Actually, this having the World Cup in England might be a good idea

I am not a huge football fan. Unless it involves Inverness Caledonian Thistle, I really don’t care and even then it’s more of a spiritual thing. I don’t actually need to watch 22 men kick the bag of wind around the field. But my antipathy to the game wasn’t the only reason my heart sank when I saw the new Liberal Democrat campaign, “Bring the 2018 World Cup to England” this morning.

Certainly, having just had a month of nothing but football anywhere, I was screaming for respite. It’s bad enough on the other side of the world but if it were just over the border it would, frankly, be unbearable.

The main reason, though, was that I thought Nick Clegg’s recent calls for both Russia and Qatar to be stripped of their World Cups were really good. To be honest, they should never have been awarded to countries with such scant regard for human rights in the first place and wouldn’t have been a safe place for any LGBT football fan. Russia’s outrageous behaviour in Ukraine since has shown that it is simply not the right country to host a major international competition.

What worried me was the “Bring it here” element. It seemed a bit self-serving, if I’m honest, and I’m not the only one who thought that. Nick Barlow blogged that this wasn’t the way to make the point:

[The petition] That’s currently on the Lib Dem website, and suddenly turns it from legitimate concerns about Russia to one of the countries beaten by Russia in the 2018 bidding trying to get revenge. It weakens the case against Russia hosting it by associating it with England getting the tournament instead and thus makes it into a contest of two countries, not weighing up the merits of one.

But then I got to thinking that maybe it is a good idea to bring the tournament here, even if I have to suffer endless references to 1966 on an unprecedented scale. Let’s face it, there’s a nasty culture around football. I wrote about it recently. There’s a whole load of sexism, homophobia and violence around the game both here and internationally. Why not say to FIFA that we would spend the next four years cleaning up our act and then host the most inclusive, fairest World Cup ever, restoring beauty to the game and making a whole new generation of people around the world get to love it? It would certainly test whether FIFA is ready to deal with these issues in its sport.

Oh, and one more thing. Instead of England, why not celebrate a “No” vote in the Sc0ttish referendum by making it a joint bid from Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. That would save building new stadia and would be  a true celebration of our whole nation. And just think what we could do with the Opening Ceremony…

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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205 Comments

  • Richard Dean 30th Jul '14 - 6:28pm

    This is a very nasty article. Why? It starts with, effectively, “I hate you” and “you’re stupid” (ball of wind?!!). It then goes on to criticise a cultural norm that has nothing to do with football or football fans and is not anything near a majority behaviour. It ends with a paragraph on something entirely irrelevant.

    When will Caron Lindsay stop using LDV to promulgate her personal prejudices and insults to all and sundry?

    Can the other editors please do something about this gratuitous insult to a game that is supported by millions of men, women, and children in this country and abroad, and which can do wonders for bringing a shared understanding between diverse peoples and cultures?

  • Nich Starling 30th Jul '14 - 6:32pm

    Firstly, the World Cup can only be bid for by a single football associated, no joint buds are allowed.

    Secondly, there would be no need for any investment in new stadia if it were held in England due to the large number if stadia in England that can hold 40,000+ people in modern well equipped arenas.

    Thirdly, your failure to note these 2 facts rather undermines your whole argument.

  • Paul in Wokingham 30th Jul '14 - 7:50pm

    @Nich Starling – perhaps I misunderstand something in your comment, or perhaps the rules have changed, but the 2002 World Cup was a joint bid between South Korea and Japan. That at least was the outcome and also what the “host selection” section in the wikipedia article for that World Cup says.

    I once went to an Inverness Cally game while visiting that city for a wedding. Reaching the stadium involved a bracing walk across a bridge open to the elements (it was December) and the match was a spirited affair as the opposition was local rival Ross County. ICT won. The away supporters were not a happy bunch. C’est la vie.

    While I doubt greatly if FIFA will change their plans, I agree that England would be able to host a World Cup with a minimum of notice. Probably only Germany and the USA could offer similar short-notice capacity. Frankly, I would prefer it to go the the USA.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mr. Clegg’s intervention, football is a way of actively engaging with people who otherwise have little interest in politics. I have personally delivered literally hundreds of thousands of focus leaflets. But there is only one time when I was asked for SECOND copy: that was in Islington and the Focus had a picture of Steve Hitchins and Arsene Wenger looking at a maquette for the Emirates Stadium, which had just received planning permission.

  • The whole ‘let’s have the tournament in england’ completely undermines Clegg’s original point of taking it away from Russia. Shame, as Clegg had made a strong argument.

  • Alex Dingwall 30th Jul '14 - 9:06pm

    Crass campaign. Yes Putin should lose the World Cup but don’t hijack anger over MH17 to poach the tournament. Please get it off the party website.

  • Eddie Sammon 30th Jul '14 - 11:33pm

    Putin shouldn’t be able to act with impunity, but it would be excessive to introduce more sanctions.

    The criticisms of football culture should also be toned down. My friends love football and it is not a nasty culture. There are nasty aspects to it, but to be honest hardly any of it. This should not be surprising because my friends are loving people. It is a shame that I feel I am going to get ridiculed for saying my group of male friends are rarely nasty. The left needs to stop its negative stereotypes of men and groups of men. However, I don’t think they ever will.

  • In the unlikely event FIFA were to take the World Cup away from Russia, France would be the most likely emergency hosting choice, given that they’re currently upgrading stadiums and associated facilities for Euro 2016. Making the campaign abut England hosting it, rather than the reasons Russia shouldn’t have it, is a poor decision IMO, and probably reflects why the party’s petition only has 125 signatures right now.

  • @Eddie Sammon
    “The left needs to stop its negative stereotypes of men and groups of men.”

    I think you need to change that to: Caron needs to stop her negative stereotypes of men and groups of men. The idea that Clegg’s foremost cheerleader is left-wing is also puzzling.

  • Eddie Sammon 30th Jul '14 - 11:55pm

    Argh, maybe the left will stop its nastiness one day, it hates inequality, but sometimes it makes out that it hates the people involved in it too. My jaw dropped reading the culture of my friends for the past 15 years described as “nasty” and it is only fair for me to reply. You can’t just call something that so many people hold dear nasty.

    I don’t even want to talk about it much, I just want to say that it can improve, but it doesn’t mean the whole thing is nasty. It goes to the very core of people’s identity, you can’t just call it nasty.

    I don’t want to talk about it, besides to Caron. I’ve made my statement and let it be that. Thanks.

  • Eddie Sammon 31st Jul '14 - 2:24am

    Andy, why don’t you speak to me as a human being instead of trying to make fun of me? I don’t want to get into a big debate, but I am not rolling over when I am attacked. I don’t love football, but my friends do and I was offended by Caron saying “Let’s face it, there’s a nasty culture around football.”. My friends are very much involved in football culture and I’m not having it written off as nasty.

    I don’t want to debate this, but I’m taking a hardline approach to anyone who tries to attack me on this and they will be told what I think. Criticise me by all means, but I’m not being mocked and ridiculed.

  • Eddie Sammon 31st Jul '14 - 3:00am

    In fact, I’m resigning my support from the Lib Dems until people like Caron stop making so many attacks on men and then people like Andy (but others are worse) stop mocking me for pointing this out. It is absolutely nothing personal against anyone, but I’m not putting up with the status quo and I’m not getting into another argument over it.

    Before anyone else attacks me I’ll just say: I’ve resigned, so at least recognise I’m trying to do the right thing over this.

    I wish I could have got involved in my local party, but for a mixture of selfish and non-selfish reasons I haven’t been able to. Maybe one day I will come back.

    Best wishes

  • Caron is one of the few people willing to take note of the disgraceful masculism which dominates Liberal Democrat internal political culture, when a great many in the party would rather deny that it exists and blame women for complaining about it. This would be bad enough if the Party were openly sexist; but it is actually much worse because the Party claims to stand for equality, while in fact doing nothing about it; indeed, claiming that the inequities are the result of some sort of feminine insufficiency. Women, we’re told, lack the time or talent or commitment for politics, and that’s just too bad but there’s nothing to be done. This from the very people who are doing their best to make the Party as hostile a place for Liberal Democrat women as possible.

    The very fact that Caron is getting attacked for some mild and thoroughly temperate remarks shows just how ridiculous this masculist culture of victimisation is getting. We’re supposed to be sorry for the poor, poor men who are always being abused. Let’s face the facts: power in the Liberal Democrats is overwhelmingly held by men, and women must struggle ten times as hard to get anywhere. The men who complain about women “attacking” them are the ones who benefit from this system and who will do anything to preserve their privilege.

    This has to stop. I am sickened every time I read, in a thread dealing with women’s issues, the pompous, self-satisfied blatherings of men who have never experienced what women go through and yet somehow automatically know what’s best for women; which, is, apparently, to shut up and leave all the decisions to the men. The calendar may read 2014, but in the heads of some members it’s still 1914, and Asquith is still standing strong against votes for women.

    One day, hopefully not too far in the future, it will be possible to reread these debates with a full and clear knowledge of the fatuity of the defenders of the old ways. At that time I hope that Caron’s willingness to take on the entrenched powers will be better appreciated.

  • Richard Dean 31st Jul '14 - 6:06am

    I think Eddie has done the right thing in resigning. I hope that Caron is able to apologize for the offence she has caused to football fans generally, and I look forward to the time when she is no longer involved with LDV.

    She starts her piece with vicarious offence to football fans. She doesn’t care, ok so why is she writing? She thinks it’s about kicking a bag of wind about? Well, windbags sometimes need to look in mirrors. Her second paragraph adds to the offence, no-one was forcing her to experience the month of football that delighted so many real people. She explains it was “unbearable”, so why didn’t she just watch something else?

    She then smears everyone involved in football with garbage about a “nasty culture”, and “sexism, homophobia, and violence”, which is a gross offence to the majority of football fans. Then the FIFA buzzword, but does Caron show any evidence of knowing what FIFA is and what scandals it contains – No! She then has the gall to suggest that she, ignorant and prejudiced, wants to lecture football people about decent behaviour.

    What is Caron actually doing? Apart from anything else, she’s playing the LGBT card. Anytime some of the LibDem writers and some of the LibDem politicians want support, they say something to support LGBT people, and hey presto they think they’ve achieved popularity. What they’re actually doing is using LGBT people – not helping them but using them like the worst possible demagogue. Blows the LGBT dog whistle, pulls the LGBT chain, like someone who doesn’t care about women’s equality as long as LGBT’s get equality, or if people leave the party in droves?

    Finally, with impeccably confused logic, she links it to the Scottish referendum, which even the densest Scot and densest football fan knows has got nothing whatsoever to do with football, or Russia, or Ukraine, or probably LibDems.

    I look forward to Caron’s apology and resignation. I won’t be commenting further and I certainly won’t be voting LibDem anytime soon. I’m a human being. I have some intelligence. I try to put garbage in the bin, not on a political blog.

  • Charles Rothwell 31st Jul '14 - 7:47am

    Wow, football really can raise passions, that’s for sure. I am afraid I am in the same area as Caron when it comes to interest in the beautiful game but I found the posting balanced and clear in its central message, even if, perhaps, (I would not know, but in line with Nich’s clarification) lacking in research and perhaps making presumptions about football fans’ behaviour which may well be out of date (as someone who remembers the truly disgraceful kind of behaviour which was quite common (racist, homophobic, you name it) on the terraces in the 1980s but which, so I believe/understand, has been largely eradicated in the intervening years. Overall, though, I must say that I think the follow-up proposal of England hosting the event was wrong and the original proposal to strip Russia of its host status should have been left untouched as surely the primary intention must remain to draw a line in the sand and convince Putin that he has got to get a grip on the ‘separatists’ in the Ukraine and stop their disgraceful behaviour on the territory of what is still (just) a sovereign state. If he does not, the final outcomes could be truly horrific; full civil war in Ukraine, Russian intervention in the East (e.g. by a ‘rogue’ local commander) and countervailing intervention by a NATO state (most probably Poland) in the West and you would once again have Russia and NATO eyeball-to-eyeball. Passions about football certainly need to be respected, but let’s not sight of the (very) big picture behind Caron’s article, please.

  • @Eddie Sammon
    “Argh, maybe the left will stop its nastiness one day”

    Characterising the entire population of left-wing people on the basis of the comments made by one person is even more silly and prejudiced than sentiments in the article, especially given that Caron’s comments on here demonstrate she isn’t in the least bit left-wing .

    I do find it astonishing that Caron would write such a piece after her last article on football was torn apart and shown up for the silly prejudiced rant it was.

  • Those complaining at Caron’s statement of fact about a nasty culture surrounding football when, even in the relatively enlightened UK we still have a problem with homophobic abuse and sectarianism in football, and FIFA have had no objections to the World Cup being held in Qatar despite homosexuality being pretty much illegal there are being absurd.

