Just noticed (via the ASI Blog) that David Aaronovitch fears the populist influence of “potty-mouthed right-wing bloggers on some political journalism”. His Times colleague Daniel Finkelstein credits Guido with helping to focus mainstream media attention on the sleaze and petty corruption of politicians. The raison d’etre of this blog is to foster an anti-political atmosphere by encouraging popular scepticism about politicians and their client media. This is because Guido wants to de-politicise more areas of human action, increasing the non-political space in our society and culture, for which a necessary pre-condition is the discrediting of politicians by exposing their venal, self-interested behaviour. Aaronovitch is right to fear.
He is wrong on one thing, and Polly Toynbee makes this mistake as well, Guido is not the “potty mouthed” author of profanity on the blog. The readers comments however are a different story, there the anger is allowed to let rip. If it tells our political masters anything, it tells them they are hated. It may not be polished prose, but it is genuine anger. They read it, they know it is real and it stings them. David Miliband, Peter Hain and Ed Balls will, if you ask them, tell you how much they despise this blog. Yet they still read it, just as Caesar listened to the baying mob at the circus. You can’t spin the booing of a crowd. Politicians should consider the blog’s potty mouthed comments a free and unfiltered focus group.