The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is…


3:47 pm - July 17th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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When I first launched Liberal Conspiracy in Nov 2007, blogger and journalist Paul Linford was one of core contributors. He hasn’t blogged here for quite a while and last week wrote:

For a while I contributed to Liberal Conspiracy, but although I am an economic leftist, I have always been a small-c conservative on social issues and it soon became clear to me that my views on such matters as abortion were not appreciated by my fellow group bloggers there.

I think this is worth picking up, partly because we’ve had a huge influx of new readers who also don’t seem to understand the point of this site.

For the record, I never advised Paul to stop blogging at Libcon nor rejected any of his contributions. However, he felt hostility from other contributors in the comments from other LC bloggers when discussing abortion.

Now, abortion will always remain a controversial topic even though I have a straight-forward liberal view: it should be legal at any point as is the case in Canada. A state should have no right to compel women on reproductive rights if they’re over a certain age other than offer neutral advice.

It is also one of those rare issues I don’t take a ‘balanced’ approach on when it comes to publishing articles on, at Liberal Conspiracy (global warming is another one for example – there’s no reason why I should offer space to AGW deniers).

But my broader editorial aim was always to try and represent a range of opinion on the left-wing spectrum: from socialists to liberals. These opinions differ on state intervention, foreign policy, civil liberties, type of political economy, social issues and whatever else you can think of.

Given the huge amount of new visitors we’ve had from this year (with July already shaping up to our biggest month ever), this discussion is perhaps worth having again.

Liberal Conspiracy publishes a wider range of views than any other major, independent blog. Quite frequently I publish views I disagree with. Just recently for example: lots of opinion pieces against the intervention in Libya, justifying Charlie Gilmour’s sentence when I thought it was excessive, articles lauding the long-term importance of the student protests and more. Hell, I bet I’m more biased towards free-markets than most contributors here are.

Naturally this also brings criticism from people who prefer only one kind of view (this should be called ‘illiberal conspiracy’ LOLZ!11! – I’m sure no one has made that joke before) or those who don’t like that opinion (OMG can’t believe someone on LC wrote Charlie Gilmour should DIE – they have no idea of political policing!!11!).

Most of the absurd reactions are just that – absurd and idiotic. But even I admit I don’t get it right all the time.

So here are some general guidelines:

  • There is no one Liberal Conspiracy position on anything. There may be a general consensus among writers (and readers) on certain issues but that is rare. Writers frequently disagree with each other.
  • The political temperature here is more centre-left than hard-left opinion. This partly reflects my own outlook of course, but I have been more open about this from day one.
  • As editor, I make a decision on 90% of articles (some get published by long-standing authors directly) but rarely assume to speak for everyone.
  • Yes I do reject opinions pieces offered to me; whether because the style is not right, because the writing is not up to scratch, because the article is confusingly written, or makes a point that has already been made, repeats what everyone already knows, or will simply get lefties fighting with each other.
  • My aim as editor however is not simply to reflect opinion of one part of the left back all the time. This is not simply an echo chamber. There are lefties who are fiscally conservative, libertarian lefties, people who distrust the state, people who dislike capitalism and those who want to see freer markets. All those opinions have to be reflected.
  • If you dislike a particular opinion – argue against it rather than get hysterical about the fact it was published. The latter just makes you look like an idiot (and admittedly, a fair amount of our detractors on the hard-left and right are idiots who hate to see opinions they disagree with).
  • We will continue to make mistakes, though I’d like to think these are rare. When a mistake is made, the article will usually be retracted and an apology made.
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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


Sort the italics. But I agree with this. I post here; I don’t agree with Sunny on a great many things (my views are almost the opposite of Paul’s – I’m very socially liberal but believe in a market economy with open immigration and transparent redistribution through progressive taxation and targeted benefits), but am glad Sunny offers me a platform and try not to abuse my long-standing-author-posting rights.

Sort the italics? Okay then

I believe that mentally disabled people like myself should not pay for the sins of the ruling classes.

I believe it is wrong that that while the County Council budget has been cut by 25% my care budget has been cut by 60% from £43k to £17K – a 60% reduction.

