Thursday, August 22, 2013


Carnival of the Lib Dems – A Celebration of Blog Posts

Tomorrow, nominations close in the “Liberal Democrat Voice Awards”. These have been thrillingly renamed, relaunched and expanded, but for me the greatest pleasure in them remains celebrating the brilliant flow of ideas by a carnival of Lib Dem voices on their own blogs. The shortlist I most look forward to is that for Liberal Democrat Blog Post of the Year – both because that always introduces me to some great writing I’ve not seen before, and because it’s so much easier to read a hand-picked selection of posts than read through the complete shortlisted blogs, Twitter pages or Facebook timelines.

I was sad to see this award dropped last year, and delighted that it’s back in the greatly expanded new array. And last year I resolved to do something about it, saying: “I will pick at least a dozen articles from at least a dozen different blogs from across the year that I think are among the best and plug them” here. I’ve been noting the most interesting posts to catch my eye – not necessarily the ones with which I most agreed – throughout the year, and as well as irregularly proposing them for Lib Dem Voice’s weekly Golden Dozen, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks poring over the lot (one reason I’m rather later with my selection than ideal). I hope in the three weeks before the winners are announced this will be part of showing just how marvellous Lib Dems blogging are.

So here, to celebrate the talent in the Lib Dem blogosphere and introduce more blogs is a journey through the year (rather than in order of preference) with two dozen of the Lib Dem finest. Pah-pah pah pah-pah-pah…

The first post I’d recommend might be in the ‘Best individual post’ category, or it might be in the ‘Best online campaign’. I’ll leave that to the judges. But last Autumn Jennie Rigg’s outstanding effort in putting questions to over a hundred candidates for the Liberal Democrat Federal elections made a mighty series of posts that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Jennie Rigg on Automated Attack Monkeys, Scalpel Mines, & Acid: Questions for FCC and FPC candidates

Chris Richards on On Liberty Now: Time for Liberal Democrats to stop saying ‘No’
Isn’t it deeply conservative to campaign only to prevent things? The Liberal Democrats should have positive ideas.

Jonathan Calder on Liberal England: Nick Clegg needs to get crunchy again
Nick needs to rediscover his old self as a thinker and libertarian, because the “centre” is defined by your opponents.

Zoe O’Connell on Complicity: New Tory Policy: Pretending to protect children more important than protecting children
Why education is better at keeping kids safe online than faith in the Daily Mail and Internet blocking.

Andrew Brown on The Widow’s World: Dear Nick… An Open Letter on Closed Material Procedures
A loyalist takes a stand on civil liberties.

Jennie Rigg on Automated Attack Monkeys, Scalpel Mines, & Acid: Saturday Silly today comes courtesy of Andy Burnham MP
Now Labour wants to ban Frosties – Jennie outlines some healthy alternatives. Not to Frosties; to bansturbation. Puritanism is never satisfied.

Jonathan Wallace: The Lib Dems’ Battle of Stalingrad
A vibrant image of how Eastleigh “was fought street by street, house by house, sucking in vast armies of activists battling it out.”

Councillor Gavin James: How the Lib Dems should take on UKIP
The three parts of UKIP’s support and how to take them on – by being Liberal Democrats.

Cicero on Cicero’s Songs: The SNP tries to have its cake and eat it
The SNP is now in favour of the pound while defaulting on its debts, British identity while leaving the Union, armed neutrality while staying in NATO, divorce while getting more love from the divorced partners, and it sees no contradiction in that. Cicero does.

Stephen Glenn on Stephen Glenn’s Liberal Journal: In response to Simon Hughes
Thoughtfully exposing the mass of contradictions in Simon Hughes’ attack on religious freedom and equality.

David Boyle on The Real Blog: Violet, Winston and the meaning of Free Trade
What Churchill’s thundering Liberal case for Free Trade in favour of the lower-paid tells us about how the Tories have warped the idea since.

Richard Flowers on The Very Fluffy Diary of Millennium Dome, Elephant: No New Powers for the Security Services At Least Until They Explain Why They Failed to Use the Ones They’ve Got!
A message to Alan Johnson on the Zombie Snoopers’ Charter – is totalitarian China the best role model?

