There is always a temptation to declare things that you don’t like as doomed. Like the Liberal Democrat Party, which saw its slow and steady climb up the cursus honorum of our political system smashed last general election even as they formed a Coalition government with the Tories. Among the Lib Dems who are left, I constantly hear a refrain that the Lib Dems are being punished at every level for the actions on their national leaders, but ultimately as the electoral cycle wears on, voters will forgive them to taking a difficult decision in difficult times and realise that the Liberal Democrats are good, hard-working people who offer something from the status quo. The current poor polling is just an inevitable consequence of being a third party with little media coverage between elections. They’ll come back.

I always go for data over bluster, so lets look at all the election results the Liberal Democrats have fought since May 2010, and lets calculate what percentage of that vote changed compared to their percentage of the vote at the last election held in that area. That makes the significant drop in turnout between general and by-elections irrelevant, and judges the Lib Dems purely by the success of their campaign efforts rather than what the media was saying about them on the day a pollster called. [click to continue…]

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Tahrir Square in February 2011

There is a peculiar trend within the activist community that all occupations, all protests, and all protesters must be defended at whatever cost from the tyranny of the state. That’s a fair enough stance to take, though I think given our manpower compared to that of the state, that’s too optimistic for me to agree with. What annoys me however, is when people ordering me to get to whatever occupation of five is being threatened by police this time assume that, if I don’t immediately head down there, its because I’m just staying in my nice warm house because I can’t hack “real activism”. The fact that I’m not at Occupy!Manchester sitting in a tent is because I’m just not good enough.

I can’t hack it? Yeah? Were you kettled for eleven hours until 1am while the police started snatching everyone who got too near them, and then when you got out, spent the night punctuated with warnings of police raids, sleeping on a freezing cold office floor under a foil blanket? Have you been a medic the night that the police tear gassed a rave and had to stay up ’til 3 in the morning in a Danish winter telling drunk and pissed off person after drunk and pissed off person to take their clothes off before entering our accommodation? Have you ever had to spray antacid into the eyes of someone who’s been pepper sprayed while they have a panic attack? Have you ever launched yourself at a policeman who’s threatening one of your friends and forcibly dearrested him? Have you ever formed a line with a whole bunch of strangers and waited as column of riot cops slowly march towards you with the express intention of knocking the crap out of you?
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Pay your taxes! Vodafone shop shut down in Manchester town centre

November 1, 2010

I do enjoy going to protests that go right. And shutting down a Vodafone store last Saturday went very well. In the same week that George Osborne announced to great applause from his back-benches the removal of £7 billion from benefits and the destruction of the welfare state, HMRC quietly dropped its attempts to force […]

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