What does that make me?

The only thing I’ve ever regretted with Liberal Conspiracy is those that have felt hounded off from the more liberal rather than “left” persuasion, and perhaps that I’ve been dissuaded from posting so much for the same reasons they have completely disappeared.

What would be great is if this place could get back to being what made it actually great when it first started up, and that’s an intelligent community of opposing voices that are here to engage with, and seek to understand the meaning behind, views that aren’t quite in line with their own.

It’s good this kind of forum, for these kind of people, exists; it’s not happening anywhere else, and people on the left or right that seek to make everything in to moral and political absolutes should be just ignored (as I generally assume you do Sunny).

5. Orangebook LibDem

Hi Sunny,

Just a thought – you say you offer a platform for dissenting voices and in fairness on specific topics you do, say on Charlie Gilmour or on Labour’s strategic approach. However, in broader terms, what might be described as worldview or perspective, most LibCon articles are premised on a socilist socio-economic one, so I have never read a piece arguing for less state involvement/conrol (with civil liberties being the exception that proves the rule). Most articles on here are resoundingly pro-tax, pro-unions, pro-Labour, pro-statist, pro-regulation, pro-identity politics. I’d love to see some of these challanged from a LIBERAL perspective to have some genuine pluralism on your site.

Could not agree more, I have always viewed this site as a platform for lively (but respectful) debate amongst the left as well as a way of demonstrating that the left is so incredibly varied and holds such diverse opinions. Personally I’m an extremely socially liberal, democratic Marxist. I believe in social liberties, free immigration, a varied democracy but also the promotion of a huge change in power relations and wealth distribution (some may see these as contradictory aims at times but I have no trouble reconciling them) and enjoy debating these views with others on the left, whether more moderate or hardline.

I have a straight-forward liberal view: it should be legal at any point as is the case in Canada. A state should have no right to compel women on reproductive rights if they’re over a certain age other than offer neutral advice.

I had no idea this was Paul Linford’s view but if he feels like that, it’s perhaps not surprising? Two things:

1) that abortion should be permitted at any stage for any reason is hardly a ‘straightforward liberal view’. It’s a rather extreme one and a position that I personally think is very difficult to justify. Do you, for example, really think killing an unborn child, say, a week before its due date is a right that women should have without question? I would have thought this is a rather difficult position to justify but it isn’t treated as such here, which brings me to this:

2) Apologies if I’ve missed something, I may well have, but I don’t recall any of the posts on LC attempting to argue for this absolutist position on abortion. Rather the tone of some of the posts, and most of the comments, is to simply take it as given and shriek at people who disagree. One could argue that’s all that is left to do because despite your comparison, people’s views on abortion aren’t really about science – which is why I find the comparison with climate change difficult to understand?

“I’d love to see some of these challanged from a LIBERAL perspective to have some genuine pluralism on your site.”

The liberal posters chose to leave, largely because they felt the same as you do now at the time (with only slightly less accuracy), it’d be great if something could be organised or discussed to bring some of them back.

The liberal posters chose to leave

Not as I’ve noticed, as a very liberal (in Lee’s sense) poster. I do think we should give Luis Enrique a platform, but that’s a separate point. The LD activists left when the site started vociferously bashing the LDs for being part of the Coalition. But as I understand it, there was no compulsion from Sunny – just that the LDs didn’t like being bashed for the compromise they made. Which, if they can’t take the heat, etc.

Shuggy – I agree. I find Sunny’s views on abortion genuinely shocking. The idea of aborting a baby days before its due date is horrendous. Surely he cannot really mean that.

“The LD activists left when the site started vociferously bashing the LDs for being part of the Coalition”

Before that even, it was more in the lead up to the election, and the belief in the closing of ranks to support Labour. I don’t think it was that cut and dry, but that’s how the Lib Dems felt. I can’t necessarily disagree with the “can’t take the heat” comment, and the irony that now comes from Lib Dems supporting a very political coalition while it’s bloggers still don’t consider the journalistic kind that can be had here.

And of course I don’t mean all Liberal posters have left, just that a vast amount did. 😉

@11

Before that even, it was more in the lead up to the election, and the belief in the closing of ranks to support Labour. I don’t think it was that cut and dry, but that’s how the Lib Dems felt.

Yes, you could say it wasn’t that cut and dry, given that Sunny bloody well gave the Lib Dems his endorsement at the time.

14. Paul Newman

This is a good site though, well run and deserving of its acclaim. It is not however inclusive :
About Feb 2010 Kate Belgrave commented uneasily “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”.
You slapped s her down savagely leaving Kate is left whimpering . I guess she left did she?

Look at this thread
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/02/19/lc-mission-series-part-1-building-a-new-left-movement/#comments

Mr. Hundal is contemptuous of the “Liberal ” contributors at that time who were under the impression that they had some right to inclusion in a project labelled Liberal :
He said …
… it highlights how territorial Libdems are over stances. If you guys engaged with LC more you’d do a better chance of reaching out to a constituency that should be yours but isn’t convinced yet. Instead the Libdems are just talking to each other and complaining why the polls haven’t moved in their direction….

Mark Valdares riposted ….
Actually, most of my colleagues have never been approached by LC to contribute, although some of them were attacked by young Aaron (whatever happened to him?) for being mildly critical. We made it clear why we were going, and the silence was deadening…..Your problem is that most of us have engaged, been repelled, and found something better to do. I don’t think that we’ll be coming back. In that sense, Liberal Conspiracy has failed.

Another You said ” If you guys engaged with LC more you’d do a better chance of reaching out to a constituency that should be yours but isn’t convinced yet. So James, Alix and myself – all people who *HAVE* ‘engaged with LC’, have been pointing out that actually Mark was right. You *have* driven those contributors away…”

If there has been any content no both trendy and lefty I cannot recall it.I have no problem with that but inclusive it aint ..

15. Orangebook LibDem

Also, further to my earlier comment which dealt with substance, there is also a style issue here at LibCon. There is a slight tabloid-esque narrative to many articles here, and the attention grabbing headlines above the slightly suspect pictures. The tone is often one of self-righteous invective based upon ‘truths’ which are deemed to be self evident, such as all Tories are evil, the rich should always pay more tax, conservatives are ignorant… etc.

In addition to plurality, perhaps we could have some nuance as well.

On Liberal Writers, I think several factors are at play.

Looking at break-down of people from the left (not voters, but activists generally) – I’d say about 70% are either within the Labour party or non-aligned. This is, I’d say, was before the election.

Since the election, the number of left Libdems has even declined further. If left-Libdems felt like they were a minority before, they are even more now. But on here, Greens are represented even less.

I’ve not driven a Libdem away once, though there one who was not asked to write for LC again for he kept slagging off the site because it didn’t take positions he liked.

Now, while I agree its a shame that more Liberal orientated left writers don’t want to write more for LC, its not by my design. A lot of left Libdems have also stopped blogging (more prominently, James Graham). And since last year, the political climate has changed even more. Though on various issues I’d say we still take very Liberal positions on social issues – more so than Labour.

Most articles on here are resoundingly pro-tax, pro-unions, pro-Labour, pro-statist, pro-regulation, pro-identity politics.

There have been lots of articles taking positions against these issues, but I don’t they don’t reflect a majority on left thinking.

On abortion:
Shuggy – there is no comparison with climate science, only pointing out that these are two issues I take an editorial position on. And being pro-trade union (though that is a left AND a liberal position), which I forgot to mention above

Do you, for example, really think killing an unborn child, say, a week before its due date is a right that women should have without question?

I think if a woman chooses to abort her baby a week before its born (and the likelihood is extremely rare) then its usually a VERY important reason, and I think they’re intelligent enough to weigh this up by themselves. I see no need to make the assumption that if a woman makes that decision, she is mad or something and should be forced to have the baby by the state anyway.

I’ve not written an article on the issue stating this position yet. Just felt no reason to do so. I rarely write about abortion myself.

