Monday, August 25, 2008
Blogging Is For Fun
Whenever blogging seems a chore, it's best not to bother. The list of former bloggers grows ever longer with Daily Referendum now claiming to be throwing in the towel. The reason, Steve Green explains, is that he's spending up to 12 hours a day doing it!
Why not just stop for a while, Steve, and then when you feel inclined, start again?
For me blogging began as a way to cope with an illness, which left me housebound for a while with nothing to do. It was fun to leave dreadful comments under other peoples' posts - on Iain Dale, or Order Order especially, and occasionally Political Betting. Then it became fun to write at more length on my own blog, attracting around 40 readers a day to begin with, and explain why the media was giving such a poor representation of events.
Richard North later invited me to join the Umbrellog, and give vent to my eurosceptic and -polemic views as part of the Umbrellog nursery operating under his wing. The numbers of readers can now be from 100 to 300 a day, although once in a blue moon you can get thousands coming in, if you hit the spot with a blog post.
But it's not about numbers.
There is a more serious side to blogging, in that those who control the media use their influence to win favours from politicians, and vice versa, and that the game very soon can begin treating the viewer, listener, reader as a total mug, who is expected to believe the rubbish they come up with. The professionalism of North on Eureferendum in exposing the nonsense, is akin to Booker. They totally decimate the credibility of the governments which bring out the programmes which waste billions and jam up the country's economy. Where else can you read analysis of this quality in any other media?
Richard North, however, also gets a bit downhearted writing his blog EU Referendum, as he was hoping that the promised referendum would eventually take place in the UK, but it never did. He thinks that we are powerless to influence events now, and wonders what else he can do to bring an end to the EU's trashing of Britain.
How else can we stop them, though Richard, except by writing blogs and letting them know we can see what they are up to, and how blatant are their lies? I think that Richard and Steve are setting too high a standard for themselves, and at the same time underestimating the importance of what they are already doing.
If, for example, bloggers had been active by 2003, I doubt Bush could have pulled off his Weapons Of Mass Destruction lies about Iraq, as the blogosphere would have collectively risen up and found him out in time before he was able to con the British into joining him. The dodgy dossier from Alastair Campbell would have been torn to shreds by millions of bloggers across the globe. As it was, a sole BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan tried to expose the government. He and his bosses were sacked, and their source, David Kelly murdered. I doubt that that could happen so easily now.
Governments have had to go into hiding, relative to how Blair was arrogantly operating, seemingly untouchable by any exposure of truth, just five years ago. Now there are no more Alastair Campbells boastfully controlling the media from government offices, and 'sources' are far more likely to be able to get their stories told without being 'eliminated'. The 'narrative' game has become too diverse, and not so easy to control, primarily in my opinion due to the internet and the blogs. All Campbell had to do was fix Murdoch and the BBC.
Back in 2003, a million people took to the streets of London to demonstrate against the Iraq war, but Blair completely ignored the demonstrators. But when the blogs are raging and finding out the lies, it's not so easy. Blogs are there every day of the week and don't go silent, unlike demonstrators who last at most four hours before going home.
The reason too that Gordon Brown cuts such a pathetic character is that he cannot control the media as Blair did. It is even possible to argue that the moment he 'lost it' was because he allowed the rumour mill - the blogosphere included - to run away out of control. Had he been able to take measured steps all negotiated with the media with a controlled narrative, he could still have appeared to be a strong leader making bold decisions, not a headless chicken running around in a farmyard, as he was when exposed by his sudden panic. It is the immediacy of communications in the internet age that tripped him up.
UPDATE - As for Daily Referendum it seems as if Boris Johnson's speech in Beijing has inspired him to get back into action. You have to ask yourself too, would Boris Johnson have become Mayor Of London without the near wall-to-wall support he received from bloggers, and fear of the disappointed reaction in the 'sphere had he been overlooked. We are definitely a part of the media jigsaw, and one of growing impact.
Why else do those in positions of influence read the blogs?
I was credited with writing Harriet Harman's reposte to William Hague in the Commons, when she was handling PMQs during Brown's holiday. He had asked her about her leadership ambitions. She replied that there wouldn't be enough airports for all the men who would be rushing to leave the country...a phrase I had commented with on Political Betting that morning.