“The internet has changed politics – changed it utterly and forever. Twenty-four hours ago, I made a three-minute speech in the European Parliament, aimed at Gordon Brown. I tipped off the BBC and some of the newspaper correspondents but, unsurprisingly, they ignored me: I am, after all, simply a backbench MEP.
How the EU throws our money away
When I woke up this morning, my phone was clogged with texts, my email inbox with messages. Overnight, the YouTube clip of my remarks had attracted over 36,000 hits. By today, it was the most watched video in Britain.
How did it happen, in the absence of any media coverage? The answer is that political reporters no longer get to decide what’s news. The days when a minister gave briefings to a dozen lobby correspondents, and thereby dictated the next day’s headlines, are over. Now, a thousand bloggers decide for themselves what is interesting. If enough of them are tickled then, bingo, you’re news. (Huge thanks to all those who linked: Guido, Iain Dale, Tim Montgomerie, James Delingpole, Donal Blaney, Dizzy, Devil, James Forsyth, PoliticalBetting, Gerald Warner and the rest. And jumbo thanks to all the American bloggers: you chaps are way ahead of us in this regard.)
What caught their attention? To be honest, I’m slightly perplexed. I have been making similar speeches every week and posting them on YouTube for the past seven months. I made one just now: 60 seconds on how Brussels is spraying money at the European Investment Bank (see above clip). Perhaps people felt frustrated about the way Gordon Brown had carried on without once asking for their votes. Perhaps they would have loved to tell him what they thought of him, but lacked the opportunity.
Breaking the press monopoly is one thing. But the internet has also broken the political monopoly. Ten or even five years ago, when the Minister for Widgets put out a press release, the mere fact of his position guaranteed a measure of coverage. Nowadays, a politician must compel attention by virtue of what he is saying, not his position.
It’s all a bit unsettling for professional journalists and politicians. But it’s good news for libertarians of every stripe. Lefties have always relied on control, as much of information as of physical resources. Such control is no longer technically feasible.”
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