There, that got your attention, didn't it?
I don't, of course mean that she's a green faced, pointy hatted, broomstick riding turning people into toads sort of a person. And she's unlikely to have any self respecting kitten go within miles of her after this, #3 is the point you need to read. I betrayed my small furry friends everywhere by laughing till I cried when I read it.
When I say she's a witch, I mean it in the sense that she's a wise woman who is quite comfortable with challenging the conventional thinking of both her time and her party. A few hundred years ago, women like Charlotte, and Jennie, for that matter, would probably have been put on the ducking stool for being outspoken. Of course, in those times, you could be a man and be as outspoken as you liked and just be labelled as an eccentric and looked upon with amused affection.
Charlotte is probably about as far removed from me in the Lib Dems as you could possibly get. In essence, I am an old fashioned peace loving, tax and spend lots on lovely public services liberal hippy while she is, to say the least, a little bit sceptical about the need for ever so many public services. In other, less tolerant, parties, she and I might view each other suspciously, at daggers drawn, each of us questioning the other's ideological purity. I remember first coming across that sort of nonsense at Uni watching the Labour students. Unless you fitted into a very narrow ideological slot, you just weren't good enough for them. The good thing about this party, is that we not only practice what we preach, we relish in it. We naturally welcome diversity, be it of culture, opinion, food and ideas or whatever, see it as a chance to learn or at the very least have a very satisfying argument.
Charlotte and I can be at the opposite ends of the party and still respect each other's liberalism and, hopefully, learn from each other and have a bit of a laugh in the process. I like the way she challenges our long held perceptions in increasingly creative, often very funny ways. And this from someone who was complaining of Bloggers' Block a wee while ago.
The reason I started this post, and called Charlotte a witch was really to say that the other day, on Twitter, she started talking about the Lib Dem Blog of the Year Awards - and, you know what, just hours later, Lib Dem Voice started advertising them, so she can obviously see into the future as well as her many other talents:-).
Anyway, according to LDV, this is what the awards are all about, and how you submit your nominations for them:
"The Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards, run in conjunction with Lib Dem Voice, are back for their fourth year. As usual, they’ll be awarded in a budget lavish ceremony at the party’s autumn conference in Bournemouth. (There’s further information on the event over at the Lib Dems’ Flock Together site). Click on the following links to see last year’s Shortlist and the Winners.
This year’s awards are as follows:
* Best new Liberal Democrat blog (started since 1st September 2008)
* Best blog from a Liberal Democrat holding public office (The Tim Garden Award)
* Best use of blogging / social networking / e-campaigning by a Liberal Democrat
* Best posting on a Liberal Democrat blog (since 1st September 2008)
* Best non-Liberal Democrat politics blog
* Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year
To be eligible for ‘Best blog from a Liberal Democrat holding public office’, a blog should be written by a councillor, elected mayor, assembly member, or parliamentarian.
The ‘Best use of blogging / social networking / e-campaigning award’ recognises the expanding role of both blogging and the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in politics. It’s a deliberately open category: you might want to nominate a good campaigning YouTube video, or a particularly interesting Twitter feed.
The Best non-Liberal Democrat politics blog winner will be chosen by you, dear reader (should you choose to take part). Once the judges have chosen their shortlist, these blogs will be put up for public vote here on Lib Dem Voice.
The judging panel is still being finalised, but I’ll let you know as soon as possible which judges have blogs so that you can avoid nominating them, as they’re not eligible to win. Liberal Democrat Voice and any official party blogs (such as Home Office Watch) aren’t eligible either.
You’ve got until 4th September to nominate your favourites, but the sooner the better (and you can send more than one set if you’d like). Please don’t feel the need to round up hundreds of people to nominate your blog as the number of nominations aren’t taken into account.
Send in your nominations by email to email@example.com and remember to state which award category you’re nominating for, in each case."
Now, I am sufficiently far enough down the food chain not to be remotely in the running for any of these awards. Everyone expects the front runners for Blog of the Year to be Charlotte, Costigan and Mark and, to be honest, I can't really imagine anyone else getting much of a look in. I've already spoken about Charlotte, Costigan is just awesome in the way he takes the sting out of tabloid frenzies and exposes hypocrisy - and, of course, his USP is a smattering of smut throughout, and Mark has stormed to the top of the Lib Dem bloggers' tree after his famous post correlating safeness of seats with excessive expenses claims. That posting has probably done more to advance the cause of electoral reform than anything I've seen in my quarter century in this game.
If there were any justice in this world, they'd each get one of the big awards - Charlotte for Blog of the Year, Costigan for Best New Blog and Mark for Best Posting. I want to see others rewarded too, though - people like Jennie who is brilliantly outrageous. She actually got my number one vote for what she calls the Total Bollocks Awards. I bet her blog is read by more people outside the political bubble than any other, because it's down to earth, straight talking and has people doubled up in laughter at the original way she expresses herself. This is one of my favourite postings of the year from her. Actually maybe that's either Jennie or Charlotte for Lib Dem Blog of the Year.
My personal choice for best Lib Dem blog from someone holding public office would be this one because I want the Party to recognise the dignity with which Paul has dealt with a very tough year and has continued to serve his constituents, fighting hard on the local issues that matter to them. He's always been one for technology, bringing his laptop to meetings before they were fashionable, and has always been committed to using technology to bring himself closer to the people he represents.
In terms of best use of Social Networking and Blogging, I'd go for Jo Swinson. She doesn't have a blog, but she uses the web effectively and has been recognised for her efforts on this. Tom Brake, for his innovative Facebook surgeries also deserves a mention, as does the Sugar Daddy of Liberal Democrat social networking, Steve Webb, who showed everyone else how to do it.
So there's my tuppenceworth on this year's awards. Whatever you do, cast your vote for somebody and let's make this year's awards the biggest ever