Slugger’s backroom

38minutes has a small profile on a key figure in getting things done around these parts, Paul Evans (“He has a very deep suspicion of anything that looks like direct democracy”) and also links to the departure of Ewan McIntosh (“I’m most proud of the products I’ve shaped from their 20 word elevator pitches into working, clickable, running code”), a major factor in Slugger’s partnership with 4iP, from Channel 4.

  • oneill

    He has a very deep suspicion of anything that looks like direct democracy

    Huh? I thought MG had deliberately highlighted a misquote there, but no. Obviously “Direct democracy” as the sole governing system runs the risk of the tyranny of the majority squashing any dissenting voices, but from the article Paul’s problem seems to be more with its application online.

    On the internet generally if you’re pissed off with the “majority voice” somewhere then you can potter off to a more amenable place, so the destructive potential of that “tyranny” is obviously greatly reduced. So, why then is Paul still “highly suspicious” of e-democracy? With apologies to Brecht, does that then mean we will be hearing in the New Year something along the lines of:

    “The commentators have lost the confidence of Slugger and 4iP; Slugger and 4iP have thus decided to dissolve the commentariat, and to appoint another one.”?

    Having said that, being positioned more on the “Bebo” rather than the “over-educated” end of the spectrum, it’s quite possible I’ve misunderstood the concept; I’d be interested to hear Paul expand on why he has a problem with letting the plebs getting directly involved in decision-making/taking.

  • Dave

    I think Jason Walsh has it about right when he says that Northern Ireland is a one-party state and that party is The Peace Process Party. In that context, it’s very easy to mistake a number of different parties all co-operating at Stormont as being some form of progressive democratic pluralism when in reality it is a regression to one-party rule. The same holds true for political discussion by the plebs. I read someone from 4iP talking about Slugger being a model of that plurality which might serve as a template for other parts of the United Kingdom but I wonder to what degree he is seeing commenters from different political parties and not seeing that the vast bulk of them are actually members of The Peace Process Party?

  • DC

    Dave unfortunately those out murdering cops don’t want to come on here in case they get arrested.

  • Dave

    Which might prove Jason’s argument – if they are the actual opposition party.

  • DC

    Might being the key word Dave, there’s nothing democratic about it though.

    What do hanker after the 70/80s and society fretful and fearful of living here than peaceful existence of sorts.

  • Quare dissent

    So in DC’s eyes you are either a member of The Peace Process Party, whatever branch, or you are a murdering dissident hankering after the 70s? What narrow vision that is. Surely one can object to The Peace Process Party without wanting to return to war or, God forbid, the 70s-80s. Some people have a distrust of the Establishment, whatever form it takes, and that distrust is enhanced the more the Establishment is rammed down one’s throat. Especially when the main benefactors of The Establishment are, as always, The Establishment. Ergo we plebs must uphold The Peace Process Party?

    It is possible to be opposition with being a relic of the past. In fact it’s quite possible to be opposition with an eye to the future!

  • “On the internet generally if you’re pissed off with the “majority voice” somewhere then you can potter off to a more amenable place”

    Come on slugger is an affiliate member of the peace process party, if you doubt this, just look back to last weeks awards show. After all, you cannot place your head in a tigers mouth whilst at the same time tweaking its tail and stay alive.

    As to democracy it plays no role at all here. DC suggestion that all who are not signed up to the peace process place themselves in the armed camp just highlights the danger of such group think. (if you are not with us you are against us; and presumable deserve all you get ah DC?)

    Nowhere was this big house bent better demonstrated on slugger than its craven support for Neo-liberal economics, globalisation and the Celtic Tiger, which as we all now know was built entirely on sand. When people continuously and loudly proclaim there is no alternative, one should always pause; and look around for the snake oil salesman.

    People like myself and a handful of others who offered up an alternative economic strategy based on societal needs not profit alone were howled down as dinosaurs, stalinists, etc.

