Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

Found to be moderately entertaining by the gentle users of Libdig

At conference in September (ah! back in the day when banks were still notionally responsible independent enterprises that could find their arse with a map and a prevailing wind) I recall we were nonplussed in the Lib Dem Voice cupboard at one point to receive news of the launch of Nick Clegg. Surely it’s forty years too late for that? And who would pull the big red cloth off him? He’s a tall chap. Oh, of course, Danny Alexander. That’s ok then.

But no, this was the launch of NickClegg.com. We clicked in. “Why’s the title bar blue?” I said critically. It promptly turned orange. What user-experience voodoo was this!?

At the time I thought little more of it – it seemed to be no more than a double feed of most of the material that goes up on the party website, in a slightly more bloggy style. It’s not like I’m short of party news conduits. But I’ve just been back there trying to find the text of his Liverpool speech in March for my last post (not there, it doesn’t have backdated material before July). And do you know what I found?

NORMAL PEOPLE. At least, I think they’re normal. They don’t comment like political anoraks, or internet anoraks come to that. No by-elections, polls or other political blogs are mentioned. Positioning, squeeze, triangulation, Rennardism, campaigning anecdotage – all notably absent. Nobody says “IIRC”, “AIUI” or “TBH” or “I think you’ll find that the promise to provide free cabbage seed to the under-5s appears in consultation paper 476 and was mentioned twice in last week’s Yorkshire Post interview and on the World at One on Thursday, so our messaging on the issue is pretty clear assuming that a moderately high proportion of the electorate scan their newspapers with magnifying glasses and infra-red technology.” A few are avowedly members or supporters, or hearteningly deciding to become so. But all seem, well, normal. They’re not always commenting favourably, but there’s none of the trenchancy you associate with political activist opponents. I wonder if it’s a genuinely overlooked corner of normalcy in a cyberworld of seething madness, or if the moderation policy is just totally uncompromising.

Either way, may I respectfully suggest that Citizens wishing to visit NickClegg.com all undertake to keep a sock in it? We’ll only scare off the nice Normal People. We like Normal People. Join ussss, nice Normal People. Ahem.