Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Saying sorry, and blogging right and left

So. apart from all those headlines, how was your Easter, Prime Minister?

The departure of Damian McBride has led to old scores being settled from Fleet Street to the backbenches. ormer Cabinet Ministers Alan Milburn and Stephen Byers pitched in today barely disguising their glee at the removal of someone they held responsible for briefing against them.

Rachel Sylvester in The Times reminds readers that despite Mr Brown's moral compass the Prime Minister has often recruited attack dogs to get his message across while nullifying opponents.

Perhaps he got the idea from Tony Blair. He once advised David Miliband, according to the Chris Mullin diaries, "to go around smiling at everyone and get other people to shoot them". Except Gordon Brown forgot the smiling bit.

The Conservatives have returned to their occasional game of trying to get the Prime Minister to say sorry, knowing that is unlikely to happen.

Ministers and backbench MPs have argued that it's not possible for a politician to apologise for something for which he is not directly responsible. That ignores this precedent over slavery.

The McBride affair and Labour's doomed Red Rag website - has also fuelled the debate over the nature of the blogosphere.

Lance Price makes the point that "blogging is always going to be easier for those attacking the party in power than for anybody seeking to defend it."

Iain Dale made a similar point to the Guardian, arguing that blogging appeals to the individualistic streak on the right.

But in his analysis of the state of the Welsh blogosphere, he wonders why there are so few right-wing bloggers of note west of Offa's Dyke: "It rather blows one popular theory out of the water - that right wing blogs are so popular and prevalent because it is far easier to blog in opposition.

"If that were the case," he writes, "Wales and Scotland would be at the forefront of right of centre blogging!"

Perhaps the perceived weakness of right-wing blogs lies in the nature of the right in Wales? Scarred by the Redwood years, election defeats and the referendum loss, the Welsh Conservatives have re-branded themselves to try to ditch their image as an English party.

The result has been successful enough to allow left-of-centre parties such as the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru to flirt with the Tories as coalition partners although the "inclusive" nature of Welsh politics means that real debates over the size of the state and public spending in Wales are often hard to discover in the blogosphere.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I often wonder if there is a welsh right wing.

The Welsh Tories are in favour of big government the only difference is they would cut the cake differently to the other parties, they are also against the £500m cuts in public services that the UK Government wants to introduce, this seems opportunist rather than right wing to me at least.