    Where are this people today I asked myself, ah, they are to the fore demanding the very criminals who bled the pot dry now turn their fire on the poorest section of Irish and UK society and cut benefits, etc.

    It was the same with the war on the Iraqi people, slugger became little more than a cheer leader for criminality. So we should hardly be surprised that big media believes slugger should be emulated elsewhere in the UK and Ireland, let me guess, the corporate and tax payers check book is already out.

    In reply to the quote above, the whole point of being a dissident voice on the WWW is to conduct your business when possible in the mainstream, so we ain’t going no where.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    I genuinely want to know – which is to say, this query is neither in or of itself snark, nor is the asking of it intended to, for example, cause a political antagonist to tangle himself further, as I would see it, in knots – does Mick Hall seriously believe a word of what he’s just written? If so, can he even point even to a solitary example of where ‘Slugger’ has pronounced with ex cathedra, corporate, editorial authority on anything? I fear I waste as much time here as anyone, and I cannot for the life of me remember a solitary instance of Slugger itself ever taking a line on anything. I’ll be amazed if it has, and I’ve missed it, so with absolute sincerity, I’d be hugely grateful if Mick Hall would point me to, as I say, even one example of it doing so.

    However, if Slugger itself can’t be shown, even once, to have pronounced on anything, let alone the tyranny of neo-liberal market-fundamentalism, etc, etc, I wish then to revert to my original question, and, to ask a supplementary one: did Mick Hall believe what he wrote when he wrote it, and, to Mick Hall, assuming you can’t produce an iota of evidence to back up your assertions as to Slugger’s editorialising, just why did you make this charge up?

  • half sneering tory unionist,

    Do me a favor, go pull someone else’s chain, if there is a specific point in my post you disagree with fine, I will try and deal with it.

    Of course I stand by my claim that slugger was soft on the Celtic Tiger and pro globalisation (neo-liberal economics) and that it stands firmly in the peace process camp. I doubt even Mick F would argue against that. It is the same with democratic accountability, Mick F openly admitted last week the winners of the awards were not necessary picked on the number of nominations they received.

    Having said this i’m not really sure if any blog could be democratically accountable, I know no awards show can be.

    The fact is sluggers a political blog and 99% of all political blogs overall, reflect the standpoint of their owners, in this they do and possibly always will ape the mainstream media.

    Nothing wrong with any of the above, it is simply a fact, as it is!

    By the way I never once mentioned editorialising, you have attempted to slip that in, besides on a blog like slugger, the comments are almost as important as that which Mick, Brian, Pete, etc post up.

    Returning to my first comment, it is a sad fact that few socialists or republicans spend much time on slugger these days. Thus the place has become a ‘conservative’, ‘bash the shinner tops’ type of place, which might also explain the decision to award M McG his prise.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    So that’s a gobby No, then? What you said is – and thanks be to the Gods of the military industrial complex for inventing the web in the first place! – of course still up there in all its ranting dishonesty, so let’s go through it:

    Nowhere was this big house bent better demonstrated on slugger than its craven support for Neo-liberal economics, globalisation and the Celtic Tiger, which as we all now know was built entirely on sand . . . It was the same with the war on the Iraqi people, slugger became little more than a cheer leader for criminality.

    But of course, as you’ve now painfully admitted, Slugger didn’t do any of those things you mouthed off about. That’s why you weren’t able to point to even a single instance where it had.

    Of course, an alternative possibility exists. Namely that you really are so stupid that you can’t distinguish between what people do on Slugger and what Slugger itself does. But then whoever thought ‘socialists’ weren’t fools?

  • Oh dear, and I thought my chain was easily pulled, if you believe what I wrote is untrue then it is for you to prove that, not I, as I have already said I stand over what I wrote.

    Stamping your feet and shouting personal insults that are not related to the thread proves nothing, your problem is there is a whole archive of slugger which proves what I wrote is true, or perhaps not? Its for you to trawl it if you wish to prove your case.