    Whatever the merits of Clegg’s proposals (none – and FIFA always react badly to politicians attempting to influence them with words, rather than cash), FIFA undermine their own purported values by holding the cup in Russia and Qatar and it is FIFA that need condemned. Clegg would, imo, be better calling for boycotts. The Netherlands, in particular, is probably already deeply uneasy about taking part, and they are genuine contenders for the title.

  • Wow. This all blew up a bit, didn’t it?

  • I don’t watch much football – probably only 6 or 7 of the recent world cup, and it is a couple of years since I went to a live match.

    But I’m not in the least offended by what Caron wrote. There’s a shabby culture in politics of pretending to share popular interests that people are sick of. It’s a breath of fresh air when someone admits no interest in football.

    As for this being about men. I did not see that coming. How on earth can you interpret the OP as anti-men?

    Women play and watch football too, btw.

  • Nick Barlow 31st Jul '14 - 9:27am

    Well, that escalated quickly.

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 9:37am

    Future World Cups are to be held in places where persecution of LGBT people is normalised and when this is pointed out, you r reaction is to go running to teacher saying that the big rough girl was rude to you and you don’t want to play with her any more. I have a friend who has been know to suggest that football fans are the only fandom .more thin skinned and defensive about their hobby than Doctor Who fans. At the moment I can see his point.

  • Joshua Dixon 31st Jul '14 - 9:39am

    Oh my god, what is wrong with you all?!

  • Peter Watson 31st Jul '14 - 9:48am

    Wow, I’m a bit nervous about joining in.
    I skipped over this article after first reading, and simply thought the first couple of paragraphs were an attempt at humour. I am astonished how heated the discussion became. It is unfortunate that in the article an important issue was sandwiched between some very contentious and wide-ranging / irrelevant points.
    I would like to take one quote from the original post (actually Nick Barlow’s comments quoted by Lindsay):

    [The petition that’s currently on the Lib Dem website] suddenly turns it from legitimate concerns about Russia to one of the countries beaten by Russia in the 2018 bidding trying to get revenge. It weakens the case against Russia hosting it by associating it with England getting the tournament instead and thus makes it into a contest of two countries, not weighing up the merits of one.

    and say I agree entirely with that sentiment. By all means call for boycotts or countries to be stripped of the World Cup if their actions are unacceptable, but then appearing to cash in by offering to host the World cup cheapens the whole debate.

  • Hannah Bettsworth 31st Jul '14 - 9:57am

    This really got out of hand fast. It jumped up a notch. Caron made a guy resign!

    (everything about this is hilarious. some people are more touchy about football than tumblr is about their OTPs)

  • Sephen Hesketh 31st Jul '14 - 10:02am

    No interest in the football BUSINESS at all.

    Caron should stick to the facts … at the top level it is in fact 22 vastly overpaid, frequently under-performing men kicking a bag a gas around a field 😉

    Some of the comments here are completely OTT. Resign? Over this?

    I am also amazed the tone of some of what has been written here – particularly when you consider what can and can’t say on certain other topics somewhat closer to the cause of Liberal Democracy (and I certainly don’t just mean NC).

    Eddie, resigning from the LDs or LDV over this topic is a nonsence. I’d say you are a valued member of the LDV community and would ask you to reconsider. I would also ask you not to see ‘the left’ behind everything you disagree with.

    Basically I’m with Andy Hinton, Charles Rothwell, Joshua Dixon and Peter Watson – wow indeed! Not our finest hour.

  • Caron/Carmichael is my OTP 😉

  • @Hannah Bettsworth
    Everything about the way homosexuals react to being described for the screaming queens they are is hilarious as well.

    Oh wait, hang on a minute, there is something not quite acceptable about that statement is there.

    @Joe Otten
    “It’s a breath of fresh air when someone admits no interest in football.”

    There is nothing wrong with admitting to having no interest in football,but that is not what Caron is doing. What she is doing is deliberately insulting people for being interested in football and painting everyone interested in the game with the same brush as if they are all responsible for the behaviour of a minority. That is an act of prejudice. It is an act of someone that thinks other people should conform to what Caron is interested in rather pursue their own interests. It is anti-liberal. She’s also conflating completely unrelated issues on the basis that they share a nebulous link to football and therefore implies that it is football that is the common denominator in the oppression of minorities in Russia, in a man biting an opponent’s shoulder during physical contact in a football match, etc. It is profoundly silly and offensive to the vast majority of football supporters who are just people quietly enjoying their hobby.

  • “Caron made a guy resign!”

    Excellent. One for the sisterhood. Making someone resign on the basis they have a penis.

  • Peter Watson 31st Jul '14 - 10:27am

    Oops. Quick apology. I seem to be having trouble with names at the moment and did not mean to refer to Caron by her surname in my post. Sorry.

  • @Joe Otten
    “Women play and watch football too, btw.”

    Perhaps you might like to explain that to Caron then given her comment in the article about “22 men”.

  • John Maclennan 31st Jul '14 - 10:52am

    A most puzzling set of postings! I do worry that those who posted their comments seem to be more sensitive about issues of football than the overall state of the party. If we welcome generic discussion within the party the party needs an alternative view. On various issues I do not agree with the stance that Caron states via LDV, but she is brave enough to state them, and face the consequences. Thinking about our roots in Liberalism did we not debate and argue points before refining them? We are not an authoritarian party…we raise issues, argue, debate and arrive at a consensus opinion!

  • Hannah Bettsworth 31st Jul '14 - 10:55am

    Haha Jennie let’s not get into Lib Dem OTPs 😉

    If anyone is taking objection to my earlier comment it was continuing the Anchorman references. Go type “brick killed a guy” into YouTube and then watch some sloth videos and chill out because it’s really not that important

  • William Barter 31st Jul '14 - 11:00am

    Are we not liberals? Can we not tolerate different opinions? How is Caron starting a piece saying football is not for her in any way a threat to anyone? A famous quotation misattributed to Voltaire springs to mind.

    I like football. It’s great. For me. But I am totally okay with other people not liking it. That’s liberalism.

    FWIW I agree with Nick: we’ve taken a campaign that should be about human rights and made it faintly jingoistic – “we was robbed”. It is not a good look.

  • Hannah: Me and Vince and ballroom dancing… O:-)

    This comment is totally on topic, right? Hmm maybe not.

    I used to play in goal in the school football team, you know, and the women’s RUGBY world cup starts tomorrow. There. Covered football AND world cups, I think I;m safe.

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 11:03am

    Steve,

    There are many LGBT people – note, not just homosexuals – who face persecution and death for no other reason than their sexuality. In many cases verbal attacks act as a precursor, and so tend to carry rather more weight than would otherwise be the case. Can you point to comparable persecution suffered by football fans because of love of the game? I should say that if you’re going to conti nue to claim Caron’s post as an example of persecution, I will reserve the right to point and laugh.

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 11:10am

    William – Quite agree. Suggestng that we shoud host it takes a campaign that should be about the flaws of the current hosts and makes it easily dismissable as an expression of self-interest on our part,

  • Hannah Bettsworth 31st Jul '14 - 11:15am

    Jennie : Jeremy Browne/beard 😛

    It’s a liberal site. Facial hair is always on topic.

    I got yelled at for scoring an own goal once. Wasn’t my fault the class dunce of a goalie wasn’t paying attention. And if you will force me to play sport I will be terrible at it. Got roped in as a substitute hockey player for my school house a couple of years back and I got a lovely bruise on my ankle because I was still using the same shin guards I used at the age of 12.

  • @James Brough
    “Can you point to comparable persecution suffered by football fans because of love of the game? ”

    Yes, I can give you the names of 96 innocent football supporters who died as a result of a societal attitude towards football. A societal attitude that enabled football clubs to under-invest in facilities that were unfit for their purpose; that enabled national newspapers to lie and libel the dead, their families, friends and fellow supporters who came to their aid in their dying moments; that enabled the police to cover up and lie about the role of their incompetence in the deaths. The reason the police, the papers and the government were able to get away with blaming the innocent supporters for their own deaths was because of a prejudice against football supporters prevalent among a large swathe of the population. The reason the owner of the football ground didn’t invest in enough turnstiles (the biggest cause of the tragedy), overcrowded the terraces with unsafe numbers and fenced in the supporters with non method of escape was because of a societal attitude that treated football supporters as being less than human and robbed them of their voice. Their voices took over two decades to be heard after the tragedy because of that prejudice.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 31st Jul '14 - 11:25am

    Oh my, what have I started?! I dashed this off fairly quickly before heading out for a birthday dinner with friends (one yesterday, mine today) not really thinking it would cause quite so much controversy. Ok, so I don’t care for non Caley related football. I specifically don’t like its total domination of tv sports schedules. That doesn’t mean to say I have a problem with the many people who do like it, I should say, though, that one of life’s really joyous experiences is being in the Caley stadium in the shadow of the Kessock Bridge in the beautiful sunlight watching my team play. I get why people do it every week. I just don’t.

    As Peter pointed out above, the first two paragraphs were written fairly tongue in cheek. Both Richard and Eddie have expressed views on LDV over a long period that I and I think many others find deeply offensive – but I’m a liberal, so I accept their right to express themselves. That courtesy is clearly not reciprocated.

    I think there is a great deal wrong with the culture around football, particularly in its management. The reports of corruption around the selection process for host countries is a case in point. So are the incidents of sexism from commentators and, even more worryingly, senior officials and that’s before we even get to on-pitch behaviour which is not always, shall we say, as sportsmanlike as it could be.

    Most people go along to football matches, enjoy the game and behave perfectly peacably, but there is an undercurrent among a minority of misogyny, homophobia, sectarianism that is not acceptable and which I believe as liberals we should be constantly trying to challenge and change for the better.

    The reason I mentioned 22 men in the post was because you don’t see women in the Scottish Premier League. It’s that simple.

  • Hannah: Jeremy Browne/Beard? Oh YES!

    Caron: “Both Richard and Eddie have expressed views on LDV over a long period that I and I think many others find deeply offensive – but I’m a liberal, so I accept their right to express themselves. That courtesy is clearly not reciprocated. ”

    Spot on there.

  • Hannah Bettsworth 31st Jul '14 - 11:33am

    Please continue to be awesome, Caron.

    And having seen my mum complain endlessly at the TV when there was football on multiple channels during the World Cup, I think you speak for a lot of people up and down the country!

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 11:34am

    Steve – I quite agree with you and you make a good point. Having lived in Merseyside for 15 years, I know people who lost friends and family there and it is disgusting how long and how much work it took before the truth could finally be made clear. What more is depressing is having seen, amongst other teams, Man United fans parade through Liverpool singing about 96 dead being a good start.

  • Bring back World Cup Willie. He inspired a generation.

  • Wow – I thought I’d find people debating the merits of sanctions on Putin. Instead I read wild talk of resignations, persecution, homophobia, screaming queens… What is this party coming to?

    For what it’s worth, I think the only problem with the part of Caron’s article which deals with football culture is that it falls uneasily between two stools, the “political humour” style as in “kick the bag of wind around the field”, and the “I’m debating a serious issue” style as in “sexism, homophobia and violence around the game both here and internationally”. The Grauniad is full of writers making silly jokes while pretending they have a serious point, or alternatively, using fake humour to make sneaky and dishonest serious political points. I hate it. It should be left to the American neocons, whose stock-in-trade is to use distorted humour as a political weapon.

  • I’d like it to be held in Latvia/Lithuania/Estonia, just to troll Putin.

    There was a fledgling “Lib Dem Friends of Football” at one point – did it get off the ground? There’s lots of need for more liberalism and democracy in football. The way ordinary fans of the game are treated by the police because of the small minority of troublemakers is troubling. I hate the unequal treatment of the men’s and women’s game – why not combine the men’s and women’s World Cup tournament in the same way the Olympics is simultaneously for male and female competitors? And obviously the levels of corruption in FIFA simply shouldn’t be tolerated.

  • Thanks Stephen!

  • Have I accidentally wandered into this years “most disproportionate over-reaction” contest?

  • Stephen Hesketh 31st Jul '14 - 12:45pm

    Stephen Tall31st Jul ’14 – 12:23pm
    “This seems as good a moment as any to mention that I set up an LDV Fantasy Football League on Wednesday. I was waiting til Saturday to blog it but what the heck…”

    “as good a moment as any” LOL. Brave man

    @Hywel31st Jul ’14 – 12:35pm
    “Have I accidentally wandered into this years “most disproportionate over-reaction” contest?” LOL – would appear so!

    Speaking of which – my earlier disappearing email was the result of a me having lost the ability to spell my own name plus a subsequent LDV site technical glitch. Hugs all round. I’m back. Apologies for any false hopes raised 🙂

  • Wow, on the sexist debate which somehow came out of this: objectively speaking, the worst thing Caron said – rightly or wrongly – was:

    “Let’s face it, there’s a nasty culture around football.”