Nick Barlow on What You Can Get Away With: On political stereotypes and Doctor Who
Who would have thought that polling voters about Doctor Who would reveal so much about the wildly differing social attitudes of different parties’ voters?

Mark Pack on Mark Pack’s Blog: Liberal Democrat achievements in government and What do the Liberal Democrats believe?
Not quite ‘blog posts’, but his twin infographics (disclosure: I made some suggestions on the second) are well worth a look.

Mark Thompson on Mark Thompson’s Blog: Seven awkward questions for Liberal Democrats
Still waiting for answers.

Nick Thornsby on Nick Thornsby’s Blog: UK tax revenue and public spending 1997-2012
Sounds boring, doesn’t it? But – shockingly – in the last 15 years, UK governments have only balanced the budget once, relying on massive borrowing in every other year, from a full decade before Labour could blame the international crisis. Sole credit year: +£16bn. Biggest debt year: -£186bn. No wonder the deficit’s taking a while to fix.

Jen Yockney on Either / And: But he’s a TORY!
On why it’s good for sexuality not to be a party political plaything and why both people who grumble that the latest out bisexual MP is a Tory and the Daily Mail have got it wrong.

Peter Wrigley on Keynesian Liberal: Wither amnesty for illegal immigrants?
Contrasting Nick Clegg’s courageous debate performance with his unilateral retreat.

Sam Phripp on So Sam said... A statement about my membership of the Liberal Democrats
Sam gives his three top tips if you’re planning on leaving the party.

Jae Kay on Freedom Is Not The Problem: Marriage Equality: Taking Stock And Preparing For The Future (AKA It Ain’t Over)
After a year of heroic posts about equal marriage – and many more before then – this looks to what’s next.

Lester Holloway: The Voice says Labour are losing the Black vote. Addressing Black voters might help
A detailed analysis of the relationship between all parties and the Black vote – and what to do about it.

Caron Lindsay on Caron’s Musings: What the hell are the Home Office playing at – and why are Liberal Democrats letting them get away with it?
The Tories aren’t just re-toxifying themselves with their racist harassment of every non-white person but trying to toxify the Lib Dems too. It’s time for Nick to take the gloves off both because it’s right and for our survival.

Charlotte Henry on Digital Politico: Anti politics leaves us all with egg on our face
When our political culture is so warped and toxic that no-one can discuss it properly.

Carl Minns – Thoughts from Hull (A Liberal view from Hull): How to tweet like a Lib Dem
After columnist guides to tweeting like the other two, Carl redresses the balance with a guide to tweeting like a Lib Dem.

And finally… Alex Wilcock on Love and Liberty: My Best Posts 2012-2013
…It’s quite hard enough choosing one from other people’s!

If any of these blog posts excite and delight you, please consider nominating them for the Awards. Good luck to everyone nominated.

And if there’s a vital one I’ve missed, please add it in the comments!
After all, my draft list started out twice as long, so there are plenty more where all of those came from…

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Thank you. I am honoured! Carl says thank you too, he's sat behind me. We would both like "I was nominated by Alex Wilcock" badges, since those would be much more valuable than the actual award...
You're very welcome!

You got a second because they're probably different categories... And because bansturbation needs a wallop, Frosties are funny, banning them is bat-shit crazy and that twit thinks he should be Prime Minister.

Carl had a slightly more serious one in the original list of fifty-ish, but there weren't enough funny entries and that was fresh...
Sign me up for a badge too :)
Ditto Jennie and Mark!
All this piling in wanting your share… It’s getting like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre! Hey… That gives me an idea…

I’m feeling guilty now at not having published the longer list and included more people. It just goes to show: longer articles are always better, eh?

