Friday, December 19, 2008

Labour's blog problem

Guido Fawkes reports that high-ranking Labour people are navel-gazing again on the subject of creating a successful blogosphere that rivals its Conservative equivalent.

Labour is never going to find an equivalent to ConHome or Iain Dale in this top-down fashion, simply because that's not how either of those sites were started. These sites have found success in Britain because they are distinctive voices which demonstrate independence. On the one hand they are not directly interlinked with the mainstream media so they can fully demonstrate their leanings without having to worry about any particular commercial or legal or editorial interests, so the readers understand the perspective the writer comes from and is therefore informed enough to make their own minds up on an issue from the information presented to them. On the other hand, they're independent of the party so it's never a boring turgid party line (both often oppose Tory policy, and IDD occasionally welcomes certain actions of other parties including Labour).

And most importantly of all, neither blog attempts to copy an equivalent from its opposing party.

I suspect that once Labour is out of power, some real meaty left-leaning blogs will pop up down the line because (a believer in democracy hopes) there will be people with fresh ideas and a cause to fight for. But while they're in government it's going to be a lot harder for them to do that (especially given that unlike the Tories' wide appeal to the right, Labour has dozens of fringe hard-left alternatives to deal with). So the party should try doing something different - and it would have to be something that doesn't involve using taxpayers' money or launching puerile attacks on the Conservatives.

In fact Tom Harris's blog seems like a pretty good one. What a shame Gordon sacked him.

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