We won! Rod Liddle not in consideration for Indy editor after ‘protests’


12:19 pm - February 19th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Did we win?

The Media Guardian today reports that Rod Liddle may no longer be in consideration as editor of the Independent after “howls of protest” from readers and others.

The decision to end talks is understood to have been taken after a meeting between Liddle and Simon Kelner, the managing director and editor-in-chief of the Independent and Independent on Sunday. “He will not be the editor,” one source with knowledge of the talks said.

Kelner first approached Liddle, the former editor of the BBC Today programme, in May last year to ask him if he was interested in the position. Liddle was then offered the job in November after a meeting with Lebedev and his son Evgeny in Venice.

But after MediaGuardian.co.uk broke the story about Liddle being lined up to edit the paper in January, there were protests from staff, politicians and readers. “He then went through this extraordinary campaign of hostility,” a source said.

Yesterday’s meeting appears to indicate that Lebedev had a change of heart about appointing the Sunday Times columnist to the paper.

“The liberal howl-around was so intense that he can’t afford to alienate the Independent staff by appointing Liddle so he will appoint someone else,” the source said.

If confirmed, that would be extraordinary.

I wonder where that pressure came from.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Congrarulation! A winnar is you!

Now the Indie can die unloved and unread in peace.

And when its few remaining journalists receive their JSA I’m sure they’ll mouth your name in quiet prayer. Your campaign to be Leftie Jesus has had another HUGE SUCCESS.

Yes, because Lebedev was really looking for right-wing trolls like you to buy it and save it.

Anyone up for printing ‘I helped fuck over Liddle’ T-shirts?

I look forward to the Independent dying a slow death, illustrated by a giant picture of a melting ice-cap and the word CRISIS in giant letters.

Why bother carving out a niche in the newspaper market when you can grub around for readers in the same limited pool as the Guardian?

@Martin Coxall

What happens to the Indie, and print media in general is a completely issue to winning a campaign set to stop someone who, quite frankly has made a name for himself by being devil’s advocate, someone who shocks for the sake of shocking, and when isn’t doing these two things, is actually spouting what is normally quite rancid ideas made with paper thin evidence.

In other news: former KGB agent to buy second UK newspaper. You’d think that would be the troubling part about this.

I always wanted to know what a “liberal howl-around” sounded like.

The source doesn’t seem very friendly to Lebedev or the opponents. Wonder if it might be Mr. Liddle?

Anyway, good news. If the Indie finally implodes it should keep the Guardian going for another decade or so. 😉

Sunny,

Well done – I sense you are quite proud of yourself.
Ah, pride, I suppose that’s the kind of sin that you are comfortable with. Obviously.

I trust you have all your skeletons burried deep below where the internet can go because after you’ve finished dining out on this one it will come back to haunt you.

Good luck, you’ve cast yourself in a remake of ‘Deliverance’ and Ned Beatty’s fate awaits you.

9. J Alfred Prufrock

@3

Get it done.

What a right-wing troll? Someone who doesn’t agree with someone else?

Awwww.. it’s almost a pleasure to see the right-wing trolls squirm in pain.

Why bother carving out a niche in the newspaper market when you can grub around for readers in the same limited pool as the Guardian?

Think you should tell that to the Telegraph and its slow death against the Daily Mail and ConHome.

@6

Well, seeing as we have an arch-conservative Aussie/American oligarch owning a considerable chunk of our commercial print and broadcast media, I think it’s not too much to worry about.

11. The Telegraph can always be run as a vanity exercise by its owners, and still have a reliable enough core readership that it won’t go under. The same isn’t true of the Indie or the Guardian.

The Telegraph can always be run as a vanity exercise by its owners,

What do you mean ‘can be’? Isn’t it already? According to Guido and Tim M – isn’t it the Labourgraph already?

14. Yes. Sorry, “can always” means “can continue to be”.

I don’t speak for Guido and Tim Montgomerie I’m afraid.

I thought it had become the Maily Hellograph

Sunny,

“The Media Guardian today reports that Rod Liddle may no longer be in consideration as editor of the Independent after “howls of protest” from readers and others.”

So congratulations may be in order then? I wonder why the headline is more definite than the article (although having read the source, I think you are correct with the may – Mr Lebdeved is probably quite happy to use misdirection if nothing else).

As I’ve said before, nice to see people power in action though.

Guys,

I love you all but think this campaign was wrong. Liddle is a twat, and very possibly a racist and mysogynist one, but freedom of expression counts more than shutting him up. We have to stop trying to shut down people we don’t like – so far, we’ve seen prostitution (curb crawling anyway) made illegal, attempts to shut down lapdancers, attempts to shut down Moir, and God knows who else. This is not the way for liberals or the left to go.

This stuff smacks of very much of witchhunting, and – perhaps more importantly – it smacks of a fear that the only way to win our ideological wars is to get rid of the people who don’t subscribe to our ways of thinking. Liddle will still be around – probably with a whole new fanbase as a result of this. Curb crawlers are still around and Jan Moir is still around. You don’t use the likes of Twitter to try to eliminate. You use it to try to ENGAGE.

