties split up and those of us who are social democrats and/or social liberals and/or liberal socialists form a new one – we can do without Blairite control freaks, Brownite shit-shovellers and libertarian wingnuts.

Well, that’s actually what I want, too, Mike – and indeed what Mat has stated he wants in the past. My ideal party would have most of the Lib Dems I know, some of the Compass wing of Labour, the saner Greens and a big chunk of the Co-Operative Party as members. But the only way to do that and have any success to bring in PR, and the Liberal Democrats are the best means to do that at the moment…

104. Mike Killingworth

[107] Fair enough. I don’t actually think that re-alignment requires PR, but we can agree to disagree about that.

#46 – Jennie, you get points for spin. I appreciated that! I think you probably realised that my point was more that to tribal party members like myself & your Lib Dem friends, any site making an attempt at balance is going to seem biased in support of opposing parties.

On the substance of the article, now we seem to be discussing that (other than a brief Mike-induced detour) I appreciate the sentiment, fear that the first time any of the bloggers makes a *political* attack on an individual Tory MP or Tory blogger everyone will point at this and claim they’re hypocrites, and am pleased that the statement spells out that negative campaigning has a legitimate place and is not immoral.

My ideal party would have most of the Lib Dems I know, some of the Compass wing of Labour, the saner Greens and a big chunk of the Co-Operative Party as members.

Hey, where do I sign?

Hey, where do I sign?

Here.

Seriously.

Mike’s wrong about the need to change the electoral system in order to create the sort of party we’re talking about; there’s at least two entire posts needed to explain this fully, both on my to-do list for, oh, a year now, but…

Duverger’s Law is essentially correct (the Wiki article is good, I’m not linking as too many links trigger the spam trap).

Within each electoral district (constituency/ward/whatever) the first past the post system encourages a two-party position. There will, on occasions, be realignments and a state of flux; Duverger predicted the mess of the 1980s when writing in the 1950s, Thatcher was never electorally popular, but the opposition to her was seriously and irreconcilably divided.

Downs Economic Theory of Democracy (again, Wiki is good) asserts that under FPTP, parties will inexorably seek the centre ground voters and the swing marginal seats.

That, incidentally, is why the Lib Dems do as well as they do in some areas—there are parts of the country where the Tories can’t win, so the Lib Dems are the effective challenger; Sheffield, Liverpool and Hull being three examples, sure they’ll have wards, but not constituencies. There are also areas where Labour can’t win (or even keep their deposits or find candidates), like where I’m from. The MP for Torbay is a good honest mutualist, and has called for all the nationalised banks to be resurrected as mutual building societies—and he did that without me even speaking to him about it, so I can’t claim the idea as I never posted it on my journal.

So unless either Labour or the Tories actually split, the only way to make a difference is to work at building the only party within which these ideas actually have a chance. Which is why there are a lot of mutualists and similar in the Lib Dems.

If the Co-operative Party were to disaffiliate from Labour and run on its own, I’d consider joining it immediately, and would definitely argue for an electoral pact until we reform the electoral system.

Until then, we need to change the system. The current party system has existed since the 1940s. The electoral system was last changed in… The 1940s.

When you change an electoral system, the party structure changes, form follows function. This has been shown in many countries, Italy being the most recent and obvious example with their horribly fractured system induced by the only electoral system I think is worse than FPTP changing because Berlusconi created a new system, primarily to benefit himself.

I joined the Lib Dems in 2006, having been persuaded to join by a bunch of Lib Dem bloggers and the aforesaid MP, who was reading my blog as I was local to him. I’m open that I’m there for the specific areas that interest me, specifically electoral reform and the civil liberties agenda.

That the party is moving in my direction on tax policy and similar (todays stuff reiterating the desire to tax the rich to free the poor was bloody good) is an added bonus. That I get consulted on party policy making a fair bit is actually really cool, I love the idealistic democracy they operate by, and am using it.

But ultimately, change the electoral system and all the current parties will, in some way, fracture and change. Inevitable. Until then, we’re stuck with what we’ve got.

