Back in January I began realising that society was going through a massive social change as a result of social media. It started with the realisation that the mainstream on climate was no longer the “mainstream” media, but in reality the “mainstream” was the blogosphere. (Climate bloggers: is CNM killing the Mainstream Media?)
Slowly, I began to realise that the change in power I was seeing between blogs and social media and the old “dinosaur press” as I began calling them (as they seemed doomed), was also being mirrored in other aspects of life. One was academia, (The end of the UK university?), but by far the bigger and faster changes (as it now appears) has been the political landscape of Britain which was reflected in my move to a bew blog: Scottish Independent People. I foresaw a massive change in politics in the UK.The common factor in all these predictions is the rise in peer-to-peer communications which have begun to bypass the traditional “establishment-to-establishment” communication channels where the once “mainstream” media were key.
Having been at the heart of UKIP in Scotland, of the blogosphere, having studied the rise of skeptics online and …. well just being in the right place at the right time …. I am perhaps better placed than almost anyone other commentator to understand the nature of UKIP’s success. It is both simple and complex. The simple explanation is that UKIP represent the type of people who just would never have got into journalism or politics in the old “establishment” system. But it is more complex than “the excluded” from politics. It wasn’t that certain views were not represented, it was that the whole system was biased by the type of people who did well in that old system. And in contrast to those who did well, there was a type of person who never had a chance in the old “establishment” system. They were no less valid in their views – but just didn’t fit the old system.
These people are the climate skeptics. They are the engineers, scientists, the shy, the ugly, the cackhanded, the socially enept. Mostly men, seldom fashionably “PC”, they were people who were excluded from the old system because they just were not interested in the kinds of things or subjects that took those who were successful into journalism and politics.
Thus the old “mainstream media” was domonated by a certain kind of person. Like attracted like, they were very similar “arty” people. They were the wordsmiths, the socially manipulative. They were very different from skeptics: “pc fashionable”, “politically OK”, they understood the rules of “getting on” anddealing with others in the PC class” of politics and journalism. Not only did well in this arena, but also ensured that their views were dominant in the news, TV, press, etc. Almost the whole fabric of public life, was dominated by this relatively narrow personality type which dominated the journalism and politics of Britain & most other “western countries” to the exclusion of all others.
That doesn’t mean their views were wrong. But it certainly didn’t mean that those who were excluded were wrong. But it did allow one group to portray the “non-pc-crowd” as nasty, evil “homophobes”, “racists”, “xeonphobes”, “deniers”, etc. etc. etc.
What has now happened is that the old “mainstream media” who could throw these insults and get nothing but support from the like-minded people who dominated journalism, have now met their match in the social media. The social media has not only given the “others” a way to talk to the rest of society, it has also undermined the whole econmics of the old press-communicaton system.
Once, if you wanted a job, if you wanted a house, if wanted a car, if you wanted to know what was going on – you have no choice but to buy a paper. Now, if you want a job – you go to the internet. If you want a car -you go to the internet. The adverts that funded and empowered the old polical class – have gone. With that the finance that funded the old political communicaton system – has gone. Newspapers are now struggling to keep afloat. Journalists are now reduced to press release “cut and pasters”. They no longer have the time to push their views. They no longer have the influence as their readers leave them in droves. The old press have lost their power!
These old press establishment journalists, no longer dominate politics & no longer dominates public discourse. Instead, public discourse is being carried out on a host of different channels, from small blogs to twitter to facebook. The social media has taken over – IT WON the internet war.
Unlike the old “mainsteam”, where only the richest press baron could afford to set up a new newspaper or even satellite channel, and so they controlled almost everything published in many papers, the new social media cannot be controlled by such press barons. Anyone can and does create a blog. Any can and does twitter. It is no longer possible for a political leader to scratch the right back of the right media baron and guarantee the kind of press coverage that was sure to mean “it was the Sun wot won” the election. Elections cannot be bought! Now, politicians cannot win the electorate over by patronage of media barons but instead they need the willingness of supporters.
Why commenters misunderstand UKIP
And this is why commentators are failing to understand the rise of UKIP. They look to policies, to economic conditions. These may be the reason people vote UKIP and the many “anti-establishment parties” throughout these European elections. But the reality is that the “establisment” that people are rejecting is the old “estalishment order” dominated by the old mainstream media and now undermined by social media.
And, once you understand that UKIP would have occurred, even if immigration were not an issue, even if the banking crisis had not collapsed the european economy, one will understand that the new politics will never again see one or two dominant parties. UKIP are here to stay – what people have failed to understand is that in the wake of UKIP we will see further new parties, and e.g. the rise of green parties is also part of this new social media political revolution.
This is why I stopped blogging
I saw this coming. I saw the old order being pushed aside. Not just in politics but in scienc. I saw that the hatespeech marchants of climate were drawn from the same mould as the #racists name callers of politcs. The alarmists like Lewandowsky hurling their inane comments, were the same mindset as the journalist who attacked me – for nothing else but not bowing and scraping to their views. When you understand that this old order is soon to be extinct, there wasn’t much need for me personally to spend much more time helping it toward extinction.
First, the old political and journalistic class are so inward looking they are incapable of understanding what I write. Second, most of the new political class just aren’t interested in such introspection. So, if you have read this far, you are a very special kind of person. Well done!
The simple fact, is that the present political class will never have seen anything like this change. They have no idea what is causing it, they have no way to understand it except in very “arty” ideas. As such they will be totally perplexed by this change.
They had no idea it was coming – they are desperately trying to explain it in terms of policy, in terms of personalities, in terms of social phenomena. They simply have failed to understand that the mechanics of communciation have fundamentally changed the balance of power within society.
Eventually, the “chatterarti” will convince themselves they understand UKIP – they will make a few policy changes and package their “message” in a slightly different way, expecting life to sooner or later return to “business and normal” with the same political class running the same political show, with the excluded masses remaining excluded. What they will not understand is that they as a class are heading for extinction! Life will not return to what it was. Instead, like a Tsunami – the initial wave may seem like it must end – but it will not receed. Instead, it will just keep coming and coming and coming and coming and coming.
So well done skeptics – It might not look like it – but this is the end of the climate wars! The old political order that empowered the alarmists, that allowed wholesale libel of all us skeptics – is on the way out.
But one word of warning – I know the change is coming – but even I don’t know if the kind of society we have on the other side is one any of us want.