Tory bloggers

Posted on November 29, 2009

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An illuminating discussion with the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire last week, during which he referred to how the blogging world has become dominated by right-wingers. He attributed this to the fact that the internet in general, and the act of blogging in particular, has grown-up at a time when a supposedly left-wing Labour government is in power. Hence the opportunity offered by the internet as a means of expressing opposition has been used mainly by the Conservatives and other right-wing parties. The likes of Iain Dale and Paul Staines (ak.a. Guido Fawkes) have used the internet to great effect, and left-wing bloggers have remained incapable of catching up.

Fair enough, perhaps Labour activists have before now not deemed the avenues of the new media important to them, given that they have been in power for 12 years. Now, with the party in disarray and a Conservative government seemingly inevitable, a demoralised left-wing doesn’t seem to have the energy to establish a powerful online presence of its own. Labour List was controversial from the off, due to the Damian McBride scandal, and is fairly poor anyway. Liberal Conspiracy has its plus points, but any real influence has eluded it so far. The right-wing continues to dominate the online debate, both in terms of the size of its online presence and the quality of its platforms.

Twitter is one site that appears to have retained a liberal nature. Yet it remains weak in terms of influence. Much has been made of Labour’s Twitter tsar Kerry McCarthy, but how great can her influence be when she only has 3,570 followers? It seems the left has really missed the boat on this one. For what use is a progressive, modern tool like the internet when it is only utilised to its full effect by parties who have historically been opposed to such progress? With an election approaching, it appears that the vast opportunities offered by the web to our aspiring leaders are only being properly utilised by the right. A handful of Labour MPs regularly tweeting just won’t do it. To recover from its present predicament, the left needs to activate a grassroots, online presence in the same way the right has. This is showing little sign of happening, and its absence could prove costly, though not crucially so.

Perhaps the failure of the left to mobilise a serious online presence to rival that of the right is indicative of how far it has fallen.

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Posted in: Media, Politics