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)