Hindsight is a great thing isn’t it? Surely we all saw that the Tories weren’t on a winner going into an election with the promise of nasty medicine?
I mean, I wondered if it would hurt them, but at the time, it was a consideration that got crowded out by others.
But it hasn’t worked, has it? The bookies should be paying out already to Tory punters, given the state of the economy and Brown’s lack of charisma.
So why did they put all of their chips on this monetarist madness? I wonder if the emergence of a supposedly effective bunch of Tory bloggers over the last six or seven years contributed to the problem? After all, the Tories would have flown their kites like everyone else before they firmed up their election strategy.
They would have asked if the whole Post-Bureaucratic Age / Small State Big Society line would work in selling deep and rapid cuts to the public. They asked, and their echo chamber told them that it would.
The Tory blogosphere is crowded out with crude market-libertarians. I’ve rarely met one of these in real life, and when I have (with notable exceptons) they’re a bunch of isolated fruitcakes with a faith-based one-size-fits-all solution to every problem.
But as an online force, it’s one with enough gravitational pull to affect the Tory party. And because this echo-chamber responded so positively, did the Tories actually think that the wider public would buy their shrill obsessions about big government?
I hope this isn’t too partisan a point, but for the most part, the better left and Labour–leaning UK blogs are a fairly thoughful, diverse, pragmatic and critical lot. Labour’s (or indeed the wider left’s) online noisemakers are rarely doctrinare or slavish in their partisanship.
There is a difference in the quality and diversity between left and right bloggers, and there’s no question that the ‘sphere has a significant influence in the conversations that dominate the parties.
Labour’s online conversations are more useful to the party than their Tory equivalent. A few years ago when everyone was banging on about how much better the Tories were at this sort of thing, it occured to me that Labour once had the kind of echo-chamber that the Tories have now. The time was the 1980s, and the echo-chamber were the bunch of crypto-Trot polytechnocrats.
Labour renewed itself by disowning them. Maybe its time that the Tories did the same with their bloggers now?
Living in London, working as a trade union official in the film and TV industry (opinions my own). Author of “Save Democracy, Abolish Voting” (published by Demsoc in November 2017). Personal website with link to other writing here. On twitter as @paul0evans1