Sunday, April 12, 2009
Will 11th April be Known as 'B' Day in Blogosphere?
I've always been a bit sceptical of the more grandiose claims of the political blogosphere, and of Guido(Paul Staines pictured centre) in particular. I can recall suggesting we could say the 'bloggers have arrived' when a major leak was acquired via a blog rather than a mainstream outlet. Well, Guido, to be fair, has now provided such an event, assisted, it would seem, by the other major UK blogger, Iain Dale.
The resignation of Damian McBride-a former senior civil servant, remember, and not a mere political aide- was a major scalp for Staines. McBride(pictured left) was also very, even dangerously close to Brown and connected not only with the egregious Dolly Draper, but also Gordon's former, somewhat dodgy former spinner, Charlie Whelan. Whatever minor poll recovery Brown has managed courtesy of G20, will have now melted away.
Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home has called this 'a very big deal' and nobody could argue with that. He argues blogs are outside the 'chumminess' of the mainstream agencies and have 'no sense of trading favours..it's a pioneer frontier media'. Precisely how Staines received the emails will remain a mystery, unless the rules about non disclosure of sources are also not applicable to blogs but I doubt that. Can we say the mainstream has been subverted?
On this occasion, most definitely, yes it has. Could it be a sign of a major shift towards the new media? In the US we see the Huffington Post moving up to challenge the big beasts and this is where I wonder if the UK is truly yet in a position to follow suit. The HuffPo seems to be awash with cash and employs over 60 people- including seven reporters- some of them senior figures recently sacked from the mainstream. It is in a position to move from comment to reporting and once this move is completed the mainstream will be on the way out. But it should be remembered that the New York Times employs over a 1000 journalists.
When it, and other blogs manage to do this then a step change in the media will have occurred. We're still quite a way from that, I suspect on both sides of the Atlantic but the US will be ther first to do it.. Guido and Dale still seem to be one man bands and it's not clear if their blogging provides any substantial income stream. But 11th April 2009 certainly provides a major landmark in the UK's transition from mainstream to cyberspace in UK political communication.
I was down in Devon for the weekend and largely internetless but I could not move for coverage of this on the news and in the papers. I even found myself having to explain the background of the story to my parents-in-law! Guido has broken through in a big way and he has timed the story to coincide with the lull in news over the bank holiday weekend - using Labour's renowned "grid" against them.
it is good to hear you, a strong Labour supporter describe Draper as egregious. I have had flitting dealings with him online when he assured me that he had learned from his previous behaviour (I referred him to an appearance on News 24 a year or so ago when he was hectoring and rude) but he has learned nothing at all and he needs to step down from editing LL now.
...Willy Ruston on "I'm sorry I haven't a Clue" defined....
....a bidet as two days before D-day.
Sometimes in politics there are times when you can't defend your own side. Aitken, Archer and the Hamiltons are beyond the pale. But even the looney far left must realise that the likes of Draper need to be cut adrift, to belong in the Galloway league of lepers.
It's times like this you realise that there are decent people and there are tossers. Some Labour figures have just apologised for the whole mess. Tom Harris in the Guardian is one who springs to mind. Then vermin like Draper and Alistair Campbell, and the pathetic Liam Byrne, who can't even manage a proper apology when political expediency makes it necessary.
The problem is that there were a lot of meetings involving Broon, Dolly, Tom Watson and the prat McBride. Like Guido says: what did they talk about? It's reminds me of Sir Humphrey's line, when Bernard says that a particular incident is like Watergate: "No it isn't Bernard. Watergate was completely different". Why? "Watergate was in America".
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