Friday, November 07, 2008

Hazel Blears: Political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians

Cranmer is no ‘nihilistic’ anarchist like Guido Fawkes, and neither is he gossip columnist or political commentator like Iain Dale. And he has never even tried to be a comprehensive source of political news like ConservativeHome. He simply blogs about political issues as he sees them, especially as they relate to matters of religion.

But Cabinet minister Hazel Blears, Mr Dale’s beloved ‘chipmunk’, points her claw finger at ‘political bloggers’, and accuses them of seeing their role as ‘unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy’.

Cranmer likes the word ‘perceived’. He wonders why she did not refer to alleged scandals or possible conspiracies, for qualifying each noun with an allusion to the realm of fantasy would have better insulated Ms Blears from the disdain which Cranmer is about to manifest towards her.

What happens when the scandal is real, the conspiracy apparent, and the hypocrisy proven? And what does the ordinary voter do when the ‘mainstream media’ refuse to report the facts accurately, but instead are prone to ‘spin’, susceptible to flattery, or await the promise of a ‘K’ or a ‘P’?

Cranmer does not have disdain for the political system, and neither does he hold politicians in contempt. But he is aghast that Ms Blears is intent on blaming ‘right-wing bloggers’ for being the source of all their ills, while the ‘system’ is indeed riddled with corruption, hypocrisy, lies and deception.

Consider this hypocritical concern:

‘And if you can wield influence and even power, without ever standing for office or being held to account by an electorate, it further undermines our democracy’.

Aside from the apparent objection this poses towards certain omnipotent media barons, or even to the Monarch as Head of State, Ms Blears would do well to consider the influence and power exerted by the likes of Lord Mandelson, or even his successor in the EU Commission, Baroness Ashton of Upholland. The former is now the Business Secretary, the latter the EU Trade Commissioner. When did they stand for office? What election did they win? How may the electorate remove them? But what enormous power over our lives they both exert.

Yes, Ms Blears. Such unaccountability does indeed undermine democracy.

But the undermining of democracy is a good thing when that democracy is flawed. For how is democracy ever corrected or enhanced unless there are those who are prepared to undermine the status quo; who are prepared to push at the boundaries of an unjust democratic settlement? Did Emmeline Pankhurst undermine democracy? Did Martin Luther King? Did Mahatma Ghandi? One does not need to resort to bombs, bullets or acts of terrorism in order to challenge the political status quo – and engagement in such is what tarnishes the reputation of icons such as Nelson Mandela (not to mention Guido Fawkes) – but had blogging been around during their campaigns, there is no doubt they would have had a following and a regular readership to rival any mainstream publication.

But Ms Blears also focuses her attention on something with which Cranmer finds himself in complete agreement. She finds the rise of ‘career politicians’ to be ‘deeply unhealthy’. She observes that some of her ministerial colleagues live on ‘planet politics’, with a manifest lack of real-life experience. In the most percipient section of her speech, she said:

"There is a trend towards politics being seen as a career move rather than call to public service. Increasingly we have seen a 'transmission belt' from university activist, MPs' researcher, think-tank staffer, special adviser, to Member of Parliament and ultimately to the front bench. Now, there's nothing wrong with any of those jobs, but it is deeply unhealthy for our political class to be drawn from narrowing social base and range of experience. We need people from a range of backgrounds - business, the armed forces, scientists, teachers, the NHS, shopworkers - to make good laws. And we need more MPs in Parliament from a wider pool of backgrounds: people who know what it is to worry about the rent collector's knock, or the fear of lay-off, so that the decisions we take reflect the realities people face. In short, we need more Dennis Skinners, more David Davises, more David Blunketts in the front line of politics."

Now here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding reflect on this day and night. It is not sufficient (if it ever were) to select parliamentary candidates according to skin colour, gender, sexuality or disability. Any one-legged Muslim lesbians would be a shoe-in for any Conservative safe seat at the moment, irrespective of her life qualifications. But it is a frightening prospect to consider that these one-legged Muslim lesbians will one day have to run the country, and there is no assurance that one’s skin colour, religion or preferred bed-fellow will assist in the arduous task of righteous governance.

Ms Blears concludes: "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."

Well, Ms Blears, Cranmer tries to ‘add value’ to our political culture each day, and he does so not out of a destructive disdain, but a wholesome desire to pursue all that is true, noble, right and just. He is concerned with honesty and integrity; with authenticity and reality. He is not concerned to breed cynicism and pessimism, for those who purport to run the country foster this entirely by themselves.

Some ‘right-wing’ blogs may indeed be nihilistic, cynical, pessimistic or corrosive.

But so might some politicians.


Blogger Timothy Belmont said...

Cannot stand Blears, what with that chronic Cheshire cat grin on her face.

Does she sleep with that smirk?

