Sunday, 12 April 2009

Blog wars: they played, they lost

As predicted yesterday, the events of the last 24 hours show how personal, nasty, and petty the political blogosphere can become. The frustrating thing about it is that Labour has found it hard to adjust to the world of political blogging. And now they have started to play, they have played absolutely the wrong game. They have gone for tabloid-esque rumour, slur and gossip. By playing the wrong man and wrong game they have dropped the ball. In so doing, as I discussed yesterday, they have allowed the big egos of the political blogosphere to claim the moral high ground. Hopeless really.

On the issue itself, I agree with comments made yesterday by Tom Harris and wholeheartedly endorse the comments made by Alastair Campbell about this approach being incompetent. The Labour party has to set the very highest standards and then meet them. We fell short. That's it.

David Cameron and George Osborne have been so woefully wrong on the economy that I do have grave concern about a future Tory government. It will set the UK back economically and will harm our reputation and influence in the world which makes us less able to defend our strategic interests. That is a powerful argument that should be made continuously until the next general election. Make that argument lucidly then a fourth term becomes a possibility. Events such as this weekend detract from that clear argument. From Labour's perspective, that's the real pity.

Finally, a comment about blogging to expand on my comments yesterday. I was a sceptic at first but decided to give it go when I was in the States covering the Obama campaign just over a year ago. It was a travelog as much as anything but then I saw that it provided other opportunities for self-expression. Hundreds of other people see the same thing: that makes for a diversity of voices and perspective. For me, that is the hallmark of a healthy democracy and blogging most definitely has something to contribute. That is strongly in the public interest.

My fear is now, as it has achieved its first major scalp, blogging has started, in political consciousness, to move into the mainstream. The danger is that it will be seen as an opportunity to wash the sort of dirty laundry that not even the tabloid press would touch. If that is to be the case, it will have a specialised audience based around the Westminster Village rather than a broad audience tapping into the diversity of opinion in UK politics. I hate to say it but this weekend may come to be seen as the UK blogosphere's 'Drudge' moment (though on a much more petty scale). I don't celebrate that- and it's interesting that one of the people at the centre of this describes his blog as being 'anti-politics'- remember that. I just look at the fantastic range and quality of the post-Drudge US blog sites (see my links to sample a few that I read) and stay optimistic.

Post script: Are you following me on Twitter?


  1. Oh come on!

    You can't be all that surprised.

    It's New Labour FFS! The most Corrupt, Authoritarian, Repressive & Sleazy Political Party this country has ever seen......and that's saying something after the Major Tories! LOL

  2. Naturally, I don't agree. If that needed pointing out!

  3. "The Labour party has to set the very highest standards and then meet them. We fell short. "


    Fell short!!! These were vile, slanderous and fabricated stories intended to smear opposition politicians and their wives. 'Fell short' doesn't come anywhere near it. This is the clearest example yet that this Labour Government is a rotten and corrupt administration which deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

    McBride was a Civil Servant who abused his position and used Government time, equipment and Intranet to submit his 'juvenile' lies to Draper. He SHOULD be charged with Malfeasance in Public Office - but of course that won't happen, because he's a bit too close to his Master Gordon Brown!

  4. Spin on spin. You are obsessed with it. After all that's come to light (there is a great deal more to come, believe me)all you can do is bang on and on spinning.
    Cameron and Osborne wrong on the economy? Your pathetic Leader is not? Pensions destroyed, PFI a disaster, public debt astronomical. I give up. Spin, spin, spin.

  5. Oldrightie, I like you less today.

    I think if you look through this blog you will see that I've argued the case against the Cameron/ Osborne economic approach a fair amount. So I don't think you are right to be so dismissive. It would not be 'spin' to the people who would lose their jobs, homes or businesses as a result of a misguided economic policy.