Saturday, September 24, 2011

Liberal Democrat Voice and machine guns

When I sat down to put together my latest Six of the Best on Thursday I went first to an article by Maureen Rigg about intrusive security at the last week's Liberal Democrat Conference in Birmingham. But when I clicked on the link it no longer worked.

Jolly mysterious.

Had Maureen been nobbled? Was it perhaps the work of Percy Alleline or Toby Esterhase?

Then this afternoon, just as mysteriously, that article - or one very like it - appeared on Liberal Democrat Voice.

What is going on here? I am glad the editors of Lib Dem Voice like it too, but wouldn't it have been better if the original post had stayed on Maureen's blog and they had linked to it. Isn't that how blogging works?

Still it is a very good article. Maureen writes:
This year at Birmingham I saw something new again – machine guns being carried by police outside the conference. This wasn’t by officers patrolling the streets outside the secure zone. No, it was inside, where people had already come past three separate checks that the face on the badge was similar to the face on the wearer – I say similar because passport standard photos are notorious for not looking like the real thing! Having passed those checks we then went through an airport style security gate and bags went through X-ray. 
Then, and only then, were we confronted by armed police. They didn’t look very fierce, though they certainly looked young and strong and I wouldn’t have liked to have seen them in action. 
I asked them why we had armed police inside the security zone. “It’s about your safety, Ma’am,” was the response. “But I don’t feel particularly safe having to walk past men with big guns to get into the building” said I. “It’s all about keeping you safe” was the response.
It seems that political conference now take place in Britain only with the indulgence of the security services.


Stephen Tall said...

As far as I know, Jonathan, what happened was this...

Maureen originally submitted the article to Lib Dem Voice. I scheduled it for publication, but there was a delay owing to the general frenzy of conference. In the meantime she had published it on her own blog (which I hadn't seen).

When it was published on Lib Dem Voice, I guess Maureen voluntarily took it down from her own blog. I hadn't asked her to do so (as I hadn't realised it had already been published), am just guessing.

As you know, Lib Dem Voice often links to blogs, both through the Golden Dozen round-up and at other times (eg, today's on tuition fees).

We do have one editorial rule which is we only publish articles which haven't previously been published elsewhere online. However, authors are most welcome to cross-post on their own blogs once published on Lib De Voice - so I hope Maureen will feel free to re-publish on her own blog. I've emailed her to suggest she does.

Jonathan Calder said...

Thanks for the explanation.