Liberal Democrat Voice editor replies to Lord Greaves

From Twitter tonight:


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  • For those not in the know in Liberator, a magazine, Lord Greaves made some comments about LDV, including the rather right wing views espoused by the site, and this is their response. Strange that LDV is not giving much context. I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way but LDV has gone down hill since Stephen Tall left. I suspect it will gradually wither away.

  • This posting has only made me want to find out what Tony Greaves’ views are about LDV – something which I would not otherwise have been much interested in. (These views can be found in the “Pathetic Slogans” section of the “More than a Phone Bank” article in Liberator 373 available here… http://liberatormagazine.org.uk/en/ ).

  • Alex, your comment is fairly hilarious, because Stephen Tall was probably the most right-wing of the LDV editors.

    The problem is that Lord Greaves is often extremely rude online. The fact that he is a Peer, and that he has many decades of good liberal work under his belt, don’t excuse his behaviour (arguably they make it worse).

    And trust me, LDV won’t wither away just because Lord Greaves cannot post.

  • It would be fair if the relevant correspondence was published so we could all see it. After all the man has a life time of work for the Liberals and shouldn’t be treated this way except as a last resort.

  • Why not join the SNP and Labour Party and freeze the sending of any Lib Dem ex MPs to the House of Lords until this undemocratic unelected chamber is either scrapped or at least reformed. It will do the party no good sending Danny Alexander and Vince Cable to it who worked as part of the Tory cabinet to legitimise this body.

  • I haven’t looked at the forums in years, and my partner (who used to mod the forums) no longer even looks at them, mostly due to the behaviour of a handful of people, Lord Greaves being among that handful. A major problem in this party is we tend to use “but he’s delivered leaflets for YEARS!” as a reason to excuse awful behaviour. I really wish we didn’t, because it drives away the many more people who might deliver leaflets too, if only we didn’t expect them to put up with the rudeness and arrogance of some of our longstanding members.

  • I don’t know if Tony Greaves has complained on Sunday about being banned from this site. This seems to be a response to my comment of 9th Aug 4.36pm on another thread – http://www.libdemvoice.org/whats-in-liberator-issue-373-47079.html#comments and if it then the title is misleading. {In his Liberator article he wrote “If you persist with views the controllers don’t like you get censored, and if you then privately tell them what you think about them you get banned. (I declare an interest – I’ve been banned!)”}

    However to an oldie like me it seems rude to quote one’s own tweets rather than produce an article which could have set out the full context of why Tony Greaves’ email(s) were beyond the pale including the topic under discussion.

  • MBoy – please read what I wrote. Where did I say that the site was right wing? I repeated a claim made by someone else. Neither did I say it would wither away due to the absence of Greaves. I am happy to engage with you but please engage with me and not someone you have made up and claim to be me!
    If you have evidence of Lord Greaves behaviour please supply the relevant quotes and references or withdraw the claim.

  • Lorraine Johnson 10th Aug '15 - 6:32am

    To be fair to Caron, she has warned Lord Greaves before that bullying and rudeness to anyone in the LDV team won’t be tolerated, personally I don’t think this behaviour should be tolerated by any of us & I think a referral to Jeanne Tarrent might be appropriate. I don’t think it would be appropriate to share the email in question as it just spreads the bile.
    Re LDV withering away since Stephen Tall left, he left some while ago & I haven’t noticed any withering so far.
    Caron writes some brilliant stuff & does a great job & if people aren’t satisfied perhaps they should offer their services

  • I agree with malc and Alex. As I understand it Lord Greaves is saying LDV is “tightly controlled by a small group of people who use it to promote their own (often fairly right wing) views”, and the LDV response to that is an article with nothing but a single editor’s views in it! 🙂

    I can’t find where Lord Greaves called anyone “mad” or “pathetic” on the site, so I have to assume (for lack of info) you’ve banned him on the basis of private communications, which you’re now leaking. I think the LDV team should re-read the Members’ Code of Conduct and re-evaluate this article in light of it.

  • So, Lord Greaves has kicked his ball over the fence one time too many and LDV wont let him have it back unless he promises to play nicely with the other children from now on. He probably wrote something crticizing Saint Nick of the order of the dissapearing party.

  • Well, I must say “mad “and “pathetic” do seem a bit unhelpful as comments, because they are imprecise, and hardly guaranteed to advance the situation in any way whatsoever; besides being decidedly unlordly. One would have hoped that years of delivering leaflets might have taught little tactics like asking to speak to someone else, a manager or something (if we have those), or dealing with the problem in a different way. And certainly one should have learned how to apologise without losing face. Obviously Cambridge and the House of Lords don’t teach you everything.

  • All very interesting …. but not very constructive use of time. I, together with many others, spent time at the weekend on the doorstep conducting a residents survey in wards of LYNNE FEATHERSTONE former constituency. Many ‘new’ members participated, THIS is the way we will make the ‘LibDemFightBack’ a success. So if you want some ‘real’ campaigning come and join us in North London 🙂

  • I have always thought that Caron Lindsay is an over sensitive soul but is she being serious when she says that Tony Greaves has been banned for calling someone ‘mad’ or ‘pathetic’? Tony Greaves is a grumpy so and so, he wouldn’t be Tony Greaves if he wasn’t!

  • Hi Caron,
    Do you mean via his Liberator article? To publically state you’ve been banned from LDV is very different to publishing two context-free words from a private e-mail. AFAIU, he’s not made any private information public, you’ve just done that – I’d nuke this page and start again (…or not), for legal reasons if nothing else (DPA breach, article 8 of the HRA, etc).

  • Evan Harris 10th Aug '15 - 8:14am

    It seems that Tony Greaves was sanctioned not for public insults of LDV “volunteer activists” (which we all are) but for privately ones. Carin’s tweets reveal that he used the terms “mad” and “pathetic” about individuals and it is implied that this was directly to them and also was about them not about their views (as he regards them).

    If this was not the case then the penalty may be unjust.

    If this is the case, then would it not be best for there to be due process rather than ad hoc sanctions impeding the freedom of expression of a party member.

    I am not supporting insulting behaviour, but I do think that when FoE is part of the sanction their should be due process not an ad hoc decision to sanction. Otherwise it becomes a tribunal issuing sanctions without transparency, with no appeal and which relies on the opinions of one or more persons who is/are not neutral.

  • Evan Harris 10th Aug '15 - 8:15am

    I have just checked the “rules” in the LDV site. It says that posting (publicly) comments which breach the rules on propriety (which include abuse will lead to moderating (ie removal or non-posting of comments). “Comments that stray over the line into abuse of individuals or groups of people will be moderated”. Nothing about a ban for those who abuse non LDV team members.

    It goes on to say – in the same section, which implies that it still applies to public comments or attempted public comments – that “As editors of a political site on the internet, the LDV team expects to be criticised. However, we will not tolerate personal abuse towards any member of the team. Anybody who breaches this rule will not be allowed to comment on the site at least until they apologise to the team member concerned”).
    It seems as though there are stronger sanctions (a ban pending apology) for private or public insults of the thick-skinned LDV team members than the sanctions (comment removal and moderation) for public abuse of other commenters or posters.

    I run a website where plenty of the commenters insult me privately and publicly on a regular basis. I do not “ban” them from posting non-insulting comments.

    I suggest that Caron reviews this and – as a start – seeks Lord Greaves’ permission to publish the remarks which produced the ban (redacted for names).

    Bans which are not made according to fair and published rules and procedures (including an appeal to an independent person ie one who is not the insulted party or an associate of them or an associate of the “accused”), however valid the banner thinks they are, run the risk of bringing LDV under adverse criticism, with consequences for the party’s reputation.

  • Neil Sandison 10th Aug '15 - 8:18am

    If Lord Greaves is accused of offensive comments is that not a disciplinary matter which should be dealt with through the right channels .Following on from the Lord Rennard affair shouldn’t conduct unbecoming of a parliamentarian or Liberal Democrat member be dealt with at the appropriate level .He should be suspended from on line comment until those accusations are dealt with .But it shouldn’t be a total ban imposed by a kangaroo court of editorial staff. Fairness and respect must be seen to be done by both those who accuse and the accused.
    The tenants of liberalism need to be practiced as well as preached.

  • I would be much more interested in seeing obvious and regular trolls banned who never sign in as Party members and seem to be just participating to rubbish the Party and Lib Dem values. I am NOT referring to this discussion.

  • Tony Dawson 10th Aug '15 - 8:52am

    Caron Lindsay:

    There is no way volunteer activists should be called “mad” or “pathetic” by a parliamentarian.

    Interesting. Politicians are always describing each other in such a manner and I am not sure where the ‘paid for’- ‘volunteer’ divide comes from. Does such a behaviour become worse when it is done between politicians in the Party as opposed to within the Party.

    In terms of power, clearly independent commentators feel that the power relationship between LDV editors and Tony Greaves is weighed very much in favour of the former. Tony appears on no one’s list of ‘most powerful Lib Dems’ anywhere.

    My final comment concerns consistency. I do not know where or when Tony Greaves called someone associated with LDV (presumably a Party Member) ‘pathetic’ and/or ‘mad’. I do know, however, where I can link at any time to an article published on LDV which describes a a long-standing lib Dem member (and grannie) as “poster figure of fear and hatred”. I am pretty clear which I find the more offensive.

  • James Spackman 10th Aug '15 - 8:52am

    Lord Greaves is one reason I rarely engage with comments on this site.

    If he put as much time and effort into helping the party and supporting communities as he spends upsetting people then one could only imagine how much he could achieve.

  • Mick Taylor 10th Aug '15 - 9:03am

    I am both sad and annoyed that Tony Greaves continues to be abusive to many people who once thought he was a friend. It is sadly part of social media that many feel that they can be rude, abusive, aggressive and unpleasant in a way that they never would face-to-face.
    Whilst regretting the necessity for this ban, I fully understand and support it. No doubt Tony will tell me again that I have no right to call myself a Liberal – which he did, ignoring my 50 plus years’ service to the party, as a result of my stand on an issue with which he disagreed. It really is time he accepted that people find his style unacceptable, change it and apologise to the many people who he has abused in posts on this blog and elsewhere. It’s perfectly possible to make strong point on-line without resorting to abuse.

  • Firstly no-one should be rude to anyone else, it’s just plain good manners to be polite to others in a public forum. However this seems to me to be a private spat which most of us are unaware of. Since this has been posted on here, should Tony Greaves (sorry I don’t call anyone ‘Lord’ ) not have a right of reply? In any case, is it right for people to discuss a real person so publicly on here with him (and his family) being able to see the comments but effectively ‘gagged’. That’s not good manners either.

    Anyway I think it makes the Party look a bit strange to us outsiders to have this sort of thing on here. Can adults resolve this privately pleaser at least in the Members Area?

  • Caron – and team – I think the decision to ban Ton Greaves was mad and pathetic and I feel the team were silly for making that decision.

  • John Tilley 10th Aug '15 - 9:10am

    Tony Greaves is in my opinion a polite and generous person. He does not always agree with me and sometimes tells me so in an honest, up front way. I have on occasion told him he was wrong. Annoyingly for his critics, he is more often right than wrong.

    He expresses himself in a way that I understand. Would I prefer it if he wrapped up his criticisms of me in some flowery or deceitful language? No, I would not. I prefer people to call a spade a spade, or maybe even a bl@@dy shovel.

    I have learned that in LDV some editors have a different reaction to direct and honest language and would prefer things to be expressed as if we were all addressing a “sensitive” child of a nervous disposition.

    I have fallen foul of LDV moderators in the past and for the last six months every single comment I have made in LDV has been held up for “pre-moderation”.
    For those who have not experienced this it really means “censorship” but we have to pretend that Liberal Democrats do not believe in censorship so we call it “pre-moderation”.

    It reminds me of what happened to my father’s letters to my mother during the second world war. Nothing in his letters could possibly have been of any help to the enemy (the Japanese) but the British Army censore dutifully corrected my Dad’s spelling and grammar and occasionally made little notes which were meant to be amusing. My mother says that she was upset by the intrusion and invasion of privacy at first but soon got used to it, she took the view that compared to what the troops were putting up with in Burma a minor invasion of her privacy from a bored officer in the censor’s office was not much to have to put up with.

    70 years since the end of the war with Japan it is nice to know that quaint British traditions like censorship persist. That’s what my father’s generation fought for. Oh no, hang on a second — I may have got that last bit wrong. 🙂

  • Ok I’ve read Tony’s article now ( http://liberatormagazine.org.uk/en/document/liberator-373-more-than-a-phone-bank-by-tony-greaves.pdf) and I think it is very interesting. I’m dismayed that only the paragraph about being banned from LDV has been focussed on here. I think some of his analysis and suggestions warrant a discussion on here and it would be far more constructive to do that than for people to discuss Toby Greaves himself. Please don’t let this turn into an Ad Hominem against one person.

  • Stephen Hesketh 10th Aug '15 - 9:29am

    John Kelly10th Aug ’15 – 8:36am
    ” … who never sign in as Party members … ”

    LDV knows whether or not contributers are members. Surely a better default would be the automatic indication of membership against our names?

  • John Tilley, I agree ! But I take your six years of censorship oops ” pre-moderation!” and raise it with my TWO YEARS of “pre-moderation” – with no end in sight. As you say, like your mother, one gets used to it but it does take away the illusion that the LDV team are in any way liberal about freedom of expression. The team has turned into a self-affirming clique and it brings out their worst aspects I’m afraid. If you are part of the clique, you “can do anything” as one of them told me recently. As for the rest of us….

  • David Allen 10th Aug '15 - 9:50am

    Did Tony Greaves call an LDV staffer “mad”, or did he write something like “That’s a mad idea you are putting forward”?

  • John Kelly 10th Aug ’15 – 8:36am ………..I would be much more interested in seeing obvious and regular trolls banned who never sign in as Party members and seem to be just participating to rubbish the Party and Lib Dem values. I am NOT referring to this discussion………….

    I am far more concerned about this mindset than Tony Greaves’s intemperate language…..By “rubbishing the party” I assume that includes those who, for years, complained that the way the coalition was being presented, by our leadership, was destroying the party?

  • David Allen 10th Aug '15 - 9:52am

    Did Tony Greaves use the words “mad” and “pathetic” in a posting intended for publication on LDV, or in a tweet that would become public – or just in a private one-to-one email to an LDV staff member?

  • John Roffey 10th Aug '15 - 9:58am

    I really do believe that the owners of the site should set up some form of arbitration service if long-term and respected members comments are being blocked.

    According to Wikipedia:

    “Liberal Democrat Voice (also known as “Lib Dem Voice”) is a political blog, read by over 60,000 individual visitors per month[1] specialising in British politics.

    The site was created by Robin Fenwick in September 2006. Since Summer 2007, it has been run by a collective of Liberal Democrat members, activists and bloggers.[2]

    The aim of the site is to present views from a range of people and perspectives in the Liberal Democrats. The editorial line is neutral on matters of debate within the party and party selections and elections.

    The site conducts regular surveys of Liberal Democrat members,[3] which serve as a respectable bellwether of party opinion: mainstream UK press such as The Independent cite these, most notably over the issue of Vince Cable being the preferred candidate to succeed Nick Clegg as party leader.[4] For example in a 2011 survey, Vince Cable was also voted Lib Dem minister of the year.[5]

    The site is rated as the top Liberal Democrat blog by Total Politics for 2011[6] and has been consistently rated by Wikio as the 5th most influential political blog in the UK.[7].”

    This reputation is hard earned and it would be a great pity if it is frittered away for want of some form of arbitration.

  • Richard Underhill 10th Aug '15 - 10:12am

    In a column in the Liberal Democrat News Lancashire County Councillor Tony Greaves referred to “Leafy Tunbridge Wells”. I repled in the next edition “Formerly of North Watford”. We met in Ribble Valley and had a good laugh. The defeated Tory candidate reportedly went into a depression, but i am not medically qualified to say how severe this was. The Tory government abolished the poll tax and their party chairman was given an early bath.

  • @Paul – you’re being a bit disingenous, if I can say that without being banned. Yes the HoL is broadcast on TV but LDV gets more media coverage than any individual Lord.

  • sarah ludford 10th Aug '15 - 10:14am

    Paul Walter: re ‘You register as a member on the forum and, as long as you are signed in when you post, a little Libby appears by your name when you comment to denote you are a member’, I’ve tried a couple of times over the years but never managed to do this! Clearly I am technologically challenged – or mad and pathetic, or both.

  • Robert has posted above my instant response to this editorial. I have known Tony Greaves personally for forty years and by repute a little longer. In that time his contribution to the party has been immeasurable. If I ever felt he was pussy-footing around a reaction to anything I had written I would be deeply insulted. Grow up.

  • Richard Underhill 10th Aug '15 - 10:25am

    John Tilley 10th Aug ’15 – 9:10am “Tony Greaves is in my opinion a polite and generous person. He does not always agree with me and sometimes tells me so in an honest, up front way. I have on occasion told him he was wrong. Annoyingly for his critics, he is more often right than wrong. He expresses himself in a way that I understand. Would I prefer it if he wrapped up his criticisms of me in some flowery or deceitful language? No, I would not. I prefer people to call a spade a spade, or maybe even a bl@@dy shovel. ”

    The advice of Enid Lakeman OBE was that people have ways of speaking.
    “What’s all this about one person, one vote? ”
    “It’s simple. One bloody person, one bloody vote”
    “Oh! Why didn’t you say that?”

  • Richard Underhill 10th Aug '15 - 10:29am

    i didn’t bother to register. i am a member. i don’t like four letter words such as “only” or one letter words.

  • This seems to be partly about context. Think of people in other walks of life – football managers maybe, farmers, trade union leaders, neighbours. There are some from whom “bluidy mad…pathetic” would be seen as quite mild and routine. There are others from whom it would be dynamite. Face to face one can deal with this, but a system needs rules.

    However, I’m not sure that it’s appropriate to ban someone from an outlet for remarks made elsewhere unless they’re racist, homophobic or the like.

  • Richard Underhill 10th Aug '15 - 10:31am

    “Richard Underhill 10th Aug ’15 – 10:25am
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.”
    Enid Lakeman was a member in Tunbridge Wells and former chief of the Electoral Reform Society.
    She died at the age of 91.

  • Ross Fifield 10th Aug '15 - 10:40am

    So a Peer wants to post a Party analysis. It calls for a clear out of some paid-staff. It gets refused. He complains. He gets banned. The editor then participates in a flame war on Twitter.

    People shouldn’t be banned for dissenting views, or subjected to trial by public opinion with only half the information.

    Print the original article please.

    (I wonder if I’ll get banned for this comment).

  • MatGB we have only heard one side of the story so I don’t thnk we can presume to say what is sensible and what isn’t. We simply don’t know.

    In any case private correspondence should never be made public, let alone selective snippets, without the writer’s permission. It’s really bad form. I wonder why people would do that.

