I'm running out of popcorn, wonder how good the final deal will be? Anyway, for those worried that the Lib Dems might "sell out" or whatever, a brief guide to internal party democracy:
Liberal Conspiracy » Liberal Democrats: the clue is in the name

Not sure why so many reformers seem to think that the membership would let Clegg take his pieces of silver, he sure as hell knows he couldn't get away with it.

Note to any Tory inclined readers; your manifesto includes a desire to improve democracy, extend referenda on issues, etc. So what's wrong with the idea of asking the voters how they want to elect Parliament? If you think reform would be so bad, surely you can win the argument in a referendum? What are you scared of?

Anyway, normal service may or may not resume ar some point, but, y'know, most interesting part of an election is always the aftermath, and we might end up getting exactly what I joined the party to campaign for, so I'm talking about that.
Right, some links from today to amuse/enlighten/annoy/entertain.

First up, Lisa from up the road's been doing some digging on some extremist Christian lobbying groups, How to spot a fundamentalist Christian Lobby Group in your news. A guide. As a general rule, if there's a story in the press about oppressed Christians, these guys are likely to a) be involved and b) distorting or leaving out key facts. Always good to bear that in mind, I especially liked her finishing point:
THis is not about religious belief. This is concerted political lobbying, from groups interested in making it appear that christianity and bigotry are the same thing. They are not.
Next up, Andrew has a nice summary of the rationale of the main political parties, A Beginners’ Guide To The Election Part 2 – What The Parties Stand For. Now, he's as biased as I am, but it looks fairly accurate from my perspective, with a very nice summary of what the Lib Dems are about:
We believe in freedom – that the government should not interfere in you doing what you want with your life. We realise, though, that you can’t be free without enough food to eat or somewhere to live or medicine if you’re sick, so we think the government should do what it can to make sure everybody has those things
Now, if that interests you, you might be interested in getting more involved, and many of you (being the sort of smart, liberal minded person that reads my witterings) may even look at a bunch of MPs and say I could do better than that. I know I do, sometimes, especially when I see a toothless Labour apparatchik backing up the Govt line despite palpably not understanding it. If so, then The Honourable Lady Mark has a guide about How to become a Liberal Democrat MP, which is pretty accurate. He ought to know, he helped write the rules on it. And of course, if the opinion polls stay roughtly where they are or the LDs gain more, at the next GE the number of LD seats considered "winnable" looking for a decent candidate will be a lot bigger.

Now, a little legal seriousness. This is the first really online election, with broaband access as the norm. Some people, indeed many people, have voted by post already, and next week most of you will go off and vote. Publishing, including tweeting, knowledge of how other people have voted is very illegal. It's an attempt to influence the results, see; exit polls can't be published until polls close, what you saw at the opening of the postal ballots can't be published, etc. If a friend says I filled in my postal vote and voted for X, you can't mention this online. You most certainly can't tweet the number of ballots you saw for your party while at the opening of postal votes, and this is especially true if you're a former Labour MP seeking re-election who happens to be a lawyer. That would be really stupid and could get you into serious bother. And yes, many of us have got screenshots.

Now, two funnier, but still election related, points to finish off of. First of all, LOLCleggz: I Can Has Lib-Dems | Popbitch Speaks for itself really. Not all positive or supportive, not all funny, but, y'know, some are.

Last up? No idea who did this, but it is very weird to see them all scrolling past, YouTube - Some of the people the Tory Party think should be running our country...:

My local Tory candidate is about a minute in, and looks positively sane and normal compared to some of them. Which, y'know, is an acheivement in and of itself. They were all taken at Tory party conference in 2008, and I agree with Ian Whitehead, this really does look like a bad day for William Hague. Wonder how many pints of mild he needed to calm down after smiling at that lot?

Ooh, sorry, low blow...
The Sun Online - News: Cameron's call-up for teenagers:
Bookish swots will be shown there is more to life than just exams.
Best reaction I've seen? The political editor of the Daily Mail:
My reaction on reading this was to bristle. Surely this was just my chum George Pascoe-Watson applying his talent for distilling complicated ideas; Mr Cameron must have something far more subtle in mind. But no, there it is, on page 16 of the policy document: Those who are overly academic will discover there is more to life. And it all came flooding back: being forced to run behind the sports master on his motorcycle; endless games of ghastly football; painful attempts to learn rugby. Around the country there are bookish types who are quite happy to read and swot and think, and who will now I suspect quite like to biff Mr Cameron on the nose (if they knew how).
It comes to something when I agree with the guy who writes the Daily Mail's political coverage.

Caveat: I knew there was more to life all the way through my teenage years--I was a member of the Scouts. Was crap at pretty much everything that didn't involve boats, but I'm also pretty sure it was good for me.

Thing is, what Cameron's bloody 'national service' proposal is going for is a short course one summer that's (initially) strictly voluntary. Don't know about you, but the summer after I finished my GCSEs I got myself a summer job and earnt money. I suspect his target audience (ie, the 'young yobs' are even less likely to want to sign up for this thing.

I wish Cameron would figure out what he wants his party to be, this is the weirdest attempt to grab the middle ground (whicever middle ground he's thinking of) that I've seen. Attacking those of us that like studying for being 'overly academic'? Nice...
Chris Dillow responds to the question:
Iain Dale is inviting people to complete the sentence, "you know you're a Conservative when..."
OK. Here goes:
7 typical unthinking Tory positions )
The comments to both posts are comedy brilliance as well. Plus more than half at Iain's made me want to say "no doofus, that makes you a liberal" (note the lack of capitalisation there is deliberate, not all liberals are Liberals, and unfortunately a chunk of Liberals aren't liberal—there are also liberals within all the main British parties).

NB: Caveats about conservatism )

Hmm, I know, let's turn this into a little meme. Duncan informed me earlier that Facebook now has a Political Compass application[1]. My liking of the Compass as a good way of broadly assisting you place yourself and opinions remains strong, and the app is fairly good, so...

Either install the Facebook App [2]or complete the test on the main website, and post your results either in a post or in a comment here. It's been ages since we did this, lots of new friends and people may have clarified their opinions if they've done it before.

I'm now at:

Economic Left/Right: -2.50

Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.69

Political Compass graph )
Which means I've moved (again) further down (I used to be at -5) and also closer to the center (I was at -5 there as well). So that's 4 times I've taken it (third on here), and each time I've moved further down and further to the middle. I remain convinced that it's because they're classifiying support for markets on the left/right spectrum when as they're strongly an aspect of econic activity, they should be on the up/down axis.

Alternatively, of course, we could try to answer Iain's questions: You know you're a conservative when.

Anyone else looking forward to there being an actual Tory policy on something? I dunno, thinking of running an anti Govt tactical voting campaign isn't made easier when it involves you persuading people to vote for Mr Cameron's Flip Flops...

Footnotes... )
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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