In the past few weeks there have been rumblings – and not just from my stomach – as various factions within the Lib Dem blogosphere are starting to emerge. Egos need to be stroked and opinions need to be aired. People are digging their heels in (not a sexist comment) and starting to get snippy (apparently that is a word). Oh yes the Lib Dem blogosphere is not all sweetness and light at the moment. There is no sign of kumbaya around a fire place and no group hugs. So what is causing all the tension?
This I am unsure of but there does seem to be an awful lots of people thinking they are right and that is final going on (but Neil – don’t you always think that you are right – Ed) Well no I don’t. I know I’m wrong rather often. I sprout my worthless opinions willy nilly and then get tutted at. I’m not saying I’m wrong all the time but heck it has been known (all the
There are well over 200 Lib Dem bloggers out there just on the Lib Dem Blog aggregator. Some more vocal and opinionated than others. That is to be expected. The problem is when people start taking disagreements personally. Just today there seems to have been a bit of a set to with regards to Charlotte Henry’s article Liberal Left – the Labour party in the Lib Dems. Reading it I don’t think she is terribly impressed but hey ho – however her summing up of her piece is shall we say – a tad confrontational:
‘Liberal Left just seems like the desperate last ditch attempts of a group disillusioned activists who are probably in the wrong party. Your Labour membership cards are in the post, comrades.’
Ouch. Bit over the top surely? I know very little about these members and this group but to say that essentially they are in the wrong party is quite a step? The Liberal Democrats – like most political parties – will (and does) have wings. Those that are more left than centre and even those Orange Bookers – which is the biggest buzz word since ‘whasssssssup’ made in into the popular vernacular amongst young people following an advertising campaign in the late 90s.
And do you know what? It is ok to have different opinions within the party. It is ok to have differing opinions all over the place. Whether it be in politics, in the workplace, in the pub, we all have a wide range of different opinions on many things. Why not just engage in some debate and not just dismiss a group and belittle them to such a degree.
My favourite thing about politics is it allows us to have some free speech and engage with people on certain issues. I disagree with a vast vast swathes of Lib Dem bloggers about certain issues. People like Caron Lindsay, Jennie Rigg, Lee Chalmers etc… about whether the party is doing enough to promote women. I believe in equality for all. End. I do not believe in inequality to get to equality. That to me isn’t right but heck we can discuss it and if we still disagree then we disagree. It doesn’t mean I think less of them and I hope it doesn’t mean they think less of me. Zadok Day wrote a piece (with a headline that was always going to rattle a few cages) for Lib Dem Voice today entitled Opinion: Calm Down, Dears!. Many will disagree with him but overall most at least conversed with him and didn’t just call him names or said he wasn’t a liberal.
Blogging – just like politics – is an avenue to air opinions and discuss what is going on around us. Had I been an American no doubt I’d have been all over the debate team like a fat kid on a smartie (one of my former colleagues favourite expressions that). It is meant to tackle the mind and to allow us to see other people’s points of views. If in the end we disagree then we disagree. However to just belittle others because they don’t agree with your point of view is in my opinion just not the way to do it.
Kavya Kaushik wrote this evening We are a Lib Dem Family and it is worth a read. The Lib Dems might not be the most functional of families but like any family it should have respect for all its members whatever their opinions. It is no secret that I don’t get on – and can’t see eye to eye with certain members and their viewpoints but I respect them for having them.
I think what I’m trying to say is that hostile attacks on other factions – or individuals – within the party just doesn’t seem right. Agree/disagree with them whatever but if you don’t have anything nice then don’t say anything at all if you vehemently disagree with them so much. We are all working towards a goal of making this nation a fairer and more open society. Some of us may think the route to get there is a little different but it isn’t how you travel to your destination that is important – it is getting there – and if we all respect one another and engage with one another then the chances of getting there are greatly improved.
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