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Labour’s dirty politics

  • April 14th, 2009

Kiwiblog covered the background to what has now become an association of Gordon Brown (through his press secretary and head of strategy) with a plan for a ‘Red Flag’ attack site running false blog smears on the Conservatives.

Daniel Hannan (a Conservative member of the the European Parliament and blogger for the Telegraph) may be drawing too long a bow in the following comments, but they are readily applied to the Standard here in NZ:

The Draper-McBride affair is the latest demonstration of one of this blog’s long-standing contentions, viz that free-marketeers take more naturally to the possibilities of the internet than Lefties. Lefties tend to believe in control (or, as they prefer to put it, "collective action"). They don’t understand that the web is the enemy of regulation. Instead, they struggle to press the internet into their existing systems, treating it as just one more way to get their message across.

The whole wretched saga of LabourList pefectly proves the point. From the moment of its inception, it has been a top-down rather than a bottom-up website. Its zeal for the party line made it so dull that even committed Labour supporters stopped reading it. It was, in short, the precise opposite of what a blog should be.

This, incidentally, is why people now have trouble believing that the scurrilous emails were not, at least on some level, authorised in Downing Street. Derek Draper, the man behind LabourList, denies it. Then again, he denied (while being rude about me) ever having discussed these things with Damian McBride – a denial that, we now know, was made with smoke billowing from his pants. Many Rightist blogs are now demanding Draper’s dismissal, but I hope he stays for as long as possible. Watch his performance here to see why.

The whole episode shows how blogs have pulverised the old media and political monopolies. Some Leftie journalists dimly perceive this point, even if they don’t truly understand it. They are vaguely aware of the connection between the rise of YouTube and of online news, and pay cuts in their own industry. They can see that most of the new entrants are, like Guido, on the libertarian Right, and they resent the fact with the impotent rage of men who see their day passing. I say it again: the internet has changed politics – changed it utterly and irretrievably.

I came across Hannan first when Dan McCaffery sent me the link to the remarkable European Parliament YouTube clip of Daniel Hannan on Gordon Brown.

Now I learn from his blog. For example, the European Parliament have now passed their attack on freedom of association in the guise of an anti-discrimination law. Hannan has the gift of succinctly summarising principled objections to PC attacks on freedom.

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