Blah.

19. Thomas Greenan

@ Kate Belgrave

Some of those points might be valid, and the twitter-witchhunt thing might be worth debating (I don’t particularly think it is), but don’t confuse it with freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is not the same thing as being the editor of a national newspaper.

Fundamentally this was about readers of the paper being dismayed that a know-nothing misogynist and professional shit-stirrer was going to edit one of only two vaguely left-liberal papers in the country (maybe the Mirror counts as well, I don’t know). We don’t need more sensationalist nonsense in our media, we have more than enough already. Readers made a noise about it, as they didn’t want him to ruin the paper they read. I don’t see what the problem is with that.

20. the a&e charge nurse

[18] “This stuff smacks of very much of witchhunting, and – perhaps more importantly – it smacks of a fear that the only way to win our ideological wars is to get rid of the people who don’t subscribe to our ways of thinking”.

Couldn’t agree more – arguments have to be won on merit, not by shouting people down.

OK so Liddle may have had his knuckles rapped, but in the long run this sort of approach may prove to be a huge turn off for many others who share the monkey’s views.

Perhaps the main message they are hearing (rightly or wrongly) is encapsulated by Joe’s brusque outburst in ‘Resevoir Dogs’, when he says;
“This ain’t a goddamn, fucking city council meeting, you know. Now listen up. There’s two ways you can go on this job: my way or the highway”

Curb crawlers are still around and Jan Moir is still around. You don’t use the likes of Twitter to try to eliminate. You use it to try to ENGAGE.

Erm, have you ever tried to engage with Liddle Kate? Have you seen the abusive messages he leaves?

Hey if you like playing psychiatrist go ahead but this simple economics and people voting with their feet.

If Lebedev installed him as editor enough of us would have boycotted the paper. In the end (I hope) Lebedev realised that there were enough Indy readers out there who hated Liddle in order for it to be bad idea for his newspaper.

Liddle can still spout all the shite he wants – there are other people out there wiling to turn a blind eye to his bigotry.

But the idea that consumers or people can’t make their self heard by running a campaign on an issue they feel strongly about is profoundly undemocratic. You go to protests – you write about people fighting for their cause – do you really say that people shouldn’t protest because those services-cutting councillors/MPs will always be around?

I doubt it.

Hey Sunny,

Of course I believe that people power is the thing – I wouldn’t be on the side that I’m on if I didn’t believe that with my whole menopausal being. The greatest thing about the online revolution is that it has given people the chance to air their views, and make change as a result, rather than have the views of the powerful shoved up their butts with no means of response… in the old days, all you could really do was send a letter to an editor, and hope that someone would publish it. Which mostly they wouldn’t.

What I’m saying is that I sense in the Left an inclination towards censorship that doesn’t sit so well with me. The recent campaign to make aspects of the sex trade illegal was a classic for me – instead of bringing something into the open, people wanted to slam down on it and push it out of the light. The inclination was to censor and censure people who use prostitutes, rather than bring the thing out into the open. I’m a woman and I have worked as a prostitute and I don’t condone men who use women in that way, but I have even less time for the thought that one can change a social reality simply by coming over prissy and banning it. There’s something rather un-adult about that approach. There’s almost a tantrum-throwing aspect to it.

I have followed the discussion about Liddle closely and take absolutely your point that he is an unmitigated wanker. You’re right. He is. I don’t subscribe to his politics for a moment, and think a lot of his stuff is plain infantile (the ‘who’d shag Harriet?’ stuff was the worst kind of frat boy women-bashing I’d read for a while. So boring). What I don’t subscribe to is the attempt – successful, it seems – to hound him or anyone else out of circulation. It just doesn’t sit right with me. I personally see all attempts to shut down views as a misuse of power. People power is extremely important – and may I continue to participate in it, and may it continue to grow – but it needs to keep an eye on what it is doing, just like any kind of power.

A really mature solution would have been for the Independent to have hired Liddle – and agreed to publish a piece by an LC writer and/or commentator every day as a salute to the public opinion that this campaign has brought to light. Sure, that may be a fanciful scenario, but who knows where people power could take us – and the publications that need us – if everyone (editors, writers, readers, the lot) opened minds, rather than fought to close them?

Strongly agree with Sunny, Kate.

Ultimately, consumers withholding their money is the most democratic form of action there is: it doesn’t involve pressuring other people to agree, but simply says “Do x and I won’t pay for your product”.

For that reason, there are clear differences between the campaign against Liddle and the Government’s attempts to effectively recriminalise prostitution and shut down lap dancing clubs.

.. and PS – I attend protests not to shut down those who hold conservative, cost-cutting views, but to publicise opposing views, because very few of those on fat salaries and butts in the mainstream media bother to do that. It’s about opening up dialogue by showing the various sides of it, not – as I say above – closing it down.

Yep – fair point, Matthew, and I can see where people are coming from – what I’m trying to say really is that I can’t think of any ideological battle that the left has won in recent times that has involved opening things up. It’s all about shutting things down.

I would have bought the Independent if Liddle had been appointed editor. I like my ideological enemies to operate in the open, where I can see them.

26. J Alfred Prufrock

For heaven’s sake, Liddle is entitled to his repugnant views, we just don’t want them in charge of one of the few bloody liberal/left papers out there. And thus, he isn’t – he can still spout his racist sexist shite at the Spectator and the Times. No-one has called for his asassination, or claimed he shouldn’t be allowed to be a racist fuckwit. It’s not that controversial, really.

What next, Max Hardcore to takeover the Guardian?

Well done everyone – particularly Alex Higgins. This is great news.

Sunny,

“Erm, have you ever tried to engage with Liddle Kate? Have you seen the abusive messages he leaves?”

Please …….. do you really expect him to be civil when you are busy whipping up the twittermob?

Witchhunts come in all shapes and sizes and the one you have helped orchestrate is no different to the kind of censure you disapprove of.

But that’s how it starts …… a belief in liberty and free speach, except for that one odeous example of course, oh and the other one, and the other and then the other……….. then all of a sudden you end up imposing your own views on others in the name of freedom to protest.

29. Alex Higgins

“In other news: former KGB agent to buy second UK newspaper. You’d think that would be the troubling part about this.”

Hold on, Tim!

Even now the ability of readers and online campaigners to affect an editorial appointment is in question (we don’t know what the Indy’s next step is…)

But if you want to take on media ownership, feel free. You’ll have to start building the Mother of All Facebook Groups and create a campaign to change media ownership laws, but by all means, go for it!

I attend protests not to shut down those who hold conservative, cost-cutting views, but to publicise opposing views

Errr what? You just want to publicise opposing views without actually hoping it leads to something? That’s a very curious position to take. I hate going to protest rallies that won’t change anything.

I sense in the Left an inclination towards censorship that doesn’t sit so well with me.

Sorry to be so blunt but this is horseshit, and the kind that Nick Cohen also trots out. Freedom of speech doesn’t give you the right to be an editor.

We highlighted Liddle’s repugnant views and we encouraged people to make themselves heard. Simple as. It’s called a democracy.

What would be the bloody point of people power if people started screaming ‘witchhunt’ every time? Do you cry for the Wintertons if they claim it’s a hard life travelling economy class? Do I cry if someone claims it’s a hard life that Liddle didn’t get to be editor?

29 – Oh, it doesn’t bother me in particular. But given that the tone of debate here has been that the appointment of Rod Liddle would destroy the Independent, it seems odd that there has been so little fuss from the same quarters about the change of ownership. An owner often has far more influence over a newspaper than an editor (the Mail being an exception).

If you want to see how a change of ownership can really take a newspaper away from its readership, just look at the Telegraph.

32. Alex Higgins

“Yep – fair point, Matthew, and I can see where people are coming from – what I’m trying to say really is that I can’t think of any ideological battle that the left has won in recent times that has involved opening things up. It’s all about shutting things down.”

But Kate, wouldn’t that be because the liberal-left is very, very weak in this country? For instance, we have just barely managed to prevent a significant drift to the right in one of the few papers associated with our outloook?

But I don’t accept that this camapign is about “shutting down” – it’s about keeping open. We are trying hard, from a position of serious weakness, to defend some pluralism in a virtually homogeneous British press.

Rod Liddle is not some lone voice, he’s just much cruder.

“I like my ideological enemies to operate in the open, where I can see them.”

Me too, Kate, but that’s exactly what would not have happened if Liddle had been made editor over the objections of staff and readers unless you think internal press politics would get run by the public first.

You can see Liddle operating in the open from his substantial pulpits at the Sunday Times and Spectator and indeed, in the many online forums he participates in including the Facebook group opposing his appointment.

Hmmmm, well congratulations then. I still say the stuff from the Millwall site had no business being highlighted, because they have an ”online community” forum going on there that few people on here will understand.
Also, it was private.

He may not have been the man for the job, I have no problem with that, but I just looked up the infamous Harriet Harman piece again, and came across a piece of his from a couple of months later that I had missed.
He had meant it to be a parody he says.

It says:

Okay, okay, I get the message — maybe it’s time to stop making jokes about women. A couple of months back I wrote a long article about Harriet Harman for The Spectator that began with a paragraph of crass, gutter-bred, laddish sexism. I had meant it to be a parody, to make a point; it seemed to me so grotesque and surreal that nobody, I thought, could mistake it for high seriousness. But, oh, they did.

The remaining 1,700 words were very serious indeed but they have been entirely forgotten — which is the first indication that I must have got it badly wrong. The second is that it clearly offended a lot of women in a way I had not remotely intended; even the ones — few and far between — who got the joke thought it a bad joke and one that they believed revealed in me an inherent and rather foul sexism. I haven’t found many women who appreciated the article, if I’m honest, and most got no further than the first paragraph.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/rod_liddle/article6869314.ece

My point is, that condemnation of every bad joke as being a deadly serious instance of misogyny (or racism in the case of Boris Johnson) – and continuing to repeat that, even when some (perhaps lame but genuine) explaination or apology comes through from the person who has caused this ”outrage” (ie Liddle’s explaination to the Jewish Chronicle about his Auswitch comments) ….. that I find a bit annoying about the left.

Goat curry and the rest? I don’t know. It sounds bad. (It may well be bad.)
I don’t feel to cheered by this victory though for some reason. And it’s not particularly about Liddle, but more about that other thread from today about building a new left movement.

34. Thomas Greenan

@ Tim J (31)

OK, so how should we make an impact on the ownership of the Indy?

@ damon (32)

I am far from convinced that his insistence that his Harman article was a parody was genuine. It smacked of back-pedalling to me. There was little in the actual article to suggest it was a parody of chauvanism, even though it was obviously jokey and hypothetical. He suggested that, contra Caroline Flint, female cabinet members couldn’t be used as window dressing by Gordon Brown because they were all ugly. It was just a cheap jibe about their appearance, and was making no point about feminism at all.

Mathew,

I disagree with the analogy you draw of the Liddle hunt being one where consumers are witholding their money, rather than pressuring other people to agree.

Think about it this way, say, applying to you when in 2006 you were in the running for your current job at the RSA:

Mathew is on the shortlist of candidates to become Chief Executive of the RSA. It’s all going well – you are more than qualified for the job and the interview felt good. Then someone takes exception to the things you said previously – say, about working for Tony Blair / No 10 (quite easy to imagine given the intensity of Blair hatred these days). A Facebook campaign against you is launched and pushed out onto blogsphere and up into the newspapers and bounces back and forth between them. Suddenly you’ve become a pawn in a ideological dispute in which you feature but isn’t really about you at all. The Board can’t be bothered with the hassle, potential harm / loss of good will and appoint one of the other candidates instead.

Is that just protest? Is that consumer choice? (yes consumer – I pay to go to RSA events). Doesn’t it weaken the prospect of people taking on placements with a public profile unless they are prepared to trot out the same bland defensive waffle in stead of what they think?

Just consider yourself lucky that Facebook wasn’t around back in 2006 or some arse could have done that to you.

On another note:

Brian Clough was the best football manager this country ever produced and for years people have talked about how the FA screwed up by appointing Ron Greenwood instead of him to replace Don Revie. But, he did get an interview and was able to persuade them face to face that he wasn’t the kind of manager they could deal with.

If that was now they wouldn’t even bother to give him the interview because the moment Revie resigned some numpty would have set up a bloody Facebook campaign saying: “Stop Brian Clough becoming manager of England!!!!!!” …. and thousands of knee-jerkers would have joined it.

Bugger, hate it when I have to agree with Sunny even fractionally more than Kate (any chance you might contribute something about censorship, btw?) but this isn’t really a censorship issue.

Liddle’s comments made him unsuitable to edit the Indy. The Sun, maybe, or the Daily Spirt (mistyped, but leaving it anyway: maybe Freud was on to something after al…) but not the Indy.

I think we’ve had quite a few articles recently about the difference between supporting someone’s rights and giving them a platform. It’s important to be consistant.

37. J Alfred Prufrock

rumpypumpy,

Does it ever cross your mind that having a sexist racist ranting fuckwit in charge of a liberal, left paper might not actually be a Good Thing? And that is what people were getting angry about? It’s not a witchhunt for Jesus’ sake, no-one is protesting outside the offices of the Spectator or writing to News International to ask them to stop Liddle from spouting off in the Times.

Those who claim that opponents of Liddle are somehow anti-free speech are abusing the very concept they wish to uphold.

As Sunny pointed out: “We highlighted Liddle’s repugnant views and we encouraged people to make themselves heard. Simple as. It’s called a democracy.” Now there is a word for people who don’t like democracy…

38. Golden Gordon

Oh No
Melanie phillips is now in line for the job
Also kate, Rumpy do you honestly think Sunny or the £700 protestors made any difference.
In earlier post your main line of argument was that they were pissing in the wind. Now you say they have more power than Darth Vader’s right arm

39. the a&e charge nurse

Has anybody considered the possibility that Liddle’s constituency (as well as monkeyfc himself) may regard this little spat as yet another example of poe-faced, and joyless ‘lefties’ in action?

Liddle’s output only carries weight if there is a wider audience who broadly hold a similar outlook (otherwise he is little more than a sad, and insignificant loner hammering away at the keyboard) – I believe there ARE many who align themselves with Liddle’s sensibility (or identify with it) – and the danger is that coercive/censorious measures run the risk of not only dividing, but polarising both camps?