    As I made clear in a previous post, it is impossible to separate what the majority of people do and say on slugger with what slugger itself does. (although it was a nice try on your part to move the goal posts long after the game has begun;)

    Now instead of calling me foolish, stupid or gobby, etc, stop embarrassing yourself and prove me wrong. A smart young fellow like you should have no problem grinding an old socialist like me into the ground, especially as you regard us all as fools who go in for ranting dishonesty.

  • Dave

    Mick, Ireland’s macroeconomic and monetary policy is not derived from neoliberalism but from ordoliberalism. Secondly, Ireland no longer determines those policies. In fact, nobody determines Ireland’s macroeconomic and monetary policy: they determine France and Germany’s macroeconomic and monetary policy, and Ireland arbitrarily adopts the policies that are devised for the needs of those economies and have nothing whatsoever to do with the needs of its own economy. Hence, it’s economy went completely tits up. Lastly, market liberalisation is a necessary component of harmonisation within the EU. How could the EU integrate its member states into a single state without it? If socialists see the EU as a means getting their policies imposed without democratic consent, then they will have to wait until the EU is a fully integrated single state before they can argue that ordoliberalism (or as they mistakenly call it, neoliberalism) can be disposed of. In all of this, the problem is neither ordoliberalism nor neoliberalism but the abdication of sovereignty and responsibility by the state for the most important economic policies that a state can have. Arbitrary macroeconomic and monetary policies are every bit as fatal to an economy as arbitrary diagnosis and medication is to a human.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Hi MickHall

    Could you do me a favour and point out where Slugger’s “craven support for Neo-liberal economics, globalisation and the Celtic Tiger” appeared please? I would be most interested in reading this. Ditto Slugger’s support for the war in Iraq.

    I really don’t think that Slugger has made any particular statement either way on these things. And it’s hard to see how the comments constitute Slugger’s ‘voice’ on these matters, since they (and the bloggers) often come at the same issue from polar opposites.

    I know you think you’re being clear, but I can’t see the logic there. Do you mean that the (vast?) majority of blog posts and comments reflect a particular pro-capitalist, pro-peace process viewpoint? (It may be true, but it is up to you to prove it.)

    If so, that is quite different from ‘Slugger’ having a corporate view, which is what I think most people would understand from your initial comment. I think it’s how you have phrased the issue that has caused the communication breakdown here. I’d be interested to hear how other people understood it.

    I don’t doubt you could have a point, although I’d love to see some hard empirical evidence to back it up. A Marxist perspective, for example, might lead one to conduct a content analysis, with some hard data to confound your critics. If one is to accuse others of manufacturing consent, with all due respect a little more research is required.

  • I really don’t think that Slugger has made any particular statement either way on these things


    I rest my case, the two biggest issues of our day and as you say Slugger has not taken sides. The fact is slugger by not expressing an opinion on these titanic event, but as you say took the corporate view, that of power, allowed the space for all the mini cheer leaders to use slugger to cheer on the war, which undoubtedly to my mind was the most disgraceful act of any UK government in my life time.

    The same happened with the Celtic Tiger, any commentator who deviated from the official globalisation neo-liberal policy came under a howl of insults here and if they were not to be driven away were forced to tenaciously fight their corner using the same methodology.

    Yet not once did slugger pause and consider whether the Tiger might have been built on sand. Even worse in my view now the tide has come in, slugger has become a cheer leader for cuts, cuts, cuts.

    I might add not the greedy bastards throats who caused Irelands economic catastrophe, but the very people who had no had in it, nor benefited that much from it, but are now to be made to pick up the tab, a la 1930s UK.

    Mick F is an astute and energetic operator and he knows full well if he had allowed this blog to challenge the established line of the power elite it would not be where he wants to be, fair play to him, he networks and strokes the right egos.

    But does it bring the best out in slugger, yes if your bent is having a nice middle class forum which never challenges real power, and becomes an adjutant of it, but no if you wish to truly have a forum of all the peoples which challenges those with authority.