I think we have to appreciate the irony of his participating in liberal conspiracy at all. Given that he is neither an economic liberal (economically left) nor a social liberal (small-c conservative). However, I do think it’s sad that he feels unable to contribute.

Paul – I’m not sure Mark V is a left Libdem, but since the election we’ve offered Prateek Buch of the Social Liberals and George Potter a platform several times. In fact, whenever George offers an article I usually take it, even though he’s highly critical of what I write most of the time 🙂
My response regarding Libdems is above – there are in fact a lot of groups we don’t adequately don’t (and can’t, for lack of space) represent here.

Paul Newmanl: You slapped s her down savagely leaving Kate is left whimpering

I doubt anyone could make Kate whimper. She has written for LC after that several times. I also think it was her arguing with Paul Linford on the issue of abortion that made him blanche. She is quite absolutist on several issues I’d say.

19. Leon Wolfson

People /are/ going to disagree.

I’ve written under another name in games journalism, which makes this site at it’s worst look like tea and biscuits. And that’s when you give the widely expected score, rather than dissent.

tldr; Writers on major sites need a thick skin.

20. Paul Newman

You seriously think its ok for a woman to abort a baby a week before it is due ? You mean full term ? I know the term is used a bit hysterically but if there any difference between that and murder I `d like to hear it.

Did you really mean that ?

21. Mr S. Pill

@20

A foetus lives inside the womb of a person. There’s your difference. (FWIW I agree with Sunny about abortion but this subject is a bit off-topic..)

On-topic: good post, & hopefully it’ll stop a few whingers complaining about what stance LC is taking on X, Y or Z.

22. Paul Newman

Incidentally the socially conservative problem issue is really immigration . After the last election New Labour returned contrite and full of what they had heard on the doorstep
Liberal Conspiracy is basically against Englishness other than as a place in which random people live with certain legal rights
I know the latest tactic has been to pretend there is no such ethnicity as English and anyone can claim it. Its just not true , which is a slight draw back.

This is what Blue Labour is really all about of course

23. Mr S. Pill

@22

Please explain what you mean by “English(ness)”.

I have a liberality fail when a fuckwit like Newman is taken seriously. That’s my failing, but it certainly proves the liberal nature of this site.

@Sunny

Regarding abortion, while I don’t want to veer this discussion wildly off topic, the issue isn’t about the woman’s choice late in pregnancy – it’s about when you deem the foetus to be a ‘life’ (and therefore, when the woman shouldn’t be able to make a choice on it’s behalf), if that makes sense. For example, I fully support abortion up to a point, but I’m not of the pursuasion that it should be allowed up to the end of pregnancy. I don’t think it’s her choice to make at that point.

It is your site, and you can choose what you do, and don’t want.

My only request is that you don’t allow moronic tory trolls to dictate what you allow and don’t allow. We all know that right wing trolls have a great insecurity, and need to come on liberal sites and pollute the site with their views and then whine when they get called on their idiocy. Liberals and lefties tend not to be subject to such insecurity, and don’t need to run trolling on right wing sites.

Right wing trolls are like a cancer that use the freedom to gain access, and then try to screw everything up by high jacking various treads, and then shouting how illiberal you are when you take them down.

Ignore the moronic tory trolls.

27. Leon Wolfson

@22 – Sure, it just explicitly excludes me (as poor and as a non-Christian)

If you want to take Labour there, fine (although I won’t vote for it, or anyone given that a moderate-left Labour is the only thing I would at this point), but it’s just one definition of liberal, and one many are going to disagree with.

28. the a&e charge nurse

[23] “explain what you mean by “English(ness)” – well surely it is akin to the sum of a process that exist everywhere else in the world which results in various people labeling themselves (with far less controversy it seems) Scottish, Indian, Australian, American, etc, etc.

Anyway, why ask for an explanation – it only ever seems to provokes another tedious bout of self loathing?

The immigration question IS important, not least because it has increasingly become a proxy (rightly or wrongly) for concerns about growing population and dwindling resources.
UK density populations are close to being the highest in Europe, so perhaps it is not surprising that social housing is virtually non-existent, hospitals are rammed, while ownership of property will be beyond the reach of many, especially those saddled with humungous debt after they leave university (a problem that is bound to be exacerbated by draconian interest rates).

