Sunday, 15 May 2011

A second chance for the inventor of UK political blogging to invent UK political blogging?

This piece blaming the mainstream media for the decline in independent political blogging first appeared in the Guardian (part of the mainstream media), not on an independent political blog, thus contributing to its own flawed conclusion.

When I gave up blogging six months ago, the reaction to it was astonishing. It was akin to being witness to my own funeral. In that while out of respect people said all sorts of nice things, most were delighted that I had finally fucked off.

My billions of loyal readers were distraught. All those who commented without questioning what I had written would have to find somewhere else to lay their words and scantily moderated bile. It was the Diana moment of political blogging, in that my blog had increasingly become a car crash.

It was considered such a momentous event that in my own mind I was invited on to more or less (definitely less) every news channel going. Weird. The question I was asked most often was if my decision signalled the inevitable decline of the British political blogosphere. Of course it will, I said. After all I invented the whole thing. How could it function without me? Several other leading blogging lights, like Labour MP Tom Harris, also decided to quit. Bloody bandwagon jumpers. I invented retiring from political blogging. How dare they try and get in on the act. As the inventor of retiring from political blogging I decided that that meant I could still blog occasionally while the others have actually stuck to the definition of retired and shown me up once again.

But I was right. No one reads blogs any more. Nobody. I base this on a non scientific sample of people I know and use it as the basis for a supposition about everyone in the world but that doesn’t mean I am presenting an opinion as fact cos I never would.

I could waffle on about how it is the fault of the mainstream media (which I am very much part of on the back of my blog) who have joined in, but this argument would have to ignore that fact that as something once small and independent becomes more popular it in itself becomes the mainstream by default.

How dare the media do their job and try and communicate information and opinion in new and different ways by copying what I and I alone invented.

The truth is that there are only so many people who are able to inexplicably carve a media career out of writing complete nonsense all of the time by assuming the air of an expert even if it is largely self appointed. And I was worried that the more people see how easy it is to spout nonsense without accountability, the less my own blog would stand out and matter. So I was getting my excuses in early.

And it is bloody hard to keep jerking your knee all the time. I have jerked mine off so much at times that there are shards of my patella embedded in the wall of my office.

The problem with my blog becoming so popular was that there were increasing numbers of busybodies who weren’t content to just read it but wanted to challenge me on some of my lazy research and inaccurate representation of facts. It got boring having to try and wriggle out of yet another attack on such minor things as truth and details. How is one supposed to constantly pass off opinion as fact if clever buggers keep challenging stuff? Of course I use such finely honed debating techniques as calling opponents sacks of shit and pricks but it was getting hard to maintain such hypocritical bilge.

I invented blogging and therefore people should play by my rules. So when I say the blogosphere is dead I mean that it has developed in a way I don’t like. Plus there are too many decent blogs by lefties around now. Bastards.

For whatever reason, the political blogosphere in this country has not met the expectations of me. Even though it has created media careers (in the mainstream media no less including pieces in the Guardian) for a small group of the chosen few (did I really use pseudo Messianic language there? Surely not) – me among them.

But apart from that tosspot Guido's several scalps and general shit-stirring what has the political blogosphere really achieved beyond giving the voiceless a voice (he wrote as if that was actually a bad thing? After all, we don’t want too many of those voiceless piping up now or the government may be forced to actually listen to them).

So what of the future? I think the way forward for mass audience blogs is with group blogs. What this basically means is that I can hide the fact that I am dying to get back into blogging and jerking my knee and yet save face by pretending I am doing something new and innovative rather than repackaging the same old shite. And I can get other people to do all of the work while maintaining my profile.

To that effect in a few weeks I am launching a new multi-authored site called The Fale-ure: Iain Fale & Friends. I've recruited 40 or 50 friends to write for the site. This will surprise people who’ll say this is 40 or 50 more friends than they assumed I had. Some are well known, others aren't. The thing they have in common in that they're all great writers. And I may do some writing as well so they look even better by comparison. Will it work? No idea. But it's costing nothing and if it fales the only red face will be mine, which will clash awfully with some of ties I wear when on the TV. And if it goes wrong I will have to invent retiring from retiring from retiring from political blogging and find another way to publicly jerk my knee without too much accountability.

2 comments: