Before the 2010 General Election and the advent of the Coalition, many in the right leaning part of the blogosphere had only known a Labour Government. Those blogging in the early days of the genre railed at Tone; those who came later cut their teeth kicking Pa Broon. Here was a world of certainty, where everything was directed to the offensive nature of the conflict.
Then came a Government in which many of those practitioners had invested some measure of capital, and the game changed, more or less overnight. Now there would be decisions and policies not to attack, but defend, even against popular opposition. In this newly changed game, any part of the print or broadcast media critical to the cause could not be laughed off or waved away.
Into this heavily charged atmosphere came the first supposed opportunity: the renewal of the BBC’s Licence Fee agreement. A new Tory dominated Government would surely see off the hated Beeb: The Inquisition of Pax Jeremiah would vanish, the Today programme could be more like a radio version of Fox And Friends, and Andrew Marr might be replaced by someone who could reliably channel Bill O’Reilly.
It didn’t happen: Jeremy Hunt played a straight bat, holding the Beeb to a tight license fee settlement, yet leaving their editorial independence well alone. The argument had hardly started. This left many utterly deflated: there had been so much hope that the BBC would perhaps be broken up or otherwise sold off, and a Tory led administration had failed to deliver.
Maybe, just maybe, right leaning bloggers would have to turn their own chorus into something more effective. With a whole host of those “events” coming up - the AV referendum, local elections, indifferent economic news, impending job losses, and potential fractures in the Coalition will all feature in the coming months – new targets had to be found.
And so we come to the Guardian. Although this paper sells only a fraction of tabloids like the Mail and Sun, its reportage carries greater weight because it is held to be that much more reliable. So the attack, as typified by Paul Staines and Mark Wallace, has begun. As with the supposed Spectator “exclusive” on the Yes to AV campaign, the line is to rubbish the target, make accusations of dishonesty, then claim victory because that target is busted.
As an exercise in theatricality and hyperbole, this approach has novelty, but there is little substance. Few outside the echo chamber of those doing the attacking will be converted. Ultimately this is a waste of time and money.And I, for one, am all in favour of that waste continuing. More fool them.