Good, I hear the lefties say, fuck ’em, they’re just a bunch of ignoramus’s anyway?
Well maybe they are – but you don’t need to be Einstein to calculate that if such individuals are not engaging with the left (because the left are characterised as prissy and prone to suppressing dissent voices) then that leaves little option but to side with other political figures such as the NHS hating Dan Hannan, perhaps?

For me this issue is not about the monkey, per se, but first principles when it comes to dealing with controversial political or social opinion.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again I think we should get it out there, then seek to educate via dialogue and debate – if the Millwall crew are able to decide if they engage with monkey (or not) then why can’t the ‘Indies’ rapidly diminishing readership?

Sunny – you say:

“You just want to publicise opposing views without actually hoping it leads to something? That’s a very curious position to take. I hate going to protest rallies that won’t change anything.”

I think there’s an important point to make here – that it is possible to strongly believe in something without wanting to shut down opponents at the same time. I loathe the terrible effects that right-leaning administrations have had and continue to have on public services, and protest against those administrations regularly and vociferously, as you know. That doesn’t mean that I think right wing administrations aren’t entitled to their views. It is possible to want to promote one’s views, and a left agenda in public policy, while believing at the same time in opponents’ rights to hold and promote their views. It’s about winning an argument, not shooting the enemy.

“Sorry to be so blunt but this is horseshit, and the kind that Nick Cohen also trots out. Freedom of speech doesn’t give you the right to be an editor.”

Never be sorry to be blunt… also, in my mind, the point is slightly different from the one Cohen tends to make. It’s not that I think that freedom of speech means gives you the right to be an editor. It’s that freedom of speech gives you the right to express yourself and those who oppose you should argue for the right to challenge you on your ground (in this case, to publish in the Independent), rather than to close you down. Liddle is a total cunt, and we’re all on the same page there. I just can’t help thinking that this exercise has somehow brought us down closer to his level.

Probably the good news is that nobody gives a knobble of goatshit what I think, and fair enough. The people have spoken and I do respect that. I just feel uncomfortable.

Rumpy,

I’m not that Matthew Taylor. I’m also not the other Matthew Taylor (http://bit.ly/ca8NwH ), or the former other Matthew Taylor (http://bit.ly/aTOSJP ).

As for the comparison you make, I don’t think it’s congruent. The RSA is not a commercial organisation, and I’d be astonished to discover that that Matthew Taylor had said anything that was objectionable in the way Liddle’s comments clearly are.

It is of course possible for political partisans to ersatz outrage about almost any public statement, but that’s not what happened here.

Well done Sunny, good job.

And as usual the trolls want to change the subject.

J Alfred,

People aren’t trying to stop Rod Liddle in The Time or The Spectator because it isn’t worth the effort – that ground is not up for grabs. Even protestors hope to achieve something (unless they are in the SWP that is).

The battle about Liddle is not about him it’s about preserving the Independent as a potentially left leaning newspaper at a time a new owner might wish to take it into an entirely different direction. I live in London and see how the size + content of the Evening Standard has diminished since Lebedev bought it, stopped charging and now hands it out in lieu of the evening freebies that have closed down. That’s the business model he’s trying out because the Standard was in trouble and could have gone down the pan. Likewise the Independent is in trouble and is prone to a final throw of the dice like that, however Liddle’s profile and popular (yes they are popular) outspoken views was another way of trying to broaden the readership and raise revenue.

Rod Liddle’s sexist views: Come on, tell us it didn’t cross your mind that Caroline Flint was the most attractive woman in the government. Was it sexist to notice that? Or was it just sexist to say she’s “as fit as a butcher’s dog”? To my mind that was just being vulgar, and I haven’t heard anyone suggest he was unfit to edit the Independent just because he was vulgar! Men are vulgar, even the ones who are polite and mask it in irony.

Rod Liddle’s racist views: Heaven forbid a white journalist comment about how some young black men are involved in street crime in London in the frank way that is it is openly discussed in The Voice newspaper. So, it’s ok for Darcus Howe to make a documentary exporing a level of conflict between black and asian gangs and their understanding of multicultural Britain, but Liddle can’t do the same?

Are some subjects and some assumptions are so holy they can’t be discussed openly without risking censure? Do we have to wait and hide behind political campaigns to develop before we can await their findings and discuss such matters.

Rod Liddle is vulgar, he is cocky, he’s like a person who farts in a lift just after the doors close – but to my mind that doesn’t merit the campaign against him.

Am I the only person who can see the irony in today’s topics posted by Sunny?

On the one hand there’s the victorious:
“We won! Liddle not in consideration for Editor of Indy after ‘protests’!”

and on the other
“LC Mission Series: part 1 – Building a new Left Movement”.

Might I suggest that had the left not focused so ardently on redefining what is acceptable for people to say their traditional working class constituency might be less alienated and more receptive to their ideas + it wouldn’tbe so necessary to issue mission statement mimicing corporate values in an attempt to rebuild what they have become detatched from?

