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19 September 2008updated 05 Oct 2023 8:16am

Hacking Sarah Palin

Not often getting many thrills, the Lib Dems were keen to have tuppence worth on the conference scra

By Paul Evans

The Bournemouth Identity

Bloggers rarely get the recognition they deserve – so it’s a good thing that the Liberal Democrats take time out to honour their keyboard warriors at conference. This year’s Lib Dem Blog Awards was a rout for Alix Mortimer’s intelligent and playful People’s Republic of Mortimer.

Mortimer’s blog attracts a keen following because she approaches issues with humour, honesty and genuine insight – but without the frothing rage that characterises much of the political blogosphere. As Mary Reid noted, this year saw a healthy improvement in gender balance:

“It was only a year ago that I was asking where all the female Lib Dem bloggers were – and here we are, with four of the five awards to Lib Dems given this year to women,” said Reid.

Blogging delegates issued daily dispatches from Bournemouth reporting on developments at conference. But while Nick Clegg met with blog award nominees, there was no invite for James Graham, who instead tapped out a measured, if rather pompous note of advice to the leader. He wrote:

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“There is a case to be made for cutting unnecessary government spending and passing on some of those savings in the form of tax cuts; I agree with the basic thrust of what you are saying. But this emphasis on words like ‘vast’ and ‘big’ seem to be mistaken…”

He went on to explain why.

Clegg’s first major trial at conference was the ‘Make It Happen’ debate – in which he sought the party’s endorsement for his new policy platform. Love and Liberty provided impressively comprehensive coverage of the proceedings. He found some of the speakers for an amendment to the leadership’s tax cutting proposals grating:

“It didn’t seem to occur to several of the speakers on the amendment’s side that the evil right-wing tax cuts and the blissful panacea of new spending were each to be funded by the same cuts from what Labour’s doing now when they argued that moving the money to one place would wreck public services, but moving it to the other would be the promised land.”

Not often getting many thrills, the Lib Dems were keen to have tuppence worth on the conference scrap. Activist Steph Ashley claimed to be a pacifist, but was understanding of MP Adrian Sanders’ decision to whack a fellow delegate, explaining:

“…it might help to know, if you didn’t already, that Mark Littlewood is considered by most people in the party who mention him to be a swivel-eyed lunatic who is hell-bent on the destruction of the Liberal Democrats”.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Littlewood has swivel eyes, and I think thumping people nearly always wrong.

What have we learned this week?

The economy is in nosedive, unemployment is creeping up to decade highs and Peter Andre is recording a new album. Oh dear.

Stumbling and Mumbling had a trio of observations on the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Point two noted the relatively minor ripple the event caused in the FTSE 100, concluding that:

“The reason for the market’s muted reaction is that traders believe the probability of a catastrophe – thanks to state intervention – hasn’t increased much.”

It’s reassuring that the FHFA’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac inspires confidence in the people that matter.

Across the Pond

Sarah Palin’s Yahoo account has been hacked. It was full of boring photos. There was a bi-partisan consensus of revulsion at this invasion of privacy, and Geek Girl was annoyed by the rucus:

“It was a personal account. I couldn’t care less about it. I don’t really care who she emails on her own time.”

However, there was more tempered sympathy from Janet Shan, who cautioned:

“…the governor or any elected official for that matter, should know better than to conduct state business using an unsecured email account and a personal e-mail account at that.”

Video of the Week

Watch Lembit Opik at last year’s Lib Dem Glee Club. Sadly, he received a more mixed reception this year.

Quote of the Week

“I think the “Labour is finished” and “I can tell you where we’re headed. Government” were a mistake. The Labour government may well be finished, but I think we have had enough talk of replacing parties for a while. And the latter quotation has unwelcome echoes of David Steel.”

Liberal England on Nick Clegg’s closing speech.

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