Interesting piece on Conservative Home by Conservative MP Robert Halfon writing about how he believes the right has lost its dominance online to left wing campaigners.
He doesn’t mention how the Labour Party is arguably ahead of the Conservatives in this regard, or how much better blogs on the left have got such as Labour List and Liberal Conspiracy, or how organisations such as Occupy LSX have also pushed left of centre online activism forward (even if they did linger too long outside St Paul’s).
His solution to counter the strength of the left digitally is to launch a right of centre equivalent to 38 Degrees. It is called Right-Angle, naturally, which he describes as a “campaigning force that counters the efforts of 38 degrees, and speaks up for the silent majority in our country”.
Its first campaign is on ‘lower taxes for lower earners’ an effort he says to “reclaim this policy from the Liberals” aka the coalition partners.
It will be interesting to see how it develops and how the two organisations compare. He has a relatively bi-partisan attitude to 38 degrees and says he doesn’t see it as an irritant and neither does he “dismiss it because it is run by Labour activists” although he does say it “hectors” MPs who don’t support it.
“For the past few years now, we on the right have been busy congratulating ourselves on the success of our presence on the Internet. In some ways it is understandable. Right of centre websites like ConservativeHome, Guido, John Redwood’s blog and much more besides have created a forum for Tory activists, undermined the left and provided intellectual ballast. But, whilst we have been slapping ourselves on the back, in some ways, the left have leapfrogged over us. Instead of Web 2.0, they have gone straight to 4.0, creating interactive campaigning websites, American-style, that have changed the nature of how pressure groups operate…
“We will also campaign on quality rather than quantity, so as not to create an almost ‘spam’ type email service which 38 degrees is in danger of becoming. Our intention is to not only to create a vast new emailing community of the centre right – but to spread our influence through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus et al. At present Right-Angle is beta-plus, and we would welcome your thoughts and recommendations. Above all, please sign-up at www.right-angle.org.“We can’t allow left-wing internet campaigning to dominate the web. Everything is moving towards online content. Smartphones are becoming mass phones (and affordable), and tablets are replacing computers. Even the book is being replaced by the Kindle. We are rapidly moving to the stage when future political battles will be won or lost on the Internet. Right Angle is a small step to regain some of that space,” Halfon writes on Conservative Home.