Monday, January 12, 2009

Labour List

Left-wingers have been infuriated for ages now about the apparent dominance of right-wing blogs. Nowhere is this clearer than in the way in which the independent (of the party), but Conservative site Conservative Home often leads news items and now acts as a standard reference point for Conservatives and others. Where the traditional Tory news source used to be the "Daily Telegraph", it is now increasingly becoming Conservative Home (especially given the Telegraph's current editorial and personnel problems).

Now, by way of competition, former Mandelson adviser Derek Draper has set up a Labour rival - Labour List - in the hope that this might turn the corner for the beleagured left-wing blogosphere. It is still in its formative stages, but my initial reaction to it is that it lacks the sort of variety that powers Conservative Home, and editorially seems far too tied to the Labour line. One of Con home's strengths is that it represents a clearly right-wing view that is nonetheless ready and willing to challenge the Tory party - usually when it thinks said party has not been right-wing enough. Reading through some of the Labour List posts at the moment is a bit like reading the 'Times' as edited by Winston Smith in 1984 - one cheerleading article after another (Ed Balls, "as interesting as ever", "Gordon is right" etc.).

The blogosphere would certainly benefit from a clear, left-wing voice - or several (of other dominant blogs, Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes are, of course, right-wingers) that acted as a friendly critic to the Labour Party and gave activists a sense of online empowerment. On the plus side, if they keep it going, there is little doubt that Labour List should start to find a clearer voice, will benefit from a variety of contributors, and will be a regular updater of news and views during the day. We'll see.

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