So I’ve gone for the party that’s got openly redistributive policies alongside a clear and solid commitment to change the system from the inside.

Oh I think I’ve nailed why this statement irritates me, it feels like badly done student union politics. It has the feel of play ground posturing by teenagers while the rest of us live in the real albeit less noble world…

Love it!

A blogging first!

LIVE blogging from an Islington dinner party!

Pass the organic kumquat dip, would you Chlamidya?

MatGB,

I agree with the LibDems on a lot of things – I voted for them at the last two elections, I had a piece here supporting the Freedom Bill. I’ve always considered myself a Labour supporter but was never particularly tribal about it and feel even less so now. OTOH, I think there are still a lot of decent people in the Labour party who want to make it the kind of party I could support again. That’s why rather than sign up to one or the other I would rather, as Andrew Hicket suggests, have one party which represents the best elements from both. OK, that may be a slighly unrealistic wish but I think there are more things that should unite Labour and LibDem supporters than divide them, even if not all of them see it like that (it always amazes me how much some Labour supporters despise the LibDems, I don’t know to what extent the feeling is reciprocated). WRT a lot of what has been said in the comments above, I think it is good that we have this site which represents liberal left values regardless of party affiliation so it would be a shame if we started to see factionalism start to develop between Labour and LibDem supporters.

It is a little late for your goodselves to be publishing and signing up to an unenforced code of conduct.
Other than the unacceptably high level of sleaze coming from this Labour government, and the unacceptably low moral conduct demonstrated by it’s supporters, is it not somewhat insulting of the percieved intelligence quota of the average person that you honestly believe anybody will buy into your most recent efforts to spin yourselves out of the mess you have created.
We are all sick of words and crocodile tears. The only thing people will judge you on is your actions. The past has shown Labour’s conduct to be lacking, and words and spin have not changed this.
It is about time the Labour camp acted with the common decency, honesty and integrity one would expect from a human being, let alone the current administration of a country. Currently, you make me ASHAMED to be English. Perhaps the Labour party could try to change the way I, and many many others like me, fells as a direct result of a corrupt and sleazy administration?

BTW, the above is posted in response to original post, not accusing this Blogsite or contributors to be pro sleaze, um, sorry, Labour.

Though given their hostility towards eg Guido, no saint admittedly, you might describe some of them as anti-anti-sleaze!

Rob,

Thanks for your contribution. But not sure what should those of us who believe in Labour principles should do in your view. If your advice is F-off, then can we politely acknowledge it but decide to do something for ourselves anyway.

For our part, we have been advocating a very different and more plural structure and culture for some time – making a detailed argument in our 2007 pamphlet ‘Facing Out’ on how and why parties (Labour especially) had to be different to interact with movement politics.

We’ve since used the interest in Obama to return to that existing theme, since clearly we haven’t won through on this yet
http://www.changeweneed.org.uk/the-book/

We intend to use the current debacle to force the point. This statement is one part of that. So I don’t accept that we have just thought of it.

I file the term “progressive” alongside “change”, “deprived”, “social justice” – all words hijacked, distorted and used as a shield to hide malign concepts or intent.

Labour never had a big tent. All it did was commit an act of enclosure. Liberals have been had.

Roger@121 – And our malign intent? What would that be exactly because as far as I can see, the Fabians gradualist approach to bringing social justice to society has rather successful, raising the standard of living for everyone.

I could do with hearing one of those lovely, but entirely inaccurate “It was aktuallly da markit..” rants that you bloggertarians are so fond of.

Paul Staines has no business posing as a moral campaigner fighting a smear culture when he’s in the thick of it, not even in a free market.

So Labour, in the form of McBride, Draper and co, conspire to use blogs to practice gutter tactics and Labour presume that the rest of the world is as corrupt as they are; that rules are requred and Labour should be the authors.

I suggest that Labour take a long hard look at themselves or, better still, consider the ‘regard’ in which they are held by those, like myself, who have no party affiliation. Labour really ought to be concentrating on cleaning out their own stable. This venture echoes the characteristics of the current government – create a law because then we are seen to be ‘doing’ something, implementation isn’t important.

