Tag Archives: chris-lightfoot

You can’t libel the dead, but the English Democrats are having a bloody good go of it

Steve Uncles, the top candidate for the English Democrats in the South East region has decided to pick an argument he feels he has a reasonable argument of winning – on the basis that his opponent died a couple of years ago. In a forum post entitled “Fun with bloggers who hate their County [sic] ‘England'” he writes:

You may recall the “self hating” blogger – Chris Lightfoot, who in 2004, “went off on one” just because he got a leaflet through his letter box with an England Flag on it.

18 Months ago the poor lad Committed Suicide – that’s what happens when you hate your own country, you have no identity, no focus – nothing.

I vaguely knew Chris Lightfoot, firstly as a blogger and then in a professional and social capacity I met up with him on a couple of occasions. I liked him, and am pretty disgusted at seeing his name being rubbished in this way – especially by a serial political failure such as Steve Uncles. So let me clarify a few things:

1) Chris’s blog is still online and you can see for yourself if he or Uncles, to use the latters’ phrase, “went off on one”. It should be noted that his argument with the English Democrats was not primarily in their use of the flag but in their anti-immigration policies and support for victims’ justice. He referred to them as “quasi-fascist.” When it comes to flags, he pretty much condemned all parties equally.

2) I don’t know the full story about why Chris committed suicide and nor would I wish to pry. What I do know is that it took place three years after this incident and that his dislike of flag waving nationalism (which I happen to share) was not a preoccupation of his.

3) Uncles goes on to ask “Do you believe the SNP (Scottich [sic] National Party ) are racist biggots [sic]?” Well personally speaking, not particularly, no, although I do deplore their tendency to flirt with it when it suits their political agenda. They also don’t pursue regressive zero-immigration policies of the kind that the English Democrats’ espouse.

4) This whole “self-hating” stuff has been lifted directly out of the emic debate about zionism. It is a daft debate there and an even dafter debate in the context of English nationalism. What’s more, what could be more self-loathing than defining your identity on the basis of flag-waving and land? By definition it is a call for the very sublimation of the self in favour of the herd.

There is something irredeemably vile about someone who tries to make political capital out of a suicide. Worse, even, than someone who buys the odd duck house on expenses.

Building a better compass

Peter Dunphy wrote an interesting post last week about the limitations of Political Compass.

Of course, in the blogosphere there is very little new under the virtual sun, and this was a topic of debate 5 years ago. The late and much missed Chris Lightfoot was a great critic of the application and wrote his own version, along with this explanation. Entirely open source, it is ripe for someone to adapt and inflict on Facebook. Having said that, I’m not sure Chris would have approved of this in light of Facebook’s somewhat lax attitude towards user privacy – I do miss his postings.

Chris Lightfoot 1978-2007

I was very sad to learn of the death of Chris Lightfoot last month.

When I first started blogging, Chris’ blog was compulsive reading and Chris himself was an occasionally useful ally. He had a razor-sharp intellect and an excellent sense of humour, and his posts were always a joy to read.

As time went on, my respect for him grew as he emerged as one of the leading lights behind the various MySociety projects such as WriteToThem and PledgeBank. I met up with him a couple of times in a work capacity with a view to developing a couple of projects, but they never went anywhere.

I can’t claim to have known him that well, but he was clearly a person of great skill and great integrity. We are all the poorer for his passing.

Tom Steinberg of MySociety and Phil Booth of No2ID, who knew him much better, have posted their tributes.