IDS and Woody on the blogosphere

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith has an article in the Guardian on the blogosphere titled: Bloggers will rescue the right – Beat the metropolitan elite with the tactics of US conservatives.

But the blogosphere will become a force in Britain, and it could ignite many new forces of conservatism. The internet’s automatic level playing field gives conservatives opportunities that mainstream media have often denied them.

Well blogs open up opportunities for all sorts of people. I am convinced that blogging in Britain will continue to grow in size and influence but I’m yet to be convinced it will take the same shape and charachter as the US blogosphere.

As I’ve said before, in political terms, the interesting thing about the way the British scene has developed is that it has given a space to political views that don’t get much representation in the mainstream media. On the left, many of the most popular sites come from the pro-liberation left which has been largely ignored by the liberal media, while on the right it is radical free-market libertarians such as Samizdata who get the serious traffic as such views are hard to find in the conservative press.

But there is nothing to say that will always be the case and it is going to be fascinating to see how things develop.


Blogs aren’t all about politics of course and last night I attended the East Lancashire Bloggers Summit – well, I went out for a few pints with my mate The Tinbasher.

Tinbasher is a blog about a pretty obscure topic – the sheet metal industry and about one small business in particular. The site creator Paul Woodhouse, who lives just three minutes walk from my parents, has managed to make the site the talk of the blogging business world, getting nominated for awards, attending conferences in the States and generally being treated as a pioneer of a small business blog that works.

And by all accounts it is working pretty spectacularly for Paul and the firm Butler Sheetmetal. The interest created through his blog has brought in business from well outside the company’s core area in East Lancs and generated plenty of publicity as well as orders.

We discussed a lot of blogging related matters but we couldn’t avoid a little self-satisfied chuckle at the fact that one of the world’s most noted small business blogs and one of the UK’s leading political blogs are both produced by people from the same town in Lancashire.

Perhaps that is one element of the blogging revolution that has been over-looked. The media is so London-centric, written by people living in the capital and too often for people living in the capital yet with blogs you can get an article published or promote your business from anywhere. You don’t need contacts in the London media or PR world – you can just crack on and do it.

If you can type that is.