Personally, though I don’t trust politicians generally, Labour are the very last organisation I’d trust with either my cash or my morals.

Douglas, that’s a bit unfair. This IS an attempt by some people in the Labour Party to “clear out the stable”. Labour isn’t a monolith. Some people in the Labour Party have decided that they don’t like McBride & Draper’s way of doing things, and want to present other Labour bloggers with an alternative way of doing things. It’s then been posted in a range of places, including here because there are Labour bloggers who read this site.

You seem somehow to have manufactured a sinister conspiracy out of that.

120. Sunder Katwala

timf – thanks for the sensible comments, and for noting the defence of legitimate negative campaigning. If those who have signed it end up doing things which fall ‘off limits’ the criticism is valid. If we are criticised for doing things that involve challenging hypocrisy, evidence, etc on the basis of this statement, I would simply point to that. We would indeed be numpties

sunny – Similarly, I personally think all legitimate attack and negative campaigning is rather explicitly endorsed in the statement. I am not sure what you would want to do that would fall outside it.

However, I think this difference between us about the tonality in attack, etc (which is perhaps partly strategic, and partly aesthetic) is partly similar to the disagreement we had towards the end of the US election campaign, about whether the Dems were fired up and aggressive enough.

douglas
– You don’t seem to have read it.
– We state very clearly that we think the spirit of the ethic is shared by most non-party and other bloggers.
– The reason it is voiced as a Labour statement (which some think makes it too narrow) is because we did explicitly not want to suggest that the broader progressive blogosphere is implicated in a Labour-specific scandal, but we do think Labour attempts to deal with it would benefit from engagement with the broader progressive blogosphere.

For those who are interested, I have rounded up some of the various responses on different blogs here. There is also a twitter channel #cwn (change we need)
http://www.nextleft.org/2009/04/why-we-blog-our-ethic-of-progressive.html

Andreas@122. Well “social justice” is a malign intent. J.S.Mill put it better than I ever could, for “social justice” is the spawn of “social rights”:-

“So monstrous a principle is far more dangerous than any single interference with liberty; there is no violation of liberty which it would not justify; it acknowledges no right to any freedom whatever, except perhaps to that of holding opinions in secret, without ever disclosing them; for the moment an opinion which I consider noxious, passes any one’s lips, it invades all the “social rights” attributed to me by the Alliance. The doctrine ascribes to all mankind a vested interest in each other’s moral, intellectual, and even physical perfection, to be defined by each claimant according to his own standard.” – On Liberty, Chapter 4.

I also consider the creeping Fabians to be malign. They are the enemy within the gates, along with the Frankfurt School. You are “convinced of your Rightness”, as another put it.

And the label “Bloggertarian” has never applied to me, so you are out of luck.

122. Sunder Katwala

I had meant to say (127) ‘we would indeed be numpties if we had said we will only ever campaign positively … hello trees and flowers’ … others may prefer the unqualified version.

@ Tim @Ireland

Paul Staines has no business posing as a moral campaigner fighting a smear culture when he’s in the thick of it, not even in a free market.

Are you going to be the one who tells his 200,000 daily readers, all dragged there by wild horses?

Grow up Tim.

We can say whatever we like on our blogs as long as we are prepared to take the consequences. Paul is taking the consequences. His personal life is no longer private and every scheming hack on Fleet St is rifling through his rubbish to find the missing link to a backer or a Tory conspiracy.

We need MORE like him and less like Dale, the coffee sipping, nodding gentleman.

124. Peter Jukes

Old Holborn

Are you going to be the one who tells his 200,000 daily readers, all dragged there by wild horses? … We need MORE like him (Guido Fawkes) and less like Dale, the coffee sipping, nodding poof.

Chalk another one up as completely missing the point. The era of superstar or sleaze bloggers a la Matt Drudge is really a secondary issue. The real power of the blogosphere, as the US has proved ten years on from the Lewinski scandal is the power of grass roots organisation, online advocacy and peer to peer networks (especially for fund raising).

