May 21, 2007

The flaw of the Tory bloggers

Posted by Watlington

Watlington has already extensive chronicled the rise of the Tory blogs and the genius of leading bloggers like Iain Dale and ConservativeHome (see Is a new Conservative Coalition emerging in the UK?, Is it the end of the centralised Conservative Party as we know it?, and Tim Montgomerie, Iain Dale and Stephan Shakespeare: The true authors of the revival in Conservative fortunes?). However, despite their success, these bloggers have one signficant flaw. At best they do not do enough to stop misrepresentation by their critics, at worst they allow themselves to be smeared by their opponents. This flaw has been highlighted in recent times by the Melissa Kite tantrums (see Melissa Kite bites back) about Iain Dale and Tim Montgomerie's criticism of her piece on the forthcoming Tory frontbench reshuffle. For Miss Kite, these blogs are representatives of the "Christian reactionary right". Even for David Cameron and his entourage, ConservativeHome is viewed as "a right wing debating society" for grassroots malcontents (as he hinted in an answer to a question at a press conference today by Tim Montgomerie).

The smear campaigns by the opponents of ConservativeHome is very successful - it allows uber-modernisers in the Conservative Party to benchmark their policies against the reaction of the "right wingers" on ConservativeHome. It permits people to suggest that Iain Dale is just David Davis's vicar on earth - something he patently is not. The effect of all this is to play into the hands of the left who try and "expose" Iain Dale and ConservativeHome as the true extremist voice of the Conservative Party - witness Tom Watson's (Gordon Brown's boot boy thug) nasty blogs which attempt to trash Iain Dale, Montgomerie and other Tory bloggers like Dizzy and such like.

Of course nothing could be further from the truth. Not only is Iain Dale a remarkable and shrewd character with real friends at Westminster, he is also a highly talented moderate voice who has helped transform Tory blogging in this country. Similarly, Tim Montgomerie has turned ConservativeHome into the first real voice of compassionate conservatism in many a year.

But these blogs need to do more to counter their opponents. ConservativeHome should have more articles and comments from people in the centre and left in the party. The website should also hook up with left leaning organisations like Mainstream and the Tory Reform Group and look to campaign for policies on which they are allied. Perhaps ConservativeHome should develop a section exclusively devoted to explaining the broad roots of the website and have a strapline saying "ConservativeHome - representing the mainstream of the Conservative Party". There will come a time when Tory blogs like ConservativeHome and Iain Dale will replace the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph as the true voice of Conservatism in this country. ConservativeHome in particular has the power to become an incredibly powerful medium in its own right, representing thousands of Tory activists. But it will only do so if it destroys the smears of its enemies and the misrepresentation from its critics.

To read more by Watlington, see Watlington.

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"...witness Tom Watson's (Gordon Brown's boot boy thug) nasty blogs which attempt to trash Iain Dale, Montgomerie and other Tory bloggers like Dizzy and such like."

Would you care to clarify/back this claim? Perhaps by naming names? A little evidence, perhaps?

Posted by: Tim Ireland at May 22, 2007 10:55 AM
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