Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Politics is the art of looking for trouble...#ldconf

...finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Groucho Marx
Silent Harpo with Groucho Marx
Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form. 
Thus said Karl Marx. It is a little some some of the recent comments made over the issue of data storage (notice I say that an not increased security measures) over Liberal Democrat Conference applications.

The reason I'm saying that was a conversation I had earlier on Twitter, with Martin Shapland the outgoing chair of Liberal Youth. He'd tweeted "Should I go to conference? Seems a bit too lefty...".

Quick as a flash considering I was on the move I tweeted back the following.

 With a rapid follow up with two key elements highlighted.

Yeah that is right I was clearly telling a joke, I'd hashtaged it as such. I also clearly was as part of the joke using the Marx brothers especially the silenced, must likely Groucho, to lighten the mood about a lot of things, hence the other two hashtags.
As Caron said yesterday let's try and keep the Lib Dem Conference accreditation debate civil one thing that a lot of friend have been saying in recent days is What Would Andrew (Reeves) Do? Of course when there was tension building he would know just when to break in enough humour to help diffuse the situation. I know that me and Martin are on different sides of that accreditation argument. Hence the humour above. I was trying to lighten the load.

It descended into the travesty of did I know anything of Karl Marx, well yes actually I did. As part of my degree course at the end of the cold war era we had the whole of the second term Economic Philosophy module pencilled in to study communism. In the end this became 4 weeks and 2 further weeks in how they would shift post communism as that regime was more or less falling. I have read Capital and The Communist Manifesto not because I am extreme left ring  in the same way I didn't read Milton Friedman A Monetary History of the United States or Frank Knight's Risk, Uncertainty and Profit because I a total monetarist. I did it as part of a rounded economics education, upon which I could base my own thoughts, apply the best of both to a truly socially responsibly liberal society which as a Lib Dem I believe is the way forward.

Marx, that is Karl not Groucho, wrote of his time a time when serfs still laboured in the fields of Europe, and men moving to our town did so as the the virtual slaves of the factory, mine or mill owner, who wanted them to be a unit of production for as much as they could for as long as they could without a care about their well being if it ate into their profits. Part of what Marx identified as problems in the mid 19th Century were dealt with by policies that Liberal Governments or thinkers brought into being state pensions, universal health care etc.

But having decided to raise my issues directly with the Federal Conference Committee and no longer go public about them I though I'd best defend my use of humour to relieve tension. I'm sorry it has failed on this occasion and made me fume for the last three hours (you should see previous drafts of making this point). Guess I can't be the joke around, self deprecating me that people know and love. Guess I'll just stop trying, clearly we are now a party that has to take ourselves all too seriously that we can't take a principled stance and debate it in a reasoned way.

I guess old Karl was right, reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form., it certainly seems to be the case amongst some of my fellow Liberal Democrats just now. So when I turn up at conference if I seem a little unreasonable you'll know the reason why.

Guess if we can't laugh that means no Glee club and those of us without a humour by pass had better join the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

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