    Considering that football now has many female fans and a growing female culture, I would say this comment is in no way sexist. It may not have been Caron’s most sensitive comment, but really, did it really require such a response? Surely, a polite, “I am not sure that was appropiate” comment would have been a more proporiate and fitting response, if you truly felt this was an offensive comment? (Just for the sake of openness, talking as a football fan, I felt it was trying to highlight an important issue, but may have been ‘off the mark’.)

    Anyway, on the important side, I think Russia and Qatar must be stripped of the world cup for both the safety of fans and the intigery of our cultures. This is before we even get into the practical problems and the blalent corruption involved. In fact, I would be happy for the FA to leave FIFA altogether – this organisation has lost sight of what football is and would be a joke, were it not so powerful.

    However, for England – and any few allies we may have – to have any moral clarity here we need to actively say that we will not be bidding to host the contest.

    Football involves global people and is affected directly and indirectly by global issues, so it is – for better or for worse – a political thing!

  • Its very easy as an insider member of a culture to take offense and storm off in a huff when someone on the outside of your group gives you their honest opinion of how it looks from the outside.

    Although, granted, the football culture has moved on a bit and the British game doesn’t involve the crowd throwing bananas at black players anymore, we shouldn’t kid ourselves that everything in the garden is rosy. For many women, LGBT people and increasingly for religious minorities, the football culture can be nasty.

    Of course, maybe Caron could have made a more nuanced, qualified statement that at times, in some circumstances, etc, but aren’t we all just a bit tired of political statements that lack all passion and impact?

  • *opens door into thread*

    *looks around*

    *wonders if the world has gone mad*

    *closes door*

  • David Allen 31st Jul '14 - 1:50pm

    Clegg’s campaign on this issue is just one more big error of judgment.

    Clegg argues that being in government is all-important, and that it is crucial for the Lib Dems to show that they can play with the big boys. To do that, you have to show that you can behave like a big boy.

    Let’s suppose that Cameron called for Russia to be stripped of the World Cup (not that he’d be so daft). What would happen? First, nations such as China and Argentina as well as Russia and its satelllites would scream abuse at the imperialist West for throwing its weight around. Others would play the statesman and gently reprove the British for playing politics with sport. FIFA would, just for once, claim the moral high ground and preach the need to promote peace through global sport. Russia would keep the World Cup, and Cameron would come away greatly weakened.

    That’s why (since Cameron isn’t plain daft) he isn’t making that call.

    Clegg, therefore, is not acting like a big boy. He is acting like a little boy who would desperately like to be a big boy.

    And now, just to top it all off, he is mixing together (1) what purports to be a serious call for sanctions against an offending Putin, with (2) a grab for footballing power by the Brits. Epic fail!

    He doesn’t represent football, he doesn’t represent the British government on this, he’s just a small voice trying to sound like a big voice. When will we get someone competent to take over?

  • I thought Caron’s post was tongue in cheek (even tbe droll notion that liberals might want to ‘celebrate’ a small nation electing to stay in a 300 year old monarchic union with a larger former aggressor state!)

  • Richard Dean 31st Jul '14 - 2:42pm

    “I dashed this off fairly quickly before heading out”

    What does that say about respect for readers? About thinking a bit before you insult people? About how future readers should interpret articles – not as thoughtful positions but random remarks?

    Nothing here to attract voters. Nothing liberal or democratic.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 31st Jul '14 - 3:17pm

    Oh well, if there’s a Fantasy League to join, it must be time for Deportivo Creeting to take the field…

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 31st Jul '14 - 3:38pm

    @ Richard Dean,

    “I won’t be commenting further…”

    Or maybe not.

    “I look forward to Caron’s apology and resignation.”

    Not terribly liberal or democratic either, perhaps.

    But seriously, it’s not one of Caron’s better pieces, but there are some valid points in it. There are still issues within the game about diversity – the lack of BAME role models in the boardroom or on the touchline, the casual homophobia, the lack of coverage of women’s football. And yes, things are better than they were.

    I follow the mighty Hatters, newly restored to the Football League after five years of painful exile, but also take an interest in my local non-league team, Needham Market, a proper community team with its own academy, an enthusiastic committee slowly building up the facilities, punching far above its expected weight. It is a source of pride to the town, and is part of a huge pyramid of volunteers and players that support the game in this country.

    So, there’s good and bad in football, a bit like life generally. Perhaps there is a risk involved in being a bit precious about the things one loves, and perhaps if a few people drew a breath, remembered that Bill Shankly was being a bit ironic, and moved on, we could all just relax a bit…

  • @Graeme Cowie
    Your anecdotal list paints a bleak picture, however it is rather at odds with my experience of going to football matches. I started going around 25 years ago but seldom go to any matches these days although I used to attend frequently at different grounds. In that time I must have stood and sat with millions of football supporters and I have never once heard a racist comment/chant. I have never seen anyone arrested in a football ground. I have seen the sum total of two fans ejected from one area of ground they shouldn’t have been in. I’ve heard one sectarian comment from a fan ” the referee’s a catholic” to which his mate looked at him in a very puzzled manner and asked “what does that mean” to which he replied “I don’t know”. That’s it.

    I’ve sadly heard more racist abuse in my local corner shop. Is that a problem with the culture of shoppers? I’ve seen vastly more anti-social behaviour on trains and railway stations in the forms of offensive, violent and drunk behaviour. Is this a problem with the culture of rail passengers?

    @T-J
    “Its very easy as an insider member of a culture to take offense and storm off in a huff when someone on the outside of your group gives you their honest opinion of how it looks from the outside.”

    What if the ‘honest opinion’ is badly-informed prejudice?

    @Mark Valladares
    “There are still issues within the game about diversity – the lack of BAME role models in the boardroom or on the touchline, the casual homophobia,”

    I’ve just quickly googled some recent England team photos and there is a far greater percentage of BAME players in the squad than the general population. Let’s compare this with, say, the judiciary where the percentage is far lower than the general population. Football is a leading light with regards to inclusion of BAME ‘role models’. With regards to the boardroom, I’m more concerned with the over-proliferation of dodgy oligarchs and dodgy businessmen. The touchline? I’ve no idea how many BAME linesmen/women there are but at the last match I went to see there was a lineswoman who received no abuse from the crowd despite a succession of dreadful decisions, probably because they were too afraid to appear sexist.

    “So, there’s good and bad in football, a bit like life generally. Perhaps there is a risk involved in being a bit precious about the things one loves”

    Well, yes, to the first point, but this slightly hysterical thread began as a reaction to the whole of football being painted in a negative light.

    @James Brough
    “What more is depressing is having seen, amongst other teams, Man United fans parade through Liverpool singing about 96 dead being a good start.”

    Out of interest, how many people were involved in that disgusting behaviour? How many people weren’t?

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 5:01pm

    Richard Dean – “Nothing liberal or democratic,” says the man who demands that people resign for disagreeing with him.

  • Richard Dean 31st Jul '14 - 5:39pm

    I think this whole affair shows how LibDems have changed, from a party of principle that it once was, to a party that will say anything to get a few more votes.

    The idea of taking the World Cup away from Russia was in response to the killing of 300 civilians by Russian-supplied separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Not to the LGBT situation in Russia. It takes two or three minutes for a human body to fall 30,000 feet. The idea was fine, but why add the claim for it to be played in the UK? To get votes from football fans in the UK! What a horrible, cynical manipulation of the deaths of innocent men, women, and many children.

    Most UK football fans aren’t the sexist, homophobic, violent people that Caron paints us as. UK football fans come from all walks of life and all sexes and ages, and we’re well experienced in recognizing attempts to manipulate our opinions, thank you very much. Usually it’s to get money from us, or to use our clubs as commercial tools. The LibDem attempt to get our votes presumably led to Caron’s inept attempt to support it. Neither impresses. Both turn off, not on.

    Every large social group has its problem people, but the small social group that is the LibDems now seems to consist of problem people only. People willing to say they support anybody and anything just as long as they get votes in return. People willing to take any contradictory position at all for votes.

    What did the LibDems ever actually do for LGBT rights? What have LibDems actually ever done about sexism, homophobia, violence? Nothing! Come to think of it, what did they do for the economy, for the NHS, for education? Promise one thing and do another, that’s what they did!

    It’s normal to call for the resignation of someone who messes u as totally as this has been messed up. Football is better off handling its own problems, thank you very much. It’s this party and this website that needs the cleaning up.

  • Glad to see Stephen Hesketh handing out hugs.

    Group hug?

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 5:43pm

    Richard: “What did the LibDems ever actually do for LGBT rights? What have LibDems actually ever done about sexism, homophobia, violence? Nothing!”

    You might want to read this before you make any more of a fool of yourself.

    http://lgbt.libdems.org.uk/en/page/always-been-there-for-you-and-we-always-will

  • Richard Dean 31st Jul '14 - 5:52pm

    Ok, Jennie, but let’s not turn it into a confirmation bias session. Problems need to be identified and solved, not hidden away and ignored. 🙂

  • Richard Dean 31st Jul '14 - 5:59pm

    @Dave Page
    Oh dearie me, you’ve spoiled Jennie’s group hug even before it got started! Typical LibDem Catastrophe again?

  • Richard Dean 31st Jul '14 - 6:05pm

    @James Brough.
    Believe the hype if you want. We football fans prefer to see the reality. Libdems hung on the coat tails and clamed the credit of others who did the work!

  • Richard Dean

    If the Lib Dem successes on LGBT rights are down to the work of other people, name them.

    Whose coattails are we supposedly clinging to?

  • Richard Dean 31st Jul '14 - 6:12pm

    @T-J
    Perhaps you could identify a LibDem “success” first!

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 6:34pm

    As I said, read the link.

  • Little Jackie Paper 31st Jul '14 - 6:34pm

    Caron – Out of interest when did you last go to a football match?

  • @Richard Dean

    We’re already talking about one. James Brough’s link says that we’re the party that’s stood by LGBT people and has made the successful case in government for equal rights.

    You don’t agree, and think we’re clinging to others’ coattails.

    Whose?

    Its a simple enough question.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 31st Jul '14 - 6:46pm

    Steve,

    Perhaps ‘dugout’ is more appropriate than touchline, but I don’t recall seeing very many BAME British owners or managers lately – Hull City being an interesting, if occasionally controversial, exception.

    Richard,

    Caron was being somewhat critical of an element of the policy. Taking the World Cup away from Russia is not an unreasonable response to the occupation of the Crimea or the shooting down of flight MH17. It also seems odd to hold a world tournament somewhere where some fans will be made to feel unsafe and unwelcome.

    But offering to host the tournament is rather opportunistic, as many here, including Caron, have noted. But, just as you have complained about the generalisation about football supporters, you undermine your credibility by making an equally vapid generalisation about Liberal Democrats.

    Perhaps you might have done better maintaining your, albeit short-lived, monastic silence?…

  • Eddie Sammon 31st Jul '14 - 7:38pm

    Hi people. I’ll just respond to a few points. It wasn’t simply Caron that made me feel I had to go, it was because I raised a point and then someone mocked me for it and I could see the whole cycle starting again and for all our sakes I don’t want to get into another argument about sexism on a LDV thread.

    It is nothing personal, I feel no animosity towards anyone. However I’m happy with my decision.

    Oh by the way, Steve, I totally agree it was wrong of me to do the same sort of smearing of a whole group of people when I said the left was nasty. It was a ridiculous statement typed in a hurry, but there is a nasty aspect to it, mainly in the media. There are nasty aspects in all areas of politics.

    Caron and others should continue their work to tackle sexism against women. I definitely do not identify with extreme men’s rights activists who make out men are the oppressed gender. I am also sorry if I have typed things you and others have found very offensive in the past.

    Thanks Stephen Hesketh. As I suggested to Steve, I need to learn to criticise better without sounding nasty about it.

    Best of luck to all. I’m not jumping out of the boat and into the sea, I’ve had other ideas in the back of my head for a while.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 31st Jul '14 - 8:12pm

    LJP, a couple of years ago.

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 10:05pm

    Richard – I have friends who worked hard on things like equal marriage. If it comes to a choice whether to believe them or some shouting blowhard on a website, you’re a long way behind in the credibility stakes.

  • Richard Dean 31st Jul '14 - 10:40pm

    @James Brough
    This a basically a waste of time, isn’t it? There is general support in both the major parties in parliament for LGBT rights and equalities, just as there is general support for other issues that were regarded quite differently 50 years ago, like the treatment of mental health. These things are not uniquely LibDem things, never have been, but the unique thing that the LibDems do do is claim they are. Well, some people may be taken in by the hype.

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 10:55pm

    Richard. If you bothered to do any research on the subject, you might notice things like the Lib Dems woking for LGBT rights considerably earlier than other parties, or indeed the high proportion of Tory MP’s who voted against equal marriage.

  • @Mark Valladares
    “Taking the World Cup away from Russia is not an unreasonable response to the occupation of the Crimea or the shooting down of flight MH17.”

    This seems to be a common view. But do you have any firm evidence that the Russians are directly implicated in the shooting down of MH17? If you do then perhaps you should share it, as it would be an international sensation. If you don’t have such evidence, then in what way would punishing Russia be a reasonable response?

    Even if the shooting down of MH17 were proven to be the work of the proverbial “pro-Russian forces” in east Ukraine, that in itself would not be enough to prove Russia’s guilt. To claim it would (as Nick Clegg and many others are doing) is as illogical as saying the British government were responsible for the crimes of “loyalist” terrorists in Northern Ireland.

    I have no idea whether Russia was involved in MH17 or not, but I do think it’s important to find out – many posters here seem perfectly happy to take unsubstantiated claims by the Ukrainians and Americans entirely at face value.

    Crimea is another issue and highly open to debate (I don’t think anyone could argue that much of the “occupying” was done by Crimeans themselves) but I’ve done that one to death in the past.

    Generally, I don’t like the idea of football or any other sport being used as a political football. If the government really wants to hurt the Russians then it should do something like banning imports of Russian gas (not a chance!) instead of taking the easy option of expecting sporting bodies like FIFA to do its dirty work.

    As for the LGBT issue, all I can say is that we’re fortunate the rest of Europe didn’t try to take Euro ’96 off England given that we had Putin-style anti-gay laws on the statute book at the time. Perhaps they were sensible enough to realise that Bert Millichip was not the architect of section 28.

  • @James Brough
    “If you bothered to do any research on the subject, you might notice things like the Lib Dems woking for LGBT rights considerably earlier than other parties”

    Interesting. Can you give the dates when the Liberal Democrats and Labour started “working for LGBT rights”?

  • Austin Rathe 31st Jul '14 - 11:05pm

    @Eddie salmon

    Apologies for posting this here but having seen your request to resign I asked the team to process it today. They couldn’t find any record of a membership with the name you’ve used here, so if you haven’t already could you email [email protected] with your membership number?

    Again, apologies for posting this here but as we couldn’t find a membership record we didn’t have any other way to contact you, and we do get complaints if resignations are not processed promptly.

    Thanks

    Austin Rathe
    Head of Members and Supporters

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 11:21pm

    Stuart – there’s a link above that I posted. Amongst other things, it says that the party was the first to have a gay rights policy in 1975.

  • Eddie Sammon 31st Jul '14 - 11:23pm

    Hi Austin,

    I had to let my membership lapse a while ago, but I still considered myself a supporter and an activist on here, so it is those things I am stopping. Thanks for acting swiftly.

  • Richard Dean 31st Jul '14 - 11:41pm

    @James Brough.
    Time travel is here! The LIberal Democrats were formed 13 years after you say they started working on the policy! At that time, they weren’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye.

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Jul '14 - 11:58pm

    Happy birthday Caron.

    I hope that you didn’t stuff yourself at the celebratory meal and end up feeling sick as a parrot.

  • James Brough 31st Jul '14 - 11:59pm

    Richard, as the page I linked to said, the party was known as the Liberals at that point. But, you know what? I suspect you knew that, didn’t you?

  • Jayne Mansfield 1st Aug '14 - 12:08am

    @Steve,
    So where are all the black managers then? There have been so many excellent. Black players who have served their club or their country we’ll but I don’t see them in the top ranks of football.

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 12:43am

    @James Brough

    No, the LibDems were not known as the Liberals then, nor are they the Liberals now. The Liberals still exist as a separate party: http://www.liberal.org.uk/

    In my memory of those days, the1970’s, Jeremy Thorpe, leader of the Liberal Party, was charged and later acquitted of conspiring to murder a man who had claimed Thorpe had had homosexual relationship with him. No-one I knew believed the verdict that he was innocent of that charge. There were likely lots of MPs then, as now, who were gay, and it must have been pretty obvious that keeping homosexuality illegal provided endless opportunities for blackmail and corruption of MPs.

    After the swinging 60’s it was also beginning to be accepted that homosexuals didn’t deserve the treatment they got. There were plenty of reasons for good people in all political parties to correct things. And there were good people who did just that, slowly and persistently, uncovering a lot of other injustices on the way. That’s some background to the present LGBT rights concepts.

    Also in my memory of those days were the historical violence and racism in football, and people like David Coleman and later Jimmy Hill and many others who understood that football was not only a great commercial opportunity, it was also a way to change society for the better. And so another set of good people started doing that too, slowly and persistently. That’s some background to the morals and behaviours and demographic of football today.

    None of these slow and persistent tasks will ever be finished. So when Caron causally insults todays football fans, she also casually insults all these good people who have worked some hard to improve society over the last half-century. and those who are continuing that good work. When she muddles up football with sexism, homophobia, and violence, she’s displaying an astonishing ignorance of history and contempt for those good people.

    And why? To curry favour with dumb readers? To get a few votes for this awful party? Why? It’s very, very offensive.

  • “In my memory of those days, the1970′s, Jeremy Thorpe, leader of the Liberal Party, was charged and later acquitted of conspiring to murder a man who had claimed Thorpe had had homosexual relationship with him. No-one I knew believed the verdict that he was innocent of that charge. There were likely lots of MPs then, as now, who were gay, and it must have been pretty obvious that keeping homosexuality illegal provided endless opportunities for blackmail and corruption of MPs. “

    ?

    Homosexual acts were decriminalised in 1967.

  • @Jayne Mansfield

    “So where are all the black managers then?”

    I’ve no idea. The club I support has employed two black managers during the Premier League era but a quick look at the current list of PL managers reveals there aren’t any. However, given that 40% of current PL managers are foreign nationals, I find it difficult to believe that institutional racism is preventing black managers from breaking through. Football players aren’t exactly low-ranking jobs in football terms anyway and many of the world’s leading football players have been black. This is because playing football is purely meritocratic. That is how so many plebs and ethnic minorities manage to break through. That is why the middle-classes sneer at football.

    When it comes to management there may well be prejudice creeping in but how does football compare to other institutions. Let’s take the Lib Dems as an example: How many black leaders have you had? How many senior black MPs have you had? How many black MPs have you had? The answer to these questions is of course, zero. You have had one ethnic minority MP in your entire 25 history and he only lasted a year. If we were to conclude that football is inherently nasty and prejudiced against minorities then what does it say about the Lib Dems given the even greater lack of representation of minorities amongst senior Lib Dems?

  • @James Brough
    “the party was the first to have a gay rights policy in 1975”

    Quite apart from the fact (as Richard observed) that the party didn’t even exist, aren’t you overlooking the fact that a Labour government decriminalised male homosexuality eight years before that? If that wasn’t an exercise in improving gay rights, I’m not quite sure what is.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 1st Aug '14 - 8:25am

    Richard,

    Great Moments in Liberal Bureaucracy, #473*

    The vote by members of the Liberal Party in 1988 to merge their party with the Social Democrats, the Social and Liberal Democrats, subsequently shortened to Liberal Democrats.

    In other words, the Liberal Democrats are the legal continuation of the Liberal Party. The continuing Liberals might consider themselves to have some moral claim to being the inheritors of the tradition, but don’t let the name confuse you. Unless, of course, you ‘re being wilfully obtuse.

  • @Me
    “That is why the middle-classes sneer at football.”

    I should have written: “That is why a section of the middle-classes sneer at football.”. Guilty of the generalisations I was critical of earlier. Or maybe I was just typing a comment too quickly late at night.

  • James Brough 1st Aug '14 - 9:12am

    Stuart – true enough, although strictly speaking, the act, rather than decriminalising homosexuality, provided a limited exemption from prosecution. The tone and attitude can be gleaned from comments by the Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, who spoke during the debate of homosexuality being a disability and those affected carrying g a great weight of shame.

  • To bring some numbers to the diversity issue, here are the percentage of non-whites from different groups:

    Premier League Footballers: 33%
    UK Population: 18%
    House of Commons: 4%
    Lib Dem MPs: 0%

    I keep hearing about the cultural racism of football supporters, yet the supporters are the people that voluntarily pay money to go and watch the games each week and therefore endorse the employment of a far greater percentage of non-whites than in the general population. There may well have been only four Premier League black managers and this does represent an under-representation but that is four more than the total number of black Lib Dem MPs. Why is always football that comes under such intense scrutiny though when there are far worse organisations and industgries? It is hilarious that people representing a party that claims to hold diversity and equality as core values should take so much effort to nit-pick an industry which employs and rewards very highly so many non-whites and is decades ahead of the Lib Dems with regards to diversity.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 1st Aug '14 - 1:16pm

    Steve,

    Because some of us are equally critical of the diversity failures of the party. There is, of course, one factor that is different, in that footballers do not require endorsement by election, whereas MPs do.

    It wasn’t Liberal Democrats who rejected our MP in Leicester South, it was the electorate, as is their right.

  • @Mark Valladares
    “equally critical”

    But where is the fairness in being equally critical of football where 33% of players are non-white and the Lib Dems where there are no non-white MPs? That’s not fair – that’s an absence of proportion. Football may not be perfect but it is streets ahead of the Lib Dems with regards to diversity so why not take the Premier League as your role model? Something to aspire to, no?

    “It wasn’t Liberal Democrats who rejected our MP in Leicester South, it was the electorate, as is their right.”

    Oh, come on. He won a by-election (by-elections produce notoriously different results to general elections in the same seat) in 2004 at a time of deep unpopularity with the government over Iraq. He subsequently lost it in 2005 when voting returned to normal. Both the reason for his victory and subsequent defeat had nothing to do with his ethnicity (Nothing to do with me either – I voted from him in 2010 when I was living in the constituency). You cannot seriously be blaming the lack of diversity of Lib Dem MPs on the loss of one seat you won in a by-election? How come there is a below average representation of minorities amongst Lib Dem candidates? How come none of the top 57 most winnable seats were given to candidates from minorities for the 2010 election? Or are you saying those 57 won their elections because they weren’t from minorities?

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 1:53pm

    Common sense is not yet prevailing. Below is what Caron’s article would look like if she had made it about immigrants instead of footballers. Does this sound like a bit of fun? Or one of the worse of the right-wing rants? What would it be like if the subject had been changed from footballers or immigrants to poor people, or to black people, or to LGBT people? Well, here it is …
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am not a huge fan of immigration. Unless it involves white middle class people, I really don’t care and even then it’s more of a spiritual thing. The country doesn’t actually need a load of benefit scoungers. But my antipathy … wasn’t the only reason my heart sank when I saw the new Liberal Democrat campaign, “Fair Deal for Immigrants” this morning.

    Certainly, having just had years and years of unchecked immigration, the country is screaming for respite. It’s bad enough having these people on the other side of the world, but if they were anywhere near my town it would, frankly, be unbearable.

    Let’s face it, there’s a nasty culture around immigrants…. They’re dirty, selfish, and violent people, here and in their own countries … Why not …
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    This has been a failure of the LDV editorial process, in my view. Editors should not be free to dash something off without thinking about it, on the way to someone's dinner party. They can do a draft like that, ok, but things should be checked independently before they're published. And when a complaint is made, like I made, and like the women in the Rennard case made, the official reaction should not be that the complainant is automatically at fault.

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 1:54pm

    Ah, so now the editorial process has been so corrupted that my criticisms get moderated by the editors whose behaviour I am complaining about. Liberal? Democratic? Transparant? No! The word is CORRUPT.

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 1:59pm

    The LIberal Democrats are not the legal continuation of the Liberals. If they were, they’d also be the legal continuation of the Social Democrats, many of whom came from Labour and so would be one of the legal continuations of the Labour party!

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 2:02pm

    This is such a joke isn’t it! I submit a comment showing how Caron’s piece would look if the object of her ire had been immigrants instead of footballers, and the moderation software pulls it! Maybe the editors should in future submit their own work to that software!

  • Malcolm Todd 1st Aug '14 - 2:28pm

    Richard, please desist from gibberish. The Liberal Democrats are the legal continuation of both the Liberal Party and the SDP. That’s a simple matter of (legal) fact. The assets of the two former parties passed to the new party (then called Social and Liberal Democrats), and membership of the old parties automatically transferred to membership of the new parties. It’s nonsense to equate that to the relationship between SDP and Labour, which is that a bunch of Labour Party members resigned from the Labour Party and set up the SDP! Quite obviously, that doesn’t make any body the legal continuation of the Labour Party except the Labour Party.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 1st Aug '14 - 2:32pm

    Or maybe, Richard, the team were doing their day jobs. We are volunteers, you know. Your comment was in moderation for just over an hour, for goodness sake.

    As for the football/immigrant thing, there is no parallel. but I don’t have time to explain why as I’m about to go out . Can someone else help me out here.

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 2:39pm

    “I’m a volunteer, so I’m allowed to write a prejudiced rant, on a site that claims to be LibDem”?
    Not an excuse, in my opinion.

