Plus Ultra!

prague-castleI know Brian said that we’d posted our last, but I couldn’t let the very kind words on the thread announcing our closure to go un-remarked. I also thought it somewhat incumbent on me as founder of the blog to say goodbye, and I want to do that too.

LP was a large part of my life for a long time, and will always mean a lot to me, so I wanted to express my gratitude for those words and sentiments. So, thanks!

I don’t want just to dwell on the past. I thought people might be interested to know what I’m planning for my own future digital writing.

When we initially shut up shop, I said:

I am convinced there’s a role for a more curated and conciously counter-cultural focus on policy, shifts in the lived experience of our public culture, and serious examination of flashpoints in the battle between reason and untruth.

I still think that, and that’s something I plan to start. I refined my thinking on how that might be translated into practice when I was doing some work for a client in 2012, and I think now is a good time to start, with a new government and a lack of measured and positive progressive policy conversations and analyses to provide an alternative and a substantive critique.

In particular, I want to build on the efforts a number of made around FAQ Research, shining a light on a contested policy area.

We might, for instance, look not just at the continued contests over land use and the resources industry but also at the feasibility of ‘green jobs’ and how innovation, education and skills policy can shape nascent labour market shifts towards sustainable and high wage employment.

That’s just one example – but I think there’s a host of areas where a new social democratic vision can be both articulated and grounded in ideas that appeal to communities as well as activists and thinkers. At the same time, we need new ways of talking to each other about the way forward.

I’ve started work on The New Social Democrat. There’s nothing to see yet, as I need to build the site. The nitty and gritty digital bit of a digital startup! But I wanted to flag my intentions to folks, and let you know something of what to expect, and how you can follow what I’m up to, should you want to.

The easiest way to find out when there is something to see is to follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page (and I have some other commissioned writing which will be appearing soon and will be linked to there). If you’re not into social media, feel free to email me at mbahnisch [at]

The first step will be building a blog on the site, and I will probably start posting early next month. It may be earlier or it may be later, but I envisage the site launching in March this year.

So I’d also be very much interested in hearing from anyone who might be interested in writing or doing some editing on the new site.

Ideally, I would like to build a stable of editors and contributors in particular thematic areas. So it would be great to know who might be interested.

Down the track, I would also like to be able to pay people for their work. There’s an important point of principle here, as the digital economy destroys monetary value as much as it creates it, and commodifies people’s enthusiasm and talent as raw input for corporate profit. I want to resist that. Unfortunately, I don’t have any money myself (I’m down in Sydney looking for employment), but if anyone wanted to make  a donation, that would be very kind and greatly appreciated. You can do so here.

Or you could give me a job! :)

Anyway, I hope some folks are interested in this new venture, and I want to wish all LP readers over the years all the very best. And a particular thanks to all my co-bloggers and moderators! Live long and prosper!

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15 responses to “Plus Ultra!”

  1. paul burns

    Will keep an eye on that New Social Democrat, Mark. pretty sure I’m following you on Facebook. I get all your posts so I guess I am.

  2. John D

    That’s just one example – but I think there’s a host of areas where a new social democratic vision can be both articulated and grounded in ideas that appeal to communities as well as activists and thinkers. At the same time, we need new ways of talking to each other about the way forward.

    Sounds interesting Mark.
    Too often we end up talking past each other, particulalry when the competing sides hold different high grounds. (Ex: Long term Vs short term)

  3. jungney

    Well, Mark, fare thee well. It has been an absolute pleasure to meet you and I look forward to your success.

  4. Mindy


  5. Terangeree

    I’ll look out for the new site, too.

  6. Val

    Hi Mark, I’ve already expressed my admiration for LP and as the original founder you can be very proud of what you’ve created. Good luck with your new venture, I look forward to reading it.

    [Snip. Point has been made before. Feel free to make the point on your blog again, but not here please. ~ Mod]

    Farewell and best wishes.

  7. Alison

    Following you! Thanks for LP, good luck.

  8. Val

    Your blog, your rules, as ever, till the end. Cheerio and good luck.

  9. Liz

    Good luck and all the best with it, Mark.

  10. Tracy

    I was always more of a lurker than anything, but I loved LP and always had so much admiration for the work you and all the contributers put in and for the result. Good luck, Mark. (And I’m a definite start-up lurker for your future venture.)

  11. Huggybunny

    Your email bounced Mark.
    Good luck with your new venture, send me an email and I will make you an offer you cannot refuse.

  12. Brian

    Mark, you’ve used the motto of my old alma mater. Back in the 1950s it was a cheap boarding school for scrubbers from the bush and the sons and daughters of missionaries in PNG, plus a cheap boarding school for anyone in the Asia Pacific, so we had about 20% polyglot non-Lutherans.

    Having been involved in FAQ Research and the CSG project, I wonder about how much time it will chew up, wonder too whether it will be at the expense of a book or three that the world is waiting for you to write!

  13. Graham Bell

    Mark: That should be

    LP was a large and highly successfulpart of my life for a long time,

    To blazes with standard-format CVs …. your operation of Larvatus Prodeo should get you to the top of the short-listed pile for any worthwhile position, a bit like an Olympic medal or a knighthood or participation in the New Inventors show. You have done very well indeed.

    Brian @ 12:
    How true …. the other day, I was at a funeral with several mourners who were students at St. Peter’s years ago.

    Shall try to follow both of you in your new directions.

    Thank you for your patience and for all your valuable information and damned good fun too.

  14. jules

    Thanks for starting this up Mark. LP was a great thing while it lasted.

    Cheers and I hope whatever comes next can do as well.