Monday, April 13, 2009

On blogging and the black arts of the spin doctor

That New Labour 'manages the news' has been a constant refrain, and complaint, since 1997. I think I recall Polly Toynbee once pointing out what I've always thought about this - which was to say, in effect, yes - but they're really really shit at it, aren't they?

I was reminded of this whilst reading all the hoo-hah about the McBride-Draper axis of email.

I was reminded of something else as well and it has to do with relationships. I'm sure my experiences aren't unique. You have arguments with your significant other about various things like staying out too late with your mates, or the perception that you're flirting with someone other than them, or generally participating in your own life in a way they don't approve of. Then, when you point out that they do the same damn thing, you get convoluted reasons why it's different in their case.

You go along with this for a while and get into mangled conversations until you realise it boils down to the fact that you've forgotten the Rule. What's the Rule, you may ask? It's the one that says, "Ah but it's ok when I do it."

Don't go accusing me of being sexist because I don't doubt all the comrade sisters out there have similar laments to make. Understand this instead: it's the, "Ah but it's ok when we do it", rule the Tories are trying to invoke here. I have no interest in defending scumbags like Draper and McPoison but the Tories can fuck right off. Oozing their poisonous shit from just about every media outlet in this country and then whining when a couple of Labour people even discuss doing the same. Which brings me to Paulie's reminder of just who we are dealing with here:
"[L]et's be clear about this: The proposed 'Red Rag' site was a plain-and-simple plan to develop a Labour equivalent of Guido's site. Nothing more, nothing less. Though Guido is now universally being labeled as 'anti-politics', it wouldn't do to forget that he's a Tory blogger. He sees his blog as being an instrument of Conservative Party attack politics, and I'm not the only one that he has told that he regards himself as 'part of Project Cameron.'"
May I entreat you to read the rest?

Anyway, I was wondering about this blogging lark and why it is, exactly, that three semi-literate Tories form an unholy Trinity at the top of the dung-heap that is the blogosphere? Matthew Taylor, in the dead-tree version of the Observer today quotes Ian Dale going on about the left being more comfortable with a 'top-down' approach and therefore ill at ease with blogging. Bollocks, I thought - at which point I sought the wisdom of my sis. Why do people read this cut and paste gossipy shit that has no art, analysis, thought or discernment, I asked? I'm paraphrasing but she argued, in effect, that this form of blogging is the political equivalent of magazines like Closer or Heat - the sort of journals that publish pictures of celebrities with their cellulite or acne on show, enlarged and helpfully circled with a yellow pencil in case you missed it.

She's on to something, I reckon. It's what rather a lot of people appear to want - politics like their culture; something nasty, brutish and short. Sad, but there it is.

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