A site house-keeping notice: just because we’re neutral does not mean we’re unopinionated!

by Stephen Tall on May 1, 2013

ldv-textA brief site house-keeping notice follows…

Our regular reader may have noticed that those of us who edit LibDemVoice — as well as contributing general news updates, editing and uploading others’ submissions, and requesting guest pieces — sometimes express our own views.

Sometimes trenchantly.*

And sometimes to the displeasure of at least some of those who drop by here, whether signed-up Lib Dems or not.

A couple of people have asked, not unreasonably, how we can square this with our stated intention to be a neutral site for the benefit of all Lib Dem supporters.

Well, the thing is I don’t believe that acting neutrally means that this site should avoid opinion. (You are welcome to disagree with me, firmly but politely). Quite the reverse: we want a lively debate here.

That doesn’t mean we resort to ‘trollemic’ op-eds. It does mean that those who contribute are welcome to express their own views in their own way in the spirit of the site. And that same freedom extends to those of us who edit LibDemVoice: it would seem odd to me if those of us who run the site as volunteers were the only ones forced to take some kind of bland vow of silence.

So what do I mean by neutrality? I mean that in terms of our volunteer editorial collective (which represents a spectrum of views within the party) and in terms of the articles we publish (again drawn from across the party and beyond) we seek to offer readers a balanced picture of what Lib Dems think on a range of issues.

There is no attempt to push an LDV ‘line’ (not least because the editors would probably never manage to agree one…). There is an aim and a desire to represent the whole gamut of interesting Lib Dem views: for this to be ‘our place to talk’. Do we always succeed? I doubt it. But we do, all of us, genuinely reach for it.

And if you think we’re failing, that a view isn’t represented here which should be, then you, our readers, have two choices available. You can complain and gripe and grumble. Or you can put finger to keyboard and submit a piece to us to fill the lacuna you’ve identified. And yes, I do have an opinion on which of those choices I hope you pick.

For the record, therefore, I’ve amended the site’s editorial policy to be as clear as possible on this:

Lib Dem Voice does not belong to any supposed wing of the party: it is a neutral platform where the views of all members are welcome, both as articles and comments. The site’s editorial team comprises a diverse range of party members, each of whom is free to put forward their own views while maintaining an overall balance of coverage.

(The previous wording read: ‘We try to present views from a range of people and perspectives in the party. Our editorial line is neutral on matters of debate within the party and party selections and elections.’)

One line remains identical: ‘Queries or complaints about the balance of coverage can be directed to the Co-Editors.’ Or you can comment below-the-line…


* Okay, that’s mostly me.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.