So there we have it. The right is more successful because we're fun. Compare Guido with the very worthy Sunder Katwala. Compare Dizzy with Sunny Hundal's humourless writings. Why is Tom Harris emerged as Labour's leading blogger? Simple. He has a well developed sense of humour. I haven't noticed a 'Nice Beaver' post on LabourList yet. Perhaps that's when it will turn the corner... Mr Wilby may be onto something.
Why are the most successful blogs on the right? Why doesn’t the left – the real
left, not New Labour camp followers such as Derek Draper – have any equivalent
of Guido Fawkes who, more or less single-handedly, brought down the spin doctor
Damian McBride? The obvious answers are to do with money and time. You can’t
make much of a living from blogging, and lefties are too busy with honest toil
to post the required mixture of bile and half-truths each day. The Guido site
author – Paul Staines, a 42-year-old former hedge fund investment officer who
declared himself bankrupt in 2003 – is an oddly secretive character whose
finances are obscure but, according to the Daily Telegraph, his wife has a
senior position with a City bank and the couple own four properties between
However, I am unconvinced by such explanations; there are plenty
of lefties, including NS contributors, with rich wives. The real reason, I fear,
is that nobody under 50 – and, therefore, nobody truly at home with new media –
has experienced a left political culture that would inspire the energy, flair,
chutzpah and obsessiveness of a Guido. The belief that the left must constrain
its ideas and watch its language lest it upset the bourgeoisie has been
ingrained since at least the mid-1980s. Staines is at heart an anarchist who, as
his website’s name suggests, wishes to undermine all MPs, not just Labour ones.
McBride and other victims might disagree, but Guido is successful because he is
fun. The left, 40 years ago, had similar streaks of anarchy, irreverence and
humour, qualities that were evident even in Neil Kinnock before he became Labour
leader. Now, the left just craves respectability.
Public Health Warning: Parts of this blog were written with tongue firmly in keyboard.