  • Paul In Wokingham 1st Aug '14 - 2:46pm

    Well I’m gay. And a football supporter – a season ticket holder at Fulham. And the last match I went to was the pre-season friendly two weeks ago against Crawley at the checkatrade arena, which I must say is a great little stadium.

    And while I have *never* heard any misogynistic or homophobic comments at Craven Cottage – and certainly have never seen any violence at all – I have heard borderline racist comments a few times. Nothing that would have been regarded as out-of-the-ordinary if said 20 years ago, but (rightly) enough to cause silence and embarrassment when uttered today. Many of the most die-hard supporters in my sitting area are women and they are exactly as loud, partisan and opinionated as the men.

    So in terms of Caron’s article, I agree with her comments on the FIFA/World Cup/Clegg intervention, but struggle to reconcile her view “There’s a whole load of sexism, homophobia and violence around the game both here and internationally” with my (admittedly limited) personal experience.

  • Whereas repeatedly abusing Caron and the rest of the LDV team in the comments to this and other articles is perfectly permissible under your definition of Liberal Democracy, is it, Richard?

    There comes a time to step away from the internet and take a deep breath; I think you reached that a long time ago. Maybe once you’ve done that you can realise that really, this whole thing is not worth a tenth of the effort and emotion you’ve put into it?

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 1st Aug '14 - 4:56pm

    Richard,

    It is the right of the editorial team to publish what they like on their site, given that it is they who own it. By the same token, they have the right to manage the site as they wish, to include or exclude individuals as they choose, as they, and only they, bear the legal consequences of their actions.

    You, on the other hand, seem to believe that you have some entitlement, and that they have an obligation to you. I suggest that you are mistaken in both presumptions.

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 7:50pm

    Do the team really have that right, Mark? This place is called “LIberal Democrat Voice”. It claims to have some relationship to the Liberal Democrat party. Its editors sometimes get to go on radio and TV where the claim is made that they represent Liberal Democrat opinion. Do they really have that right?

    Many LibDems and many MPs support football clubs. Are they supporting “homophobia, sexism, and violence”? Many people all over the world find pleasure in football, including many poor people. Doesn’t Tim Farron support Blackburn, Nick Clegg Sheffield? Is Caron or the LDV team really speaking for the Liberal Democracts in her tirade against football?

    This has been a mistake by Caron from the start, and mistake by the LDV editorial team to not recognize that. She needs to apologize for her mistake. The longer she puts that off, the harder it will be, and the more credibility she and LDV will lose, and the party too.

  • Stephen Hesketh 1st Aug '14 - 8:01pm

    Richard, thank goodness I only supported assisted dying and equal marriage during our previous exchanges!

    I fear this episode will be used to show why consenting adults cannot be permitted to post and exchange reasonable comments on LDV 🙁

    As Jennie says “There comes a time to step away from the internet and take a deep breath”.

    On a lighter note the prize for the best post in this thread must surely go to:

    @tpfkar 31st Jul ’14 – 1:29pm
    *opens door into thread*
    *looks around*
    *wonders if the world has gone mad*
    *closes door*

    I genuinely LOL each time I read this 🙂

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 8:07pm

    @Stephen Hesketh
    Thanks you for you nice words, is that a typical example of a LibDem response to criticism?
    Really the only thing to do now is to wait for Caron’s apology.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 1st Aug '14 - 9:12pm

    Richard,

    No, they claim to be an independent place for Liberal Democrats (and interested bystanders) to talk, beyond the control of the Party centrally. Obviously, they are Liberal Democrats.

    So, any opinion expressed here may, or may not be, Party policy. Usually, it is flagged up as opinion by including the word ‘opinion’ in the title, although it wasn’t in this instance.

    When members of the team do media, they do so as Liberal Democrat Voice, not as ‘the Party’ – it has its own spokespeople, media team etc. They are able to represent Liberal Democrat opinion to some extent, as they have the benefit of regularly taken polling data from a decently-sized sample of Liberal Democrat members (notice I don’t use the phrase representative, as that presumes knowledge that isn’t confirmed).

    In short, they have earned the right to credibly represent the view of Liberal Democrat activists to some extent, a right which is maintained by being seen as broadly accurate by said activists.

    And, given that, on the basis of your earlier comment;

    “I won’t be commenting further and I certainly won’t be voting LibDem anytime soon”

    what makes you think that your views on the Liberal Democrat Voice team should be taken seriously by them?

  • James Brough 1st Aug '14 - 9:24pm

    Richard, in answer to a few points you have raised:

    The site describes itself as “The most-read independent website by and for Lib Dem supporters” – you can find this at the top of the page – while the “About us” page states that “Lib Dem Voice does not belong to any supposed wing of the party: it is a neutral platform”. This I think seems to make it quite clear that it is not an official voice of the party.

    Moving on to your piece about immigration, Caron talks about not particularly liking football as a hobby and goes on to complain about not having been able to get away from the subject during the World Cup. It’s not in any way the same as saying that there are too many immigrants in the UK. As for the comment that immigrants are “dirty, selfish, and violent people”, Caron makes no such comment. She does say that there’s “sexism, homophobia and violence around the game”. Are you saying that this is not the case? There is the organisation Kick it Out which describes it’s aim as “to strive for a game completely free of prejudice”. I’d also quote the FA statement saying that “the FA wants to focus its attention on the issue of homophobia and transphobia in football. The game we all love is for everyone – and that includes Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Trans people (LGB&T). That is why we are putting our full support behind the ‘Football v Homophobia’ campaign .” If,as you seem to be implying, there is no such problem, why would the FA be drawing attention to this?

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 9:42pm

    It’s a simple fact that Caron’s article was a mistake. The worst thing to do when mistakes occur is to twist around trying to find all sorts of reasons for not admitting it. Such behaviour may be expected in a naughty 5-year old, and often occurs with older hooligans, but not in a responsible adult. The best thing to do when mistakes occur is to admit them and apologise, especially in politics, otherwise the mistake and absent apology follow you wherever you go.

  • “It’s a simple fact that Caron’s article was a mistake. “

    I think you mean ‘opinion’, not ‘fact’.

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 10:26pm

    At last some common sense! I enjoyed it too, Stephen. But every parent knows what’s going on here. Somehow Daddy Richard and others have to get Likely Lass Lindsay do admit she’s not perfect, and made a mistake. It’ll be a valuable learning process for her, and actually for all of us who’ve participated in the experience.

    We’ve discovered all sorts of interesting things along the way. Like Marks’ yes we represent LibDem opinion but no we don’t represent LibDem opinion, which has the unfortunate side effect of damaging all the editors’ credibilities further. It’s a bit like, we support students but we don’t support students, we support the NHS but we don’t support the NHS, …. Yes, it’s a good thing this website and its editors don’t represent true LibDem opinion!

    All that remains is for Caron to fess up, apologize, and we can all go our merry way.

  • Jayne Mansfield 1st Aug '14 - 11:27pm

    @ Richard Dean,
    I really don’t know why you are getting so hot under the collar, Richard. As far as I am concerned Caron has nothing to apologise for, she offered an opinion which one can either agree or disagree with.

    I actually agree that the suggestion that the next World Cup be held in England is opportunistic. Also, although tremendous strides have been made , there are still problems in the game as James Brought has mentioned.

    What is all this daddy business about? If it is an attempt to infantilise Caron , you have failed as far as I am concerned. On this thread, Daddy Cool you aint!

  • Jayne Mansfield 1st Aug '14 - 11:30pm

    Sorry, James Brough.
    I apologise for misspelling your name James.

  • David Allen 1st Aug '14 - 11:36pm

    “Somehow Daddy Richard and others have to get Likely Lass Lindsay do admit she’s not perfect…”

    Richard, there’s only one thing that should be said to you,

    “Calm down, dear…”

  • David Allen 1st Aug '14 - 11:46pm

    Mark Valladares,

    “It is the right of the editorial team to publish what they like on their site, given that it is they who own it. By the same token, they have the right to manage the site as they wish, to include or exclude individuals as they choose..”

    Yes, it is your right. However, if you want to maintain a reputation for openness and fairness, you won’t misuse that right.

    Do you believe that you are currently behaving in an even-handed way in your dealings with all strands of party opinion?

    Hint: The below article generated enormous interest and comment, yet since it was published over a month ago, no articles from a similar perspective have been published on LDV.

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-why-changing-leader-now-will-save-the-party-in-2015-and-beyond-2-41098.html

  • Eddie Sammon 1st Aug '14 - 11:55pm

    Hi Stephen. I was a bit hurt by your comment. I know I have hurt people in the past, but I try to do it with a kind of one to one respect and appreciation for the individual. It wasn’t nice to read the thread I resigned in described as possibly your favourite ever. I tried to do it in a respectful manner and it might seem like a petty issue to do it over, but it was a small part of a growing discontent with the party over not just what I see as being negative about men, but also things like military hawkism and too many different ideologies being tolerated within.

    When it comes to Graeme’s comment: I didn’t read it because it was too populist for my liking, saying I’m a football fan and I agree with Caron might sound cool to some, but it’s not the subtleties I would expect from a top politician or commentator (but best of luck to Graeme).

    When it comes to Caron apologising, I don’t really see this as important, I just hope that she and others can see that it is important to be just a little bit more positive about men.

    I’ll try to leave again, with respect and best wishes for all, and I might come back if I feel the party has made sufficient progress. You can sometimes change a party from within, but sometimes it appears inefficient. Unfortunately.

    PS, Thanks Richard for fighting my corner, I would just ask you to be a bit more polite in order to get a better hearing.

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 11:56pm

    @Jayne Mansfield
    Her opinion would likely be regarded as racist if she’d criticised black people in the casual and offensive way she criticised football. It would have been regarded as bigoted if the subject of her ire had been Islamic people or LGBT people, sexist if the subject had been one sex. So why is it ok if the subject was football fans? It may be her opinion, but it has no place on a website that claims some form of affiliation with the liberal democrats.

  • Richard Dean 1st Aug '14 - 11:58pm

    @Eddie.
    Good luck and thanks. Unfortunately, when dealing with people who don’t know what respect is, you sometimes have to be a bit rough.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 2nd Aug '14 - 12:01am

    @ David Allen,

    I’m not part of the Editorial Team, so you might be asking the wrong person, just as you keep attributing me with views that I presume you assume I have.

    But do you know whether anyone has offered LDV a similar article? For, if they haven’t, the Editorial Team can hardly publish it.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 2nd Aug '14 - 12:04am

    Richard,

    A bit rough? People who don’t know what respect is?

    But, if Caron doesn’t apologise, what are you planning to do?

    * turns computer off, realising that if satire wasn’t dead already, it’s got a rather serious wound now *

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Aug '14 - 12:23am

    Just popped in to bid you all farewell – for a couple of weeks as I am on holiday. I may post the odd wee thing but don’t expect a reply to emails.

    This has been an interesting thread. I’d like to thank James Brough & Graeme Cowie particularly for making the case that there is a need to tackle some elements of the culture round football better and in more detail than I did.

    Jennie’s & Hannah’s support was also very welcome even if the OTP thing was just a little creepy. Brilliant, but creepy.

    It was nowhere near as disturbing as the Daddy Richard thing, though. Jayne, your reply was the LDV equivalent of a Federer ace at Wimbledon.

    I was talking to a friend of mine who is non political & a football fan. She told me that her friend’s daughter plays in a women’s team. Apparently some of the comments the women have shouted at them about their bodies, even to very young girls, are quite disturbing. Football is enjoyed by many, even me at times. One of the great joys I’ve experienced is watching Caley play a few times in their marvellous stadium in the shadow of the Kessock Bridge. Unlike Paul in Wokingham I had the sense to go at more temperate times of year & left the game sunburnt once! Clearly not all fans are racist violent misogynists. I never said they were. But there are some elements of the game’s culture & management that need to improve. That will make the game appeal to a much wider range of people.

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 12:26am

    @Mark
    It is the duty of every citizen, and everyone who believes in what LibDems claim to believe in, to speak up when they see prejudice and worse, to speak against it.
    Parties are founded on the belief that, if enough people speak out, something will eventually be done to stop it. Why do LDV editors and ex-editors not understand this simple duty and belief?

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 12:31am

    @Caron
    I hope you have time to set aside your pride and prejudices on your holiday, and to see the distasteful nature of the thing you wrote. I look forward to a contrite Caron returning in a couple of weeks. Bye for now!

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 2nd Aug '14 - 12:37am

    @ Richard,

    Fair enough. I think that your behaviour towards Caron displays a prejudice against women and verges on abuse. I therefore believe that you should apologise to her and to a number of us who feel offended by your behaviour on this thread.

    Satisfied?

