Friday, October 20, 2006

Iain Dale *

Iain Dale was always going to be controversial. Even apart from accidentally calling us 'media studies' students his right wing political stance was going to ruffle feathers. He wouldn't be as successful a blogger as he is if he didn't wind one or two people up. I thought he made some interesting points on how the conventional media stunts political debate, and how the world hasn't adapted to blogging.

Iain's lecture was partly an ad for his online political TV channel 18 Doughty Street. He claimed the channel would not restrict 'intelligent political debate', challenge the 'liberal world view' and remove the 'media filter'.

I remain to be convinced that 18 Doughty Street will be anything more than a site for the politically obsessed. Long debates between talking heads is a format not used by mainstream media for a reason- it's boring! Doughty Street may find itself only appealing to bored 'policy wonks' in Whitehall.

Iain admitted himself that he didn't know what he would do if a representative of the BNP wanted to appear on his programme or submit a video report.

This will be an interesting test - how does the outsiders' channel deal with real outsiders?

Iain is on the A-list of Conservative candidates and so will likely be running at the next election. It will be very revealing to see how far he can retain his blogging independence when he launches his political career. This will be an important barometer of blogging and its status as a completely free form of expression.


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