This whole Blog Wars thing is all rather silly, but possibly the silliest aspect of it is hearing people from all parts of the political spectrum defend Guido as being non-partisan. This argument appears to rest on the basis that, from time to time, he slags off Tories as well as people from other parties.
Well, on that basis, Tharg knows what that makes me – I slag off Lib Dems all the time. And for that matter, I don’t attend half as many Lib Dem social events as Guido attends Tory ones. Yet strangely I don’t hear anyone claiming that I’m anything other than partisan.
And while he seems to be very keen to nail the Smith Institute, he doesn’t seem to have the same passion for exposing, say, the Policy Exchange for publishing research on Muslim social attitudes despite a relatively explicitly political agenda, or for that matter any of the other thinktanks currently “helping” the Tories with their current policy reviews (I’m not having a go at thinktanks here per se, lest I be accused of hypocrisy, merely suggesting that the Smith Institute “scandal” requires a bit of contextualising).
Ah, you say, but Guido occasionally writes posts slagging off thinktanks. He has an amusing picture of a chimp in a hat that goes alongside them and everything. But bemoaning an organisation and going after it are two different things.
I don’t have a problem with Guido having a partisan agenda – why shouldn’t he? But I do think people are foolish to buy into his “I hate everyone equally myth.” He may not love the modern Conservative Party, but it’s clear he’d rather have them in power and is working on that basis. Let’s at least be clear about that.