Sally,

Go on – start a subject for a change or even add propper contributions instead of one sentance chants.

45. Alex Higgins

“Has anybody considered the possibility that Liddle’s constituency (as well as monkeyfc himself) may regard this little spat as yet another example of poe-faced, and joyless ‘lefties’ in action?” A&E Charge Nurse

They almost certainly will. They regard liberals and lefties opening their mouths to speak as either po-facedry or an attempt to oppress them.

But really what other way of stopping a bad appointment that threatens the diverstiy of the press is there apart from arguing forcefully against it?

Does anyone imagine that if the Daily Mail decided to make George Monbiot its editor that their readership would tolerate that for even 1 second?

It strikes me that there is a very special set of rules for the liberal-left which mean if we want to speak it must be only to say something like, ‘Listen to our nice plan to reduce poverty’ and then say ‘I really respect your freedom of speech! I truly do!’ when you get mainly abuse in return.

Mathew,

Apologies for confusing you. Take it as a compliment you write well and I put the voice to your words.

I disagree that the charity status of the RSA makes a difference. It is about creating a volume of discontent sufficient to unsettle the controllers of any particular constituency – be that a membership or a readership.

44 “Sally,

Go on – start a subject for a change or even add propper contributions instead of one sentance chants.”

Trolls just can’t stop projecting.

33 “Hmmmm, well congratulations then. I still say the stuff from the Millwall site had no business being highlighted, because they have an ”online community” forum going on there that few people on here will understand.
Also, it was private.”

Yes,we will all remember that the next time Guido has some dirt on a Labour party member. I am sure you will be on here to tell us that it was a private matter…….Oh wait!

48. the a&e charge nurse

[45] “It strikes me that there is a very special set of rules for the liberal-left which mean if we want to speak it must be only to say something like, ‘Listen to our nice plan to reduce poverty’ and then say ‘I really respect your freedom of speech! I truly do!’ when you get mainly abuse in return”.

Occupying the moral high ground, culturally, carries a burden?

See the recent thread on state sponsored hits – not many are arguing that governments should play by the same rules as the terrorists;
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/02/18/mahmoud-al-mabhouh-the-ethics-of-state-sponsored-assassination/

49. Alex Higgins

@48 Well absolutely and in particular with regard to extrajudicial executions, but in what way does liberalism require its adherents to accept the appointment of one of its staunch opponents to be editor of one the country’s 2 liberal papers?

This makes no sense – no more than if Labour party members were asked to accept the burden of the moral high ground and generously offer the leadership to John Redwood.

“Has anybody considered the possibility that Liddle’s constituency (as well as monkeyfc himself) may regard this little spat as yet another example of poe-faced, and joyless ‘lefties’ in action?” A&E Charge Nurse

I could not care one jot.

It is ridiculous that one of the very few Liberal newspapers in this country should hand over the editors job to a Knuckle dragging moron. So if Rod’s right wing Milwall fans want to say that then fine, they can go back to The Star, or The Sun, which by the way I could not care who edits.

51. the a&e charge nurse

[50] “So if Rod’s right wing Milwall fans want to say that then fine, they can go back to The Star, or The Sun, which by the way I could not care who edits”.

Now, now Sally, I’m sure not all Millwall supporters are the same ……. are they?
http://www.higherthansatire.com/.a/6a00d8341cd41453ef0120a5775b1e970c-800wi

This is excellent news, I do genuinely hope this does pan out fully and isn’t spoiled by a last minute change of mind by Lebedev.

Sally,

I’m neither right wing, nor a troll. My full name appears on all my comments.

Commiserations to rumpypumpy, look on the bright side, that will mean the Liddle posts will be done with, so you can jump to defend the next racist that is perhaps going to become the editor of a national left of centre newspaper.

I look forward to it.

“Sally,

I’m neither right wing, nor a troll. My full name appears on all my comments.”

Err…. you what?

I don’t remember ever talking to you.

Sally,

You automatically assume all opponents are right wing trolls. I’m an opponent on this thread. In theory, you could have been sending your comment my way.

I didn’t really think you were, though.

Normally, I find your comments quite amusing. Sometimes, I think they’re a little short on substance. Tonight was one of those nights.

Sleep well, pet – and try to breathe through your nose.

Kate, if Nick Griffin were appointed editor of the Independent, would it be “censorship” for us to argue against it? Should we just say that he should put a Liberal Conspiracy piece in each issue – a request he would decline? Obviously not.

This isn’t complex. Liddle has a right to make whatever argument he wants. We have a right to argue back. The right runs both ways.

The right to free speech does not include a right to edit a national newspaper. You are not editor of the Independent. That doesn’t mean you are being censored – and nor is Liddle.

Andy,

To be honest, I think it IS complex.

To really support a right to free speech is NOT to condone what someone is saying – it is to support their right to say it. You need to do that regardless, even in the case of an ogre like Griffin.