7 November 2008 at 10:09  
Anonymous Stonewall said...

Your Grace,
"It is almost never when a state of things is the most detestable that it is smashed, but when beginning to improve, it permits men to breathe, to reflect, to communicate their thoughts with each other and to measure against what they already have achieved the extent of their rights and their grievances.The weight, although less heavy, seems then all the more unbearable"....
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) a truly prescient thinker of his time.
Ms Blears may do well to consider that the health of a truly democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by its "private" citizens.... and not government diktat.

7 November 2008 at 10:50  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.

Well one good thing to come out of
Ms Blears rant is the confirmation
that the blogs are being read by at
least some politicians.
May we hope that the voice of the
masses will not be stilled.
One must agree however that we need more M.Ps with a wider spectrum of experience of life,
the problem is of course that the
people who really could run the
country are far to busy cutting
hair or driving taxis.

7 November 2008 at 11:02  
Blogger Sackerson said...

... and her point is?

7 November 2008 at 13:22  
Blogger Gerv said...

‘And if you can wield influence and even power, without ever standing for office or being held to account by an electorate, it further undermines our democracy’.

Or, to put it another way, if your authority is not delegated authority from the great God Demos, then you are attacking his deity by asserting your rebellious independence.


7 November 2008 at 14:32  
Anonymous the recusant said...

With your questions I detect a smattering of Tony Benn and his proofs of democracy in Your Graces blog, however Ms Blears seems to be suffering that common aliment so redolent of people who have been in power too long, the Divine Right of Kings. She is evidently under the impression that because she is an MP and if that is not bad enough, a cabinet minister, her and her ilk are beyond criticism from the common herd.

She really has taken on the mantle of the new political class in this country and fully absorbed all its arrogance and disdain for those she lords it over. This venue, the bloggsphere is the only free setting in the UK where unfettered dissent can be voiced and views aired that are not subject to editorial control from vested interest, officialdom or party apparatchik. NuLab already have the BBC, Sky and the majority of the press in their pockets, pumping out either mindless drivel of a watered down version of the socialist message. And it has to be said that the prospect of this changing under Cameron is negligible. Occasionally we hear Ms Blears or her cronies bleat about Fox news, never about NBC, CNN or the NYT, why because it is the only news source that is not left wing in the US, the only one and still she can’t abide its existence; and we don’t even get it in the UK. This is proof, if proof were needed, that the died in the wool socialist is totalitarian and can brook no opposition.

Like all forms of socialism the current UK NuLab brand is just as totalitarian and rigid as any from the recent European dark days, just look at the ID card legislation, the transfer of UK Sovereign powers to the EU, not to mention the raft of anti family and anti religious acts these autocrats have passed. It must be a constant thorn in her side that all her controlling efforts are not universally welcomed by a grateful nation.

Well if she condescends to read this I would reiterate what better minds than mine have had to say on the subject, guess which my favourite is Ms Blears.

"Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God." ---G K Chesterton

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." --G.K. Chesterton

"My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders." ---Mark Twain

"A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." --deTocqueville

7 November 2008 at 14:38  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Heh heh heh heh heh!

Is she not satisfied with the BBC in her pocket?

The mad midget is beginning to sound like Hillary Clinton with her vast right wing conspiracy.

7 November 2008 at 15:02  
Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

I view myself as neither right wing nor left wing your Grace.

I just am and so are my people and as such I have a duty to represent the disdain of my people who have no voice in this current political system.

I am my people and so are we all Blears has a Party not a people when she remembers her people we will care about her opinions.

7 November 2008 at 16:00  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

So she would have no time for the likes of Tom Paine then

7 November 2008 at 16:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace:

Of course, a free press undermines democracy. After bloggers are suppressed, Labour shall target the Times and the BBC World Service.

Lord Peter Wimsey

7 November 2008 at 16:21  
Blogger Miss Snuffleupagus said...


7 November 2008 at 17:31  
Anonymous Anon 2 said...

Anon @ 1621 - the BBC World Service is not free press: I've stopped listening to them because they failed to relay anything about how Blears and her cohorts betrayed the British People (Lisbo). They are entirely pro-euSSR; any voices that used to creep under the wire have been suppressed.

As for the Times - that used to be a respectable newspaper, written for an intelligent, thoughtful, well-educated readership. Now it's as much a rag as any other British so-called 'news'paper. I wouldn't pay even old tuppence for any of them.

Maybe that's why Blear's like them so much - they're just her kind of rubbish.

7 November 2008 at 17:51  
Anonymous len said...

Ms Blears should remember that she is a public servant!.
Or perhaps she thinks differently?.

7 November 2008 at 18:20  
Anonymous church mouse said...

"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."

Is she well?
Is she just confused?
Has she ever heard of Freedom of Speech?
If so, does she know what it is?

I see blogs as the modern extension of that very old British Freedom - but she doesn't believe the British should be Free, does she?

7 November 2008 at 19:04  
Anonymous nonny nonny said...

Further to: "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."

