Regardless of what one might think of Guido Fawkes, his campaign to oblige Parliament to debate the death penalty has been genuinely interesting. It did get coverage in the broader media, and it inspired a counter campaign in support of the status quo. That said, it hasn't been successful - just 18,572 people have signed it as I write this.
What it has done is to act as a useful reminder that most political blogging takes place amongst a very small 'community', a rather insular one, I might suggest. After all, if the Daily Mail asked its readers to sign up, one might reasonably expect it to reach the 100,000 threshold in days, if not hours. Given that Guido is probably the most significant individual player in the world of political blogging, it demonstrates that bloggers are 'world famous in Romford', to coin a phrase.
Bloggers are, if you like, a weathervane, pointing out the direction of travel on an issue or within a political party. We are observed by those paid to report, rather than interacted with, and occasionally picked up by other, more far reaching, media if we are interesting. For example, this blog is read by a small audience of people who have blundered here by accident, or have read it in the past and been impressed enough to return, or are friends and family interested to know what I'm up to at any given time. However, as a result of blogging, I had a letter published in the London Evening Standard, circulation in the hundreds of thousands. My views reached many more people than my blog ever does, or ever will.
Occasionally, I do wonder if some of those who blog don't have a rather inflated opinion as to their importance in the scheme of things. As fewer and fewer people engage in party politics, and more and more of the public incline towards a view that politics is something done to them, rather than by them or for them, those of us who remain involved run the risk that, by talking amongst ourselves, our sense of perspective is lost. It is, I suppose, a reminder that a good politician has a hinterland, interests beyond the partisan, in short, a life. They are the sort of people who when talk turns to politicians, are referred to in terms of, "oh, but he/she isn't like that - he/she's normal".
So, perhaps we should take Guido with a pinch of salt. He has an opinion that we don't share for the most part, he's deliberately provocative. But he seeks the influence the agenda, as we do. And in reality, he is a small voice amongst the hubbub of the noise made by the national and international media. Perhaps it is better to expend our energies on trying to make our voices heard where it makes a real difference, out there where people are, and leave blogging as a place for free expression and the propagation of ideas, somewhere where we can have some fun...