21 thoughts on “Another era ends

  1. LP lost credibility when some of its leading lights became strident apologists for the Gillard Government. Screeching “sexism!!” to try to discredit legitimate criticism of the new ALP leader was, well, sad, and the site became just another forum for passionate people to exchange tedious ideological viewpoints. A more incisive comments management policy would have helped but in the end the people posting had such disparate agendas that the site as a whole became incoherent.

    I don’t know why Australia seems incapable of supporting vibrant blogging sites similar to those in the USA. Mark Bahnisch’s observation that ‘There’s no longer the same need for a hub for political discussion, as lively debate has migrated to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter’ is not persuasive.

  2. Of course, Ken. It’s just that seven years is a long time to keep going at the high standard they’ve kept to. Particularly given the intensity of feeling the sorts of issues discussed there have drawn from people and resulting nastiness as different people feel their ideas misrepresented or integrity questioned- the issues usually go to the very core of what life’s about.
    Your Gillard example is typical and it will take quite some time yet for the whole truth re the last five years to out, as adequate information as to what happened behind closed doors and why, slowly trickles out.
    Personally, if LP are like me, they will sense a golden opportunity lost re Labor and find themselves intensely depressed at the prospect of Labor’s prospective implosion, presaged by the last self-indulgent Rudd-Gillard stoush and the devastating Queensland election result. Add to that the mulishness of the electorate with only interminable, irreversible Abbott “red state” government to follow and you wonder if you’re not watching some thing akin to what the history books describe, as to the fall of Socrates’ Athens.

  3. Strange site it was too. At one and the same time both intellectually stimulating and the home of the most questionable strands of intolerance and poison.

  4. As I noted over there, I will miss it. Those who know my perspective will be aware that my opinions were often well outside the LP consensus — particularly (but not exclusively) on the issue of nuclear power.

    Nevertheless, the disappearance of this blog is a sad turn for public discussion on the web. As is the nature of these things, it was a lot more than the sum of its parts. I would rarely go a day without looking in twice and found it a great place to think out loud about how the world might be a more rational place.

    Running a public policy blog is of course no small commitment, and particularly if you want it to be fresh and conducted in a suitably civil manner. That’s even truer for avowed left-of-centre blogs because by definition, such blogs must set their faces against the prevailing right-of-centre consensus. It’s much harder work if you can’t simply borrow your slogans predigested from the Murdochracy and theirABC. You are going to be trolled by those who mean humanity ill. I’m grateful that the LP team did it for as long as they did as well as they did.

    Vale LP …

  5. the disappearance of this blog is a sad turn for public discussion on the web.

    what’s sadder was Mark B’s suggestion that Facebook and Twitter are now better alternatives. urgh.

  6. Yeah I will miss it. I wont miss the turgid sociological ‘analyses’ that a few of the writers specialised in, but the climate clippings was excellent, there was space for silliness, and often there was well-reasoned debate. Of course there were a few left-wing shibboleths that weren’t to be touched, but please name a political site that doesn’t have them?

  7. Tereje, I’m a taxpayer! So, lets look at what you’ve served up for me…

    he Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is a unique grassroots advocacy & activist organisation, dedicated to standing up for hardworking Australian taxpayers. We oppose the high taxes, wasteful spending, and crippling red tape that are hurting Aussie families and businesses, and provide a voice for everyone who opposes the big-government agenda. Our first priority is the repeal of the unnecessary and destructive Gillard-Brown tax on carbon dioxide!

    I’m hard working! I need standing up for!

    But, high taxes? Weeeell, Australian taxes are lower now than they have been for some years, and are lower than nearly all developed countries. Wasteful spending? Who could oppose that. But, do you have specific examples? JSFs? Seahawks? Afghanistan? Detention centres? Wars on drugs? Damn right! Crippling red tape. True that. Not that anyone has done anything about it. Big government agenda? Where can I read this document? Swan is cutting spending in a way taht virtually every economist says is too much, so I’m interested… tax on carbon dioxide? you mean the most economically rational and pure way of putting a market signal on pollution? The one that will spur innovation? Huh? That makes no sense…

    Tell me truthfully, when you say ‘grass roots’, you mean in the sense that the Centre for Independent Studies is independent, don’t you? And you’ll be as transparent as the Sydney Institute, wont you?

