Will the election mean bloggers pull their punches?
Iain Dale asks this question of Conservative bloggers on his blogs. I can understand why Iain is weary of making the Conservatives appear split and dis-unified given one factor that fatally undermined the Major government was the ‘Europe wars’ that ravaged his Cabinet. However, I think the first thing to say is that governments tend to be punished more for this kind of thing than oppositions and a severe collapse of internal discipline is often a major sign that a government has reached the end of it’s natural life-span.
True, they may be fascinating in the recess but still to my mind political hacks are much more interested in the government cracking-up than any of the opposition parties. People expect their governments to sing from the same hymn sheet (more or less) and electorally punish them if they don’t although I think there is something wrong in that impulse. I tend to err on the side of the comment by ‘Silent Hunter’;
“I think you’ll find that the majority of folk DON’T want a party that isn’t capable of internal dissent and indeed, where all dissent to its policies are effectively stifled . . or if it’s from the public – repressed with authoritarian policing.”
especially in the case of an opposition party which is supposed to be fresh and bringing new ideas to the table. In general, while being part of the party they are aligned too I am not sure it is bloggers role to see themselves as active promoters which is a role that properly falls to the party itself. Obviously, there are cases where bloggers with stated allegiances should ‘hang-fire’ but generally I don’t think ‘pulling your punches’ on differences of opinion is one of them. If a party can contain and rally different strands of opinion within it’s walls then to my mind that makes it stronger not weaker and hopefully the electorate will see it that way; although they often don’t maybe one of the ways that politics will change is that they will start to see the virtue of dissent.