On the subject of people who disagree, but aren’t disagreeable – does anyone who is reading this know of some Right-leaning blogsites that are not uncontrollably Tourette’s in their ability to discuss things rationally? Years ago, my early forays into the political blogosphere led me to Brackenworld, which had some wit but always reminded me of the beer drinking voice in the Streets’ Irony of it all – the Union Jack face paint maybe does it.

But: Dizzy, Iain Dale, Guido, the CoffeeHouse ranters, the 1000’s of people getting apoplectic underneath Jeff Randall columns – it’s like listening to the last 5 people in a Surrey golfclubhouse, when one of them has mentioned Immigrants and Gordon Brown. I can’t deal with it. Politically, I’m probably equidistant between Paul and this lot – but I can have polite conversation with Paul.

So: is this intrinsic to right wing blogs, or have I just been unlucky? Who would be in the top 5 Right Of Centre but Not a Saloon Bar Bore list?


19 thoughts on “The search for a good right wing political-economics site in the UK

  1. Yes, though commenting is part of the fun, and you can actually learn/gain a lot – witness the1976 Cabinet papers I have gained from just a few observations on Duncan’s blog . . .

  2. Giles,

    I was thinking exactly this myself recently. To my knowledge, there is no rightwing equivalent of, say, Liberal Conspiracy, or even Though Cowards Flinch – places where real debate and discussion takes place.

    Of course, the left has its bad blogs – Harry’s Place springs to mind – but the right only seems to do nastiness in terms of feedback and comments. The irony, of course, is that a lot of sensible rightists go to left wing blogs for engaged intellectual discussion: LibCon is again the big case in point, but a libertarian called Dan frequents my place a lot because we actually argue over facts and ideas there, and generally keep the ad hom attacks out.

    I’ve been pondering whether this is intrincisally due to the nature of rightwing blogging, or whether it’s a product of being out of power and bitter for 12 years…i’m sort of inclined to the former, to be honest. Yes, it’s my tribal prejudice, but I think the right tends to lend itself better, in general, to crass nastiness – the aggregate product being crass and nasty majorities, and thoughtful intelligent minorities (the latter who, as I said, go looking for their engagement on the other tribes blogs).

    As for “Brackenworld”, that delightful person should be grateful I don’t sue blogs on principle, after the utterly libelous stuff written about me on there. A real nasty piece of work.

  3. Giles

    Yes, v interesting question. I diagree with Paul S’s view that rightwing blogs lack ‘reasonableness’ because they’ve been driven to it by 12 years out of power. Quite the opposite, I’d say. Right wing blogs, and right wing blgos that tinker with economics, behave the way they do (both authors and commenters) because their view has primacy; they are in fact well in control of the argument, to the extent that the current government has totally caved in on its ‘narrative’. They do not need to be ‘reasonable’ to be effective in their own cause; slagging people like me off as ‘loonie left’, and as Paul S’s ‘internal enemy’ is both easier and more effective than engaging in any reasonded debate.

    The question is how to react to this ongoing wielding of power. Is it ot carry on being ‘oh so very reasonable’, or is to to take the bastards on at their own game (and here I’m moving away from the blogosphere in my mind’s eye, because I think the blogosphere is little more than a useful place to develop ideas and strategies.

    I have in mind a longer piece on all this stuff. In the meantime, I did do a piece quite a long time ago on why I
    think rightwing bloggers are, however ‘clever’ fundamentally less ‘ntellectually valid than leftwing blogs, as they reflect outdated intellectual traditions. See http://www.bickerstafferecord.org.uk/?p=388.

  4. Thanks both

    If there really is no place like that, then I may give up. IN fact, perhaps the IEA blog is the place to try- I like Tom Papworth, for example.

    I like this statement, Paul C:

    “I don’t mean ‘clever’ in a ‘more intelligence’ kind of a way, because that would be stupid, as it were. We (the left) are cleverer because we open ourselves up to a more complex world than those on the right, and that openness demands more of whatever innate intelligence we have.”