  • Wow, there really are some sanctimonious bullies around today. “My friend the Noble Lord has spent decades doing great work and knows more than you peons on just about everything, so leave him alone and let him behave how he wants to the underlings.” I wonder if we’ve seen that attitude in the Lib Dems before…

  • Lester Holloway 10th Aug '15 - 10:51am

    Offensive comments, whether made in public or private, do need to be challenged and on occasion removed. Whether the offender should be banned is another matter altogether. I’m not instinctively in favour of blanket bans, but certainly Tony should apologise. A while back Tony made a comment on the forum which I found offensive in reply to something I’d written. I felt it was more about language than intent. I simply replied “excuse me?”, which was an invitation to explain himself. No explanation was forthcoming. A party member who I respect commented that – I paraphrase – this was just Tony being Tony. I let the matter rest, but in hindsight should have pursued it a bit more. We cannot simply excuse offensive behaviour, or write it off as Tony being Tony or anyone just being who they happen to be. It is right that the moderators set and, on occasion, impose standards of behaviour they expect. We’ve previously had a long thread on this site about boorish (and sexist) behaviour putting off others from contributing, and it is only fair that those standards are upheld. But, as I say, I would not go for an outright ban as the first option. The question is what other sanctions are available? A public rebuke and warning would certainly be one option.

  • Known Tony since ’64 – played snooker in the National Liberal Club when he was ULS and I was NLYL. Both Bradford lads – though he went to QEGS in Wakefield and I went to BGS. Where we come from, “you daft b——” is a term of affection. Don’t do shovels and spades.

    Now, LDV board, you don’t get re-elected as a Councillor for thirty odd years in a Pennine community if there’s no affection and respect for you. If Sir Geoffrey B. can become a national treasure, it’s time LDV cut Tony a bit of slack…… even though he is a daft b—–.

  • Being on pre moderation is amusing and a challenge, !!

  • Peter Watson 10th Aug '15 - 11:11am

    @John Kelly “I would be much more interested in seeing obvious and regular trolls banned who never sign in as Party members and seem to be just participating to rubbish the Party and Lib Dem values.”
    That seems so very non-Lib Dem.
    If a troll is spouting nonsense then LDV is a great forum for Lib Dems to challenge those views and to point out exactly why the interloper is wrong, and some non-Lib Dems from the left and right make regular and interesting contributions to discussions here. And surely that is a great way for LDV to act as a way to encourage new members to join and engage. If all we had was established members agreeing that coalition was brilliant, and that Nick Clegg was a great leader and a misunderstood political genius, then no thread on LDV would reach double figures.
    There is a members-only forum for troll-free debates and a Lib Dem website for a polished and one-sided presentation of the party: if it were not for disagreements on this site then it would be redundant.

  • Lester Holloway 10th Aug '15 - 11:45am

    @Peter Watson – Trolls are not always challenged here. There is sometimes a very Lib Dem reaction of pretending they are not there when they are! That said, I don’t think there hasn’t been such an issue on LDV for quite some time now, which I’m delighted about! Let’s hope LDV stays relatively troll-free!

  • Should people be banned for calling someone ‘mad’ and ‘pathetic’? When I think of people being verbally abused I tend to think of them using swear words or words like ‘effing moron’. To me saying “are you mad?!!” Or ‘ you must be mad to….!’ Or ‘how pathetic’ seems pretty tame. But thin-skinned and draconian to ban someone over that, a simple ‘ I can’t engage with you if you keep using that sort of language’ would have sufficed. Otherwise where does it end?

    And how is it any more offensive than someone above calling a small group of other posters “sanctimonious bullies” ? Is ‘sanctimonious’ any less offensive than ‘pathetic’ ?? I don’t think so.

  • Caron implies Tony sent an “abusive” e-mail and that he called one of the LDV Team (I think every one of them is a volunteer) “mad” and “pathetic”, presumably in a private e-mail. However each of these terms depends on context and we haven’t been given any, so it is very easy to be led to an incorrect conclusion.

    I think it was a bad mistake to publicly tweet on this, and even worse for “The voice” whoever that might be to immediately post an article on it. Some of us might even consider doing this to be “mad” or “pathetic”, but again we don’t know any context.

    All in all it is definitely very regrettable.

  • Eddie Sammon 10th Aug '15 - 12:13pm

    It pains me to wade into this, so I shall dip my toes in and get out. The editors need to be respected and their work recognised. I’ve had my several run ins in the past, but a ban pending an apology is hardly brutal. I would be more sympathetic to Greaves if it was a proper ban.

    Caron basically carries the site on her back, with help from others, so I don’t want to see people ganging up on her.

    I can understand disputes from time to time because the site basically uses the party name. I also agree with those who say a long service to the party does not exempt people from disciplinary procedures.

  • Peter Watson 10th Aug '15 - 12:16pm

    @Lester Holloway “Let’s hope LDV stays relatively troll-free!”
    I totally agree. To be honest, I do not recall any behaviour on LDV that I would call “trolling” (though perhaps one party member comes close with a tendency to derail “big picture” discussions by challenging individuals over small details with an admirable rottweiler-like tenacity). I wonder if, rather than trolls, John Kelly was simply referring to regular posters with whom he disagrees, those that TCO refers to as “the usual suspects”.

  • sarah ludford 10th Aug ’15 – 10:14am
    “….I’ve tried a couple of times over the years but never managed to do this! Clearly I am technologically challenged – or mad and pathetic, or both.”

    No Sarah, you are neither mad, pathetic nor even technically challenged. It took me regular attempts over the space of 18 months or more to get my name to appear in orange with a party logo next to it.

    Paul Walter may think it is automatic but it is not. It is like gaining entrance to Kafka’s castle. I have forgotten how many steps it takes but there are frequent opportunities to get it wrong or for the clunky software to fail.

    I had similar problems gaining access to the members only forum here in LDV. if anone thnks these things are “automatic” they do not understand the meaning of the word. Paul and others inside the LDV tent and looking out perhaps have never had the problems that you and I have encontered and therefore assume the problems do not exist.
    Which may also be relevant to the wider subject under discussion in this thread.

  • Peter Watson – the fact I know of the party member you are referring to speaks volumes. He is allowed to post posts which intentionally seek to derail discussions and the LDV team don’t do anything. Maybe it’s because he is clearly on the right?

    In summing up this whole mess Caron should not have posted this thread, whether we like it or not the media have decided that LDV has some sort of ‘official’ role . I’m not sure why someone clearly so thin-skinned would want to take on a task like this anyway. I do hope, however, that Tony Greaves is being given opportunity to write a counter response if he would like to do so?

  • David Allen 10th Aug '15 - 1:12pm

    Alex Marsh: “Lord Greaves made some comments about LDV, including the rather right wing views espoused by the site, and this is their response. … LDV has gone down hill since Stephen Tall left.”

    MBoy: “Alex, your comment is fairly hilarious, because Stephen Tall was probably the most right-wing of the LDV editors.”

    Stephen Tall wrote many carefully argued articles, generally favouring what I believe he was happy to describe as Orange Book liberalism. He didn’t dissemble. He didn’t pretend to be something he wasn’t. He engaged in rational argument. (He even admitted occasionally that this had altered his opinions – which is not something that many people do!)

    The current LDV editors all adopt diferent approaches, and shouldn’t all be tarred with the same brush. However, I can think of two people in particular who regularly make general claims to a social liberal position, yet have unfailingly defended the policies and position of Nick Clegg throughout the past Parliament.

    I do not know quite what motivates this particular form of loyalism, but I think that it has done the Party immense harm. With a new leader, the Party may be able to recover. Like Tony Greaves, I think the LDV editorial team are an obstacle to that recovery.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Aug '15 - 1:44pm

    Phyllis

    However this seems to me to be a private spat which most of us are unaware of. Since this has been posted on here, should Tony Greaves (sorry I don’t call anyone ‘Lord’ )

    I don’t recall Tony ever calling himself ‘Lord’.

  • Nick Collins 10th Aug '15 - 1:51pm

    Thank you Phyllis. Using the link you provided, I’ve read Tony Greaves’ article and it’s spot on: better than anything I’ve read on LDV.

    Fyi, I only started reading LDV after the 2010 general election. That’s when I stopped being an activist and had time fo waste.

  • Alex marsh 10th Aug ’15 – 1:11pm …….Peter Watson – the fact I know of the party member you are referring to speaks volumes. He is allowed to post posts which intentionally seek to derail discussions and the LDV team don’t do anything. Maybe it’s because he is clearly on the right?….

    I think we all know him…. However, I wonder if there are topics/threads on which the ‘usual suspects’ are automatically pre-modded… I can usually post freely but here, and on other ‘sensitive’ threads, my comments are ‘in moderation’…

  • It would have been useful to have seen a response from Tony Greaves on all this stuff but of course he’s banned!

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Aug '15 - 2:04pm

    James Spackman

    Lord Greaves is one reason I rarely engage with comments on this site.

    If he put as much time and effort into helping the party and supporting communities as he spends upsetting people then one could only imagine how much he could achieve.

    Over his lifetime he has probably put more into helping the party and supporting communities than almost anyone else. And I hesitated in whether the word ‘almost’ was required here.

    Tony had a key, or perhaps THE key role in the revival of our party. So I think he has every right to be peeved about the way other have taken it over, pushed people like him to the side, and wrecked the party by trying to give it a new sort of image and policy line which ignores where it came from and why it has worked and all that people like Tony did to get it where it was.