But Old Holborn, if you like your sleaze and smear delivered to your desktop more quickly than Popbitch or the tabloid, please keep on haunting and vaunting Staines and his like. This dross will end up in the dustbin of history. There are bigger social movements afoot, and thank god you won’t be part of them.

@Roger – “Because John Stewart Mill once wrote something criticising a similar concept” is not an argument. You have a conception of what I mean by social justice, you are familliar with the arguments against it, I’d prefer a criticism in your own words.

Old Holborn: Iain Dale uses different tactics, but he is just as much part of the smear culture as Paul Staines is. (But your use of the word ‘poof’ here does how how you might be blind to Paul Staines’ homohobic assertions, so thanks for that input.)

cjcjc: Blockquotes aren’t always/universally italicised, and they never are on my site. This allows me to present italics and bold text etc. as per the original where applicable/suitable. And you still made an arse of yourself, and we only have your word that you don’t have a website of your very own.

TimJ and cjcjc: In at least one key interview, Paul Staines presents himself as a man who regards smears to be unacceptable, when this clearly isn’t the case. To turn that observation into an impossible demand for him to be whiter than white is dishonest to say the least.

Sorry. Some of the second two points belong mostly in another thread. My bad.

“The real power of the blogosphere, as the US has proved ten years on from the Lewinski scandal is the power of grass roots organisation, online advocacy and peer to peer networks (especially for fund raising).”

ha ha ha

Love it! You’ve decided that what the blogosphere is and how to manipulate it ad make money out of it. Thanks for that. I was wondering what it was all about myself.

” There are bigger social movements afoot, and thank god you won’t be part of them.”

Is that a promise? Because all I can see is unqualified people demanding that the blogosphere behaves exactly like every other type of media. And every other type of media is licenced by you know who. And manipulated by you know who. And owned by you know who. And told what to broadcast by you know who.

So in response to your statement of ethics, blah, blah, I would like to state mine

I’ll do whatever I damn well want. Try and stop me.

The words “ferrets” and “sack” spring to mind.

Try coming up with some policies that do not wreck our economy, and try not blaming it all on Thatcher.

You’ve had 12 years. You’ve failed.

It’s time for someone else to have a chance at leading us – my personal choice would be the Liberal Democrats, but – oddly – Labour completely FAILED at constitutional reform, meaning the Lib Dems will be on the sidelines for another generation.

There is NOTHING this Labour government has done that is worthy of praise. And that’s a shame for all progressives.

This dross will end up in the dustbin of history.

Agreed – that is most certainly where Gordon Brown will end up.

Though that’s perhaps a slightly surprisimg sentiment from the author of this interesting article – if this is you that is:

http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=10398

“After the party conventions, the ad hominems are flying again. Is Sarah Palin a legitimate target of attack, or a victim of sexism? Ouch. I’ve just had my first flame. We’re arguing, cracking jokes, posting videos… back in the thick of it.”

You – or that Peter Jukes – also wrote:

“There is nothing in Britain that replicates the passion and activism of these sites. The nearest equivalent is ConservativeHome—and perhaps it is no surprise that an opposition party latches on to this alternative form of communication. I still wait for real signs of a popular centre-left blog in Britain. (If you want to start one up, let me know.) ”

Is LC not a candidate? It has the liveliness.

It’s time for someone else to have a chance at leading us – my personal choice would be the Liberal Democrats,

Mine too, they’re currently our best bet, which pretty much makes then our only bet

but – oddly – Labour completely FAILED at constitutional reform

Well, not completely—they did manage FOI and the HRA, but they failed at the most important bit, the one that would stop the perpetual infighting actually being damaging.

, meaning the Lib Dems will be on the sidelines for another generation.

Absolutely convinced that’s not true—they messed up the ’05 election campaign (I wasn’t a member then), that was fairly obvious from the sidelines. But they’re definitely not going to this time.

They might lose a bit of ground in some seats to the Tories, but they’ll gain a lot of ground in others against Labour, and will likely take 2nd place in a lot—I think we’re looking at a likely Tory Govt after the next GE, and we need to reduce the impact of that as much as possible. But there’s a good chance the LDs will get over 100 seats, possibly more, and will be strongly chasing Labour if not beating them on vote share. The election after that (which might come fairly soon, I’m thinking a ’74 scenario is possible)?

