Thursday, January 22, 2009

Matthew Taylor: On Labour Web Cannibals and What Really Matters

Wait for years for the Labour Web 2.0 chara to get moving, and a second bus comes along almost at once. This one - LabourSpace - spent two years rather than four weeks in "beta". Which is causing hard of thinking Tory trolls and Dizzy too to jeer. And Labour bloggers to perhaps protest too much that they do. Though old bruiser Derek Draper (Congratulations!) has taken a blog therapist's advice and wound his long toes in a bit now he has handed the baton to young fabian Tom Miller.
But less of this cheap jockeying for position. On to the serious stuff. RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor (right) has been a thoughtful commentator at Labour List, suggesting that 'cannibalisation' between "List" and "Space" is inevitable. Never mind "Home". One of these is offerings is outside the official party machine and the other inside of course. Would anyone suggest that the Tories having their Harpic Blue Blog and ConservativeHome is a problem? Spin may indeed eat itself. But 'overlap' and 'synergy' and 'multiplier effects' and 'critical mass' would perhaps be a less dramatic and more positive way of looking at this? Though perhaps Mr Taylor does hang around with arty luvvies rather than artful hacks these days?

But whatever, Matthew's view on the party politics of the moment, including communications strategy is well worth a careful read. As political advisor to a rather electorally successful Leader of the Labour Party until as recently as 2006 he does have a clue what's going on.

The virtuous, correct, principled thing to do at this time is tackle the economic crisis. Home and away. But both main parties seem to have hyped themselves into an election footing, into yahbooing. And into talking across the electorate and the issues.

Trying to score points endlessly. Makes me think this is perhaps best left to the independent bloggers and the opinionistas of the MSM?

This seems like a good analysis. Seems to me that if Gordon Brown can wind in some of the young guns both inside and close outside the PLP, set the election date barring emergencies and unforeseen contingencies now for May 2010, get on with doing the business, and rely on the Tories to display their unfitness for governing and all round nassi-ness, there might be a happier ending.

Political parties exist to achieve power and once achieved to exercise it wisely and steadfastly for their constituency and for the best interests of the nation. No power, no traction to achieve policy. So retaining power is a legitimate aim. In the interests of the constituency and the broad population.

But how to achieve this? Is it necessary to be showy and constantly engaging with the say-anything-do-nothing opposition? For the incumbents just exercising the power wisely and steadfastly, and avoiding the deflections of the petty cut and thrust, may be the best strategy. And it certainly the case that sharp-elbowed few-to-many party political blogs are unlikely to make a blind bit of difference.

By all accounts the next general Election is for the Tories to lose. Helped by their Tory Boy Bankers and Tory Boy Vulture Capitalists and Tory Boy Attack Muppets they are eminently capable of doing just that.

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