Jessica Williams has just tweeted the following:
Before we even talk about rights or wrongs of a political party trying to control the actions of bloggers, does Clayton Cosgrove really think that saying this, and saying this in public to a member of the media, is going to achieve anything other than prompting those singled out, and their supporters, to respond?
Jessica tweeted a couple of more quotes from Clayton:
This animosity between Clayton Cosgrove and The Standard may be related to the post about him that I linked too in my post on Karen Price. That post has been taken down during the Labour leadership election. But critical comments by bloggers are not a reason to attempt shut down a blog. Attempting to silence them by using the brute force of the party machine is not going to achieve anything positive. As Giovanni said in response to my tweet:
One of the great things about blogs is it allows anyone to get their point of view out there. Blogs, on the whole, should be seen as good for democracy and debate.
I think Clayton is getting confused about the issue. The views expressed on the Standard are not the issue. They are but symptoms of the issues that plague the Labour party at the moment. The fictionalisation of the Labour party, the fact that as admirable as the selection process for the Labour leadership is, it can, and has, resulted in Parliamentary Leaders being elected who do not have the support of the caucus. Toby Manhire sums this up:
But this should not be used as a reason to try and shut down debate.
This isn’t the first time that Labour MPs have attempted to silence critics of the party on The Standard. Clare Curran attempted to out the person behind the Colonial Viper identity on The Standard via the matching up of IP addresses between the visitors to Red Alert and The Standard.
Instead of attacking the messenger, Clayton should be trying to figure out why there is dissatisfaction within Labour ranks, and working to address that. Using the party machinary to try and silence critics is not going to help this process. I may not agree very often with what The Standard has to say, but they should have the right to say it.
There is a debate to be had about what expectations there should be on members of political parties when it comes to towing the party line, but that should be enforced via the members feeling there is a way for their criticisms and grievances to be heard internally. Party discipline comes about through people feeling a connection to, and a stake in, the party and where it is heading. It is not be brought about by the threat of discipline by the party machine for having opinions that others don’t agree with.
Blogs are part of the media and political landscape. Wishing they weren’t isn’t going to achieve anything. But blaming blogs for the issues that the Labour party face, and the result in the last election is not going to achieve anything either. As Giovanni observes:
I think Dovil sums up Clayton’s approach best: