Saturday, July 18, 2009

What can lefty blogging achieve?

The right-wing blogosphere has had a fairly good year so far. The anti-politics ultras have been able to team up very effectively with the mainstream media to damage elected politicians in general, but Labour ones moreso.

The disproportionate damage Labour has sustained can be explained in the following ways
  • In government during a recession for which they are partially responsible (the idea that the Tories would have handled the banks any differently is a hard one to make)
  • Expectations; Voters have a higher expectation of the behavior of Labour MPs - it may be the case that a Tory vote is often for 'a bastard, but OUR bastard' whereas Labour voters expect more
  • Been in power for a long time anyway - 'time for a change' and everything that accrues to that sentiment (there's a post of its own in that one)
  • Because Labour has a higher percentage of MPs, any 'they've all got their hands in the til' scandal will hit them harder
All of that said, I suspect that - as they step closer to government, the 'anti-politics' rhetoric will be less welcome in Tory central office. We're already seeing the Red Tory offensive, and it's noticeable that people like Jeremy Hunt and Kenneth Clarke are more visible a lot of the time than George Osborne.

Like Labour in the mid-1990s, there's plenty of evidence that the tories are quietly reaching out to assure various interest groups that a change of government will not be accompanied by any kind of Armageddon.

They know that a fear of change can provoke resistance, and their version of Labour's 'Safety First' approach means that there will be less encouragement for the kind of nihilistic attack that is coming from the blogosphere.

There may also shortly be an appeal for a 'period of reflection' of some sort? A call for a 'dialogue' in which all of the tarnished institutions - MPs, banks, the BBC, and to a lesser extent, the media, can express a suitable bit of humility before picking up where they left off.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for the left-blogosphere. There are plenty of potential targets such as Lord Ashcroft and Ashcroft-financed Tory PPCs.

In the way that the right have been able to manufacture attacks on MPs and the BBC in collusion with the MSM, perhaps it's possible for bloggers to sustain an attack on the more obnoxious elements of the MSM?

From the little acorn of an 11,000-strong petition to not let the Express off the hook or it's treatment of Dunlaine survivors.

Tim over at Bloggerheads and a few others have made a good start in targeting right-wing newspapers, but there doesn't seem to be any real co-ordination yet around an attempt to crowdsource harassment of these newspapers and the vile shitheads that write for them.

It really does beg the question - is the MSM as 'finished' as some people say that it is? I'd argue that it's healthier than it seems, and that little by way of sustained campaigning can happen without the collusion of these newspapers.

The right-wing blogosphere is far more instinctively co-ordinated than the left. A comparison between ConservativeHome - really a not-bad group blog as far as the Conservatives are concerned and Labour's equivalents says something.

Perhaps this will only come together in opposition?


raincoatoptimism said...

How will the transition in government alter the way in which blogging is conducted? Do you think the usual suspects will remain popular (Dale, Guido, Dizzy et al) or do you think a (possible) Tory govt. will allow a leftie blogger to operate more freely. Will there be room for a bubblegum blogger for the left like Guido is for the right? I'm laying a lot on you aren't I heh!!

Tim said...

I'd like to expand on what I've already done, but my hands are tied for at least two more weeks for reasons I'm not at liberty to discuss (for at least two more weeks). It's very frustrating.

Tim said...


Rog T said...

I think Lefty blogging has achieved quite a bit in Barnet. I think we've made a big contribution to both the sheltered housing debate and the future shape debate.

If nothing else we've got right up Brian Colemans nose.

I also think we've got a vital role to play in combatting the rise of the BNP who are very active in the blogosphere.