Home > General Politics, Labour Party News > Bloggers 4 Labour: Being used by the far right?

Bloggers 4 Labour: Being used by the far right?

I was just looking over the recent feed from “Bloggers 4 Labour” and happened to notice several worrying posts. Starting with the following blog, which is entitled “Neoconservative, moi?” there are some blogs which seem to be ridiculously right-wing, but are advertising on a site that is purpose built to accumulate Labour-sympathetic blogs. To give an example of just how right-wing the Neoconservative blog is, the title of one article is “The Democratic (Marxist) Party” accusing both Obama and Clinton of being “Marxian.”

Not to put to fine a point on it, but might this remind you of anything?

The blog’s “About” page admits of the following…

the webname – wien1938 is my web/forum name. It refers to the 2nd Panzer division as my first 1/72nd scale tank model was a Panther G belonging to that division.
The blog name, I rather like, since I’m a leftwinger by inclination [...]

I’m also a bit of a militarist. I’ve always loved the military and all things war related. I believe that Britain has criminally underfunded and misused the Armed Forces for far too long and that we should not be afraid of going to war [...]

I still admire Tony Blair, but I do think he was wrong on some things – like Global Warming (pseudo-marxist religion, v.dangerous). [...]

This is a blogger for Labour? Yikes. Initially I looked for some tongue in cheek irony about the whole thing. For example, the blog entitled Conservative and Unionist which has the web address toryparty.net is dedicated to attacking the Conservative Party – and its articles and About page make that clear. The more I read Neoconservative however, the more it looked like a fifteen year old’s mutterings about subjects far above their level of ready comprehension.

I know Andrew at B4L said that the latest harvest of Labour-supporting blogs from Total Politics has been “not great” but isn’t this beyond scraping the bottom of the barrel?!

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  1. September 28, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    I raised a similar concern with Neil at B4L about The Alberta Spectator, who has pronounced, inter alia, on the need to abolish trade unions, the need to remove black immigrants from Canada, and that it would be sensible to vote Conservative in the coming Candian election (he’s since removed that advice, I note, though I’m not sure whether that’s in response to Neil.

    Neil said, i think, that he would remove him but I don’t think it’s happened yet. mybe just a time thing.

    As Neil said in his reply to me, he takes a fairly ‘liberal’ approach to posts, not leas cos he can’t monitor everything, but is prepared to remove blogs clear not in borad support of Labour, however that may be defined.

    I think given the small resource he has (and the excellent job he does) I think the best we can do is simply support him on a blog buy blog basis, advising him where we think they are not appropriate to B4L.

  2. B4L
    September 29, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Neil? Yikes!

    I did remove Werner’s blog (‘Alberta Spectator’), but the discussion suddenly kicked into life a few days ago (see: http://www.bloggers4labour.org/2008/09/tory-blogs-and-labour-strategy.jsp) when he eventually discovered the fact. He did raise some fair points in response and, to some extent, I slightly regret the removal, not to mention the way it was carried out.

    I do read a lot of the posts that pass through B4L, and generally have a fairly good idea of the viewpoint of each blogger. I like to be fairly liberal, as some ‘borderline’ opinions are good for shaking others up. There’s also the argument that I should keep things simple and honest by saying that self-described Labour affiliation is all that counts, irrespective of any faction, commitment to liberalism, socialism, etc.

    The advantage of B4L being *my* site is that, though I’m guided by others’ views, I don’t *have* to bend to them. Currently, whatever people think of my *own* politics, nobody has been able to accuse B4L or its network of representing any factional view.

    I actually discovered “Neoconservative? Moi?” at Harry’s Place. I can’t remember where I read it, but as soon as I did read of their Labour membership I could do nothing but add them. I think it would be more damaging than helpful to breach that rule, though I will keep an eye on things.

  3. September 29, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Andrew

    Did I really call you Neil? Several times? How strange! And my apologies. it’s senility, that’s all. Please feel free to call me what you wish, though for a limited time only please.

    Apologies also that I missed the subsequent response from Werner, which makes for interesting reading. I think it is noble of you to acknowledge that you made a mistake around the way you communicated with Werner etc., but I wouldn’t feel too bad about it at all…..

    What Werner fails to mention is that I tried to post a comment on HIS site about whether he thought B4L was a suitable conduit for his views, for reason very close to what I set out to you.

    He chose not to publish the comment, and I have no problem with that – it is his site and he can do as he wishes – but by the same reasoning it seems strange (and a bit whiney) that he should now accuse you of ‘undemocratic’ behaviour. It is your site, people are grateful for its existence and the time you give to it, and you should do as you choose with it.

    Having said that, I would maintain that in my view you WERE right to question Werner’s continued link to B4L (and I know I’m not the only one who has questioned it). It is a bit trite of Werner to say it’s ok to be on B4L because his views on trade unions are ‘personal’. All blogs are personal by their nature, but they are still views being expounded upon for a wide readership, and in the context of the discussion you started about how the left should defend its blog territory and not be an unwitting party to right wing propaganda, whether the views are ‘personal’ (or whatever Werner thinks is the opposite of that) is an irrelevance.

    I would maintain that questioning the validity of trade unions in the industrialised world, whether or not it is dressed up as Blairism, is in fact out of line with the core values of the Labour movement, and if that is the key reason you chose to get rid of his blog from B4L, you were quite right to do so.

    On the other hand, I have no problem with seeing him back at B4L (as I said, I didn’t even notice he’d been away), if that is your choice and if he has convinced you of his Labour worthiness. If he now adopts a somewhat more measured tone in respect of unions and immigration because of your challenge to him, and if your challenge has made him less explicit in his (continued) favour of the Canadian conservatives, then this little interlude has been beneficial as well as mildly amusing. If he doesn’t, you are entitled to review the link, aren’t you.

    (I have to say the New Democrats in Canada must be a very ‘broad tent’ lot indeed to allow him to remain a member when he’s put ‘Vote Conservative’ on his well-read blog. I’m not sure I’d get away with it here.)

    Dave, sorry to take over your blog in this way. I think you are right to question the place of Neo-conservative Moi on B4L. As Andrew (and even Werner) say, a broad tent for bloggery is fine, but it’s in keeping Andrew’s initial post, about the need not to give our space to the right without thought, to keep on raising the issues as we see them, and for Andrew to act as he thinks appropriate.

  4. September 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Quite alright. The purpose of this blog is to ask such questions. At the root of it, if Andrew wants to be absolutely open to everyone who is a part of the Labour family then that’s fine – though I’m a subscriber to the No Platform to Fascists idea, I’m not sure this chap or Alberta Spectator has crossed that line. I was just drawing some attention to the whole thing.

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