'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Is the answer to Olly Grender's question, 'Lib Dems are not hateful enough?'

In her blog on the New Stateman a few weeks back, Olly Grender posed the question 'Where are all the Lib Dem journalists?' Her conclusion was (and I am paraphrasing here, apologies Olly) that because it seemed unlikely that we would have a hand in government, editors had not bothered to cultivate relationships with Lib Dem orientated journalists; and furthermore journalists who supported the party were disinclined to position themselves as flag waving Liberals in case managing editors saw them as 'irrelevant'.

When I read the article I thought that was probably right. But 2 recent events have made me think there's probably another reason.

Firstly, Matthew Barratt at Conservative Home wrote this article entitled 'the hateful left' citing what he saw as the tendancy of the majority of left leaning journalists to write hate filled polemics against anything and anyone right of centre.

Not to be outdone, Liberal Conspiracy retaliated with (guess what) : an article entitled 'The Hateful Right', with bountiful examples of similarly distasteful diatribes from some of the right wing commentariat.

My first thought (and my second) was 'a plague on both your houses'.

And then I began to wonder if this was why there were so few Liberal columnists. For we are different from the Left and Right, not just because we occupy the centre ground and not just becasue of our philosophy. We also act differently.

We revel and welcome adult debate. Could the Labour or Conservative Party have organised an event like last weekend's Social Liberal Forum conference without it descending into finger pointing, rows and accusations of betrayal? Yet we can hold a serious minded conference,have civilised debate, even agree to differ on some issues and still stand toe to toe defending our common ground.

This is admirable. And I don't want to change it.

But reasoned adult debate doesn't sell newspapers. And I suspect that's why we don't have many Lib Dem columnists. Too much reason. Not enough hate.

Personally, I think that's a price worth paying.


After writing this post I found a great piece on the ever excellent blog of Mark Valladares and it struck me that the fact can we debate this issues so openly, freely and without (much) bile is a testament to the maturity of the party.

No comments:

Post a Comment