All to play for. Especially given that a period out of office, even a brief one, will give Labour time to ditch the leadership and retrench, so we could see a Lib Dem led coalition. Especially true if disaffected Labourite jump ship (hopefully bringing the co-op with them).

There is NOTHING this Labour government has done that is worthy of praise. And that’s a shame for all progressives.

Even I wouldn’t go that far though. They’ve done a lot of good. It’s just that the harm they’ve done outweights it.

132. Peter Jukes

Old Holborn. No one’s trying to stop you, but they may stop listening to you when whining and egotism defence is all you can come back with. You drone on about smears, and then engage in them yourself. Hypocrisy much?

And good luck with your Guido hero worship. Sorry to hear Fleet Street is poring through his rubbish. Poor dearie. But if you swim with sharks you’ll get nipped.

Given your level of engagement, I won’t even both to explain the bigger political issues at stake. But thanks for showing to all and sundry how bad things are at present in the UK

133. Matt Munro

Leaving aside politics, I’m interested in this idea that the blogsphere “has power” – where is the evidence of it’s power ? We’ve had demonstrations, leaks, smears, peer to peer networks (aka pressure groups) and everything else long before the internet was invented. Ordinary people have been changing things for centuries without the web. I actually think blogging is profoundly disenpowering for the majority. Lots of tiny voices with different angles on “the truth”, rather than a single point of reference/ideology to rally around. It’s a gift for politicians who just buy off their favoured strands of opinion (e.g the “green” lobby) and marginalise the rest. Blogging is the playground politics of who shouts the loudest, an occasionally amusing sideshow, nothing more, and it will be gone within a generation.

134. Peter Jukes

Thanks for citing my article cjcj, albeit with selective comments from the last para.

Yup. Read the rest of the piece. US blogs, which are community moderated, and have moved on from GF like smear worship, are clearly streets ahead.

As for ‘liveliness’, I don’t know this blog well enough yet, but there are too many smart a**e contentless posts in most UK centre left blogs for my liking. They’re tiresome, and with a community moderated system would quickly be downrated or hidden. Instead they get equal weight to genuine argument, and so people get put off by the toxicity and adversarial banter. Just my humble opinion. And the lack of threading makes dialogue and debate very difficult.

I find the threading – eg LabourList – very confsuing.

But your article suggests you love the adversarial banter?

1. what is progressive politics?

2. you talk of being ‘inclusive’ yet are immediately the opposite – how does that work?

I’ve read this article and the comments and feel that it generally reminds me of the 17 year old boy, not engaging with many peers, sitting in his bedroom thinking and worrying about the meaning of life. He is a very intense individual, uptight, slow to reply, uncertain, unconfident. He lives off his imagination. He is continually in a debate with himself, trying to square circles and make everything tidy. He hopes for world peace but can’t find it in his bedroom. So he invites others to his bedroom to converse about whether they see things the same. They never actually do anything but they have interesting if stilted conversation. No one ever gets to know anyone else, no one becomes friends, they just meet and talk ad infinitum.

As a former Labour Party ( NOT NEW LABOUR) person of 40 years, growing up in a declining northern city and arriving at the 1997 election with a little hpoe, it didn’t take long to see that there was no hope. New Labour in all its glory was bound up with the Bernie Eccleston affair. And so it continued up to today with the most arrogant, authoritarian, undemocratic, war mongering bunch of hoons I’ve come across. More interested in self aggrandisment and celebrity status, the evil they speak makes me hate them with a vengence. They have destroyed our economy, they have destroyed our country, they have removed and continue to remove our rights. They pay themselves and their friend ludicrous amounts of our money. The politicise the media. They politicise the police. Everything is a TARGET for them in their adventure with the British people. Funnily, none of them have ever worked outside the institutional systems of government or education or law. None of them have a clue about the world in which WE live.

I don’t see anything here that changes my mind.

