Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Hazel Blears and political disengagement

Guido reports on a speech made by Hazel Blears to the Hansard Society in which she blames cynical bloggers for fuelling political disengagement. This is fatuous drivel. Entirely the opposite is true; blogging has increased political engagement to an unprecedented degree. However, Hazel is a member of a political class so well described by Peter Oborne that believes that it should have a monopoly on political engagement, and what she's really complaining about is the growing lack of confidence in a political system past its sell by date. This is reflected by, and not created by, the blogosphere.

98.6% of UK voters are NOT members of one of the three main political parties; the blogosphere and the internet has allowed this vast majority of electors to engage in often excitingly proactive political debate that frequently has scant regard to the orthodoxies of mainstream party politics. Hazel and her kind are less frequently setting the political agenda, and more frequently responding to positions and opinions that filter through the blogs to authoritative commentators and to the mainstream media.

It was Clare Short who, in another speech to the Hansard Society, commented more accurately that;
It is widely agreed that the confidence of the people of the UK in their political system has been deeply undermined in recent years. Many agree that this cynicism is bad for democracy and believe that we must do more to educate the public in the workings of the political system. My own conclusion, after 25 years in electoral politics, is that our system is deeply flawed and visibly deteriorating in both the quality and democratic accountability of its decision-making. I suggest therefore that public education is likely to increase rather than decrease public cynicism and what is needed is a more determined demand for reform of the system.
And this is the truth. Hazel and her kind can either embrace reform and recognise that an epochal change in British politics is coming, or seek to repress, counter, manipulate, restrict and rail against the blossoming of a new and uncontrollable degree of political engagement across this nation.


Blue Eyes said...

Why are the good Labour MPs always on the loony left?

Manufacturer of 'spin' detectors said...

I have read that Blears does not actually read blogs. If this is the case then it is another example of a politician talking about something they know nothing about - how unusual!