Graduates used to be emblematic of the best opportunities we had to offer but sadly many students are likely to end up in financial purgatory.

We can have a bit of fun deciding who is most to blame but

29. the a&e charge nurse

BUT – shouting at the bankers only gets you so far?

30. Paul Newman

Pill-The English are a people united by shared memory experience language culture and allegiance… Discussion of immigration always talks about everything but the one thing that really worries people. That is that England remains English an independent coherent Nation whose identity has political expression.
You see Sunny`s interesting shift ( see above ) runs in parallel to the Blue Labour project which whilst a vacuous load of waffle itself represents a way for the Labour Party to reconnect with its lost working class support .
Ed Milliband is especially keen having so little personally to recommend him to Labour voters. Bear in mind that the Party some 30% to 35% of Labour voters say is their second choice is the BNP. In Europe the left has often been split along those lines, a National socially conservative Unions based group and a Fabian Social Democratic New Labour progressive lefty group such as dominates out left.
For the young Asian men coming to dominate the Labour Party this re-connection is especially urgent. Sunder Katwala bemoaned the fact that, for example, the Labour Party had become the Party that hated the pub. Immigration is not the only fracture but it is the most obvious one. Justice, women`s rights and the rewards given to unionised ” Public Sector Professionals” are other issues.
So I shall believe Mr.Hundals commitment to a plurality of left leaning voices when and if we see a post for getting out of the EU , cutting immigration and making prison a long and austere experience no-one would look upon with other than dread.

Paul Newman #14

nobody could make Kate Belgrave whimper, but she is the author of many a boy whimper!

@Paul Newman

Wrong. I still have my longstanding publishing rights and published a lot here after the article you mention above – latest list of stuff is here:

http://liberalconspiracy.org/author/kateb/

and you’ll see I’ve published here this year.

Sunny and I disagree hugely on many things – particularly on Labour – but it needs to be said that he has never tried to close me down, or throw me off this site. Not once. We’ve never even had a conversation about it. That may be because he’s worried I’ll chew his knackers off, but whatever the case – he’s never tried to close me down. We communicate regularly on twitter – usually involves me abusing him about Miliband and him telling me to pull my head in. Comfortingly familiar in its way.

And yes – I wrote an article in Lib Con’s early days in praise of legal abortion. Paul Lindford did take exception to it, because I tore strips off the Almighty. As I will continue to do, because Jesus Christ is pretend.

33. Leon Wolfson

@28 – Urban densities are high all across Europe, and yet other countries have far higher percentages of social housing. It’s down to investment, pure and simple. In a similar theme, the NHS was grossly under-funded, and it’s only in recent years we’ve approached the EU average…but now that’s being thrown away in a massive reorganisation which is going to destroy many of the efficiency elements.

And hey, if CPI is good enough for benefits, it’s good enough for…oh wait, no, they’re using % above RPI there. Because it’s about ensuring the poor really, really shouldn’t consider getting uppity.

34. flyingrodent

I’ll also endorse this. I write at my own place and some of it gets reposted here, and that includes stuff that is fiercely critical of the positions taken by Sunny and a few other authors. Much of the Libya stuff was aimed more or less explicitly at them in highly unflattering tones, but it still got posted here. Plenty of respect for that.

I would also add that I think it’s weird if people stop writing/commenting because things get tough on a site like this… I mean – this is politics? Why would you come here, or onto any political site, expecting cuddles? I’ve been viciously abused here and on CiF and wherever, as have most people. So what? Why crawl away? Isn’t that the game?

36. Paul Newman

Glad to hear it Kate

I pride myself on weapons-grade cuntishness, Paul. No man can take that away.

38. Shatterface

‘The liberal posters chose to leave, largely because they felt the same as you do now at the time (with only slightly less accuracy), it’d be great if something could be organised or discussed to bring some of them back.’

I’m not sure whether the Liberal posters are hiding their heads in shame now that their party is in power, or whether Sunny’s open membership of the Labour Party has caused them to jump ship, but the discourse of this site is now pretty much New Labour orthodoxy on everything from economics to law and order.

