As promised:
(I once moderated, along with treborc, the forums made available for discussion about Public Whip, which was primarily about putting House of Commons data on votes and the like into a form palatable to the public. When the founders, Francis Irving and Julian Todd, finding their hands full with other projects, handed control of it to Katy Bairstow and Richard Chiswell, the latter pair were effusive about how they would ‘improve’ PW, and immediately closed down the forum, citing security concerns over ‘leaky’ emails. Since then, they appear to have sat on their backsides, again, citing the fact that no-one appears to wish to pay them to work on the site improvements. They won’t even approve my comments now, so here it is instead. In a rush, so I’ll add tags tomorrow)

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

My reply (‘You must be a democrat’) is no longer appearing as ‘awaiting moderation’, so you must have read it and deleted it. So here’s the ‘more to follow’, since it’s apparently required, and will end up on my own blog, and linked to via Twitter, if you don’t permit it here…

First off, while I hate to break up your pity party, I should point out that I haven’t said anything to offend you yet. I asked what *would* be more offensive, future tense. you might think it’s a fine line, but it very definitely *is* a line, and you’re wasting your energy on pre-ire.

‘Perhaps you’ve had some experience in this field?’ What are you, twelve? I’m quite prepared to accept that it was just naivite or incompetence, or a combination thereof that led you to take on something you were in no position to handle. There’s no shame (well, not much) in admitting it. Actually, I guess your reputation could take a bit of a knock, the way news spreads on the internet. Well, you made your bed…

Carry on being ‘fed’ up with my comments. You take the rough with the smooth when you take on a public site. I made it clear that the forum was what mattered in my view, and that code was Greek to me, but you still insist on conflating the two issues, like an Assange-bashing Guardian journo. I could create a (non-leaky) Public Whip forum in minutes. It’s debatable if anyone would post on it, but if they did, I suspect it would be to speculate on when they might see any sign of this great gold-plating you speak of?

If you can’t get the money, and you’re not prepared to work for free, as I presume Julian and Francis did, just admit you bit off more than you could chew, but *don’t* try to shift the blame on to somebody else. Clean up your own mess.

Or try suing me..?

It would be lovely to compare the blogs of the main contenders for the Gloucester parliamentary seat (see links, right), but it wouldn’t be comparing like with like. Parmjit Dhanda’s is the closest thing in appearance to a blog, being WordPress, like this one, but he leaves weeks, even months, between entries, and he and/or his staff are total control freaks over permitting comments that are the teensiest bit critical. Richard Graham’s doesn’t even have a comment section or, in fact, entries. It’s just one long document occasionally updated, and readers can send questions to Richard, but they won’t appear on the site. And Jeremy Hilton’s is really more of a website than a blog. It’s stuffed with links (the ‘Ward News’ section is potentially interesting, although, surprise surprise, no ‘news’ in Barton & Tredworth), but no opportunity for open feedback.

So all of them fall down on the ‘giving the constituents a public voice’ angle, which is surely a big part of what any blog is about. Otherwise, it’s just ‘blah blah, aren’t I wonderful?’

Posted as a comment to a TiG article entitled ‘”Use your vote or don’t moan – Town Crier’, but it’s a couple of days old now (I only found it while looking for the ‘word for word’ of the Gloucester candidates’ debate), so I thought I might as well put it here too…

‘I read much the same sentiment being put forth forward by Mark Hawthorne a couple of years back in this paper, but he’s wrong too. People self-evidently *can* ‘moan’ without voting, and they have as much right to do so as anyone else. Only fascists would try to change that. Of course it would be great if there was a ‘None of the above’ option, or more people spoiled their ballot papers rather than just not bothering to vote, but even apparent apathy should send a message to our politicians. It’s a shame that the people of Gloucester don’t start a fund to pay the deposit for a ‘NOTA’ candidate whose only function would be to provide a box for that option. Be a bit awkward if s/he won, though…’

The above title is the headline used by the Citizen for the letter below, which I think says a lot about our politicians, especially the Liberal Democrats, who for years have struck me as lacking in principles, even for politicians:

   I THINK Jeremy Hilton’s embarrassing self-penned testimonial is simply that: an embarrassment rather than an indication of ‘dirty politics’.  Although the sad truth is that politics has itself become a dirty business.

  Anyone with true integrity would have no future in politics and probably would not contemplate it in the first place.

  Those who want change for the common good become activists. Those who want power become politicians.

  I used to think that the Liberal Democrats were the party of integrity. However, this is naive.  I recently had a copy of Focus pushed through my door.

  In it Chris Coleman, the Lib Dem candidate for the Forest claims, the Conservatives have joined a small fringe group of extremists in the European Parliament, implying that they are up to shady dealings of some kind or other (which I don’t doubt for a moment).

  I sent an email to Chris Coleman, asking for details, such as the name of this ‘extremist’ group so I could check it out. That was on February 27. I’m sure he will reply in due course but I won’t hold my breath.

  I quite often write to various poltical parties asking for their stance on various issues. Labour and Conservative always reply, albeit with a meaningless stream of “soundbites” that avoid the issues that I’ve asked about but at least they reply.

  I have also written to the Lib Dems on various issues. I have never had a reply from them.

  Perhaps they still have enough of a vestige of integrity to be reluctant to lie, and too much ambition to tell the truth so silence is the safest option.

  The problem is not with this party or that party. It is not even with this or that politican. It is with the whole nature of politics. The very phrase: “in power” says it all. They should be in service, not in power. Politics should be about serving the community for the greater good. Sadly, it is about manipulating society for their own interests and there is no political party that represents an exception to this.

  Democracy in our society is simply the process of choosing who is going to lie to us. 

Ron Tocknell