    I can’t claim to have made anything like the contribution to the party that Tony has made in the past, and he has been around long enough to make me feel like a newcomer. But I can see how he feels, and how that might push him into rudeness, as I feel the same myself. Yes, I gave up helping the party after the way it was wrecked by the Cleggies, the way they thought they knew oh-so-much-better than people like Tony, and made so many mistakes because they ignored what long-standing activist members were saying when those members had views which didn’t quite fit in with their own.

    Even now, it seems to me there is a disparity, and people on the Cleggy side of the party have been allowed to get away with saying things and making factional comments that are the equivalent of what people on the other side have been punished for attempting to say.

  • We are always being told that the LibDems are ‘a family’ – doesn’t every family have a curmudgeonly old uncle? Isn’t the Lib Dem family big enough to tolerate the eccentricities of one if its own??

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Aug ’15 – 1:44pm

    “I don’t recall Tony ever calling himself ‘Lord’.”

    Well quite! And yet perfectly sensible Lib Dem folk persist in referring to him by this feudal title!

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 10th Aug '15 - 2:30pm

    Dear All,

    A very interesting, if not wholly enlightening discussion, in part because not all of the facts are out in the open. For example, what led to the exchange between Tony and the Editorial Team, and over what period? As the Readers’ Editor for Liberal Democrat Voice (a 2013 experiment which didn’t entirely work out), perhaps I might offer some thoughts.

    Firstly, I’m not sure that I would have published this article at all. I can understand Caron’s frustration, but sense that letting sleeping dogs lie would have been a better response to Tony’s otherwise excellent article in Liberator. Traditionally, it was the view of the Editorial Team that ‘naming and shaming’ was not a desirable approach, as it tended to provoke a debate much like the one above. Most readers of LDV don’t know the background to the dispute, especially as rejected comments aren’t seen by them. Accordingly, the scale of the issue remains hidden.

    Intemperate comments are a problem. As some have mentioned, some people are deterred from taking an active part in the debates here because of the unpleasant approach that some commentors take towns those they disagree with. That’s a pity, as we lose the very diversity that makes a site like this valuable. After all, nothing changes unless someone is willing to express an opinion which challenges the orthodoxy.

    How do you address this? Well, two years ago, I published this;

    http://www.libdemvoice.org/mark-thinking-do-not-publish-35787.html

    (Funny how a temporary title impacts on the web address…)

    and, perhaps, it is something to think about for the future.

    But, ultimately, as Jennie so rightly says in her blog posting earlier today, it is for the volunteers who run the site to decide upon their comments policy in line with the principles they wish to apply, and if individuals don’t like that, they are at liberty to use other platforms to express their views in the manner of their choosing.

    Indeed, I recall a number of threats to set up a challenger to LDV, yet none of them have led to anything. Perhaps, the work involved in doing so, and the compromises that might be entailed, make it too hard. And that, perhaps, indicates that LDV has done rather well to carry on as long as it has with a volunteer team – bearing in mind that the Labour and Conservative equivalents are staffed with full-timers and are on s much stronger financial footing.

  • James Smith 10th Aug '15 - 2:35pm

    The actions of LDV here strike me as remarkably thin-skinned and are simply being used as an excuse to silence a dissident voice the editors find annoying.

    Whilst LDV is not the world’s most powerful media organ, it is extremely important within the Lib Dems, and hence was extremely important for the country between 2010-2015 and hopefully will be again as the party recovers. Just because the editors of this site are volunteers, they are still in powerful positions and their decisions should be open to criticism. To cast this argument as between a big powerful Lord and a little helpless volunteer is incorrect. The LDV team are in powerful positions and they should not underplay that.

    Secondly, so long as a speaker is actually making a coherent point and is not making threats, their ability to contribute here should not be curtailed. Indeed, it has been the view of the Lib Dems that there should not be punishments merely for the use of insults, which is why the party got the word “insulting” moved from the public order act http://www.libdemvoice.org/lib-dem-success-as-home-secretary-confirms-government-to-back-amendment-to-public-order-act-32654.html

    Whilst Caron is arguing that the message in question constitutes “abuse”, it seems highly unlikely that it would constitute anything more than a criticism that included insulting language.

    Thirdly, Lib Dem Voice has published articles where the words “pathetic” and “mad” are either used directly from contributors, or relayed uncritically in quotes from senior party officials. E.g.
    http://www.libdemvoice.org/the-grauniad-pathetic-just-pathetic-1347.html
    http://www.libdemvoice.org/nick-clegg-red-lines-36991.html
    http://www.libdemvoice.org/vince-cable-one-direction-and-a-minimum-wage-rise-for-apprentices-34144.html

    Given that this site is actually important to politics in this country… given that Tony Greaves message would probably be deemed as little more than insulting in any legalistic sense… given the words have been used by LDV before or at least tacitly endorsed… he should be reinstated, without having to apologise.

  • paul barker 10th Aug '15 - 2:54pm

    All organisations (but especially volountary ones) suffer from the problem of people who used to be important & cant get used to being less important. Putting them in the Lords, as presently constituted, tends to make them worse. When I first joined I used to read what Mr Greaves said but I learned he had nothing much of value to say & was often rude saying it. I frequently tolerate rudeness in the young but not in people old enough to know better.

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 10th Aug '15 - 3:00pm

    Many times I read comments of: “go set up your own if you don’t like it…” It’s rude. It’s dismissive. It’s counter-productive. It could also be read as disparaging.

    I’ve heard it said that if some-one is speaking softly then they are a nice person, even though there is every indication in said tone is passive-aggressive. And this is face-to-face. But an authentic voice even though written communication gives the readership every indication of the sentiment behind the views.

    Now, having read “if you don’t like it go set up a website of your own…” again. My question is “Why should they have to?” Think about it not as an enforcer but as a philosopher. Yes, I know there are rules, but when rules impede participation, then something clearly isn’t working as well as it could be. And It might not be that they don’t like the Libdem Voice itself, but engaging in commentary has this element of challenge to expound views regardless of the status of the persons background, to the point of natural endings.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 10th Aug '15 - 3:27pm

    Mavarine,

    It does need to be borne in mind that this is not an official Liberal Democrat site – a fact which can sometimes be lost amidst such debates. Think of it more like a newspaper which is sympathetic towards the Party, like the Telegraph is to the Conservatives, for example.

    And, like a newspaper, LDV operates on the basis that its editorial team chooses. They have determined upon a preferred style of debate over a number of years, which is clearly stated, and insist, as far as they can, that it is adhered to. Is that enforced consistently? Almost certainly not. Is it their right, as private individuals operating in a volunteer capacity? It most certainly is.

    And, if as liberals, we believe in competition, the idea that someone wanting to set up a similar sort of site with a rather more laissez-faire comments policy should not be discouraged. It is, on the other hand, not reasonable for individual readers to insist that the editorial team changes its stance in order to accommodate them at the expense of other readers who like things as they are. LDV seeks to be as inclusive as possible, and has found in the past that, by being more permissive in terms of the style of comments, they lose a whole bunch of people who prefer a more discursive, mutually respectful type of debate. So, by being more permissive, you actually exclude a different group of people.

  • Stephen Hesketh 10th Aug '15 - 3:35pm

    Stephen Hesketh10th Aug ’15 – 9:29am

    Paul Walter10th Aug ’15 – 9:51am
    “Stephen – That default is in place now. You register as a member on the forum and, as long as you are signed in when you post, a little Libby appears by your name when you comment to denote you are a member. You can see it against mine here.”

    sarah ludford10th Aug ’15 – 10:14am
    “Paul Walter: re ‘You register as a member on the forum and, as long as you are signed in when you post, a little Libby appears by your name when you comment to denote you are a member’, I’ve tried a couple of times over the years but never managed to do this! Clearly I am technologically challenged – or mad and pathetic, or both.”

    John Tilley10th Aug ’15 – 12:44pm … I think that about nails it John

    Hi Paul, I actually spent sometime (unsuccessfully) seeking the log-in this lunch time – and like Sarah and John, I have attempted to do this previously.

    My thought was that an automatic system should sees me posting in my name using my email/IP address and says “Ah Stephen Hesketh, long term member and Focus deliverer, agrees with everything John Tilley has ever written – show the Libby symbol against his name”

    If that is not possible, could you point out where I can find the sign in – the only one I have ever found is for the members-only forum area and it seems a bit strange if we have to sign into that area to get the bird for use in the public area.

  • Ross Fifield 10th Aug '15 - 3:43pm

    If this isn’t a Liberal Democrat site, why was my membership number checked by a moderator, who obviously had access to membership data to verify said membership.

    This is obviously a Party site and I suggest the swiftest way to bring this unfortunate debacle to a close is to put aside notions of right and wrong and simply print the article.

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 10th Aug '15 - 3:44pm

    Reply to: Mark Valladares 10th Aug ’15 – 3:27pm

    We could argue this. It all being good. I understand the enforcement, consistently or otherwise. However, the preferred style of debate is unclear to many (newbies especially, I being one of them) so this comment is wide of the mark perhaps (no pun intended! Not least I don’t think so…) So could you enlighten us?

    Editorial team chooses, sounds when reading it from this side of the computer, that it’s a power that has gone to Libdems head, in the language that is chooses to communicate isn’t conducive but has with it ‘a sense of entitlement’ that is unhelpful, and furthermore, stances I believe are well placed for public consumption that would and should be welcomed, as conformity for all voices to be permissive is most unbeneficial to debate don’t you think?

