Friday, June 19, 2009


Labour Conspiracy Waves Its Manhood At A Fluffy Elephant

The overwhelmingly pro-Labour site styling itself “Liberal Conspiracy” has long seemed to me yet another attempt to co-opt Liberals under the Labour Party’s ‘leadership’, but I’m still slightly sad that they’ve driven away those fighting a Liberal corner such as Alix Mortimer and, this week, Jennie Rigg, after a whingeing, self-pitying Green loser writing there that the Liberal Democrats smell. Millennium posted an article in reply, and the whingeing, self-pitying deputy editor of Labour Conspiracy has today been laying into a fluffy elephant, alternately making hyper-macho attacks on and pleading for mercy from a soft toy when his arguments detumesce.

Aaron Murin-Heath is the deputy editor of Labour Conspiracy, one of the biggest blogs in the land, but is clearly very threatened by an eight-year-old stuffed toy with a relatively low profile, despite constantly using terms that show us what a “man” he is and how “bitching” and effeminate people who complain are. Before complaining, bitching, making a mealy-mouthed half-apology, carrying on doing what he’d ‘apologised’ for, then announcing on comprehensively losing the argument that this was his last post, so he could have the last word and none of the others count, ner-ner-ner-ner-ner.

From all this you can tell that, unlike Millennium (who is only eight), Mr Murin-Heath is a grown-up.

Although Mr Murin-Heath is one of those on Labour Conspiracy who isn’t tribally Labour, and who claims to have Liberal views – I’ve not read any from him, but I have asked in reply if he might perhaps point us towards some – my view of the site has been made much more negative by his arguments (which are, essentially, that Liberal Democrats are both too meek and too aggressive, that complaining about his site is bad but countering his complaints to a little blog is mean, and that because he doesn’t support the Labour Party we should ignore the massive Labour bias of the site he runs). Still, it proves that it’s not just the more well-meaning of the tribally Labour people who genuinely don’t understand why Liberals are sceptical of this project that appropriates our name to make us another party’s foot-soldiers. While I’m sure many people involved in Labour Conspiracy see it as a way to neutralise and take over political opponents, I’m also sure that less cynical but more deluded Labour people think saying ‘hey, let’s all get together and fight the Tories, so mostly back Labour’ is pluralism.

I recommend that you read Millennium’s account of a Labour Conspiracy event a year ago, with which I generally agree and which includes a couple of remarks from me (I was sitting next to him).

I recommend you then read Millennium’s latest article, the one which has caused all the fuss. And perhaps recommend it to Lib Dem Voice’s Golden Dozen, as I shall.

In addition, though, I’d like you to read one of my replies to Mr Murin-Heath, which sums up what I think of his site. I’ve replied several times on a thread that’s really got quite long now and may well keep growing, so you can be forgiven for not trawling through the whole thing. This, however, is one I prepared earlier:
I’m feeling awkward in posting now, given that you’ve just put up a half-apology, Aaron (or ‘Human’, given your address to Millennium)… But as your apology appears to criticise Millennium for not taking into account your private correspondence [NB Not to Millennium, but within the Labour Conspiracy intimate circle!] and, after repeatedly laying into him, you ask for mercy, making it not the most ‘manful’ (as you might put it) apology in the world, I’ll go ahead anyway. Feel free to shoot back, if you can look up from your foot.

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

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

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

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

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

PS The Lady Mark also has an excellent post regarding Labour Conspiracy this week, and – even before Mr Murin-Heath’s willy-waving at Millennium this afternoon – Orangejan captures their sexual politics brilliantly in one of the comments.

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I love the title of this thread, even though I think Aaron is being picked on a little bit here.
Thanks, and, well… He’s in charge of one of the biggest political sites in the country, and deliberately comes to pick on a little blog, then goes off in a strop when he loses the argument – in fact, he doesn’t even seem willing or able to engage with most of the arguments – and says it’s not fair that the person he chose to duff up is hitting back harder than he can. Or that other people are putting him to the test, too.

I can see why he’s cross, but really, he should take the beam out of his own eye first and realise that being a bully may sometimes provoke a reaction (and I admit I’m never more likely to react heavy-handedly than when someone picks on Richard). I think it’d be different if he was defending his own little blog, but someone in charge – albeit temporarily – of a huge mega-blog and goes wildly on the attack on its behalf against a fairly minor blogger he’s never met isn’t my definition of a victim.

I’m quite willing to believe that you know him to be more Liberal, more effective and an all-round nicer person than he comes across in his posts, but all I have to go on are what he’s written.

As in everything else, “Liberal Conspiracy” would have been much better-off with you in charge, but that clearly didn’t fit in with their party line. Not only are you very Liberal, very effective and very nice, but I suspect you wouldn’t have made such a crass attack in the first place, nor would you have been pathetically incapable of standing up for yourself. To borrow some of his sexual bias, you’re man enough to take on all comers (though not quite man enough to put me on the turn).
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