Two and a half years ago when this website was set up blog hits were at best in hundreds worst in tens.
Now blog hits are best in thousands and worst in hundreds. But last week saw a significant turning point. Not only were they a record number of hits that week -but more important it is where they were coming from.
Two of the biggest hits in the past – the post on whether Labour could be go bankrupt because of interest payments to Blair’s donors- and Maude’s Madrassa- the story of Francis Maude’s letting arrangement to Tory special advisers – hit large numbers because they were mentioned on Guido Fawkes (Paul Staines) website. I admit the initial success of this ex Guardian hack’s website was boosted by the free market Tory right.
Last week the blog revealing the leaked memo (first and only in full on http://www.exaronews.com ) from Nick Chapman, chief executive of NHS Direct, admitting they couldn’t get contracts and the excessive strip searching of Afro-Caribbean women and abusive and appalling treatment of a gay man at Gatwick Airport were ignored by Guido.
Yet because the NHS Direct memo taken up on Twitter by Sunny Hundal (of Liberal Conspiracy) and Tom Watson MP ( with 25,000+ and 83,000 followers each) the NHS Direct blog – over 5000 and still rising – is now the first blog beating the Labour Party crisis blog on 4,345. The Gatwick Airport blog -on 2120 was also boosted by appearing on Political Scrapbook and taken up by the Pink Paper and the international gay community.
To me this tells me two things. The right wing’s dominance of the blogosphere is at an end- it is now a healthy level playing field between the right and left fighting over the political issues of the day.
Second it raises an interesting thought. If the growth of the blogosphere fuelled by Twitter and Facebook continues like this over the next two years – are the Leveson# hearings on media control an irrelevance?
The irony is that new formal controls over the official media be in place on a declining industry while the expanding blogosphere will become the place where issues are debated. Tom Watson’s followers are almost the equivalent of the number of Independent readers and Guido Fawkes at 75,000 is not far off. I have a far more modest 3142.
I suspect no politician – Tory, Labour, UKIP or Liberal Democrat – would dare impose controls over the blogosphere. To do so would risk a Tahrir Square style rising from both Left and Right.