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18 Doughty Street TV is doing very well

I was on 18 Doughty Street intertelly last night, and I really enjoyed myself, not least because Iain Dale, presiding, also seemed satisfied with the efforts of me and my fellow late night chatterers. I was also on 18 Doughty Street on only its second night in action, and it was a mild relief to get asked back. That is the only compliment that really matters after you’ve been on something.

Many intriguing things got alluded to, but the basic message I want to put across here, now, is that, basically, 18 Doughty Street is doing very well. When I was first on, there was a palpable air of panic, with people saying things like “I can only do one thing at a time” through clenched teeth and with that terrifying evenness that people do just before they explode. This time, things were working more smoothly. Which is just what you would expect. I want 18 Doughty Street to do really well, even though I’m a libertarian rather than a conservative, and certainly am not a Conservative Party activist. This is because I want to see lots of unregulated, totally biased TV, of all kinds. This is the true answer to the problem of the biased BBC, not merely moaning away about how biased the BBC is. 18DSTV will have a far more profound influence on the BBC than any mere anti-BBC bitching possibly could, because as it finds a new audience, it will not only prove that there is a new audience, but it will also smoke out new talent to address this audience. The BBC will either use some of this talent, or ignore it and jeopardise its licence fee. Guess which it will do.

The commenter who complained about us talking about football was, I believe, missing at least one of the points that we were using football to highlight, which is how very much more interested in football most people are than in politics. (I waved the Sun newspaper about to emphasise the point.) There was general agreement amongst us all that the main political parties are losing touch with their potential voters. My fellow chatterers, Arleen Ouzounian [incorrectly spelt at first – apologies Arleen] and Dave Hill, both in their different ways said: well, politicians have got to get back into touch again. Arleen Ouzounian is part of an operation to get Christians to take more interest in politics. And, after being told by me that “grass roots” is a vacuous cliché, Dave Hill (here is his blog) responded by speaking eloquently about the joys of getting involved in local issue politics. A horrible nightclub near where he lives, outside of which several murders had apparently been committed, was eventually closed, by combined local efforts. Hurrah. Well, I can see how a ruckus like that would be more fun to be part of if you are also able to blog about it. Maybe blogs will revitalise local politics.

I preferred to push the globalising impact of the new media. Just as our current politicians are still largely the creatures of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century national print media, so too will the new global media create new political opportunities. (It is no accident that 18 Doughty Street has a high proportion of Americans among its first audiences, which was something I learned on my first visit.) One reason why the vitality of big national political parties in the rich world is draining away is that so much of politics has already gone global, and people sense that voting for this or that national party will make less and less difference.

Arleen Ouzounian is a tax lawyer. But we were able to get her to distinguish between being a tax lawyer and wanting taxes to be even more burdensome than they already are. After all, if you’re an expert on infectious diseases, that doesn’t make you automatically in favour of them. She is only twenty and this was her first time on telly of any sort, apparently. You wouldn’t have known. As I think Iain Dale said, she has A List written all over her. Metaphorically speaking.

Like I say, lots was talked about, but one thing in particular stands out for me, which is that Iain Dale, being himself an effective and experienced blogger, has none of the Mainstream Media’s reluctance to acknowledge the existence of the blogosphere, or to trawl around in it for people to be on his shows. I was made to feel very much at home, by Iain, and especially by his fellow presenter Rena Valeh, who made it clear that she knew not just my name, but that she had read quite a number of my recent blog postings. This is the first broadcasting I have ever done where I was allowed not just to be a Libertarian Alliance supporter, which I certainly am, but also a blogger. I’ve done quite a few spots on various other Mainstream Media shows in recent years. Sometimes I mentioned my blogging activities to them beforehand, Samizdata in particular. But on the show, only the ‘organisation’, the Libertarian Alliance, was deemed worthy of mention.

The Mainstream Media, in other words, treat the blogosphere as a mysterious and threatening rival, which they try as hard as they can to ignore, except when they blog themselves, perhaps because they also suppose that ‘ordinary people’ are similarly frightened of it, as I daresay many are. 18 Doughty Street treats the blogosphere as a welcome partner and as a valuable resource.

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4 comments to 18 Doughty Street TV is doing very well

  • The Last Toryboy

    17 Doughty Street is pretty nifty as well. 😀

  • Howard R Gray

    I find 18 Doughty Street a very refreshing and vital source of political commentary for the likes of me here in Brooklyn NY, NY.

    There is a feeling that the presenters and guests are observing the political world as eyes and ears just for me and thus letting me in on it while they discuss it. There is also a fine sense of conviviality in the presentation and, as a contact with the old country, 18 DSTV is quite simply magic.

    If this is the future of political commentary roll on the future!

  • “Simply Magic” – glad you like it – do keep tuning in!
    Jonathan Sheppard – Head of Comms 18DS

  • My appearance the night before on End of the Day show was most amusing. It was great fun and I hope I get to do it again. As far as I am concerned any TV studio that has a dog in it is alright by me.

    I find 18 Doughty Street compelling viewing for most of the time. I have to say its certainly better than anything on normal telly including Freeview.