There’s little sense any of the posters are active in the union movement, for instancr, or have dealt with ex-offenders, just plenty of bollocks about ‘narrative’ from people who seem to see politics as some kind of postmodern tribal game.

You had a good opportunity to support some sensible suggestions about cutting prison numbers recently but chose to pick a fight over some idiotic comments Ken Clarke made instead of addressing his central argument because (a) you oppose any cuts on principle, and (b) you would rather pander to those for whom no retribution is excessive enough.

Dave Osler continues to post some excellent articles though.

39. Leon Wolfson

“from people who seem to see politics as some kind of postmodern tribal game. ”

As a game designer, I can say that anyone in my business who tried producing plots as shallow as many of the current government’s plans wouldn’t be in the business for long.

I think if a woman chooses to abort her baby a week before its born (and the likelihood is extremely rare) then its usually a VERY important reason

I’d imagine few, if any, abortions are performed under such circumstances. My point is, the logic of your position is that women should be allowed to, regardless of whether there’s a “VERY important reason”. The question is, why?

I support a woman’s right to choose to abort a foetus. I do not support some Ideologically driven people who seem to want to deny these women counselling that will point out the potential for harm to them psychologically and physically from the procedures carried out. The right to choose must be nitigated by a “right to know the facts” and a right to explore all options. In most cases this happens in reality Doctors and nurses help the women make the correct choice for her. But some Pro choice rhetoric seems to make abortion a “mere” matter of choice

@41 You seem to be confused, no one seeks to deny women counselling, indeed the current rules force them to have counselling whether they want it or not. What we are opposed to is groups with a clear actual bias using these mandatory counselling sessions not for counselling, but for pushing their world view.

My point is, the logic of your position is that women should be allowed to, regardless of whether there’s a “VERY important reason”. The question is, why?

And, further, if it’s permissible for abortions to take place at any time before delivery (an hour before? in the early stages of labour?) why would it be impermissible to kill newborn babies?

The biggest issue for me is about the posts that did get through.

Loyalist sectarian views are acceptable:

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/08/22/the-pope-the-irish/

*Personal* attacks on people who have suffered terribly are acceptable:

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/04/10/a-compassionate-campaigner-for-good-really/
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/04/11/its-not-your-feelings-its-what-you-do-about-them/

I’m still staggered that these were not only considered acceptable, but also how they were defended and which criticisms were respected and which weren’t.

I’m slightly disappointed that I only wrote 2/3 of the pieces that Old Andrew considers unacceptable.

As a regular lurker from a liberal and democratic perspective who doesn’t often comment here there are several things I’d like to say.

Sunny is correct to identify the issues of abortion and the environment as important issues, but for me it is precisely the knowledge that he holds absolutist positions which is offputting. You might as well talk to the hand as the face – what is the point of engaging with this site if the site refuses any potential to reciprocate?

On the environmental issue, AGW has some strong arguments, but any potential for finding effective political solutions is reduced by hindering debate on the topic – which is what use of the term ‘AGW’ does. As an editorial strategy this is unsupportable, so I’d encourage adjustment of the terms of discussion from ‘AGW’ to ‘climate change’.

On abortion, support for the absolute right of an individual to choose is also unsupportable as an editorial policy precisely because the significant legal obstacles to this position are designed to provide a statutory basis whereby justifiable choice can be measured and accounted for. Whether a person agrees or not with the legal position the principles of the current law do allow for more extensive protection of human rights than would otherwise be the case, and therefore it is incoherent nonsense for Sunny to state his opposition to the law while defending the ‘very important’ reasons which the law regulates.

Consequently my overwhelming feeling about this apparent editorial u-turn is that there’s still a long way for this site to go before words are met with corresponding actions.

Between the specifics and the generalities this is down to an understanding of choice. If LC wants to be taken seriously then its choices shouldn’t be taken lightly.

So it remains a massive head-scratcher to read a declaration of support for greater ‘pluralism’ in one breath, yet in the next for Sunny to express the aim “to try and represent a range of opinion on the left-wing spectrum: from socialists to liberals.”