The Mighty Arm of the euSSR refers to 'our democracy'. That is: She's adopted the Royal We - She fails to recognize that the rest of us know that Britain is no longer a democracy.

Furthermore, She assumes our ignorance of the fact that She, also, is subject to the will of the euSSR; she does not work for the british people, she works against us.

For the rest, i address the Persona Herself - since She clearly accesses these blogs at some level.

{Your-Brightness-and-Illumination-Shining-Template-of-the-Neu-Learning}: Grammatical errors slip into every blog/thread - because we extemporize and computers are a pain. However, Politicians make speeches at a Professional Level - and so You should prepare Your rhetoric.
{Our-Great-Superior-Lady-Ms-Blears-Surely-Baroness-To-Be}, have You ever heard of "pronoun reference"? To what do You refer when You say: " will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and pessimism."? If i take 'politics' as the singular noun referenced in chambers dictionary - then i can only agree that Your version of Politics is exactly what fuels public distaste and distrust.

On the other hand, {Your-Honour- Before-Whom-i-Tug-the-Fringe-on-my-Meagre-Forehead}, if You deplore the 'Mainstream Media' - whose responsibility is that? You are already running Them.

Although {Your-Mightiness-Before-Whose-Power-and-Brilliance-i-Grovel-as-You-Think-Any-paltry-briton-Should}, if You refer to the blogs where people like me still practice freedom of speech despite You and Your Masters... then i say: IT'S WELL PAST TIME YOU GAVE US BACK OUR RIGHTS; NEVER MIND THREATENING TO TAKE MORE OF THEM AWAY!!!

Remember lisbo, {miss lady madam}. Remember that unelected prime minister. Remember that the People of Britain agreed to joining a common market - and to nothing more. We Remember.

7 November 2008 at 19:22  
Anonymous nonny nonny said...

Sorry -
because we extemporize, and computers are a pain.

7 November 2008 at 19:28  
Anonymous len said...

I think George Orwell was a genius, the only thing he got wrong was the date!.

7 November 2008 at 20:49  
Anonymous fedupwithlabour said...

"Unless and until political blogging 'adds value' to our political culture, by allowing new and disparate voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge .."

Isn't that exactly what blogging does? Suppose she doesn't think protest is legitimate unless it's left wing. Or something like that. Disagreement permitted only within strictly circumscribed parameters. Starting to feel like China.

7 November 2008 at 21:40  
Blogger McKenzie said...

The sheople are very fickle, move but a few, and the rest will follow aimlessly. This is the nature of propaganda. This is how political battles are won, and this is why she must rubbish blogs.

The Obama effect, if you know what I mean, has highlighted this quite forcefully.

7 November 2008 at 22:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a bit of a no-brainer comment, because if you don't read blogs, then you will not have any opinion about what is written in them, but everyone who does read blogs will know this is where you hear the real breaking news!

All she has managed to do here is show the level of her ineptitude for understanding the influence of the Internet, and also how far out of touch these fossils have become.

What scares me is the Glenthroes results. I know how the sheople effect of this will be interpreted, and Gordon has already been quick to affix it to 'confidence' in his policies, when it was nothing more than a protest and reaction to Scottish nationalism and the present Financial crisis.

But Yes, I can see why the evil ones are scared of the internet.

7 November 2008 at 22:35  
Blogger Berenike said...

She forgot to mention that non-political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians ...

8 November 2008 at 11:01  
Blogger Dark_Heretic said...

Your Grace,

Of course this is nothing to do with the story this summer that the EU is looking 'licence' bloggers and therefore only allow the 'correct' sort of blog to be published?

I couldn't be that cynical, pessimistic or corrosive could I?

8 November 2008 at 12:05  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace

There's nothing wrong with disdain. In fact the more of it the better. Who is this woman to complain of 'cynicism'? What has she been exercising for the whole of her political career?

Disdain? Most certainly, and to that is added loathing.

8 November 2008 at 19:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How long will it take for her and her crowd to effectively censor bloggs ?
Presumably banning innapropriate ones such as yours Your Grace.

9 November 2008 at 03:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If politicians are not accountable to the electorate(who they are supposed to represent)then who are they accountable to?.
To start censoring blogs ( such as your grace`s) smacks of a dictatorship, not a democracy!.

9 November 2008 at 16:48  
Anonymous SuperBlue said...

Your Grace,

Hazel Blears is short, opinionated, doesn't like freedom of speech and has "a perfect face for radio". Does she remind you of someone you had a problem with a few centuries ago?


22 November 2008 at 17:29  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr SuperBlue,

Centuries ago His Grace had quite a few problems with quite a few people who might match your description.

And he still does.

22 November 2008 at 17:41  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Never actually Read Orwell, but I shall be seeking out one or two of his books now, the Man was Prophetic, he might have left some future Lottery Numbers in his works too.

11 April 2009 at 22:56  

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