Thursday, 19 February 2009

To Twitter or not to Twitter??

. Conservative Home has this discursive piece asking how productive Twittering is for councillors. I have to say that Twittering is something that has never really caught with me; thus far on here the only real time I used it was the Barack Obama election night. Perhaps the most persuasive response for Twitter was from Paul Scully, a Conservative councillor with a majority of 85;

"I know that Council officers and other politicians read it. I also know that journalists from the local papers, the BBC and the Evening Standard read it, so several stories have been picked up with minimal effort."

Above that however Cllr Henry Lamprect wonders 'what on earth' councillors would have to blog about. Several people make the point that it is no replacement for face-to-face contact which surely would be a given but overall the responses are mainly positive. Going back to my original position though I do wonder if Twittering adds much to blogging as a blogger? I can see the merits for a councillor but apart from bloggers who have big personal followings is Twittering all it cracked up to be??

Thoughts on the SLF.....

. Another major change in my time away has been the launch of the Social Liberal Forum. Below, Oranjepan asks me for my thoughts so I thought I had better cobble some together. He mentions in his comments that Charlotte Gore is unimpressed; which it has to be said hardly drops my jaw in shocked amazement. It is reassuring in this topsy-turvy world that some things don't change; 6 ish weeks is a long time in life and politics but not that long. It's also nice to see that she hasn't lost a certain artistic flair and rhetorical flourish;

"So the day after I launch into a tirade of impotent lambasting against Lib Dem collectivism, the Lib Dem Collectivists decided to organise. Witness their hands tightening around the throat of liberty - whilst simultaneously cupping the balls of the Lib Dem party".

Now, let's go over to the blurb on the SLF site;

"The Social Liberal Forum exists to foster debate within and beyond the Liberal Democrats, with the aim of developing social liberal solutions and approaches which reflect these principles and which find popular support."

If ball-cupping is going on then it is alot more subtle than Charlotte suggests and in ascribing slightly conspiratorial tints to the project she is being disingenuous. In reality, what the SLF represents is a centre of gravity which people who are of a similar mind can orbit around; not an attempt at strangulation. Instead of organising as a membership club we see plans for;

  • a lecture series
  • a pamphlet series
  • speaker and discussion meetings around the country
  • campaign guides.
Hardly anything to give anybody sleepless nights. Charlotte, never one to stop torturing a point well-beyond it's provable worth, feels honour-bound to continue saluting the SLF's efforts compared to her "crappy effort to indoctrinate Lib Dems". She wonders what the point is, a question that could be easily switched round to 'what is the problem with an organisation so clearly orientated towards the promotion of debate'. Apparently the SLF is 'in control' of the Party in any case which suits her own and the libertarains self-stylisation as a band of noble rebels carrying the true flame.

However, as the SLF site itself makes clear liberalism is a complex historical beast and far from Charlotte's view that the Liberal Democrats are somehow unique in history as a two-headed hydra this has always been the case even before the fracturing and ideological split with socialism. Somewhere amid the confusion a coherent voice has to be found and the formation of the SLF is a welcome part of that process to my mind.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Are the Lib Dems really up??

. Well look what happens; you go away for a few weeks (let's just not talk about it) and you come back and the whole political universe seems to have changed. Maybe not quite but the first item that caught my attention was the two polls showing good Liberal Democrat support and Anthony Wells's report on it at UK Polling Report. Significantly, the poll advances are at the expense of Labour which vindicates the view that a) the Labour vote is the vote in motion and b) targeting that vote is the way forward to polling advance.

Wells concerns himself with asking whether this is a blip but also suggests another explanation for the rise which has implications for the orientation of the party;

"Looking at the details of ICM and ComRes part of what also appears to have happened in both of them is that people who voted Lib Dem in 2005 are much more likely to vote Lib Dem now than a month ago (Lib Dem “voter retention” has gone up from 64% to 72% in ICM, 69% to 84% in ComRes)."

So, those who 'came over' from Labour are feeling more comfortable sticking with us and are less likely to return to Labour. Obviously the message we have been putting forward on the economy is starting to penetrate peoples minds and ex-Labour voters are starting to become more confident of us delivering what they want above Gordon Brown. One other thing I note about the poll's is that David Cameron's Conservatives have reestablished their commanding lead in the intergrum and Labour are returning to their pre-Xmas bounce levels. Obviously, I am going to spend the day playing something catch-up....