Raising our game…..
Tim Montgomerie, writing on Conservative Home, is worried;
There is more evidence today that the Left is getting its online effort together.
He goes onto talk about various left-wing sites including the newly launched ‘Tory Stories’. I think there is an element of truth in the observation that the left-wing blogsphere is gathering pace although some of this is due to a natural process as much as ‘the product’; there is an element of natural restoration of balance about this, the centre-right has dominated the blogsphere for so long partially because of effectiveness and quality but also because your in opposition. When that changes the challenge will be for it to keep its critical edge if it wants to maintain readership and even that wont stop some natural growth of interest in the centre-left as they move into opposition.
Invariably, the centre-left blogsphere will grow over the next period no matter how much the centre-right raises its game. This may well, as Montgomerie observes, fertilise an active Labour left-wing though how much that is a problem or not rather depends on your perspective. If it can combine activism with polemic successfully then it may well succeed where the American centre-left did in the run-up to President Obama’s election.
Such a situation will give each function its place but also recognise the need for co-operation across the blog divides and that building readership against each other is ok but not when it leads to a weakening of common purpose. For example, the activism of 38 Degrees would be well-informed by the insights offered by Left Foot Forward. Neither however will they reflect internal debates like LabourList , Liberal Democrat Voice or across the broader left like Liberal Conspiracy.
So, there are undoubtedly exciting times ahead for the left-wing blogsphere and good potential for growth. Maybe then, Montgomerie is right to be worried….