Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has told a Hansard Society conference on disengagement that political bloggers’ main area of interest is “unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy”.
She said, “The most popular blogs are right-wing, ranging from the considered Tory views of Iain Dale, to the vicious nihilism of Guido Fawkes.”
Top UK political blogger, Guido, denies this charge and rightly states that we should “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” (My criticism of Guido’s site is the depressingly poor language in many of the comments which is likely to give a bad impression.)
Quite bizarrely, she says, “you can only have that kind of grown-up political discourse where people are prepared to listen.”
Woman, the reason I started this website is because YOU WOULDN’T LISTEN! Not only wouldn’t you listen to the calls for a referendum on the EU Treaty, but you lied when you promised you would give us one.
One way or another, people will have their say and just because a government doesn’t like what is being discussed, won’t stop people.
They can make it more difficult and they intend to. Not only have they made it more difficult to protest, but now they are after censoring the internet because they hate free speech so much.
One step being looked at by Peter Mandelson and his department is grabbing Nominet, the registrar for dot uk domain names.
The Government/EU (same thing) could then decide who is too much of a danger to be allowed a domain name – like the people Hazel Blears doesn’t like.
Things aren’t as bad as they are in China, yet, but the dangers are mounting in the UK, North America and many other places [map].
Earlier this year, a masters student at the University of Nottingham and his teacher were arrested and held for six days under the Terrorism Act under suspicion of possessing extremist material. He had been studying terrorism for his dissertation.
The “crime,” by the way, was downloading an edited version of the al-Qaeda handbook from a US government website.
Just announced is a Government plan to monitor internet traffic, where raw data from every email sent and website visited would be collected and stored in ‘black boxes’ before being transferred to a giant central database.
Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, has described it as a “step too far”.
Back at the ‘conference on disengagement’ and Blears sounded like she was trying to convince the nation’s non-bloggers with condescending remarks like:
“But mostly, political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians,” and
“Unless and until political blogging ‘adds value’ to our political culture, by allowing new and disparate voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge, and until the mainstream media reports politics in a calmer, more responsible manner, it will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and pessimism.”
My site might well be full of cynicism and pessimism, but only because of Hazel and the rest of the nuts.
BUT, I am also optimistic that the people will bring down this government at the next election and those millions of bloggers will hopefully vote for a candidate who will recognise our right to express ourselves freely on the internet – and they are not likely to be Labour candidates (hence the panic).
And another thing, there are always going to be, let’s call them mavericks, in the blogosphere. Hardly surprising, as there are millions of us, but a great many people spend their time and money to put across their point of view because they care. They care far, far more than the government about this country and our fellow beings – and it is now very clear how much Blear’s party is held in contempt for their sickening treachery.
And Hazel Blears – I am not left wing or right wing – I am a human being.