New Lib Dems Leader & more on e-democracy

The result of the Liberal Democrats leadership ballot was announced overnight. The party’s membership have chosen what I see as the safe option, going for Sir Menzies Campbell by a reasonably comfortable margin – 29 697 to 21 628 for the second placed candidate Chris Huhne.

Just over 52 000 of the party’s 73 000 members voted, with the first round of voting showing Campbell at 23,264, Mr Huhne 16,691 and Mr Hughes 12,081. I assume Simon Hughes mid-campaign controversy about his honesty regarding his sexuality harmed his changes. Hughes is also seen as the more ‘left-wing’ of the candidates, and although these sorts of labels are as much a matter of perception and nuance, it still signals that the party will probably take more of a safe, centrist position over the next few years. Having said that, I still think they have far more dynanism, belief in community empowerment and a longer-term vision than Labour or the Conservatives.

For a bit more background on Menzies Campbell, you can read his victory speech here, or have a look at this Ask Aristotle entry. One would have to assume this result makes it very unlikely that Simon Hughes will ever make it to leader, although the performance of Chris Huhne, a rank outsider at the start of the contest, suggests he will be strongly in the frame next time around – quite possibly as soon as 3 or 4 years time, after the next UK general election. Some from the next generation, such as Nick Clegg, may be seen as ready by then too.

Combining the topics of two recent posts – one on e-democracy and one on the Liberal Democratsthis article details the way the three leadership candidates used blogs, podcasts and the web as part of their campaign.

Another initiative which is endeavouring to use the internet to link politicians together is the e-parliament. I don’t think this has got the critical mass or developed a sufficient sense of connection amongst a wide enough group to reach its potential, but it’s always worth examining the different things that people are trying.

PS The Liberal Democrats membership are very active bloggers. For their reaction to the result, go to this aggregating site and take your pick. As this entry on the well named “No Geek is an Island” site details, they are already planning a get together to see what campaigning lessons can be learned from the various e-campaigning techniques used during the leadership contest.

Like & share:


  1. Dear Andrew,
    On the whole, I’ve been relieved at your generally progressive, enlightened and humane stances. However, by my reading, your curt put-down of a recent Jennie Goldie article again challenging the neo-liberal “growth” myth and high immigration growth, against the backdrop of unrestrained enviro destruction and population growth has the Dems relegated behind the Greens, for this voter.
    Like Goldie, this writer’s belief is that enviro sustainability is actually a precondition TO, increased migration; not an inconvenient minor problem that need only be contemplated AFTER any resultant disaster.
    First things first.
    let’s FIRST get water catchments under some sort of SANE mangement plan. Let politicians FINALLY have the guts to clamp down of bad enviro and agribusiness policies like Cubbie Creek; QLD, and Tasmanian Woodchipping; let alone the ridiculous PP partnerships and privatisations of public social infrastructure, so that the country is led to desertification, salinity, wasteful “development”, deforestation and so forth.
    THEN, against THIS backdrop, we have begun to create the correct preconditions for increased immigration to occur, for the benfit of all.
    Of course, with world population spinning out of control, encouraged by the Feudal ignorance and dogmatism as to contraception programs and international economic reform (in a meaningful rather than neo-liberal sense), displayed by the likes of Geoge W Bush, this becomes even more problematic.
    It would hardly be fair though, to impose down stream costs on the Australian lower and middle class disempowered masses at a time when IR “reforms”, the deterioration of the social wage, neoliberal deregulatory globalisation and local rorting of the tax system including through so-called “tax cuts” for the rich increases.
    Come on Andrew. First things first.
    Let’s rein in big business, first. Then, put a sustainable enviro- economic regime in place that places sustainability and, use above exchange,as priorities.
    Lets get politicians in who develop Eduction, R and D and constructive informational media rather than demolish them and the important news they bring. Let’s instead, STOP(!!) pandering to Big Business, at the expense of locals and the Third -World poor, alike!

  2. Paul – this is all off-topic, and would be better placed on one of the many immigratio posts I have here. However, in response:

    I suggest you actually get the Greens to pronounce that their formal policy favours significantly lower migration before you give your vote to them on that ground.

