My friend Jeff has a great post up, that covers much of my perspective on the LPC decision, so I won't rehash. Kinsella also has a succinct post on the subject. I've sort of held back blogging about this subject, just a bit of whining on twitter and lots more in private. However, I have a couple points to add, because the way this whole decision went down is instructive as to what is wrong with the Liberal Party.
I'm the one who first applied for accreditation, primarily because I wanted a power cord and a chair to plant my computer, but also because I did want access to certain things. I don't consider myself "real" media, let's get real here. However, that designation doesn't distract from relevant commentary, my opinions expressed here have value, it's up to readers to decide how much. What really bothers me is PROCESS itself, not necessarily the decision itself.
Of course the decision is money related, I know that rationale for a fact and that's understandable. Truth be told, the glitzy blogger room at the last convention was rarely used, most of us we are on the floor where the action was, it was a WASTE of money. Ditto for the Thinkers Conference, again, nice to have I suppose, but not of much practical value. As well, some did attend events using accreditation, without paying any fees, so the party didn't capture this money they otherwise would have. Never mind the PITTANCE that number would be- the actual number of bloggers insanely small- for a party desperate to trim fat, an easy candidate. In other words, some sound logic for toning down the expenditure.
Here's the RUB though. Did the LPC ask any social media types for input? NO, I found out the new world order from a request, there was no consultation or anything, just LPC types in Ottawa deciding what is best, and in so doing revealing just how out of touch they really are, HEREIN lies the problem. Had this party acted like an egalitarian entity bent on renewal and rebirth they would seek out opinion, and surprise, surprise, they would have found most involved were already PLANNING on paying, and most didn't see a need for a blogger room, cost concerns not an issue!
My immediate reaction to the decision was to say, and this VERBATIM, the LPC will create a needless optical problem, once people like Stephen Taylor get hold of this decision they will cause a stir and we'll look bad. What would it say about a party that is claiming to be inclusive, egalitarian, grassroots in focus, for the people, bent on true renewal and forward thinking, to go BACKWARDS on social media? Here we have countries like Israel formally recognizing bloggers as journalists, and the LPC moves the other way on social media types? Again, the whole thought process denotes a real disconnect, how ANYONE couldn't have foreseen the reaction escapes me, because it was obvious and predictable.
There will be no re-think, because that's not how the LPC operates, father knows best and others are unfortunately left to rationalize bad decisions. All this decision does is tell me the Liberal Party needs to cleanse itself of the elitist attitudes that pervade the entire apparatus. Bloggers were going to pay anyways, bloggers didn't need bells and whistles, the concerns of no real concern, but that knowledge would require REAL outreach and a two way conversation. I will be going as a delegate with revolutionary spirit under foot, because this baby is broken and STILL doesn't get it....