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 12:42am

    @Mark. I disagree with your opinion. There is absolutely no evidence in this thread that I am prejudiced against women or that my comments verge on abuse. If you’re feeling offended, I’m sorry, but the offence is evidence that you need to start thinking clearly, not that I was prejudiced or abusive. Same for others who feel that way too,

  • Eddie Sammon 2nd Aug '14 - 12:45am

    Let’s get Jenny’s group hug out. Come on, we can do it! Richard, you have to be nicer! No one is perfect, but I think the personal appreciation for others I spoke about is important. People shouldn’t close debates on a bad note – it comes across as hateful! And I know you aren’t!

  • Eddie Sammon 2nd Aug '14 - 12:47am

    Richard, that’s a bit better. Anyway.

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 12:47am

    I support Eddie’s motion for a group hug. Let’s not turn it into a confirmation bias session though, as I think I said once before. We still disagree on many things. Given that this is an electronic hug, which emoticon is appropriate?

  • “Clearly not all fans are racist violent misogynists.”

    Clearly not all Lib Dems are paedophiles.

    Seriously, did you really write that?

    @James Brough
    “She does say that there’s “sexism, homophobia and violence around the game”. Are you saying that this is not the case? ”

    I am saying that that statement by Caron is one of ignorant prejudice and is symptomatic of a culture amongst a minority on LDV whose attitudes belong to a culture of a hatred of football supporters that was ill-informed when it was prevalent in the 1980s when it based its contempt of all football supporters on the behaviour of a small minority. It was wrong then, as demonstrated by its causal relationship to the deaths of 96 innocent, mainly young, supporters at Hillsborough, but it is even more wrong now given that football has made massive progress in eradicating the problems caused by what was a small minority. Reading the comments on this thread it is like the last 30 years hasn’t happened, but that prejudice against football supporters and players still sufficiently exists such that the FA has to keep putting out the kind of statements you quoted to try and bat back the prejudice. As I’ve already said, I’ve never heard racial abuse at a football match let alone sexist, homophobic or transphobic abuse, I’ve only ever seen one minor incident of violence at a match. I’ve seen much higher incidences of these behaviours on the street, in pubs and on public transport. Strange how the testimony of football fans that have never encountered these problems are ignored in favour of the anecdotes of one that says he has.

    On the basis of the evidence, football is well ahead of the Lib Dems on diversity. The idea of a party dominated by white males lecturing ‘football’ about diversity is beyond parody. A party that can’t handle sexual harassment allegations and whose parliamentary representatives are 88% male lecturing ‘football’ about sexism is a joke. Do you have any sense of proportion? Do you know how this thread looks to normal people? We’ve even had an example of the classic abuser’s psychology – don’t football supporters react hilariously when they’re accused of being violent, racist, misogynists! Well, er, yes. Duh.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 2nd Aug '14 - 1:21am

    Richard,

    I think not.

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 1:44am

    @Mark
    Did you notice that your three-word sentence can have several meanings? Maybe if you do, you might start to understand how awful the piece that started this off is. Goodnight all, happy dreaming!

  • @Richard Dean

    The politician’s trick of using a non-apology apology (its never usually a real apology if the word ‘sorry’ is immediately followed by the word ‘but’) doesn’t really help the situation. Demanding respect and contrition while offering none and doling out contempt solves nothing. And in any case the whole thing can be turned around – ‘I disagree with your opinion, I don’t think anyone’s been abusive to you, sorry if you’re offended but the truth hurts’. See what I mean?

    Your decision to fly off the handle, take offense and start calling for resignations when someone puts forward an admittedly blunt assessment of the nasty area of football culture, usually cropping up where our drinking culture collides with unresolved issues of identity politics, does you no credit.

    But you might yet get an apology for a carelessly unqualified generalisation if you would also admit to a certain overreaction in your response. A climbdown requires compromise from both sides.

  • Stephen Hesketh 2nd Aug '14 - 6:18am

    Richard, following your question to me, “is that a typical example of a Lib Dem response to criticism”, I awoke this morning with a thought. This involves our shared opinion that posters on LDV should be permitted slightly more leeway regarding what we can and can not say about the political opinions and positions of others. Setting aside you actually being permitted to take this to hitherto unimaginable heights, my thought involved ‘intent’.

    Does anyone here believe that it was Caron’s intention to denigrate or offend the majority of football fans? With the exception of yourself and Eddie Sammon, probably not.

    It is this intent to personally denigrate or offend that should be key here and elsewhere on LDV.

    On this occasion, it is my personal opinion that it is you who has got both the interpretation of intent and the balance of response wrong.

  • @T-J
    “blunt assessment of the nasty area of football culture”

    You’re missing the point completely. What if you substitute immigrant in that statement: “blunt assessment of the nasty area of immigrant culture”. Your statement is not an opinion; It is a prejudiced rant against a whole group of people that mostly consists of people who aren’t in the least bit sexist, racist and violent. Indeed, football supporters may well be less anti-social than Lib Dems. None of my friends who are football supporters stoop to the level of abuse demonstrated by some commenters on this thread, so on that anecdotal basis I could conclude that was the case.

    Here are some more comments which are equally as offensive as yours:

    blunt assessment of the nasty area of Jewish culture
    blunt assessment of the nasty area of LGBT culture
    blunt assessment of the nasty area of female culture
    blunt assessment of the nasty area of black culture

  • Stephen Hesketh
    “Does anyone here believe that it was Caron’s intention to denigrate or offend the majority of football fans? ”

    Intent is irrelevant, although I believe it was her intent. Why else write: ” I don’t actually need to watch 22 men kick the bag of wind around the field.”. If I had written a racist statement you wouldn’t be asking about my intent, so why are you asking about Caron’s intent in making a nasty, prejudiced comment about EVERYONE associated with football?

  • @Mark Valladares
    “I think that your behaviour towards Caron displays a prejudice against women ”

    I’ve read through Richard’s comments and I can’t see a single instance of Richard denigrating women or suggesting that Caron’s comments are related to her being a woman, so are you going to apologise to him? No, thought not. Another baseless accusation.

  • Eddie Sammon 2nd Aug '14 - 8:08am

    I still don’t feel people understand my gripe. This is the following cycle that I want to stop:

    1. Me spotting what I feel is sexism against men.
    2. Me calling it out.
    3. Me getting mocked for it (criticism is fine, but not the mockery).
    4. Me getting into an argument.

    It’s the whole cycle, it would be wrong to put too much emphasis on the football comment.

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 8:39am

    Richard – two quotes from posts of yours.

    “There is absolutely no evidence in this thread that I am prejudiced against women or that my comments verge on abuse.”

    “Somehow Daddy Richard and others have to get Likely Lass Lindsay do admit she’s not perfect, and made a mistake.”

    So suggesting that a woman who disagrees with you as a silly little girl who needs to be disciplined by a responsible male adult isn’t sexist? Seriously? Utterly ludicrous.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 2nd Aug '14 - 9:08am

    Steve,

    I refer you to James’s comment of 8.39 a.m…

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 9:30am

    Eddie – There’s a difference between not agreeing with you and not understanding you. I’m in the former group.

  • @James Brough
    ““Somehow Daddy Richard and others have to get Likely Lass Lindsay do admit she’s not perfect, and made a mistake.”

    So suggesting that a woman who disagrees with you as a silly little girl who needs to be disciplined by a responsible male adult isn’t sexist? ”

    You’ve haven’t just completely distorted his words there but made them up and, in the process, projected your own prejudices onto Richard. I don’t actually understand why he’s referred to himself and Caron in those terms but calling Caron a “likely lass” is no more sexist against women than calling himself “daddy richard” is sexist against men. Saying that Caron made a mistake with the article is nothing more than an opinion. It is you that is being sexist by suggesting that someone that disagrees with a woman is doing so on the basis of their womanhood. You’re not the first – Stephen Tall tweeted this: “Women: remember, if you say you don’t like football you’re actually saying you don’t like men “. This is a complete distortion of this discussion and presumes that the basis for people disagreeing with the article is sexism without any actual evidence to back up that assertion.

  • Thank you Caron for a very sensible article which I thought was quite untoward.

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 12:24pm

    Steve – apologies for not replying sooner – a combination of work and not spotting your reply to me. As far as the incident with the Man United fans singing about 96 dead at Hillsborough being a good start – I’d say it was a significant minority – maybe a few hundred out of a group of a few thousand which was being guided through Liverpool by police. I would add that there were a lot of people in that group looking extremely uncomfortable at what was being sung. I would also mention the various anniversary memorials for Hillsborough where members and supporters of both Liverpool and Everton football clubs were very publically united. However there still remains the problem of the very vocal minority I mentioned who clearly came to Liverpool with the intention of causing hurt and offence.

    On the other hand, in your later post, you say that “that prejudice against football supporters and players still sufficiently exists such that the FA has to keep putting out the kind of statements you quoted to try and bat back the prejudice.” If you’re arguing thais on the basis that you personally have never experienced any such abuse at a match, then we are going to have to disagree – the idea that all such FA action is there to deal with a non-existent problem does not hold water for me.

  • Sorry. Got “untoward” the wrong way round. What I meant to say was I did not think there was anything untoward in the article.

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 12:51pm

    In the Lord Rennard case, women made complaints about a party member’s behaviour and were essentially told – you’re over-reacting, even offensive to suggest such a thing.

    In this case, a reader made a complaint about LDV behaviour, and was essentially told he was over-reacting, even offensive to make such a complaint.

    There’s something wrong here, isn’t there?

    The LDV reaction is exactly what you expect from a child who doesn’t want to admit she’s done something wrong. And a bit of light teasing is exactly what a gentle parent sometimes does to show her what her denial looks like!

    How about an actual apology from LDV for the scurrilous nature of the original article, for the unwarranted offence to millions of football fans, and for the subsequent inability to handle a complaint in any fair way?

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 12:58pm

    If the WHO announce that it intends to eradicate smallpox, it doesn’t imply that everyone in the world has it.

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 1:03pm

    And if someone says that there is a particular culture around a sport, it doesn’t mean that everyone connected with the sport is implicated.

  • Peter Watson 2nd Aug '14 - 1:16pm

    James Brough “And if someone says that there is a particular culture around a sport, it doesn’t mean that everyone connected with the sport is implicated.”
    Much as I hate to get involved in this thread, the length of which I find quite astonishing, I think using the word culture, i.e. “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”, did imply that anyone not implicated is the exception rather than the rule. I doubt that was Caron’s intention though.

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 1:20pm

    A few years ago there was a furore as a result of someone official saying that “Most of the muggers in London were black people”. As I recall, it was factually true that the majority of those arrested for mugging were black people, and that the majority of victims’ descriptions of their assailants were too. The complaint was that the official statement was racist, and that it was simply not true that “most black people in London were muggers”. I forget what the eventual outcome was.

    But what was the problem here? Was it that people didn’t understand the difference between “most muggers are black people” and “most black people are muggers”? No, we understood the Dawkinsesq logic ok, but in fact there’s no operational difference between the two statements. If you’re walking down a street at night and you see a group of black people walking in the opposite direction towards you, how can you not be afraid that they’ll likely be muggers? Operationally, you’ll be thinking “most black people are muggers”, even if everyone has been super-careful to explain that that is not what was meant.

    The moral of this story is that the meaning of a sentence is not determined by the creator of the sentence, but its recipients. Dawkins does not rule. Caron’s article started with two paragraphs saying that one should not care about football fans, and then produced a very nasty accusation in the middle of a subsequent paragraph. Whether or not the words were chosen carefully, the actual meaning as received by me and others was very clear, and was indeed expressed by Graeme Cowie 31st Jul ’14 – 1:29pm: “This isn’t the same as saying that the overwhelming majority of football fans are complicit, though … it’s at least arguable that they are”.

    How many times, I wonder, does sort of thing happen, and what damage does it do? How many times do LibDem activists insult the people they meet on doorsteps, not realising it? I’ve seen plenty of examples, here on LDV, where the writers of articles seem to have no idea at all about how their words can damage the case their arguing.

    If Caron won’t apologize, will LDV?

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 1:49pm

    How many times do people seize on a particular phrase, misinterpret it, throw wild assertions around and prejudiced comments while not realising it? WillRichard apologise?

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 1:59pm

    Here is the strategy of a demagogue seeking to demonize a group.

    First, explain that one should not care about the particular group of people. This is Caron’s paragraph 1.

    Next, explain that the group are hurting others. Make this pretty emotional. This is the “unbearable” in Caron’s paragraph 2.

    Next, make some observation about bad behaviour of a small element of that group, and allow the words to be interpreted as applying to the whole group. This is Caron’s “culture of homophobia, sexism, and violence”.

    At some stage, assert the superiority of the demagogue’s followers. This is Caron’s “We’ll clean up football for you”.

    Caron didn’t explicitly reach the last stage, which is “Hang Em High”, but lots of people seem to have got that implication ok!

    How on earth can LDV support this?

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 2:53pm

    Richard – Paragraph 1 – she said that she didn’t particularly care about football. She made no recommendations for anyone else.
    Paragraph 2 – she joked about not being able to get away from football during the world cup.

