Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lib Dem bloggers; persuade me!

Update:

The prize for missing the point entirely goes to Dan in the comments. Oh, Dan? Pay attention, we're talking about the Liberal Democrats, the Liberals are an entirely different party with several councillors fairly close to where I live. This isn't about me you fool, this is about persuading people that party membership means something. I'm not, currently, sold on that one, and I'm not the only one. You haven't exactly inspired me either.

Original Post

OK, open challenge. I like being non-partizan and outside but, let's face it, on 80% of the issues that matter to me, I'm pretty close to the Lib Dems. Don't always agree with the exact policy, but the general principle is fine. And I suspect that if I were to look, I could find a member with almost identical opinions to me on most issues; not all at once, obviously, odds of there being two people with all over the place views like mine quite small*.

So, I have it on good authority (an email from Chris Rennard in my gmail account) that if I (re)join within the next 7 days, I can vote in this election. So, here's the challenges.
  1. Isn't joining a waste of my money?
  2. If I do join, who should I give my first and 2nd preferences for
And "he's such a really nice guy" is likely to dissuade me from voting for someone, I don't want nice, I want effective. I want to see them make their case, fight the fight, win the debates and assert their position.

Clarification

It's not "whther I should support the LibDems". It's not "whether I should vote for them". It's most certainly not whether I'm (L)liberal. It's whether I should join. Become partizan, an activist, not a commenter and watcher.

A government more authoritarian than Thatcher at her worst. A Tory party trying to steal the LibDem clothes but, it seems, missing the point entirely. I liked Charles, he's obviously a nice bloke. But, well, the needed (and expected) breakthrough in May 2005 didn't happen, the open goal over ID cards and the Terrorism Bill hasn't been exploited, the constructive/real opposition hasn't happened. I think, when it came down to it, that he wasn't up for the job, regardless of his alcoholism. Will any of the new bunch put the case the way they need to?

You have 7 days. Persuade me to join, put up decent arguments why I (and others) should. I'll link to good ones, or you can comment here. Why should I, and any other readers here or elsewhere, give a damn?

Oh, and if I do rejoin, do I have to associate myself with the ruling group on Torbay Council? The local paper may be Associated Newspapers and full of lies, but even they can't make people look that bad unless they really (really) are bad.


(*although if there is another libertarian socialist with anarchist tendencies who's sold on the principles of a market economy, let me know?)

11 comments:

Tim Neale said...

*Most of your views I agree with, but the flag I hate.

MatGB said...

Oh? I quite like it myself, completely non-standard version of the British flag, not the "yoo-kay" flag.

But, essentially, YMMV ;-)

doctorvee said...

"...libertarian socialist with anarchist tendencies..."

Could you explain what this actually means? I usually struggle with any one of those ideologies, never mind three apparently conflicting ideologies rolled into one!

Tristan said...

I'd just say, if you are a liberal and want to support the only liberal party in Westminster and main stream politics then join and help out.
It doesn't cost much (only £5 a year if you're not feeling very rich).

If you're not sure if you're a liberal then read something like Mill's "On Liberty" or for a brief overview Conrad Russell (yes of those Russell's) "An Intelligent Person's Guide To Liberalism" which gives a good history of the party and its philosophy.

BTW: Libertarian socialist? How can that be possible? You believe both that the state should be minimal and not interfere in our lives /and/ that it should take on all aspects of our lives? very Zen.

Paul Leake said...

Tristan: Wikipedia has a fairly good article on the philosophies of Libertarian Socialism at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism.

On a more practical level, it is possible to believe that the crucial divisions in society are on class and that while Government should do what it can to stop the poor getting shafted, it is the nature of Government that it invariably ends up controlled by those with the cash and used to control the poor. Peter Hain, between being a Liberal and a Blairite claimed to be a Libertarian Socialist. I'd guess the likes of (Baroness) Helena Kennedy would probably fit the bill quite well.

Rob Knight said...

