Separating powers

21 February 2006

Right, after my previous post (and others’), a much-needed clarification on the Anyone But Labour thing:

That brings me to the one big misconception that is emerging, in relation to the ‘Anyone But Labour’ tactical voting campaign. This is NOT the first stage of Liberty Central, it is a parallel development that has emerged out of the same ‘mood’ of opposition to the present govenment’s authoritarian legislative programme that also gives impetus to the Liberty Central project. Some of those who are working on this project are working on that campaign, some aren’t – its not an ‘official sanctioned’ offshoot of Liberty Central mainly because we’re not in business of officially sanctioning anything or sanctioning/constraining anyone in their actions.

Good – in the flurry of blog posts we (including, I’m sure, the main instigators) were all getting a bit confused, and this clarity is a good thing. Sensibly, at the same time MatGB‘s toned down the strapline of his blog (it no longer targets New Labour specifically), and “Anyone But Labour” (which always smacked of the “Anyone But United” mentality in football from a few years ago, and of the “Anyone But Chelsea” one which will kick off in a few months) has been abandoned in favour of a more anodyne (and possibly misleading) working title of “Tactical Voting Campaign”. As I think tactical voting is rubbish, I probably won’t be joining them. In fact, I can see a point where the two campaigns might clash, if LibertyCentral takes a pro-PR stance while TVC doesn’t mind hacking the current system to make it work.

At the moment a lot of ideas are swirling around the blogosphere, some well-matched and others quite oppositional. Many people who are pro-LibertyCentral are also feverishly anti-Labour, while many others (myself included) think Labour is a broad church and that to make it party-focused risk alienating not just MPs and councillors, but ordinary party members and grass-root activists who would otherwise be sympathetic. Some sort of separation is needed, not just in their scope, but of technological and methodological approaches. TVC, with its emphasis on personal rhetoric and direct opposition, is heading to be first a post-oriented group blog or aggregation service (with perhaps, later on, psephological tools to help co-ordinate tactical voting); while LibertyCentral’s philosophy of consensual discourse and the slow building of a campaign implies discussion forums, wikis and perhaps a MeFi or Slashdot-style comment-oriented group blog. Maybe. It would certainly help, I think, in having each project’s goals properly embedded in their technological setup from the start, rather than just drift towards two indistinguishable blog sites that end up mimicking each other’s content and style.

2 Responses

>>> It would certainly help, I think, in having each project?s goals properly embedded in their technological setup from the start.

That’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Liberty Central will be a Joomla powered site with its own Wiki and an integrated WordPress 2 blog configured for group blogging – discussion forums may come a little later but for now I’ve got 15-20Gb of bandwidth to get started with so need to go a little easy at the start.

I am looking around for the better hosting package, with far more bandwidth but for now I can provide the wherewithal to get started within the package I’ve got.

The TVC is quite simply a placeholder until the people running it are sorted on what they’re doing; I’m much more interested in Liberty Central myself; I’m a constitution wonk at heart, and it really appeals to be working on something that might get somewhere.

I’ll comment on your tactical voting post in a bit, but essentially (and no idea about your background in this stuff so assume knowledge), Duverger and other theorists, especially rational choice theory, pretty much prove that, in FPTP, third party squeeze exists in every district, a tactical campaign simply drives it faster. Of course, it’s not always easy to call, and sometimes weird things happen (I think of the Cornish seat where the LibDems went from 3rd to 1st, etc).

Liberty Central will discuss (and hopefully approve, electoral reform. But to get it, you’d need first to get a govt in favour of change. That almost certainly means a change using the current system. No conflict there, ideally a change, reality requires a fight based on current rules.

Two things will probably conflict at times, but Liberty Central will conflict with itself a lot. I hope so, groupthink is deathly dull.