    And seriously – you’re arguing that a volunteer on an unofficial web site is a demagogue? What powers does she have exactly?

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 2:58pm

    @James Brough

    Would you support the same strategy being used on gay people?

    Are “unofficial” websites harmless? Here’s one you might like: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/28/war-coming-paul-craig-roberts/

  • Just trying to imagine what this thread will look like for anyone using the new comment filtering system …

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 3:06pm

    I’m saying that comparing Caron to a demogogue is rather wide of the mark.

    And what strategy are you suggesting exactly? An article saying that the author isn’t particularly into homosexuality?

  • @Steve

    If you believe that being an uncritical participant in the area of football culture that exists at the area where Britain’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol meets its unresolved identity politics issues is somehow equivalent to being Jewish, black, gay or a woman, then your point holds.

    I do not accept that supposed equivalence, however, and moreover I feel that you cheapen them by association with the sort of passive, don’t-rock-the-boat attitude we’re getting from Messrs Dean and Sammon. Nasty areas exist in all cultures and it is our responsibility as members of whatever cultures we might be in to oppose the bad bits while being able to tell outsider criticism apart from hate speech.

    That said, outsiders should be aware of how their criticism impacts on those being criticised, and should consider whether they actually have any stake in what they’re criticising. Football culture, as it places itself firmly in the public sphere, actively courting media attention, is going to be subject to more criticism than most simply because more people consider themselves to be affected by it.

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 4:42pm

    @T-J
    If you care to look, you’d see that “Don’t Rock the Boat” is what you and LDV are wanting. The “Boat” being LDV in this case, and the determined efforts by some here not to see how awful Caron’s article is. There’s plenty of “credible evidence” here. LDV is exhibiting the Rennard phenomenon, and it needs to change.

  • Little Jackie Paper 2nd Aug '14 - 5:01pm

    TJ – ‘Football culture, as it places itself firmly in the public sphere, actively courting media attention, is going to be subject to more criticism than most simply because more people consider themselves to be affected by it.’

    First off, I rather doubt that there is any such thing as, ‘football culture.’ Certain people might think that there is, however having visited 50 stadiums in around Europe I would frankly doubt that there is any such thing. At least not in any meaningful sense. Second, surely football does not exist in a vacuum, rather it reflects where it is. As a true global game that is very , very different. The stadiums and atmospheres I have visited in Eastern Europe are totally different to those in central London. Football is one of the most truly localist things I can think of. Third, why is football special? Growing up in miners strike northern England I remember rugby league crowds and culture definitely being a product of their time. Is that a culture Ms Lindsay would have approved of? For that matter surely we can all accept that times have changed since the 1980s and that is reflected in sport and its cultures. Lastly, I believe it simply not true to say that because football is in the public sphere it de facto means that people are affected. This could be said of almost any form of sectarian or partisan thinking. In any case, in an internet age media interest is devalued currency. Tennis culture might be in the media and in the public sphere, but I don’t believe it affects me.

    Why should anything be a sacred cow? If people wish to respond to what you term outsider criticism, or indeed just brush it off that’s well and good? There is however a difference between criticism and a priori moral condemnation. It struck me that some of the article skated rather close to the latter.

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 6:13pm

    Every social group has its hooligans, and I guess the LibDems do too. They’ll be a target one day, and hopefully the whole party won’t get tarred with the same brush.

    The tactics used by Ms.Lindsay, which I outlined a few posts ago, are the same as the tactics used against gay people 50 and 100 years ago, and sometimes now in the UK. They are used today by Israelis against Palestinians and vice versa, by Buddhists against Muslims, by Amazon logging companies against Amazon tribes. Many gay people today would be ashamed to use those same tactics against others. None of the progress of the last 50 years has been achieved that way. No progress will be achieved in reducing hooliganism if everyone in football is branded a hooligan.

    I hope that LDV will clarify its policy on how articles are vetted. Are they checked at all? Can anyone say anything? Can the editors themselves write anything they want, without actually thinking much – in a rush on the way to a dinner party in this case? It’s easy to say something offensive by accident, particularly in politics, so it’s always a good idea to get it checked independently before publication.

    It would be nice if the LibDem party itself could clarify its relation with LDV, whether LDV really is the “Voice” of the Liberal Democrats, and whether the party supports or not the kind of tactics I have identified.

    And of course it would be nice if there was some evidence that Ms.Lindsay herself has understood her errors, and if she could apologize. Anyone who wants to get anywhere in politics is going to make lots of mistakes along the way, and so has to learn to apologize a lot! It’s easy enough, it can be done gracefully, it doesn’t indicate weakness but strength. Is it going to happen?

  • This all tends to prove the truth of the old adage: “Give someone enough rope and they’ll hang themselves”.

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 7:16pm

    So, Richard, rather a lot of what you’ve written there applies to you. Are you going to apologise?

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 7:45pm

    None of it does, James. Are you one of the hooligans I referred to?

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 7:51pm

    And of course it would be nice if there was some evidence that Rchard himself has understood his errors, and if he could apologize. Anyone who wants to get anywhere in life is going to make lots of mistakes along the way, and so has to learn to apologize a lot! It’s easy enough, it can be done gracefully, it doesn’t indicate weakness but strength. Is it going to happen?

    If you don’t see how any of this applies to you, I feel genuinely sorry for you.

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 8:02pm

    Steve – How exactly have I made up Richard’s words when they are quoted directly from him?

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 8:29pm

    This is just so reminiscent of the old days when the anti-gay lobby had no arguments of their own, so they tried desperately to nit-pick the pro-gay arguments, trying to turn pro-gay arguments into anti-gay ones. Somehow they thought it was clever, and I’ve noticed a similar sort of approach from UKIP too. But really it’s just boring. Let’s just wait and see whether LDV, Ms.Lindsay, or someone from the LibDem party, has anything to say.

  • James Brough 2nd Aug '14 - 8:44pm

    In all seriousness, I’ve attempted to engage with your arguments.You don’t appear willing to consider anything beyond your own limited point of view.

    And I really don’t think that attempting to attach yourself to groups who are genunely persecuted is going to do you any favours.

  • Richard Dean 2nd Aug '14 - 9:22pm

    I remember that one too, James.

  • David Allen 3rd Aug '14 - 12:13am

    Warning – this posting is not a rant against homophobes, feminists, antifeminists, or worst of all, footballers. So get your filters going, guys, it’s about real p*litics, and you won’t want to sully your eyes with that….

    Mark Valladares at 12.01 am queries whether anyone has submitted an article about the party leadership since the one by Jonathan Pile over a month ago. He suggests that it might be that nothing has been published on LDV simply because nothing has been submitted for publication.

    Well Mark, I submitted one such article, which was rejected on the grounds that it “didn’t seem to add anything”. It is now published at:

    http://libdemfightback.yolasite.com/liberal-free-voice.php

    Incidentally, you’ll see if you read it that I have actually taken a lot of trouble to put “new” points, and indeed to argue that there are serious pitfalls the party must avoid if it replaces Clegg, alongside the serious pitfalls it faces if it does not. I suspect somebody had a good laugh about the ostensible reason given for for rejection. It’s like rejecting Gordon Brown for being too light-hearted, or rejecting Ed Miliband for jumping to conclusions.

    Meanwhile, on the members’ only part of this site, appalled comments about Clegg’s leadership continue unabated. Only on the public site has a deafening silence been imposed for the last month. Now, why might that be?

    I am heartened. For many years I have campaigned on this site against the Clegg Coupists, and I have mostly been allowed to post. Now, LDV has clamped down.

    What that shows is that the loyalists are now genuinely scared of losing the debate. What that proves is that the Libdem Fightback is on its way to winning.

  • Peter Watson 3rd Aug '14 - 12:43am

    @David Allen “I submitted one such article, which was rejected on the grounds that it “didn’t seem to add anything”.”
    It’s an interesting excuse to use.
    One problem I have often had with LibDemVoice is that frequently an author (or worse, authors) write a new article instead of posting a reply in an existing thread below another writer’s article. We then end up with parallel threads going over the same ground, and it becomes a nightmare trying to keep up with them all and avoid repetition. It’s been much better recently, but only this week we had two concurrent threads about Calderdale and I’m sure that the next big party announcement will see contributors responding but choosing to see their names at the top of the page rather than in the middle of a thread of 100 posts.
    “Not adding anything” is probably a rule that should be used to exclude more articles and to encourage more engagement in the discussions. After all, many articles are well-written and make good points which would only improve the debate within a single thread on a topic.

  • Stephen Hesketh 3rd Aug '14 - 10:56am

    Peter Watson 3rd Aug ’14 – 12:43am

    Excellent point Peter. Too many related ‘Op-Eds’

    Wikipedia “An op-ed (short for “opposite the editorial page”, not “opinion editorial”) is a piece typically published by newspapers, magazines, and the like which expresses the opinions of a named author usually affiliated with the publication’s editorial board.[1] Op-eds are different from both editorials (opinion pieces submitted by editorial board members)”

    I get the impression (rightly or wrongly as there is no way of knowing) that ‘The Voice’, ‘News Hound’, ‘Newsmoggie’ etc are actually LDV editors/day editors and the like.

    What happened to … we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are … or not as the case may be.

    Following the Euro/Local debacle we had complaints that those whose who thought the interests of Liberal Democracy would be best served by a change in leader kept on bringing up that issue; “twisting every debate”, I think might have been the phrase used.

    Guess what? We saw the proliferation of OpEds as discussing different facets of the same problem and posted in them all accordingly.

    Fewer Op-Eds might have been a better approach than misplaced complaints and the over use of the M-place and zap button!

  • @Stephen Hesketh, I also enjoyed that comment – it very much reminded me of the asylum in the “Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”. In fact, this whole thread reminds me of that book.

    The reason why I stopped commenting after one post was because there is no point: those defending Caron’s comments keep misrepresenting the criticisms of her post, whilst those making the criticisms probably are over-egging the cake.

  • “What that shows is that the loyalists are now genuinely scared of losing the debate. What that proves is that the Libdem Fightback is on its way to winning.”

    Or possibly the reduced level of comments about the leadership is in line with the mood of party as evidenced here:

    http://www.markpack.org.uk/50571/how-liberal-democrat-local-parties-have-voted-re-the-partys-leadership/

    Only three local parties have voted to initiate a leadership contest. Three.

  • Stephen Hesketh 3rd Aug '14 - 12:25pm

    Paul Walter 3rd Aug ’14 – 11:29am

    Paul, I rather feel you misunderstand the view of the wider party. Following the Euro/Local debacle the debate was ‘when not if’. I was clearly in the ‘now if not sooner’ camp. I am now of the opinion that NC has ridden out the storm ignoring the 47% or so who indicated they favoured a leadership election in the longer term interests of the party.

    NC is presently acting again as leader of the Liberal Democrats and not just as the DPM. None of us know for sure how that will play out. No doubt our private suspicions will reflect the close to 50% split in his party support. Nor do we know if it is a genuine realisation on his part that the Liberal Democrats are truly a left of centre rather than an ‘anchored to the centre’ party.

    The fact that some have decided not to pursue local leadership meetings but instead to work for their local candidate and to ‘hope for the best for the rest’ can not and should not be represented as a substantive change in our political judgements or an in increase in support for NC, simply that many (myself included) have concluded that, for now, ‘we are, where we are’ and for the sake of the party and its values, we need to make it work.

  • Peter Watson 3rd Aug '14 - 12:41pm

    @Paul Walter “Or possibly the reduced level of comments about the leadership is in line with the mood of party as evidenced here”
    I can’t see them; is this also the case in the members’ forums?

  • Stephen
    I was purely pointing to the fact that only three local parties have voted for a leadership contest. And there has been plenty of time now for meetings/votes. If you contest the mood of the party why haven’t more local parties voted for a leadership contest? It is relatively undeniable that the mood of party, as evidenced by the lack of votes for a contest, is not one of rebellion.

  • Peter Watson 3rd Aug '14 - 1:12pm

    @Paul Walter “Or possibly the reduced level of comments about the leadership is in line with the mood of party … Only three local parties have voted to initiate a leadership contest. Three.”
    “It is relatively undeniable that the mood of party, as evidenced by the lack of votes for a contest, is not one of rebellion.”
    All will be forgotten if the Lib Dems do well in the 2015 General Election, but if the Lib Dems perform badly then I expect there will a lot of spin around this particular point. The arguments have already been rehearsed (“Clegg is doing the right thing and the party supports him” vs. “Clegg is doing the wrong thing but the party does not want to rock the boat so will replace him after the election”), and it will be interesting to see how many people who currently give the impression that they are in the first camp will try to reposition themselves as having always been in the second.
    For what it’s worth, I still can’t bring myself to support the party under its current leadership so will be looking to see if the post-2015 Lib Dems are a party I can return to. Engaging with discussions here on LDV seems a good way to do that (and is why I came here in the first place).