I’m not going to publish all my nominations for the whole Awards – not least because several of them were scraping the barrel a bit and with limited enthusiasm (favourite Labour and Tory MPs? The only obvious choice was Agent Bone, on his Lib Dem deep-cover mission to destroy the Tories from within. But the Lib Dem Voice cabal will censor that so as not to blow the secret). But here follow a view that were either amusing or heartfelt…
Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year

There’s one (or they may be two) I’ll always nominate, of course, and he (they) has even won it once. But I always try to think of another each year, and the one who stood out for me was…

Jae Kay’s Freedom Is Not The Problem:

For Blog of the Year, my criteria are very demanding: high quality; high consistency and frequency; some variety; but also a recognisable voice.
A much longer-time fighter for equal marriage than most, Jae’s met all of those standards but also provided a critical chronicle of the year of equal-ish marriage at last. Outstanding.

Liberal Democrat Tweeter/Facebooker of the Year

Andrew Hickey

Caron Lindsay

Andrew Brown

All for being consistently interesting, interactive, and for keeping on bloody tweeting all the time!
Best photograph of a Liberal Democrat Parliamentarian

I don’t get the point. Point. Point… Pointing, see? Oh, please yourselves.

And actually giving an answer...

Lib Dem MP of the Year

Should it be Julian Huppert for leading the charge for non-conformism or not Julian, because it’d b conformist when everyone else will vote for him?

Oh, Mike Thornton, for showing we can still get them!

What, no villains of the year? Make an anti-equal marriage list and pull them out of a sack. Better still, leave them in there.

Best Political Commentator (print/online) of the Year

Matthew Parris, The Times.
A partisan Tory, of course, but just self-critical enough and so good a writer he insidiously makes you forget it.

Best Political Broadcaster (TV/radio) of the Year

I’m afraid my view of every such person I can think of has dropped below unprintable.

And finally… Liberal Democrat Blog Post of the Year

So many to choose from! And so many already chosen above.

But if you don’t read my ‘Best of’ collection linked to above, here are my own three – to a certain value of three – best political posts of the year:

Alex Wilcock on Love and Liberty: “Three Problems With The Politician’s Husband
It may seem odd to submit a TV review, but the review is all about politics in a way the programme failed to be. It says something about the UK media today that the BBC’s flagship ‘political drama’ had virtually no politics in it, and got the politics it did have utterly wrong.

Alex Wilcock on Love and Liberty: “Lessons From Coalition – The Two Biggest Problems: Betrayal and Betrayal”
It might be stating the obvious, but setting out the two most blatant failures of the last three years as an attempt to guard against the same happening next time.

Alex Wilcock on Love and Liberty: “The Liberal Democrat What Do We Stand For Challenge”
The best political piece I’ve written in the last year might not be eligible (in parts, and drawing in other Lib Dems), but I’ll give it a go. This is a set of posts rather than a single one, but for a single concept: to challenge myself, first, then other Lib Dems to get across what we stand for, in ideals and in practice, in something more meaningful than a soundbite but still short enough to be no more than a minute’s speech or a box on a Focus leaflet. And to make things harder, I aimed for broad consensus by synthesising the Preamble to the Lib Dem Constitution, the party’s priorities in government and the party leadership’s latest messaging.

“Happy 25th Birthday, Liberal Democrats – and What the Lib Dems Stand For 2013.1”

“What the Lib Dems Stand For 2013.2 – a Challenge and a Meme”

“The Liberal Democrat What Do We Stand For Challenge 2013.3 – Eight Answers (so far)”

“The Liberal Democrat What Do We Stand For Challenge 2013.4 – What It’s All About”

If they’ll only accept one, I suggested the last one so far, number 4, but I look on them as one piece, in parts, and it’s much stronger that way. Even if it’s more to read.

I don't want a stinky badge but a fragrant one would be lovely

*angelic expression*

I toyed with the idea of Bone or Dorries for favourite Tory because they do more to drive voters into more moderate arms than anyone else; but I just couldn't stop shuddering long enough to do it. That had office conditioning goes DEEP, maaaaan.
Readers may like to see the exciting judges’ shortlist for Blog Post of the Year and also the judges’ shortlist for Blog of the Year, each of which are excellent – though I do think it’s a shame Jae Kay isn’t on the list for the top award.
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