  • David Allen 10th Aug '15 - 4:24pm

    Mark Valladares,

    You propose that LDV’s critics within the Lib Dems should set up a competing blog site. What, I wonder, would either LDV or the Party hierarchy have to say if that were to be done? No doubt LDV would seek to strangle the new site at birth!

    You suggest that the purpose of a competing blog site would be to permit ruder comments than are allowed by LDV. I don’t think that is the point at all. The problem with words like “mad” and “pathetic” isn’t that they truly involve rudery beyond the pale, as was pointed out eloquently at 2.53 this afternoon. It is that they were spoken by a leftie who has never been Clegg’s greatest fan. Moving on to 2.54 this afternoon, one can read some quite priceless commentary by a Lib Dem loyalist poster, whose breathtaking remarks about Tony Greaves have been left to stand in all their glory!

  • Richard Underhill 10th Aug '15 - 4:26pm

    Nick Collins 10th Aug ’15 – 1:51pm ” only started reading LDV after the 2010 general election”
    At least credit the coverage of the leadership election, which saved a lot of time and money travelling.

  • Paul Walter Paul Walter 10th Aug '15 - 4:33pm

    “Ross Fifield 10th Aug ’15 – 3:43pm

    If this isn’t a Liberal Democrat site, why was my membership number checked by a moderator, who obviously had access to membership data to verify said membership.”

    Ross – that happens only for the Members’ Forum.

    Stephen

    “My thought was that an automatic system should sees me posting in my name using my email/IP address and says “Ah Stephen Hesketh, long term member and Focus deliverer, agrees with everything John Tilley has ever written – show the Libby symbol against his name””

    Yes – but I think that may cost more than the few pennies and furry wine gum in the LDV pocket.

    “If that is not possible, could you point out where I can find the sign in – the only one I have ever found is for the members-only forum area and it seems a bit strange if we have to sign into that area to get the bird for use in the public area.”

    At no stage have I used the word “automatic”.

    You have hit the nail on the head, Stephen, as I said originally:

    “You register as a member on the forum and, as long as you are signed in when you post, a little Libby appears by your name when you comment to denote you are a member. ”

    or as it says at the bottom of this and every post page on the LDV site:

    “If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.”

    Yes, it is a bit clunky and as you can see from this comment I can’t manage to be logged in all the time.

    If anyone has difficulty with this please contact the team on [email protected]

  • Allan Heron 10th Aug '15 - 4:48pm

    You can tell this discussion has gone more than far enough when humorous asides are being responded to in serious manner.

  • David Allen 10th Aug '15 - 4:52pm

    Yes Paul, but you’re talking about personal blogs, which I’m sure you would not wish to challenge. I’m talking about a rival site which regularly solicits and gets articles from multiple contributors and acts as a parallel to ConHome and LabourList. I don’t think you’d be so relaxed about that, would you?

  • Isnt it a massive coincidence and ironic that a load of people who claim not to read LDV much anymore because of “people like Lord Greaves” pop up on a thread about… Lord Greaves. What are the chances of that…

  • Also ironic that LDV has brought to my attention, Lord Greaves’ Liberator article which was very interesting, and his tweets, which otherwise would have passed me by as I dont consume Twitter. I suppose thats the funny thing about moderating dissenting voices, you tend to draw attention to it.

  • Nick Collins 10th Aug '15 - 5:17pm

    @ Richard Underhill. I ceased to be a member in 2011, so the contest to decide which of the seven LibDem MPs who had not already led the party to disaster should have the dubious privilege of leading what was left of it was of no interest to me.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 10th Aug '15 - 5:50pm

    @ David Allen,

    I don’t know, I interrupt my holiday to try to pour some oil on troubled waters and get misquoted by you for my pains…

    Other people MAY set up other competing sites IF THEY CHOOSE TO. That isn’t saying that they should, or must, but that they can, if they want a site a bit like LDV but with a more permissive comments policy. It’s about choice.

    And, if it works, and is interesting, I’d probably read it.

    But, ultimately, it comes down to the ‘living room argument’. The LDV editorial team builds a space for debate, and invite everyone to join in a conversation. Individuals bide by the stated house rules or, if they won’t, have their access restricted or, in extreme cases, terminated. If the rules are too restrictive, the crowd goes elsewhere, and the salon withers away.

  • Andrew Hickey 10th Aug ’15 – 5:37pm
    “Alistair — yes, what *are* the chances of people who don’t normally come into comment threads because of the behaviour of one of the regular commenters suddenly starting to do so again once they realise that commenter has been banned? What could possibly motivate that?”

    The desire to post in this forum without having rude comments made about one’s post, perhaps?

  • David Allen 10th Aug '15 - 6:48pm

    Mark, I don’t think I misquoted you.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 10th Aug '15 - 7:36pm

    @ Mavarine,

    I did think about replying to this on your blog, but you don’t appear to allow comments…

    Where it says, “Post a Comment” on this page, it explains what is expected – be polite, be on topic and be who you say you are. I tend to the view that these are fairly basic requirements for constructive debate and, whilst there are very few of us who can claim to be without flaw in that respect, it is something worth aspiring to.

    I don’t entirely understand your second paragraph, and it may be that the status, role and identity of the Liberal Democrat Voice editorial team is unclear to you – it is easy to forget that, since 7 May, a whole new set of members have discovered this site and don’t know the history of the site and its context – something for the editorial team to think about, perhaps?

    But, the best way of looking at it, I think, is to describe LDV as a group blog which offers a space for people to promote ideas, reach wider audiences and communicate to and with fellow Liberal Democrats and those interested in liberal democracy. It has no formal status within the Party, although it has become a place where senior Party figures can reach a wider audience in an unfiltered manner.

    Now, that does lead to a question, i.e. what is Liberal Democrat Voice for? I have my own views, which may or may not coincide with those of the current editorial team, and I won’t bore anyone with them now. But, perhaps, there is an opportunity to think about that, in the light of the change in the Party’s circumstances.

  • @Andrew – schadenfreude?
    With fewer contributions from parliamentarians we are all poorer.

  • Richard Underhill 10th Aug '15 - 9:51pm

    When the Liberal Party won the Orpington by-election the Prime Minister sacked half his cabinet, before developing ill health and living to a ripe old age in retirement and the Upper House.
    The PM’s constituency of Bromley is next to Orpinton.
    One of the campaigners was a young liberal called tony greaves.

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 10th Aug '15 - 9:57pm

    Mark Valladares 10th Aug ’15 – 7:36pm – @ Mavarine, “I did think about replying to this on your blog, but you don’t appear to allow comments…”

    Just like to say thank you Mark for the consideration. On my own blog, most would reply with a private comment. I read it and reply back privately. It works for both parties over the years I’ve found, and their comfortable with that.

    And my second paragraph relates to the impression made from how others can come across too. Nothing perceived is ever empty or wasted I’ve found in life or as you say arise sometimes in “an unfiltered manner”.

    And I agree with your last question to be thought over: “What is the Liberal Democrat Voice for?”

    Cordially,

  • Peter Bancroft 10th Aug '15 - 11:22pm

    I don’t think that anyone can fully pass judgement on LDV’s decision without seeing the full email trail, but I recognise their right to do as they want and I look forward to a site where me and dozens of other people are told less frequently to leave the party than I have been for the last 8 year or so. Maybe it will even help us retain our membership for the future.

  • Paul Kennedy 11th Aug '15 - 9:25am

    Am I allowed to say I enjoy both Caron’s articles and interventions and Tony Greaves’ article in Liberator, although I must admit I find some of his posts here a bit like a cracked record (if that simile still exists).

    Tony is a legend; it’s quite fun, and almost soapy, to have him banned from the site. However, as a suggestion, why not invite him to submit an article directly on the site – perhaps inviting everyone to get their own back?

    PS Like others, I’ve logged in before submitting without getting the Lib Dem logo. I’ve now signed up to login automatically. Perhaps that will help?

  • Paul Kennedy 11th Aug '15 - 9:26am

    PPS Obviously not!

  • Go back to 2010 in the archives and see how rude certain LibDems on here were to those of us pleading for help over the welfare cuts. They were allowed to be rude and aggressive as much as they liked but the victims of this, goaded, were moderated. It seems the ‘moderators’ do not like the same treatment they allow to be meted out to others.

  • Pre-moderation is not a left/right issue as I am on it and have had some innocuous comments never make it through.

    Who is this member who derails threads?

  • PS Like others, I’ve logged in before submitting without getting the Lib Dem logo. I’ve now signed up to login automatically. Perhaps that will help?

    Paul Kennedy 11th Aug ’15 – 9:26am
    PPS Obviously not!

    Thank you Paul Kennedy, I really did LAUGH OUT LOUD when I read this.
    Whilst I have cracked the LDV equivalent of the Enigma Code and got my name in Orange with a party logo I am still working on getting a photo of myself next to my name instead of the grey man silhouette that automatically appears next to most names including the names of women.

    The LDV discussions would be hugely improved by the appearance of my face — does anyone know how this latter Kafkaesque task puzzle is to be solved?

  • Not sure that Caron has thought this through in total. Most of us have been called mad/pathetic or similar, it is pretty much par for the course in the political arena. It is what you sign up to if elected, it may not be said in public but behind the scenes, well.

  • I don’t think the banning of Tony Greaves for calling someone mad/pathetic in a private conversation bears scrutiny at all. As has been pointed out earlier in this thread, LDV uses those words in their headlines/articles. No, this sounds very much like old scores being settled. I say that as someone who very much abhors Tony’s views about women, however to publish selective bits of private conversation without his permission and then not give him a right of reply is just wrong…or to use the language you all understand…illiberal!

