Crawl Across the Ocean

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians

Regulars on the Canadian political blog scene will know that there is a group of bloggers known as the Blogging Tories. More recently, Robert McLelland of HisBlahg has decided to set up a group of blogging New Democrats.

Over at his blog, James Bow explains why setting up blogging 'alliances' can be beneficial to alliance members (because it translates into more links which in turn means a higher profile on sites which measure blog popularity by linkage and it also generates a little more traffic).

Personally, I am uncomfortable about the idea of aligning myself with a particular party. I still haven't decided whether to vote green, ndp or liberal (note: this is a right wing party) in the fast approaching B.C. election, and my vote in the next Federal election could be wildly different from my provincial one. In fact I think I've already voted for at least 4 different parties in the relatively short time I've been voting.

Luckily James has a solution for this, as he is creating the Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians. I guess the risk here is that if the members of the Alliance end up having nothing in common then what's the point. But in an ideal world, this alliance could be made up of open-minded folks willing to look at each issue and topic on its own merits with a clean slate, not always viewing things through a partisan filter. I guess we'll see.

In James' words,
"Do you refuse to be tied down to a particular party or ideology? Would you rather talk about culture, religion, the latest books or anything other than politics? Are you sick of being left out because you’re not a card-carrying Tory or New Democrat? Then join the blogging community that takes in those that all the other communities leave out in the cold. Become a card-carrying non-partisan blogger.

Seriously, folks: the Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians has few rules about who can join. You should be a Canadian. You should be non-partisan — meaning, not a card-carrying member of a political party, and not firmly identified with a political party. You can be reasonably certain of who you intend to vote for, but if you feel that you have an open mind and can be convinced by persuasive arguments to change your vote, this alliance is for you. "

Anyway, as you've probably guessed, I'm signing up so as soon as I get the technical details sorted, the list of alliance members should show up on the ol' blogroll.

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  • The most important site that "measure(s) blog popularity by linkage" is actually Google. Being linked to by high traffic sites really moves you up the rankings. I'm amazed that I am now the #9 result when search for my family name.

    Anyway, the problem with the non-partisan alliance for me is that I'm too commitment-phobic to commit to this group of uncommitteds.

    By Blogger Andrew Spicer, at 6:29 PM  

  • LOL - good one Andrew - besides no group would have an old curmudgeon like me LOL

    By Anonymous Doug Alder, at 6:47 PM  

  • Good point about google Andrew.

    I certainly understand fear of commitment, but I figure I'm already committed to being non-partisan / non-ideological - I stated that as a goal on my first day of blogging:
    - so it doesn't seem like a big additional commitment to me.

    Besides, I'm guessing this group is hardly Hotel California when it comes to leaving if it comes to that.

    On a more serious note, sometimes I worry that Canada will go the way of the American great divide where two sides pretty much ignore everything the other has to say except to mock / ridicule / debunk it. Maybe a group of bloggers committed to shooting the message not the messenger could help prevent that. And maybe a sandcastle can keep the tide from coming in.

    Anyway, I'm guessing you and Doug were the kind of people James had in mind - curmudgeonly or not.

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:39 PM  

  • Problem is, I already get criticized on my blog for being too partisan. If I fly a banner claiming to be non partisan, it's just going to get the critics really riled up...

    By Blogger Andrew Spicer, at 8:42 AM  

  • Don't let your critics set your agenda! :)

    By Blogger Declan, at 9:37 AM  

  • I joined as well, Declan. Although I am more outspokenly left than you are, I have never held a party membership, preferring to support a certain candidate if he or she seemed commitment to similar principles as my own.

    At one point or another, I have voted for all three major parties, although in my defense, the one time I voted PC the fellow was a firm Red Tory.

    In an increasingly polarised world, it's hard to find a place for the non-aligned.

    By Blogger Timmy the G, at 9:53 AM  

  • I am glad there is a home for the uncommitted. Those of us who are committed (or should be), salute you!

