Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When Bloggers attack

I had been holding off blogging- partly because being located in two countries at once seriously limits your free time, but also because I had come to question the value of blogging.

This blog is not a particularly widely read one- although when it is running regularly it attracts about 5000 people a month. The big blogs, such as Politicalbetting.com or Iain Dale or Guido Fawkes attract hundreds of times more readers. The problem is that many of these readers seem to leave their brains at home. Guido makes a point of stirring, so we can hardly be surprised at the visceral response that his posts attract. Even Iain Dale likes to gently goad his political opponents. The biggest disappointment for me though has come from Politicalbetting.com. The current joke is simply to wait for a new thread and then post "first"- which I simply find irritating. The level of debate has become a lot more variable, and the level of vituperation and rank rudeness has grown stronger over time. The civilised discussion club where different party views could be simply debated quite often becomes an aggressive and unpleasant bear-garden. The Private Eye parody of blogs is often not a parody at all.

I suppose it is inevitable that a backlash was going to come- although I hold no brief for Hazel Blears- but the fact is that many bloggers, if not nihilistic, can be boring dullards- and I am sure than several of my own posts do not measure up to my own standards.

However, I have decided to start blogging again simply because I still hope that I have something to say, based on my own rather unique life experiences, but that I also see some serious questions that I do not see either the mainstream media or indeed other bloggers particularly addressing. My career has been in finance, which is now the centre of the global economic storm- a storm that I think I understand. However I have also been privileged to get to know a key region- Central & Eastern Europe, a place where critical political challenges are still being resolved, not least in the aggressive challenge against global peace that has emerged from the increasingly tyrannical Moscow Kremlin over the past few years.

I also stand by my domestic political agenda. I believe in political, social and economic freedom. I oppose the distorted version of those principles that is emerging from the opportunist and overly pragmatic Conservative party and the totally unscrupulous Scottish National Party, and I naturally deprecate the "vision of the anointed" put forward by the meddling and incompetent Labour Party.

So, in so far as time may allow, I will try to keep this blog up for a while longer so that I can put forward my point of view, and of course engage with those people that are interested providing that they too do not fall into the blogger's trap of ill informed invective...

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cicero - it was your blog ("what are liberal democrats for?" is still a favourite read for me, even as a Conservative) that introduced me to the delights of blogging and blogs, and while I don't always agree with you, I respect your well reasoned opinion. It would be a great shame if you stopped blogging and sharing that well reasoned opinion with the rest of us!

And on reading that I've discovered I hate the word 'blogging'. It's ridiculous :)

Richard T said...

If I can say with no bullshit whatsoever, yours is one of my must reads for its combination of experience, sense and vision. On occasions, I do not agree with what you say but different opinions are critical in forming a view of the world. Certainly if you ceased to blog I would miss your thoughts.

Mark Pack said...

Glad you're blogging again.

Guido Fawkes said...

I don't know why you bother reading the window licker comments or takw them seriously.

30,000 people a day come to my site daily, less than 1% comment. Most of them are mad.

Benedict White said...

Cicero, glad your blogging again, you are both intelligent and witty, and definitely a blogger I like to have a beer with.

I am amused that you describe us Conservatives of pragmatism by way of a slur, I take it as a compliment! :)

Political betting changes but intelligent debate can be there to be had.

Andy said...

To be fair, the "first!" thing is an import from US blogs (I think), a property of people regarding a particular blog as their "home" community, where an ongoing conversation takes place which they participate in whether or not they have much to say.

It's never made much sense to me, because message boards seem to me a much better format for that sort of internet community, where the quality of the conversation is less important because what makes people frequent them is the sense of "their" set of internet friends being there, more than the content of that conversation.

Ultimately, I share your depression at the sheer apparent numbers of people who seem to find the energy to post what Guido calls "mad" comments compared to the ones who express genuine, nuanced opinions. I suggest you listen to Guido's advice: don't read comments threads where masses of people are posting. It'll only depress you. Just find the sites that put out the kind of thing you're after, and enjoy them. Don't let anyone else define what "blogging" as a generality is about for you - if there isn't what you want to see out there, then be the change you want to see.

Praguetory said...

Cicero - you have some unique areas of expertise so you have something meaningful to contribute to online political discourse. Keep it up.

YMT said...

Welcome to the internet. This is what happens on-line, the only way to control it is through moderation. For a visual depiction of this see this.

http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/comic.php?d=20080227

Cicero said...

Well thanks for the generally rather unexpectedly kind comments.

It's not that I feel particularly under attack myself, its just the simple irritation at the witlessness that the blogosphere seems to throw up. It really makes me question not only the value of bloggers, but whether by giving these idiots a forum, we might not actually be making political discourse a much less civilised place (you would not think it would be possible...). Perhaps we really could be doing more harm than good.

dizzy said...

"First" has absolutely nothing to do with blogs, it's a spill over from much earlier systems like Usenet and BBs. It's much the same as posting a picture of Goatse, or say "I am teh win"

Anonymous said...

Keep blogging son or we won't know what you are up to. Also we need this input for our next argument(discussion?) - Cicero's Dad

kiki said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.