Tristan did a pretty good job of putting the case for the Lib Dems as the liberal party of choice. I'd add that, on issues of liberty, the Lib Dems have been the most consistent in their defence of such liberties; the contrast with the Tories was clearer when Michael Howard was their leader, but even now it's hard to believe that the Tories wouldn't be just as authoritarian as Blair if they were in power.

As for the candidates, my personal preferences are Campbell and Huhne. Both have experience, crucially experience outside of politics, in the law and economics respectively. They know how to make a point without resorting to "yah-boo" - Campbell's two serious questions in PMQs today were far more effective than Cameron's macho posturing (how long did the new consensus last?).

Finally, if you're a confirmed liberal then I can start linking to you on Liberal Review ;-)

If I can find the time, I'll make this comment into a lengthier post on my blog, but for now the above reasons will have to suffice.

MatGB said...

@ Tristan. I've been a member, and I'm in no doubt that, at a basic level, I'm a liberal (my copy of On Liberty (which came bundled with Utilitarianism and Representative Govt) is well thumbed I can assure you.

It's not "whther I should support the LibDems". It's not "whether I should vote for them". It's most certainly not whether I'm (L)liberal. It's whether I should join. Become partizan, an activist, not a commenter and watcher.

I dislike tribalism, I dislike being loyal for the sake of it, I don't want to have my loyalties for what I believe in split between a party and the ideal; when the party, or a candidate, is crap, I want to say it openly, and not have someone accuse me of 'disloyalty'. Open and honest debate; backstabbing isn't my style. I've been out canvassing for a candidate I both disliked and disagreed with, I don't want to do it again, partizanship doesn't appeal; it's the belief in what is needed that drives me.

Paul? I'm, um, not keen on Hain, maybe I need a different label?

Rob? Pretty much agree with your take (although I'd be tempted by the Greens in elections where the votes are counted fairly), and am also worried by the Tories authoritarian tendencies; I honestly think Boris is on the right side, not sure about Dave, and the rest are follwing the leader, I don't think they're truly converts.

Oh, as for me being 'liberal'? Definately. Liberal Democrat? Possibly. Liberal? Not a chance, I lived in Exeter for 5 years, that ongoing spat was depressing to watch, and even more annoying while I was on the Exec.

I did like Campbell today. Also very sold on Huhne so far.

Aside; I've posted up how useful I'm finding the Review, very much appreciated, thanks for taking the time to comment.

As for defining mutually contradictory beliefs? Well, yes, that is a little difficult. It's not my beliefs that conflict, it's categorising them. Tristan? I said socialist, not Socialist. John Lewis Partnership has nothing to do with the state, but is most certainly a socialist company. Market economics aren't reliant on private capital, capitalism isn't a synonym for free markets; see Mussolini's description of fascism as a form of corporatism for a start...

Not supposed to be an economics blog, I'll maybe put up a post on it at some point, but it's a long term goal, most certainly not a revolutionary; I quote Burke a bit as well as Mill.

Thanks for the comments so far, keep em coming...

Dan said...

Fuck you.

If you think you are 80% in favour of the party and its policies, but can't be arsed to join we don't want you.

Sit on the sidelines, on your ever so perfect high horse, and feel really great when someone really illiberal takes over the country.

Yeh blogging is great - I can sit on my spunk stained stool downloading images of surgically enhanced drug addicts while salving my conscience by inventing ridiculous challlenges.

There are thousands of Lib Dems up and down the country trying to make a difference to peoples lives by liberating them from poverty ignorance or conformity. You have a choice - sit on the sidelines and masterbate (physically or mentally) over who might lead the British Liberal Party or you can get down off your stool and engage with some real people and their problems.

The only person who can win your challenge is you.

Anonymous said...

British Liberal Party? Why do I get the feeling that Dan is typing from the US, and that he's running a one-man spoiler campaign?

MatGB said...

@ Anon; the thought hadn't occured TBH, but hey, he gets a special mention at the top for a little bit.

I've read some great blog posts in the past fromTory and Labour bloggers asserting the benefits of and reasons for membership. I'd love to see a LibDem equivalent, if it already exists buried somewhere then a link from that blogger would be cool.

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