    By Blogger Greg, at 11:51 AM  

  • what if youre a card-carrying member of a few political parties? id like to think its a spectrum type deal, which makes me so aligned im not even aligned...

    By Blogger angela, at 2:51 PM  

  • I have also said this to James Bow.

    I think a group formed around their commitment to several key issues would be more coherent than one formed around a more nebulous idea of non-alignment.

    At Blogs Canada I have suggested forming a group around commitment to 4 issues. This is just my suggestion. You may want to come up with a list of your own.

    “Stephen Harper has a “Theo con” “agenda” that he wants to see implemented. I think Canadians need to force the other political parties to pursue and or to continue to pursue a progressive agenda. I suggest that the list remain small and manageable. If the list grows too long, support will splinter. I propose the following rather modest list.

    1)gay marriage

    2)Legalization of marijuana

    3)5 weeks paid vacation

    4)A National Child care program “

    By Anonymous koby, at 5:58 PM  

  • Good to see you Timmy, I was hoping you'd join. And not just because I was starting to worry it would be just me, James and some Looney Canuck :)

    greg - Thanks - I definitely think most political bloggers should be committed.

    ainge - In James' words: "If you are already a member of the Blogging New Democrats or the Blogging Tories, you’re not exactly non-partisan. Mind you, if you’re a member of both the Blogging New Democrats and the Blogging Tories, you’re as non-partisan as they get. Either way, it’s doubtful how dilligently I’m going to police these requirements, so why not join up?"

    I'd say you're good. Congrats on the nice press in the Tyee by the way:

    koby - You're undoubtedly right that a group formed around certain principles would be more coherent.

    The problem I see is that everyone might want their own principles. And if a group of people can agree on a set of principles, then what you have is the basis for a political party. In fact your suggested list of principles sounds like it would be a perfect fit with the blogging New Democrats.

    Personally, I se James' proposal as something slightly different. Rather than a commitment to a certain policy or set of policies, a commitment to a certain frame of mind. A frame of mind that remains open to new ideas and evaluates them based on their impact on the best interests of Canadians and doesn't dismiss them based on where they come from or who supports them.

    I'm projecting my own ideas onto James' initial email here, but the beauty of his suggestion is that it is broad enough and incoherent enough that I can (probably) get away with doing that.

    Anyway, what I'm saying is that I feel more comfortable with the Non-Partisan Alliance than with committing to a set of fixed policies. But I certainly respect your efforts annd see the pragmatic purpose behind them. Bonne chance.

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:27 PM  

  • not to make this thread ALL ABOUT ME but, yknow.. why not.

    ok, i didnt find the tyee piece all that complimentary! basically, i see it as an exhortation to us bloggers to reach out to those who dont define spotting libby davies or julie vandusen as a 'celebrity sighting' ... yknow, people outside the loop.

    moreover, i *know* as far as non-penis bloggers go, im awesome compared to rachel marsden, cmon, i dont need the tyee to point that out to me :)

    By Blogger angela, at 2:24 AM  

  • As Flea said to Jay Currie awhile back, the nicest thing about being unaligned is that you'll have a 360-degree arc of fire come the next election.

    By Blogger Babbling Brooks, at 7:32 AM  

  • BB - that's a good point. Part of why I like being non-partisan is not having to worry about whether to just ignore it when the party I'm backing does/says/supports something stupid.

    ainge - I should have been more clear. What I meant was that it was 'good press' for your site in that you were mentioned a couple of times and in a positive light (although all publicity is likely good publicity in this instance).
    It's certainly true being praised relative to Marsden is faint praise, bordering on being damned with faint praise.

    As for the article itself, I could have done without it's 'why don't those middle-aged bloggers stop talking about complicated issues and focus on the stuff like Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart that I care about' message.

    By Blogger Declan, at 9:06 AM  

  • "It's certainly true being praised relative to Marsden is faint praise, bordering on being damned with faint praise. "

    oh man, if i had a "critics are talking about LOTUSLAND" page, that line would so be on it!

    By Blogger angela, at 1:38 PM  

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