Booker picks up on our work on Afghanistan in his column today, setting out an admirable summary of what has taken us – so far – over 20,000 words to articulate.
This is the essence of the Booker/North team – I write "long" in order to do the working out, while he then encapsulates the core findings in one short piece that then gets the wider coverage.
And, for once, The Sunday Telegraph has put an active link to the work on Defence of the Realm, giving those readers who want to look at the detailed arguments a chance to do so. If the MSM can work with the blogosphere in this way, then I think we would all benefit – and a lot of our hostility would evaporate.
Anyhow, as to Booker's piece, he connects the Mandelson/Sarkozy spat with the fate of our troops in Afghanistan – a connection rightly made. If the situation in Afghanistan is to be stabilised, then it is going to be by building prosperity of the bulk of the population through the export of high-value agricultural products – something which current trade regimes are inhibiting.
Interestingly, Mandelson makes his case in today's Telegraph while Douglas Alexander makes his case for the redevelopment of Afghanistan in The Sunday Times today.
The latter, although making some good points, is seriously unimpressive. We will have a look at his piece in detail later today when, we hope, we will conclude our series on Afghanistan.
In so doing, we are attempting to do what the MSM so often claims to do - but very badly - "setting the agenda". This is, in our view, where the blogosphere should be and is one of the reasons why it has become politically influential in the United States. Hit rates are all very well, but it is influence that really matters.