A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Not sure I agree Hazel

Usually I agree with Hazel Blears but I'm not sure I do when it comes to her comments yesterday on blogging:

"We are witnessing a dangerous corrosion in our political culture... Perhaps because of the nature of the technology, there is a tendency for political blogs to have a 'Samizdat' style. The most popular blogs are rightwing, ranging from the considered Tory views of Iain Dale, to the vicious nihilism of Guido Fawkes. Perhaps this is simply anti-establishment. Blogs have only existed under a Labour government. Perhaps if there was a Tory government, all the leading blogs would be left-of-centre?"But mostly, political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians, who see their function as unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy." Until political blogging 'adds value' to our political culture, by allowing new voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge, and until the mainstream media reports politics in a calmer, more responsible manner, it will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and despair."

I think this rather misses the point. If politicians didn't misbehave, Guido wouldn't have anything to write about. He reflects public cynicism about the political class - largely self-inflicted by politicos who have behaved badly - rather than generating it. People read Guido in large numbers because he breaks stories which mainstream journalists or their editors are too risk-averse to run with, and because it is an entertaining, funny read. Blaming Guido for cynicism about politics sounds like the MacMillan era Tories blaming That Was the Week That Was and Private Eye for public disrespect post-Profumo.

Guido's personal attacks on the PM are deeply unpleasant - and for Labour supporters like me actually reinforce our sympathy and loyalty to the man - and his commenters are often from the loopier fringes of the right, but his own politics aren't nihilistic, as far as I can work out he is a libertarian, which is a legitimate philosophy to hold even if I disagree with it.

The vast majority of blogs are not "written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians" - mainly they are written by people who are part of the political system or politicians themselves. Unfortunately, the majority of this majority of blogs are painfully dull so no one reads them, whereas Guido at least entertains and informs his audience so people do read him.

The irony is that Hazel's forthright opinions would actually make her a brilliant blogger who people would want to read and comment on.

Labour people need to get stuck in start blogging if they don't like the existing culture of the blogosphere, rather than strike this kind of despairing note.


Anonymous Paul said...

She's already got a blog - http://haveyoursay.communities.gov.uk/blogs/hazelblears-empowerment/default.aspx

She may have forgotten, mind.

Anyway, David Milliband's is much better because he writes it himself.

11:18 am, November 05, 2008

Anonymous Clapton Ali said...

Hazel writes "The most popular blogs are rightwing ... "

I think she was referring to your blog, Luke!

9:12 pm, November 05, 2008

Blogger Mark Still News said...

Extreme right wing?

11:32 pm, November 05, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Rather strange comments from Hazel the minger. Firstly if Labour had done their job properly the amount of anti Labour blogs would be smaller in numbers.

The fact is Labour have upset a lot of people and many feel very bitter about being let down. Traditional labour supporters are now the anti Labour bloggers.

When you've been in power for 10 years you have to accept that people will campaigh against you. You can't really start blaming the opposition for the problems of today....hence the shortage of blogs against the opposition. The Britain we have today is the result of the decisions or lack of decisions made by the current government.

So I'm afraid the number of anti government websites is simply the result of being very upopular and a good indicator of what is coming.

8:46 am, November 06, 2008

Blogger Mark Still News said...

Traditional labour supporters many of whom are now anti Labour bloggers, once really were staunch labour and would not hear a bad word about Labour. Some of my work mates belonged to the Labour Party and campaigned for it-But now we have been let down by the LP I can't find a single person who stayed in the Party as they all say there is no point, its just another Thatcherite Neo Conservative competitor of the Tories? The Employment Laws brought in to protect workers are so softly applied and the penalties so soft that they are being ignored by Employers who opt to pay a few thousand out at a Tribunal rather than abide by them.

12:39 pm, November 06, 2008

Anonymous Graham Taylor said...

Couldn't agree more with the rest of her article on the narrow background of most young MPs /PPCs.

1:00 pm, November 06, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Not sure I agree Hazel"

Have you gone mental ? She wants to limit free speech. Labour have already effectively stopped peaceful protest. Today, ID cards got rolled out.

You may support Labour but there comes a time when you look at what they are doing and realise that this isn't your party any more.

Frankly, if you aren't "sure" you agree then you are part of the problem. It is you who allows hazel and jack to get away with such breaches against our civil rights.

You, Luke ... YOU ! Who do you really fear more - Al Qaeda or our government (which will hurt you more) ?

3:12 pm, November 06, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

your 'about me' reads like someone on the conveyor belt to political greatness.

please say you have had at least one job in the real world of work even if to admit this is to risk bringing derision on your head by the 'political elite'

3:13 pm, November 06, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you seem strangely unaware that we now live under New Stasi. That the UK as we once knew it has disappeared. Blears writes to remind us of this fact. All for our own good of course!

