In response

I have been, as many readers of other blogs and this will know, the subject of some abuse in the last few days from one of the glitterati of the Lib Dems. I have had e-mails asking me to respond to the accusations made against me, indeed someone asked why I allowed some abusive, possibly even libellous comments to be sent my own blog.

Perhaps I should explain.

Some people have something of a name in the Lib Dems. They will be a regular speaker at conference, a former name in LDYS or whatever it was called back then, indeed, pick up any few copies of Lib Dem news, and you are bound to find certain names in there over and over again. The problem is, nobody is ever sure quite what they have achieved.

Yes, they have been elected in numerous internal party elections, and why not, they are famous within the Lib Dems for being, er, well, always at conference, a former bigwig in LDYS, indeed every few weeks they seem to be in Liberal Democrat News, but the problem is, what do they do.

"He sits on the FPC", they tell me. "He used to be on the English Party Committee", someone adds, "He's a former member of several internal party committees", I hear you say. Yes, but what has he actually achieved ?

Of course he might have come third a few times at the general election ? No problem in that, particularly if he saw the Lib Dem vote go up sharply ... possibly ... no. Apparently not. Indeed, it is often the case that the people famous in their own backyard, famed for their ability to speak at conference, be important in LDYS indeed, they may even get their name in Lib Dem news very often suddenly find in the real world, the world of real electors more concerned with real issues, not sitting on internal party committees suddenly ask the question "but what have you actually done ?"

So if I am slagged of by people who as far as I can see are famed for their fame in the Lib Dems and not because they have actually genuinely achieved something, then I cannot be that concerned by their criticism.

If they had been involved in a local party, helping turn them around as part of a small team which over the course of ten years saw that constituency turn from also rans to a safe Lib Dem seat, if they have agented dozens of Lib Dem council gains, never ever losing a campaign, if they had perhaps got themselves elected by the electorate at large, then I would be more concerned about their criticism. But as they are more likely to be seen at conference, on internal party committees, perhaps have their name in Lib Dem news every few weeks, I will leave them to their abuse and petty nastiness.

If this is how you get famous in the Lib Dems, then the party has some serious problems.


jailhouselawyer said...

In other words, big fish in a small pond.

Alex Wilcock said...

Oh dear; just after I’d posted something conciliatory on my blog, and just after you’d admitted the truth on yours (without being big enough to apologise)… Sigh.

I honestly don’t understand why you think it’s brave to post attacks on people without naming them, nor to just cover up your tracks when you make up ludicrous fantasies and attack people (again not naming them). I went over the top, and I’m sorry. But at least I stuck to what you’d actually said rather than ad hominem attacks (odd to make them without naming the hom). I don’t know you; I’ve never met you; but you seem to have a bag of Maris Pipers on your shoulder about me for reasons I can’t fathom. You’ve never met me; you have no idea what you like; as usual, your fantasy attacks are probably easier for you than looking up boring old facts.

You started all this because you got entirely the wrong end of the stick about the bloggers’ interviews and were absurdly negative and offensive as a result. I won’t even try to guess what your problem is, but rather than play into your ego-measuring ‘what have you achieved?’ contest, how about just us all putting our claws away and just trying to make the bloggers’ interviews even more open and even more interesting, which was the object of your ire in the first place? Then you could answer people who ask you ‘what have you achieved?’ in a few months ‘Well, I made Lib Dem blogging more open and accessible by volunteering to organise the regional interviews instead of whingeing about them’.

Or would you rather carry on doing nothing but mudslinging? Because while I struck out when you mounted an unprovoked and unpleasant attack on my other half, I’m really not excited by writing a post about me. Make up what you like; see how grown up you look.

Joe Otten said...


I surmise that you've had a disagreement of some sort with somebody on a party committee of some sort who used to be in LDYS.

Fine. Except I don't care what it is about or who is in the wrong.

But what I do think is ungracious and counterproductive is this belittlement of the hundreds of people who give their time to the party. They may not get a fraction of the credit and prestige of elected politicians from the general public, but they will get it from me.

To say I'm not listening to you you're only an apparatchik, or only a blogger, or only a teacher, you've achieved nothing - is offensive.

Anonymous said...

Nich this is by far the closest thing to truth ever posted on Lib Dem Blogs - at times it is like an @old boys club'. We'll be getting our own tie next. Well said!

Norfolk Blogger said...


I have no problem with activists, people who get things done, people who don't seek the fame but work jolly hard in the background. I do resent the co-ordianted and planned attacks by "party names".

Alex Wilcock said...


No co-ordination; no plan; just a very large number of people who, unlike you, knew what the facts were (as any reader of Lib Dem Voice could) and wanted to correct your malicious fantasies when you attacked one of the very activists who gets things done without seeking fame and works jolly hard in the background, an attack which even you have now admitted in your own comments was entirely baseless! If your readers would like both sides rather than your fantasies, they can read what I had to say and what you had to say, in full, right here. Or are you too afraid that if they can see the truth your readers might find your claims a bit iffy?

Of course, there’d probably have been fewer people posting if you hadn’t locked all dissent into your censorship bunker for a full day, so no-one knew anyone else had posted (though a couple dropped me a line to say they had). But the only person conspiring to achieve that was… You.

For God’s sake, stop making up another conspiracy theory daily.

Please, please, why not just put it away and do something positive? I’ve asked you to take part again and again rather than you just sitting with your fingers in your ears pretending the world is against you. What else is there to do?

Anonymous said...

A number of people slag Nick off, Nick responds that he is not interested in the comments of someone who is famous for being famous in the Lib/Dems and has achieved nothing then Alex answers with "That's me that is".

