Do political blogs make a difference? The answer, according to academics studying the 2005 election, was "not really". We have too few readers to significantly affect public opinion. But we can and do affect political parties and the policies they offer.
The debate over entrenching the Maori seats has provided a perfect example of this. Over the past few days a number of bloggers (including Graeme Edgeler, Big News and myself) have been hashing over the mechanics of entrenchment. Today, Dave at Big News reports:
Yesterday I did a post on the Maori Party Bill to entrench the seats linking a similar post from No Right Turn, who had also seen the bill. The post was sent to and read by all Maori Party MPs yesterday - not sent by me - and as a result, I was told by the Party today that directly as a result of the suggestions and comment in this blog, the bill is to be amended to embrace our suggestions that parts of the Maori Electoral Option should be entrenched with the seats.(There's a slight misconception there: I hadn't seen the Maori Party bill, but it was pretty obvious what they wanted to do and how to go about it).
Speaking up makes a difference. Getting involved makes a difference. participating in our national conversation makes a difference. And we should all do it more often.