Cynical, viciously nihilist bloggers are destroying British political culture, claims Communities Secretary Hazel Blears. And furthermore, she is due to say today in a speech to the Hansard Society, they're all Tories.
"The most popular blogs are rightwing," claims Blears, "ranging from the considered Tory views of Iain Dale, to the vicious nihilism of Guido Fawkes." Wistfully, she adds: "Perhaps this is simply anti-establishment. Blogs have only existed under a Labour government. Perhaps if there was a Tory government, all the leading blogs would be left-of-centre?"
At time of writing Considered Tory Iain Dale had yet to express a view on Blears' outburst, but Dale - a great fan of the lovely Hazel Blears - recently interviewed her for Total Politics. Blairwatch, not exactly a right wing blog, has emitted a snort of derision, while Guido, who frequently denies that he's a Tory, has gone off on one.
By strange coincidence a "contact in Labour HQ" told Iain Dale yesterday of a Labour planning session "to discuss how to take the fight to right of centre bloggers". Blears isn't reported to have been at that meeting (busy being interviewed by Iain Dale?), but today's speech certainly looks related.
Blears herself was an early, if misguided, blogger, and her core objection to the political blogosphere appears to be that "mostly, political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians, who see their function as unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy."
Which, given that this is at least an arguable definition of what the press ought to do, suggests that she'll have a mountain to climb in constructing a New Labour counter attack, and getting anybody to read its output. She continues: "Until political blogging 'adds value' to our political culture, by allowing new voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge, and until the mainstream media reports politics in a calmer, more responsible manner, it will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and despair."
Perhaps she should just root out all of the illegitimate protest and challenge by making it illegal. Then everybody would have to read Labourhome Which at time of writing seems still to be getting ready for last night's US elections. Should somebody mention it to them?
Update: And the roundup has already started. In Downing Street this afternoon, police busted a group of suspected cynical, nihilist, right-wing bloggers. ®