Sunny gets into The Guardian to pump his new website, the Liberal Conspiracy. I\’ll admit, I\’d rather like to get paid £300 to advertise my blog too. But such petty jealousy aside, I\’m afraid that he\’s actually missed a great deal of what\’s in fact going on out here in Blogistan.
All this may so far have had little impact on the wider electorate, but it illustrates that the right is miles ahead in experimenting with the web to engage. And it is more than experimentation: the right is also marching together to shift the political agenda. Conservative bloggers constantly link to each other and promote editorials in publications such as the Spectator and the Telegraph. They are amplified by an online TV station – 18 Doughty Street – and fellow rightwing hacks; they disseminate online ads, videos and Tory views relentlessly. It is a formidable echo machine. And all this despite the enduring paranoia that the right is drowned out by a vast leftwing conspiracy on everything from abortion and climate change to immigration.
If you actually start to look around the political blogs you don\’t in fact see the Tories or the Conservatives predominating. Oh, certainly, places like Conservative Home are very popular, Guido and Iain are too….but then so are The Telegraph, The Mail, out there in meatspace media. As indeed, for the left liberals (ie, those so enamoured of State power that they\’re not actually liberals any more) the Guardian and the Independent (possibly the Mirror as well) are similar to many of the blogs.
If we\’re actually to look at the views which are more influential on blogs than they are in the meatspace media then it isn\’t Tory and it\’s not NuLab, nor left liberal. It\’s the two groups which really aren\’t represented in meatspace at all (or very little, if you prefer). The liberals and the out and out Statists, the socialist/communist wing. For it only makes sense to compare the influence of certain views on blogs to the representation of such views in the regular press.
And that\’s where his analysis fails I think. ConHome or Iain might be popular, but no more so than traditional outlets for such views. As with Sunny\’s. His concern over the propagation of Tory ideas is thus I think misplaced. The real threat from the net comes from those who attack his beliefs from directions the mainstream doesn\’t cover. The truly liberal (libertarian if you prefer) and the truly illiberal (or Socialist if you prefer).
And, of course, if we liberals were in fact allowed to comment upon his site then we\’d make mincemeat of his cosy assumptions. Which is why we\’re not allowed to do the drive by commenting that would embarass him and his mates.