The Blogosphere is fundamentally different from the Main Stream Media.
It is the aggregate mass of thousands of committed individuals, sitting in front of their computers, who wish to make their voices heard in the political dialogue which traditionally, only hears their voice during an election.
This is not a new phenomenon. It used to be called pamphleteering. Prynne, Bastwick and Burton were seventeenth century ‘bloggers’ who contributed to the downfall of the Stuart monarchy.
Modern historians place great weight on the pamphleteering that went on in the 1630’s. Then as now the established power first ignored, then repressed the clamour from the pamphleteers, they were unable to control the new ‘medium’.
In the end refusal to change or compromise brought down Charles I
Many bloggers are ‘experts’ in their field, carving a thousand new facets onto an issue; the Blogs can, and do, rapidly expose a lie by Government; Newspapers no longer campaign and are easily controlled by Government, through D notices, or a refusal of access to the corridors of power.
Bloggers are noisy, rumbustious, argumentative, anarchic, and autonomous. They don’t speak with the smooth, editorially controlled, legally sanctified, grammatically correct, voice of the National Newspapers, or the Television Stations.
They shout, from 25 million different electronic soap-boxes, of the injustices they perceive in their small corner of the global world. Unpaid, sometimes unheard, but, critically, electronically linked to each other.
That link is essential, for occasionally a story gains momentum, catches the group imagination and then builds up speed exponentially, amplifying the original lone voice to an almighty bellow.
So it was that when I wrote of Nick Hogan, the Manchester publican jailed for six months for being unable to pay the full £11,600 fine imposed on him when some of his customer’s defied the ‘no-smoking’ ban, it was read not only by my little band of readers, but by other bloggers linked to me.
A fellow blogger, Old Holborn, read my post and offered to arrange a collection point for donations via his own Blog. That blog post was, in turn, read by Guido Fawkes, who relayed it to his own million plus readers.
This was not a campaign conducted by the smoothly professional spin-meisters of the main political parties, or campaigning organisations, with stories carefully planted in friendly newspapers, written by highly trained professionals. There were no government ministers wheeled out to TV stations to tell the obliging public what they should think.
This was not the ‘Pro-Smoking’ lobby shouting, this was the authentic, raw voice of thousands of ordinary men and women who felt that the State had over-stepped the mark, and was making a political point by jailing this man.
The outrage I had felt at the injustice imposed on Nick Hogan was being amplified beyond my wildest imagination – Bloggers across the globe were putting their hand into their wallet and forwarding money to the ‘Free Nick Hogan’ fund.
I lost count of the number of e-mails I received telling me ‘I don’t mind the smoking ban myself, but this is wrong’. Or ‘this man has been jailed for refusing to act as an unpaid policeman for the State’.
Money came in from all over the world, the International Blogosphere had reacted in a truly heart warming way, outraged at the behaviour of the State.
On Wednesday we succeeded, and with the good wishes of thousands of ordinary men and women, equally battered by the recession, Nick Hogan is once more in the bosom of his family, able to support his wife Denise and their children.
Thank-you Blogosphere – and well done.
The fact that so many of you responded is a powerful message from the voting public that politicians would be well advised to heed. The Blogosphere will not be controlled by politicians, bound up in regulations, throttled by impenetrable legislation. It is not a single target that a ‘D’ notice can be fired at. We are not beholden to advertisers.
We are the authentic, unfiltered, voice of your electorate.
Very soon, we may be more than that. Today, Nick Hogan has phoned me and told me that he has accepted an invitation to stand for Parliament. I am delighted for him. I hope he is successful. Parliament needs men and women who know what it is to belong to the great mass of ordinary people – not career political aides promoted to candidacy, not union representatives looking for a national soapbox to shout from – from real human beings who have had to battle the effects of the recession, who know what bankruptcy really means, who know how hard it is to run a business when you are throttled with legislation, who know what it means to sit up at night doing the Vat returns, real people.
In the meantime, Russia’s main television channel is flying into Manchester to interview Nick Hogan as part of a special investigation* into the totalitarian regime that they see emerging in Europe – Oh! The irony! Post Perestroika Russia sees Britain as an oppressive regime! Was it only yesterday that we were lecturing them on Freedom?
For the British, it is not a physical wall such as that in Berlin that we need to pull down, but the psychological wall between the career politicians and the 60 million people that they seek to rule. They need our consent to do so.
Yesterday, Old Holborn was outside Westminster Magistrates court where four politicians, charged with false accounting, sought permission not to stand in the dock as common criminals, they were, so they believed, entitled to be treated differently from any other thief.
They just don’t get it.
My politics are not Nick’s; he knows that, we can politely agree to disagree. Until the day arrives when Libertarians are sufficient in number to field national candidates, I shall be delighted to settle for helping a real human being to enter parliament, it is what this country needs – even if I can’t vote for him.
You can expect a blog post next week from Nick explaining his political beliefs – and some more from politicians of a different hue. These are interesting times ahead.
*The video will be available here – just as soon as someone with the capability to put the English translation which I shall have, onto a video, and upload it to Youtube – any offers? Way beyond my technical ability. My e-mail address is on the contact page.