Saturday, September 22, 2007

Telegraph Column: Why the Internet Frightens Politicians

To coincide with the imminent publication of my blogging book, I have a long piece in the Telegraph Review section today on how politicians interact (or not) with the internet. Click HERE to read it.
COMING LATER: The Top 30 MP blogs...


Anonymous said...

Tell me when you will stop your self promotion and then I will start reading your blog again, or are you these repeated plugs for your book to deflect from the Tories impending disaster.

Iain Dale said...

So if I write a piece on politics on the internet for the Telegraph you reckon I shouldn't mention it, or link to it on my blog. Yeah, right. Feel free not to return.

Anonymous said...


I agree with your theme but there are some points you missed:

--Howard Dean owned the internet in 2004. Having web presence helps but it cannot deliver you an election (especially if you have the histrionics of Dr. Dean).

--Politicians fear the internet because they can't control it. Consider the recent Murtha video: CNN and Fox News could never have gotten away with that because they would've been blackballed.

--The power structure will eventually devise a way to dominate on the internet. They did it with radio, television, and newspapers, why not the net?

--Why does it matter that UK politicians aren't as .com'd as the US's? Results are what counts. This yankee-envy drives me crazy. Britain should have higher aspirations than to become the 51st state.

Please don't get the impression that I disliked the column. I thought it was thoughtful and informative. Thanks.

Tapestry said...

They will try to control the web Iain as they are doing in China. Once we're tucked into the EU's side pocket, they'll bring out all the measures necessary to silence you.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious piece by Jacqui Smith on drugs in the Guardian last week. Over 90% of the c200 posters told her she was talking utter rubbish (she was, the war on drugs was lost decades ago).

Oddly, she deigned to respond. But then, we are just the little people and don't understand.

Iain. I voted Labour all my life - am 56 now - until Iraq. I don't know how they are going to do it, but we desperatley need an real opposition in this country before democracy becomes a distamt memory.

Anonymous said...

It is good to see that in these days of world wide electronic bullying there is still a role for the traditional doorstep whispering campaigner:

Anonymous said...

Political parties are in the business of operating coalitions within themselves in order to win power. Internet users tend to be extremists,refuseniks or foaming-at-the mouth types (see ConHome for examples).Thus the use of the internet encourages indiscipline beause there is little true discussion and little opportunity for consensus.

Man in a Shed said...

What's the betting that if Gordon Brown wins the next general election blogs and internet campaigning will be regulated ?

This could be our last 'free' election. You can be sure with Brown's anti-democratic tendencies never to full explain his plans (aka hide in the small print) we will never know what he has in store for us until its too late.

The man is a menace to British society - and many of the members of Tony Blair's cabinet knew all too well.

Anonymous said...

It frightens them because it allows the 'common folk' to have a voice:

Mr Eugenides said...

If this were a movie, Howard, and you were having to sit through plugs for Iain's book before the main feature, you'd have a point.

But it's not. It's a blog. No-one's forcing you to read anything, far less take the time to comment on it.

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who, like you, have no wish to read through loads of stuff about Iain's book. Well, guys, may I draw your attention to the "back" button on your internet browser.

Anonymous said...

4Mica - I take your points. But the safest option for the UK now is apply to become the 52nd state of the US. (I believe either Puerto Rico or Costa Rica is in line ahead of us.)

We need to scrape the scum and slime of the undemocratic, communist, One-worlder EU off our shoes and enjoy the fresh air of liberty for a change. It's bracing.

Anonymous said...


Puerto Rico is a territory but they're not intent on becoming a state. If the four nations of the UK became US states, there might be some political and economic improvements, yes, but I think the people who gave the world John Stuart Mill can do much better.

Anonymous said...

"While we are light years ahead of most European countries we are several years behind America in adopting internet campaigning as a core part of our election strategies. "

This is why I laugh when you suggest that some form of online democracy is going to replace your Burkean one.

The EU is well advanced to making democracy a thing of the past, and if you really believe that things like the No 10 petitions are going to result in 'people power' taking back power to the electorate then I am afraid you are naive and deluded than I have previously believed.

'If voting changed anything they'd abolish it.

You can live in the US of A and have government controlled by huge, powerful unelected corporations.

Or live in the EU and be governed by a hugely powerful un-elected Commission..

Democracy through the internet ?
Sorry, but I think you're dreaming.