  • TCO 11th Aug ’15 – 10:04am
    “Pre-moderation is not a left/right issue as I am on it and have had some innocuous comments never make it through.

    Who is this member who derails threads?”

    Don’t worry, it’s not you! 😉 but I doubt the Mods will let us name names.

    Have a look at the ‘ Underground Strike’ thread for some clues.

  • Andrew Hickey 10th Aug ’15 – 9:15pm
    “Phyllis — yes, that was my point. I suspect the sarcasm didn’t come over as well as perhaps it should.”

    Hehe oops ! the fault is entirely mine for not reading your post carefully enough 🙂

  • Nick Collins 10th Aug ’15 – 1:51pm
    “Thank you Phyllis. Using the link you provided, I’ve read Tony Greaves’ article and it’s spot on: better than anything I’ve read on LDV.”

    Welcome 🙂

    I agree it’s an interesting article. I’m perplexed that the editors have chosen not to publish it in its entirety for discussion but are instead dissing the writer. A clear example, ironically, of LDV ” playing the man and not the ball”.

  • Stephen Campbell 11th Aug '15 - 12:54pm

    @Anne: “Go back to 2010 in the archives and see how rude certain LibDems on here were to those of us pleading for help over the welfare cuts. They were allowed to be rude and aggressive as much as they liked but the victims of this, goaded, were moderated. It seems the ‘moderators’ do not like the same treatment they allow to be meted out to others.”

    Indeed, Anne, indeed. Former Lib Dem voters such as myself were routinely abused and subjected to name-calling “Labour Tr0ll” repeatedly, especially on the issue of benefit cuts and the way the coalition treated the sick and disabled. These people were allowed to do this largely without sanction, while those of us who pointed out facts, spoke of the fear amongst the vulnerable and begged for more compassion from the party were censored (placed on moderation, usually with messages never posted). It was as if the party turned into a strange, cruel cult as soon as the ink on the coalition agreement was signed and that the disabled and those who cannot work and thus rely on benefits were the sacrificial lamb, the price to pay for ministerial cars and a fleeting taste of power. It was highly illiberal and a truly ugly sight to behold.

    That’s why I strongly believe that the judgement of the electorate on the Lib Dems in May of this year was deserved. Not for going into coalition, but for the way it was enacted and the way the party treated so many of the people who voted for them.

  • TCO
    As I recall you made up a nasty quote, falsely attributed it to another poster, then played the victim. To my mind that is far worse than what Tony Greaves is said to have done. You should have been banned outright.

  • I have known Tony for almost 50 years. In my experience, he has always been a good and loyal friend. He has a Yorkshireman’s bluntness and does not suffer fools gladly, but today’s political correctness when we are obliged to treat patently ridiculous ideas with undeserved respect does not, in my opinion, lead us anywhere.
    Tony and I have disagreed on occasions and his responses have never been either insulting or cruel. I suppose, as someone else said, it really depends on what you see as inappropriately insulting. “Mad” and “pathetic” don’t even come close as far as I’m concerned.
    The insults really seem to be coming from his critics who have done their best here to disparage his undoubted contributions to the party both nationally and, especially, in the north. He was a pioneer of the community politics strategy which served the party so well, building up nationally from a firm local base, until this base was sacrificed in 2010 through a thoroughly misguided coalition with the Tories. I’m afraid I would agree that those STILL pushing for continued coalition-mongering with Osbourne and the Bullington clique, despite the overwhelming rejection of this by the electorate, are, indeed, both “mad” and “pathetic”….

  • A fair and measured decision. If it were my website, I’d’ve kickbanned quite a few other people by now.

    LDV’s house, LDV’s rules.

  • James Smith 11th Aug '15 - 2:17pm

    To the people arguing that ‘if you don’t like the current moderation policy, you should go and found your own site’ – it is clearly the case that LDV enjoys a very dominant and important position in the Lib Dem blogosphere. At present there is no other forum of the internet with such influence over the party.

    Any challenger would take a lot of work to create and a lot of time to get off the ground. At least until such a challenger exists – it is reasonable for readers to question the moderation policy – and push for it to be fair, in-tune with wider Lib Dem values, and reflective of the broad spectrum of opinion within the party.

    If we want a diverse and informed debates that are read by as many members as possible, for the time being this is the site where it happens.

    This is politics: Tempers flare, rude words are sometimes used. In fact, it’s unreasonable to think that intemperate language will never be used. Whilst I’d love to live in a world where debates were conducted in pure logic, in the real world getting angry sometimes helps get your point across. Indeed, Caron herself has praised it when party officials get angry about a point that she agrees with http://www.libdemvoice.org/call-clegg-nick-condemns-morning-after-critics-as-misogynist-medieval-and-insulting-to-women-38833.html

    Clearly Tony Greaves was angry about something. Everyone gets angry about something. Sometimes, everyone uses intemperate language, especially in private.

    To ban him (an articulate, thought-provoking and often usefully dissident voice) strikes me as hypocritical (given that the words he used have been used here before – and given the insults that sometimes get leveled at other members without bans) and a nail in the coffin of informed, lively and productive debate within the party.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 11th Aug '15 - 2:50pm

    @ theakes,

    “It is pretty much par for the course in the political arena”

    That might explain why active participation in, and respect for, the political process, is at such a low level…

  • MarkV – maybe you followed the Scottish Referendum. Absolutely massive participation. Plenty of disrespect and aggravation. People get involved in politics when they think they can affect the result and when they care about the result.

  • Stephen Campbell 11th Aug '15 - 4:19pm

    @Mark Valladares: “That might explain why active participation in, and respect for, the political process, is at such a low level…”

    Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because over the past 35 years politicians of all colours have been far more interested in representing the wishes of and providing for the needs of global corporations, the mega-rich and their hangers-on than representing the wishes of and the needs of the electorate. Politics in this country has become little more than a PR exercise run by ad-men and people with little real life experience, with all kinds of promises made at election time, only for them to be broken as soon as power is achieved. We both know that corporate lobbyists and their lawyers have far greater access to and influence on our parliamentarians than the man on the street does. We are for all intents and purposes living in an oligarchy.

    And people wonder why Jeremy Corbyn is doing so well, genuinely exciting people and offering a real alternative to the constant and bland sound-bites of recent times. Same thing with the Greens and, though I begrudgingly give them credit for this, UKIP.

  • nvelope2003 11th Aug '15 - 5:46pm

    Stephen Campbell : – People with more extreme views are more likely to get attention than those who advocate what they consider moderate and practical policies. If you say abolish the House of Lords, close coal fired power stations, nationalise the railways, make Scotland an independent country etc you will get attention and applause from those with little knowledge or understanding of these matters but if you put forward practical proposals to deal with problems you would probably be ignored. Jeremy Corbyn was advocating renationalisation of the small bit of the railways that is not yet nationalised at the very moment when the nationalised Network Rail was being asked to pay yet another fine for mismanagement and failure to plan its upgrades properly but little attention was given to that.
    If you advocate what many consider extreme policies you will be regarded as a person of principle but if you propose practical proposals you are a lackey of the establishment or big business. You have only to see the effects of trying to impose ill thought out so called principled policies not just here but in places like Venezuela etc

  • Richard Underhill 11th Aug '15 - 6:34pm

    John Tilley 11th Aug ’15 – 11:15am If you are printing any leaflets the party colour is Pantine Gold,
    Gold is for first place and is beloved of the Nepalese Liberal Democrats for whom it also means good health and long life,

  • David Evershed 11th Aug '15 - 6:40pm

    In my view it is quite right that LDV stops personal abuse being published on the site. Further more it aids the quality of debate if comments are not personalised.

    I have written many strong views on LDV which have not been censored. Those that have been censored have been ones where it may have been considered they crossed over into pesonalailisation even though I did not consider it s – but that is up to the editor to edit as they think fit.

    So I support the LDV editorship.

    Note to LDV Editors – Remember those who never do anything never ger criticised.

  • Stephen Campbell 11th Aug '15 - 7:04pm

    @nvelope2003:

    Most of Corbyn’s policies are not, in my mind, extreme. They were considered mainstream at one point in this country. If you consider renationalising the rail network to be “extreme” then you must think countries such as France and Germany, with their many state-run industries and services to be a hotbed of communism. By that token, the coalition could’ve been considered extremist seeing as how they have hired companies owned by the French and Communist Chinese governments to build new power stations.

    Personally I considered what the coalition did to disabled people to be extreme. What else but extreme is pursuing policies which has led to early deaths and people taking their own lives, especially when experts warned your reforms would have such consequences?

    ” You have only to see the effects of trying to impose ill thought out so called principled policies not just here but in places like Venezuela etc”

    This sounds like elitist claptrap and is also a strawman. Wanting a fairer, more equitable society where the electorate has more power over politicians than undemocratic, unaccountable global corporations do does not in any way, shape or form mean we will turn into Venezuela.

    One reason, IMHO, the electorate rejected your party at the election is because your party nowadays often comes across as emotionless technocrats who see politics as nothing more than a PR exercise.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 11th Aug '15 - 9:24pm

    @ Alex Marsh,

    Would it help if we called you Bruce?… 🙂

  • Mark Valladres

    “That might explain why active participation in, and respect for, the political process, is at such a low …”

    Not helped by politicians promising “an end to broken promises” ?

  • The reason people are becoming disengaged from main-stream political parties is precisely because the likes of Tony Greaves have been silenced by the smarmy, polite, PR men who always say the media-friendly thing but never engage with actual debate and reasoning. Nick Clegg was always polite – look how popular he was – he was detested by the majority of the people that voted for his party in 2010 and it had nothing to do with his manners.

