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July 09, 2006



I agree that the blog world is overstating its belief that all has changed and now blogging is the place to which media power is shifting. However, I would disagree that the hounding of Prescott is class-based. To the contrary it's the defence of Prescott that is class based. This defence mirrors the usual liberal "argument" against, say, any case put forward by Immigration Watch (ie refusing to engage while shouting "racism" until everybody shuts up cf Jack Dromey). With Prescott the analogous behaviour is to shout "it's all about class" until everyone goes home. Prescott is all that those who criticise him say he is: it's nothing to do with class; it's all to do with his grotesque unfitness for office whoever his parents were.

Tim Hicks

Yes, you list a set great reasons for blogs to exist, and are one of the leading proponents of this type of blogging.

However, blogs are just a platform for imparting information. If Iain Dale and Guido want to use that platform in a different way, that seems reasonable to me. Perhaps the conflation of all users of this platform is rather unhelpful.

I'll carry on reading both, but I know I get something different from each, and that's as it should be.


Absolutely right Chris. Blogs can improve the quality of public debate. A lot of the obsessively political sites achieve the opposite.

Tom Paine

I don't think class hatred has anything to do with it. Prescott's working class roots shouldn't be a defence against fair political charges. His class background is remarkably similar to mine and I have managed to lead a productive, honest life. B^)

People should be judged by their actions and, as Martin Luther King put it, by the contents of their characters, not by where they came from. Prescott can't help being a prole. Cameron can't help being posh. Neither fact is relevant - and trying to make it so is itself an act of class war.

Bob B

The saga of the Serial Groper's proletarian origins have been much cultivated in the media and over exploited. From biographical detail on the Downing St website:

"Mr Prescott was born in Prestatyn, Wales, in 1938. The son of a railway signalman, he was educated at Ellesmere Port Secondary Modern and at 15 began work as a trainee chef.

"In 1963, after working for ten years as a steward in the Merchant Navy, he gained a diploma in economics and politics at Ruskin College, Oxford, which specialises in courses for union working people. He later went on to gain a BSc in economics and economic history at the University of Hull."

For comparison, by the mid 1970s half the adult population in Britain had no educational qualifications at all.

Sir Peter Mansfield, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2003 for his work on developing the MRI scanner, failed his 11+ and left school at 15 to become an apprentice book-binder.

Simon Hoggart's Parliamentary sketch for 17 June 2003:

" . . Here was Mr Prescott's reply.

"Or the start of it: 'They want to have a referendum, but nevertheless there's a county council here, he starts reeling through some of these people who are opposed to it, can I tell him I have some of those polls and by the way Mori poll, for example, in March 99, that's less than 2,000, and many people actually accept the authority of these polls when they come out with their results, the Mori poll said 62% want a referendum, BBC poll in 2002 said 72% want it, and indeed council council network, the very council councils who are opposing this, set up a review in their own area and...

[The sound of birds falling off trees could now distinctly be heard around Westminster]

"... 70% of the people said they needed a review, they want a referendum and the county council themselves, they paid for that review and 70% said they wanted a referendum and so I'm a a little bit more cautious when I hear the Right Honourable Member talking about it, and when you bear in mind that in all these referendums, basically, they were part of the county council network [loud Tory jeers] - well, I know you don't like insults but that is what happened, that's despite what happened in all these areas we have shown whether trade unions, whether the business, whether organisations or individuals, they have called for a referendum and that has persuaded me in the three northern areas...

[The peace campaigners who have been screaming at us for months now fell strangely silent.]

"...to hold that referendum and properly so, and therefore I think that there is considerable evident to be taken alongside that which I have laid before the House today and as to the abolishment of council council reforms he made in his contribution, I must be aware that the Tory government has abolished more county councils than a Labour government has, and didn't even ask them, I know county councils have been abolished by them and I think I should remind them of Humberside..."

Chris Purnell

I'd assumed that blogging was a sort ego trip.


I'd always assumed that many bloggers (and I may be completely off the mark with Iain and Guido here) considered mainstream media as something to aspire to joining, as opposed to being different to.



I think you're right there. An aspiration to work for the News of the World (Guido) or The Daily Mail (Iain) may make financial sense. Good luck to them. I hope they both get hired very soon.

It just annoys me that blogging is seen as having a gravitational pull on the MSM. A lot of bloggers are more insentivised to improve the quality of public debate - like this one, or Slugger O'Toole, for example. But though they are ignored by the MSM, they still manage to build a growing readership.

The obsessively political
blogs aren't the only ones that are having an impact. We are also widening the range of debate.

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