Progressive Politics – RUBBISH GIBBERISH NONSENSE

I hear Gordon has said there’s loads of hospital cleaners jobs going, some here should go get one quick……

OldRaver- Speaking as someone who has never worked in the institutional structures of government, law or education……(though I don’t see how that would validate my opinion one way or the other….)

I recommend reading Sunder’s comment @120. Many of the comments here have missed the sub-text to this. When I received this statement a few days ago I hesitated. I know that these things can seem self-regarding and, may I even say pompous. The reason I signed it was because: (i) It did actually articulate the ethos behind my blog and more importantly (ii) it articulated an approach to politics that goes beyond blogging- I explained this on http://www.anthonypainter.co.uk yesterday.

It is fine to say the Labour party’s bad in this or that way but there is an under-current to this that shouldn’t be ignored: an argument for a different type of Labour party. By piling into the sentiment behind this statement you are hurling rocks at the people who want the Labour party to change. There is no centre or centre-left future that does not involve the Labour party absent of seismic changes politics the like of which we cannot forsee nor should we vainly plan for. To disregard or dismiss the Labour party is to cripple non-conservative politics realistically.

So the statement doesn’t say ‘we love the Labour party and aren’t we all very virtuous.’ It says ‘the Labour party has to change and these are the principles we believe should be behind that change and, in the conduct of blogging, we will attempt to adhere to those principles.’

I’ve been trying to work out how that sentiment is at all dismissive of those of the non-Labour left either in the Liberal Democrats or non-aligned. I just can’t I’m afraid. A renewed Labour party is critical to the social liberal politics that I believe most people on this site sympathise with to a greater or lesser degree. Nobody is suggesting that is an exclusively Labour exercise. Quite the opposite in fact:

We believe we must change the culture of Labour’s engagement with those outside the party too, including those who were once our supporters but who are disillusioned, and new generations forming their political opinions.

Can I get back to writing now please?

138. Mike Killingworth

[138] I’m afraid your numerology is way off, Mat. The LibDems aren’t going to lose “a bit of ground” to the Tories, they’re going to lose 30-40 seats to them (i.e. about half the Parliamentary Party), not least because they have their most ineffective leader since Clement Davis. They may well pick up a handful of seats from Labour (two in north London look pretty much a done deal) – I think they will – but the starting-blocks are such that they can pile on votes in Labour strongholds without getting more result than that. They will also lose seats to the Nationalists.

The likely outcome, so far as one can tell this far out, is a Parliamentary Party of about forty, or a quarter of the size of the Labour “rump”.

Mike, you think my numbers are off? Even the daftest of uniform swing calculations don’t predict that big a loss, neither do the spread betting markets. I think you underestimate substantially the support Lib Dem MPs tend to build up in their constituencies.

Specifically, such a loss would require both Chris Huhne (most marginal) and Adrian Sanders (fairly marginal) being removed from office completely. I’m reasonably certain that’s not going to happen for either of them.

If you have actual evidence to the contrary, based on experience on the ground or psephological research, feel free to post it.

Otherwise, you’re blowing smoke.

Oh, and if we’re going on just opinion poll evidence, you might want to pay attention to Clegg/Cable approval ratings and compare them to previous leaders. Because, y’know, you seem to think the blanket media coverage Clegg’s been getting this week on a strongly redistributionary position is inneffective. I’d like to know what you think he’d need to do to count as being effective. The mind boggles.

So everybody’s in favour of being constructive, not destructive, addressing issues not smearing & niceness not nastiness.

Thats nice. Well lets address the fact that the Labour party practices war crimes, massacres, the sexual enslavement of children & dissecting thousands of innocent & living people to steal their body organs then.

Lets see if any of the “ambassadors” for their party’s values explain why that is among them.

142. Mike Killingworth

[147] WTF? A Labour government may have committed war crimes, but I don’t see how a Party as such can. And the other allegations mystify me.

[145][146] Well, if you can keep the 22% you have in the latest poll you may well increase your seats. But even the most diehard LibDem must privately think that Clegg isn’t in the Ashdown or Kennedy class as a vote-winner. FWIW Wells gives you 54 seats on these numbers, Baxter 60 – but I expect the polls to move much to the Tories during the next year.

