Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Labour man with an internet plan

I haven't been blogging on the 'smear-gate' scandal engulfing the Labour party, mostly because the rest of the blogosphere has done such an excellent job advancing the story, but also because the whole thing is too depressing for words. I've lost count of the number of people who've said to me "Isn't that what all politicians do?". Well no, it most certainly isn't, and the scale of the outcry will hopefully persuade people of that.

However, I did notice this quote from Derek Draper in his interview with the Guardian today, attempting to justify the setting up of "Red Rag":

"My view was that Labour needed an internet strategy. We needed a leftwing version of ConservativeHome and that was the point of LabourList. I thought we needed a single blogger similar to Iain Dale, and I was willing to do that because there did not seem anyone else obvious to do it. And we needed something with leftwing tittle-tattle like Guido Fawkes."

Isn't that exactly Labour's problem with the internet? They just don't get it. ConservativeHome, Iain Dale and Guido are not part of a Conservative 'internet strategy' - they are independent sites, run by people with no formal ties to the Party, whose work is often unhelpful to the Party leadership. The internet, and the 'blogosphere' grows organically, from the roots up. It is not something which can be planned from above with a Stalinist plan. But that is the Labour way. In that one remark, Draper reveals exactly how he got into his present mess, as well as giving a case study in why left-wing central planning is always doomed to fail.

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