As I’ve mentioned before, I’m fast approaching the tenth anniversary of setting up this blog, and to mark that, I’ve been going through my old posts. It’s interesting looking back and seeing what was important back then – and how different blogging was back when it was all just fields round here, and there were none of your Twitters and Facebooks for sharing links.
Next week, I’m going to begin a series of posts looking back on my blog, but today I wanted to look back at an old post on British Spin I linked to in 2003. Specifically, this prediction:
There will be an major insurgent political movement in the UK within the next 10 years, and that it will organise, fundraise, evangelise and motivate through the internet.
There was lots of talk back then about how the internet was going to change everything about politics in Britain, but has it made any real difference. Sure, there are internet-driven campaign sites like 38 Degrees, but do they count as ‘a major insurgent political movement’ or just old-style lobbying and campaigning using new tricks?
The internet has made it much easier to swamp government departments, MPs’ offices and councils with letters and petitions, but has that made a difference, or just raised the bar on the amount of activism you need to generate to get noticed? Sure, anyone can keep a hashtag trending for a day or two, but has that fundamentally changed politics at all?
Still, the prediction was from June 2003, so there are five more months left for it to come true. But has the internet changed politics, or become just another tool for keeping it all the way it was?
(Note: I believe the blogger formerly knows as British Spin now blogs under their own name, but I can’t recall if that’s public knowledge, or if they want it to be – can anyone help out?)
Update: British Spin is now better known as Hopi Sen – I’m informed he doesn’t mind the link to his old identity being known.