I was one of the few people I know who thought Griffin should appear on Question Time, for instance. That was not because I support his views in any way, because I absolutely do not. He’s the worst of human nature, and an a pure idiot. Listening to him depresses me, and that programme depressed me. I felt depressed knowing that people out there had voted for him and felt he met their needs. Unfortunately, though, he does exist, and he has a following. He won an election. And there it is. One cannot pretend that he and his followers don’t exist, or that banning them public forums makes them go away. You come away empty handed if you take such a view. You don’t win anyone over, and the bad guys do not go away.
Banning is, in my view, the easy option. You don’t have to put in the hard yards if you ban someone – you don’t have to try and educate people to another point of view, or explain away their theories, or come up with better options for the people the likes of Griffin appeal to, or even ask yourself why some people find the likes of Griffin attractive. You just ban them, and tell everyone the problem lies with the person you’ve banned. Easy, but ultimately useless. It’s a bit like banning pit bulls – it’s much easier to demonise and ban a breed than it is to try and educate people who cause the problem. It’s much easier to think that the whole problem lies with the breed. Dog attack figures stay the same, and the wrong people keep having the wrong idea about owning dogs. Nothing changes.

You’re absolutely right to say that we have the right to argue back at Liddle or Griffin or whoever – as I said somewhere above, that’s probably the magical aspect of online for me. We can say what we think, and work together to change things. I take that right very seriously, and think my life would be very difficult to lead without it.

People would argue that that is what happened with the Liddle campaign and fair play to them – the campaign seems to have delivered the right result for its members. I just have a feeling that I would like to see more of combating someone’s ideas in a way that wins huge numbers of people over, and less energy devoted to what I feel is an emphasis on closing down of unpalatable views and voices. Bottom line – you cannot defend the notion of free speech if you don’t defend everyone’s right to it.

This is not meant to be a personal attack on anyone at all, or an attempt to sully the campaign, or a quiet salute to Liddle, who in my view abuses his power. The campaign was very well organised and achieved its goal and my hat is off in that respect. I just feel that in the end, censorship is the easy option.

This is an important discussion though, and I’m glad it’s being had.

Sally @47 I have spent a total of about 15 minutes looking at the Guido Fawkes blog and it looks totally boring. I have no interest in ”parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy”.

But your attitude of calling everyone with a different view ‘trolls’, is definitely one of the issues that should be taken up in the ”Building a new Left Movement” thread, because that kind of thinking (which seems to run through the left) will always be its Achilles’ heel.

60. Golden Gordon

But your attitude of calling everyone with a different view ‘trolls’, is definitely one of the issues that should be taken up in the ”Building a new Left Movement” thread, because that kind of thinking (which seems to run through the left) will always be its Achilles’ heel.
Why its a point of view. Surely the point she has every right to call you a right wing troll as you have to say “F*** off Commie”.
As for the Liddle case, why is Kate and others so upset about Sunny’s campaign. He has every right to put forward his case. That is democracy, are you saying he should not air his views. If it is vindictive, this is politics boys and girls.Also I have noted some of the posts from righties aimed at some lefties and they are not pleasant.
Also Kate at least Sunny’s campaign is out there for everyone to see and therefore open to debate. The campaigns I don’t like are ones which involve the Chinese whispers approach..
Also as I have said before if you think LC’s campaign scuppered his job interview then your barking.
More likely when Liddle was asked about the role of Russia in the modern world blasted out ” We know how to handle these Pesky Ruskies down at the new Den”

61. the a&e charge nurse

[60] I’m not upset about Liddle, and I don’t think many of the other commentators here are, either – the way you can tell is that most have all said so in their posts.

If I have understood Kate, et al, correctly their concern has more to do with the tactic of hounding, or demonising an individual for making a series of controversial comments – this runs the risk of being perceived as heavy handed and a huge turn off for those who regard freedom of expression as a very important principle.
It also begs certainly begs questions about MOTIVE when their seems to be a strong preference to play the man, not the ball?

Ironically, GG, you label shouting down (in relation to Sally’s comments) as the ‘achilles heel’ of the left – yet you seem very busy patting Sunny on the back because he has decided to shout down, sshhhh ….. you know who.

Curious, no?

62. Golden Gordon

“I’m not upset about Liddle, and I don’t think many of the other commentators here are, either – the way you can tell is that most have all said so in their posts”
You don’t sound it

If I have understood Kate, et al, correctly their concern has more to do with the tactic of hounding, or demonising an individual for making a series of controversial comments – this runs the risk of being perceived as heavy handed and a huge turn off for those who regard freedom of expression as a very important principle.
It also begs certainly begs questions about MOTIVE when their seems to be a strong preference to play the man, not the ball?
Thats politics Luv. Gordon Brown has that every day of his existence. He has been called everything from autistic to the reincarnation of Stalin.
Liddle was going to be editor, of a national newspaper why shouldn’t he be subjected to the same. That is politics. You think it is bad here, just google Aussie politics. Liddle got off light
Also why is it an infringement of freedom. Quite the opposite. You prefer a world where no one says a word in open debate but leave it too the Chinese whispers approach.
At least Sunny is been straight about his views.
Also have you never made controversial comments about individuals. Will all you stop playing this shrinking violet “holier than holier” persona. It makes me lurch for the sick bag

Ironically, GG, you label shouting down (in relation to Sally’s comments) as the ‘achilles heel’ of the left – yet you seem very busy patting Sunny on the back because he has decided to shout down, sshhhh ….. you know who.

