British politician slams political blogs as “spreading corrosive cynicism”

Filed as News on November 6, 2008 8:51 am

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Compared to the US, the state of British political blogging tends to receive far less attention, yet it hasn’t stopped a prominent politician in the British government slamming the UK’s political bloggers for “spreading corrosive cynicism”.

Wrapped up in a speech which called for politicians to come from a wider social base, Hazel Blears accused political bloggers of fuelling disengagement by “unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy” and having “disdain for the political system and politicians”.

“The most popular blogs are right-wing, ranging from the considered Tory views of Iain Dale, to the vicious nihilism of Guido Fawkes,” she said.

“Unless and until political blogging ‘adds value’ to our political culture, by allowing new and disparate voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge, and until the mainstream media reports politics in a calmer, more responsible manner, it will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and pessimism.”

Conservative blogger Iain Dale responded by saying that it was a shame that more politicians didn’t use their own blogs, while Guido Fawkes said that cynicism and apathy was caused by partisan positioning and “focus-group derived policies”.

“Take a memo Ms Blears, we are not here to ‘add value’, or do what politicians want, Guido has his own values and aims to hit back at political hypocrisy and lies. Politicians make laws, so they should be held to account, to a higher standard,” he said.

Political blogging is not going to go away, so politicians need to engage with it. Simply dismissing a whole communication channel because it doesn’t sit comfortably with how Ms Blears thinks things should be done is counterproductive.

(Via BBC News)

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  1. By Brandon Winchester posted on November 6, 2008 at 10:17 am
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    Due to me being stationed in England for the next three years, I have the opportunity to live in Europe. Every day I live in the UK I realize how good the US has got it. The UK is more afraid to let go of control, than any other country. That, plus over 17% sales tax (VAT), makes we want to go home that much faster.

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  2. By Crisis Cartoon posted on November 6, 2008 at 12:44 pm
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    You will not be afraid, if you have done nothing wrong. Agree?

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  3. By Andy Merrett posted on November 6, 2008 at 3:50 pm
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    I’m not convinced that’s true, Brandon, and the VAT is a completely separate issue. Welcome, anyway :) It’s not so bad here.

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  4. By Brandon Winchester posted on November 6, 2008 at 4:28 pm
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    Don’t get me wrong, I have had a good experience living in England so far, but some of the public TV I have watched on BBC is negative in the fact that they were critical of other markets wrecking Europe’s, when everyone chooses what to invest in. I will say that I agree and applaud England’s gun laws, and how normal police don’t even carry guns. It’s an example for all. I guess I’m just shell-shocked when such a high tax is added to everything I buy.

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  5. By Curly posted on November 6, 2008 at 4:38 pm
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    Hazel Blears is a grade one twit.

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  6. By Ryan Williams posted on November 7, 2008 at 6:38 pm
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    I can easily see how the taxing and such in the UK could be quite damaging to somebody coming from outside, particularly as it’ll gnaw so much into their existing savings should they choose to spend them here.

    However, the economic and social(ist) structure of the country is built around it — it’s not all bad. I continue to approve of the National Health Service.

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  7. By Kavi Nayar posted on February 16, 2009 at 9:33 pm
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    Well, be friend of the law and everything will be just fine!

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