Wednesday, January 17, 2007

2007 - Year of the Sock Puppet

And whilst on the subjects of political protests, peculiar behaviour and puppets…

A week or so ago I was chatting with a couple of other UK bloggers, sharing our take on the state of political blogging in the UK and its impact on the real world. The short answer was a) it’s a mess and b) not much.

But, hey, UK politics is in a mess and if millions of people getting off their arses and marching against the attack on Iraq couldn’t encourage our elected representatives to do the decent thing why the fuck should a few hundred people blogging make any difference?

A key reason why UK politics is in such a mess is the fact that the old Left vs. Right ideological divisions simply don't apply to many of the issues politically aware people are concerned about. And the political parties aren't giving those people a choice, or a voice.

And so, there looms the tantalising possibility that those politically aware people could use the medium of the Internet to explore areas of shared concern and develop a Movement. A Movement that puts notions of Left and Right to one side and focuses instead on exploring on how we can make our institutions more representative and accountable. A Movement that could then spill out into the real world and help make Life better.

Alternatively, everyone could just be horrible to each other.

At the moment, horrible appears to be winning hands down.

as evidenced by a series of public spats breaking out in the UK Blogosphere. I'll link to a couple of examples for the sake of completeness – here, here and here - but I don't recommend reading through them. I really don't.

Sadly, many people are much more adept at latching onto the differences between them than finding common cause.

But that’s not important or especially amusing right now.

What is amusing is the increasing use of malicious sock puppetry in UK political blogs and forums - and all the paranoia that goes with it. I would link to a few examples but I really don't want a bunch of nutters on my case.

Speaking as someone who has fashioned one or two, um... dozen Internet sock puppets in his time, the socially responsible part of my psyche despairs at the thought of so much foolishness whilst the socially irresponsible part loves every minute of it.

Yes, British political blogging – less of a movement, more of a collection of embittered people sitting at keyboards pursuing vendettas and stalking each other in cyberspace whilst pretending to be somebody else.

The Powers that Be must be quaking in their boots, or pissing themselves laughing, one of the two.

edit: I've replaced the links in one of the above posts with a link to Carnival in Rio - by Heino because, on reflection, I've decided that it's more interesting and uplifting than the original link


Mr Sock said...

OMG!!! Best post ever!!!

Wolfie said...

How depressing.

fjl said...

Thisis all more than a little pompous. My posts are being used as evidence, they're not an atempt to create any disention in the blogo. I'd much rather not have to write them. Find out your facts before blethering yourself about. I would.

Stef said...

Only more than a little pompous?

I must be losing my touch

Stef said...

Alternatively, how about rewinding a little. I have not accused you of deliberately spreading dissent anywhere. I simply linked to your post as an example of the kind of public disagreement that depresses me.

Rachel said...

FJL has been arrested and formally charged with harassment, and is awaiting trial.

The libellous and untruthful blog posts aren't even the half of it, I'm afraid...

Libel is a civil offence, harassment a summary criminal offence. In this instance, untruthful and libellous blogging is bad character evidence.

I'm not going into details as the matter is sub judice. You may wish to reconsider the repetition of libel in the light of the information I have given you, or feel free to email me and I will give you the name of the officer in charge of the investigation who can confirm the matter.

On a personal note I don't support the 'blog wars' going on in political blogland, and find the whole thing damaging and depressing.

Stef said...

My law is a little rusty but I suspect that linking to a post is not the same thing as repeating a libel

No matter. Life is short

I have amended the original offending link but I won't be making a habit of it

Mr Sock said...


Rachel said...