Curious, no?
I haven’t an idea what you getting at. Please explain.

63. Golden Gordon

As for the Liddle situation.
I couldn’t be bovered one way or another.
As I said in an earlier post , it concerns me more about the ownership of newspapers than editor. A little like football clubs.
Also I did mention that Sunny may get someone even worst than Liddle.

Jeez Golden G. I’ve never said “F*** off Commie” in my life. I used to be quite a fan of the old RCP so why would I?

So he wasn’t the man for the job. OK I accept that. But personally I would liked to have seen it happen – just to see what happened. I like the Inde for it’s columnists (not the right wing ones, but Deborah Orr, Hari, Patrick Cockburn etc – and Yasmin is always entertaining) and if he was going to break all them up and bring in more right wingers, then I’d agree that he was not suitable.
But I have a feeling that he would have been bigger than that, and might have shook things up in an interesting way.
How about for a start – replacing Bruce Anderson with Claire Fox?

Maybe I shouldn’t do this link …… but I’ll do it anyway.
It’s ”monkey” yesterday talking with his mates online about not getting the job.

And as much as I might wince a bit at some of the things said on this thread, I would actually feel more at home with some people like that than I would with the smarmier end of the UAF/left-liberal spectrum.

(Key words in that sentence are ”some” and ”end of” – before I get called a right winger again).

The thing ponder when reading that site is, who is being serious and who is just being ”Millwall”.
http://www.millwall.vitalfootball.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=42758&start=1

Wonder if Liddle was at this Millwall game, I was, (covertly cos us Manchester City fans were banned cos of trouble at a previous Millwall v City game)

An accurate report.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2001/dec/09/sport.comment11

Oh and “Rod Liddle to Suzanne Moore: ‘Sorry I called you a “fucking hypocrite”

http://madamearcati.blogspot.com/2010/02/rod-liddle-to-suzanne-moore-sorry-i.html

(not often Madame Arcati finds herself on LC I’ll be bound)

67. Golden Gordon

Damon I wasn’t calling you a right wing troll just Sally’s right to say it.

Also why did Liddle become a Millwall fan. He is from the North east

@ 67

Liddle was born in south London but moved to the north east when eight.

Having said that Millwall does have an attraction not just for violent racists, but also for a certain type of fella looking for working class romance and what he perceives as a “genuine, local, working class club”. Charlie Whelan, though a Spurs fan, is also a Millwall fan.

There are two things that annoyed me about the pre-emptive campaign against Liddle as Independent editor:
1. He wasn’t given the opportunity to write a manifesto in favour of his suitability. His polemic articles were assumed by his opponents to be the tone that he would project on the Independent.
2. His opponents failed to acknowledge that he is a professional journalist. If he became editor of a serious newspaper, he knows that he would be required to act professionally. History at the BBC suggests that he is capable of this.

I hope that the Independent is not doomed and that a future editor (who may be Roger Alton, or not) will turn it around. I think that we are worse off now that Liddle is out of the frame. He may have had some workable ideas, but some people thank that ideas should be immediately rejected if the proponents name is Liddle.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. waffle waitress

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  55. Poor Little Liddle « Bad Conscience

    […] it? I mean, it couldn’t possibly be about another highly energetic online campaign that now appears to have succeeded in preventing Rod Liddle becoming editor of The Independent, could […]

  56. A Liddle Bit Of Good News « EXCUSES AND HALF TRUTHS

    […] Columnist Rod Liddle now looks unlikely to be offered the position of editor at the Independent, following a groundswell of disapproval from staff and readers. This should universally be considered A Good Thing. Liddle would be a rotten fit for the paper. […]

  57. A post about Liberals inevitably titled “The strange death of Liberal [insert topic here]“ « Left Outside

    […] his people’s red tunic Sunny Hundal has mounted horseback and set loose the dogs of Facebook to trash Liddle’s chances of editing […]

  58. Liberal Conspiracy » They want us to be weak and silent

    […] his people’s red tunic Sunny Hundal has mounted horseback and set loose the dogs of Facebook to trash Liddle’s chances of editing […]

  59. sunny hundal

    @gift_of_the_fab http://t.co/ve4vWgGH

  60. sunny hundal

    @frozenwarning @JohnnyCov @Ash_Dunne I wrestled with Rod Liddle…. and won http://t.co/ve4vWgGH





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