Monday, November 05, 2007

Welcome to the real Westphalia

To whoever is behind the much read (and it has to be said, quite funny) spoof website that has caused much anxiety and amusement in equal measure at the Town Hall here is a map of the real Westphalia. Why this particular region of Europe was selected as an alternative Torbay in the parallel universe now occupied by much of the Torbay Liberal Democrat community I will never guess.

According to the text and tone of the website (and particularly the comments) the Lib Dems clearly think the reason they lost power is:

a) A conspiracy by the media (especially the Herald Express)
b) Dirty tricks by the other side (i.e. Conservatives)
c) The electorate being lazy/stupid/ill informed
d) all of the above

It's an arrogant approach destined to failure and guaranteed to alienate the electorate even more. It suggests to me that the Lib Dems have a very long way to go, at least in Torbay, before they are ready to deliver an alternative; and in my view Labour have a real chance of overtaking them here if they don't change tack.

If it's any comfort we have been there, and done that.

For the last fifteen or twenty years Tories were obsessed with the view that our continuing poll losses were 'anyone's fault but our own.' Locally and nationally there was an unwillingness to recognise that the selection of candidates, the policies and the tone of the party were out of step with the public and instead blame the press for our woes; indeed when I first came here we Tories always referred to the newspaper as the 'Herald Depressed'.

It's interesting to see the Lib Dems now doing the same thing.

See what you think:


Anonymous said...

I reckon the Lib Dems will be happy as Larry - able to slag each other off to their hearts content in their own little imaginary world.

Meanwhile real people can get to grips with the very real problems of real people in the large as life " Falling Into-the-sea -after-years-of-neglect-by Lib Dem Councils place called Torbay."

Candide said...

Salut Marcus!

Ca va toi?
Thank you for your rather backhanded compliment ('quite funny') of my blog, which I came across via Google. I'm surprised that you think my little fiction is about Torbay; presumably there are some coincidental things in the text which strike a chord with you. Unfortunately you have obviously missed many of the references - without wishing to sound even more arrogant you could try putting 'candide' into wikipedia, which may shed a little light on things.
I would like to clarify a couple of points: I am not a Lib-Dem, don't know any Lib-Dems and have never even met any. Likewise I don't know the people who are leaving comments on the blog. You seem to think this is some kind of Lib-Dem conspiracy, but I'm afraid the truth is far less sinister. I wrote something I thought was amusing, borrowing freely from other sources for ideas but always being careful to acknowledge sources through subtle references that like-minded readers would get. I showed it to no more than about 12 people, and from there it took off - dare I say it has something of a cult status - over 6000 hits. I'm very sorry you think my arrogant approach is destined to failure (was that pun intended?), but isn't it rather arrogant to make such sweeping statements about someone you don't know who has written something you clearly don't really understand? I hope you don't mind, but I will judge my success or failure by the number of hits on the blog. I notice you don't have a hit counter on your site - I wonder why not? Your blog is basically one big political advert, so I would have thought you would have wanted some tangible way of measuring it's success (i.e. how many people are reading it), but I guess the truth might be too hard to bear - the only indicator is you poll, which is standing at 12 votes. So 12 votes versus 6131 hits, and my spoof newspaper which I only started on 2nd Nov has had 500 hits. If I were you I wouldn't be so quick to judge who's destined to fail.

A la prochaine

Anonymous said...

Arrogant, moi?

Marcus Wood said...

What a curious reaction! Was Voltaire so sensitive? - as a lawyer I bet he took more care to read things than you do.

I have never accused you of being a Lib Dem, but your anti-Conservative site certainly has become a fave for the Lib Dem community at the Town Hall.

My comments about failure were not directed at you either - it was a polemic about the manner in which Lib Dem activists on your site have apparently reacted so badly to being voted out of office.

But you are right. I do seem to have missed many of the subtle references you have woven into your text. As a busy bloke I haven't had time to wade through all 23 pages of it yet, perhaps if I do read it properly it will all come clear to me.

I imagine that one of the very real frustrations for clever people like you is thinking everyone else is too dim to appreciate your carefully-crafted wit, eh?

Anyway, I enjoyed it and I hope you keep it going.

Barrie Wood said...

I like it too and it is fast reaching cult status locally. It's funny that's the key and it would be if the characters and bias were pro-Con and anti LD.

Anonymous said...

I think Candide needs to get out more.

Candide said...

Hi Marcus

Glad to see you've taken my advice and done your research. Get yourself a copy of 'Candide' - it's very short and a good read in translation - better than my blog by a long way, so if you're pressed for reading time go for that first.
Arrogant as your anonymous contributors think I am, I will continue blogging, and will try to get out more.
I see it's time to change the poll today - let's see whose gets the biggest response.
As you've contributed to giving me my 15 minutes of fame I've put an appropriate picture on my profile - enjoy!

Captain Geoff said...

I think Candide is far too up himself to have noticed your dig there, Marcus old mate.

He is too clever by half.

You don't think it might be Gordon Brown do you?

Anonymous said...

Blimey, I see what you mean. The comments on the Westphalia blog are totally vicious aren't they?

What an unpleasant bunch you have to cope with.

Handbags all round I think.

Anonymous said...

Since he is so well read I expect Candide will know this quote:

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."

Voltaire said...

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

Marcus Wood said...

anonymous - you know I know who you are.

Now stop showing off!

Anonymous said...

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Candide said...


The polls are showing 27 votes on mine to 5 on yours - maybe you're asking the wrong question. Anyway, this is just a quick message to say I'm not going to respond here anymore, but I'll just let the blog do the talking. At least your comments show you have a brain, which is obviously why you've been parachuted in to the constituency, but I really can't be dealing with the likes of your Captain Geoff or these other anonymous characters suddenly calling themselves voltaire. Do they all share one brain?

Marcus Wood said...

Oh well you know how it is Candide, one just can't get the commentators these days...

Anonymous said...

While you may notice some universal truths here and may sometimes believe that Mark Hellyer as the author of this blog is being described, please remember that Westphalia-on-Sea and any reference to Mark is entirely fictitious, and any similarity between him and a real person and real events is purely coincidental.

Anonymous said...

And if you fancy a bit of satire, on a bit of satire, check out

Anonymous said...

Is Marcus Wood so thick that he cannot see the pun in Westphalia(failure)!