Blears Blames Political Cynicism on Bloggers

It’s hard to fathom, but she does:

In her speech, Ms Blears also complained about a “spreading corrosive cynicism” in political discussion.

She turned her fire on political “bloggers” – accusing them of fuelling disengagement by focusing on “unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy” and of being written by “people with disdain for the political system and politicians”.

Err I realise I may be playing into her hands by saying this, but free speech much? No wonder she has a problem with blogging – New Labour’s authoritarian agenda is increasingly predicated on stifling free speech. It’s practically impossible for them to inhibit blogging though – a principle means of uncovering the abuses of her party and government, so of course her answer is to speak out against it. Get this Hazel – if your government weren’t guilty of so many abuses you didn’t want us to know about, there wouldn’t be so much disdain. In her words:

“But mostly, political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians, who see their function as unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy.

“Until political blogging ‘adds value’ to our political culture, by allowing new 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 despair.”

The key words there are ‘legitimate protest’. This is the government which outlawed all protests within an approximate one mile radius of parliament. This is the government which champions the police interfering with and attacking protests across the country. This is the government which…hang on is this illegitimate protest I’m engaging in? Maybe they’ll just track me down. I don’t have disdain for the political system, just these particular politicians who are hell bent on abusing it.


One response to “Blears Blames Political Cynicism on Bloggers

  1. What I find totally perverse is that, on the week that Barack Obama decisively proves that you can use the internet, social groups, political bloggers and activists, to re-energize and reinvigorate a democratic process that, frankly, has been badly indeed of a jolt of electricity from somewhere to stop it sliding into an increasingly disconnected irrelevance to the citizens of that country, and also this country.

    He has shown that you can re-engage the people on the ground and harness their enthusiasm and interest in the political process, and more than that, inspire them to not just talk about what they’re seeing, in a state of disconnect from the people who make the decisions and pull the levers of power, but also make them ACT and draw them into the process in a meaningful way.

    How many politicians of the future in American do you think his organisation has inspired? Because I can’t help but think that right across that country there are now many people who are considering how they can begin to get into politics and make a more direct difference.

    What the political parties in this country should be doing, you would think, is rushing post-haste to America to speak to as many people high up in Obama’s campaign staff as they can, to learn exactly how they did it. They should be looking at the extraordinary phalanx of devoted volunteers the campaign pulled together who worked tirelessly on their behalf, and the social networks and bloggers who helped wire up these efforts, enthuse them, remind them of the causes they were working for and keep them updated on how their efforts were going. This includes the bloggers, who were as much a part of the dialogue as anyone else.

    Maybe some of our politicians are doing this – contacting the Obama people to learn lessons, because surely some of them would transfer to this country if done effectively.

    What irony, then, that Blears chooses this week of all weeks, to attack “the cynical bloggers” and there “gotcha agenda” for having the nerve to provide the commentary and scrutiny of our political leaders that, increasingly, both Parliament, and the media with its increasingly trivializing commentary on matters political in favour of telling us a story, fail to do.

    How to draw completely the wrong conclusions, much?

    Firstly she should be encouraged by the fact that these bloggers are engaged with the political life of this nation, even if the commentary isn’t to her liking sometimes – it demonstrates that there is still an interest and vitality our politics, which is supposedly a concern of our politicians, considering falling turnout in elections and so forth.

    Second, politicians should be exploring ways to draw these people more into the political process, in other words, harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of these people to re-energize our own democracy in the way Obama’s campaign has apparently done in the US.

    Ms. Blears – epic fail. Go away and think about what you’ve done.

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