3:23 pm, November 06, 2008

Anonymous Real world of work said...

All of you politicos ought to get a real job in the real world of work ie. manufacturing, engineering etc. and then you would appreciate how out of touch you all are with reality of the true business of trying to make some money for this country.

3:52 pm, November 06, 2008

Blogger Jackart said...

Christ, Luke. This is the first post of yours I've read without wanting to set about you with a claw hammer.

You feeling OK?

4:02 pm, November 06, 2008

Blogger Dave said...

She's a little poisonous slimy dwarf and every time I catch sight of her I want to shriek.

This is the drip drip towards a totalitarian state

4:10 pm, November 06, 2008

Blogger Thatsnews said...

I cannot agree with Hazel.

The views she expressed are dangerous. But As I doubt she wrote the speech herself, perhaps she did not understand what she read?

Add value? Sorry? This is a marketing term. It belongs in the lexicon of tinned baked bean and catfood sales people, not in a political debate.

And since when has 'Samizdat' been seen (outside of Stalin's government, that is) as a bas thing? As a pejorative term of insult?

Oh, Hazel! What on Earth possessed you to say such silly things?

5:06 pm, November 06, 2008

Anonymous Cicero said...

Why has the Labour party so eagerly embraced this stasi agenda? Blears is talking claptrap, and should be struck down by her own party at once.

Tony Benn may be a loony leftie but he knows a slide towards totalitarianism when he sees one. Is he persona non grata with Labour these days?

Come on, Labour hacks. Save us from this!

8:18 pm, November 06, 2008

Anonymous Cicero said...

Why has the Labour party so eagerly embraced this stasi agenda? Blears is talking claptrap, and should be struck down by her own party at once.

Tony Benn may be a loony leftie but he knows a slide towards totalitarianism when he sees one. Is he persona non grata with Labour these days?

Come on, Labour hacks. Save us from this!

8:19 pm, November 06, 2008

Anonymous Beth Nutruss said...

"Usually I agree with Hazel Blears"

Shame on you.

10:19 pm, November 06, 2008

Anonymous Benedict White said...

*cough* Luke, I agree with you for the most part.

if politicians want to see Guido history they can without so much as a twitter or the passing of a law... they could .. behave.

I also agree that Hazel blogging (as opposed to just having a blog) would be great, I just love her irrepressible style.

The truth is however that Labour are in power, we are in opposition, the sh1t is adhering to the wind moving instrument in some measure, so our troops are more motivated to speak than Labours.

Lets have none of this rubbish about regulating free speech that would be hideous!

12:43 am, November 07, 2008

Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

If Blears chooses - as clearly she does - to ignore the rage at New Labour in the country (worst amongst such as myself - voted Labour and nothing else from my first vote in 1970 until Iraq) - then she is even more stupid than I previously thought.

You don't need to be right wing to hate New Stasi. Blears? She's a robot, and as with the rest of that godforsaken cabinet, utterly unfit for the job she holds.

9:17 am, November 07, 2008

Blogger Lola said...

Was HB's speech set up by NL's rebuttal unit, I wonder?

In any event she or they just don't get it.

With an increasingly remote and disengaged and self serving politariat the prolitariat is feeling increasingly marginalised. Blogging is like pamphleteering. It's just the sort of stuff that lefties of old used to do locally to get their message out. It is great for free speech. But it's better than pampleteering 'cos it gets it out everywhere in thw world very quickly.

Fact is old son, you have lost the economic argument and some form of liberal free market democracy is the least worst future. This is the reason that blogs are labelled 'right wing' - they broadly understand the sea change and are incensed at the deceit used by Brown and Co to stay in power. HB uses 'right wing' as a form of abuse. She is trying to label people who do not agree with her as in some way hateful. It is more spin.

Bloggers are not necessarily right wing just because they have an alternative. The terms right and left are now redundant. It is 'do you want big government with big taxes and big spending operating a bureaucratically managed rationed system, or don't you?'. Personally I do not because all rational analysis tells me that that big government etc is the surest way to impoverish us all and is the least 'fair' way of distributing resources and wealth.

10:43 am, November 07, 2008

Blogger Allan said...

All the blog's are right wing, because all the main political parties are right leaning parties.

If Hazel wants positive contributions, why did no one from New Labour reply to my open letter to them at the start of the Holyrood Election campaign. I received several replies from the SNP when i posted a similar open letter several days later.

8:12 pm, November 07, 2008

Blogger Old Holborn said...

I took the bitch down face to face

8:21 pm, November 11, 2008


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