    Gonzo, I am not accusing anyone of manufacturing content, if anything it is the lack of critical content of the power elites which I rage about.

    I will conclude with an example, David Cameron has been given a free ride on slugger, why is that?

    By the way, thanks for the comradely tone of you post, if I can use that word 😉

  • Dave

    Forgive my ignorance but I have never come across the word ordoliberalism, I have just looked it up and can see where you are coming from. I will need to check this out some more.

    Your pupil


  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Mick Hall, I enjoy paranoid Marxian rants almost as much as I enjoy being called ‘young’, but now that you’ve thrice refused to give *any* evidence whatsoever that Slugger has even once taken a position on anything, please, for your own sake, drop this embarrassing pish.

    As for your loopdy-loo claim that by *not* taking positions, ‘Slugger’ is in fact taking them, I almost fell off my chair laughing. Or, should we take this seriously? Are you really so silly that you believe this too? In which case, since you personally have never once directly facilited a popular uprising against the clericalist neo-liberal Lugo dictatorship in Paraguay, it is clear, by your own spacer logic, that you are in fact a willing tool of crypto-Stroessnerite oppression of the working classes.

  • Dave

    I’m very an amateur economist, Mick, so be sure to keep at least one eye half open if you follow the blind. Ordoliberalism is the economic doctrine that guides the folks in Frankfurt (and has been imposed on Ireland for the last decade).

    “Ordo-Liberalism” Trumps Keynesianism: Economic Policy in the Federal Republic of Germany and the EU:

    Monetary, fiscal and financial stability in Europe:

  • Dave

    “As for your loopdy-loo claim that by *not* taking positions, ‘Slugger’ is in fact taking them, I almost fell off my chair laughing.”

    Actually, a lot of ‘processing’ is done by either not taking positions or by taking them but deliberately not advancing them. For example, the Shinners have taken the place for NI political republicanism and are deliberately not advancing it, thereby preventing others from advancing it. Likewise, the government of the Irish republic is not deliberately not advancing Irish nationalism, thereby ensuring the decline of the nation sate of Ireland and its gradual replacement by the de facto replica of Northern Ireland that is envisaged in the GFA. In both examples, they’ve been neutered by those who seek the decline of both.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Yeah, sure, but [which, given how often this formula is needed on Slugger, really should just be reduced to YSB] . . . ‘Ireland’, however that’s defined, can, indeed, must be seen, and used, as a corporate whole, for the word to have political meaning in the first place. Whereas, Slugger can’t. Unlike a nation, or state, Slugger doesn’t make any claims upon anyone: you and I are not Sluggerish, or Sluggerians. We’re us, and if we slabber here, we’re slabbering ourselves. It’s not Slugger slabbering. To say that Slugger itself has opinions because, in fact, jerkwads like us mouth off here, is as barkingly mad as claiming, ‘the internet has opinions – the Internet thinks X, Y, and Z: ‘strue, I’ve done seen dem words up on duh internet!’

    But what am I saying? of course socialists will think that ‘the internet has opinions’ – for shure, isn’t it a boss class tool above all other tools? Ah, commies, you’re almost as amusing as Republicans, and when the two of you get together, well . . . [cue Hart to Hart opening credits]

  • Laughing tory unionist (Surely a contradiction of terms old boy?)

    Thanks for your considerate reply, I try to amuse and in the order of things, making a single human being laugh is not a total waste of ones time, especially when it is a bad tempered lout like your good self.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish me to lighten your burden further, as I am a strong believer in everyone being entitled to a little sun light at least once there lives. Or even if momentarily you wish to be distracted from your chosen profession of pulling wings off butterflies.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Ah ha, advanced consciousness of a revolutionary vanguard displaying proletarian anti-lepidopterism. Well I for take my stand by fellow boss class lackey Vladimir Vladimirovich.

    [So far, the submit words today have been ‘left’ and ‘red’: I’m glad the scunners at Palace barracks are finding ways to keep themselves busy]