A blogging war has made the front page of the Daily Telegraph. The curious little saga involves the Prime Minister’s ex-political spokesman Damien McBride feeding an email to Derek Draper which smeared David Cameron and influential Tory blogger Iain Dale, and a sort of he-said-she-said argy-bargy about said emails and who sent and said what about whom when. Dale points out this afternoon that Draper now admits that McBride told him what to write in this way, while Paul Staines/Guido Fawkes, who first revealed the existence of the emails and has also been smeared by Draper, reports a rumour that McBride has been fired. Yawn, as usual, yes?
What is interesting about this story is the extent to which it reveals how serious the political parties are about the blogosphere: not only are special advisors involving themseves in what their mates in blogging write; they are actively seeking to discredit bloggers on the other side. Dale is of course more than just a random chap, having stood for Parliament in the past and currently acting as publisher of Total Politics, but his primary political voice is an online one. Smearing the leader of the Opposition is the usual game, but bloggers? What ahead for the 2010 general election campaign, one wonders.
Whatever, this is a slapfight some importance, and its mainstream implications are tangled: Fawkes has it that the Torygraph story is a plant from McBride to downplay his possibly quite shady actions. Dale’s dangled question at the end of his ‘liar’ post, about Labour’s relationship to Draper’s blog, is a deliberate tipping of more fuel onto this potentially damaging fire, too. One to watch. Popcorn?