February 19, 2005


Bloggers will rescue the right: Beat the metropolitan elite with the tactics of US conservatives (Iain Duncan Smith, February 19, 2005, The Guardian)

[T]he blogosphere will become a force in Britain, and it could ignite many new forces of conservatism. The internet's automatic level playing field gives conservatives opportunities that mainstream media have often denied them.

An online community of bloggers performs the same function as yesteryear's town meetings. Through the tradition of town hall meetings, officials were held to account by local people. Blogger communities are going to be much more powerful. They will draw together not only local people but patients who have waited and waited for NHS care. They will organise parents of disabled children who oppose Labour's closure of special-needs schools and evangelical Christians who see their beliefs caricatured by ignorant commentators.

All this should put the fear of God into the metropolitan elites. For years there have been widening gaps between the governing class and the governed and between the publicly funded broadcasters and the broadcasted to.

Until now voters, viewers and service users have not had easy mechanisms by which to expose officialdom's errors and inefficiencies. But, because of the internet, the masses beyond the metropolitan fringe will soon be on the move. They will expose the lazy journalists who reduce every important public policy issue to how it affects opinion-poll ratings.

Tired of being spoon-fed their politics, British voters will soon be calling virtual town hall meetings, and they will take a serious look at the messenger as well as the message. It's going to be very rough.

Karl Rove is right. The internet could do more to change the level of political engagement than all the breast-beating of introspective politicians and commentators. A 21st century political revolution is now only a few mouse clicks away.

It's curious that political blogging remains so predominantly an American phenomenon--you have to wonder if these other peoples have just allowed the muscles of democracy to atrophy too far.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2005 8:17 PM

It's not just American - it's also a phenomenon in Iraq.

Posted by: Bret at February 19, 2005 9:36 PM

I believe there are a number of dissidents in Iran who are poli-blogging also.

Posted by: MB at February 19, 2005 11:23 PM

In any society where mindless subservience to authority is seen as a positive moral value, there won't be much blogging. What can you expect where a country's inhabitants refer to themselves as 'subjects' and where people care about the comings and goings of a group of inbred halfwits?

Posted by: Bart at February 20, 2005 6:22 AM