Ukraine, Blogging and Democracy
Le Sabot Poste-Moderne is reporting that a compromise has been reached. There will apparently be a re-vote, and both sides have renounced violence.
Let's hope this is not another of those false starts, of which there have been so many over the last week or so. There are still a lot of questions. Yep, much is undecided.
Nonetheless, some lessons learned from blogging the revolution:
- It is practically impossible for anyone in the west to understand the complexities of the Ukrainian situation, and certainly not the sheer enthusiasm involved - we have never experienced anything like this
- Many people have confused "Yushchenko for President" with "Democracy for Ukraine" - they are not necessarily interchangable
- Wearing orange to show support for Ukrainian democracy, even if that is your only intention, actually only shows support for Yushchenko
- Pointing out the last point often leads to irritated - and perhaps justified - rebuttals from Ukrainians who see in Yushchenko hope for the future
- That hope can blind them to his flaws
- Pointing out that Yushchenko has flaws is not the same as saying he is not the better candidate, but it will usually be interpreted that way
- It is next to impossible to find any pro-Yanukovych views online, despite the fact that he gained the support of a sizable chunk of the population, even after fraudulent results are taken into account
- The one-sided feed of information makes informed comment of the overall situation utterly impossible - like reporting a US election using only Democrat sources, or on the EU while only reading pro-European blogs and articles
- Most importantly, after more than a week of covering and following the elections, I have yet to see a run-down of either candidate's actual policies - and without seeing the policies, how is it possible to form a decent opinion?
Even if we get it wrong sometimes, and even if we often fall foul of the lure of leaping to the obvious conclusions, this whole affair has convinced me of the good that us bloggers can do. With a UK General Election coming up - perhaps as soon as May - and with the ongoing preparations for Britain's EU presidency and the vote on the European Referendum, I am going to give serious consideration as to how I can help foster debate through this blog. Maybe Blog:Vote is the way forward, maybe something else entirely.
I am entirely open to suggestions - let me know which direction you'd like this blog to go in. It will remain Eurocentric, normally with a heavier emphasis on international relations and foreign affairs than domestic British politics, but beyond that I'm entirely open to ideas.
One thing is sure - this blog will try to remain entirely unpartisan. As the Ukrainian election crisis has demonstrated, it is impossible to reach any conclusions without looking at the claims of all sides. Although I am loosely pro-European, there will be anti-EU posts on here as well, when this is merited. No one political party will be endorsed or slagged off more than any of the others... Well, except for UKIP and the BNP, obviously. But they aren't proper political parties anyway.
Oh, one final final thing - I am fully, utterly aware of how arrogant and self-righteous this all sounds. But such is also the nature of blogging. We're mostly a bunch of semi-anonymous, egomaniacal obsessives who think our views may actually be of merit, and who normally seem to get riled beyond belief when someone disagrees with us. But in that we're hardly different from the mainstream press, or indeed politicians themselves - so what does it matter, eh? Humour us. Fan our egos. Fan MY ego. Go on... Please...?