Sunday, July 06, 2008

Define "right-wing"...

Via Iain Dale (who concludes that he will carry on as usual), I see that there is yet another article, this time at Comment Is Free, debating what will happen to UK political blogging once the Conservatives get into power.

Generally speaking, Beckett gets it right—he highlights the dilemma that Conservative Party bloggers are going to have but, more importantly, hints at one of the main points about the right.
Of course, rightwing bloggers have a very different problem. It's generally accepted that they are more entertaining and more effective. This could simply be because they are in opposition. Perhaps the individualism of blogging better suits the less collectivist mentalities on the right.

This is, of course, correct; the right wing tend to be less collectivist than the left; that is why they are right wing. And the UK blogosphere is dominated (at least in the number of voices, if not the traffic volume) by libertarians who are, by definition, the least collectivist of al.

But this is a subject that been addressed a number of times, most succinctly by Tim Worstall, writing at the ASI blog.
Where I think his ultimate conclusion, that blogs won't be controlled is correct, is with respect to those that lie outside such party limits. For example, Samizdata make no bones about their virulent dislike of Tories, of social authoritarians just as much as economic ones. I've been known to make the same point myself. It's most unlikely that this blog will roll over to have its belly rubbed just because the blue rosettes got into Number 10 either.

For I think there's a fault line that runs through "political blogging" which isn't in fact properly appreciated. There are those who blog for a specific group, for a party, for their tribe. And there are those who blog in support of certain ideas, or ideals. The former group will indeed be liable to capture by the centre ("don't rock the boat old boy, not now we've got back into power again") and the latter will continue to scream for their cherished goals whichever party is in power.

This is, of course, entirely true. Since your humble Devil is a libertarian or classical liberal or whatever you want to call it (and his preferred party is unlikely to be in power any time soon) and not one of the three main parties are of this bent, it is unlikely that the Tories will get any less stick from me than NuLabour do.

Unless, of course, the Tories turn out to be libertarian. At which point you will hear nothing on this blog but the relayed the sound of hair-dryers as I desperately attempt to stop Hell from freezing over...

10 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

It'll be great fun when the Tories get into power, as very little will change. Which will leave openly Tory bloggers looking rather foolish.

Anonymous said...

The relationship between the blogosphere and being in political opposition is an interesting one.

When you look at the US blogosphere, the liberal-left is utterly dominant and dwarfs the right, both in terms of quantity and, if we're honest, in terms of quality. And this situation arose during a period when the Democrats have been effectively rendered irrelevant.

Over here, the blogosphere became the venue in which conservatives (note the small 'c') could express their rage at a time when, politically, they were shut out of power and when the leftist-statist government seemed determined to undo every single thing that conservative thought (again note the small 'c') had ever achieved in the country.

The next few years should be interesting, to say the least. How *will* American liberal bloggers deal with being supporters of the government? How will British conservative bloggers deal with being the voice of mainstream political thought?

I don't know. I *do* know that being in opposition has leant a stridency to the voices of American lefties and British righties, has made them angrier in the face of their opponents' successes and hungrier for victories of their own. Perhaps, with a Tory government here and a Democratic White House in the US, the British left and American right will see a renaissance and, for a while, will claim the blogosphere as their own.

Or perhaps not

Not Quite Hayek said...

Since your humble Devil is a libertarian or classical liberal or whatever you want to call it (and his preferred party is unlikely to be in power any time soon)

No doubt encouraged by the fact that LPUK has an aversion to encouraging membership of the party. Such a terrible waste, too...

Devil's Kitchen said...

NQH,

"No doubt encouraged by the fact that LPUK has an aversion to encouraging membership of the party."

Explain, please?

DK

Not Quite Hayek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Devil's Kitchen said...

NQH,

My apologies. I passed your enquiry onto Patrick who had received your email but wanted to consider the questions that you had asked. These were far from being simple facts and dealt with stuff that we are, indeed, still sorting out.

I shall prompt him again but you know where to find our manifesto. To be quite honest, you want to know what our strategy is before we have even made it: we are interested in people who have ideas and who want to help us shape it.

We are just under-resourced: we are under-experienced. We need people to actively help out, rather than see whether we are precisely what they want to join.

Normally, we answer queries very prompttly; we needed to think about yours and we have had a flurry of activity behind-scenes which has delayed that answer.

It is hardly "an aversion to encouraging membership of the party" but we have little interest, at this stage, in people who aren't interested in getting actively involved.

You think our membership policy sucks? Fine: join and be our membership point-of-contact. Don't whinge round here and make it sound like we are turning people away because that is simply not true.

Having said that, we should have responded and either Patrick or I will get back to you soon.

DK

Not Quite Hayek said...

DK,

That's precisely the answer that should have been e-mailed to me, then!

Something, rather than nothing, to acknowledge that my enquiry had been received and that it would take a little bit of time to respond to, given its nature.

We need people to actively help out, rather than see whether we are precisely what they want to join.

I'm sure you can understand a potential member wanting to know if you'll be actually campaigning in elections or just sitting on the sidelines, as a great many other small parties do. I'm not asking for a campaign plan, but you must have an idea of how you want to set out your stall?

we have little interest, at this stage, in people who aren't interested in getting actively involved

You'll find lots of members will be willing to support and donate but just don't want to get involved in the day-to-day activities. You should be interested in them. Their money is as good as someone who 'gets stuck in'!

That said, I can see I've put you on the defensive, which I didn't want to, but did just want an acknowledgement to my enquiry. If I was to join, I'd be happy to be a proactive member where time and commitments allow.

Devil's Kitchen said...

NQH,

Please accept my apologies. I or Patrick shall reply to you in the next day or so: promise...

DK

Devil's Kitchen said...

P.S. Didn't mean to sound tetchy by the way: I'm just exhausted.

DK

Not Quite Hayek said...

No worries ;)

I look forward to hearing from either of you...

NQH