  8. To the extent that it is really grassroots, and its number one concern is with the carbon tax, it’s misnamed.

    It should be called the Australian Tax Receivers’ Association.

    But one look at the board of directors tells you it’s not grassroots. Why oh why couldn’t these people get the nous/money together to build a decent website? Hideous.

  9. On one of the board members, from http://www.hrnicholls.com.au/archives/vol28/vol28-profile.php

    “Since then, each project Grace has undertaken has been stamped with her individual style; she conceives and steers strategic long-term visions for her clients while simultaneously micro managing the fine detail.”

    I’ve worked for micromanagers, it’s horrible and I’ve never seen someone self-identify as such before. Most people at least realise it’s a bad thing. Maybe she is not very smart.

  10. Larva Prodders lost their blogging mojo when Howard lost the 2007 election. The Left-blogopshere no longer had John Howard to kick around any more so it kind of lost interest in public affairs.

    Much Left-wing commentary is related to elitist status-positioning based on ostracising socially unappealing leaders or party. No socially unappealing leaders or party, no Left-wing commentary to speak of.

  11. I don’t visit there because I perceived it to be, at its core, ALP apologia.

    Do they say what’s to become of the recently touted CSG project? Or are they falling back and re-grouping so as to hold the LNP to account over the CSG (in the way they never did with the ALP)?

  12. @Mel:



    That would seem to have some truth. My dad describes the wind going out of the sails of the strident left during the Whitlam years. But given the dynamic of late-modern capitalism under either managers-with-frowns or managers-with-smiles (but neoliberalism and increasingly unstable financialisation regardless of who’s in the palace), I don’t understand why there isn’t a permanently enraged movement for enlightened, sustainable democracy. Wait! There is. Take a bow: Occupy Movement, John Ralston Saul, Noam Chomsky, Paul Craig Roberts, Michael Hudson, Yanis Varoufakis, et al. And not a jot of post-structural silliness amongst them.

  13. The right has now adopted many of the sillier ideas of the extreme left. The modern looney right is very post modernist.

  14. Ken_L @ 3, I know that once having stated your opinion nothing will change it, but I think you’ve missed the mark by a fair margin. Being of the left, most of us would have liked to see Gillard being given a fair go, but I can’t recall anyone “screeching” anything. I do recall Mark doing a post on Giillard’s political philosophy, which was very critical indeed.

    Jack S @ 15, whatever, but in fact the real loss of impetus came in May last year, just after the Budget was brought down for some reason. If you scan the archives there were no substantive posts from Mark from 15 May to 18 July. Coincidentally there were none from Kim from 12 May to 19 July.

    gerard @ 7, Mark did not say that Facebook and Twitter were better alternatives, rather that “lively debate has migrated” there and the “space for opinion and analysis around the shop has widened”. Strictly I’d agree with him that there is consequently not “the same need for a hub for political discussion”. The need is now different. Mark has chosen to put his energy into Facebook, where he makes it a very lively place, and

    a more curated and consciously counter-cultural focus on policy, shifts in the lived experience of our public culture, and serious examination of flashpoints in the battle between reason and untruth.

    The first sortie into the latter was the CSG project, which wasn’t perfect, but I think we did OK. Megan @ 16, we tried to avoid taking a political stance, but I’m quite sure that others could use some of the material we created to hold any colour of government to account. Robert Merkel added a couple of posts at The Wellhead the other day. There may be more to come.

    For my own part, I’m on Facebook, but inactive personally and I don’t Twitter. I will miss blogging at LP. I was happy to go on and I do think there could be a similar hub if a group of people want to create one. Whatever happens in the future there will be nothing quite like LP.

  15. Nothing’s perfect, even on the intertubes.

    LP’s principals’ agendas were transparent and permissive.

    Exclusionary policies were applied on the basis of bad manners rather than dissidence.

    Discussion attracted a broad range of views and a generous smattering of intelligence, insight, humour and wit. I learned much by reading and engaging in discussion.

    Brian’s comprehensive and engagingly compiled material on climate change stimulated my interest in that topic. I wish to thank him for that.

    Only sourpusses could discountenance the contributions of LP to public discussion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s