Tag Archives: jo christie-smith

Why blog?

Welcome to the final part of our “Introduction to blogging” guide for Liberal Democrat bloggers or would-be bloggers. It’s been appearing each Saturday in the run-up to Christmas, with all the posts available via this page. The series will then be revised and collated into an e-book, so please do post up your comments as the series progresses. Today we’re finishing where we started, with reasons to blog. Alix Mortimer is at the keyboard…

Why blog?

The whys and wherefores of political blogging generate a lot of heat. Amble around the internet a little, and you’ll find denunciations of blogging as a …

Posted in Blogging guide | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

The five blogs nicest to the Lib Dems in 2008

Based on the amount of traffic they’ve passed on to www.libdems.org.uk during 2008, the top five blogs were (with changes in brackets from last year’s top five):

  1. Liberal Democrat Voice (no change)
  2. Iain Dale (no change)
  3. Lynne Featherstone (+1)
  4. Liberal England (+1)
  5. Jo Christie-Smith (NEW)

Iain will, I’m sure, be flattered as ever to know he is so nice to the Liberal Democrats 🙂

(For the list of the top five local sites, see yesterday’s post.)

No great surprise that Ming Campbell’s site dropped out of the top five after he stepped down from being leader. Nick Clegg’s new national site, …

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

Conference: fast-track Britain

I have two confessions to make.

(1) I am a dabbling transport nerd (favourite London bus route: the 91/N91, and did you know that when the Piccadilly Line was extended in the thirties a public board was put up on the site of the now-Arnos Grove station inviting the public to make suggestions for the name – wouldn’t get that in top-down 21st-century Britain)

(2) Despite (1) I didn’t actually manage to watch the debate with anything like the attention it deserved as I was busily engaged in mainlining Day Nurse.

This is a shame,

Posted in Conference | 6 Comments

Conference: the Bones report

It’s Bones time, and this is one agenda item in which activists will be taking a great deal more interest in than the press. And so, with only a brief pause to offer special congratulations to the gentleman sitting near microphone A during the session for his magnificent white beard, to business.

Posted in Conference | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Who’s Who: starting gun fired

Jo Christie-Smith let us know earlier today on her blog that the Who’s Who in the Lib Dems Online website is now open for business.

Find out more and register to write your own entry, all by following the link from here.

I’m sure, the nation over, campaigners are putting down their sodden FOCUS bundles and chewing the ends of their metaphorical pencils as they carefully compose their entries.  This year, the website allows you edit and re-edit your entry until you have it just right – so long as its complete before the cut-off point of New Year’s Eve, when …

Posted in News | 11 Comments

The report you’ve all been waiting for…

Jo Christie-Smith wins a cookie for being the only blogger to spot my half-reference this morning to the executive summary of the Bones Commission report, now on general release as part of the conference material. It’s here and some choice quotes follow.

On “achieving coherence, alignment and focussed resources”:

In the vast majority of voluntary organisations in the UK there is an established difference in role between the top governance body, the volunteer organisation and the professionals they employ. Our constitution reflects this as a principle but in its separation of powers it effectively

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 25 Comments

Bloggers’ summer reading (Part II)

Imagine you were going on holiday this summer: which two books would you take with you? One should be a political book – whether you want to re-read it, or try something new you’ve been recommended. The other should be your own choice of summer reading – the book you’re most looking forward to reading (again, could be something new or something old). That was the question I put to some of the Lib Dems’ leading bloggers. And here’s what they said:

(Click here for Part I).

Jonathan Calder – Liberal England

The Killing of the Countryside
Harvey shows

Posted in Books | Also tagged , , and | 6 Comments

An audience with Nick Clegg

“Good evening Mr Haw!” I said cheerily as I wandered past the assorted tents and placards still disfiguring the east side of Parliament Square; but the legendary peace campaigner studiously ignored my outstretched hand. I thought this just a touch rude, but reasoned afterwards that he must have taken me for a member of the ruling classes. An easy mistake to make – I was, after all, most finely tailored from head to toe for the latest in a series of blogger interviews, most kindly organised by the Millennium Elephant, this time with the leader of the Liberal Democrats himself, Nick Clegg! Here’s all I remember of the evening:

Jo Christie-Smith asked Nick about our much-heralded “narrative” and, on a related theme, Helen Duffett questioned Nick regarding our media profile, or rather lack of it. To reinforce the point, Helen produced a pair of “media goggles” with a red lens on one side, and blue on the other – the point being that the media tend to view politics in terms of a straight divide between Labour and Conservative, thus marginalising the Liberal Democrats. Nick acknowledged the problem and assured us that we have people on the case in Cowley Street, but I was heartened to learn that he is not obsessing over the media. Nick says he doesn’t even read the newspapers every day, and tends to think that their influence is on the wane.

Somewhere along the line, Nick and I got into a mild disagreement over David Cameron. I quite like Cameron, seeing the deeply reactionary forces on his backbenches as being more of the problem as far as the Conservatives are concerned. But Nick is not remotely impressed with Cameron, whom he regards as superficial and deeply conservative, notwithstanding some obvious movement towards a place of sanity which has taken place under his watch. I will naturally bow to Nick’s better judgement, but a brief survey of some voting figures from last week serve to highlight the point I was trying to make:

The evening before we saw Nick, David Howarth and Evan Harris were busy seeing off the oppressive, defunct, and frankly embarrassing crime of “blasphemy” in the House of Commons. The division was never in doubt; nevertheless 57 MPs voted in a desperate attempt to retain blasphemy legislation in the 21st century – virtually all of them Conservatives. So while both Cameron and Clegg were among the Ayes that evening, it would appear that at least a quarter of the Conservative parliamentary party are completely mad! In short, there is a rich seam to be mined here, if only Liberal Democrats could be persuaded to openly embrace a more radical secular agenda. But I digress!

Paul Walter wanted to know whether, what with Labour steadily losing confidence by the hour, there might be any scope for applying pressure on electoral reform for Westminster. Nick was adamant that he has no intention of flirting with Labour on this, or indeed any other issue. But Jo wanted to know why we are so bad at fighting PR elections (echoing a point made recently by Jonathan Calder). The sad truth is that proportional representation in Scotland, Wales, or London has not thus far led to a dramatic change in Liberal Democrats fortunes. The reasons may be various, but some aspects of the recent mayoral elections might give us pause for thought:

For example, Helen may want to get away from the red and blue “media goggles,” but how are we to prevent the media from asking the obvious (and entirely legitimate) question as to where one is intending to cast one’s second preference vote? Brian Paddick resisted this up to a point, but was unable to avoid letting out a few hints along the way, before eventually “declaring” for the Left List after the close of poll (the less said about that the better).

Posted in Blogger Interviews | Also tagged , and | 90 Comments

Are you someone?

Who’s Who in the Liberal Democrats is in the process of being reissued.  You can read all about the project on Jo Christie-Smith’s blog, see the new website (placeholder firmly in place for the minute) and even… join the Facebook group.

As Jo says,

We’re looking to increase the number of entries from Liberal Democrats like never before; you may think you’re a small cog in the big Lib Dem wheel but you’re really interesting to us and to our Who’s Who Readers. So, please sign up to be included. We want everybody, councillors, MPs, local party officers, bloggers,

Posted in News | Leave a comment

London Lib Dem conference

Next Tuesday London Liberal Democrats hold our conference– and this year, as well as keynote speeches from Nick Clegg and Brian Paddick, we will be making time for some new sessions too.

Firstly, there’ll be a Campaign Briefing, led by Chris Rennard, who will update members and activists about the campaign we are now running across the capital, in the run-up to the Mayor and GLA elections on 1 May.

And secondly we will also have time for a discussion of three of the really big issues facing the future of London:

Posted in Conference | Also tagged | Leave a comment

Campaign for Gender Balance Awards: best blog post?

The nominations deadline for the Campaign for Gender Blog Awards is 1 February, so you still have time to nominate your facvourites.

We’re particularly keen to hear your suggestions for the best blog post. Of the three categories, this is the one we have had the fewest nominations for, and while it is a less eclectic list than the best non-Lib Dem blog category it is still a very open contest. Nominations received so far are listed below.

Once again, the three most popular blog posts in terms of received nominations are guaranteed on the shortlist, with each member of the judges panel (myself, Ros Taylor, Ros Harper, Baroness Jane Bonham-Carter, Olly Grender and James Graham), allowed to add another entry of their own choice if they wish. So even if your favourite blog has already been nominated, nominating it yourself will still improve its chances of getting onto the shortlist.

We have received nominations for the following:

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged | 9 Comments

GLA candidates websites reviewed and rated

GLA site

Soon, members across London will select their candidates to run for election to the Greater London Assembly. Most of the selection campaign e-mails from candidates have included a link to a standalone selection website, which has been approved in advance for publication by the Returning Officer.

As a London-based member who will have a vote, but hasn’t yet decided whether to exercise it, let alone whom to excercise it for, I decided to put the candidate’s websites head to head. At the end of the post, in the interests of fairness, a full list of candidates appears. If I’ve missed off a candidate’s website, please let me know.

What criteria did you use to assess the sites?

Candidates scored big points for:

  • Having a manifesto that was easy to find and digest
  • A website that was well structured and easy to navigate
  • Meeting disabled accessibility and good coding standards (don’t worry if you don’t understand these tests in the review – failed is bad, passed is good).

Bonus points were received for e-campaigning wizardry such as blogs, online video etc. It’s important to note that candidates did not score points for having a website that was bigger than their rivals. In my estimation quality is more important than quantity – the goal of these sites is to win votes, not rival War & Peace.

The majority of sites were reviewed on 17 April. Ajmal Masroor and James Allie were reviewed on 21 April. By this point the selection campaign was well underway, and in my judgement, the sites should have been fully ready to be public. The sites are listed in descending order, the joint ‘winners’ first. Where two sites have a joint score, or no score, the sites are listed in alphabetical order by candidate surname.

Note: this review is a review of the candidate’s ability to put a website together. It’s up to you to decide how important that skill is when you come to cast your vote, so I wouldn’t obsess too much about ‘your candidate’ coming top or bottom of this review.

I’m a candidate, or I built a candidate’s website, and I think you’ve been unfair, what can I do?

I suggest you leave a comment underneath the post, and I’ll reply there too – so if your site is marked up or down for any reason, the rationale for doing so is immediately made public.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 38 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Nonconformistradical
    How much of a democracy do we have left, bearing in mind https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/mar/03/ministers-consider-ban-mps-engaging-pro-palestine-clima...
  • Steve Trevethan
    And lo, here is an attachment with a full and feasible list of tax efficiency savings which would do wonders for our mutilated infrastructures! .org.uk/Blog/...
  • Andy Hyde
    The Tory claim of descent into mob violence rings very hollow. Where were they in 2019 when my then Conservative MP faced death threats (including at a party me...
  • Steve Trevethan
    Vote for DEMOCRACY! Vote Liberal Democrat! Vote for TOLERANCE! Votre Liberal Democrat! ? Might we also add reform of o...
  • John Waller
    On 3 March 2022 AOL said Zelensky called for direct negotiations with Putin. On 11 March 2022 Pope Francis offered to Putin to mediate. Putin said “not no...