Saturday, January 17, 2009

Who are those masked men?

I've just seen Labourist - a hostile reaction by 'libertarian crusaders' to Labour's attempt to encourage it's elected representatives and spokespeople to step up to the blogosphere in numbers.

I've left this comment on one of their posts, but I don't want to lose track of it, so I'll reproduce it here:

So Labourist is all in favour of free and open debate and transparency and deplores the opacity of Labour List?

OK. I buy that. Now who - exactly - developed this website? The thing is, people do things for a reason. Building a site like this takes a bit of time and energy, and a bit of resource. It’s definitely a clever idea. Just saying you are ‘nobody’ is - patently - a lie.

Who are you- exactly? What have you written elsewhere? What other blogs are you involved in? Do any of you belong to a political party?

This initiative definitely won’t be welcomed by The Labour Party, and as ‘libertarian crusaders’ I suspect that you will not be surprised by this. Libertarian crusaders are rarely impressed by the way that political parties try to ‘control the message.’ So are there any examples of ‘libertarian crusades’ that you are conducting against any of the other political parties? Or or you just tories really? In my experience, most ‘libertarians’ - like Lord Hailsham moaning about an ‘elective dictatorship’ during the Wilson government before joining the most centralising cabinet the UK has ever seen in the 1980s - are just Tories. 

Their ‘libertarianism’ evaporates as soon as the ‘natural party of government’ is restored. So, come on - out with it! Are you Tories really? And are you going to harass the other political parties with the same vigour?

Have you been encouraged to develop this site by anyone? Have you been provided with either financial resources, access to technical advice or facilities by anyone? You say… “we have been described as ‘online libertarian crusaders’.” By whom? When and where? And why? What other examples of libertarian crusading have you been involved in?

More importantly, why don’t you enable comments on your FAQ page? We should be told.


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Tim said...

An excellent point, and well put.

A copy of my comment appears below, (just in case):

"Now who - exactly - developed this website?"

That's a very good question. And a fair one, given the circumstances.

As Paulie makes clear, informing potential comment contributors that you consider yourselves to be libertarian means very little in the UK blogging community, as some of the most visible self-proclaimed libertarians in this community only stick to libertarian principles at their convenience.

There is also the minor issue of those same people having some major censorship issue on their own website(s).

(Not that I'm suggesting that the most likely source of this beautifully designed and really-quite-functional website is that way inclined.)

So, even if it's just to clear things up from a pots and kettles perspective, I'd appreciate knowing more about the authors before placing any trust in this initiative (amusing as it is).

Harry Haddock said...

Well, that tells me then. I thought the spoof site was set up by Tim Ireland, in response to Draper's control freakery.

On their FAQ page it does say that they are 'more conservative than labour' ~ I don't know if this is a recent addition.

Tim said...

As with the Nadine Dorries stunt (which labourist is larger automated copy of), I would have put my name on it from the get-go.

Paulie said...

From what I've read of your views Tim, I suspect you'd have focussed it on all political parties and you'd have done something that would discourage naked shitheadery in the comments box.

Personally, I think that the obsession with hectoring politicans and demanding high levels of transperency from them along with a ringside seat on their decision making processes is generally anti-politics - and ultimately, anti-democratic.

I can see why people struggle to agree with me on that, but I'd follow it up by saying that politicans have rivals (commercial pressure groups, media owners, civil servants) - we don't demand similar rights to invervene in their decisionmaking and their pro-active work, so when we do it to politicians, we effectively give their rivals an advantage.

There you go! I've gone off on autopilot again....

Tim said...

We're on very similar paths, with similar views; in recent years, I've mostly been demanding reasonable levels of transparency from the pseudo-bloggers demanding high levels of transparency from (certain) politicians.


Praguetory said...

Similar idea to this. Such a site can only succeed if comments at the original site are heavily moderated.

Paulie said...

And moderation is wrong because....?

Praguetory said...

I make no comment on the rights or wrongs of moderation, simply observing that Labourist will wither on the vine if people receive a fair crack of the whip at Labourlist. Many people will have a natural suspicion of a site like Labourlist. Re Labourist, you don't have to go there.

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