Sunday 11 October 2009

Conservative support for blogging

Douglas Carswell is the Tory MP for Harwich and Clacton. Unlike the few remaining dinosaurs in the Conservative Party, Mr Carswell recognises the positive effect bloggers have on the democratic process.

He has just written the following article for PR Week magazine:

The internet has removed what economists call barriers to entry in business and PR. It is about to do the same with politics. Established players and parties will either adapt - or lose market share to nimbler upstarts.

Bloggers, who have democratised news coverage, are forcing parties to change the way they run their press operations. 'The message' is no longer defined exclusively by party officials - but by a broader movement. At the next election, amateur YouTube clips will spring up, with as big an audience as any plodding party election broadcast.

The internet makes it possible to change the way we do politics. The tide of anti-politics makes change essential.

Even before Expensesgate, there was an appetite for authentic democratic representation. Consumers desire the distinctive, particular and the local and consumerist voters want the same in their politics.

Hierarchical parties need to become looser umbrella organisations. They must become flatter, more democratic and open-source. Funding will be raised via small, online donations, candidates selected via Totnes-style open primaries.

Perhaps mass-brand, corporate politics will turn out to have been an aberration? My hunch is less rigid party politics will leave our democracy stronger.

Compare Mr Carswell's words to Brian Coleman's who thinks that blogging should be treated like child porn.

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