Daniel Hannan is Conservative MEP (Member of the European Parliament) for South East England. In his blog at the UK’s Telegraph (AKA the Torygraph) yesterday, Hannan notes that:
Twenty-four hours ago, I made a three-minute speech in the European Parliament, aimed at Gordon Brown. I tipped off the BBC and some of the newspaper correspondents but, unsurprisingly, they ignored me: I am, after all, simply a backbench MEP…
When I woke up this morning, my phone was clogged with texts, my email inbox with messages. Overnight, the YouTube clip of my remarks had attracted over 36,000 hits. By today, it was the most watched video in Britain.
How did it happen, in the absence of any media coverage? The answer is that political reporters no longer get to decide what’s news. The days when a minister gave briefings to a dozen lobby correspondents, and thereby dictated the next day’s headlines, are over. Now, a thousand bloggers decide for themselves what is interesting. If enough of them are tickled then, bingo, you’re news. (Huge thanks to all those who linked: Guido, Iain Dale, Tim Montgomerie, James Delingpole, Donal Blaney, Dizzy, Devil, James Forsyth, PoliticalBetting, Gerald Warner and the rest. And jumbo thanks to all the American bloggers: you chaps are way ahead of us in this regard.)
I personally disagree with Hannan’s politics as a rule – he is first and foremost an opponent of the Lisbon Treaty, which I consider crucial to the long-term future of the EU, and in any case I have a long-standing and deep-rooted aversion to the Tory party in general. Blogging on the Torygraph (which is only a few notches down from the Daily HateMail) doesn’t necessarily go in his favour either.
However I was rather impressed with him here. His speech is particularly topical to the UK since the British Treasury recently failed for the first time since 2002 to raise 100% of a gilt issue on the markets – they only raised about 93%. This is significant in large part because usually British government gilts are in very high demand, and frequently over-subscribed by 200% or more.
This really is European politics as its best:
Below the fold is a speech by William Hague, from January last year. (more…)