  • I agree with your characterisation Stephen but I was responding to David’s point. There has been no “imposed” reduction in anti-Clegg comments. It is perfectly ridiculous to suggest that. Comment withdrawn by author 3/8/2014 20:46

  • Richard Dean 3rd Aug '14 - 1:41pm

    Egging is a well-established technique for de-constructing brick walls.

  • David Allen 3rd Aug '14 - 7:36pm

    Paul Walter,

    “I was responding to David’s point. There has been no “imposed” reduction in anti-Clegg comments. It is perfectly ridiculous to suggest that.”

    Nice evasion Paul. Yes, plenty of anti-Clegg comments (below the line) have been published in the last month. However, no anti-Clegg articles (above the line) have been posted, because those have been c*ns*red out. My point was about articles. You chose to finesse that point, refer instead to “comments”, and enjoy calling me ridiculous.

    You’re not going to gain friends with that sort of behaviour.

  • David Allen 3rd Aug '14 - 7:59pm

    Peter Watson,

    ” “Not adding anything” is probably a rule that should be used to exclude more articles and to encourage more engagement in the discussions.”

    You cite in support of that viewpoint the two articles about Calderdale which appeared on this site. Since those two articles were posted less than a single day apart, you clearly have a good point. The first thread will have been live and active when the second article was posted up, fragmenting the discussion into two parallel threads and breaking up its logical progression.

    At its best, LDV does actually advance our understanding and analysis. Jim posts something which sounds reasonable, but Sue points out a flaw, whereupon Bill gets back with a new suggestion about how to get around the flaw. None of that works if Sue’s comment goes on one thread while Bill reads the other one.

    However, your point about avoiding overlapping threads does depend on timing. Typically, a thread runs into the sand after no more than a week or thereabouts. Once that has happened, those who are interested tend to ask themselves – Did that settle things satisfactorily? Very often (e.g. Gove, Gaza, Cleggism, austerity), the answer will be no, this subject has plenty of miles left in it. Well – Then events happen. Gove makes a brand new blooper on a topic not covered in the last Gove thread, for example. At that stage, it is perfectly reasonable for Gove haters to write a new anti-Gove polemic, because they have something novel to say.

    Jonathan Pile’s anti-Clegg article was posted on June 24th and attracted a massive 366 comments, the last being mine on 2nd July:

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-why-changing-leader-now-will-save-the-party-in-2015-and-beyond-2-41098.html#comment-304416

    where I explained why it was now reasonable to move on to examine a different aspect of the leadership issue, specifically how it would impact the next election campaign. I had left a week since Pile’s article. I think that was reasonable.

    I’m pretty sure that mine was not the only submitted article which LDV has rejected on this topic since early July – they more or less admitted that their view was that the whole leadership topic had been done to death. Well, it hasn’t. It will run and run!

  • David

    I honestly didn’t mean to misconstrue your point. I genuinely misunderstood what you had written. I sincerely apologise and withdraw the remark and have now changed it to “strikethrough” font with a note that it is withdrawn by me.

    With great respect, I called your (admittedly misundertood) point ridiculous, not you. I am assuming you recognise the difference – it would be great if you could acknowledge it, please.

    The point is I am not aware of any recently rejected Anti-Clegg articles except for yours. Do you actually know of any? Could you name the author or authors please?

  • David Allen 3rd Aug '14 - 9:32pm

    Paul – OK, thanks for the apology – so in that case, I recognise that you just made a simple mistake, not a deliberate distortion.

    The email rejection of my article from one of the LDV editorial team, which I received on 1st July, stated:

    “As an editor, I did indeed read your submission carefully, along with several others on the subject of a change of leader in the last couple of weeks; yours is not the only one that we have rejected.”

    Well, within that time frame, Jonathan Pile’s submission was accepted and published on June 24th. Clearly from the above, at least one submission as well as mine was rejected. Probably (see the “several others” remark), several more than one such submission were rejected.

    I don’t know how many further submissions continued to flow in after July 1st.

    It seems pretty clear that LDV want the issue to go away, and are claiming that the absence of articles proves that it is going away, while quietly taking action to make sure that there are no articles!

  • David “I don’t know how many further submissions continued to flow in after July 1st.”

    None. I stand to be corrected, but I cannot remember any.

    And had you considered that the “several others” could well have included pro-Clegg articles?

  • Peter Watson 3rd Aug '14 - 11:36pm

    @David Allen
    I should probably make it clear that I wasn’t thinking about the content of your article in particular, just the irony that the excuse given to reject it would address one of my pet peeves about parallel threads if it were invoked more often.

    I think there have been many occasions, especially after election results and some significant announcements, when the rush to generate articles instead of responding within existing threads makes the resulting discussions less useful, more confusing, and more repetitive. Ironically, I think one of the reasons that many threads at the end of May seemed full of anti-Clegg posts is because there were too many related articles which invited the same responses. I think your points about events and timing are correct, and timing is probably more important. On LDV if a thread has been quiet for 36 hours, then I’d probably forgive a new article on the same topic.

  • David Allen 4th Aug '14 - 12:17am

    “And had you considered that the “several others” could well have included pro-Clegg articles?”

    Well, did they?

    Hey, if LDV had in fact rejected a bunch of pro-Clegg articles, you’d have said so, wouldn’t you? You know the facts, you would have used them if they had suited your case. Instead, you have used the “had you considered that the “several others” could well have included pro-Clegg articles?” line of argument.

    It’s pretty obvious, it seems to me, that you have looked at the facts: they didn’t suit you: so you decided to rely on misleading innuendo instead.

  • Richard Dean 4th Aug '14 - 4:06am

    I agree with David Allen. The explanation seems strange.

  • David

    You are barking up the wrong tree. Since your article was rejected, no anti Clegg articles have been submitted. I am sure of that and if you contest it then produce the name or names of the person or people who have had articles rejected, rather than making accusations based on total fiction. Given the extended nature of this particular debate here, it is telling that absolutely noone has chipped in to say that they have had an anti Clegg article rejected.

    I have no idea whether the “several others” included pro Clegg ones or not. But they could have done. It is as simple as that. If I wasn’t on holiday with only an iPad, which doesn’t search mail very well, I would have a better look. If you don’t trust me then you are either are going to have to live with it or I am very happy to discuss this offline or on the phone with you if you could be so kind as to drop an email to [email protected] But carrying on the debate here does not seem to be productive.

  • David Allen 4th Aug '14 - 12:12pm

    OK Paul, so you’re on holiday, and can conveniently claim inability to access the facts when it suits you.

    However you do remember with certainty that nobody has submitted an anti-Clegg article since July 1st. Impressively good memory. Assuming you haven’t just made that up, there could be several explanations, for example that the various motivated commentators (I can think of several besides myself) all had the same experience as I did, that is, submitted an article before July 1st and were told (as I was) that LDV were now rejecting such articles. So they didn’t write again, and nor did I.

    However you don’t know whether the “several other” articles about the leadership which we know were submitted in the two weeks before July 1st were anti-Clegg article, pro-Clegg or a mixture. Impressively poor memory. Actually, the pro-Clegg articles that do appear from time to time are generally written by staffers of some kind or other, have the feel of invited contributions, and I suspect are almost never rejected (other than, perhaps, when judged to make the case inadequately).

    Well, I genuinely don’t know what the “several other” articles were or who wrote them, because I don’t have access to everything other individuals might choose to submit to you. So I can only guess. My guess is that all or most of the rejected articles were anti-Clegg.

    You, or your colleagues, don’t have to guess. You can find out, if you refer the question to someone who is not on holiday. But hey, much better to plead holiday, claim to have better things to do, and get out of it that way!

  • Richard Dean 4th Aug '14 - 1:40pm

    I agree that Paul has much better things to do on holiday than read LDV!

  • David, I have made my colleagues aware of your request and had done so before your latest posting above. At my advanced age, it is not unusual to remember one thing clearly and one thing not so clearly. Like me, I’m sure you receive about a hundred emails a day. The prospect of going through thousands of emails is rather unappetising so let’s assume all the submissions the LDV team member referred to at that stage were all anti-Clegg. There still have not been any anti-Clegg posts rejected since yours. I take you back to your original comment:

    “Meanwhile, on the members’ only part of this site, appalled comments about Clegg’s leadership continue unabated. Only on the public site has a deafening silence been imposed for the last month. Now, why might that be?
    I am heartened. For many years I have campaigned on this site against the Clegg Coupists, and I have mostly been allowed to post. Now, LDV has clamped down.
    What that shows is that the loyalists are now genuinely scared of losing the debate. What that proves is that the Libdem Fightback is on its way to winning.”

    There has been no “imposed” “silence” (“deafening” or otherwise) for “the last month”. There have simply been no pro- or anti- Clegg articles submitted to LDV in the last month. There has been no ‘clamp down’ because there has been nothing to ‘clamp down’ on.

  • David

    I suppose you would say that the rejection of a few articles at the end of June cowed everyone into not submitting any anti-Clegg articles to LDV during July. Fair point. (The party of “herding cats”, who can start a bun fight without buns, are cowed into silence by a few article rejections. – Unlikely, but let’s go with it).

    So please explain why there have been no substantive updates on the LibDemFightback website during most of July please? http://libdemfightback.yolasite.com/?disable_mobile=true

    I notice one piece from July 4th. There is a link to a Telegraph piece on 24th July. But apart from that, it is all material that was put on the site in May and June. The latest item under “News” is from June 27th.

    I won’t be sarcastic and suggest that the rejection of a few articles by the LDV team also cowed the whole plucky LibDemFightback movement into silence for a month.

    But if the anti-Clegg brigade is brimming with new ideas, why haven’t they at least been posted on the LibDemFightBack website?

    If there are ingenious and novel anti-Clegg articles out there, and if the LDV team, for the sake of argument, has imposed a clampdown, why hasn’t all this pulsating energy, why haven’t all these new ideas and angles been aired on the LibDemFightback website at least?

    Could it be that after a month (June) of the LibDem family chucking crockery at each other, and after the neighbours also joining in with their crockery, that there is simply no crockery left to smash? And, perish the thought, that that could be the reason why the LDV team rejected a few articles and then the stream of artciles dried up for a month? Because there is simply nothing new to say?

    You use words like “imposed” and ‘clampdown’ by Clegg “loyalists”. But the LDV team is a cross section of party members. One of the two main co-editors, Stephen Tall, has repeatedly called for Clegg to stand down.

    Could it be, perish the thought, that this isn’t a conspiracy by loyalists and staffers to clamp down an imposed deafening silence, but it is simply an independent editorial team making judgments about what is interesting to read, after encouraging and hosting a very, very thorough and exhaustive debate on the leadership subject?

    Blimey, there’s a revolutionary thought!

  • David Allen 5th Aug '14 - 9:31am

    Paul,

    I don’t think the best defence of LDV is to make disparaging and inaccurate remarks about someone else’s website. I am not the administrator of LibDem Fightback but I know that some of the 16 different pages on that site, not all of which are dated, have been added quite recently.

    Libdem Fightback presents the case against Clegg. It isn’t a blog. We don’t say that our election manifesto is dead simply because we have written it and then left it unchanged for a while.

    A blog is different, and has the function of maintaining ongoing political debate. This often concentrates on a number of long-running controversies (Gaza, sexism, Clegg, football, Europe, or whatever), on which one might often feel that “there can’t be anything worth saying that hasn’t already been said”. And yet people do find plenty to say! If they didn’t, LDV would have to shut down for lack of interest!

    You admit that LDV has rejected a few articles on Clegg, then you use the argument that on Clegg (though not on sexism, Europe, football, etc), you can’t see anything left worth saying. Well, that’s your view.

    I’m sure that part of that view is, sincerely, that washing dirty linen harms the Party. However, many of us believe the opposite, that until we lance the boil, the Party will wither away. Lancing the boil often proves to be the right thing to have done, in hindsight. The Tories call it a U-turn, but in practice they do it often, and they are usually right (e.g. Parliamentary expenses scandal) to have done it. LDV has come down on one side of this argument, and that’s not healthy.

    That includes Stephen Tall, who – yes, is a demonstration that you’re not all a bunch of staff automatons, but – now shares the view that it is best to accept Clegg continuing in leadership, rather than carry on the debate. However, LDV don’t control the debate. They are simply part of the wider political debate in which Clegg continues to lead for the Lib Dems, and our ratings continue to slide….

  • David

    I think the point is that the boil has already been lanced.

    “That includes Stephen Tall, who – yes, is a demonstration that you’re not all a bunch of staff automatons”

    Perhaps you don’t actually know the backgrounds of LDV team. There is one staff member who is a very good blogger. The rest of us are proud independent LibDems. “Staff automatons”! Really David! You won’t be on any of our Christmas card lists with that sort of description! LOL!

    Best wishes
    Paul

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