Monday, 12 January 2009

Embrace and engage Labourlist?

There has been a tediously predictable debate about the virtues of Labourlist. Should it be 'embraced and engaged' as Peter Mandelson is now doing to new media? Put aside the fact that 'embrace and engage' sounds like a Python-esque take on the Joy of Sex, what are the chances of success for Labourlist?

Well, I'd certainly recommend reserving judgement. It is quite an intriguing experiment and one that may just work. Hopefully, it doesn't just descend into abuse and the loudest or most popular voice wins. I also hope that it is allowed to breathe and the early signs are that it will be allowed to. Time will tell but I wish it every success.

It is an unusual experiment in that most successful attempts to generate on-line news, comment and communities have been spontaneously established. DailyKos and are the obvious examples from the left of American politics. By no means, however, does that mean they are the only possible models for success.

Whatever path it takes it will be part of a family of blog sites on the left which include Liberal Conspiracy, LabourHome, and individual blog sites: my own favourite is Hopi Sen who has a natural ability to write humorously about politics. On the right, ConservativeHome co-exists with the likes of Iain Dale, Dizzy Thinks, and Guido Fawkes. (I can't be bothered linking to them- they are either in my list of links or use Google and burn energy equivalent to boiling a few kettles.)

My one early comment is that the list of contributors does have a slightly 'usual suspects' feel to it. They are the people that you see and hear time and time again on the think-tank/ campaign group circuit or in Labour backing magazines and journals. They are good, don't get me wrong. But surely there are different and edgy voices that can be brought a bit more into the mainstream?

Anyway, good luck to Labourlist. We'll give the 'embrace and engage' a go and if that doesn't work then we'll have to try something a little less missionary.

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