This site needs to decide, is the prime concern to propagate positions or to report facts and discuss ideas? Is this site dedicated more to readers/contributors or to founders/owners?

The opportunity to decide shouldn’t be wasted.

On abortion, support for the absolute right of an individual to choose is also unsupportable as an editorial policy

It isn’t an editorial policy. You’ve missed the entire point: things that Sunny personally disagrees with are posted on this site as long as they fit broadly in the left-to-liberal spectrum.

If you write a defence of restrictions on abortion based on a Christian-Left perspective, then – while that’s not in line with Sunny’s views – if it’s interesting and well-written &c, it’ll be posted here. Then Sunny and Kath and I and others will disagree with you in comments. If you can’t hack that, then you probably shouldn’t be writing on the internet at all.

Paul Newman:
“Liberal Conspiracy is basically against Englishness other than as a place in which random people live with certain legal rights”

I hope Sunny won’t mind my mentioning this (in fact, I doubt he even remembers) but nearly two years ago over a pint at the Labour conference, he asked if I’d write something on the need for more left-wing patriotism.

So the idea that Liberal Conspiracy is against the idea of Englishness looks utterly mistaken, from where I’m standing.

@john b
What Sunny said is: “abortion should be legal at any point” and “I think if a woman chooses to abort her baby a week before its born… then its usually a VERY important reason, and I think they’re intelligent enough to weigh this up by themselves.”

He states he opposes the current law on the simple assumption that individuals have the full capacity to withstand any coercive pressure or inducements and can make their own balanced judgements (though he isn’t prepared to provide that balance) – even at those times when they may be at their most vulnerable.

The law currently regulates this area to provide an effective guarantee against abuse of the decision-making process when the effects of such a decision would pass beyond an agreed threshold of seriousness.

In other words Sunny opposes regulating against abuse of decision-making processes, disputes any requirement to reach agreed decisions and wishes to impose personal judgements on the seriousness of issues.

Whether this is an exception or the rule for him it nevertheless raises some fundamental questions about his judgement.

I’m not pushing any agenda on the issue of abortion, rather I highlight these points because I think it is informative for how we understand the editorial processes which pervade this site and whether the editor is fit and likely to achieve his stated aims.

I think it’s particularly important in the light of LC’s coverage of the ‘Hackgate’ scandal that we should be calling for more transparency and openness from Sunny to hold him to the same standard as those he hopes to be compared to.

I’m against Englishess…. what??

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/23/english-british-national-identity-ethnic-minorities

but the discourse of this site is now pretty much New Labour orthodoxy on everything from economics to law and order.

On economics the tone of the site has been more to the left of Labour, and on law and order its nearest to the Libdem position as far as I can make out. I think you’re still mistaking different opinion pieces with general outlook.

shuggy
My point is, the logic of your position is that women should be allowed to, regardless of whether there’s a “VERY important reason”

Yes, because I’m assuming in almost all cases this is a decision not taken lightly. The same goes for other issues – where the odd exception doesn’t justify restricting general rights.

oranjepan
As an editorial strategy this is unsupportable, so I’d encourage adjustment of the terms of discussion from ‘AGW’ to ‘climate change’.

You’ve not made any strong arguments for this…?

support for the absolute right of an individual to choose is also unsupportable as an editorial policy

You’re not getting my point. I’ve said what my position is, above. But that is different to the editorial stance – which is pro-choice broadly rather than advocating there should be no legal restrictions whatsoever. In fact we’ve not even tackled the illegality of certain abortion cases at all.

This site needs to decide, is the prime concern to propagate positions or to report facts and discuss ideas?

Err why can’t it be all of them?

@Sunny
I’m growing concerned about your literacy.

Shouldn’t the language ability of an editor be paramount in their skill-set?

1) Finding effective solutions is predicated upon having productive debate, so – as I argued earlier – where this is hindered by terminology the terminology must change.

2) The reason you can’t have more than one prime concern was clearly indicated by the use of the word ‘prime’ for that purpose.