    I disagree with very little of the thrust of what you say, other than the suggestion that all these things have to be done before we allow migrants into the country. In other words – let’s fix up all our environmental problems here (most of them caused by our overconsumption or inefficient), then we’ll let other people in.

    Migration does not increase global population growth, it simply moves people from one part of the planet to another. People who are living in a wealthier country tend – within a generation or two – to have far fewer children (but consume more resources of course).

    I agree far more should be done to help with global population growth, and the impediments out in place by religious fundamentalists don’t help. Having said that, global population growth is slowing, not ‘spinnning out of control’.

  3. I’m thinking Chris Huhne’s press officer was a bit restrained in his analysis of ghosted blogs!

    “Chris Huhne’s campaign team decided not to blog themselves. “About 30 to 50 Lib Dems have blogs, and it was interesting to find that they were biased towards Huhne,” says his press officer, Richard Huzzey. “It helped us decide not to do a fake blog but to use real supporters’ blogs. Ghosting a blog can seem insincere.” ”

    The blog aggregator site is an interesting initiative.

  4. Andrew, thanks for your considered response.
    I suspect that, as you say, we have more in common than exists as difference.
    However, I suggest that, with an exploding global population set against a deteriorating resources base and a multiplication of environmental problems facing this and future generations, is due to a previous complacency. This complacency has provided the incubating ground for, amongst other things, the rise of that despicable crypto-facist ideology that is neo-liberalism.
    You are somewhat disingenuous, if you are hinting that my concerns involving radically increased immigration are based on some sort of personal subjectivity concerning race or culture.
    I detest Hansonism and have met many brilliant people from offshore who have settled here and will probably contribute more to the future of our country than I ever will. I grew up in a satellite town called Elizabeth, that was largely populated by migrants and they become the friends of my childhood and adulthood, particularly when we were forced out of our manufacturing jobs, due to “reform”.
    You must have realised that my concerns arise, rather, out of concern at the rampaging brigandage of ideological neo-liberal social and economic policy being applied to welfare and labour markets at the same time as incoming numbers increase.
    The vulgar example of one facet of the problem, yet another brainwashed government,this time the NSW, cutting state infrastructure numbers, more out of a need to placate the markets than out of any need to sack these unfortunate people, further ruining services, as an example of the pernicious impct of neo- liberalist ideology.
    Another piece of the jig-saw exists in is the sudden increase in numbers of offshore labour parachuted into the country in the wake of so-called IR “reform”, while REAL unemployment remains high as virtual ( and I will not mince words here )”scab” labour arrives. Meanwhile, authentic scabs like Trujillo, on $17 million pa are rewarded for dreaming up ways of sacking further disempowered sections of the work force, or shutting down services, so the distribution of costs for new social programs is further loaded on to the shoulders of the ordinary people, while the people responsible for the system are rewarded for inflicting harm and given further tax cuts while profits are repatriated off-shore.
    What I have difficulty with is NOT(!!) increased immigration, but A) the refusal of the people running things to apportion a fairly distributed cost to members of the current community for immigration and B) The use of immigration as an issue means for avoiding or facing up to serious issues.
    You know full-well that the demolition of the current sociopolitical balance will only allow Howard and his ilk to further entrench themselves in power. As free media, CSIRO and education etc are further destroyed , the environment and its set of issues become even further obscured. And one way the Howardists can do this is through furher weakening the two party system by destroying organised labour and one way this occurs is through imported labour.
    Finally, you are possibly incorrect in suggesting to suggest that I am off-topic as per this thread. If the Dems follow the ALP to the Right, we are left with “Democrat Lite” and I see this thread as illustrating that point, when serious issues dismised in favour of warm fuzzy ones that obscure the REAL issues of social cohesion and enviro-economic sustainability and progress for all.
    The solution to international refugees and poverty, rather, has its beginnings in politicians revealing the fraudulent nature of neo-liberal US nd western globalisation and foreign policy. This is rather than being complicit in having the “mushroom” ordinary people occupied with and saddled with, the cost of cleaning up facist shit messes made elsewhere, after the real perpetrators have headed off to their golf courses, hunting-lodges and tropical resorts in their Lear Jets and 4-wheel Drives.

Comments are closed.