Nice to know he recognises the description.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I am still waiting to know which comments have been censored as Alex repeats the lie (does that make him a liar ?) that I have censored comments to this blog. If he has evidence of this then will he present them. If not, will he retract them ?

Norfolk Blogger said...

For "censorship bunker" use the words "at work, doing my job". Sorry I cannot sit at a desk blogging all day. I have a life.

Alex Wilcock said...

(Sigh) again

I suspect you know what I mean, since you’ve obviously read my blog – though you didn’t have the courtesy to link to it, when I both linked to you and quoted you in full – on which I make it very clear.

No-one can post a comment on your blog without your say-so; you hold them back as long as you choose. Whether you publish in the end or not, that’s you acting as a censor.

You’ve made a very large number of untrue comments in the last few days, for which you’ve not apologised. Now you accuse me of lying to cover yourself: I’m happy to clear up that I have never accused you of stopping any particular comment appearing. I did, however, wonder if you were keeping comments back so as to make criticism invisible until you thought no-one was reading, and criticise you for making comments look peculiar by completely re-editing your post. You’ve not denied the first, and the second is a self-evident fact.

And the fact that I posted a comment before your ‘accusation’ but you’ve still not allowed it through rather proves my point about your keeping comments back, doesn’t it?

Alex Wilcock said...

Ah, you’ve posted another post while keeping mine back in your censorship bunker, while you’re at home and evidently at the keyboard. Again you wilfully miss my point: I don’t argue that you should be online every minute to screen comments. Minute-by-minute censorship is still censorship. My point is that you feel the need to have control over other people’s words at all.

However, as I have a life too, though I’ve done you the courtesy of answering your direct question to me and you’ve ignored every one of mine, I don’t intend any more of this evening seeing what wackiness you invent next.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry I cannot sit at a desk blogging all day."

Yes, get on with the teaching...can't afford to have another school in special measures!

Norfolk Blogger said...

I've not read your blog, therefore I have not linked to it. I replied with reference to comments you made to this blog (keep up).

I note other Lib Dems have comment moderation turned on. Are they all censors or are some of them friends so they are exempt ?

rob knight said...

This argument is succeeding in making everyone who participates in it look worse. Nobody is going to be swayed by point-scoring if, indeed, anyone is really paying attention at all.

Accusing each other of lying (or making that implication through the use of overblown rhetoric) isn't going to 'win' the argument. Nich, you had a perfect opportunity to make up with Alex, turning this from an issue about personalities to an issue about how we can all work together better. And Alex, I'm afraid that you're at risk of undermining your genuinely reasonable position by arguing on personal grounds. Both of you can do better than this.

Alex said...

Nich this really is over the top and in danger of making you look like the fool.

You claim that Alex has never achieved anything in the party. I think you are judging him by a single set of standards - that of demanding that success equals electd public office. I don't believe that this is the only form of achievement and happen to think that Alex has achieved a great deal in terms of his own personal ambitions. I'm afraid I don't know you but understand that you are a former councillor. I'm guessing, and am happy to apologise if wrong, that your ideals tend more towards the succesful elected public official model. Both versions can be admirable so long as they both accept their own limitations and understand that others might just view things differently.

I have no idea why you want to slag off another member of the party so personally or to make claims about a so-called glitterati. On the latter, there might be a serious debate to be held (but I personally think you are wrong). On the former, I think you just look like a fool.

James Schneider said...

Can you guys stop fighting. It was moderately amusing for a while; now its just dull. Argue about policy, history, the future of the party, direction, economics, philosophy, football etc etc. Not petty squables, regardless of who is right or wrong (and we all have our opinions, it has ceased to matter and just because boring for us and wet dream for Iain Dale.

Stephen Glenn said...

Personally I think to sigh in type at ever retort is hardly the sign of mature debate Alex. Not only does it show contempt and sarcasm in the world of online communication it is derogatory and disparaging to the person the sigh is directed at.

Clearly something that Nich has posted has struck a chord for you to continue to quote yourself keep up theis drama queen strop for so long.

The party, it organisations, Federal Committees etc, is very much Southern Centric all too often. Nich did raise some valid points however the way he went about them may have be heavy handed and aimed at slightly the wrong direction. Something that holding the Autumn Conference in Harrogate only seems to be the crumbs of acknowledgement that the party exists to the tip of the Shetlands.

Getting from Edinburgh to Harrogate costs as much as London to Harrogate, and that doesn't even take in our annual jaunts to the South Coast now that Blackpool is off the rotation. Many Scottish colleagues cannot sacrifice the time and effort of even contemplating a federal committee position unless they spend considerable time already in London.

So yes I tend to agree that there are issues. Maybe we have all be hiding our head in the sand for too long. Maybe Nich has raised something of a hot potato which to some is a nusance requiring swift burial but to others is a matter that needs exposure.

Time to put the keetle on methinks and lets talk about it over a good cuppa and some biccies chaps.

Anonymous said...

Nick makes a point, Alex throws a hissy fit "don't attack my partner you bully", and in the melee Nicks point gets lost as a load of southerners who all know Alex jump in to defend poor old Alex.

simon said...

As a Tory, i LOVE watching Libbies have WW3 over the internet! Perhaps we should have a 'Norfolk Blogger vs Alex Handbags match' at Wrestlemania 24?! It should be funnier than any match featuring The Great Khali!

Stephen Glenn said...

Simon the Tory, I can guarantee we'll have got over this well before the cracks under the Tory wallpaper of ideas heal over the rifts therein.

simon said...

Stephen- you're an optimist! And slightly deluded! The Libbies now resemble loony Labour during the early 80's i'm sure you'll feel right at home.