Tuesday, October 18, 2005

changes of opinion

An interesting post over at his Bloggers4Labour site by Andrew, where he takes on the question, posed by Eric, of whether anyone is willing to admit that they have "changed their opinions on a specific issue, or changed their more general political stance on a more global scale, because of what they have come across on a blog?".

Andrew is a more thoughtful voice than most on the blogging left, but it's interesting to see that the path he's gone down in recent years is the opposite of mine; I find that daily exposure to blogs and political comment online has changed my opinion of this current Labour government, and forced me to confront the fact that I can no longer keep apologising for the actions of Blair and New Labour, which I was defending strongly as recently as late 2003, by which time the government had already done more than enough to earn my contempt.

I suppose in one sense, my opinions haven't changed at all - I'm still broadly on the labour centre-left and relatively open-minded to several Blair initiatives, if deadly opposed to several others. The change has come more in my sense of loyalty, which was always strongly influenced by my relationship with other Labour followers, whether they were schoolfriends, contemporary friends like Andrew, or my family.

Opening up your perspective to a wider circle of people inevitably means you end up doubting the logic of your allegiance. It's like the feeling of disappointment you get when you're on a train and you notice the bunch of louts sitting down the carriage are Tottenham fans too. I don't doubt that most - if not all - Labour party members have the best of intentions, but political blogging has made it clear to me that it's a fallacy to pretend that I agree with them on more than a few issues - the sense in which I was part of a club has vanished entirely. Ah well.

More practically, I've changed my mind, thanks to well argued articles by various bloggers or commentators, on the following issues: the wearing of religious clothing, the right to choose not to vote, my opinion of the Green Party, my belief that England would be better off playing 4-4-2 than 3-5-2, and banning smoking.

No comments: