This blog focuses primarily on aspects of parliamentary procedure, parliamentary government in general and politics in a more very general sense.
Who is Radical Centrist?
I know there is a lot of debate online over the use of pseudonyms (which some confuse with being anonymous) and using real names. The entire “real name” argument fails on every level simply because it is completely impossible to verify that someone is using their actual real name. They may be blogging or commenting using something that looks like a real name, but there is no way to prove that it is that blogger’s or commenter’s actual real-life name.
That said, I have blogged under the pseudonym Radical Centrist for almost a decade now, first on a now-defunct blog called “Vues d’ici”, and now here.
I know there have been many examples of people blogging under pseudonyms, who made certain claims as to what they did in real life and who they were connected to, and where then exposed to be complete fakes (see for example the Lord Credo saga). This somehow puts everyone using a pseudonym under a haze of suspicion.
The point remains that there are very many entirely legitimate reasons why someone might want to not use their real name online. For one, it’s stupid. It’s the first rule of the internet: don’t use your real name online. There are lot of utter nutters out there, why make it easier for anyone to track you down in real life?
In my own case, I blog under a pseudonym because the conditions of my employment contract make blogging a bit of a grey area for me. I love politics and parliamentary procedure, but my current employment contract requires that I be as politically neutral as humanly possible in public. I am forbidden from discussing in any public forum the political positions and policies of any federal or provincial party in Canada. Because of that, I write about politics in Canada only in a very general sense. I do not comment on the government of the day and its policies, nor do I discuss current political issues, except in a very general, global sense. For example, I have a post explaining what is the Speech from the Throne. I will not, however, blog about the contents of a Throne Speech. I may blog about the budget process. I will not comment or analyze a particular government’s budget.
Similarly, I will write about various aspects of parliamentary procedure, but again, in general terms, not specifically as it relates to what is going on in Canada or in any Canadian province. If I write about parliamentary privilege, I will undoubtedly refer to Canadian House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken’s ruling on the matter, but I will not go into detail about what led to the ruling.
Because of the limitations I have to respect when blogging about Canada, I tend to blog more about the UK, and on occasion about Australia and other countries. The 6 May 2010 general election in the United Kingdom, followed by the formation of a coalition government, fascinated me and for that reason, I blog quite a bit about the coalition – but again, from a procedural and general point of view. I don’t follow domestic UK politics closely enough to comment on various bills introduced by the UK government.
If, at any time, I start a post and feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable with what I am writing, I simply delete the post. I will not engage in any partisan discussion.
I don’t claim to be well-connected politically, in fact, I don’t discuss myself at all, not on this blog, not on Twitter. Therefore, I have no qualms about using a pseudonym. The blog isn’t about me, it’s primarily about parliamentary procedure and parliamentary politics.
I regularly monitor the keyword search activity that leads people to this blog. On occasion, if I notice many people seem to be looking for specific information on a given topic, I will write a post addressing that issue. If there is an aspect of parliamentary procedure or parliamentary government that you find confusing and would like me to write about, please use the contact form. I’m not an expert, but I do have amazing resources at my disposal.
The great Big Ben image used in the blog’s header can be found here. It’s a piece of vector art by someone named Tom, which is available for download.