3) It is completely inaccurate to suggest I’m ‘not getting your point’ to advocate a ‘broad’ defence of abortion on the grounds of absolute freedom of choice, rather – as can easily be read from my comment – it is because those grounds directly conflict with the grounds you give for other policy positions you’ve taken that they make one or other or all unsustainable without further explanation.

As you concede, you’ve made the assumption that this choice is free from both economic constraints or moral consequence and that these considerations are not bundled up with abortion’s legality in order for you to be able defend general access at the expense of exceptional cases – how can you realistically expect others not to disagree with your support for a position where you admit you don’t account for difficult facts?

I could respect it if you disagreed with the need for a productive debate or if you wished to argue that it is helpful to meld reportage and commentary and were more forthright about an acceptable level of accuracy and consistency, but your preference for rhetorical counterpunches in place of clear answers does little to expose any reliable reasoning which in turn damages confidence in your motives and abilities as an editor.

Your responses do not provide a single satisfactory answer. I urge you to try again.

52. Planeshift

I think the editorial policy on articles is fine, although I’d like to see more articles written on left wing economics of the sort Luis Enrique writes about.

Where I think the editorial policy needs changing is on the comments, with a far clearer policy on things like trolling, thread de-railing etc. In particular I think the latter de-tracts from good discussions, although can lead into interesting areas. I think a firmer distinction is needed about some threads and what the discussion is for. So for example a thread on a new policy announced by the labour party is obviously ideal for discussing the merits or not of that policy from all perspectives, but a thread on how the labour party can win back support is essentially about strategy and shouldn’t be de-railed by people advocating the labour party becomes libertarian/conservative/green etc.

I also wonder if it would be possible for the site to develop some kind of app that – in true QI style – flashes the words of somebody across their screen whenever they repeat a right wing cliche that has been rebutted time and time again on a thread, with a horn sounding and stephen fry with his head in his hands. So if I were to write “za-nu labour let all the muslims in” my screen would flash those words QI style, and stephen fry could patiently explain why what I had written was bollocks.

“I’d like to see more articles written on left wing economics of the sort Luis Enrique writes about”

Yes, I’d imagine in the face of potentially the worst Scheißesturm this country’s faced since the WWII, that’d be something of a comfort to us all.

54. Leon Wolfson

@46 – AGCC! ><

But really, it's nitpicking, when only the nits are going to quibble, and really stuff them.

@42

“What we are opposed to is groups with a clear actual bias using these mandatory counselling sessions not for counselling, but for pushing their world view.”

So are you opposed to pro-choice organisations offering those counselling sessions, or are you OK with people pushing their world view when the worldview being pushed agrees with your own?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is… http://bit.ly/oBXnib

  2. Andy Bean

    The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is… | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/BgPTsmR via @libcon

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    RT @libcon: The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is… http://bit.ly/oBXnib

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    The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is… http://bit.ly/oBXnib

  5. sunny hundal

    What's @libcon's editorial position on anything? Here it is… http://t.co/wgEKVG4

  6. Lee Griffin

    The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is… http://bit.ly/oBXnib

  7. Heywood Hadfield

    RT @libcon The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is… http://bit.ly/oBXnib

  8. sunny hundal

    The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is… http://t.co/wgEKVG4 (from earlier)

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    The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is… http://t.co/wgEKVG4 (from earlier)

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    The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is… http://t.co/wgEKVG4 (from earlier)

  11. Clive Burgess

    The editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy is… http://t.co/wgEKVG4 (from earlier)

  12. Natalie Hanman

    Interesting piece by @sunny_hundal on the editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Rhe7FLT

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    Interesting piece by @sunny_hundal on the editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Rhe7FLT

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    Interesting piece by @sunny_hundal on the editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Rhe7FLT

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    “@NatalieHanman: Interesting piece by @sunny_hundal on the editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/pfLviD”

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    Interesting piece by @sunny_hundal on the editorial position of Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Rhe7FLT

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    The quote in my last tweet comes from this piece on Liberal Conspiracy: http://bit.ly/qrB4fP





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