  • He has been on this forum. To its detriment.

  • @paul walter -> “Tony Greaves has not been silenced.”

    I’m selling t-shirts with this slogan on, if anyone’s interested. Goes great with popcorn. 😉

  • “he knows what he had to do to have his suspension lifted. ”

    Are you his Dad? Talking about someone like they were a two year old is rude in itself, no?

    I’m getting a t-shirt with “Tony knows what he needs to do to get off the naughty step”

  • Hmmm… We haven’t seen the full emails resulting in this exile, but if the worst of it is referring to someone’s views as “mad” or “pathetic”, he may well feel that he has no NEED to apologize and that doing so would be an admission of some sort of guilt. So, if this is the case, this is, indeed, a permanent — and, in my opinion, completely unwarranted — ban…

  • May I have a T-shirt, please? XXL…

  • Denis Mollison 12th Aug '15 - 11:37am

    132 comments already. I think this shows that Caron’s piece was ill-judged, in that it has half-opened a discussion in which it is very difficult to tell where fault if any lies.

    May I suggest to the editors that having gone this far they need to fully open the discussion, by (1) setting out with rough time-line what it was that got Tony Greaves banned from LDV, and (2) allowing him space – without prior apology – to give his side of the story.

  • Tony has indeed been silenced from the most important online forum for Lib Dem discussion – a site billed is in the top 5 most important politics blogs in the country. This is a serious curtailment with consequences both for him personally and debate within the party.

    Clearly he let his anger boil over in a private message and used intemperate language; however, as I have linked to previously in this thread, the LDV editor has spoken fondly of getting angry which discussing political issues – and the words that the LDV team have singled out as problematic are words that the LDV team has used or endorsed uncritically itself.

    Making Tony apologise under treat of continued sanction is akin to saying, “Renounce your beliefs about our the quality of our judgement… and never let your frustrations with us show again… only then may you be allowed to speak here once more!”

    He shouldn’t have to apologise. People in positions of power (which includes the team running this site – irrespective of whether they are paid or unpaid) should expect a certain degree of criticism including criticism expressed in robust terms.

    Given the what has happened to Tony I will refrain from describing the decision to ban him as ‘mad’ or ‘pathetic’, but I do view it as a very troubling error of judgement – with wider consequences for debate within the party.

  • Richard Underhill 12th Aug '15 - 12:20pm

    David Evershed 11th Aug ’15 – 6:40pm “… those who never do anything never ger criticised … ”
    They should of course. We need people out on the doorsteps talking to voters, listening to voters and remembering that the voter’s decisions are made via secret ballot. Therefore the voters need to be persuaded in a way which will last, at least until they have cast their votes.

  • This tea-cup and the storm raging within it are largely a self-imposed injury on the reputation of the wider party as James Smith makes clear in his two comments.

    I am rather sad that my comment mentioning the excellent John Smithson in this context did not make it past the moderator of the day, but worse things happen at sea.

    So what have we learned from all this?

    Some people are easily offended. Some people like honest language. Some people are taking the opportunity to settle old scores. Some people cannot spot the plank in their own eye.

    Not much else to learn, time to move on.

  • Denis Mollison 12th Aug '15 - 1:24pm

    Paul

    Sorry, but that doesn’t answer my comment at all. The LDV editors had the options to ignore Tony’s mentioning being banned, or to explain and discuss it with LDV readers. They chose the latter, but have only half-done it. That is why this thread is threatening to break the LDV number of comments record: with only half a story, commenters are not surprisingly all over the place.

    The two options for the editors now are to simply close the thread and leave us none the wiser, or to give us more information and Tony a right of reply as I requested in my last comment. As an enthusiastic supporter of LDV, I very much hope you’ll do the latter.

  • David Allen 12th Aug '15 - 4:20pm

    Paul Walter: “Caron 10th Aug ’15 – 7:11am
    Chris, Lord Greaves took this into the public domain, not us.”

    Oh, please! “Nah nah nya nah, he started it not me”

    You are forever protesting that banning someone from LDV cannot be censorship, because alternative avenues for publication remain open to the banned person. Tony Greaves has used such an avenue, Liberator magazine, whereupon the LDV editorial team have chased after him with a Twitterstorm of flame commentary.

    Lord Greaves is not the first Lib Dem peer to be asked to make a big apology! In the previous case, however, there was ample discussion of the background, and all observers can judge whether an apology was warranted. Lord Greaves is therefore being treated more harshly.

    Surely LDV should follow Denis Mollison’s proposals, provide more information, and allow Lord Greaves the right of reply – if LDV wishes to continue as a leading forum for Liberal Democrat debate?

  • Nick Collins 12th Aug '15 - 4:39pm

    “I agree it’s an interesting article. I’m perplexed that the editors have chosen not to publish it in its entirety for discussion but are instead dissing the writer. A clear example, ironically, of LDV ” playing the man and not the ball”.”

    Quite so, Phyllis. But perhaps the LDV editors should be congratulated on the number of comments on this thread having exceeded the number of runs scored by Joe Root last week at Trent Bridge!

    (In case anyone is in doubt, the sentence above was as ironic as the English fans’ applause when the Australian first innings total reached 50.)

  • I commented on this thread two and a half days ago and I am surprised to find it still going on. With a new FOCUS in my ward I haven’t yet taken Liberator out of its envelope.

  • Nick Collins 12th Aug '15 - 5:55pm

    Ah, Focus: I haven’t seen one of those for years.

  • Testing avatar

  • I don’t share Tony Greaves’ view of LDV as being essentially a platform for the views of those who have run the party in recent years, but I interpreted his tone in Liberator article as one of quiet satisfaction at having been banned – confirmation bias in my view, but perhaps just confirmation in his. So I don’t suppose he’ll be back on LDV any time soon, which is a great pity because he is one of the few people in the party who is able to communicate Liberal ideas in plain and elegant English.

  • “… the LDV editorial team have chased after him with a Twitterstorm of flame commentary.”

    Hard not to agree with this. It makes the LDV team look exactly like the sort of people Greaves was describing!

  • Nick Cotter 12th Aug '15 - 9:39pm

    Really not surprised the party was decimated at the G/E – Absolutely UNBELIEVABLE !!!

    If the British public were to read this complete TOSH we would rightly have NO MP’s at all !!

    YES MOVE ON FOR GOODNESS SAKE !!

  • http://entrysite.pulitzer.org/ nominations open in December

  • nvelope2003 13th Aug '15 - 5:44am

    Stephen Campbell: I did not say Jeremy Corbyn was extreme but that some people might think so. France and Germany also use private contractors to provide railway and other services. and I do not suppose that Hugo Chavez and his supporters thought their policies would have the effect that they did in Venezuela. They also wanted the fair society that I and most Liberals want. The issue is how do you achieve it without making things unfair for others. Those who are able bodied and work to make their lives better also have rights. This forum is Liberal Democrat Voice and it is depressing to read so many negative and hostile, even vitriolic, posts from those who are not Liberal Democrats and do not wish the party well just because for a time they disagreed with former leaders who have now been replaced. It is time to move on as times have changed.

    Yes Corbyn is in many ways a refreshing change as I said when his bid for the leadership of the Labour Party first began to take off and those who support his policies are enjoying a moment of success which they probably did not expect. We have seen these things before. Cleggmania springs to mind – look what happened to that. It is quite encouraging that over 600, 000 people have signed up to a political party in this cynical age. Let us hope that they will not be disappointed.

    The word “strawman” seems to be very popular with those who want to ridicule the views of those they disagree with especially when the facts do not suit their own argument. You seem to have misunderstood what I said but I doubt if any further explanations would change your mind. I have also had my posts “moderated” sometimes.

  • Robin McGhee 13th Aug '15 - 9:41am

    Some pretty impressive examples of hero-worship in the above. According to some commenters, since the guy did some good community work in the seventies, it’s clearly impossible for him to do anything wrong.

    Greaves once commented on a post I wrote, where I argued all members should be able to vote on policy decisions. He said this would mean a “mob” (I think it might have been “baying”) would get a say over decision-making. The man simply does not have respect for ordinary members and I’m not remotely surprised he’s been banned from this site.

  • I’ve been banned, again! New machine and email needed.

  • Greaves is not the only Liberal Democrat who is rude and dismissive. I once went to a conference but I would never go again as the people there were so rude and unfriendly but that does not apply to the ordinary members who I know.

    I am not sure why those who are not Liberal Democrats are allowed to post their hostile views on LDV though. Surely this should be a forum for supporters who wish to discuss their ideas, not a place for opponents to attack the party often in an unpleasant manner and constantly remind us that they have left the party over a particular issue. We have all disagreed with some policy or other but if you are a Liberal Democrat you have to stay and get the policy changed or accept that you cannot have everything your own way and that others are entitled to have their ideas implemented as well. Leaders come and go too and things change.

  • Nick Collins 13th Aug '15 - 12:21pm

    So Tony Greaves once disagreed with a post from McGhee!!! That settles it; of course he should be banned.

  • John Tilley 13th Aug '15 - 1:12pm

    nvelope2003 13th Aug ’15 – 11:39am
    “….I once went to a conference but I would never go again as the people there were so rude and unfriendly …”

    You must have been VERY unlucky. I regularly attended Liberal and Liberal Democrat conferences, spring and autumn for 30 years. It is only health considerations that have stopped me going in recent years. I met friendly pleasant people. Some of them are a bit too middle-class and fancy themselves but by and large you could not meet a nicer bunch.

