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31.12.09

The left and the web

The convincing portrait painted by James Crabtree of a possible future Cameron government having to “square up to a turbocharged swarm of pissed-off progressives with laptops” reminds me of my blog claim, post Moir-gate, that the left will need no vanguard to stay alive.

I also note that Ray Takeyh writes in the Washington Post today:

“The most remarkable aspect about the events in Iran since June has been the opposition’s ability to sustain itself and to generate vast rallies while deprived of a national organizational network, a well-articulated ideology and charismatic leaders.”

Whether this opposition can be considered of the left or the right insofar as these terms are understood in the UK, or simply the basically decent, is another debate, but, given the extent to which my Twitter feed is full of comment from Iran, I have to wonder about the extent to which the internet explains this very welcome sustaining quality. It seems to be proving quite a handful for the Iranian regime, as bloggers of the left may prove for a Cameron government.

All of which makes me doubtful about Evgeny Morozov’s argument that the web helps dictators most of all. That said; I agree with Crabtree that “the internet is not intrinsically amenable to either left or right”, while also agreeing with him that the full potential of the web has not yet been exploited by the British left, though this may be changing and continuing to do so.