And by that definition the Nazis weren’t responsible for Auschwitz.

Not my fault if the MSM censor reporting atrocities. You cannot honestly deny that the Labour party, as such, supported illegal war resulting in our police engaging in masacres such as Dragodan, genocide, the sexual enslavement of children & dissiecting living people to steal their body organs.

I think those are bad things.

And yeah, what’s progressive blogging?

It’s whatever Sunny says it is!

Andreas@131

Social justice.

You want it. Post up your defence of the thing that you believe has the right to invade my life.

Anyone could drop a bomb in here and nobody would notice.

So wrapped up in the minutae of erm…er….what exactly….???

And this is a claim to be progressive?????

Roger,

You selfish bastard

Are you trying to live the one life you get by your own standards and not someone elses?

You are an enemy of the State.

Bleep

So nobody can beny that the Labour party, as such, supported illegal war resulting in our police engaging in masacres such as Dragodan, genocide, the sexual enslavement of children & dissiecting living people to steal their body organs. & not one of the code of standards people here is willing to say these are bad things.

Point made.

#155 – I initially thought you we’re talking about Iraq, but since you were talking about former Yugoslavia I will say that NATO Intervention was humantiatrian and saved lives. I will not be dragged into a debate on specifics because quite frankly I do not have the time to do the research.

I will also say that if you think that coming onto a comment forum and making use of a quite specific event that most commenters are unlikely to be aware of makes you big, clever or right then you are quite seriously mistaken.

@Roger – I feel a response warrants a larger blog post, will put one together but please be aware that you are in a queue.

The statement that the war saved, or indeed was ever intended to save, lives is, obviously a complete & total lie of the same sort of Adolf Hitler’s claim that he onvaded Polland to save lives.

Obviously had you honestly intended anything from the principles above you could not have claimed the Yugoslavs had put liices at risk. The moreso because you claim, ignorance of the allegations you are making.

I guess we should just accept that every single Labour party member is equally a fascist deliberatley involved in genocide on the basis that not one of them, Alice Mahon having quit, has acted otherwise. Drankly I don’t have the time to do the research on the whole racistm organlegging pro-nazi party but obviously there is no requirement that one do so.

152. Just A. Punter

Actually, the names missing from the list tell a bigger story.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Justin McKeating

    Can I just say that Liberal Conspiracy is *not* a New Labour front despite the best efforts of Sunder Katwala: http://is.gd/tqKS

  2. Jennie Rigg

    RT: @chickyog: Can I just say that Liberal Conspiracy is *not* a New Labour front despite the best efforts of Sunder K: http://is.gd/tqKS

  3. Rowenna

    finally the left stops bitching round in circles and produces a positive alternative to smeargate politics http://tinyurl.com/cw7qb5

  4. J Clive Matthews

    Deal Lord, the #smeargate fallout tedium just never stops: http://tinyurl.com/cw7qb5 Wake me up when everyone involved is dead, would you?

  5. Michael Haddon

    RT @nextleft: Paul Staines (@GuidoFawkes) doesn’t buy our ethical blogging on @LibCon http://bit.ly/FYHgU. Well, he wouldn’t, would he?

  6. Andrew Hickey

    RT: @chickyog: Can I just say that Liberal Conspiracy is *not* a New Labour front despite the best efforts of Sunder K: http://is.gd/tqKS

  7. Wayne Fenton

    Liberal Conspiracy » Statement: Our ethic of progressive blogging … http://bit.ly/19paZZ

  8. Ruth Barnett SkyNews

    @derekdraper Writing a story about this: http://tinyurl.com/progressiveblogging DM me if you want to comment.

  9. Mike Power

    Just get on with blogging Mr Katwaler, FFS. Statements, rules, manifestos, guidelines. By your blogging shall ye be known. http://is.gd/tqKS

  10. SOCIALIST UNITY » THE ETHICS OF PROGRESSIVE BLOGGING

    […] was pleased to see this statement posted on Liberal Conspiracy by Sunder […]

  11. Why they / we blog | Steve Hanlon - Blogging hard for West Lancs

    […] to see this post today – everything in it I agree with, and I’m sure that everyone that signed it genuinely believes […]

  12. Justin McKeating

    Can I just say that Liberal Conspiracy is *not* a New Labour front despite the best efforts of Sunder Katwala: http://is.gd/tqKS

  13. Jennie Rigg

    RT: @chickyog: Can I just say that Liberal Conspiracy is *not* a New Labour front despite the best efforts of Sunder K: http://is.gd/tqKS

  14. Rowenna

    finally the left stops bitching round in circles and produces a positive alternative to smeargate politics http://tinyurl.com/cw7qb5

  15. J Clive Matthews

    Deal Lord, the #smeargate fallout tedium just never stops: http://tinyurl.com/cw7qb5 Wake me up when everyone involved is dead, would you?

  16. Michael Haddon

    RT @nextleft: Paul Staines (@GuidoFawkes) doesn’t buy our ethical blogging on @LibCon http://bit.ly/FYHgU. Well, he wouldn’t, would he?

  17. » Sunder’s broom for the blogosphere… Though Cowards Flinch: “We all know what happens to those who stand in the middle of the road — they get run down.” - Aneurin Bevan

    […] Politics, Labour Party News Sunder Katwala and a cohort of other left-bloggers have laid out a declaration of ethics and principles that they feel should guide their participation on the internet. It’s being reported fairly […]

  18. Andrew Hickey

    RT: @chickyog: Can I just say that Liberal Conspiracy is *not* a New Labour front despite the best efforts of Sunder K: http://is.gd/tqKS

  19. Wayne Fenton

    Liberal Conspiracy » Statement: Our ethic of progressive blogging … http://bit.ly/19paZZ

  20. Ruth Barnett SkyNews

    @derekdraper Writing a story about this: http://tinyurl.com/progressiveblogging DM me if you want to comment.

  21. Mike Power

    Just get on with blogging Mr Katwaler, FFS. Statements, rules, manifestos, guidelines. By your blogging shall ye be known. http://is.gd/tqKS

  22. The ethic of progressive blogging: good luck with that | And another thing...

    […] blogging: good luck with that Monday, April 20th, 2009 SUNDER Katwala’s statement published on Liberal Conspiracy is a well-meaning and thoughtful response to the sheer awfulness of […]

  23. The Ethics for Progressive Blogging | worldismycountry.org

    […] code of conduct was released on changeweneed.org and cross-posted with The Fabians Next Left and Liberal Conspiracy before dispersing through the Blogosphere. We would, in the main, support the principles upheld in […]

  24. Chris G

    The Left’s ethical blogging policy apparently. Read it here. http://tiny.cc/ps4KP

  25. Morning roundup, Tuesday 21st April 2009 - Common Endeavour

    […] Via Don Paskini we learn of the Fabian Society has penned a nine thousand word mission statement as to what the left blogosphere should be all about, and is inviting bloggers to sign up. Tom Harris is unsure, the lovely Rowenna Davis of Labour List isn’t going to because she’s not really Labour (pick the peanuts out of that), and your correspondent is going to hold fire because it has no subsection on the importance of arse jokes to contemporary political discourse … and the because the word “progressive” has become so over-used it’s making my teeth itch in a way that “pragmatic” used to whilst we marched forth for socialism under the banner of the Tonemeister. If you’re up for it, however, you can find it here; […]

  26. Any progress in progressive blogging? « René Lavanchy’s Blog

    […] and I can think of very little objective to say about it. Happily, there’s been intense discussion on Liberal Conspiracy, and ex-minister Tom Harris has criticised it on his blog. Even so, I fear […]

  27. Labour Conspiracy « Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

    […] editorial line again. I was wrong. In just the last few days we’ve had a post headed “Our Ethic of Progressive Blogging”, the very first line of which started “We are a group of Labour party members and […]

  28. The Five Stages of Liberal Conspiracy | Sharpe's Opinion

    […] utterly biased approach to news dissemination (when they’re not writing grand diatribes on ‘ethical blogging’, of course) but they’ve been ‘on maneouvers’ more than usual for the past few […]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.