    It is not an exaggeration to say that my children grew up at conferences (my son 38 last week attended the very first conference crèche in 1977). I have always been overwhelmed how amazingly nice, polite, friendly, helpful and approachable people are at a Liberal Democrat Conferences.

    You were really unlucky to meet people who were not friendly. You didn’t wander into that room reserved for the media people by mistake did you? Those journalists can be a it surly after a drink or twelve.

    On your latter point I agree with you when you say —
    “…I am not sure why those who are not Liberal Democrats are allowed to post their hostile views on LDV though. Surely this should be a forum for supporters who wish to discuss their ideas, not a place for opponents to attack the party often in an unpleasant manner …”

    There are some people who remind us that they have left the party and I hope they come back.
    There are also some people who are polite and genuinely interested in discussion who are outside the party — people such as Jayne Mansfield and malc, who contribute intelligent amd informed comments.
    But there are some people regularly in LDV who are self confessed UKIPers or members of The Friends of Hayek whose only objective is to make trouble and discredit the party.

  • John Tilley 13th Aug '15 - 1:36pm

    Robin McGhee, 
    Your memory is playing tricks on you.
    You might want to apologise to Tony Greaves?
    One of the beauties of LDV is that you can track back and remind yourself  what you actually said in a comment some months ago.
    Here is your exchange with Tony Greaves from last October.

    Tony Greaves 20th Oct ’14 – 5:28pm
    This idea is based on the primacy of referendums, for this is what it would be. It is very different from representative democracy based on deliberative decision-making. In essence it’s the rule of the uninformed mob.

    It has long been recognised by Liberals that referendums are a means by which those in power can manipulate the democratic process and entrench their power (assuming they are competent, which does no apply to everyone who proposed to have a referendum!) For this reason we have only accepted them for major constitutional decisions, and not always for those.

    If you want to hand all power in this party over to the leadership, this is the way to do it.

    Tony

    Robin McGhee 21st Oct ’14 – 7:21am
    Thanks everyone for the comments and I’m glad to see they’re mostly positive (I was actually expecting lots of negative ones).

    As a general point, nobody has actually explained why these proposals would give more power to the leadership than the leadership has now, though this claim is widely made.

    Some responses:

    … ..

    Tony: I find your comment effectively stating ordinary members of the party are an “uninformed mob” very offensive. I also fail to see how a meeting of a few hundred people twice a year is a better check on the leadership than tens of thousands of members voting throughout the year on motions and policies which could be brought in response to the leadership’s actions, which is what my suggestions would allow. So long as the power to suggest motions lies with a body outside the leadership- like it basically does now- this really is not an issue. Anyway, George has already examined your views at length so I won’t go further. My final point (which George has also made) is that your own votes at conference are not actually an example of representative democracy, because you are a peer of the realm and are therefore a voting representative for life even though nobody elected you to be a voting representative. Do you vote?

  • Peter Watson 13th Aug '15 - 2:29pm

    @nvelope2003 “I am not sure why those who are not Liberal Democrats are allowed to post their hostile views on LDV though. Surely this should be a forum for supporters who wish to discuss their ideas, not a place for opponents to attack the party often in an unpleasant manner and constantly remind us that they have left the party over a particular issue.”
    As far as I am aware there is a private members’ forum on LDV for exactly the sort of discussion you describe (and perhaps parts of it could even be made publicly viewable) and a Lib Dem party website for a unilateral uninterrupted explanation of why everything the party does is brilliant.
    I think that restricting the discussions to party members is not a panacea since the subject of this thread is a very prominent member, and at least defending the party against “hostile” non-LibDems is an opportunity for members to work together by circling the wagons.
    This public forum on LDV is an ideal place to explain to those interlopers why they are wrong and why you are correct. It is potentially a way to attract new members (or win back ex-members), by engaging with their arguments or overcoming their reservations. On balance, I think the moderators do a very good job of managing this, and if they do have a slight bias towards party loyalism I think that is quite reasonable.

  • David Pollard 13th Aug '15 - 6:15pm

    Nothing like getting hot under the collar about two ‘rude’ words. Saves having to think about really serious issues. Tony Greaves should apologise and we can all get on.

  • Bill MacCormick 13th Aug '15 - 7:01pm

    Boy, you people really do have too much time on your hands. Who cares what Tony Greaves did or didn’t say? Tittle, tattle. I have now, however, read his Liberator article (http://liberatormagazine.org.uk/en/document/liberator-373-more-than-a-phone-bank-by-tony-greaves.pdf) and pretty much agree with every single word. So, really, stop nattering on about nonsense, read the article and starting talking about that.

  • Gosh, and I thought that the Labour Party were having troubles!
    Please could all parties here agree to go somewhere quiet togther for an hour or so and patch things up in private?

  • Richard Underhill 13th Aug '15 - 9:31pm

    Nick Collins 12th Aug ’15 – 4:39pm Or when Australia reached 60 in their second innings.

  • Richard Underhill 13th Aug '15 - 9:43pm

    Though t so.

  • Stephen Donnelly 13th Aug '15 - 10:10pm

    I disagree with quite a lot of things that Tony Greaves says, at times he can be unpleasant, in particular I don’t like the way he tries to drive away liberals who do not share his point of view. But, I still want to hear what he says, and don’t want him banned.

    Tolerance of on opposing point of view is a liberal virtue.

  • Nick Collins 14th Aug '15 - 8:52am

    Richard Underhill 13th August 9.31 p.m. Quite so.

  • John Tilley 14th Aug '15 - 9:18am

    Bill MacCormick 13th Aug ’15 – 7:01pm
    “…., read his Liberator article
    http://liberatormagazine.org.uk/en/document/liberator-373-more-than-a-phone-bank-by-tony-greaves.pdf

    As ever Bill MacCormack gets to the real point.
    Just do as Bill says, – “….stop nattering on about nonsense, read the article and start talking about that.”

  • sally haynes-preece 15th Aug '15 - 12:14pm

    I know how tough it is to be a moderator on an online forum. Its a thankless task at times. But personal and verbal use of anyone is always deplorable. The problem is there is a thin line between robust debate and abuse at times. I am sure Caron made the best call she could.

    Having read Tony Greaves article I found myself agreeing with what he says. We DO need to review our campaigning tactics. I personally will not work on a phone bank. As a woman of …shall we say mature years…..I intensely dislike cold callers of ANY sort. And while I give calls from HQ more courtesy than other callers (ie I don’t just hang up on them) They rarely get a positive response from me. We need to involve the new members in ways that play to their strengths and expertise….not shoe horn into the way HQ thinks they should be done. We need a re-think.

  • nvelope2003 16th Aug '15 - 3:32pm

    Peter Watson: Yes of course you are right but it does not always feel like it! It will take time to get the message across though.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Aug '15 - 7:34pm

    Tony Greaves has taught me a new word ” depauperate ” which is presumably about the effect on us of fundraising,
    but “we should be encouraging a thousand flowers to bloom”. Mao Tse Tung said that, but what happened next?
    The difference between campaigning and electioneering is crucial.
    There is no reference to “millstone grit”.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Aug '15 - 4:00pm

    Paul Walter 12th Aug ’15 – 10:39am “Tony Greaves has not been silenced. In fact, when you think about it, it is rather outlandish to suggest that he has or will ever be silenced.”
    A new service has been provided for people whoare getting older and will eventually die to leave digital messages of consolation and encouragement to those they leave behind.
    If you have got something to say write it down and put it in a letterbox.

  • Phil Rimmer 18th Aug '15 - 1:02pm

    Caron, as a volunteer party activist you once threatened to ban (was it for not being respectful to Norman Lamb or calling for HQ staff to be made redundant? I forget), I thought that I might read and allow this debate to run it’s course before commenting.

    You are wrong. Your stated policy is wrong and you aren’t even sticking to it. This I understand after our brief exchanges. You see blunt speaking as on a par with rudeness. You permit no room for whether or not what is said is honest, let alone correct. However, what I do not understand is why you appear determined to put yourself in a position where you are unable to back down. I find that very sad in a fellow Liberal.

    At this point I can deal with a ban from LDV and I suspect Tony can as well.

  • Malcolm Todd 18th Aug '15 - 2:29pm

    Is someone running a competition for “most pointless, self-consuming discussion to reach 200 Comments”? I’ve enjoyed it, in a head-shaking-in-disbelief way. But I think I may go off and get a life now…

  • Jonathan Pile 18th Aug '15 - 4:54pm

    I’m going to speak up for the LDV team now, although I too have been at the rough end of moderation last year when people like me were desperately trying to save the party from it’s own folly. We ought to cut the LDV team some slack on this – being on the moderating end of so many years of comments must be traumatic. I have been called a few choice names straight out by Lord Greaves for daring to disagree with him and just because he’s a liberal legend doesn’t give him licence, (Paddy Ashdown take note) However the central tenet of Tony’s Liberator article is right and with Stephen Tall gone – LDV might benefit from a Radical foolish enough to join the moderator’s team to give some balance (and no i’m not doing it) as I have felt at times moderators were unintentionally getting in the way of debate and skewing the argument. It was in digust to censorship last year that I set up http://www.libdemfightback.yolasite.com with Liberal Free Voice to give an outlet for Censored LDV contributors on the Clegg Leadership debate. Now our Tim is leader, we would do well to rally around together, cut each other some slack and respect and get on campaigning. (I think that was Tony Greaves argument) . So carry on the good work, Caron, Mary and Paul .And Thanks for the LDV.

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