The inimitable Guido Fawkes decides to use Samizdata to explain what he is… and what he is not.
Over on the misnamed Liberal Conspiracy blog ‘Gracchi’ proffers a serious and fair minded critique of my Guido alter ego’s oeuvre, rather than the usual “Guido is an evil baby eating Nazi who once voted Tory, does not use trackbacks and deletes comments” tripe. I will give it a reply here and defend my approach.
Clearly we all have a political agenda of some kind. Mine is the politics of anti-politics. It stems from wanting to expand the non-political space in life and culture. This flows from my belief in the primacy of individual liberty.
The charge of partisanship does have some validity, I would rather get this shower in government out, but the choice on offer is hardly compelling. It is not as if there was any attempt on my part to pretend to some kind of impartial objectivity. So far as the right-of-centre leaning blogosphere has any influence on the Tories it is often attacking from the ‘right’ of the Tory centre of gravity. The Samizdatistas despair of the Tories, Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome is more hawkish and less socially liberal than his party, even Iain Dale is more Thatcherite than the Tory leadership and my views on tax cuts, the minimal state, free migration and drug prohibition position me in a very different place on the political spectrum to the Tories. It is inimical to Toryism for instance to be a republican, so to characterise me as a Tory seems intellectually lazy to the point of cretinous.
I have written no ideological essays for nearly two decades. There are some still available from the Libertarian Alliance if you are interested – on human rights, the economics of the City and most famously acid house culture.
Gracchi is right to nuance the self-interest charge against politicians, they are more precisely motivated by “perceived self-interest”. I will adopt that phrase from now on. As for my understanding about policy development and the importance of wonks, well I have lived in that world, financially supported think tanks and indeed worked for think tanks in my youth. I just do not advertise it.
The rest of the complaint is based on a poor premise, on the evidence of Guido’s blog I am naive, according to Gracchi. Do you mean Paul Staines or the Guido personality? You are confusing the character with the author. The blog provides a tabloid sensationalist, personality driven narrative. It is meant to entertain in order to be populist. Carefully nuanced argumentation is not what it is about. Complaining that it is populist and not what blogging should aspire to, is like complaining that the New York Post is not the New York Times. You do your thing, Guido will do his thing.
Of course the irony is that more intellectuals, wonks and political thinkers read Guido’s blog than the New Statesman. In Gramscian terms Guido’s blog is now arguably the more important ‘site of struggle’. Discuss.