    When I started out on this, I was attracted to libertarianism, just because it was so simple. Don’t worry about looking into how the world works; don’t look at how public spending is actually apportioned, don’t ask yourself difficult questions about market failures and abuse and the use of power and so forth – just assume that everything that stops short of perfect is the government. I was never really taken in – the very simplicity of it made me suspicious – but the eagerness with which certain simpleminded people leap onto it is definitely a reason it is loved so much.

    I want to do the clever thing. I went from there to do a masters in Global economic history. If markets and states worked as libertarians believed they do there would be far less history.

    I have other problems with some of the cartoonish stereotypes some of the left use to make their arguments – thrown to the fore in the Crisis – but the libertarian view has become comic in all this mess.

    By the way, both the left and the right have been out of power IMHO

    My view of brackenworld was similar – or rather it was like being trapped in a lift with a drunk 14 yearold who you thought was bearable when sober

  5. “I have other problems with some of the cartoonish stereotypes some of the left use to make their arguments – thrown to the fore in the Crisis ”

    No doubt. After all, no rough ideological set-up is perfect, and even less so its adherents. And we’re all fallible and liable to be lazy or short-sighted.

    “By the way, both the left and the right have been out of power IMHO”

    Sorry, don’t understand what you mean by that? Reword?

  6. I’m with freethinkingeconomist on the glorious attractiveness of libertarianism. It’s a beautiful image, and a great vision of a utopia. But unfortunately it isn’t based in the real world.

    Although I want to think that “Truth is beauty, beauty truth” in reality truth is really really complicated and a bit ugly.

    I know what you mean about the right wing blogs, I doubt Devil’s Kitchen or Old Holborn will calm down if the Tories get in.

    The hilarious thing is that lefties have far more to be angry about than the right. “Taxation is theft” versus the rape of the planet and the grinding poverty of billions. Hmm.

  7. So long as the right wing bloggers somehow believe that the only just/efficient size for the state is about 35pc* then they will inevitably whinge. In 10 years time, after a Tory defeat, they will be complaining that it was because they failed to cut income tax enough.

    I wish more of them learned history. When, exactly, was the state the right size? Perhaps the 19th century, when life expectancy of 50 and no old age pension made life oh-so-jolly for the majority. Never mind lack of schooling.

    *(when IMHO you could probably construct quite a meaty thesis out of the idea that growing wealth, health and educational needs plus helping losers from globalisation means higher public spending is inevitable)

  8. “I wish more of them learned history. When, exactly, was the state the right size? Perhaps the 19th century, when life expectancy of 50 and no old age pension made life oh-so-jolly for the majority. Never mind lack of schooling.”

    Let`s say that the government has an absolute duty to ensure a certain standard of living for all of its citizens – I don`t think it`s unreasonable to expect that over time, improving productivity will make this possible whilst using a smaller proportion of the national output.
    Increased government expenditure over the last 20 odd years has been more about increasing equality than providing a basic minimum.

  9. Hi Hungry – I preferred Horace goes Skiing by the way

    Your response assumes that the ‘certain standard of living’ is a fixed, absolute thing – not unreasonable, a priori, but politically and socially impossible. David Willetts recalled (in Total Politics mag recently, I think) this being he error that he – and Mrs T – shared in the 1980s, when he pointed out the UE benefits in 1985 were the equivalent quality of life to a waged income in the 1940s. Ergo, why lift benefits?

    Unfortunately, poverty levels rise with income – otherwise people are socially excluded. Therefore the cost of that bare minimum also rises. You seem to recognise that in your last sentence. Sam Brittan, whom I rate hugely, takes issue with the “God of equality”, and I do think it can go too far – but I suspect that we can’t have such a tiered-society – if cancer is cured for the rich, it has to be cured for the poor . . .

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