Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Croydonian
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Drones
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Getting old
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Other creatures
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Scaffolding
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Wednesday January 25 2006

It has been said before, many times, but this, from Canada, says it very well, I think:

What I think the Liberals failed to anticipate up here, like the Democrats down there, was a development that may well prove the antidote to smear advertising over the longer run. For this is the Canadian election in which our “blogosphere” came of age. Sites such as Small Dead Animals, Angry in the GWN, the Shotgun, Andrew Coyne.com, Relapsed Catholic, and many others, respond to events almost instantaneously. Then, “news aggregators” such as Nealenews and Bourque direct readers quickly to the latest memes. Things that would have taken a week to unfold in the old media, now break over breakfast and are resolved by noon; and an hysterical smear ad is being mocked and parodied, long before the evening news.

It should also be said that the Canadian mainstream media are being transformed, I think largely by their own timid entry into the web, and by reporters’ access to new information they are finding therein. Though also because, at a certain point, our mainstream journalists decided they had had enough patronizing from Paul Martin’s cocky and arrogant backroom braggarts. This process being itself enhanced by the power of email, to make people on the front line in alien territory feel that they are not alone. Email can remind the boy who says the emperor has no clothes the knowledge that others think so, too.

In short, the Internet has broken the stranglehold the Liberal Party had over sympathetic media, and created an information environment in which you had better be darned sure what you are saying is the strict truth, because there’s an army of fact-checkers out there. Moreover, an army that cannot easily be intimidated by off-the-record threats from Party lawyers, or made to desist by peer pressure. For even when (as we saw in the delayed release of Gomery testimony) a legal ban on publication can be obtained, the information simply passes through electronic space across the border, and we can all read the banned material on such sites as Captain’s Quarters from the USA.

The Internet has also brought a new class of people into politics – I would almost say a new generation who aren’t accustomed to the old rules. We will look at the longer-term implications another day.

For the moment, to put it nicely, the same thing has happened to the Liberals in Canada, as has happened to other long-serving single-party regimes elsewhere in the world. Technology has caught up with their ability to manage information; and a sheltered population is losing its fear. The more the ruling party tries to scare them, with heavy-handed old-media campaigns, the worse things get – for the ruling party.

Thank you Instapundit.

Is this what could be about to happen to Britain’s Labour Party, do you think?

And could that be the long-awaited breakthrough by the blogosphere into mainstream British politics?

Do you think that’s the way it’s going to happen in the UK? I have to admit that my money is on a large-scale invasion of the British blogosphere by actual MSM journalists. Nick Robinson, David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen have all recently entered the fray, and I find the difference in the quality between their writing and the likes of (list a few major political bloggers) all too stark. The constant Outrage!! of the likes of Chicken Yoghurt, to name one somewhat unfairly, wear after a while. The Beeb, the Guardian, and The Times seem to be getting the point of blogging, and when you run that a year or two into the future, well, that seems to BE the future.
I had been expecting blogs to play a big part in the last election. It just didn’t happen, and I find it hard to express exactly why. Did everyone retreat behind party lines, so there was little open discussion between sides about the UK’s future? Probably. Did blogs bring anything new or unexpected to the table? Only the posturings of BackingBlair, which amounted to much less than the tabloid’s headless chicken of 1997. Was there something to be found in blogs that the papers and television didn’t have? Not really - there was a brief moment after the election when it seemed that the Conservative bloggers were going to embark on some fresh and interesting debate, but then they all went for Davis, and reverted to type.
Libertarianism and the left-wing argument for war remain the two great raison d’etres of British political blogging, but that’s been the case for some time, and there’s no sense of.. development… in the offing.
That said, at least political blogging isn’t as badly off as psych - blogging, which has morphed tragically into a wing of centre-right political opinion, diagnosing all who disagree as deluded neurotics. It could be worse.

Posted by James Hamilton on 25 January 2006

Yes, you may well be right.  I was forgetting how varied the British media are, compared to some other national media.  There just isn’t the pious conformity, on mostw issues, in our print media that a blogging breakthrough really needs.

However, perhaps another strand of British opinion that is now excluded might be the racists, BNP etc..  The Nick Griffin tendency.  When they cut out the shouting and street fighting, these people do have things to say, especially, it would seem, about the nature of Islam.  Apparently Griffin predicted the London bombings, in the sense not only of bangs on the tube, but of what kind of people wouild do them.

I dislike most of what these peoplke say, and I hate rather more how they say it, which makes me a junior part of the PC dominant tendency for some of these purposes.  (Basically I tend to agree about the threat posed by Islam, but not about other immigrants.) But that’s not the point here.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 25 January 2006

It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the BNP in the next few years, especially if Labour remain in power. I can’t help feeling that they face the danger of being, to coin a phrase, swamped, by new members who are concerned with a certain idea of Britishness but aren’t actually racist. And they just aren’t making enough young racists to replace those whose long years of dedication and service to discrimination, ignorance and hatred carry them off. I wonder who the first member from an ethnic minority will be? and how will we celebrate them?

Posted by James Hamilton on 26 January 2006

I think it’s already making a difference.  A lot of the coverage of the recent Lib Dem leadership election has broken on the internet before it broke in the mainstream news.  The Oaten rumours were circulating around the blogosphere before the NOTW printed them, ditto for stories about Simon Hughes.

I blogged a bit about this today, specifcally about the way that memes from the blogosphere were making their way into mainstream media coverage.

The problem with this is that blogs hold themselves open to scrutiny.  It’s generally quite easy to add a comment or a trackback if you disagree with something, so the authority of a blogger can always be questioned.  Not so with the mainstream media, who put things across as fact and expect them to believed.  If you disagree, the best you get is often an email address to send a complaint to, which does little to help those who are exposed to information which may not be true.

Posted by Rob Knight on 27 January 2006
Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.